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The Gods of Mars

Chapter 13. A Break For Liberty
Xodar listened in incredulous astonishment to my narration of the events which had
transpired within the arena at the rites of Issus. He could scarce conceive, even though he
had already professed his doubt as to the deity of Issus, that one could threaten her with
sword in hand and not be blasted into a thousand fragments by the mere fury of her
divine wrath.
"It is the final proof," he said, at last. "No more is needed to completely shatter the last
remnant of my superstitious belief in the divinity of Issus. She is only a wicked old
woman, wielding a mighty power for evil through machinations that have kept her own
people and all Barsoom in religious ignorance for ages."
"She is still all-powerful here, however," I replied. "So it behooves us to leave at the first
moment that appears at all propitious."
"I hope that you may find a propitious moment," he said, with a laugh, "for it is certain
that in all my life I have never seen one in which a prisoner of the First Born might
escape."
"To-night will do as well as any," I replied.
"It will soon be night," said Xodar. "How may I aid in the adventure?"
"Can you swim?" I asked him.
"No slimy silian that haunts the depths of Korus is more at home in water than is Xodar,"
he replied.
"Good. The red one in all probability cannot swim," I said, "since there is scarce enough
water in all their domains to float the tiniest craft. One of us therefore will have to
support him through the sea to the craft we select. I had hoped that we might make the
entire distance below the surface, but I fear that the red youth could not thus perform the
trip. Even the bravest of the brave among them are terrorized at the mere thought of deep
water, for it has been ages since their forebears saw a lake, a river or a sea."
"The red one is to accompany us?" asked Xodar.
"Yes."
"It is well. Three swords are better than two. Especially when the third is as mighty as
this fellow's. I have seen him battle in the arena at the rites of Issus many times. Never,
until I saw you fight, had I seen one who seemed unconquerable even in the face of great
odds. One might think you two master and pupil, or father and son. Come to recall his
 
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