The Gods of Mars HTML version

Chapter 15. Flight And Pursuit
I could not have been unconscious more than a few seconds, and yet I know that I was
unconscious, for the next thing I realized was that a growing radiance was illuminating
the corridor about me and the eyes were gone.
I was unharmed except for a slight bruise upon my forehead where it had struck the stone
flagging as I fell.
I sprang to my feet to ascertain the cause of the light. It came from a torch in the hand of
one of a party of four green warriors, who were coming rapidly down the corridor toward
me. They had not yet seen me, and so I lost no time in slipping into the first intersecting
corridor that I could find. This time, however, I did not advance so far away from the
main corridor as on the other occasion that had resulted in my losing Tars Tarkas and his
The party came rapidly toward the opening of the passageway in which I crouched
against the wall. As they passed by I breathed a sigh of relief. I had not been discovered,
and, best of all, the party was the same that I had followed into the pits. It consisted of
Tars Tarkas and his three guards.
I fell in behind them and soon we were at the cell in which the great Thark had been
chained. Two of the warriors remained without while the man with the keys entered with
the Thark to fasten his irons upon him once more. The two outside started to stroll slowly
in the direction of the spiral runway which led to the floors above, and in a moment were
lost to view beyond a turn in the corridor.
The torch had been stuck in a socket beside the door, so that its rays illuminated both the
corridor and the cell at the same time. As I saw the two warriors disappear I approached
the entrance to the cell, with a well-defined plan already formulated.
While I disliked the thought of carrying out the thing that I had decided upon, there
seemed no alternative if Tars Tarkas and I were to go back together to my little camp in
the hills.
Keeping near the wall, I came quite close to the door to Tars Tarkas' cell, and there I
stood with my longsword above my head, grasped with both hands, that I might bring it
down in one quick cut upon the skull of the jailer as he emerged.
I dislike to dwell upon what followed after I heard the footsteps of the man as he
approached the doorway. It is enough that within another minute or two, Tars Tarkas,
wearing the metal of a Warhoon chief, was hurrying down the corridor toward the spiral
runway, bearing the Warhoon's torch to light his way. A dozen paces behind him
followed John Carter, Prince of Helium.