Tars Tarkas is just leaving the city.
The air fleet is mobilizing. The entire air force will stand by to come to your aid. Kantos Kan signing off.
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Night found Carter cruising about five hundred miles from Helium. He was very tired. The search of several ruined cities and canals had been fruitless. The buzzing of the microset aroused him again. Tars Tarkas has organized a complete ground search east to south; other air scouts west to south report nothing.
Will acquaint you with any news that might come in. Awaiting orders. Will stand by. Signing off. Wearily he let the ship drift. No need to look further until the moons came up.
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The earthman fell into a fitful sleep. It was midnight when the speaker sounded, jerking Carter to wakefulness. Kantos Kan was signalling again, excitedly. She is held in a deserted city on the banks of the dead sea at Korvas.
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He will be at the main bridge leading into the City. Kantos Kan signing, off. Come in, John Carter. Now he set his gyro-compass, a device that would automatically steer him to his destination. Several hours later, the earthman flew over a low range of hills and saw below him an ancient city on the banks of the Dead Sea. He circled his plane and dropped to the bridge where he had been instructed to meet Tars Tarkas. Long, black shadows filled a dry gully below him. Carter climbed out of his plane, keeping to the shadows, and made his way to the towering ruins of the city.
It was so quiet that a lonely bat swooping from a tower sounded like a falling airship. At the entrance to the city, Carter stepped into the black shadow of a wall and waited. No sound broke the stillness of the quiet night. The city was like a tomb.
Demos and Phobos, the two fast-moving moons of Mars, whirled across the heavens. Carter stopped breathing to listen. To his keen ears came the faint sound of steps—strange, shuffling steps dragging closer.
Something was coming along the wall. The earthman tensed, ready to spring away to his ship. Now he could hear other steps all around him. Inside the ruins something dragged against the fallen rocks. Then a great, heavy body dropped on John Carter from the wall above. Hot, fetid breath burned his neck. Huge, shaggy arms smothered him in their fierce embrace. The thing hurled him to the rough cobblestones. Huge hands clutched at his throat. Carter turned his head and saw above him the face of a great, white ape. Three of the creature's fellows were circling around Carter, striving to tie his feet with a piece of rope while the other choked him into insensibility with his four mighty hands.
Carter wriggled his feet under the belly of the ape with whom he was grappling. One mighty heave sent the creature into the air to fall, groaning and helpless, to the ground. They were mighty beasts, fully eight feet tall with long, white hair covering their great bodies. Each was equipped with four muscular arms that ended in tremendous hands armed with sharp, hooked claws. They were baring their fangs and growling viciously as they came toward the earthman. Carter crouched low; and as the beasts sprang in, his earthly muscles sent him leaping high into the air over their heads.
The earthman's heavy blade, backed by all the power of his muscles, smacked down upon one ape's head, splitting the skull wide open. Carter hit the ground and, turning, was ready when the two apes remaining flew at him again. There was a hideous, hair- raising shriek as this time the earthman's sword sank deep into a savage heart. Now the other beast turned and slunk away in fright, his eyes gleaming at Carter in the darkness as it fled down a long corridor in the adjacent building. The earthman could have sworn that he heard his own name coming from the ape's throat and mingling with its sullen growl as it fled away.
The earthman had just seized his sword when he felt a rush of air above his head. There was a blur of motion as something came down toward him. Now he felt himself clutched about the waist; then he was jerked fifty feet into the air. Struggling for breath, Carter clutched at the thing encircling his body. It was as horny as the skin of an arbok. It had hairs as large as tree roots bristling from the horny scales. A new monstrosity had come to life on Mars.
Judging by the adjacent buildings, the creature must have been a hundred and thirty feet tall! The giant raised Carter high over his head and shook him; then he threw back his face. Hideous, hollow laughter rumbled out of his pendulous lips revealing teeth like small mountain crags. He was dressed in an ill-fitting, baggy tunic that came down in loose folds over his hips but which allowed his arms and legs to be free. I, Joog," he kept repeating as he continued to laugh and shake his helpless victim.
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I can kill! Joog, the giant, commenced to walk. Carefully he stepped along the barren streets, sometimes going around a building that was too high to step over.
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Finally he stopped before a partially ruined palace. The ravages of time had only dimmed its beauty. Huge masses of moss and vines trailed through the masonry, hiding the shattered battlements. With a sudden thrust, Joog, the giant, shoved John Carter through a high window in the palace tower.
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