CHAPTER 60: "GIANT PERIL"
Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst
Gizank, the giant chicken-headed man, at first followed
the girl from the cover of the underbrush. The slow-thinking beast had
no idea that his revolting thoughts were already penetrating the mind of
his intended victim.
"Oh! Big body there. Gizank eat many days! Eat round top
-- eat round bottom!"
When he was certain that only she and the little man were
on the path ahead of him and that there were no enemies behind him, then
the bird-man warrior made his move. With a blood-curdling cackle, Gizank
broke out from the concealing foliage and charged directly down the narrow
jungle trail toward Dejah Thoris.
From his hiding place, clinging to a lock of hair near
the girl's ear, John Carter watched the bird-man closing fast. He had already
explained his daring plan to the red maiden.
"If this one behaves like the other bird-men did, he will
want to capture you. Act as though you are ready to surrender to him. Courage,
my princess!" the Earthman concluded.
"Ah! Little man fear Gianak! He run away!" the feathered
giant cackled gleefully.
Dejah Thoris held her hands in the air, palms out, as
though she were frozen with terror -- a deception which, at that moment,
was not so very far from the truth. The bird-man rushed up to the motionless
girl with his hatchet raised in one hand. But deciding that he did not
need the weapon after all, he dropped it on the ground. Then he thrust
out both his hideous hands to grab the red maiden by her slender throat.
"Remember -- move your head near his. And trust me, Dejah
Thoris!" John Carter said, communicating more by telepathy than by the
sound of his hushed voice.
Dejah Thoris allowed Gizank to clutch her, but his tightening
fingers were choking her beyond all expectation. At first she struggled
for breath. Then, remembering the Earthman's instructions, the girl simply
collapsed onto the chest of the savage warrior.
That was all the advantage John Carter required. As the
girl's head fell into feigned unconsciousness upon the bird-man's upper
arms, the Virginian was enabled to leap from his hiding place within her
tresses over to beast's adjacent shoulder. Immediately upon landing there
he drew his long-sword. The amazing thing about his leap was that the bird-man
was so distracted that he did not at first realize that the man's small
figure was clinging fast to the pinfeathers on his right shoulder.
"Prepare to meet your ancestors, damned cannibal!" the
Earthman shouted. Then he leaped forward to ram his sword through Gizank's
eye-socket and into his brain.
As for Dejah Thoris, she was convinced that this particular
bird-man had no intention of capturing her alive. The monster's thick talons
were continuing their work of strangling the life from the princess. Now
she truly was on the verge of losing consciousness. The girl's feet give
way under her and she fell back, just a little, from the monster's clutches.
Thrown off balance by the shift in the girl's weight,
the bird-man lurched forward a step. At the same time John Carter plunged
his long-sword into the giant's eyeball. But the creature's unexpected
movement deflected the Earthman's blow a little to one side. The sword
pierced the bird-man and was at once blinded in one eye, but was also still
very much alive!
The Odwar of Eo tried a different line of approach in
attempting to converse with the impassive taciturn green girl.
"In addition to closing down all of Vovo's experiments,
I have also decided to cease the munitions production at Eo. I believe
that the abilities of the robots and the functions of Eo's workshops can
be put to better use."
"A noble decision, Sir Odwar," she answered, "but other
arms makers will keep up the supply. The last Wizard of Eo was not providing
my people with many gun parts, anyway. In all my life I doubt that our
traders exchanged goods with him more than three times. We have a great
store of parts at Thark from which we could make ten times more guns than
we ourselves can use. The gun-runners of the red race come to us as their
source for the best radium rifles, you know."
"Perhaps you are right, Sola. Perhaps nothing will change.
But my decision stands. In the future the workers of Eo will manufacture
medicines and other useful things. The workshops no longer need great amounts
of radium. Do you suppose your people would trade with us in other ways?
Can there at least be a little peaceful progress in this world gone to
"They will always come for help in treating illness and
injuries; of that you can be assured. But if you do not want to sell gun
parts or encourage the trade in radium, do not expect the green race to
come here often. Not even the best minds among the Tharks can be turned
to peaceful ways. That is, unless my father ever becomes..."
The girl and the robot ceased their conversation at once.
They both had heard the Earthman's distressed cry.
"Dejah Thoris! Help me, Dejah Thoris!"