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Volume 2982
James Killian Spratt's Graphic Interpretation of 
Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars 

(click panels for full-screen size)
PAGE 293:

Without effort at concealment 
I hastened to the vicinity 
of our quarters, 
where I felt sure 
I should find Kantos Kan. 
As I neared our building 
I became careful, and rightly so; 
it was being watched by 
several men in civilian harness, 
loitering near the front 
and rear entrances. 

The only way 
to reach our apartment unobserved 
was across the roofs 
of several nearby buildings, 
and after considerable maneuvering 
I achieved an open window 
on the upper floor of the barracks. 
Kantos Kan, alone in our rooms, 
asked me why I was late coming off duty.

PAGE 294:

When I told him of the day’s events 
he was all excitement, 
then dismayed to hear the news that 
Dejah Thoris had promised her hand to Sab Than.
He exclaimed: 
“She must have LOST HER MIND!
What can we do, John Carter? 
You are a resourceful man—
how can we save Helium from this disgrace?!?”

I answered: 
“If I can come 
within sword’s reach of Sab Than, 
I can solve Helium’s difficulty, 
but I would prefer that 
another strike that blow, 
for reasons of my own.”
“You LOVE her!” he exclaimed, 
“Does she know it?” eyeing me narrowly.

PAGE 295:

“She knows it, Kantos Kan, 
and repulses me only because of 
her promise to marry Sab Than.”
Kantos Kan, my splendid friend, 
leaped for joy, 
“I could not think of 
a more fitting mate for our Princess! 
I shall slay Sab Than myself, tonight, 
in his quarters!”

 “But how?” I queried, 
“The palace is strongly guarded—?”

He laughed and explained,
“A few days ago I was patrolling the city, 
and espied a face peering 
from the loftiest window of the palace. 
A closer look revealed Sab Than, 
who was quite put out at being discovered thus. 
He made me promise to keep silent, 
but that window leads to his quarters. 
I’ll need my flier.”

PAGE 296:

“But this building is watched—tell me,
how well are the machine-sheds guarded at night?”
“Only by one man on the roof—?”
“Then go to the roof of this building, Kantos Kan, 
and await me there.”
We quickly donned full air kits; 
I didn’t plan to return to these quarters, 
and there would be no time to retrieve them later.

 Without stopping to explain my plans, 
I retraced my way back to the street and, 
staying in the shadows,
hastened to the squadron building. 
I did not dare to enter it, 
filled as it would be 
with Airmen on the lookout for me.

PAGE 297:

The only way to reach our fliers unseen 
was to scale the exterior 
of the enormous structure,
some thousand feet high. 
Only the battleship docks were higher, 
at nearly fifteen hundred feet.

 It was a dangerous climb, and a long one, 
but fortunately 
the decorative features of the architecture 
provided me with an almost perfect ladder 
all the way to the top. 
But here I met with a real obstacle--

PAGE 298:

--the landing platform overhung 
the entire tower by twenty feet or so,--


 --and, long before lights-out,
the top-floor dayroom was full of soldiers 
who would arrest me on sight.

PAGE 299:

There was but one way to access the roof, 
and an extremely risky one at that; 
I swung my grapnel cautiously, 
trying several times before its sharp hooks 
finally found lodgment on the edge of the roof.

PAGE 300:

I pulled the line gently
to strengthen its hold, 
but whether it would bear my weight 
I could not guess.


 It was a thousand feet
to the hard pavement below, 
and I knew that 
not even my strong earthly frame 
would survive such a fall. 
For an instant I hesitated, 
then released my grasp of the wall 
and swung outward. 
There was a jerk at the top of the line,--


PAGE 301:

--and a nasty, grating sound
that turned me cold with apprehension.

Then the hook caught firmly
and I eased up the line hand over hand--

PAGE 302:

--and, gratefully seizing the edge of the roof, 
drew myself up onto the surface, 
only to find myself staring
into the muzzle of the sentry’s revolver.

“Who are you and whence came you?!?” 
she cried.

PAGE 303:

“I am an Air Scout, friend, 
and very nearly a dead one!”

“But how came you upon the roof, man? 
No one has landed or come up
from the building for the past hour. 
Quick, explain yourself, 
or I call the Guard!”

“Look you here, Sentry, 
and you shall see how close a shave
I had to not coming at all!”

PAGE 304:

The Sentry, 
her caution somewhat relaxed 
by my obvious relief at achieving 
the safety of the solid deck,
and acting on impulse, 
stepped near the edge to peer over, 
to her undoing.


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