Volume 2257



57. "REVENGE" -- Jan. 3. '43
(read novelization

P1: Under control of the plant king, the tree limb snatched Cro-yat from the girl's side, while Carter severed her bonds. 

P2: Now Dejah Thoris held the Earthman in her hand. "John Carter," she whispered sadly, "you should not have returnedfor me, for not even you can fight these giant monsers. Go while there is sill time!" 

P3: "Perhaps alone I could not help you," replied Carter, "but I have an amazing friend who sits above us in yon tree!" 

P4: The plant king again exerted his powers and the tree he had attached himself assumed startling evidence of life!" 

P5: Unable to combat the tenacious grasp of the tree limb, Cro-Yat urged his tribe to aid him. 

P6: In blind obedience the villagers raced forward to free their chief and wreak vengeance upon the offenders. 


1. Compare 


Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst

Dejah Thoris rubbed her aching wrists in astonishment. What had happened? What had become of the vicious Cro-Yat? Ten seconds earlier the chief of the bird-men was swinging his deadly hand-ax down to sever her neck from her body; and now not only was she yet alive, but she was also free to rise and embrace her rescuer! Were the Earthman also fifteen times his normal height, the princess could have thrown her arms about the stalwart warrior, but Vovo's scientific curse continued to segregate Dejah Thoris from the man who had once stood head and shoulders over her own slender frame. The maid of Mars lifted the small figure of Captain Carter in one hand and looked upon him through her tear-filled eyes. 

"Oh, John," she exclaimed, "you are truly here! Oh, how I have missed you!" 

Yet, even as she spoke these happy words of reunion with the man who had stolen her heart, the Princess of Helium saw that the confounded villagers were beginning to regroup. The braver brutes in the flock were calling upon the startled warriors to turn and aid the beleaguered Cro-Yat. All of this the girl heard clearly, and even though the giants' voices were but an unintelligible rumble in the ears of the Earthman, she knew that he too could read their powerful telepathic projections. No matter how it was that John Carter had been able to disrupt their bloody ritual and momentarily disperse the savage company, the bird-men were preparing now for a counter-attack. Neither she nor her swordsman champion were yet safe from the plumed monsters, by any means. 

"My chieftain!" she cried out in alarm, "you should not have come for me! See how many of them there are? The whole village is now rising up against us and it is impossible for you to prevail against overwhelming numbers of warriors many times your size. Nor is there any place round about to which we can flee. A person of my size cannot hide from them, John! Beyond this village the feather forest provides a home to hundreds more of these savage giants. Escape before the see you, John -- and save yourself while there is still time!" 

John Carter looked about him. His eyes scanned the village of a hundred huts and the weird forest beyond. The Barsoomian maid was right, there was no path by which she could escape the village, let alone the forest, without enormous help. A being as small a he, on the other hand, might elude the giants and hide in any one of a thousand unseen places. But the brave Virginian's thoughts did not turn to running away, nor did he consider hiding. 

He longed to take the girl into his arms and hold her, but every circumstance of the moment made that impossible. Instead, he had to content himself with the touch of her skin and the the radiance of her sad smile. 

"All that matters to me is that I am with you again," he replied. His voice filled with emotion as he continued. "My life would be worthless without your presence in it, Dejah Thoris. My small blade may not kill a single feathered giant -- but I have more protection than this sword at my disposal. I have not come here alone, my princess. Look -- I have brought with me an amazing companion who even now sits above us in yon tree!" 

It was only then that the granddaughter of Tardos Mors realized what means John Carter had used to remove the odious executioner. The huge tree that a moment before serenely cast its shade upon the center of the courtyard had moved -- and moved most dramatically! Although the gnarled old titan of the forest remained rooted in the middle of the clearing, its great limbs now extended beyond the courtyard and were in frantic motion against the regrouping bird-men.

Entrapped at the end of the longest of these tree limbs, the chief of the bird-men was struggling and cursing -- his arms and legs gesticulating wildly, while the swaying wooden appendage held him in mid air! 

Cro-Yat beat upon the confining bark with his bare hands, but no no avail. Unable to combat the tenacious grasp of the tree limb, the enraged chief urged his tribe to aid him. 

"Warriors! This thing chokes Cro-Yat! Bring weapons! Climb big tree! Free Cro-Yat!" 

In blind obedience the chief's most fanatical followers gathered the armed warriors into a fighting formation and raised their hatchets in a display of their bravado. 

"Kill! Kill the tree!" they chanted. 

The remainder of the startled villagers, upon hearing this vengeful rallying cry, turned from their flight and stood their ground. Then, with horrific yells, the entire company raced forward to free their chief and wreak vengeance upon this new and unexpected foe. 

John Carter braced himself for the onrush. A thrust of his long-sword would be like a pinprick to any of the feathered giants, but he would go down fighting if there were no other way. To his relief however, none of the bird-men charged the defenseless princess. Instead, the entire village was preoccupied with the moving tree's seizure of Cro-Yat. 

"I trust there is yet hope, Dejah Thoris. The intelligent plant who now controls the skeel tree is an admired leader among his kind. He can bring great power to bear against these savages. He also moves between this world and his own realm by strange and wondrous means. If anything can help us now, I believe he can." 

"This world, did you say?" the princess questioned. "If your strange companion lives in a different world, which of the two is real? More and more the things I have experienced since our trouble with Vovo lead me to ask such questions, John, do you suppose that these bizarre beings and this preposterous feather forest truly exist?" 

The Earthman had no chance to answer. Even as the girl was speaking, one of the huge tree limbs shot through the air with tremendous force and came directly at the Princess of Helium. 


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