Prince of Peril by Otis Adelbert Kline

Prince of Peril


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subjects: Science Fiction

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Through the discoveries of the scientist, Dr. Morgan, a young Martian’s astral body is projected into the body of one Harry Thorne on Earth, and from Earth to Venus, or Zarovia, where the man of Mars becomes Prince Zinlo of the mighty empire of Olba. Zinlo is instructed by Morgan’s fellow-scientist Vorn Vangal in the universal language of Venus and other skills. An attempt to kidnap Zinlo by Taliboz, a secret foe of the empire, forces him to flee in an Olban airship. He crashes in the empire of Adonijar, where his quarrel with Prince Gadrimel over the Princess Loralie of Tyrhana is interrupted by Taliboz, who seizes the girl. Zinlo and Gadrimel pursue Taliboz, and many thrilling adventures are encountered by Prince Zinlo. Sequel to Planet of Peril, the story of Rorgen Takkor’s adventures on Venus.

216 pages, with a reading time of ~3.5 hours (54,163 words), and first published in 1930. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, .

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“Good-bye, men and good luck to you.”

My awakening, after I lay down on the cot in Dr. Morgan’s observatory, was quite sudden and startling. It seemed that not more than a few seconds had elapsed since I had heard the doctor’s parting words to Grandon and myself.

I opened my eyes and sat up abruptly with an inexplicable sense of impending danger. My first glimpse of my surroundings convinced me that I had indeed arrived on Venus. The magnificent riot of vegetation surrounding me–vegetation the like of which I had not seen on Mars, the red, barren planet of my birth, nor on Earth, the more recent planet of my adoption–was sufficient evidence.

I was seated on a bank of soft, violet-colored moss which sloped gently to a limpid pool at my feet. The feathery fronds of a giant bush-fern arched above my head, some of them dipping to the surface of the water, where they were snapped at from time to time by playful, grotesque, multi-colored amphibians.

I was dressed in garments of shimmering, scarlet material. There was a broad, golden chain-belt about my waist, with a jeweled clasp in front. Riveted to this belt on the right side was an oblong instrument about two feet in length, with a button near the upper end, a small lever on the side, and a tiny hole in the lower end. I had no idea what it was for; but I recognized the weapon which hung at my left side, as it resembled a scimitar. As I was examining the ruby-studded hilt of this beautiful weapon, a noise at my left attracted my attention.

Cautiously, without turning my head, I glanced from the corners of my eyes across a stretch of shrubbery to where a high wall of black stone surrounded this estate, and hid the country beyond. Just on the other side of the wall a tall fern-tree spread its mighty fronds. It must have been the cracking of one of these that had attracted my attention, for a heavy-set individual with a coarse red beard, cut off square below the chin, had climbed out on it to a point where it would no longer sustain his weight, in an effort to reach the top of the wall.

Someone in the shrubbery quite near me called a whispered warning to him–or such I took it to be, for the language was unknown to me, and I could only judge by the tones. The huge intruder was much more agile than he appeared, for he flung an arm over the top of the wall and drew himself up with catlike quickness. As he struck the wall there was a metallic clank which, I saw as soon as he came into full view, was from an edged weapon at his side, quite like my own but with a less ornate hilt and broader blade.

As soon as the red-bearded man reached the top of the wall, the one who had whispered from the bushes cautiously stood up. He was smaller and more wiry than the first, and his beard, which was iron-gray in color, was trimmed in the same manner.

Red-beard tiptoed stealthily along the top of the wall, glancing toward me from time to time as if fearful that I would hear him or turn toward him. Then he leaned out, caught his fingers in a tall cone-shaped growth, swung his sandaled feet out, and descended.

I wondered if it could be possible that these two prowlers were bent on injury to me, a total stranger on Venus. Then it dawned on me that they could easily be mortal enemies of the prince with whom I had exchanged bodies, and that I–so far as their knowledge went–was that prince.

I therefore drew my cutting weapon from its sheath in order to have it ready, and pretended to examine its beautiful, highly polished blade. For several minutes I neither saw nor heard anything of the two prowlers. Then I suddenly glimpsed, reflected on the polished surface of my blade, the red-bearded man standing directly behind me with his weapon upraised for a downward cut that would have sheared my skull from crown to chin. As swords of all kinds had been my principal playthings on Mars, and fencing my favorite amusement on Earth, I did the thing which any swordsman would have done instinctively in the circumstances. I raised the blade of my weapon above my head with a downward slant from hilt to point, and the descending blade of my would-be assassin, deflected by my own, buried itself in the mossy turf on my left.

Springing to my feet, I whirled and attacked.

My opponent proved to be a hammer-and-tongs fighter, no match for superior swordsmanship. I could have killed him any one of a dozen times before he realized that I was playing with him. Then he bawled out lustily, and the wiry fellow with the gray beard came rushing out of the bushes. Not knowing the caliber of the second assailant, I stopped the squawking of the first with a quick neck-cut that laid him low.

The wiry graybeard was much quicker and far more elusive than his huge companion, and I did not play with him. He soon left me the opening I sought, and I stretched him beside his fellow with a bone-shearing cut.