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|Chapter 201: New Worlds to Conquer||Chapter 203: Queen of Magic|
Some debris has fallen from the ship. Ming recognises it as coming from the same rocket ship that was stolen from Mongo and concludes that Flash Gordon and Dr Zarkov must have come to Mars in order to try and save the Earth by destroying the Nitron ray. He convinces Queen Azura that the party from Earth must be stopped at all costs, and they pursue them in a Stratosled to the Valley of Desolation, where Zarkov's crippled ship eventually crashes. The Earth party are unharmed, but their ship is no longer flightworthy.
The four humans hide in the rocks as their pursuers land. Whilst Ming leads a search party on foot to locate the fugitives, Flash tricks the guards who stay behind and tries to capture the stratosled. Aboard it he finds Queen Azura, but he is astounded when she disappears in a puff of smoke. Flash holds the remaining guard and gunpoint and gets him to fly the stratosled to where Zarkov, Dale and Happy are hiding, and to pick them up. In the process, Flash spots Ming and is shocked to discover he is still alive. Zarkov concludes that the attack on Earth must be Ming's doing and speculates that Ming has conquered Mars. The Martian guard denies this, insisting that nobody can conquer the planet Mars. Ming is merely an ally of Queen Azura.
The Martian takes advantage when Happy fails to keep a close watch on him, and escapes by using Bat wing suits to parachute safely from the stratosled. Fortunately Zarkov finds the stratosled simple to operate. The guard also left behind a powerful Nitron gun which Flash thinks will come in useful. Flash suggests they head back towards the source of the Nitron beam to destroy it but when they arrive they are warded off by an enemy squadron. Their craft damaged before they can knock out the beam, the Earth party flee back to the hills.
Queen Azura has tracked their flight to the Valley of Desolation, the home of the Clay People. Crossing the border into their kingdom means certain death. Ming warns that Flash Gordon and Dr Zarkov pose a greater threat to Mars than all of the Clay People, so Queen Azura orders her men to pursue the Earth people, even though it means they will never return.
Flash and friends take refuge in the caves, where Dale is spooked by a figure she thought she saw coming out of the wall. Flash thinks she is imagining things until other Clay People appear through the walls of the tunnels. Unable to leave the caves because of the pursuing Martian guards, the humans flee deeper into the tunnels, followed by growing numbers of Clay People. Happy tries shooting one of them but the bullet does not affect him at all.
The four humans finally run into a dead end where they become trapped. The ceiling then starts to descend. They will be crushed to death in minutes.
Ming the Merciless, intent on/ destroying the earth, enlists/ the aid of Azura, Queen of/ Magic.
By means of a powerful nitron/ lamp, they are drawing the/ atmosphere from the/ earth.
Flash flies to Mars to save/ the earth but is forced/ down by Azura's soldiers.
The earth people make/ a forced landing in the/ Valley of Desolation,/ pursued by Martians.
- Ming recognises Zarkov's ship as one stolen from him on Mongo, however this contradicts the events portrayed in the earlier serial. Firstly, Flash and friends returned to Earth from Mongo in Zarkov's own rocketship. Secondly, at the time they flew back home Ming had apparently gone to his death in the lair of the fire dragon, and was in no position to know whether or not a ship had been stolen. It is revealed later in this serial than Prince Barin has flown to Mars in a rocketship from Mongo, so why does Ming not consider the possibility that it is Barin flying the ship?
- Following the failed attack on the Nitron Lamp, Flash exhibits an unlikely degree of marksmanship. Aiming a normal pistol through the porthole of his stratosled, he is able to hit the pilot of one of the pursuing vessels perfectly even though he is not near any of the windows.
- Happy shoots at the Clay People before confirming they are hostile. None of the party from Earth have attempted to engage the Clay People in dialogue or try to make peace with them.
- When Happy shoots at the Clay People, they all laugh silently. This suggests they are mute, however subsequent chapters show that they can all speak normally.