|Previous chapter:||Next chapter:|
|Chapter 202: The Living Dead||Chapter 204: Ancient Enemies|
Flash blasts a way out of the trap using the powerful Nitron gun which had been left behind on their Stratosled by the pilot. They are safe for the moment but still lost in the underground caverns. Both the Earth party and the pursuing Martian patrol are robbed of their weapons by the Clay People.
As they continue to look for a way out, Flash and friends are set upon by Queen Azura's patrol. As they fight, the watching Dale Arden is overcome by a strange gas which starts seeping through the cavern walls. Flash, Dr. Hans Zarkov, and Happy defeat their assailants but when they try to help Dale they too are rendered unconscious as they inhale the fumes.
They awaken some time later in the throne room of the Clay King, finding they are now all dressed in Martian clothes. The Clay King explains that he assumed Flash's party were in league with Queen Azura until they were seen fighting her men. He now wants to know who they are and what they are doing here.
Flash explains how they have come from the planet Earth, which Queen Azura is trying to destroy using her Nitron beam. Their aim is solely to save their planet by knocking out the beam.
The Clay King admits that he knows Queen Azura's cruelty only too well. Long ago he and his people were the mightiest on Mars, but Queen Azura grew jealous of them and used her magic to turn them into clay and banish them here. Only her magic can restore them to their former selves. That is why the 4 travelers have been spared, as they can survive on the surface (which Clay People cannot), the Clay King wants them to kidnap Queen Azura and bring her back here to lift her curse upon the Clay People. The source of her magic power is the white sapphire she wears, and now that Flash and co are wearing the garments of Queen Azura's death squadron, they may be able to get close enough to her for the plan to work. Dale and Happy are to be kept hostage to ensure Flash cooperates. Flash is angry but Zarkov tells him they have no choice but to agree to the dangerous mission.
Almost as soon as Flash and Zarkov set off for Azura's palace in a stratosled, they are followed and attacked by the last of her patrol who stayed behind to guard the ships. Luckily they manage to shoot him down just before he is able to get warning back to the palace.
On arrival, Flash poses as a squadron member who has captured one of the Earthmen (Zarkov, who has changed out of his Martian uniform), and requests a private audience with the Queen, which is granted. Tarnak hears of this and tells Ming that one of the Earth people have been caught. Ming rushes to the throne room just in time to see Flash grab Azura's white sapphire and force her, at gunpoint, to accompany him to a stratosled.
The scheming Ming tells Tarnak to turn the oscillator onto the landing platform. Tarnak questions whether this would mean endangering Azura also. Ming chuckles, the Queen's death will look like an accident arising from a desperate attempt to stop the Earth people from getting away.
Flash, Zarkov and Azura are on the landing platform as it begins to collapse all around them.
Ming the Merciless, and/ Azura, Queen of Magic, join/ forces to wage war against/ the rest of the world.
Arriving on Mars, to save/ civilization, Flash, Dale,/ Zarkov and Happy become/ prisoners of the Clay People.
With Dale Hostage, the/ Clay King commands Flash/ to bring Azura to their/ underground kingdom.
Flash, disguised as a Martian/ pilot, tries to trick Azura/ into disclosing the secret of/ her magic power.
- There is some sloppy editing during the sequence where Flash speaks with the Clay King. The Clay King remains seated on his throne throughout the scene, yet some brief cutaway close-ups of the King show him standing up.
- Although rather more modest, the Martian costume Dale wears from this chapter onwards shares several design elements with that worn by actress Zita Johann in Universal's earlier film The Mummy (1932). Dale's costume will be seen on one of the extras in the next Flash Gordon serial, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe.