A PRINCESS OF MARS & WARLORD OF MARS

By Edgar Rice Burroughs
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A PRINCESS OF MARS
To My Son Jack FOREWORD To the Reader of this Work: In submitting Captain Carter's strange manuscript to you in book form, I believe that a few words relative to this remarkable personality will be of interest. My first recollection of Captain Carter is of the few months he spent at my father's home in Virginia, just prior to the opening of the civil war. I was then a child of but five years, yet I well remember the tall, dark, smooth-faced, athletic man whom I called Uncle Jack. He seemed always to be laughing; and he entered into the sports of the children with the same hearty good fellowship he displayed toward those pastimes in which the men and women of his own age indulged; or he would sit for an hour at a time entertaining my old grandmother with stories of his strange, wild life in all parts of the world. We all loved him, and our slaves fairly worshipped the ground he trod. He was a splendid specimen of manhood, standing a good two inches over six feet, broad of shoulder and narrow of hip, with the carriage of the trained fighting man. His features were regular and clear cut, his hair black and closely cropped, while his eyes were of a steel gray, reflecting a strong and loyal character, filled with fire and initiative. His manners were perfect, and his courtliness was that of a typical southern gentleman of the highest type. His horsemanship, especially after hounds, was a marvel and delight even in that country of magnificent horsemen. I have often heard my father caution him against his wild recklessness, but he would only laugh, and say that the tumble that killed him would be from the back of a horse yet unfoaled. When the war broke out he left us, nor did I see him again for some fifteen or sixteen years. When he returned it was without warning, and I was much surprised to note that he had not aged apparently a moment, nor had he changed in any other outward way. He was, when others were with him, the same genial, happy fellow we had known of old, but when he thought himself alone I have seen him sit for hours gazing off into space, his face set in a look of wistful longing and hopeless misery; and at night he would sit thus looking up into the heavens, at what I did not know until I read his manuscript years afterward. He told us that he had been prospecting and mining in Arizona part of the time since the war; and that he had been very successful was evidenced by the unlimited amount of 2

money with which he was supplied. As to the details of his life during these years he was very reticent, in fact he would not talk of them at all. He remained with us for about a year and then went to New York, where he purchased a little place on the Hudson, where I visited him once a year on the occasions of my trips to the New York market—my father and I owning and operating a string of general stores throughout Virginia at that time. Captain Carter had a small but beautiful cottage, situated on a bluff overlooking the river, and during one of my last visits, in the winter of 1885, I observed he was much occupied in writing, I presume now, upon this manuscript. He told me at this time that if anything should happen to him he wished me to take charge of his estate, and he gave me a key to a compartment in the safe which stood in his study, telling me I would find his will there and some personal instructions which he had me pledge myself to carry out with absolute fidelity. After I had retired for the night I have seen him from my window standing in the moonlight on the brink of the bluff overlooking the Hudson with his arms stretched out to the heavens as though in appeal. I thought at the time that he was praying, although I never understood that he was in the strict sense of the term a religious man. Several months after I had returned home from my last visit, the first of March, 1886, I think, I received a telegram from him asking me to come to him at once. I had always been his favorite among the younger generation of Carters and so I hastened to comply with his demand. I arrived at the little station, about a mile from his grounds, on the morning of March 4, 1886, and when I asked the livery man to drive me out to Captain Carter's he replied that if I was a friend of the Captain's he had some very bad news for me; the Captain had been found dead shortly after daylight that very morning by the watchman attached to an adjoining property. For some reason this news did not surprise me, but I hurried out to his place as quickly as possible, so that I could take charge of the body and of his affairs. I found the watchman who had discovered him, together with the local police chief and several townspeople, assembled in his little study. The watchman related the few details connected with the finding of the body, which he said had been still warm when he came upon it. It lay, he said, stretched full length in the snow with the arms outstretched above the head toward the edge of the bluff, and when he showed me the spot it flashed upon me that it was the identical one where I had seen him on those other nights, with his arms raised in supplication to the skies. There were no marks of violence on the body, and with the aid of a local physician the coroner's jury quickly reached a decision of death from heart failure. Left alone in the study, I opened the safe and withdrew the contents of the drawer in which he had told me 3

I would find my instructions. They were in part peculiar indeed, but I have followed them to each last detail as faithfully as I was able. He directed that I remove his body to Virginia without embalming, and that he be laid in an open coffin within a tomb which he previously had had constructed and which, as I later learned, was well ventilated. The instructions impressed upon me that I must personally see that this was carried out just as he directed, even in secrecy if necessary. His property was left in such a way that I was to receive the entire income for twenty-five years, when the principal was to become mine. His further instructions related to this manuscript which I was to retain sealed and unread, just as I found it, for eleven years; nor was I to divulge its contents until twenty-one years after his death. A strange feature about the tomb, where his body still lies, is that the massive door is equipped with a single, huge gold-plated spring lock which can be opened _only from the inside_. Yours Edgar Rice Burroughs. very sincerely,

CHAPTER I ON THE ARIZONA HILLS I am a very old man; how old I do not know. Possibly I am a hundred, possibly more; but I cannot tell because I have never aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood. So far as I can recollect I have always been a man, a man of about thirty. I appear today as I did forty years and more ago, and yet I feel that I cannot go on living forever; that some day I shall die the real death from which there is no resurrection. I do not know why I should fear death, I who have died twice and am still alive; but yet I have the same horror of it as you who have never died, and it is because of this terror of death, I believe, that I am so convinced of my mortality. And because of this conviction I have determined to write down the story of the interesting periods of my life and of my death. I cannot explain the phenomena; I can only set down here in the words of an ordinary soldier of fortune a chronicle of the strange events that befell me during the ten years that my dead body lay undiscovered in an Arizona cave. I have never told this story, nor shall mortal man see this manuscript until after I have passed over for eternity. I know that the average human mind will not believe what 4

it cannot grasp, and so I do not purpose being pilloried by the public, the pulpit, and the press, and held up as a colossal liar when I am but telling the simple truths which some day science will substantiate. Possibly the suggestions which I gained upon Mars, and the knowledge which I can set down in this chronicle, will aid in an earlier understanding of the mysteries of our sister planet; mysteries to you, but no longer mysteries to me. My name is John Carter; I am better known as Captain Jack Carter of Virginia. At the close of the Civil War I found myself possessed of several hundred thousand dollars (Confederate) and a captain's commission in the cavalry arm of an army which no longer existed; the servant of a state which had vanished with the hopes of the South. Masterless, penniless, and with my only means of livelihood, fighting, gone, I determined to work my way to the southwest and attempt to retrieve my fallen fortunes in a search for gold. I spent nearly a year prospecting in company with another Confederate officer, Captain James K. Powell of Richmond. We were extremely fortunate, for late in the winter of 1865, after many hardships and privations, we located the most remarkable gold-bearing quartz vein that our wildest dreams had ever pictured. Powell, who was a mining engineer by education, stated that we had uncovered over a million dollars worth of ore in a trifle over three months. As our equipment was crude in the extreme we decided that one of us must return to civilization, purchase the necessary machinery and return with a sufficient force of men properly to work the mine. As Powell was familiar with the country, as well as with the mechanical requirements of mining we determined that it would be best for him to make the trip. It was agreed that I was to hold down our claim against the remote possibility of its being jumped by some wandering prospector. On March 3, 1866, Powell and I packed his provisions on two of our burros, and bidding me good-bye he mounted his horse, and started down the mountainside toward the valley, across which led the first stage of his journey. The morning of Powell's departure was, like nearly all Arizona mornings, clear and beautiful; I could see him and his little pack animals picking their way down the mountainside toward the valley, and all during the morning I would catch occasional glimpses of them as they topped a hog back or came out upon a level plateau. My last sight of Powell was about three in the afternoon as he entered the shadows of the range on the opposite side of the valley. Some half hour later I happened to glance casually across the valley and was much surprised to note three little dots in about the same place I had last seen my friend and his two pack animals. I am not given to needless worrying, but the more I tried to convince myself that all was well with Powell, and that the dots I had seen on his trail were antelope or wild horses, the less I was able to assure myself. 5

has always been a kind of fetich with me throughout my life. so I urged my horse onward at a most dangerous pace. I knew that Powell would need me now if ever. was well armed and. I came upon the spot unexpectedly. and I instantly urged my horse to his topmost speed up the narrow and difficult mountain trail. However. 6 . darkness shutting down. I reached the water hole where Powell had expected to camp.Since we had entered the territory we had not seen a hostile Indian. As soon as I reached comparatively level ground I urged my mount into a canter and continued this. further. I discovered the point where other tracks joined those of Powell. and I knew that his chances were small against a party of cunning trailing Apaches. and always at the same rate of speed as his. arming myself with my two Colt revolvers and a carbine. and the following of a sense of duty. About nine o'clock the moon was sufficiently bright for me to proceed on my way and I had no difficulty in following the trail at a fast walk. I strapped two belts of cartridges about me and catching my saddle horse. finding it entirely deserted. I followed rapidly until. I was positive now that the trailers were Apaches and that they wished to capture Powell alive for the fiendish pleasure of the torture. for such I was now convinced they must be. close upon dusk. Further speculation was suddenly cut short by the faint report of two shots far ahead of me. which may account for the honors bestowed upon me by three republics and the decorations and friendships of an old and powerful emperor and several lesser kings. I was forced to await the rising of the moon. I am not prone to sensitiveness. in whose service my sword has been red many a time. They were the tracks of unshod ponies. about midnight. Possibly I had conjured up impossible dangers. and given an opportunity to speculate on the question of the wisdom of my chase. with no signs of having been recently occupied as a camp. like some nervous old housewife. and when I should catch up with Powell would get a good laugh for my pains. wherever it may lead. therefore. but I too had lived and fought for years among the Sioux in the North. continued after Powell with only a brief stop at the hole for water. started down the trail taken by Powell in the morning. Finally I could endure the suspense no longer. hoping against hope that I would catch up with the red rascals before they attacked him. and. three of them. and were wont to ridicule the stories we had heard of the great numbers of these vicious marauders that were supposed to haunt the trails. Powell. where the going permitted. an experienced Indian fighter. taking their toll in lives and torture of every white party which fell into their merciless clutches. until. and we had. I was interested to note that the tracks of the pursuing horsemen. and in some places at a brisk trot until. and the ponies had been galloping. I knew. become careless in the extreme.

The fact that it is difficult to aim anything but imprecations accurately by moonlight. when the trail suddenly debouched onto a small. that this thought did not occur to me until the following day removes any possible right to a claim to heroism to which the narration of this episode might possibly otherwise entitle me. turned and fled in every direction for their bows. so. The Indians had by this time discovered that I was alone and I was pursued with imprecations. I have never regretted that cowardice is not optional with me. I could not have pursued better tactics. putting spurs to my poor beast. and grasping his cartridge belt drew him up across the withers of my mount. The view which their hurried routing disclosed filled me with apprehension and with rage. however. The fact. I made a dash for the opening to the pass which I could distinguish on the far side of the table land. I had passed through a narrow. A backward glance convinced me that to return by the way I had come would be more hazardous than to continue across the plateau. arrows. arrows. I do not believe that I am made of the stuff which constitutes heroes. open plateau near the summit of the pass. convinced by sudden surprise that not less than a regiment of regulars was upon them. In this instance I was. his body fairly bristling with the hostile arrows of the braves. That he was already dead I could not but be convinced. for the red men. I cannot recall a single one where any alternative step to that I took occurred to me until many hours later. because. My mind is evidently so constituted that I am subconsciously forced into the path of duty without recourse to tiresome mental processes. Under the clear rays of the Arizona moon lay Powell. and whooping at the top of my lungs. positive that Powell was the center of attraction. and rifles. but whether I thought or acted first I do not know. in all of the hundreds of instances that my voluntary acts have placed me face to face with death. However that may be. Singlehanded. and yet I would have saved his body from mutilation at the hands of the Apaches as quickly as I would have saved the man himself from death. and there were probably half a thousand red warriors clustered around some object near the center of the camp. and I easily could have turned back into the dark recesses of the gorge and made my escape with perfect safety. of course. and that I was a rather rapidly moving target saved me from the various deadly projectiles of the enemy and permitted me to reach the shadows of the surrounding peaks before an orderly pursuit could be organized. Riding close to him I reached down from the saddle.I had forged ahead for perhaps a mile or more without hearing further sounds. overhanging gorge just before entering suddenly upon this table land. and rifle balls. Their attention was so wholly riveted to this point of interest that they did not notice me. but within an instant from the moment the scene broke upon my view I had whipped out my revolvers and was charging down upon the entire army of warriors. The little stretch of level land was white with Indian tepees. shooting rapidly. that they were upset by the sudden and unexpected manner of my advent. 7 . and the sight which met my eyes filled me with consternation and dismay.

I forced water from my canteen between his dead lips. and many other evidences that the cave had. I laid Powell upon the ground. a polished southern gentleman. he was thoroughly a man in every respect. I knew the Indians would soon discover that they were on the wrong trail and that the search for me would be renewed in the right direction as soon as they located my tracks. and at this opening the trail ended. however. The cliff arose for several hundred feet on my right. but the most painstaking examination failed to reveal the faintest spark of life. I knew then that they had passed to the left of the jagged rock formation at the edge of the plateau. possibly a hundred feet in diameter and thirty or forty feet in height. and. It was now morning. The opening was about four feet in height and three to four feet wide. to the right of which my horse had borne me and the body of Powell. bathed his face and rubbed his hands. and it was with a feeling of the deepest grief that I finally gave up my crude endeavors at resuscitation. It is probable. I drew rein on a little level promontory overlooking the trail below and to my left. at 8 . a smooth and well-worn floor.My horse was traveling practically unguided as I knew that I had probably less knowledge of the exact location of the trail to the pass than he. working over him continuously for the better part of an hour in the face of the fact that I knew him to be dead. I had gone but a short distance further when what seemed to be an excellent trail opened up around the face of a high cliff. My first knowledge that I was on the wrong trail came when I heard the yells of the pursuing savages suddenly grow fainter and fainter far off to my left. The trail was level and quite broad and led upward and in the general direction I wished to go. and saw the party of pursuing savages disappearing around the point of a neighboring peak. Leaving Powell's body where it lay on the ledge I crept into the cave to reconnoiter. I found a large chamber. it had become daylight almost without warning. with the customary lack of dawn which is a startling characteristic of Arizona. I had followed this trail for perhaps a hundred yards when a sharp turn to the right brought me to the mouth of a large cave. Dismounting. and thus it happened that he entered a defile which led to the summit of the range and not to the pass which I had hoped would carry me to the valley and to safety. a staunch and true friend. and on my left was an equal and nearly perpendicular drop to the bottom of a rocky ravine. that to this fact I owe my life and the remarkable experiences and adventures which befell me during the following ten years. I was very fond of Powell.

and I could only assume that I had been overcome by some poisonous gas. his eyes bulging and his jaw dropped. that I noticed a slight vapor filling the cave. And then another savage face appeared. 9 . The back of the cave was so lost in dense shadow that I could not distinguish whether there were openings into other apartments or not. for the first time. I remember that I hoped they would make short work of me as I did not particularly relish the thought of the innumerable things they might do to me if the spirit prompted them. and a third and fourth and fifth. I attempted to spring to my feet but was horrified to discover that my muscles refused to respond to my will. as it would mean certain death at the hands of my red friends. It was then. instead of approaching. who might be upon me at any moment. and from there slip prone upon the floor. I felt comparatively safe in my present location as I knew that one man could defend the trail to the cave against an army. but why I should retain my mental faculties and yet be unable to move I could not fathom. merely stood and stared. paint-streaked face was thrust cautiously around the shoulder of the cliff. and savage eyes looked into mine. It was extremely tenuous and only noticeable against the opening which led to daylight. As I was continuing my examination I commenced to feel a pleasant drowsiness creeping over me which I attributed to the fatigue of my long and strenuous ride. and I judged the Indians were creeping stealthily upon me along the little ledge which led to my living tomb. my muscles relaxed. I had not long to wait before a stealthy sound apprised me of their nearness.some remote period. and then a war-bonneted. but I knew that this would never do. There also came to my nostrils a faintly pungent odor. The fellow. and the reaction from the excitement of the fight and the pursuit. That he could see me in the dim light of the cave I was sure for the early morning sun was falling full upon me through the opening. I was now thoroughly awake. With an effort I started toward the opening of the cave only to reel drunkenly against a side wall. I lay facing the opening of the cave and where I could see the short stretch of trail which lay between the cave and the turn of the cliff around which the trail led. and I was on the point of giving way to my desire to sleep when the sound of approaching horses reached my ears. I soon became so drowsy that I could scarcely resist the strong desire to throw myself on the floor of the cave for a few moments' rest. CHAPTER II THE ESCAPE OF THE DEAD A sense of delicious dreaminess overcame me. The noise of the approaching horses had ceased. been inhabited. but as unable to move a muscle as though turned to stone.

and my only hope lay in that it might pass off as suddenly as it had fallen upon me. and I was left to the contemplation of my position without interruption.craning their necks over the shoulders of their fellows whom they could not pass upon the narrow ledge. but it had been sufficient as it was to start me speculating on the possible horror which lurked in the shadows at my back. and a faint rustling as of dead leaves. Late in the afternoon my horse. there was a momentary feeling of nausea. with one's back toward some horrible and unknown danger from the very sound of which the ferocious Apache warriors turn in wild stampede. but for what reason I did not know. and there came again from the black shadows the sound of a moving thing. nor did I learn until ten years later. 10 . of the will. panicstricken. the silence of the dead. The sound which had frightened them was not repeated. Fear is a relative term and so I can only measure my feelings at that time by what I had experienced in previous positions of danger and by those that I have passed through since. To be held paralyzed. they turned and fled in terror. Suddenly a low but distinct moaning sound issued from the recesses of the cave behind me. not muscular. So frantic were their efforts to escape from the unseen thing behind me that one of the braves was hurled headlong from the cliff to the rocks below. which had been standing with dragging rein before the cave. And then something gave. started slowly down the trail. but eventually even these ceased. and with a superhuman effort I strove to break my awful bonds. The shock to my already overstrained nervous system was terrible in the extreme. That there were still other braves behind those who regarded me was apparent from the fact that the leaders passed back whispered word to those behind them. as it reached the ears of the Indians. evidently in search of food and water. and then all was still once more. the awful moan of the morning broke upon my startled ears. which lay just within my range of vision upon the ledge where I had placed it in the early morning. for I could not move even so much as my little finger. Several times I thought I heard faint sounds behind me as of somebody moving cautiously. Each face was the picture of awe and fear. Their wild cries echoed in the canyon for a short time. then may God help the coward. From then until possibly midnight all was silence. as a flock of sheep would madly flee from a pack of wolves. but I can say without shame that if the sensations I endured during the next few minutes were fear. of the nerves. suddenly. It was an effort of the mind. then. a sharp click as of the snapping of a steel wire. but none the less mighty for all that. and I was left alone with my mysterious unknown companion and the dead body of my friend. I could but vaguely conjecture the cause of my paralysis. for cowardice is of a surety its own punishment. and. seems to me the last word in fearsome predicaments for a man who had ever been used to fighting for his life with all the energy of a powerful physique. and I stood with my back against the wall of the cave facing my unknown foe.

I could not bring myself to touch. and yet here I stood but naked as at the minute of my birth. with the eyes staring toward the open ledge and the hands resting limply upon the ground. Few western wonders are more inspiring than the beauties of an Arizona moonlit landscape. cacti-studded flat. Again was I suddenly recalled to my immediate surroundings by a repetition of the weird moan from the depths of the cave. My only alternative seemed to lie in flight and my decision was crystallized by a recurrence of the rustling sound from the thing which now seemed. strapped to my saddle. I looked first at my lifeless clay there upon the floor of the cave and then down at myself in utter bewilderment. in the darkness of the cave and to my distorted imagination. as I could feel my heart pounding against my ribs from the exertion of my efforts to release myself from the anaesthesis which had held me. and level. for there I lay clothed. and my better judgment. as though one were catching for the first time a 11 . My revolvers were strapped to my lifeless body which. fresh mountain air outside the cave acted as an immediate tonic and I felt new life and new courage coursing through me. I decided to investigate. probably the conformation of the cave was such that a slight breeze had caused the sounds I heard. the strange lights and shadows upon hog back and arroyo. My carbine was in its boot. convinced me that the noises I had heard must have resulted from purely natural and harmless causes. and there before me lay my own body as it had been lying all these hours. and as my horse had wandered off I was left without means of defense. for some unfathomable reason. yet nothing had molested me. wrought by the moonlight into a miracle of soft splendor and wondrous enchantment. invigorating night air of the mountains. when permitted the direction of clear and logical reasoning. yet beautiful cacti form a picture at once enchanting and inspiring. is this then death! Have I indeed passed over forever into that other life! But I could not well believe this. I had no desire to face the unseen thing which menaced me. The transition had been so sudden and so unexpected that it left me for a moment forgetful of aught else than my strange metamorphosis.And then the moonlight flooded the cave. I reasoned with myself that I had lain helpless for many hours within the cave. The crisp. and the ancient experiment of pinching revealed the fact that I was anything other than a wraith. but first I lifted my head to fill my lungs with the pure. Pausing upon the brink of the ledge I upbraided myself for what now seemed to me wholly unwarranted apprehension. My breath was coming in quick. the silvered mountains in the distance. short gasps. and the grotesque details of the stiff. cold sweat stood out from every pore of my body. My first thought was. to be creeping stealthily upon me. Unable longer to resist the temptation to escape this horrible place I leaped quickly through the opening into the starlight of a clear Arizona night. Naked and unarmed as I was. As I did so I saw stretching far below me the beautiful vista of rocky gorge.

and no other vegetation than the moss was in evidence. and for me. and as I was somewhat thirsty I determined to do a little exploring. No water. I turned my gaze from the landscape to the heavens where the myriad stars formed a gorgeous and fitting canopy for the wonders of the earthly scene. and a little to my left. along the outer verge of which I could distinguish the irregularities of low hills. appeared a low. As I gazed upon it I felt a spell of overpowering fascination—it was Mars. There was an instant of extreme cold and utter darkness. my inner consciousness told me as plainly that I was upon Mars as your conscious mind tells you that you are upon Earth. to lure me to it. I seemed to be lying in a deep. perhaps a hundred yards. As I stood thus meditating. so different is it from the aspect of any other spot upon our earth. stretched out my arms toward the god of my vocation and felt myself drawn with the suddenness of thought through the trackless immensity of space. the god of war. Now commenced a series of evolutions which even then seemed 12 . Here and there were slight outcroppings of quartz-bearing rock which glistened in the sunlight. My longing was beyond the power of opposition. It was midday. to draw me as the lodestone attracts a particle of iron. You do not question the fact. My attention was quickly riveted by a large red star close to the distant horizon. Springing to my feet I received my first Martian surprise. it had always held the power of irresistible enchantment. however. the sun was shining full upon me and the heat of it was rather intense upon my naked body. As I gazed at it on that far-gone night it seemed to call across the unthinkable void. yet no greater than would have been true under similar conditions on an Arizona desert. I closed my eyes. the fighting man.glimpse of some dead and forgotten world. carried me into the Martian air to the height of about three yards. no need for pinching here. neither did I. I found myself lying prone upon a bed of yellowish. mosslike vegetation which stretched around me in all directions for interminable miles. CHAPTER III MY ADVENT ON MARS I opened my eyes upon a strange and weird landscape. walled enclosure about four feet in height. I was not asleep. I knew that I was on Mars. circular basin. which on Earth would have brought me standing upright. I alighted softly upon the ground. for the effort. not once did I question either my sanity or my wakefulness. without appreciable shock or jar.

as are the teeth. perfectly attuned and accustomed to the force of gravity on Earth. I found that I must learn to walk all over again. The ears. perfectly round and snowy white. played the mischief with me in attempting for the first time to cope with the lesser gravitation and lower air pressure on Mars. My muscles. thus permitting this queer animal to look in any direction. or. Five or six had already hatched and the grotesque caricatures which sat blinking in the sunlight were enough to cause me to doubt my sanity. my attempts to walk resulted in a variety of hops which took me clear of the ground a couple of feet at each step and landed me sprawling upon my face or back at the end of each second or third hop. which were of a very light yellowish-green color. or in two directions at once. creeping. Their eyes were set at the extreme sides of their heads a trifle above the center and protruded in such a manner that they could be directed either forward or back and also independently of each other. I did fairly well at this and in a few moments had reached the low. as in Albinos. however. They seemed mostly head. Their noses were but longitudinal slits in the center of their faces. with little scrawny bodies. In the adults. without the necessity of turning the head. which were slightly above the eyes and closer together. to explore the low structure which was the only evidence of habitation in sight. and so I hit upon the unique plan of reverting to first principles in locomotion. the heads of the adults are not so out of proportion to their bodies as in the case of the young. The iris of the eyes is blood red. I was determined. protruding not more than an inch on these young specimens. and beneath this were several hundred large eggs. as the muscular exertion which carried me easily and safely upon Earth played strange antics with me upon Mars. There was no hair on their bodies. Instead of progressing in a sane and dignified manner. Further. with an intermediary pair of limbs which could be used at will either as arms or legs. two legs and two arms.ludicrous in the extreme. midway between their mouths and ears. but as the wall was but about four feet high I cautiously gained my feet and peered over the top upon the strangest sight it had ever been given me to see. long necks and six legs. as I afterward learned. The eyeball itself is very white. encircling wall of the enclosure. There appeared to be no doors or windows upon the side nearest me. were small. These latter add a most ferocious appearance to an otherwise fearsome and terrible countenance. this color deepens to an olive green and is darker in the male than in the female. while the pupil is dark. as I was to learn quite soon. as the lower tusks curve upward to sharp 13 . cupshaped antennae. The eggs were nearly uniform in size being about two and one-half feet in diameter. The roof of the enclosure was of solid glass about four or five inches in thickness.

and held low at the side of a mounted replica of the little devils I had been watching. his two left arms were outstretched laterally to help preserve his balance. of vengeance and of death. a gaping mouth which split its head from its snout to its long. but was of a dark slate color and exceeding smooth and glossy. Against the dark background of their olive skins their tusks stand out in a most striking manner. over the soft and soundless moss. and its legs shaded from the slate of its shoulders and hips to a vivid yellow at the feet. The whiteness of the teeth is not that of ivory. but their intentions were far more sinister. but of the snowiest and most gleaming of china. But the little sound caused me to turn. for such I may call him. Coming.points which end about where the eyes of earthly human beings are located. for I was given but little time to speculate on the wonders of my new discovery. Most of these details I noted later. It was the rattling of the accouterments of the foremost warrior which warned me. a spear forty feet long. which fact had also contributed to the noiselessness of their approach. the only mammal existing on Mars. which covers practically the entire surface of Mars with the exception of the frozen areas at the poles and the scattered cultivated districts. The highest type of man and one other animal. and as I stood watching the hideous little monsters break from their shells I failed to note the approach of a score of full-grown Martians from behind me. the thing he rode having neither bridle or reins of any description for guidance. He sat his mount as we sit a horse. as they did. on Earth. and which it held straight out behind while running. And his mount! How can earthly words describe it! It towered ten feet at the shoulder. it was entirely devoid of hair. The man himself. had four legs on either side. they might have captured me easily. in common with a multiplicity of legs. and there are absolutely no hoofed animals in existence there. I had seen that the eggs were in the process of hatching. and there upon me. The feet themselves were heavily padded and nailless. was fully fifteen feet in height and. not ten feet from my breast. and. a broad flat tail. larger at the tip than at the root. while the hands of his two right arms held his immense spear low at the side of his mount. But how puny and harmless they now looked beside this huge and terrific incarnation of hate. On such a little thing my life hung that I often marvel that I escaped so easily. would have weighed some four hundred pounds. massive neck. grasping the animal's barrel with his lower limbs. is a characteristic feature of the fauna of Mars. tipped with gleaming metal. was the point of that huge spear. alone have well-formed nails. Like its master. making these weapons present a singularly formidable appearance. Had not the rifle of the leader of the party swung from its fastenings beside his saddle in such a way as to strike against the butt of his great metal-shod spear I should have snuffed out without ever knowing that death was near me. 14 . Its belly was white.

for such I had determined it must be. or rather materialized nightmare. 15 . Consequently I gave a very earthly and at the same time superhuman leap to reach the top of the Martian incubator. This picture. Their discovery that I had not harmed the little Martians. similar in all respects. in proportion to their weight. I alighted upon the soft moss easily and without mishap. My feat then was as marvelous upon Mars as it would have been upon Earth. and which I felt. the first law of nature manifested itself in the only possible solution of my immediate problem. The respite my unexpected agility had given me permitted me to formulate plans for the immediate future and to note more closely the appearance of the warriors. Unarmed and naked as I was. but. made but one terrible and swift impression on me as I turned to meet it. for I could not disassociate these people in my mind from those other warriors who. as I learned later. for some reason. but. for it carried me fully thirty feet into the air and landed me a hundred feet from my pursuers and on the opposite side of the enclosure. and gesticulating and pointing toward me. than an Earth man.Behind this first charging demon trailed nineteen others. and turning saw my enemies lined up along the further wall. must have caused them to look upon me with less ferocity. My effort was crowned with a success which appalled me no less than it seemed to surprise the Martian warriors. The result is that they are infinitely less agile and less powerful. While the Martians are immense. I am convinced that he could not do so. Some were surveying me with expressions which I afterward discovered marked extreme astonishment. precisely as no two of us are identical although we are all cast in a similar mold. they were peculiarly efficient in handling. the thing which weighed most in my favor was my exhibition of hurdling. and that I was unarmed. in fact. as I was to learn later. which I have described at length. They were conversing together in low tones. bearing individual characteristics peculiar to themselves. I noted that each was armed with several other weapons in addition to the huge spear which I have described. and that was to get out of the vicinity of the point of the charging spear. and I doubt that were one of them suddenly to be transported to Earth he could lift his own weight from the ground. had been pursuing me. and from desiring to annihilate me they suddenly looked upon me as a wonderful discovery to be captured and exhibited among their fellows. The weapon which caused me to decide against an attempt at escape by flight was what was evidently a rifle of some description. only the day before. their bones are very large and they are muscled only in proportion to the gravitation which they must overcome. and the others were evidently satisfying themselves that I had not molested their young.

as I had noted that they seemed to have moved to their present position at his direction. but the best they can do in actual service when equipped with their wireless finders and sighters is but a trifle over two hundred miles.These rifles were of a white metal stocked with wood. but in a language. and with the small caliber. his actions spoke for the peace and friendship that at the present moment were most dear to my heart. and breast. except for the ornaments strapped upon his head. they are deadly in the extreme and at ranges which would be unthinkable on Earth. smiled at him and stood waiting. Stretching my hand toward him. and holding it toward me in the open palm of his hand. clasping it about my arm above the elbow. When he was within about fifty feet of me he unclasped an enormous metal armlet. He then stopped as though waiting for my reply. When they had covered perhaps two hundred yards they halted. after conversing for a short time. This is quite far enough to imbue me with great respect for the Martian firearm. it is needless to say. Of course I might have been a babbling brook for all the intelligence my speech carried to him. He was the one whose spear had so nearly transfixed me. As the silence became painful I concluded to hazard a little conversation on my own part. I could not understand. on Mars! Placing my hand over my heart I bowed low to the Martian and explained to him that while I did not understand his language. leaving one of their number alone by the enclosure. radium projectiles which they use. so why not. The metal of the barrel is an alloy composed principally of aluminum and steel which they have learned to temper to a hardness far exceeding that of the steel with which we are familiar. turned and rode away in the direction from which they had come. which I learned later was a very light and intensely hard growth much prized on Mars. and turning their mounts toward us sat watching the warrior by the enclosure. threw down his spear and small arms. resonant voice. The throwing down of his weapons and the withdrawing of his troop before his advance toward me would have signified a peaceful mission anywhere on Earth. The weight of these rifles is comparatively little. addressed me in a clear. and entirely unknown to us denizens of Earth. His wide 16 . and the great length of the barrel. The theoretic effective radius of this rifle is three hundred miles. limbs. as I had guessed that he was making overtures of peace. explosive. and some telepathic force must have warned me against an attempt to escape in broad daylight from under the muzzles of twenty of these death-dealing machines. then. When his force had come to a halt he dismounted. pricking up his antennae-like ears and cocking his strangelooking eyes still further toward me. and came around the end of the incubator toward me. and was evidently the leader of the band. The Martians. entirely unarmed and as naked as I. but he understood the action with which I immediately followed my words. I advanced and took the armlet from his open palm.

and while not greatly decayed had the appearance of not having been tenanted for years. but were checked by a signal from him. The entire cavalcade then turned and galloped away toward the range of hills in the distance. and after traversing a narrow gorge came to an open valley. motioned to me that I would ride behind one of them. at the far extremity of which was a low table land upon which I beheld an enormous city. Upon closer observation I saw as we passed them that the buildings were deserted. and their fingers and toes bore the rudiments of nails. CHAPTER IV A PRISONER We had gone perhaps ten miles when the ground began to rise very rapidly. nearing the edge of one of Mars' long-dead seas. but only to the edge of the table land. Their bodies were smaller and lighter in color. for such I now considered them despite the suave manner in which I had been trapped. and upon this and in the buildings immediately surrounding it were camped some nine or ten hundred creatures of the same breed as my captors. in the bottom of which my encounter with the Martians had taken place. entering it by what appeared to be a ruined roadway leading out from the city. and locking one of his intermediary arms in mine we turned and walked back toward his mount. In a short time we gained the foot of the mountains. except that their tusks were much larger in proportion to their height. We were. They started toward us on a wild run.mouth spread into an answering smile. At the same time he motioned his followers to advance. Toward the center of the city was a large plaza. and then mounted his own animal. as I was later to learn. He exchanged a few words with his men. The adult females ranged in height from ten to twelve feet. 17 . Evidently he feared that were I to be really frightened again I might jump entirely out of the landscape. With the exception of their ornaments all were naked. which were entirely lacking among the males. in some instances curving nearly to their high-set ears. The women varied in appearance but little from the men. Toward this we galloped. where it ended abruptly in a flight of broad steps. possibly for ages. where I hung on as best I could by the belts and straps which held the Martian's weapons and ornaments. The fellow designated reached down two or three hands and lifted me up behind him on the glossy back of his mount.

Only about one Martian in a thousand dies of sickness or disease. until. The building was low. which was dotted with highly carved wooden desks and chairs. As we neared the plaza and my presence was discovered we were immediately surrounded by hundreds of the creatures who seemed anxious to pluck me from my seat behind my guard. or would be allowed to live did he return after once embarking upon its cold. except that some were taller than others. The main entrance was some hundred feet in width and projected from the building proper to form a huge canopy above the entrance hall. There are other and natural causes tending toward a diminution of population. gay-colored feathers and beautifully wrought leather trappings ingeniously 18 . and all looked precisely alike to me. A word from the leader of the party stilled their clamor. even lighter than the women. and possibly about twenty take the voluntary pilgrimage. but would be nearer the one-thousand mark were it not for the various means leading to violent death. but perhaps by far the greatest death loss comes during the age of childhood. On the floor of this chamber. in hunting. in aviation and in war. but covered an enormous area. about forty. Owing to the waning resources of the planet it evidently became necessary to counteract the increasing longevity which their remarkable skill in therapeutics and surgery produced. at about the age of one thousand years. The other nine hundred and seventy-nine die violent deaths in duels. were assembled about forty or fifty male Martians around the steps of a rostrum. It was constructed of gleaming white marble inlaid with gold and brilliant stones which sparkled and scintillated in the sunlight.The children were light in color. which leads no living Martian knows whither and from whose bosom no Martian has ever returned. On the platform proper squatted an enormous warrior heavily loaded with metal ornaments. nor is there any appreciable difference in their appearance from the age of maturity. but nothing contributes so greatly to this end as the fact that no male or female Martian is ever voluntarily without a weapon of destruction. The average life expectancy of a Martian after the age of maturity is about three hundred years. as is evidenced by their dangerous sports and the almost continual warfare between the various communities. when vast numbers of the little Martians fall victims to the great white apes of Mars. and so human life has come to be considered but lightly on Mars. older. I presumed. they go voluntarily upon their last strange pilgrimage down the river Iss. but a gentle incline to the first floor of the building opened into an enormous chamber encircled by galleries. I saw no signs of extreme age among them. There was no stairway. and we proceeded at a trot across the plaza to the entrance of as magnificent an edifice as mortal eye has rested upon. dark waters.

My captor. while their chief form of commonest amusement is to inflict death on their prisoners of war in various ingenious and horrible ways. and that the Martian laugh is a thing to cause strong men to blanch in horror. whose name was Tars Tarkas. denoting a sense of humor. My captor merely strode up to the rostrum. He evidently explained briefly the incidents connected with his expedition. What struck me as most remarkable about this assemblage and the hall in which they were congregated was the fact that the creatures were entirely out of proportion to the desks. and therefore unable to exchange names. then. this ceremony and the words they uttered meant nothing to me. including my capture. and a man of great ability as a statesman and warrior. This fact. 19 . I replied in our good old English tongue merely to convince him that neither of us could understand the other. chairs. Evidently. Our party had halted at the entrance to the building. At the time. nor was there room beneath the desks for their long legs. convinced me that we had at least something in common. The ideas of humor among the green men of Mars are widely at variance with our conceptions of incitants to merriment. he did likewise. we had proceeded into the audience chamber. or have fought out their introduction with some other of their various weapons. but later I came to know that this was the customary greeting between green Martians. in turn. they would have silently exchanged ornaments. these being of a size adapted to human beings such as I. the others making way for him as he advanced. but I noticed that when I smiled slightly on concluding. there were other denizens on Mars than the wild and grotesque creatures into whose hands I had fallen. therefore to laugh. The death agonies of a fellow being are. But I was to learn that the Martian smile is merely perfunctory. was virtually the vice-chieftain of the community. the ability to smile. and other furnishings.set with precious stones. had their missions been peaceful—otherwise they would have exchanged shots. From his shoulders depended a short cape of white fur lined with brilliant scarlet silk. Had the men been strangers. to these strange creatures provocative of the wildest hilarity. Again locking his arm in mine. halted and repeated the name of the ruler followed by his title. but the evidences of extreme antiquity which showed all around me indicated that these buildings might have belonged to some long-extinct and forgotten race in the dim antiquity of Mars. The chieftain rose to his feet and uttered the name of my escort who. and when he had concluded the chieftain addressed me at some length. and at a sign from the leader I had been lowered to the ground. There were few formalities observed in approaching the Martian chieftain. and the similar occurrence during my first talk with Tars Tarkas. whereas the great bulks of the Martians could scarcely have squeezed into the chairs.

as the other Martians. turning to me. finally broke into wild peals of laughter and applause. but I was not long in being enlightened. at first struck dumb with wonderment. and then Tars Tarkas made several jumps. My fears were groundless." and each time they were made I motioned to my mouth and rubbed my stomach. and determined on the spot that my only method of salvation was to demand the consideration from these creatures which they evidently would not voluntarily accord. when I had become acquainted with their customs. I did not. Tars Tarkas and the chief exchanged a few words. and lack of consideration for a stranger's rights. then. repeating the same word before each leap. As he banged me down upon my feet his face was bent close to mine and I did the only thing a gentleman might do under the circumstances of brutality. I had made no attempt to walk. They first repeated the word "sak" a number of times. 20 . a manifestation of approbation.The assembled warriors and chieftains examined me closely. Tars Tarkas advanced toward me. I again had recourse to creeping. except while tightly grasping Tars Tarkas' arm. and gathering myself together I "sakked" with such marvelous success that I cleared a good hundred and fifty feet. he said. but determined to give them as good a battle as the unequal odds would permit before I gave up my life. calling to a young female among the throng. however. and they immediately broke into demands for a repetition. boorishness. and the former. since my first signal failure. nor did any of his mates approach him. As he sunk to the floor I wheeled around with my back toward the nearest desk. which the chieftain then ordered me to make. My exhibition had been witnessed by several hundred lesser Martians. expecting to be overwhelmed by the vengeance of his fellows. I therefore ignored the repeated commands to "sak. The principal chieftain then evidently signified a desire to see me perform. holding out one of his arms. feeling my muscles and the texture of my skin. motioning me to follow. I swung my fist squarely to his jaw and he went down like a felled ox. he started with Tars Tarkas for the open plaza. The fellow whom I had struck lay where he had fallen. but this did not suit them and I was roughly jerked to my feet by a towering fellow who had laughed most heartily at my misfortunes. but landed squarely upon my feet without falling. and. and so now I went skipping and flitting about among the desks and chairs like some monstrous grasshopper. gave her some instructions and motioned me to accompany her. but I was both hungry and thirsty. know the reason for which we had come to the open. I grasped her proffered arm and together we crossed the plaza toward a large building on the far side. I did not recognize the applause as such. lose my equilibrium. "sak!" I saw what they were after. I then returned by easy jumps of twentyfive or thirty feet to the little group of warriors. much to the amusement of the Martians. nor did I this time. and we thus proceeded to the plaza without further mishap. of course. After bruising myself severely. Now. but later. I learned that I had won what they seldom accord.

so perfect the technique. lake. with a smooth. rivers. except that the jaws were equipped with three rows of long. and squatted down before the girl like an obedient puppy. turning. meadow. The room was well lighted by a number of large windows and was beautifully decorated with mural paintings and mosaics. pointed to me. was Sola. after surveying me intently for a moment. muttered a word or two of command. twice saving my life. The work had evidently been wrought by a master hand. and which. While Sola was away I took occasion to examine more minutely the room in which I found myself captive. trees and flowers. sun-kissed gardens—scenes which might have portrayed earthly views but for the different colorings of the vegetation. sharp tusks. but its head bore a slight resemblance to that of a frog. Her name. for this fellow guarded me carefully during the time I remained a captive among these green men. and never voluntarily being away from me a moment. winding roadways. as though signaling to someone in an adjoining room. having just arrived at maturity. CHAPTER V I ELUDE MY WATCH DOG Sola stared into the brute's wicked-looking eyes. yet nowhere was there a representation of a living 21 . ocean. This was my first experience with a Martian watch dog. crossed the room to the only exit which led to the street. as I afterward learned. so subtle the atmosphere. as the beast. Sola motioned me to be seated upon a pile of silks near the center of the room. glossy hide. and she belonged to the retinue of Tars Tarkas. I took to be the sleeping quarters of several of the natives. but it was destined not to be my last. but upon all there seemed to rest that indefinable touch of the finger of antiquity which convinced me that the architects and builders of these wondrous creations had nothing in common with the crude half-brutes which now occupied them. The mural painting depicted scenes of rare and wonderful beauty. She was of a light olive-green color. and left the chamber. from the litter of silks and furs upon the floor. She conducted me to a spacious chamber in one of the buildings fronting on the plaza. In response to her call I obtained my first sight of a new Martian wonder. The thing was about the size of a Shetland pony. but my fears were groundless. made a peculiar hissing sound. and lay down full length across the threshold. I could not but wonder what this ferocious-looking monstrosity might do when left alone in such close proximity to such a relatively tender morsel of meat. mountains. but not yet to her full height. and.My fair companion was about eight feet tall. It waddled in on its ten short legs.

as it was dark when I awoke. or. not from an animal. so that she may be seen hurtling through the sky like some huge meteor two or three times each night. while the liquid was apparently milk from some animal. While I was allowing my fancy to run riot in wild conjecture on the possible explanation of the strange anomalies which I had so far met with on Mars. by which I could guess at the likeness of these other and perhaps extinct denizens of Mars.animal. and the rays of the sun. the moisture of the air. This girl alone. The further moon revolves about Mars in something over thirty and one-quarter hours. disclosed characteristics of sympathy. but feeling the need of rest I stretched out upon the silks and was soon asleep. but from a large plant which grows practically without water. and her solicitous care saved me from much suffering and many hardships. the very thin atmosphere. while the further is but little more than fourteen thousand miles away. if both of the moons are in the heavens at night the surface of the ground is brightly illuminated. on the other hand. Both of Mars' moons are vastly nearer her than is our moon to Earth. After I had eaten I was greatly invigorated. It was not unpleasant to the taste. kindliness. but seems to distill its plentiful supply of milk from the products of the soil. as there is only one mammal on Mars and that one very rare indeed. since the lack of atmosphere. against the nearly one-quarter million miles which separate us from our moon. for if neither of the two moons of Mars happen to be in the sky almost total darkness results. as I later discovered. nor was I wrong. among all the green Martians with whom I came in contact. It came. but it had become partially dislodged and in the darkness I could not see to replace it. the nearer moon being but about five thousand miles distant. fails to diffuse the starlight to any great extent. As I was to learn. rather. The nights are either brilliantly illumined or very dark. and affection. and as there is practically no twilight or dawn. And it is well that nature has so graciously and abundantly lighted the 22 . Sola returned bearing both food and drink. and I learned in a short time to prize it very highly. These she placed on the floor beside me. as are the transitions from brilliant daylight to darkness. her ministrations to my bodily wants were unfailing. I must have slept several hours. and I was very cold. revealing all her phases during each transit of the heavens. The nearer moon of Mars makes a complete revolution around the planet in a little over seven and one-half hours. and seating herself a short ways off regarded me intently. either human or brute. and with her sister satellite makes a nocturnal Martian scene one of splendid and weird grandeur. The food consisted of about a pound of some solid substance of the consistency of cheese and almost tasteless. Suddenly a hand reached out and pulled the fur over me. I noticed that someone had thrown a fur over me. the changes in temperature are sudden and most uncomfortable. though slightly acid. shortly afterwards adding another to my covering. I presumed that my watchful guardian was Sola. the Martian nights are extremely cold. A single plant of this species will give eight or ten quarts of milk per day.

just as I had last seen him on the preceding day. I have ever been prone to seek adventure and to investigate and experiment where wiser men would have left well enough alone. After Sola had replenished my coverings I again slept. Slowly and carefully. Furthermore. a kind of candle. alighting far beyond him and away from the city. As I neared the brute he backed cautiously away from me. and ferocity is used in hunting. This last device produces an intensely brilliant far-reaching white light. It therefore now occurred to me that the surest way of learning the exact attitude of this beast toward me would be to attempt to leave the room. This maneuver gave me a considerable advantage. I rushed toward him. and they were still sleeping. his eyes were fairly glued upon me. Across the threshold lay stretched the sleepless guardian brute. cautiously I advanced toward him. loyalty. The other occupants of the room. He wheeled instantly and charged me with the most appalling speed I had ever beheld. and whose hatred for manual labor has kept them in a semi-barbaric state for countless ages. and I fell to wondering just what might befall me should I endeavor to escape. apparently he had not moved a muscle. for I had begun to take great pride in my ability as a jumper. being a nomadic race without high intellectual development. nor did I awaken until daylight. and a peculiar oil lamp which generates a gas and burns without a wick. I had thought his short legs a bar to swiftness. I could see from the shortness of his legs that the brute himself was no jumper and probably no runner. but as the natural oil which it requires can only be obtained by mining in one of several widely separated and remote localities it is seldom used by these creatures whose only thought is for today. Thinking to have some amusement at his expense. five in number. I felt fairly secure in my belief that I could escape him should he pursue me once I was outside the building. and when I had reached the open he moved to one side to let me pass. depending principally upon torches. finding that by moving with a shuffling gait I could retain my balance as well as make reasonably rapid progress. and owing to its intelligence. uttering strange sounds and baring his ugly and ferocious tusks. but when we reached the edge of the city he suddenly sprang before me. have but crude means for artificial lighting.Martian night. Evidently his mission was to protect me only. I thought. and as the protector of the Martian man. As I was to learn. therefore. He then fell in behind me and followed about ten paces in my rear as I made my way along the deserted street. this is the fleetest animal on Mars. but had he been coursing with greyhounds the latter would have appeared as though asleep on a door mat. in war. I quickly saw that I would have difficulty in escaping the fangs of the beast on a straightaway course. piled high with a motley array of silks and furs. for the green men of Mars. I gained my feet. were all females. and when almost upon him sprang into the air. and so I met his charge by doubling in my tracks and leaping over him as he was almost upon me. only to see that my watcher did the same. and I 23 .

This other. while it jabbered and gesticulated at some answering creature behind me. which was nothing less than my faithful watch-thing. soon came toward us. like the green Martians. My beast had an advantage in his first hold. The cudgel was swinging in the arc which ended upon my upturned face when a bolt of myriad-legged horror hurled itself through the doorway full upon the breast of my executioner. which more nearly resembled our earthly men than it did the Martians I had seen. held me pinioned to the ground with one huge foot. The strength. had locked the throat of my guardian and slowly were choking out his life. Grasping the sill I pulled myself up to a sitting posture without looking into the building. however. and blind ferocity of these two creatures is approached by nothing known to earthly man. Altogether they were not unlovely when viewed in comparison with the green Martians. Here I was thrown upon my back. their ears were high set. My exultation was shortlived. white and hairless except for an enormous shock of bristly hair upon its head. backed by muscles far transcending those of the Martian men I had seen. and had. As quickly as possible I gained my feet and backing against the wall I witnessed such a battle as it is vouchsafed few beings to see. agility. standing erect. With a shriek of fear the ape which held me leaped through the open window. for scarcely had I gained a secure seat upon the sill than a huge hand grasped me by the neck from behind and dragged me violently into the room. an intermediary set of arms or legs. midway between their upper and lower limbs. The creatures were about ten or fifteen feet tall.was able to reach the city quite a bit ahead of him. and as he came tearing after me I jumped for a window about thirty feet from the ground in the face of one of the buildings overlooking the valley. I cannot bring myself to call so hideous a creature a dog. and bending back his head and neck upon his body. but more laterally located than those of the Martians. which was evidently its mate. while their snouts and teeth were strikingly like those of our African gorilla. CHAPTER VI A FIGHT THAT WON FRIENDS The thing. but the great arms and paws of the ape. bearing a mighty stone cudgel with which it evidently intended to brain me. and beheld standing over me a colossal ape-like creature. Their eyes were close together and non-protruding. 24 . where I momentarily expected the former to fall limp at the end of a broken neck. and gazed down at the baffled animal beneath me. but its mate closed in a terrific death struggle with my preserver. having sunk his mighty fangs far into the breast of his adversary.

therefore. I must confess. on second thought. the only outcome of such an encounter. neither one emitting a sound of fear or pain. with dire forebodings. so far as I might be concerned. I was standing near the window and I knew that once in the street I might gain the plaza and safety before the creature could overtake me. against almost certain death should I remain and fight however desperately. for I figured that he would attempt to ward off the cudgel. but what could I do with it against his four great arms? Even should I break one of them with my first blow. He was now too close upon me for the cudgel to prove of any effective assistance. Scarcely had the blow descended when I was confronted with a new danger. his great eyes fastened upon me in what seemed a pitiful appeal for protection. I could not withstand that look. He lay gasping upon the floor of the chamber. Presently I saw the great eyes of my beast bulging completely from their sockets and blood flowing from its nostrils. in fact.In accomplishing this the ape was tearing away the entire front of its breast. recovered from its first shock of terror. In the instant that these thoughts passed through my mind I had turned to make for the window. have deserted my rescuer without giving as good an account of myself in his behalf as he had in mine. Without more ado. but in this instance I perceived neither glory nor profit in pitting my relatively puny strength against the iron muscles and brutal ferocity of this enraged denizen of an unknown world. I glimpsed him just before he reached the doorway and the sight of him. now roaring as he perceived his lifeless fellow stretched upon the floor. nor could I. I turned to meet the charge of the infuriated bull ape. whose struggles were growing momentarily less. had returned to the scene of the encounter by way of the interior of the building. It struck him just below the 25 . at least there was a chance for safety in flight. with that strange instinct which seems ever to prompt me to my duty. Back and forth upon the floor they rolled. That he was weakening perceptibly was evident. but so also was the ape. so I merely threw it as heavily as I could at his advancing bulk. which had fallen to the floor at the commencement of the battle. I am ever willing to stand and fight when the odds are not too overwhelmingly against me. crushing his skull as though it had been an eggshell. but my eyes alighting on the form of my erstwhile guardian threw all thoughts of flight to the four winds. in the extremity of his rage. and swinging it with all the power of my earthly arms I crashed it full upon the head of the ape. which was held in the vise-like grip of the powerful jaws. Suddenly I came to myself and. he could reach out and annihilate me with the others before I could recover for a second attack. seemed sudden death. It is true I held the cudgel. I seized the cudgel. and frothing at the mouth. filled me. The ape's mate.

They had followed immediately behind him. thinking it barely possible that his actions might prove a clew to my whereabouts and had witnessed my short but decisive battle with him. started toward the door of the chamber. I beheld Tars Tarkas. and. as I lightly sidestepped. had rescued. gave some command to the fellow and turned to follow us from the room. was sober with apparent solicitude and. and swinging my right fist full upon the point of his chin I followed it with a smashing left to the pit of his stomach. the recipient of their zealously guarded applause. rushed to me and carefully examined my body for possible wounds or injuries. I seized the cudgel and finished the monster before he could regain his feet. turning. on the contrary. There seemed something menacing in their attitude toward my beast. as soon as I had finished the monster. was the only one of the Martians whose face had not been twisted in laughter as I battled for my life. strength. I had recourse to earthly tactics. taking my hand. together with my set-to with the Martian warrior on the previous day and my feats of jumping placed me upon a high pinnacle in their regard. Satisfying herself that I had come off unscathed she smiled quietly. with a word and gesture. and whose life I. who. and so throwing him off his balance that he lunged full upon me with arms wide stretched to ease his fall. They seemed to be deep in argument. or affection. in turn. The effect was marvelous. Evidently devoid of all the finer sentiments of friendship. he reeled and fell upon the floor doubled up with pain and gasping for wind. It was well I did so. as on the preceding day. and nothing is too good for the object of their adoration as long as he maintains his position by repeated examples of his skill. and I hesitated to leave until I had learned the outcome. Tars Tarkas and the other warriors had entered and were standing over the now rapidly reviving brute which had saved my life. for the warrior drew an evil looking pistol from its holster and was on the point of putting an end to the creature when 26 . these people fairly worship physical prowess and bravery. Again. love. and she had quickly informed Tars Tarkas. frothing with rage.knees. Sola. and three or four warriors standing in the doorway of the chamber. As they had approached the limits of the city they had witnessed the actions of the bull ape as he bolted into the building. Leaping over his prostrate body. for. As my eyes met theirs I was. Sola. for the second time. who had set out immediately with a handful of warriors to search for me. who had accompanied the searching party of her own volition. and. and courage. This encounter. eliciting a howl of pain and rage. and finally one of them addressed me. My absence had been noted by Sola on her awakening. after delivering the second blow. As I delivered the blow a low laugh rang out behind me. but remembering my ignorance of his language turned back to Tars Tarkas. She.

and so we returned to the plaza with my great beast following close at heel. but were guided entirely by telepathic means. through the medium of which the higher and lower animals of this world of paradoxes are able to communicate to a greater or less extent. The warrior whose gun I had struck up looked enquiringly at Tars Tarkas. the heavier draft animals wore neither bit nor bridle. I had at least two friends on Mars. with jewels and silks and furs. each drawn by a single animal. a young woman who watched over me with motherly solicitude. blowing a hole completely through the wood and masonry. and a dumb brute which. from their appearance. and upon the back of each of the beasts which drew the chariots was perched a young Martian driver. but the latter signed that I be left to my own devices.I sprang forward and struck up his arm. CHAPTER VII CHILD-RAISING ON MARS After a breakfast. Sola escorted me to the plaza. except in a feeble and childish way. It is the universal language of Mars. which was an exact replica of the meal of the preceding day and an index of practically every meal which followed while I was with the green men of Mars. This power is wonderfully developed in all Martians. and accounts largely for the simplicity of their language and the relatively few spoken words exchanged even in long conversations. The looks of surprise which my actions elicited from the Martians were ludicrous. where I found the entire community engaged in watching or helping at the harnessing of huge mastodonian animals to great threewheeled chariots. they could not understand. held in its poor ugly carcass more love. I then knelt down beside the fearsome-looking thing. and Sola grasping me tightly by the arm. The chariots themselves were large. commodious. such attributes as gratitude and compassion. There were about two hundred and fifty of these vehicles. and gorgeously decorated. depending upon the intellectual sphere of the species and the development of the individual. might easily have drawn the entire wagon train when fully loaded. more gratitude than could have been found in the entire five million green Martians who rove the deserted cities and dead sea bottoms of Mars. The bullet striking the wooden casing of the window exploded. more loyalty. and raising it to its feet motioned for it to follow me. as I later came to know. Like the animals upon which the warriors were mounted. any one of which. In each was seated a female Martian loaded with ornaments of metal. 27 .

Between these walls the little Martians scampered. by the way. "Sak. being permitted to run the full length of the aisle. and down into the dead sea bottom which I had traversed on my journey from the incubator to the plaza. On reaching it the chariots were parked with military precision on the four sides of the enclosure. as it proved. was the terminal point of our journey this day. On either side of this opening the women and the younger Martians. I responded quickly. which consisted in breaking an opening in the wall of the incubator large enough to permit of the exit of the young Martians. At the head of the caravan rode some two hundred warriors. was. whose name. They ranged in height from three to four feet. jed being his title. Lorquas Ptomel grunted something at me. and. and were moving restlessly about the enclosure as though searching for food. Tars Tarkas signed for her to send me to him. Our way led out across the little valley before the city. as. and. calling to Sola. in fact. As I reached their side a glance showed me that all but a very few eggs had hatched. dismounted and advanced toward it. wild as deer. the faithful creature never left me voluntarily during the entire ten years I spent on Mars. and half a score of warriors.As the cavalcade took up the line of march in single file. and children—were heavily armed. and including Tars Tarkas and several other lesser chiefs. we were soon within sight of our goal. As I returned. and at the tail of each chariot trotted a Martian hound. leaping entirely over the parked chariots on the far side of the incubator. while twenty-five or thirty outriders flanked us on either side. I was soon appraised of the subject of their conversation. Every one but myself—men. and quickly responding to his command I advanced to the side of the incubator where the warriors stood. five abreast. formed two solid walls leading out through the chariots and quite away into the plain beyond. Jed. and a like number brought up the rear. Tars Tarkas pointed over the incubator and said. As I came to a halt before him. I could see Tars Tarkas explaining something to the principal chieftain. headed by the enormous chieftain. the incubator being fairly alive with the hideous little devils. The incubator. They paid no further attention to me and I was thus permitted to remain close and watch their operations. and turning to his warriors gave a few words of command relative to the incubator. as I must confess that my prowess gave me no little satisfaction. Lorquas Ptomel." I saw that he wanted me to repeat my performance of yesterday for the edification of Lorquas Ptomel. as the entire cavalcade broke into a mad gallop as soon as we reached the level expanse of sea bottom. both male and female. through the hills. Sola dragged me into an empty chariot and we proceeded with the procession toward the point by which I had entered the city the day before. where they were captured one at a time by the 28 . my own beast following closely behind ours. as nearly as I can translate it into English. women. I had by this time mastered the intricacies of walking under Martian conditions.

Entirely unknown to their mothers. and specific gravity tests are hidden in the recesses of some subterranean vault where the temperature is too low for incubation. and with almost supernatural foresight they regulate the birth rate to merely offset the loss by death. I saw that the ceremony. and to use the weapons of warfare with which they are loaded down from the very first year of their lives. As the women caught the young they fell out of line and returned to their respective chariots. as parental and filial love is as unknown to them as it is common among us. The work of rearing young. Every year these eggs are carefully examined by a council of twenty chieftains. her opposite in the line capturing the second. who. while those who fell into the hands of the young men were later turned over to some of the women. I believe this horrible system which has been carried on for ages is the direct cause of the loss of all the finer feelings and higher humanitarian instincts among these poor creatures. From birth they know no father or mother love. they are taught that they are only suffered to live until they can demonstrate by their physique and ferocity that they are fit to live. in turn. green Martians consists solely in teaching them to talk. weight. I do not mean that the adult Martians are unnecessarily or intentionally cruel to the young. was over. the natural resources of which have dwindled to a point where the support of each additional life means an added tax upon the community into which it is thrown. they step forth into the world perfectly developed except in size. nor do they see a tear shed for a single one of the many cruel hardships they pass through from earliest infancy. who had not commenced to lay. but theirs is a hard and pitiless struggle for existence upon a dying planet. Each adult Martian female brings forth about thirteen eggs each year. By careful selection they rear only the hardiest specimens of each species. Should they prove deformed or defective in any way they are promptly shot. At the end of five years about 29 . the last in the line capturing the first little one to reach the end of the gauntlet. Their foster mothers may not even have had an egg in the incubator. and all but about one hundred of the most perfect are destroyed out of each yearly supply. the period of incubation. and their education devolves upon the females who chance to capture them as they leave the incubator. But this counts for little among the green Martians. if it could be dignified by such a name. would have difficulty in pointing out the fathers with any degree of accuracy. and so on until all the little fellows had left the enclosure and been appropriated by some youth or female. as was the case with Sola.women and older children. Coming from eggs in which they have lain for five years. until less than a year before she became the mother of another woman's offspring. and those which meet the size. they know not the meaning of the word home. they are the common children of the community. and seeking out Sola I found her in our chariot with a hideous little creature held tightly in her arms.

The Martian language. knew nothing. and which. The community of which the green Martians with whom my lot was cast formed a part was composed of some thirty thousand souls. On the day following our return all the warriors had ridden forth early in the morning and had not returned until just before darkness fell. The hatching which we had witnessed today was a fairly representative event of its kind. in all probability. over the keen rivalry we displayed. all but about one per cent of the eggs hatching in two days. where there is little or no likelihood of their being discovered by other tribes. and would be visited yearly by the council of twenty chieftains. would not be visited again during that period. is extremely simple. The result of such a catastrophe would mean no children in the community for another five years. like many other Martian mysteries. If the remaining eggs ever hatched we knew nothing of the fate of the little Martians. concerning which I. which they had then walled up for another five years. also. we had before us a tremendous journey. and thus upset the system which has maintained for ages and which permits the adult Martians to figure the proper time for return to the incubators. he learned quickly. as she was compelled to care for the young Martian as well as for me. near the crossing of two of the so-called Martian canals. They roamed an enormous tract of arid and semi-arid land between forty and eighty degrees south latitude. and. almost to an hour. as their offspring might inherit and transmit the tendency to prolonged incubation. Why they did not arrange to build their vaults and incubators nearer home has always been a mystery to me. They were not wanted. they had been to the subterranean vaults in which the eggs were kept and had transported them to the incubator. Sola's duties were now doubled. but neither one of us required much attention. at least I did. As the incubator had been placed far north of their own territory in a supposedly uninhabited and unfrequented area. The vaults which hid the eggs until they were ready for the incubator were located many miles south of the incubator. and we had considerable amusement. very strong and physically perfect. unsolved and unsolvable by earthly reasoning and customs. of course. and 30 . I was later to witness the results of the discovery of an alien incubator. and as we were both about equally advanced in Martian education. After our return to the dead city I passed several days in comparative idleness.five hundred almost perfect eggs have been chosen from the thousands brought forth. as I have said. Sola took it upon herself to train us together. The incubators are built in remote fastnesses. Their headquarters lay in the southwest corner of this district. Her prize consisted in a male about four feet tall. and bounded on the east and west by two large fertile tracts. These are then placed in the almost air-tight incubators to be hatched by the sun's rays after a period of another five years. As I later learned.

mastodons and mounted warriors was nowhere to be seen. Whether they had discovered us or simply were looking at the deserted city I could not say. but later I was very glad of it. and another. A huge craft. but in any event they received a rude reception. CHAPTER VIII A FAIR CAPTIVE FROM THE SKY The third day after the incubator ceremony we set forth toward home. the entire cavalcade of chariots. I could see figures crowding the forward decks and upper works of the air craft. in fact. as it gave me an undoubted advantage over the Martians. the green Martians melted like mist into the spacious doorways of the nearby buildings. swung slowly over the crest of the nearest hill. at the same time moving parallel to our front for a short distance and then turning back with the evident intention of completing a great circle which would bring her up to position once more opposite our firing line. and another. Our own fire never diminished.in a week I could make all my wants known and understand nearly everything that was said to me. sailed slowly and majestically toward us. and often when they were not intended for me. Following it came another. Sola and I had entered a building upon the front of the city. long. Likewise. Each carried a strange banner swung from stem to stern above the upper works. At first this vexed me. and gray-painted. until twenty of them. swinging low above the ground. wishing to see what had caused the sudden retreat. and bringing her guns into play returned our fire. and upon the prow of each was painted some odd device that gleamed in the sunlight and showed plainly even at the distance at which we were from the vessels. in less than three minutes. and. I developed my telepathic powers so that I shortly could sense practically everything that went on around me. the foremost vessel swung broadside toward us. and I doubt if twenty-five per cent 31 . under Sola's tutelage. until. As though trained for years in this particular evolution. no one could read a jot from my mind under any circumstances. the other vessels followed in her wake. for suddenly and without warning the green Martian warriors fired a terrific volley from the windows of the buildings facing the little valley across which the great ships were so peacefully advancing. What surprised Sola most in me was that while I could catch telepathic messages easily from others. low. the same one in which I had had my encounter with the apes. I mounted to an upper floor and peered from the window out over the valley and the hills beyond. Instantly the scene changed as by magic. each one opening upon us as she swung into position. but scarcely had the head of the procession debouched into the open ground before the city than orders were given for an immediate and hasty return. and there I saw the cause of their sudden scurrying to cover.

Instantly the warriors ceased firing. the ships managed to dip below the crests of the outlying hills until only one barely moving craft was in sight. and seemed but barely under the control of their depleted crews. She was drifting some fifty feet above the ground. For example. As she neared the city the warriors rushed out upon the plain to meet her. however. Slowly she swung from her course. owing. dismount and enter the building she seemed destined to touch. From my vantage point in the window I could see the bodies of her crew strewn about. 32 . another detail attends to the smaller guns in the same way. It seems that each green warrior has certain objective points for his fire under relatively identical circumstances of warfare. It had never been given me to see such deadly accuracy of aim. a proportion of them. and as I watched the progress of the chase I saw a number of warriors gallop ahead. The fire from the vessels was most ineffectual. and it seemed as though a little figure on one of the craft dropped at the explosion of each bullet. which caught the ship's crews entirely unprepared and the sighting apparatus of the guns unprotected from the deadly aim of our warriors. direct their fire entirely upon the wireless finding and sighting apparatus of the big guns of an attacking naval force. others pick off the gunners. This had received the brunt of our fire and seemed to be entirely unmanned. and. and upon the steering gear and propellers. as not a moving figure was visible upon her decks. to the unexpected suddenness of the first volley. while certain other quotas concentrate their attention upon the other members of the crew. as I afterward learned. or of reinforcements. upon the upper works. she could not even control herself sufficiently to escape. for it was quite apparent that the vessel was entirely helpless. Our warriors then rushed up to the roofs of the buildings which we occupied and followed the retreating armada with a continuous fusillade of deadly fire.of our shots went wild. Their fire had ceased entirely and all their energies seemed focused upon escape. but it was evident that she still was too high for them to hope to reach her decks. followed by all but some hundred of the warriors who had been ordered back to the roofs to cover the possibility of a return of the fleet. Several of the craft were limping perceptibly. One by one. although I could not make out what manner of creatures they might be. far from being in a position to inflict harm upon us. Twenty minutes after the first volley the great fleet swung trailing off in the direction from which it had first appeared. while the banners and upper works dissolved in spurts of flame as the irresistible projectiles of our warriors mowed through them. still others the officers. It soon became evident that she would strike the face of the buildings about a mile south of our position. circling back toward us in an erratic and pitiful manner. Not a sign of life was manifest upon her as she drifted slowly with the light breeze in a southeasterly direction. always the best marksmen.

waiting an instant to note the outcome of his act. and in a few moments they had thrown out grappling hooks and the big boat was being hauled to ground by their fellows below. from my distant position. As a faint spurt of flame rose from the point where the missile struck he swung over the side and was quickly upon the ground. After the last load had been removed the warriors made lines fast to the craft and towed her far out into the valley in a southwesterly direction. Ascending to the roof of the building I watched her for hours. This operation required several hours. evidently for signs of life. which consisted in arms. rising higher and higher as the flames ate away her wooden parts and diminished the weight upon her. the Martian warriors swarmed upon her from the windows. lightened by the removal of the loot. After making her fast. as the emptying of the contents of various carboys upon the dead bodies of the sailors and over the decks and works of the vessel. Scarcely had he alighted than the guy ropes were simultaneous released. strangely carved stone vessels. silks. and a quantity of solid foods and liquids. I could not fathom the seeming hallucination. typifying the life story of these strange and ferocious creatures into whose unfriendly hands fate had carried it.As the craft neared the building. to me. during which time a number of the chariots were requisitioned to transport the loot. nor could I free myself from it. jewels. soared majestically into the air. The last warrior to leave the deck turned and threw something back upon the vessel. a derelict of death and destruction. and just before she struck. drifting unguided and unmanned through the lonely wastes of the Martian heavens. I slowly descended to the street. her decks and upper works a mass of roaring flames. Much depressed. The creature was considerably less than half as tall as the green Martian warriors. but somewhere in the innermost recesses of my soul I felt a strange yearning toward these unknown foemen. the first I had seen since my advent upon Mars. until finally she was lost in the dim vistas of the distance. They removed their prisoner to the ground and then commenced a systematic rifling of the vessel. though unfriendly. and. and the great warship. rather than the routing by our green warriors of a horde of similar. furs. and presently a party of them appeared from below dragging a little figure among them. unaccountably so. creatures. ammunition. Slowly she drifted to the southeast. sliding down the guy ropes to the ground. including many casks of water. they hastily clambered over her sides. they swarmed the sides and searched the vessel from stem to stern. This operation concluded. and with their great spears eased the shock of the collision. and a mighty hope surged through me that the 33 . and from my balcony I could see that it walked erect upon two legs and surmised that it was some new and strange Martian monstrosity with which I had not as yet become acquainted. The sight was awe-inspiring in the extreme as one contemplated this mighty floating funeral pyre. A few of them then boarded her and were busily engaged in what appeared. I could see them examining the dead sailors. The scene I had witnessed seemed to mark the defeat and annihilation of the forces of a kindred people.

the hound. Her face was oval and beautiful in the extreme. indeed. As her gaze rested on me her eyes opened wide in astonishment. Just a moment we gazed upon each other. and depression. Lorquas Ptomel was too astute an old warrior to be caught upon the open plains with a caravan of chariots and children. her eyes large and lustrous and her head surmounted by a mass of coal black. I realized I had not answered her signal. of course. The cavalcade was returning to the plaza. followed Woola. in fact. She was as destitute of clothes as the green Martians who accompanied her. was it recommenced for more than a week. but just as she was disappearing through the portal of the building which was to be her prison she turned. I intuitively felt that she had made an appeal for succor and protection which my unfortunate ignorance had prevented me from answering. fear. Close at my heel. and so we remained at the deserted city until the danger seemed passed. As Sola and I entered the plaza a sight met my eyes which filled my whole being with a great surge of mingled hope. exultation. and then the look of hope and renewed courage which had glorified her face as she discovered me. similar in every detail to the earthly women of my past life. Her skin was of a light reddish copper color. for just as we neared the throng of Martians I caught a glimpse of the prisoner from the battle craft who was being roughly dragged into a nearby building by a couple of green Martian females. girlish figure. and her eyes met mine. And the sight which met my eyes was that of a slender. waving hair. and she made a little sign with her free hand.fleet would return and demand a reckoning from the green warriors who had so ruthlessly and wantonly attacked it. mingled with loathing and contempt. save for her highly wrought ornaments she was entirely naked. caught loosely into a strange yet becoming coiffure. nor. And then she was dragged out of my sight into the depths of the deserted edifice. her every feature was finely chiseled and exquisite. and as I emerged upon the street Sola rushed up to me as though I had been the object of some search on her part. against which the crimson glow of her cheeks and the ruby of her beautifully molded lips shone with a strangely enhancing effect. nor could any apparel have enhanced the beauty of her perfect and symmetrical figure. in his now accustomed place. understand. and yet most dominant was a subtle sense of relief and happiness. She did not see me at first. the homeward march having been given up for that day. faded into one of utter dejection. owing to the fear of a return attack by the air craft. a sign which I did not. CHAPTER IX 34 . and ignorant as I was of Martian customs.

and with the Martian young I spent several hours each day practicing upon the plaza. In one respect at least the Martians are a happy people. They make the laws as they are needed. the firearms. What her thoughts were I did not know. in fact everything of value is produced by the females. ornaments. I was not yet proficient with all the weapons. and I progressed in a very satisfactory manner. A warrior approached bearing the arms. 35 . enough only to suffice for my daily needs. I did not see the prisoner again for several days subsequent to our first encounter. but the punishment for ignoring a custom is a matter for individual treatment by a jury of the culprit's peers.I LEARN THE LANGUAGE As I came back to myself I glanced at Sola. but are also the artisans who produce every manufactured article wrought by the green Martians. with the aid of several of the other women. and then only to catch a fleeting glimpse of her as she was being conducted to the great audience chamber where I had had my first meeting with Lorquas Ptomel. for as yet I had learned but little of the Martian tongue. and a bearing at once respectful and menacing. they have no lawyers. Later. In time of actual warfare they form a part of the reserves. who not only attend to the education of the young in the arts of individual defense and offense. Customs have been handed down by ages of repetition. The men are trained in the higher branches of the art of war. I could not but note the unnecessary harshness and brutality with which her guards treated her. but seems rather to rule in inverse ratio to the ascendency of law. remodeled the trappings to fit my lesser proportions. As I reached the doorway of our building a strange surprise awaited me. The training of myself and the young Martians was conducted solely by the women. They are unfettered by precedent in the administration of justice. who had witnessed this encounter and I was surprised to note a strange expression upon her usually expressionless countenance. Sola. and the respectful attitude of the few green Martians who took the trouble to notice me at all. They make the powder. and I may say that justice seldom misses fire. a new law for each emergency. and when the necessity arises fight with even greater intelligence and ferocity than the men. in strategy and the maneuvering of large bodies of troops. so different from the almost maternal kindliness which Sola manifested toward me. but my great familiarity with similar earthly weapons made me an unusually apt pupil. the cartridges. These he presented to me with a few unintelligible words. and after they completed the work I went about garbed in all the panoply of war. and full accouterments of his kind. From then on Sola instructed me in the mysteries of the various weapons.

" Sarkoja and the other women grunted angrily at this evidence of weakness on the part of Sola. and Woola the hound. and this convinced me that they spoke. Sola. one of the older women who shared our domicile." asked one of the women. I felt it safer to affect indifference in the matter until I learned more surely Sola's attitude toward the object of my solicitude. That it denoted jealousy I could not say. I had feared to question Sola relative to the beautiful captive. "when all the hollows of the land were filled with water." retorted Sola." replied Sarkoja. Jed. After they had retired for the night it was customary for the adults to carry on a desultory conversation for a short time before lapsing into sleep. "She is very small and very beautiful. Sarkoja. "will we enjoy the death throes of the red one? or does Lorquas Ptomel. as I could not but recall the strange expression I had noted upon her face after my first encounter with the prisoner. intend holding her for ransom?" "They have decided to carry her with us back to Thark. beside Sola and her youthful ward. and it was toward her the question turned. myself. as I doubt that he would care to entrust such as you with the grave responsibilities of maternity. and exhibit her last agonies at the great games before Tal Hajus. or at least could make themselves understood by a common language. nor would she should we have fallen into her hands. although I never proffered any remarks myself." snapped Sarkoja. In our day we have progressed to a point where such sentiments mark weakness and atavism. "When. "It is sad. It will not be well for you to permit Tars Tarkas to learn that you hold such degenerate sentiments. had been present at the audience as one of the captive's guards. With this added incentive I nearly drove Sola distracted by my importunities to hasten on my education and within a few more days I had mastered the Martian tongue sufficiently well to enable me to carry on a passable conversation and to fully understand practically all that I heard. that you were not born a million years ago.I had observed on the two occasions when I had seen her that the prisoner exchanged words with her guards. and now that I could understand their language I was always a keen listener. "She has never harmed us. It is 36 . judging all things by mundane standards as I still did. and yet. and the peoples were as soft as the stuff they sailed upon. On the night following the prisoner's visit to the audience chamber the conversation finally fell upon this subject." "I see nothing wrong with my expression of interest in this red woman. and I was all ears on the instant. I had hoped that they would hold her for ransom. "What will be the manner of her going out?" inquired Sola. At this time our sleeping quarters were occupied by three or four females and a couple of the recently hatched young.

that. Say what you please to Tars Tarkas. Oh. while we are at peace with none. Considerable freedom was allowed me. and now that I had discovered that she hated cruelty and barbarity I was confident that I could depend upon her to aid me and the girl captive to escape. and how. as Sola had informed me that so long as I did not attempt to leave the city I was free to go and come as I pleased. he can mete out no worse fate to me than a continuation of the horrible existence we are forced to lead in this life. One thing the episode had accomplished was to assure me of Sola's friendliness toward the poor girl. it is one continual. In advising me that I must not leave the boundaries of the city Sola had explained that Woola would prevent this anyway should I attempt it. like all other deserted metropolises of an ancient Martian civilization. and even in our own communities the individuals fight amongst themselves. forever warring among our own kind as well as upon the red men. awful period of bloodshed from the time we break the shell until we gladly embrace the bosom of the river of mystery. and she warned me most urgently not to arouse his fierce nature by ignoring his warnings should I venture too 37 . as this city. and I have ever thought that their attitude toward us is but the reflection of ours toward them. CHAPTER X CHAMPION AND CHIEF Early the next morning I was astir. but at least no more frightful and terrible existence! Fortunate indeed is he who meets his end in an early death. But where to go. however. but I was more than willing to take my chances among people fashioned after my own mold rather than to remain longer among the hideous and bloodthirsty green men of Mars. provided of course that such a thing was within the range of possibilities.only the men of her kind who war upon us. I knew that she was fond of me. I decided that at the first opportunity I would take Sola into my confidence and openly ask her to aid me. the dark and ancient Iss which carries us to an unknown. and also to convince me that I had been extremely fortunate in falling into her hands rather than those of some of the other females. was as much of a puzzle to me as the age-old search for the spring of eternal life has been to earthly men since the beginning of time. and with this resolution strong upon me I turned among my silks and furs and slept the dreamless and refreshing sleep of Mars. She had warned me. they all lapsed into silence and were soon asleep. except when duty calls upon them to make war. was peopled by the great white apes of my second day's adventure." This wild outbreak on the part of Sola so greatly surprised and shocked the other women. against venturing forth unarmed. They live at peace with all their fellows. after a few words of general reprimand. I did not even know that there were any better conditions to escape to.

poking his ugly head far into my lap. since the morning Powell had left camp when his horse. 38 . "preferably dead. long unused. I rubbed the poor old fellow's head and back. rolling me upon the ground by his great weight. His response to my manifestation of affection was remarkable to a degree. talked to him for a few minutes. and then in an authoritative tone commanded him to follow me. that he would bring me back into the city dead or alive should I persist in opposing him. His expression was pleading rather than ferocious. I had seen more evidences of affection in him than in any other Martian animal. had precipitately and unexpectedly bucked him off headforemost into a pot of frijoles. suffering. My laughter frightened Woola. and I was sure that gratitude for the acts that had twice saved his life would more than outweigh his loyalty to the duty imposed upon him by cruel and loveless masters. Quieting myself. I could not resist the ludicrousness of the spectacle. Denied the friendship and companionship of my kind. death. she said. talking in my newly acquired Martian tongue as I would have to my hound at home. and then I remembered what laughter signified on Mars—torture. the first. as I would have talked to any other friend among the lower animals. nor did he bare his great tusks or utter his fearful guttural warnings.close to the forbidden territory. jumped up and sprang upon me. in fact. On this morning I had chosen a new street to explore when suddenly I found myself at the limits of the city. like the pioneer stock from which I sprang. sure that I would not be disappointed. baring the entire expanse of his upper rows of tusks and wrinkling his snout until his great eyes were almost hidden by the folds of flesh. to view what the landscape beyond the encircling hills might disclose from the summits which shut out my view. I had developed considerable affection for Woola and Sola. It also occurred to me that this would prove an excellent opportunity to test the qualities of Woola." she added. As I approached the boundary line Woola ran anxiously before me. for the normal earthly man must have some outlet for his natural affections. he stretched his great mouth to its full width. Before me were low hills pierced by narrow and inviting ravines. If you have ever seen a collie smile you may have some idea of Woola's facial distortion. but now I sat upon the ground and putting my arms around his heavy neck I stroked and coaxed him. I was convinced that the brute loved me. I had never petted nor fondled him. His nature was such. man or beast. He threw himself upon his back and fairly wallowed at my feet. his antics ceased and he crawled pitifully toward me. and. and arising started for the hills. and so I decided upon an appeal to a like instinct in this great brute. I longed to explore the country before me. and holding my sides I rocked back and forth in the first laughter which had passed my lips in many days. then wriggling and squirming around me like a playful puppy presenting its back for the petting it craves. and thrust his body against my legs.

were we to be discovered. signing the guards to follow with the prisoner entered the audience chamber.There was no further question of authority between us. and thus understood how she had been present at the hearing of the preceding day. a dear and precious reversion to a former type of loved and loving ancestor. Realizing that I was a somewhat favored character. but as their sentiments are mostly atrophied it would have required a serious injury to have aroused such passions in them. as her fellow Martian had said of her. The adventure decided me never again to leave the limits of my prescribed stamping grounds until I was ready to venture forth for good and all. The council squatted upon the steps of the rostrum. I saw that one of the women was Sarkoja. until lost in mountains of quite respectable dimensions. She was indeed. an atavism. I had not long to wait for presently Lorquas Ptomel and his retinue of chieftains approached the building and. that though it stung my pride it also warmed my heart with a feeling of companionship. I chanced an attempt to enter the audience chamber and listen to the proceedings. as it would certainly result in a curtailment of my liberties. and I his only and undisputed master. Woola was my devoted slave from that moment hence. and as I approached she gave me one haughty glance and turned her back full upon me. Seeing that the prisoner seemed the center of attraction I halted to view the proceedings. as well as the probable death of Woola. while below them stood the prisoner and her two guards. it was good to know that someone else on Mars beside myself had human instincts of a civilized order. one range above another. I now knew that while theoretically a prisoner I was virtually free. or fail in uniform kindliness and good nature. the results of 39 . My morning's walk had been large with importance to me for it had resulted in a perfect understanding with Woola. Sola. and I hastened to regain the city limits before the defection of Woola could be discovered by his erstwhile masters. The act was so womanly. as I had pleaded with Sola to keep this a secret on the grounds that I did not wish to be forced to talk with the men until I had perfectly mastered the Martian tongue. upon whom Tars Tarkas relied for my safe keeping. the suggestion of magnitude was merely relative. and also convinced that the warriors did not know of my proficiency in their language. My walk to the hills occupied but a few minutes. in all likelihood. even though the manifestation of them was so painful and mortifying. let me add. Had a green Martian woman desired to show dislike or contempt she would. and I found nothing of particular interest to reward me. and rising. have done it with a sword thrust or a movement of her trigger finger. was an exception. so earthly womanly. though I afterward found that only a few peaks on all Mars exceed four thousand feet in height. She was standing with her guards before the entrance to the audience chamber. I never saw her perform a cruel or uncouth act. Numerous brilliantly colored and strangely formed wild flowers dotted the ravines and from the summit of the first hill I saw still other hills stretching off toward the north. On regaining the plaza I had my third glimpse of the captive girl.

in a low. without art. but which caused Lorquas Ptomel to smile. The way is open to you. the Jeddak of Helium. daughter of Mors Kajak of Helium. why will you not learn to live in amity with your fellows." she continued. as our banners and the colors of our craft denoted. Tars Tarkas made some reply which I could not catch. without love. and gesture of impatience. As Lorquas Ptomel raised his eyes to address the prisoner they fell on me and he turned to Tars Tarkas with a word. Will you come?" 40 ." replied the fair prisoner. has resulted in your owning nothing in common. She seemed to be venting upon this poor defenseless creature all the hatred. cruelty. The other woman was less cruel because she was entirely indifferent. for you know full well that were it not for our labors and the fruits of our scientific operations there would not be enough air or water on Mars to support a single human life. For ages we have maintained the air and water supply at practically the same point without an appreciable loss. or pushed her headlong before her. The work we were doing was as much in your interests as in ours. you will find the hands of the red men stretched out to aid you. "We were unprepared for battle. When it was necessary to move from one spot to another she either jerked her roughly. addressing the prisoner. even to your women and children. nor. "It was a purely scientific research party sent out by my father's father. The granddaughter of the greatest and mightiest of the red jeddaks has asked you. "as we were on a peaceful mission. "Dejah Thoris. if the prisoner had been left to her alone. Come back to the ways of our common ancestors. without homes. after which they paid no further attention to me.which she had reported to the occupants of our dormitory last night. When she held her. ferocity. the victim of eons of the horrible community idea. Her attitude toward the captive was most harsh and brutal. she would have received no harsh treatment. Together we may do still more to regenerate our dying planet. must you ever go on down the ages to your final extinction but little above the plane of the dumb brutes that serve you! A people without written language. and fortunately she was at night. or twisted her arm in a most painful manner. and to take atmospheric density tests. oh. You hate each other as you hate all else except yourselves. backed by unguessable ages of fierce and brutal ancestors. to rechart the air currents. "Why. well-modulated voice." "And the nature of your expedition?" he continued. and spite of her nine hundred years. by the same token would she have received any attention at all. Owning everything in common. "What is your name?" asked Lorquas Ptomel. she sunk her rudimentary nails into the poor girl's flesh. and we have done this in the face of the brutal and ignorant interference of your green men. come back to the light of kindliness and fellowship.

leaped down from the steps of the rostrum. It bespoke an inward and mighty battle with self. That I have taken moments to write down a part of what occurred as that blow fell does not signify that I remained inactive for any such length of time. their old selves reasserted their ascendency. with age-old custom. For an instant I thought Tars Tarkas would strike him dead. With all his immense bulk he was little if any stronger than I. I think I must have sensed something of what was coming. to the floor. mirthless laughter. pleading face. which he attempted to do in direct opposition to Martian custom which says that you may not fight a fellow warrior in private combat with any other than the weapon with which you are attacked. with heredity. I saw Tars Tarkas rise to speak. 41 . but I believe that I could have accounted for the whole roomful in the terrific intensity of my rage. In fact he could do nothing but make a wild and futile attempt to dislodge me. as just then a young warrior. and striking the frail captive a powerful blow across the face. Springing upward. It was portentous however that they did not laugh aloud. He could not use his short-sword to advantage because I was too close to him. but that they were moved I truly believe. nor could he draw his pistol. a look almost of benignity. placed his foot upon her prostrate form and turning toward the assembled council broke into peals of horrid. and they smiled. I struck him full in the face as he turned at my warning cry and then as he drew his short-sword I drew mine and sprang up again upon his breast. and it was but the matter of a moment or two before he sank. What was passing in their minds no man may know. momentarily lighted up his fierce and terrible countenance. and on his face was such an expression as I had never seen upon the countenance of a green Martian warrior. that moment would have marked a new and mighty era for Mars. Scarcely had his hideous laugh rang out but once. for the brute's act constituted a side-splitting witticism according to the ethics which rule green Martian humor. for I realize now that I was crouched as for a spring as I saw the blow aimed at her beautiful. which felled her to the floor. upturned. evidently sensing the trend of thought among the older men.Lorquas Ptomel and the warriors sat looking silently and intently at the young woman for several moments after she had ceased speaking. and as he opened his mouth to speak. but the mood passed. when I was upon him. hooking one leg over the butt of his pistol and grasping one of his huge tusks with my left hand while I delivered blow after blow upon his enormous chest. and if one man high among them had been strong enough to rise above custom. bleeding and lifeless. nor did the aspect of Lorquas Ptomel augur any too favorably for the brute. and ere the hand descended I was halfway across the hall. of kindliness. What words of moment were to have fallen from his lips were never spoken. The brute was twelve feet in height and armed to the teeth.

" "Then you too are a prisoner? But why. but why I am permitted to wear arms I do not know. and I claim Virginia. on the occasion of my first battle in the audience chamber had resulted in the death of my adversary. staring eyes. has caused me to call her the planet of paradoxes. When I had regained my feet I raised her in my arms and bore her to one of the benches at the side of the room." I replied. which always marks Martian dealings. so to speak. nor was I aware that my regalia was that of a chieftain. my name is John Carter. I had won my spurs. among other things. are you human. the trappings and the position of the man I killed. I too am a prisoner. Again no Martian interfered with me. then. and I read in the menacing yet respectful attitude of the warrior who had brought me these trophies of the kill the same demeanor as that evinced by the other who had brought me my original equipment. and one which I so much doubt the credibility of myself that I fear to hope that others will believe it. accouterments and ornaments. and which. I was a Martian chieftain. as my home. for the present. bearing arms. I saw that the body of my dead antagonist had been stripped. In truth. I was accorded the honors due a conqueror. "too long to attempt to tell you now. and in the crude justice. Dejah Thoris. and when she could speak she placed her hand upon my arm and looking up into my eyes. so far as our captors will permit. and tearing a piece of silk from my cape I endeavored to staunch the flow of blood from her nostrils. and in a flash one of her questions was answered and a puzzle cleared up for me. I was soon successful as her injuries amounted to little more than an ordinary nosebleed." We were interrupted at this juncture by the approach of one of the warriors. Earth.Dejah Thoris had raised herself upon one elbow and was watching the battle with wide. your protector and your servant. Suffice it. or are you more than human?" "It is a strange tale. one of the United States of America. those arms and the regalia of a Tharkian chieftain? What is your name? Where your country?" "Yes. that I am your friend. 42 . and this I learned later was the cause of my great freedom and my toleration in the audience chamber. that you consort with the green men. while your color is little darker than that of the white ape? Tell me. though your form is that of my race. said: "Why did you do it? You who refused me even friendly recognition in the first hour of my peril! And now you risk your life and kill one of your companions for my sake. and. The reason for the whole attitude displayed toward me was now apparent. and now for the first time I realized that my blow. What strange manner of man are you. I cannot understand.

" "I hear you." he answered. "No. your ways are not my ways. whoever would offer her injury or insult in the future must figure on making a full accounting to me. in recognition of your remarkable valor. "but your education in other respects needs considerable polish. Until we reach the headquarters of Tal Hajus it is the will of Lorquas Ptomel that you be accorded the respect your acts have earned you." I answered. in accordance with the dictates of my conscience and guided by the standards of mine own people. and the eyes of the former rested upon me in a most quizzical manner. Where did you learn it. "As you know I am not of Barsoom." I answered. but I do not. Tars Tarkas. 43 . Do you know what your unprecedented temerity would have cost you had you failed to kill either of the two chieftains whose metal you now wear?" "I presume that that one whom I had failed to kill. Only in the last extremity of self-defense would a Martian warrior kill a prisoner. and I can only act in the future as I have in the past. but if not. "Should you. and I can convince your most doughty warrior that these characteristics are not incompatible with an ability to fight." Ordinarily I am not given to long speeches." I replied. be considered by Tal Hajus as worthy of his service you may be taken into the community and become a full-fledged Tharkian. whatever may be your ultimate intentions toward this unfortunate young woman. but I had guessed at the keynote which would strike an answering chord in the breasts of the green Martians. smiling.As I had turned to receive the dead warrior's chattels I had noticed that Tars Tarkas and several others had pushed forward toward us. Tars Tarkas. I understand that you belittle all sentiments of generosity and kindliness. Of one thing let us be sure. I am done. If you will leave me alone I will go in peace. "in that you furnished me with an instructress of remarkable ability. we like to save them for other purposes. let the individual Barsoomians with whom I must deal either respect my rights as a stranger among you. for my harangue evidently deeply impressed them. nor was I wrong. Finally he addressed me: "You speak the tongue of Barsoom quite readily for one who was deaf and dumb to us a few short days ago." "She has done well. yourself. You will be treated by us as a Tharkian chieftain. John Carter?" "You. and prowess." and his face bespoke possibilities that were not pleasant to dwell upon. I have to thank Sola for my learning. ferocity. and their attitude toward me thereafter was still further respectful. are responsible. nor ever before had I descended to bombast." he continued. but you must not forget that every chief who ranks you is responsible for your safe delivery to our mighty and most ferocious ruler. would have killed me. you are wrong. "But one thing can save you now. or take whatever consequences may befall.

"You are a great chieftain now. followed by the faithful Woola." "And if I should kill Lorquas Ptomel?" I asked. Was I not now a chieftain also! Well. and I further warned Sarkoja that any more of her cruel attentions bestowed upon Dejah Thoris would result in Sarkoja's sudden and painful demise. They did not molest us." I now turned my attention to Dejah Thoris. I would assume the responsibilities of one. So Sarkoja merely gave us an ugly look and departed to hatch up deviltries against us. gentleman of Virginia. men. The poor child shrank against me and I felt her two little hands fold tightly over my arm. The man whose metal you carry was young. there are but ten chieftains in this community who rank you in prowess. ignoring her hovering guardian harpies as well as the inquiring glances of the chieftains. and John Carter. and assisting her to her feet I turned with her toward the exit. then. that I wished her to find other quarters where they would not be molested by Sarkoja. John Carter.Tars Tarkas himself seemed pleased with my reply. You are eleventh." she said. who. nor women. men do not kill women upon Mars. and so Dejah Thoris. Sola glanced at the accouterments which were carried in my hand and slung across my shoulder. though indeed I am glad to do it under any circumstances. I soon found Sola and explained to her that I wished her to guard Dejah Thoris as she had guarded me. as you know. but he was a great warrior. Waving the women away. for. Jeddak of Thark. I informed them that Sola would attend the captive hereafter. CHAPTER XI WITH DEJAH THORIS As we reached the open the two female guards who had been detailed to watch over Dejah Thoris hurried up and made as though to assume custody of her once more. but his only comment was more or less enigmatical—"And I think I know Tal Hajus. Princess of Helium. Jed among the Tharks of Barsoom. "and I must do your bidding. and had by his promotions and kills won his way close to the rank of Tars Tarkas. 44 . as I learned later. and I finally informed her that I myself would take up my quarters among the men. My threat was unfortunate and resulted in more harm than good to Dejah Thoris. passed through utter silence from the audience chamber of Lorquas Ptomel. is second to Lorquas Ptomel only.

portrayed many human figures in the compositions. You speak my language. These were of people like myself. and I think I understand your position among these people. and yet so unlike. I then dispatched Sola to bring the bedding and such food and utensils as she might need. would your prisoner escape should you leave her. "And whereto. and another room adjoining and in the rear for the cooking and supplies. is there 45 . where the river Iss empties into the lost sea of Korus. The scenes depicted for the most part. then. or should he attack you. you may kill him in self-defense. telling her that I would guard Dejah Thoris until her return. while Sola. but you may only win that honor by the will of the entire council that Lorquas Ptomel meet you in combat. but what I cannot fathom is your statement that you are not of Barsoom. and changed the subject. and thus win first place. The men were beardless and only a few wore arms." "I heard your challenge to the creature you call Tars Tarkas. for Dejah Thoris and Sola. fair-haired people at play. unlike the frescoes in the other buildings I had examined. "where may you be from? You are like unto my people. As Sola departed Dejah Thoris turned to me with a faint smile. We also found in this building real sleeping apartments with ancient beds of highly wrought metal swinging from enormous gold chains depending from the marble ceilings. John Carter. and less to be a jed among the Tharks. though their written languages differ. We decided to use this room. apparently did not see them." I laughed. I accompanied Sola and Dejah Thoris in a search for new quarters. and of a much lighter color than Dejah Thoris. and yet I heard you tell Tars Tarkas that you had but learned it recently. then. Only in the valley Dor. which we found in a building nearer the audience chamber and of far more pretentious architecture than our former habitation. and. The decoration of the walls was most elaborate. on the other hand." "In the name of my first ancestor. unless it was to follow you and crave your protection. All Barsoomians speak the same tongue from the ice-clad south to the ice-clad north. Dejah Thoris clasped her hands with an exclamation of rapture as she gazed upon these magnificent works of art. and their luxuriant hair was of a beautiful golden and reddish bronze. "there is no escape for either of us unless we go together." she continued. highly ornamented with metal and jewels. flowing robes. wrought by a people long extinct."You would be first. and ask your pardon for the cruel thoughts she has harbored against you these past few days?" "You are right. They were clad in graceful. a fairskinned. on the second floor and overlooking the plaza. I had no particular desire to kill Lorquas Ptomel." I answered.

or whatever it was. I do not know what a 'gentleman' is. good. yet different—but why should I trouble my poor head with such a problem. A similar wave of feeling seemed to stir her. John Carter. and as my eyes met hers I knew why. and—I shuddered. That it was difficult to believe my statement I well knew. How I came here I cannot tell you. her voice was pleading. her beautiful face upturned. and if it satisfied her I certainly could pick no flaws in it." I answered. I am not of Dor. John Carter?" she asked. Do not tell me that you have thus returned! They would kill you horribly anywhere upon the surface of Barsoom if that were true. and her little hands. said: "I shall have to believe even though I cannot understand. weird light. reached up upon my breast. but in my own Virginia a gentleman does not lie to save himself. As a matter of fact it was about the only kind of logic that could 46 . nor have I ever heard before of Virginia. then! Why should I care what she thought? I looked down at her.supposed to be a different language spoken. there is no record of a Barsoomian returning up the river Iss. I have never seen the mysterious Iss. I would much rather not have told her anything of my antecedents. and her wonderful eyes opening up the very depth of her soul. for I do not know. Where is this Virginia. but no man could look into the depth of those eyes and refuse her slightest behest. beautiful face turned up to mine. were pressed against me as though to wring a denial from my very heart. except in the legends of our ancestors. which we know as Mars. Do you believe me?" And then it struck me suddenly that I was very anxious that she should believe me. and with her earnest. and it seemed that this fair name of my fair land had never sounded more beautiful than as it fell from those perfect lips on that far-gone day. feminine logic. when my heart tells me that I believe because I wish to believe!" It was good logic. Finally she smiled. and since my presence has permitted me to serve Dejah Thoris I am glad that I am here. rising. "I do not know your customs. It was not that I feared the results which would follow a general belief that I had returned from the Barsoomian heaven or hell. if he does not wish to speak the truth he is silent. Why was it." She gazed at me with troubled eyes. tell me it is not!" Her eyes were filled with a strange. so far as I am concerned. the lost sea of Korus is still lost. which revolves about our common sun and next within the orbit of your Barsoom. and. but on Barsoom no man lies. and. long and questioningly. Dejah Thoris. your country. "the great planet Earth. but here I am. from the shores of Korus in the valley of Dor. nor could I hope that she would do so however much I craved her confidence and respect. you are like us. I can readily perceive that you are not of the Barsoom of today. earthly. she whispered: "I believe you. "I am of another world. she drew away from me with a sigh.

and their heads with hideous contraptions the purpose of which we have been unable to conceive. When I questioned her closely on this seeming familiarity with earthly things she laughed. At this point Sola returned with our meager belongings and her young Martian protege. asking and answering many questions on each side. of course. as well as the instruments which produced them. then. I afterward. explaining that my body there lay fully clothed in all the. as well as the history of your planet fully as well as of his own. Sola asked us if we had had a visitor during her absence. It seemed that as she had mounted the approach to the upper floors where our quarters were located. to her. and. fully as much as my statements had confounded her. further. who. "If. "Because. saw many of these pictures. Earth men. merely promising ourselves to be warned to the utmost caution in the future. and seemed much surprised when we answered in the negative. These pictures are so perfect in detail that." she replied.be brought to bear upon my problem. in Helium. would have to share the quarters with them. while the absence of grotesque coverings might cause a doubt as to your earthliness. when photographed and enlarged. which permit them to throw upon a screen a perfect image of what is transpiring upon any planet and upon many of the stars. objects no greater than a blade of grass may be distinctly recognized. "why is it that you do not recognize me as identical with the inhabitants of that planet?" She smiled again as one might in bored indulgence of a questioning child. you are so familiar with earthly things. "nearly every planet and star having atmospheric conditions at all approaching those of Barsoom. while you. Can we not see everything which takes place upon Earth. and much concerning the fauna and flora. We fell into a general conversation then. strange garments of mundane dwellers. were entirely undisfigured and unadorned. is it not hanging there in the heavens in plain sight?" This baffled me. but as we could recall nothing of importance that had passed between us we dismissed the matter as of little consequence. She was curious to learn of the customs of my people and displayed a remarkable knowledge of events on Earth. I must confess. and cried out: "Why. cover their bodies with strange. she had met Sarkoja descending. as you call it." I then narrated the details of my departure from the Earth. 47 . when found by the Tharkian warriors. unsightly pieces of cloth. shows forms of animal life almost identical with you and me. and I told her so. John Carter." I asked. every school boy on Barsoom knows the geography. We decided that she must have been eavesdropping. She then explained in general the instruments her people had used and been perfecting for ages. "The fact that you wore no ornaments is a strong proof of your un-Barsoomian origin. almost without exception.

she explained. and lesser ones. We had been so engrossed in exploration of the building and in our conversation that it was late in the afternoon before we realized it. almost black. but during the vicissitudes of those trying centuries of readjustment to new conditions. They were the early progenitors of her race. records. She said that the city in which we were camping was supposed to have been a center of commerce and culture known as Korad. The shores of the ancient seas were dotted with just such cities. against the wild hordes of green men. and before they had fitted themselves to the changed conditions. in diminishing numbers. These ancient Martians had been a highly cultivated and literary race. It had been built upon a beautiful. but had mixed with the other great race of early Martians. not only did their advancement and production cease entirely. and to defend themselves. while the pass through the hills to the old sea bottom had been the channel through which the shipping passed up to the city's gates. much of the high civilization and many of the arts of the fair-haired Martians had become lost. Dejah Thoris related many interesting facts and legends concerning this lost race of noble and kindly people. I hastened to the audience chamber. 48 . under new conditions of life. landlocked by magnificent hills. the so-called Martian canals. During the ages of hardships and incessant warring between their own various races. and literature were lost. but the red race of today has reached a point where it feels that it has made up in new discoveries and in a more practical civilization for all that lies irretrievably buried with the ancient Barsoomians. We were brought back to a realization of our present conditions by a messenger bearing a summons from Lorquas Ptomel directing me to appear before him forthwith. Ages of close relationship and intermarrying had resulted in the race of red men. She told me that these people had presumably flourished over a hundred thousand years before. and also with the reddish yellow race which had flourished at the same time. of which Dejah Thoris was a fair and beautiful daughter. as the people had found it necessary to follow the receding waters until necessity had forced upon them their ultimate salvation. natural harbor. where I found Lorquas Ptomel and Tars Tarkas seated upon the rostrum. These three great divisions of the higher Martians had been forced into a mighty alliance as the drying up of the Martian seas had compelled them to seek the comparatively few and always diminishing fertile areas. and commanding Woola to remain on guard. as well as with the green men. was all that remained of the harbor. who were very dark. The little valley on the west front of the city. were to be found converging toward the center of the oceans.Dejah Thoris and I then fell to examining the architecture and decorations of the beautiful chambers of the building we were occupying. but practically all their archives. Bidding Dejah Thoris and Sola farewell. beneath the countless intervening ages.

you are a midget and yet you can kill a mighty warrior with one blow of your fist. I left the audience chamber. Under two conditions only. And now you are reported to have been plotting to escape with another prisoner of another race. "But. "As a matter of justice I must warn you that we only await one of these two excuses for ridding ourselves of so great a responsibility. half believes you are returned from the valley of Dor. however. 49 . and either demonstrate my right to command. may you be killed by us without orders from Tal Hajus. you owe us no allegiance. So this was the beginning of Sarkoja's persecution! I knew that none other could be responsible for this report which had reached the ears of Lorquas Ptomel so quickly. I should be glad. would be sufficient grounds for your execution. I have spoken. fixing his great. but we are a just and truthful race. if Tal Hajus so commands. and so if you were dead." he continued. Be that as it may. from her own admission." he continued. or the metal from my dead carcass will go to a better man. a prisoner who. she is the granddaughter of the greatest of the red jeddaks." Turning. it is I who shall have to face Tars Tarkas. in personal combat in self-defense. you are not one of us. addressed me thus: "You have been with us a few days. The red girl told us that we were without the softer sentiments of humanity. hideous eyes upon me. "Your position is a peculiar one. The safe delivery of the red girl to Tal Hajus is of the greatest importance. Lorquas Ptomel signaled me to advance. yet during that time you have by your prowess won a high position among us. John Carter.CHAPTER XII A PRISONER WITH POWER As I entered and saluted. should you attack one of us. Not in a thousand years have the Tharks made such a capture. or were you apprehended in an attempt to escape. "I have no quarrel with Tars Tarkas. "you are a prisoner and yet you give commands which must be obeyed. "if you run off with the red girl it is I who shall have to account to Tal Hajus. Either one of these accusations. for such is the custom of the Tharks. who is also our bitterest enemy. in his fierce guttural tones. and. we do not wish to fight between ourselves. if proved. together we rule supreme the greatest of the lesser communities among the green men. and now I recalled those portions of our conversation which had touched upon escape and upon my origin. you are an alien and yet you are a Tharkian chieftain. but we are a just people and you shall have a trial on our return to Thark. You may go.

you may take your choice of these. The thought that the divine Dejah Thoris might fall into the clutches of such an abysmal atavism started the cold sweat upon me. more than before. and brutality from which he had descended. "Where are your quarters. but the third floor and the floors above are vacant. "and the second floor also is fully occupied by warriors." he said. Cold. he was. "It seemed best that I quartered either by myself or among the other warriors. However. but as a chieftain you should have those to serve you. Now. the absolute necessity for escape. a slave to that brute passion which the waning demands for procreation upon their dying planet has almost stilled in the Martian breast. As you know." he directed. As such she was a mighty power behind the throne. "that you have given up your woman to the red prisoner. and he greeted me as though we had not just parted a few moments before. my audience with Lorquas Ptomel only served to center my every faculty on this subject. your ways are not our ways. instead of putting thoughts of possible escape from my mind. but you can fight well enough to do about as you please." and I smiled." 50 . this monster was the exaggerated personification of all the ages of cruelty. Well. it is your own affair. for I was convinced that some horrible fate awaited her at the headquarters of Tal Hajus. and in accordance with our customs you may select any or all the females from the retinues of the chieftains whose metal you now wear. also. "I am not yet familiar with all the customs of the Tharks. was impressed upon me. as did those brave frontier women of my lost land. in marked contrast to most of his fellows. "I understand. As described by Sola. for no warrior had the confidence of Lorquas Ptomel to such an extent as did his ablest lieutenant. As I wandered about the plaza lost in my gloomy forebodings Tars Tarkas approached me on his way from the audience chamber. calculating. if you wish to give your woman to a captive. "My quarters are on the first floor of this building. John Carter?" he asked. His demeanor toward me was unchanged. cunning.Sarkoja was at this time Tars Tarkas' oldest and most trusted female." I replied. in so far as Dejah Thoris was concerned. and so. as you have said. Tars Tarkas. and together we moved off across the plaza to a building which I was glad to see adjoined that occupied by Sola and her charges. who took their own lives rather than fall into the hands of the Indian braves." "Come with me. ferocity." he continued. "I have selected none. Far better that we save friendly bullets for ourselves at the last moment. and I was awaiting an opportunity to ask your advice.

the happy frolicking children—all sunlight. I suggested that they might also bring some of the sleeping silks and furs which belonged to me as spoils of combat. as usual. happiness and peace. 51 . it seemed. laughing people whom stern and unalterable cosmic laws had driven not only from their homes. It was difficult to realize that they had gone. formed the retinues of the two chieftains. which he said would be necessary. who. down through ages of darkness. and pergola-like contraptions bore witness to the beauty which the court must have presented in bygone times. because this brought me nearer to Dejah Thoris. and it flashed upon me that I could rig up some means of communication whereby she might signal me in case she needed either my services or my protection. had been the property of the two chieftains I had slain. which they advised me constituted the balance of my goods. silks. when graced by the fair-haired. The beauties of the other buildings were repeated in this. and. cooking utensils. jewels. On the second trip they were accompanied by ten or fifteen other women and youths. My thoughts were cut short by the advent of several young females bearing loads of weapons. Left alone. At my direction they placed the stuff in one of the back rooms. yet numerous fountains. including considerable loot from the air craft. and casks of food and drink. moss-like vegetation which blankets practically the entire surface of Mars. and so he promised to send women to me for this purpose and also for the care of my arms and the manufacture of my ammunition. it had become mine. in all some ten rooms on this floor. by the customs of the Tharks. the straight and handsome men. until their hereditary instincts of culture and humanitarianism had risen ascendant once more in the final composite race which now is dominant upon Mars. The windows of the back rooms overlooked an enormous court. I finally chose a front room on the third floor. but from all except the vague legends of their descendants. I was soon lost in a tour of investigation and discovery.I thanked him. furs. and other sleeping and living apartments. and now. and then departed. and ignorance. only to return with a second load. dressing rooms. the graceful figures of the beautiful women. Adjoining my sleeping apartment were baths. for the nights were cold and I had none of my own. it seemed. All this. One could easily picture the gorgeous foliage of the luxuriant Martian vegetation which once filled this scene with life and color. whose apartment was on the second floor of the adjoining building. statuary. and which was now given over to the quartering of the various animals belonging to the warriors occupying the adjoining buildings. He promised to do so. and departed. cruelty. but assured him that I could get along very nicely without assistance except in the matter of preparing food. which formed the center of the square made by the buildings which faced the four contiguous streets. While the court was entirely overgrown with the yellow. benches. I ascended the winding corridor to the upper floors in search of suitable quarters.

His women are in no sense wives. One of the girls I charged with the duties of my simple cuisine. Their mating is a matter of community interest solely. ornaments and sleeping silks and furs of the individuals. whether I would or not. the community remained within the city for several days. The council of chieftains of each community control the matter as surely as the owner of a Kentucky racing stud directs the scientific breeding of his stock for the improvement of the whole. and it is passed on to the younger members of the community as necessity demands. for to be caught on the open plains with a cavalcade of chariots and children was far from the desire of even so warlike a people as the green Martians. and directed the others to take up the various activities which had formerly constituted their vocations. sustenance. I made the best of it and directed them to find quarters on the upper floors. loveless. In theory it may sound well. and is directed without reference to natural selection. but the results of ages of this unnatural practice. nor may he accumulate more of these than are required for his actual needs. mirthless existence. with the exception of such degenerates as Tal Hajus. 52 . and so unlike anything known to us that it is most difficult to describe. the relationship was peculiar.They were not their families. The surplus he holds merely as custodian. except the personal weapons. These alone can one claim undisputed right to. The green Martians use no word corresponding in meaning with this earthly word. Finding that I must assume responsibility for these creatures. coupled with the community interest in the offspring being held paramount to that of the mother. both men and women. CHAPTER XIII LOVE-MAKING ON MARS Following the battle with the air ships. abandoning the homeward march until they could feel reasonably assured that the ships would not return. and the exigencies of their continual roamings and their unending strife with other communities and with the red Martians. All property among the green Martians is owned in common by the community. and their gloomy. leaving the third floor to me. cruel creatures. as in matters of instruction. discipline. nor did I care to. nor their servants. is shown in the cold. Thereafter I saw little of them. as is often the case with theories. nor their wives. The women and children of a man's retinue may be likened to a military unit for which he is responsible in various ways. but better far a finer balance of human characteristics even at the expense of a slight and occasional loss of chastity. It is true that the green Martians are absolutely virtuous.

if necessary." I replied. if not. I was ever a good hand with animals. I won their confidence in much the same manner as I had adopted countless times with my many mundane mounts. though upon some other beast. even to a warrior. In the course of a few days my thoats were the wonder of the entire community. are as dangerous and vicious as their masters. The method was not at all complicated. These creatures. In the latter case it became a life and death struggle between the man and the beast. Two of these animals had fallen to me from the warriors whose metal I wore. the softer sentiments have their value. and in a short time I could handle them quite as well as the native warriors. Then. when he had seen me run my arm far between the great jaws of one of my thoats which had wedged a piece of stone between two of his teeth while feeding upon the moss-like vegetation within our court yard. his torn and mangled body was gathered up by his women and burned in accordance with Tharkian custom. In the height of battle as well as upon the march I know that my thoats will obey my every command. "How have you bewitched them?" asked Tars Tarkas one afternoon. and respond to my every command with an alacrity and docility which caused the Martian warriors to ascribe to me the possession of some earthly power unknown on Mars. which are known as thoats. "You see. Only a few days since you. irresponsible brute. My experience with Woola determined me to attempt the experiment of kindness in my treatment of my thoats. Tars Tarkas. told me that these great 53 . and even rapped them sharply between the ears to impress upon them my authority and mastery. yourself. "By kindness. including lessons in riding and guiding the great beasts which bore the warriors. or had unseated their riders. and if they showed fight this treatment was continued until the brutes either were subdued. If the former were quick enough with his pistol he might live to ride again. They would follow me like dogs. rubbing their great snouts against my body in awkward evidence of affection. I was always kind and humane in my dealings with the lower orders. unreasoning. and therefore my fighting efficiency is enhanced. and I am a better warrior for the reason that I am a kind master. First I taught them that they could not unseat me. Your other warriors would find it to the advantage of themselves as well as of the community to adopt my methods in this respect. and by inclination. I could take a human life. but when once subdued are sufficiently tractable for the purposes of the green Martians. If the thoats did not respond with sufficient celerity to the telepathic instructions of their riders they were dealt a terrific blow between the ears with the butt of a pistol. with far less compunction than that of a poor. Tars Tarkas had instructed me in many of the customs and arts of war familiar to the Tharks.During our period of inactivity. as well as because it brought more lasting and satisfactory results. by degrees.

I advanced to meet them. "Sarkoja told Sola that you had become a true Thark. there was comparatively little cause for fear. since. I directed her to return to her quarters on some trivial errand. who represented to me all that I had left behind upon Earth in agreeable and congenial companionship. and telling Sola that I would take the responsibility for Dejah Thoris' safekeeping. That she shared my sentiments in this respect I was positive. "notwithstanding the proud claim of the Tharks to absolute verity. often were the means of turning victory into defeat. The few times I had visited her quarters she had been absent. On the seventh day following the battle with the air craft we again took up the march toward Thark. There seemed bonds of mutual interest between us as powerful as though we had been born under the same roof rather than upon different planets. "and that I would now see no more of you than of any of the other warriors. as I had been kept very busy by Tars Tarkas with my lessons in the art of Martian warfare.brutes. as well as in the training of my thoats. or investigating the buildings in the near vicinity of the plaza. they might elect to unseat and rend their riders. The effect on the precision and celerity of the military movements was so remarkable that Lorquas Ptomel presented me with a massive anklet of gold from his own leg." I replied. as she placed her little right hand upon my left shoulder in true red Martian salute. but for some reason I desired to be alone with Dejah Thoris. all probability of another attack being deemed remote by Lorquas Ptomel. as a sign of his appreciation of my service to the horde. hurtling through space some forty-eight million miles apart." was Tars Tarkas' only rejoinder." "Show me how you accomplish these results. I liked and trusted Sola." 54 . And so I explained as carefully as I could the entire method of training I had adopted with my beasts. at a crucial moment. since Woola accompanied them on all their excursions. However. On the evening before our departure I saw them approaching along one of the great avenues which lead into the plaza from the east. During the days just preceding our departure I had seen but little of Dejah Thoris. I had warned them against venturing far from the plaza for fear of the great white apes. by the uncertainty of their tempers. for on my approach the look of pitiful hopelessness left her sweet countenance to be replaced by a smile of joyful welcome." she said. and before I left the community of Lorquas Ptomel I had the satisfaction of observing a regiment of as tractable and docile mounts as one might care to see. That moment marked the beginning of a new existence for the poor thoats. and later he had me repeat it before Lorquas Ptomel and the assembled warriors." "Sarkoja is a liar of the first magnitude. whose ferocity I was only too well acquainted with. and as Sola was well armed. walking upon the streets with Sola.

exposing a glass cylinder. feeling the hot blood of my fighting ancestors leap in my veins as I awaited her reply. You know that these have to be manufactured by artificial light. who do not even know their own mothers. I was more concerned by the immediate problem of their treatment of her.] While I was much interested in Dejah Thoris' explanation of this wonderful adjunct to Martian warfare. "Have they ever subjected you to cruelty and ignominy. but I did not know at that time.' as the saying is upon Barsoom." as applied by a red Martian woman to a man. Let us pity them. As a rule. That they were keeping her away from me was not a matter for surprise. since we are greater than they and they know it. non-exploding projectiles are used at night. outer coating is broken by the impact. "for whenever you have been off duty one of the older women of Tars Tarkas' retinue has always arranged to trump up some excuse to get Sola and me out of sight. I still had much to learn upon Barsoom. and make their terrible projectiles. John Carter. They know that I am the daughter of ten thousand jeddaks.Dejah Thoris laughed. 55 . The moment the sunlight. but that they should subject her to dangerous and arduous labor filled me with rage. "I knew that even though you became a member of the community you would not cease to be my friend. and for all they most crave and never can attain. They have had me down in the pits below the buildings helping them mix their awful radium powder. and so wreak their poor spite on me who stand for everything they have not. that I trace my ancestry straight back without a break to the builder of the first great waterway. even though diffused." she answered." [I have used the word radium in describing this powder because in the light of recent discoveries on Earth I believe it to be a mixture of which radium is the base. but not his heart. Dejah Thoris?" I asked. almost solid. At heart they hate their horrid fates. strikes this powder it explodes with a violence which nothing can withstand. You have noticed that their bullets explode when they strike an object? Well. however." she continued. as exposure to sunlight always results in an explosion. for even though we die at their hands we can afford them pity. "Only in little ways. my chieftain. while the morning following the battle will be filled at sunrise with the sharp detonations of exploding missiles fired the preceding night. in the forward end of which is a minute particle of radium powder. are jealous of me." Had I known the significance of those words "my chieftain. the opaque. I should have had the surprise of my life. In Captain Carter's manuscript it is mentioned always by the name used in the written language of Helium and is spelled in hieroglyphics which it would be difficult and useless to reproduce. and they. Yes." "I think they have been trying to keep us apart. If you ever witness a night battle you will note the absence of these explosions. "Nothing that can harm me outside my pride. 'A warrior may change his metal. nor for many months thereafter.

Then she broke out again into one of her gay. as likely I shall be ere the further moon has circled Barsoom another twelve times. green. and if I be dead. joking with me on my prowess as a Thark warrior as contrasted with my soft heart and natural kindliness. and I." This made her laugh again. which brought roguish dimples to the corners of her mouth. was content that it should be so. And I. John Carter. John Carter. "That is precisely what we do on Earth. in sore perplexity. and with Earth looking down upon us out of her luminous green eye. if we live." Dejah Thoris caught her breath at my last words. at least. and. for. "Some day you shall know. has the temerity to even so much as frown on you. laughing moods. "it is enough that you have said it and that I have listened. in very hopelessness. "No. Day had now given away to night and as we wandered along the great avenue lighted by the two moons of Barsoom. red. the daughter of Mors Kajak." she exclaimed." It was all Greek to me. but I may not tell you. I desisted. and gazed upon me with dilated eyes and quickening breath. that I may be present the next time that any Martian." "What have I done now?" I asked. she shook her head and cried: "What a child! A great warrior and yet a stumbling little child. my princess. son of Tardos Mors. nevertheless. but the more I begged her to explain the more positive became her denials of my request. she was still a Martian. with an odd little laugh. have listened without anger." she soliloquized in conclusion. so. She could not understand it. Dejah Thoris. it seemed that we were alone in the universe." I answered. "At least among civilized men." she laughed. but I hope. remember that I listened and that I—smiled. pink."I presume it is the better part of wisdom that we bow to our fate with as good grace as possible. or violet. "I presume that should you accidentally wound an enemy you would take him home and nurse him back to health. for every dead foeman means so much more to divide between those who live. with all her tenderness and womanly sweetness. and then. 56 . happy. I was very curious to know what I had said or done to cause her so much perturbation a moment before and so I continued to importune her to enlighten me. And when you learn. and to a Martian the only good enemy is a dead enemy.

when she had explained the word she used. I shall soon return to my father's court and feel his strong arms about me and my mother's tears and kisses on my cheek. As my arm rested for an instant upon her I felt a thrill pass through every fiber of my being such as contact with no other mortal had even produced." "Do people kiss. with you. and the thought that she might feel that I was taking advantage of her helplessness. "Parents. yet ever new. but in the breast of one of us at least had been born that which is ever oldest. John Carter. and protect her in my poor way against the thousands of hereditary enemies she must face upon our arrival at Thark. in all probability she did not return.The chill of the Martian night was upon us. and it seemed to me that she had leaned slightly toward me." she murmured. we walked the surface of a dying world. The touch of my arm upon her naked shoulder had spoken to me in words I would not mistake. Dejah Thoris. And so. upon Barsoom?" I asked. I do not know why it is that I should always be happy and contented when you. "Possibly you would rather return to Sola and your quarters." "No. and sisters. brothers. have parents and brothers and sisters?" "Yes. thoughtful tone. in answer to my inquiry as to its meaning. a stranger. "Why are you so quiet." she added in a low. I loved Dejah Thoris. CHAPTER XIV A DUEL TO THE DEATH My first impulse was to tell her of my love. and then I thought of the helplessness of her position wherein I alone could lighten the burdens of her captivity. Should I be so indiscreet. her position would be even more unbearable than now." 57 . "I am happy here. Dejah Thoris?" I asked. "lovers. yet at such times it seems that I am safe and that. I could not chance causing her additional pain or sorrow by declaring a love which. in silence. are with me. yes. and." "And you. and removing my silks I threw them across the shoulders of Dejah Thoris. and I knew that I had loved her since the first moment that my eyes had met hers that first time in the plaza of the dead city of Korad. Only I knew that as my arm rested there across her shoulders longer than the act of adjusting the silk required she did not draw away. then. to influence her decision was the final argument which sealed my lips. but of that I was not sure. nor did she speak.

I sat for hours cross-legged. and though I was suffering the greatest misery I had ever known I would not have had it otherwise for all the riches of Barsoom. "The man of Barsoom. other than to see that she reached the building in safety. in spite of beautiful women and urging opportunity. and cross-tempered. and for ten I have lived upon her memory. With the foolish 58 . Twenty years have intervened. Dejah Thoris was all that was perfect. nor could I venture to repeat the question. but. all that was virtuous and beautiful and noble and good. whose pleasures. and the woman he has fought for and won. and without a word. and then I wished my tongue had been cut from my mouth. A woman who was hatched from an egg. "does not ask personal questions of women. and such are lovers wherever love is known. I was a fool. of a species similar possibly. for ten of them I lived and fought for Dejah Thoris and her people. To me. she moved with the carriage of the queen she was toward the plaza and the doorway of her quarters. So this was love! I had escaped it for all the years I had roamed the five continents and their encircling seas. and lighted up the gold and marble. and I could see the red blood mount to her cheek. whose people had strange customs and ideas. a woman whose hopes." she finally ventured. and drawing my silks from her shoulder she held them out to me. and whose span of life might cover a thousand years. it had remained for me to fall furiously and hopelessly in love with a creature from another world. but she turned her shoulder to me. but I was in love. and I believe it today as I sit at my desk in the little study overlooking the Hudson. I sought out Dejah Thoris in the throng of departing chariots. in spite of a half-desire for love and a constant search for my ideal. Yes. as do all Martian mornings except for the six weeks when the snow melts at the poles. Such is love. I turned disconsolately and entered my own house. I believed that from the bottom of my heart." "But I have fought—" I started. and jeweled mosaics of my world-old chamber. upon my silks meditating upon the queer freaks chance plays upon us poor devils of mortals. I did not attempt to follow her. directing Woola to accompany her. for she turned even as I caught myself and ceased. from the depth of my soul on that night in Korad as I sat cross-legged upon my silks while the nearer moon of Barsoom raced through the western sky toward the horizon. yet not identical with mine. whose standards of virtue and of right and wrong might vary as greatly from mine as did those of the green Martians. and with head held high. The morning of our departure for Thark dawned clear and hot. except his mother."And a—lover?" She was silent.

" "Unless you wish me to assume the responsibility. that were being heaped upon Dejah Thoris." he answered. He looked at me long and earnestly before he spoke. smiling. a half conciliation. I feel for you. John Carter. I have spoken. turning to Sola.inconsistency of love I held my peace when I might have plead ignorance of the nature of my offense. I turned without further word and sought out Tars Tarkas. "There is no such thing. "What does this mean?" I cried. and we do not wish to manacle you. but have your will. "Sarkoja thought it best. My duty dictated that I must see that she was comfortable." I saw the strength of his reasoning at a flash. "Where is the key. and I myself will take the custody of the key. and so I glanced into her chariot and rearranged her silks and furs. you may do for me in return for the friendship that. "if ever you and Dejah Thoris escape the Tharks it will be upon this journey." she answered. so we hold you both in the easiest way that will yet ensure security. Tars Tarkas. I must confess. We know that you will not go without her." "Friendship?" he replied. to whom I vehemently objected to the unnecessary humiliations and cruelties. "John Carter. her face betokening her disapproval of the procedure. and knew that it were futile to appeal from his decision. "Were you to give me your word that neither you nor Dejah Thoris would attempt to escape until after we have safely reached the court of Tal Hajus you might have the key and throw the chains into the river Iss. but I asked that the key be taken from Sarkoja and that she be directed to leave the prisoner alone in future. You have shown yourself a mighty fighter. as they seemed to my lover's eyes." "Sarkoja wears it. Examining the manacles I saw that they fastened with a massive spring lock. and so have effected." 59 . John Carter. I shall direct that Sarkoja cease to annoy the girl. or at least the gravity of it. "This much." I said. Sola? Let me have it. at worst. In doing so I noted with horror that she was heavily chained by one ankle to the side of the vehicle." she answered.

whom I had slain in fair fight. poor child. or. a combination of the surnames of the two warrior chieftains whose metal I had taken. but that night as we were making camp I saw him unfasten Dejah Thoris' fetters himself. "Why will she not speak to me?" Sola seemed puzzled herself." I pondered over this report for some time. I paid little attention to it at the time. Could it be a vestige of some human instinct come back from an ancient forbear to haunt him with the horror of his people's ways! As I was approaching Dejah Thoris' chariot I passed Sarkoja. but the next day I had good reason to recall the circumstances. and at the same time gain a slight insight into the depths of Sarkoja's hatred and the lengths to which she was capable of going to wreak her horrid vengeance on me. In this instance it was Sola whom I intercepted in another part of camp."It were better that you held the key. I sought word from her through an intimate. as indeed they were. in other words. and said no more. In my extremity I did what most other lovers would have done. nor conceded by so much as the flutter of an eyelid that she realized my existence." I replied He smiled. how she hated me! It bristled from her so palpably that one might almost have cut it with a sword. some of the warriors addressed me as Dotar Sojat. as though such strange actions on the part of two humans were quite beyond her. Dejah Thoris would have none of me again on this evening. It was this custom which entitled me to the names of either of the chieftains I had killed. With all his cruel ferocity and coldness there was an undercurrent of something in Tars Tarkas which he seemed ever battling to subdue. Tars Tarkas. finally asking. in fact. and that is all she will say. except that she is the daughter of a jed and the granddaughter of a jeddak and she has been humiliated by a creature who could not polish the teeth of her grandmother's sorak. while she seemed to be urging him very strongly to some action. "What might a sorak be. "What is the matter with Dejah Thoris?" I blurted out at her. a big. As Sarkoja talked with Zad he cast occasional glances in my direction. Sola?" 60 . but one who had never made a kill among his own chieftains. Lord. hulking. venomous look she accorded me was the sweetest balm I had felt for many hours. and a second name only with the metal of some chieftain. "She says you have angered her. powerful brute. and the black. and though I spoke her name she neither replied. A few moments later I saw her deep in conversation with a warrior named Zad.

so homely and in this respect so earthly. I could pass anywhere for twenty-five to thirty years of age. We broke camp the next day at an early hour and marched with only a single halt until just before dark. It made me homesick. and now my heart turned toward it from the cold and unfriendly peoples I had been thrown amongst. and I longed for them as I had never longed for any mortals before. soon demolished all the eggs with their short-swords. and laughing I turned into my silks and furs and slept upon the moon-haunted ground the sleep of a tired and healthy fighting man. the light of battle leaping to his fierce face. but the great hall of the Carters had always stood for all that the word did mean to me. During the ride I took occasion to ask Tars Tarkas if these Warhoons whose eggs we had destroyed were a smaller people than his Tharks. The latter took a dozen warriors." explained Sola. but I could not help laughing at the strange figure of speech. Not fit to polish the teeth of her grandmother's cat! I must rank pretty low in the consideration of Dejah Thoris. I could see them just as plainly. "They cannot be a day's march ahead of us. finally announcing that it belonged to the green men of Warhoon and that the cement was scarcely dry where it had been walled up. For did not even Dejah Thoris despise me! I was a low creature. and to be a great uncle always seemed the height of incongruity."A little animal about as big as my hand. for my thoughts and feelings were those of a boy. There was a family of Carters in Virginia who claimed close relationship with me. It was indeed an incubator. crawling in. so low in fact that I was not even fit to polish the teeth of her grandmother's cat. I had not seen them for years. I thought. I had never known the true meaning of the word home. Then remounting we dashed back to join the cavalcade. I began to wonder what my people at home were doing. but the eggs were very small in comparison with those I had seen hatching in ours at the time of my arrival on Mars. and Lorquas Ptomel directed Tars Tarkas to investigate it. which the red Martian women keep to play with. or something of the kind equally foolish. About noon we espied far to our right what was evidently an incubator. Tars Tarkas dismounted and examined the enclosure minutely. I was supposed to be a great uncle. Two incidents broke the tediousness of the march. and we raced across the velvety carpeting of moss to the little enclosure. as I stood there under the moonlit skies of Barsoom. There was two little kiddies in the Carter family whom I had loved and who had thought there was no one on Earth like Uncle Jack." he exclaimed. for it sounded very much like "not fit to polish her shoes. By nature a wanderer." And then commenced a train of thought quite new to me. The work at the incubator was short indeed. including myself. 61 . The warriors tore open the entrance and a couple of them. and then my saving sense of humor came to my rescue.

my hatchet. This latter alternative is always permissible. the new-laid egg is but little larger than an ordinary goose egg. could bring forth such enormous eggs as I had seen the four-foot infants emerging from. and each time I side-stepped his rushes he would go lunging past me. I must admit that he was a magnificent swordsman. for I divided the day's work between them. I chose the same weapon he had drawn because I knew he prided himself upon his ability with it. large as they were. but I could not use firearms or a spear while he held only his long-sword. 62 . I did not need a manual of green Martian etiquette to know what reply to make. and been entirely within my rights. Zad first attempted to rush me down as a bull might a wolf. when Zad approached me. but. for. I was engaged in changing my riding cloths from one of my thoats to the other. but I could not obtain an opening to deliver an effective thrust. and fighting warily and with extreme dexterity. only to receive a nick from my sword upon his arm or back. He explained that the eggs had just been placed there. my dagger. Then he changed his tactics. As a matter of fact. or my fists had I wished. like all green Martian eggs. and as it does not commence to grow until subjected to the light of the sun the chieftains have little difficulty in transporting several hundreds of them at one time from the storage vaults to the incubators. but he stood waiting with drawn long-sword. in fact. and without a word struck my animal a terrific blow with his long-sword."I noticed that their eggs were so much smaller than those I saw hatching in your incubator. He was soon streaming blood from a half dozen minor wounds. therefore I could have used my shortsword. leaving a clear space about one hundred feet in diameter for our battle. This was indeed an interesting piece of information." I added. and had it not been for my greater endurance and the remarkable agility the lesser gravitation of Mars lent me I might not have been able to put up the creditable fight I did against him. and my only choice was to draw my own and meet him in fair fight with his choice of weapons or a lesser one. Shortly after the incident of the Warhoon eggs we halted to rest the animals. to do it with his own weapon. for it had always seemed remarkable to me that the green Martian women. but I was much too quick for him. if I worsted him at all. The fight that followed was a long one and delayed the resumption of the march for an hour. and I wished. I was so wild with anger that I could scarcely refrain from drawing my pistol and shooting him down for the brute he was. and it was during this halt that the second of the day's interesting episodes occurred. The entire community surrounded us. they would grow during the five-year period of incubation until they obtained the size of those I had seen hatching on the day of my arrival on Barsoom. he tried to do by science what he was unable to do by brute strength.

and I felt my knees giving beneath me. who lay stone dead upon the ochre moss of the ancient sea 63 . the last I saw was the great knife descending upon her shielding breast. I was only partially successful. too. and there I found it. just as he rushed me a blinding flash of light struck full in my eyes. but my mind was not upon the battle. evidently decided to close in and end the battle in a final blaze of glory for himself. for. whipped out her dagger and aimed a terrific blow at Dejah Thoris. Sarkoja. and how Sarkoja had found a way to kill me without herself delivering the final thrust. for it took my mind for the fraction of an instant entirely from my antagonist. and Sarkoja. as I soon learned. Then I knew what had blinded me at that crucial moment of the fight. needle-like swords flashing in the sunlight. My enemy had recovered from his thrust and was making it extremely interesting for me. sprang between them. determined that I would not die alone if I could prevent it. and then Sola. realizing that he was tiring more than I. CHAPTER XV SOLA TELLS ME HER STORY When consciousness returned. which almost lost my life for me then and there. something which flashed in the sunlight as it spun to the ground. for the purpose evidently of witnessing the encounter above the heads of the intervening Tharks. but in the sweep of my glance as I sought to again locate my adversary. Sola. feeling the sharp point of his sword at my breast in a thrust I could neither parry nor escape. the long. Another thing I saw. I was down but a moment. and. as Dejah Thoris struck the tiny mirror from her hand. her face livid with hatred and baffled rage. I sprang quickly to my feet searching for my sword. There were Dejah Thoris. Dejah Thoris turned upon Sarkoja with the fury of a young tigress and struck something from her upraised hand. I felt the steel tear into my chest. a sight met my astonished gaze which paid me well for the wound the temporary blindness had caused me. 'til suddenly. I threw myself upon him with outstretched sword and with all the weight of my body. straight. my head whirled in dizziness. As I looked. We rushed each other furiously time after time. so I reluctantly gave my attention to the work in hand. upon Dejah Thoris' chariot stood three figures. Finally Zad. and as my fleeting glance swept over them a little tableau was presented which will stand graven in my memory to the day of my death. and ringing out upon the stillness as they crashed together with each effective parry. all went black before me. as a sharp pain in my left shoulder attested.We circled for some time without doing much damage on either side. our dear and faithful Sola. There. so that I could not see his approach and could only leap blindly to one side in an effort to escape the mighty blade that it seemed I could already feel in my vitals. buried to the hilt in the green breast of Zad.

As I approached I found Dejah Thoris lying prone upon her silks and furs. except for weakness from loss of blood and a little soreness around the wound. other than Dejah Thoris. one wept from sorrow. but apparently little the worse for her encounter with Sarkoja. I have seen but two people weep in all my life. "she thinks that you are dead. "No. sick. inflicting a painful but not dangerous wound. "I do not understand either her ways or yours. but they are just. applying the wonderful healing and remedial agents which make only the most instantaneous of death blows fatal. the other from baffled rage. and turning my back upon his ugly carcass. Bleeding and weak I reached my women. but I am sure the granddaughter of ten thousand jeddaks would never grieve like this over any who held but the highest claim upon her affections. As I regained my full senses I found his weapon piercing my left breast. as are all Barsoomians. who." she continued. thus deflected. They are a proud race. but I cared not for it. Give a Martian woman a chance and death must take a back seat. though she mourns you dead. "Is she injured?" I asked of Sola. The first was my mother.bottom. I suffered no great distress from this thrust which. "Tears are a strange sight upon Barsoom. "and so it is difficult for me to interpret them. Removing the blade from my body I also regained my own. where I found my poor Sola with her chest swathed in bandages. and disgusted. As I had lunged I had turned so that his sword merely passed beneath the muscles. but only through the flesh and muscles which cover my ribs. They soon had me patched up so that. indicating Dejah Thoris by an inclination of my head. under earthly treatment. As soon as they were through with me I hastened to the chariot of Dejah Thoris. her lithe form wracked with sobs. nor did she hear me speaking with Sola. whose dagger it seemed had struck the edge of one of Sola's metal breast ornaments and. entering near the center of my chest and coming out below the shoulder. 64 . and you must have hurt or wronged her grievously that she will not admit your existence living. who was standing a short distance from the vehicle." she answered. accustomed to such happenings. A murmur of Martian applause greeted me. sore." "And that her grandmother's cat may now have no one to polish its teeth?" I queried. toward the chariots which bore my retinue and my belongings. had inflicted but a slight flesh wound. dressed my wounds. John Carter. smiling. undoubtedly would have put me flat on my back for days. I moved." said Sola. She did not notice my presence. "I think you wrong her.

" Sola mounted the chariot. I shall not force myself upon her. And now the signal has been given to resume the march. except when the stillness was broken by the guttural growling of a goaded zitidar. preceded by an advance guard of some two hundred mounted warriors and chieftains riding five abreast and one hundred yards apart. when they dragged her from me today.years ago before they killed her. and I will tell you that of which I have never spoken in all my life before. The enormous broad tires of the chariots and the padded feet of the animals brought forth no sound from the moss-covered sea bottom. "Be sure to tell Dejah Thoris I am alive and well. We made a most imposing and awe-inspiring spectacle as we strung out across the yellow landscape. We might indeed have been the wraiths of the departed dead upon the dead sea of that dying planet for all the sound or sign we made in passing." she added. It was the first march of a large body of men and animals I had ever witnessed which raised no dust and left no spoor. or heavy draught animals. for there is no dust upon Mars except in the cultivated districts during the winter months. like some huge phantasmagoria. rose up again behind us. and followed by a like number in the same formation. 65 . The gleaming metal and jewels of the gorgeous ornaments of the men and women. The green Martians converse but little. low and like the faint rumbling of distant thunder. the two hundred and fifty ornate and brightly colored chariots. "If you would like to hear the strange and un-Barsoomian story come to the chariot tonight. leaving no sign that we had passed. John Carter." I promised." "But I did. And my father also. Sola." "I will come tonight. child. duplicated in the trappings of the zitidars and thoats. and then usually in monosyllables. and even then the absence of high winds renders it almost unnoticeable." "Your mother!" I exclaimed. bending to the pressure of broad tire or padded foot. and interspersed with the flashing colors of magnificent silks and furs and feathers. with a score or more of flankers on either side. Sola. If she would speak with me I but await her command. or the squealing of fighting thoats. We traversed a trackless waste of moss which. and be sure that you do not let her know I saw her tears. which was swinging into its place in line. and I hastened to my waiting thoat and galloped to my station beside Tars Tarkas at the rear of the column. the fifty extra mastodons. you could not have known your mother. "but. you must go. lent a barbaric splendor to the caravan which would have turned an East Indian potentate green with envy. and the five or six hundred extra thoats of the warriors running loose within the hollow square formed by the surrounding warriors. the other was Sarkoja. known as zitidars. and so we moved in utter silence.

"I promised to tell you my story. as was now quite evident to both. not since shortly after leaving Thark. he told me. but. holds in its tiny stems sufficient moisture to meet the limited demands of the animals. She looked up at my approach. and which. She. while her lover was a simple warrior. 66 .We camped that night at the foot of the hills we had been approaching for two days and which marked the southern boundary of this particular sea. wearing only his own metal. Once each year my mother visited it for the five long years it lay there in the process of incubation. From what I have learned of you and the ways of your people I am sure that the tale will not seem strange to you. as our chieftains breed principally for size. Mine own people do not care for me. "My mother was rather small. "Dejah Thoris sleeps and I am lonely. they talked about themselves. as Tars Tarkas explained to me. It is a sad fate. They spoke at first only of such things as interest a community of Tharks. since I must live my life amongst them. nor do our legends hold many similar tales. She trusted him and told him of the awful repugnance she felt for the cruelties of their kind. "They kept their love a secret for six long years. my mother. her face lighting with pleasure and with welcome. their likes. hard lips. whose duty it was to guard the feeding zitidars and thoats and see that they roamed not beyond the hills." she said. but I have known love and so I am lost. she often roamed the deserted avenues of Thark alone. "I am glad you came. and then she waited for the storm of denunciation to break from his cold. John Carter. and. nor had they had water for nearly two months. "The egg from which I came was hidden beneath a great glass vessel upon the highest and most inaccessible of the partially ruined towers of ancient Thark. as they came to meet more often. but among green Martians it has no parallel within the memory of the oldest living Thark. in fact too small to be allowed the responsibilities of maternity. or went and sat among the wild flowers that deck the nearby hills. After partaking of my evening meal of cheese-like food and vegetable milk I sought out Sola. but instead he took her in his arms and kissed her. for am I not the child of my mother? "And there among the hills she met a young warrior. they require but little and can live almost indefinitely upon the moss which covers Barsoom. She was also less cold and cruel than most green Martian women. I am too unlike them. loveless lives they must ever lead. was of the retinue of the great Tal Hajus. for the hideous. whom I found working by the light of a torch upon some of Tars Tarkas' trappings. and caring little for their society. Our animals had been two days without drink. but gradually. their ambitions and their hopes. or rather the story of my parents. Had their defection from the traditions of the Tharks been discovered both would have paid the penalty in the great arena before Tal Hajus and the assembled hordes. and I often wish that I were a true green Martian woman. no longer by chance. thinking thoughts and wishing wishes which I believe I alone among Tharkian women today may understand. without love and without hope.

and that she had suspected something wrong from my mother's long nightly absences from her quarters accounted for her presence there on that fateful night. for in the mighty guilt of her conscience she feared that her every move was watched. and thus escape the fate which would surely follow discovery of her sin against the ancient traditions of the green men. This was apparent from her repeated demands upon my mother to disclose the name of her partner in sin.She dared not come oftener. During this period my father gained great distinction as a warrior and had taken the metal from several chieftains. and he soon stood high in the councils of Thark. visiting me nightly and lavishing upon me the love the community life would have robbed us both of. nor did she know. be free to claim her as his own. nor by any sign to divulge in the presence of others my affection for her. "She taught me rapidly the language and customs of my kind. His love for my mother had never diminished. her gleaming. "One thing she had not heard. for he was ordered away upon a long expedition to the ice-clad south. for about a year after his departure. as well as. and thus. the egg had hatched. and then drawing me close to her she whispered in my ear the name of my father. "And then a light flashed out upon the darkness of the tower chamber. and his own ambition in life was to reach a point where he might wrest the metal from Tal Hajus himself. and when he returned all had been over for three. Thereafter my mother continued to keep me in the old tower. and to save me from needless torture she lied. and shortly before the time for the return of an expedition which had gone forth to fetch the fruits of a community incubator. as ruler of the Tharks. upon the return of the expedition from the incubator. but no amount of abuse or threats could wring this from her. for she told Sarkoja that she alone knew nor would she even tell her child. and there stood Sarkoja. She hoped. by the might of his power. "It was a wild dream. and one night she told me the story I have told to you up to this point. "He was gone for four years. that of wresting the metal from Tal Hajus in five short years. 67 . protect the child which otherwise would be quickly dispatched should the truth become known. to mix me with the other young assigned to the quarters of Tal Hajus. The torrent of hatred and abuse she poured out upon her turned my young heart cold in terror. he does not labor for what he can wrest in battle from others. in so far as it could come in time to save his loved ones. baleful eyes fixed in a frenzy of loathing and contempt upon my mother. but his advance was rapid. or my knowledge of my parentage. to make war upon the natives there and despoil them of their furs. for such is the manner of the green Barsoomian. the whispered name of my father. That she had heard the entire story was apparent. impressing upon me the necessity for absolute secrecy and the great caution I must exercise after she had placed me with the other young Tharks to permit no one to guess that I was further advanced in education than they. But one day the chance was lost forever.

in the direction which led to the far south. Sarkoja hastened away to Tal Hajus to report her discovery. but she remained steadfast and loyal. and I feel to this day that she suspects my true origin. We were herded together into a great room. but does not dare expose me. from the direction of the only pass through the hills which led to the gates. nor was it likely we would ever look upon each other's face again. descended to the streets and ran wildly away toward the outskirts of the city. She was imprisoned by Tal Hajus. "She knew. dying at last amidst the laughter of Tal Hajus and his chieftains during some awful torture she was undergoing. straining me to her bosom in a frenzy of love. I am sure. because she also guesses. Sarkoja alone disbelieved her. The sounds we heard were the squealing of thoats and the grumbling of zitidars. at the present. whose guardians during the journey were now free to relinquish their responsibility. wrapping me in the silks and furs of her night coverings. but on whose face she wished to look once more before she died. and the next day we were parceled out among the retinues of the chieftains. and while she was gone my mother. so that I was scarcely noticeable. and that she had thrown my body to the white apes. and every effort."With final imprecations. at all events. and from her hiding place saw that the expedition was not that of my father. but the returning caravan bearing the young Tharks. but the cunning of the Thark held her from headlong and precipitate flight to greet him. "I never saw my mother after that night. In the confusion of the plaza she mixed me with the other children. "When he returned from his expedition and learned the story of my mother's fate I was present as Tal Hajus told him. Instantly her plan was formed. the pass by which caravans from either north or south or east or west would enter the city. As the head of the procession passed us the lesser moon swung clear of the overhanging roofs and lit up the scene with all the brilliancy of her wondrous light. out toward the man whose protection she might not claim. with the occasional clank of arms which announced the approach of a body of warriors. that never again after that night would she hold me to her breast. but never by the quiver of a muscle did he betray the 68 . "As we neared the city's southern extremity a sound came to us from across the mossy flat. was brought to bear upon her to wring from her lips the name of my father. the identity of my father. The thought uppermost in her mind was that it was my father returned from his expedition. fed by women who had not accompanied the expedition. "Retreating into the shadows of a doorway she awaited the coming of the cavalcade which shortly entered the avenue. crouching low in the shadow of the high side. what I did not. My mother shrank further back into the friendly shadows. and as a great chariot swung close to our hiding place she slipped stealthily in upon the trailing tailboard. breaking its formation and thronging the thoroughfare from wall to wall. "I learned afterwards that she told them that she had killed me to save me from a like fate at their hands. including the most horrible and shameful torture.

" We sat silent for a few moments. From that moment on he was the cruelest of the cruel. I am going to tell you the name of my father. nor place any restrictions or conditions upon your tongue. mostly smaller than Korad. "but he does not know me for what I am. When the time comes. Presently she spoke. John Carter. I trust you because I know that you are not cursed with the terrible trait of absolute and unswerving truthfulness. when we would slowly approach the cultivated tract. nor does he know who betrayed my mother to Tal Hajus. speak the truth if it seems best to you. locating one of the numerous. so-called by our earthly astronomers. Sola. I alone know my father's name. It required five hours to make one of these crossings without a single halt. creep silently and stealthily across to the arid lands upon the other side. and I am awaiting the day when he shall win the goal of his ambition. My father's name is Tars Tarkas. as I am that we sit here upon the edge of a world-old ocean while sensible people sleep. dead bosom of Barsoom you are one." "And your father. and the other 69 . I know that I can trust you. that you could lie like one of your own Virginia gentlemen if a lie would save others from sorrow or suffering. When we approached these points a warrior would be sent far ahead with a powerful field glass. she wrapped in the gloomy thoughts of her terrible past. only he did not laugh as Tal Hajus gleefully described her death struggles. "John Carter. senseless customs of their race had doomed to loveless lives of cruelty and of hate.slightest emotion. and only I and Tal Hajus and Sarkoja know that it was she who carried the tale that brought death and torture upon her he loved. "Yes. if ever a real man walked the cold. We were twenty days upon the road. is he with us now?" I asked. crossing two sea bottoms and passing through or around a number of ruined cities. and." CHAPTER XVI WE PLAN ESCAPE The remainder of our journey to Thark was uneventful. broad highways which cross these areas at regular intervals. and I in pity for the poor creatures whom the heartless. or canals. and that his great love is as strong in his breast as when it first transfigured him nearly forty years ago. and feel the carcass of Tal Hajus beneath his foot. and if no great body of red Martian troops was in sight we would advance as close as possible without chance of being seen and then camp until dark. Twice we crossed the famous Martian waterways. and because the knowledge may someday help you or him or Dejah Thoris or myself." she replied. for I am as sure that he but waits the opportunity to wreak a terrible vengeance.

My home now was upon an avenue leading into the plaza from the south. and Dejah Thoris and I were the centers of inquiring groups. except as the nearer moon. Jeddak of Thark. the main artery down which we had marched from the 70 . We made our entry into the great central plaza early in the afternoon. Just thirty days after my advent upon Barsoom we entered the ancient city of Thark. and they announced their presence by terrified squealings and snortings as they scented our queer. so that we were just leaving the confines of the high-walled fields when the sun broke out upon us. The hordes of Thark number some thirty thousand souls. We were soon assigned to new quarters. in her wild and ceaseless hurtling through the Barsoomian heavens. The Tharks paid him not the slightest attention. Not once did I have speech with Dejah Thoris. sits hiding in the shadows like some frightened child. and my foolish pride kept me from making any advances. while the fighting man who can face a thousand real dangers unafraid. methodically arranged. wild beasts and wilder human beings. there were animals in some of the enclosures. and that was at the intersection of our crossroad with the wide. Crossing in the darkness. The fellow must have been sleeping beside the road.consumed the entire night. and the only sign that I had that they had seen him was a quickening of the pace of the caravan as we hastened toward the bordering desert which marked our entrance into the realm of Tal Hajus. in the formal greeting of their kind. Those who chanced to be in sight spoke the names of warriors or women with whom they came in direct contact. as I came abreast of him. from whose long-forgotten people this horde of green men have stolen even their name. lit up little patches of the landscape from time to time. There were many trees. but when it was discovered that they brought two captives a greater interest was aroused. There were no enthusiastic friendly greetings for the returned expedition. presenting much the appearance of earthly farms. Each community has its own jed and lesser chieftains. I was unable to see but little. as she sent no word to me that I would be welcome at her chariot. as we did. scaling a nearby wall with the agility of a scared cat. and are divided into twenty-five communities. for. The weakling and the saphead have often great ability to charm the fair sex. they were not out upon the warpath. and the balance of the day was devoted to settling ourselves to the changed conditions. and the balance are scattered among other deserted cities of ancient Mars throughout the district claimed by Tal Hajus. Only once did I perceive a human being. Five communities make their headquarters at the city of Thark. rambling buildings. and some of them were of enormous height. white turnpike which cuts each cultivated district longitudinally at its exact center. I verily believe that a man's way with women is in inverse ratio to his prowess among men. but all are under the rule of Tal Hajus. disclosing walled fields and low. he raised upon one elbow and after a single glance at the approaching caravan leaped shrieking to his feet and fled madly down the road.

gates of the city. I was at the far end of the square and had an entire building to myself. The same grandeur of architecture which was so noticeable a characteristic of Korad was in evidence here, only, if that were possible, on a larger and richer scale. My quarters would have been suitable for housing the greatest of earthly emperors, but to these queer creatures nothing about a building appealed to them but its size and the enormity of its chambers; the larger the building, the more desirable; and so Tal Hajus occupied what must have been an enormous public building, the largest in the city, but entirely unfitted for residence purposes; the next largest was reserved for Lorquas Ptomel, the next for the jed of a lesser rank, and so on to the bottom of the list of five jeds. The warriors occupied the buildings with the chieftains to whose retinues they belonged; or, if they preferred, sought shelter among any of the thousands of untenanted buildings in their own quarter of town; each community being assigned a certain section of the city. The selection of building had to be made in accordance with these divisions, except in so far as the jeds were concerned, they all occupying edifices which fronted upon the plaza. When I had finally put my house in order, or rather seen that it had been done, it was nearing sunset, and I hastened out with the intention of locating Sola and her charges, as I had determined upon having speech with Dejah Thoris and trying to impress on her the necessity of our at least patching up a truce until I could find some way of aiding her to escape. I searched in vain until the upper rim of the great red sun was just disappearing behind the horizon and then I spied the ugly head of Woola peering from a second-story window on the opposite side of the very street where I was quartered, but nearer the plaza. Without waiting for a further invitation I bolted up the winding runway which led to the second floor, and entering a great chamber at the front of the building was greeted by the frenzied Woola, who threw his great carcass upon me, nearly hurling me to the floor; the poor old fellow was so glad to see me that I thought he would devour me, his head split from ear to ear, showing his three rows of tusks in his hobgoblin smile. Quieting him with a word of command and a caress, I looked hurriedly through the approaching gloom for a sign of Dejah Thoris, and then, not seeing her, I called her name. There was an answering murmur from the far corner of the apartment, and with a couple of quick strides I was standing beside her where she crouched among the furs and silks upon an ancient carved wooden seat. As I waited she rose to her full height and looking me straight in the eye said: "What would Dotar Sojat, Thark, of Dejah Thoris his captive?" "Dejah Thoris, I do not know how I have angered you. It was furtherest from my desire to hurt or offend you, whom I had hoped to protect and comfort. Have none of me if it is your will, but that you must aid me in effecting your escape, if such a thing be possible, is not my request, but my command. When you are safe once more at your father's court you may do with me as you please, but from now on until that day I am your master, and you must obey and aid me."

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She looked at me long and earnestly and I thought that she was softening toward me. "I understand your words, Dotar Sojat," she replied, "but you I do not understand. You are a queer mixture of child and man, of brute and noble. I only wish that I might read your heart." "Look down at your feet, Dejah Thoris; it lies there now where it has lain since that other night at Korad, and where it will ever lie beating alone for you until death stills it forever." She took a little step toward me, her beautiful hands outstretched in a strange, groping gesture. "What do you mean, John Carter?" she whispered. "What are you saying to me?" "I am saying what I had promised myself that I would not say to you, at least until you were no longer a captive among the green men; what from your attitude toward me for the past twenty days I had thought never to say to you; I am saying, Dejah Thoris, that I am yours, body and soul, to serve you, to fight for you, and to die for you. Only one thing I ask of you in return, and that is that you make no sign, either of condemnation or of approbation of my words until you are safe among your own people, and that whatever sentiments you harbor toward me they be not influenced or colored by gratitude; whatever I may do to serve you will be prompted solely from selfish motives, since it gives me more pleasure to serve you than not." "I will respect your wishes, John Carter, because I understand the motives which prompt them, and I accept your service no more willingly than I bow to your authority; your word shall be my law. I have twice wronged you in my thoughts and again I ask your forgiveness." Further conversation of a personal nature was prevented by the entrance of Sola, who was much agitated and wholly unlike her usual calm and possessed self. "That horrible Sarkoja has been before Tal Hajus," she cried, "and from what I heard upon the plaza there is little hope for either of you." "What do they say?" inquired Dejah Thoris. "That you will be thrown to the wild calots [dogs] in the great arena as soon as the hordes have assembled for the yearly games." "Sola," I said, "you are a Thark, but you hate and loathe the customs of your people as much as we do. Will you not accompany us in one supreme effort to escape? I am sure that Dejah Thoris can offer you a home and protection among her people, and your fate can be no worse among them than it must ever be here." 72

"Yes," cried Dejah Thoris, "come with us, Sola, you will be better off among the red men of Helium than you are here, and I can promise you not only a home with us, but the love and affection your nature craves and which must always be denied you by the customs of your own race. Come with us, Sola; we might go without you, but your fate would be terrible if they thought you had connived to aid us. I know that even that fear would not tempt you to interfere in our escape, but we want you with us, we want you to come to a land of sunshine and happiness, amongst a people who know the meaning of love, of sympathy, and of gratitude. Say that you will, Sola; tell me that you will." "The great waterway which leads to Helium is but fifty miles to the south," murmured Sola, half to herself; "a swift thoat might make it in three hours; and then to Helium it is five hundred miles, most of the way through thinly settled districts. They would know and they would follow us. We might hide among the great trees for a time, but the chances are small indeed for escape. They would follow us to the very gates of Helium, and they would take toll of life at every step; you do not know them." "Is there no other way we might reach Helium?" I asked. "Can you not draw me a rough map of the country we must traverse, Dejah Thoris?" "Yes," she replied, and taking a great diamond from her hair she drew upon the marble floor the first map of Barsoomian territory I had ever seen. It was crisscrossed in every direction with long straight lines, sometimes running parallel and sometimes converging toward some great circle. The lines, she said, were waterways; the circles, cities; and one far to the northwest of us she pointed out as Helium. There were other cities closer, but she said she feared to enter many of them, as they were not all friendly toward Helium. Finally, after studying the map carefully in the moonlight which now flooded the room, I pointed out a waterway far to the north of us which also seemed to lead to Helium. "Does not this pierce your grandfather's territory?" I asked. "Yes," she answered, "but it is two hundred miles north of us; it is one of the waterways we crossed on the trip to Thark." "They would never suspect that we would try for that distant waterway," I answered, "and that is why I think that it is the best route for our escape." Sola agreed with me, and it was decided that we should leave Thark this same night; just as quickly, in fact, as I could find and saddle my thoats. Sola was to ride one and Dejah Thoris and I the other; each of us carrying sufficient food and drink to last us for two days, since the animals could not be urged too rapidly for so long a distance. I directed Sola to proceed with Dejah Thoris along one of the less frequented avenues to the southern boundary of the city, where I would overtake them with the 73

thoats as quickly as possible; then, leaving them to gather what food, silks, and furs we were to need, I slipped quietly to the rear of the first floor, and entered the courtyard, where our animals were moving restlessly about, as was their habit, before settling down for the night. In the shadows of the buildings and out beneath the radiance of the Martian moons moved the great herd of thoats and zitidars, the latter grunting their low gutturals and the former occasionally emitting the sharp squeal which denotes the almost habitual state of rage in which these creatures passed their existence. They were quieter now, owing to the absence of man, but as they scented me they became more restless and their hideous noise increased. It was risky business, this entering a paddock of thoats alone and at night; first, because their increasing noisiness might warn the nearby warriors that something was amiss, and also because for the slightest cause, or for no cause at all some great bull thoat might take it upon himself to lead a charge upon me. Having no desire to awaken their nasty tempers upon such a night as this, where so much depended upon secrecy and dispatch, I hugged the shadows of the buildings, ready at an instant's warning to leap into the safety of a nearby door or window. Thus I moved silently to the great gates which opened upon the street at the back of the court, and as I neared the exit I called softly to my two animals. How I thanked the kind providence which had given me the foresight to win the love and confidence of these wild dumb brutes, for presently from the far side of the court I saw two huge bulks forcing their way toward me through the surging mountains of flesh. They came quite close to me, rubbing their muzzles against my body and nosing for the bits of food it was always my practice to reward them with. Opening the gates I ordered the two great beasts to pass out, and then slipping quietly after them I closed the portals behind me. I did not saddle or mount the animals there, but instead walked quietly in the shadows of the buildings toward an unfrequented avenue which led toward the point I had arranged to meet Dejah Thoris and Sola. With the noiselessness of disembodied spirits we moved stealthily along the deserted streets, but not until we were within sight of the plain beyond the city did I commence to breathe freely. I was sure that Sola and Dejah Thoris would find no difficulty in reaching our rendezvous undetected, but with my great thoats I was not so sure for myself, as it was quite unusual for warriors to leave the city after dark; in fact there was no place for them to go within any but a long ride. I reached the appointed meeting place safely, but as Dejah Thoris and Sola were not there I led my animals into the entrance hall of one of the large buildings. Presuming that one of the other women of the same household may have come in to speak to Sola, and so delayed their departure, I did not feel any undue apprehension until nearly an hour had passed without a sign of them, and by the time another half hour had crawled away I was becoming filled with grave anxiety. Then there broke upon the stillness of the night the sound of an approaching party, which, from the noise, I knew could be no fugitives creeping stealthily toward liberty. Soon the party was near me, and from the black 74

shadows of my entranceway I perceived a score of mounted warriors, who, in passing, dropped a dozen words that fetched my heart clean into the top of my head. "He would likely have arranged to meet them just without the city, and so—" I heard no more, they had passed on; but it was enough. Our plan had been discovered, and the chances for escape from now on to the fearful end would be small indeed. My one hope now was to return undetected to the quarters of Dejah Thoris and learn what fate had overtaken her, but how to do it with these great monstrous thoats upon my hands, now that the city probably was aroused by the knowledge of my escape was a problem of no mean proportions. Suddenly an idea occurred to me, and acting on my knowledge of the construction of the buildings of these ancient Martian cities with a hollow court within the center of each square, I groped my way blindly through the dark chambers, calling the great thoats after me. They had difficulty in negotiating some of the doorways, but as the buildings fronting the city's principal exposures were all designed upon a magnificent scale, they were able to wriggle through without sticking fast; and thus we finally made the inner court where I found, as I had expected, the usual carpet of moss-like vegetation which would prove their food and drink until I could return them to their own enclosure. That they would be as quiet and contented here as elsewhere I was confident, nor was there but the remotest possibility that they would be discovered, as the green men had no great desire to enter these outlying buildings, which were frequented by the only thing, I believe, which caused them the sensation of fear—the great white apes of Barsoom. Removing the saddle trappings, I hid them just within the rear doorway of the building through which we had entered the court, and, turning the beasts loose, quickly made my way across the court to the rear of the buildings upon the further side, and thence to the avenue beyond. Waiting in the doorway of the building until I was assured that no one was approaching, I hurried across to the opposite side and through the first doorway to the court beyond; thus, crossing through court after court with only the slight chance of detection which the necessary crossing of the avenues entailed, I made my way in safety to the courtyard in the rear of Dejah Thoris' quarters. Here, of course, I found the beasts of the warriors who quartered in the adjacent buildings, and the warriors themselves I might expect to meet within if I entered; but, fortunately for me, I had another and safer method of reaching the upper story where Dejah Thoris should be found, and, after first determining as nearly as possible which of the buildings she occupied, for I had never observed them before from the court side, I took advantage of my relatively great strength and agility and sprang upward until I grasped the sill of a second-story window which I thought to be in the rear of her apartment. Drawing myself inside the room I moved stealthily toward the front of the building, and not until I had quite reached the doorway of her room was I made aware by voices that it was occupied. I did not rush headlong in, but listened without to assure myself that it was Dejah Thoris and that it was safe to venture within. It was well indeed that I took this 75

He had all the cold. and the words which finally came to me proved a most timely warning. and crossing the square and the bordering avenue upon the opposite side I soon stood within the courtyard of Tal Hajus. "as he surely will when he finds she does not meet him at the city's edge. for the conversation I heard was in the low gutturals of men. nor permit any other to enter this apartment before he comes. and stealing quietly away I returned to the courtyard by the way I had come. and at one end was a great raised platform upon which squatted the most hideous beast I had ever put my eyes upon. for the rear rooms bordering the court were filled with warriors and women. Fortunately the room I had selected was untenanted. and so decided to make my entrance to the building from that point. you four are to spring upon him and disarm him. warriors and women. There will be no danger of the girl returning. My plan of action was formed upon the instant. I soon discovered that my approach was not to be the easy thing I had hoped." he was saying. and advancing to the windows I peered within. but accentuated and debased by the animal passions to which he had given himself over for many years. The brilliantly lighted apartments of the first floor told me where first to seek. but I needed to wait no longer. high above my head. and if you fail to capture him when he comes. hard. "And when he returns to this chamber. When you have him fast bound bear him to the vaults beneath the jeddak's quarters and chain him securely where he may be found when Tal Hajus wishes him. terrible features of the green warriors. to the dome-like roof of the building. There was not a mark of dignity or pride upon his bestial countenance. for Tal Hajus will have none. Reaching what appeared to be a doorway I discovered that it was but an opening upon an immense inner chamber which towered from the first floor. the great Sarkoja has done a noble night's work. Allow him to speak with none. two stories below me. I go. The speaker was a chieftain and he was giving orders to four of his warriors." CHAPTER XVII A COSTLY RECAPTURE As the speaker ceased he turned to leave the apartment by the door where I was standing. while his enormous bulk spread 76 . The floor of this great circular hall was thronged with chieftains. and may all her ancestors have pity upon her. and creeping noiselessly to the corridor beyond I discovered a light in the apartments ahead of me. I had heard enough to fill my soul with dread. It will require the combined strength of all of you to do it if the reports they bring back from Korad are correct. and soon I had drawn myself within the sheltering shadows of the unlighted third floor. I then glanced up at the stories above.precaution. cruel. I commend your carcasses to the cold bosom of Iss. discovering that the third was apparently unlighted. It was the work of but a moment for me to reach the windows above. for by this time she is safe in the arms of Tal Hajus.

As I reached the floor Tal Hajus was speaking. One chieftain alone had hesitated before departing. she was the mightiest figure among them and I verily believe that they felt it. it shall be long drawn out. ten days of pleasure were all too short to show the love I harbor for your race. taking my station in the shadow of the same column that Tars Tarkas had but just deserted. but a thousand times rather would I watch that beautiful face writhe in the agony of torture. so frail beside the towering warriors around her. not knowing that he left his own daughter at the mercy of the creature he most loathed. his fingers nervously toying with the hilt of his great-sword and his cruel eyes bent in implacable hatred upon Tal Hajus. but I could not hear what she said. nor could I make out the low grumbling of his reply. He was thinking of that other woman who. and I. half fearing. half anticipating his intentions. "Princess of Helium. But the sight that froze me with apprehension was that of Dejah Thoris and Sola standing there before him. the warriors and the women melted away into the shadows of the surrounding chambers. come!" 77 . hurried to the winding runway which led to the floors below. had stood before this beast. and that the prisoners be left alone before him. Tal Hajus arose. but finally he also strode from the room. Jeddak of Helium. precious little body. and I could read his thoughts as they were an open book for the undisguised loathing upon his face. Tomorrow the torture will commence. that he may grovel upon the ground in the agony of his sorrow. I might wring a mighty ransom from your people would I but return you to them unharmed. She was indeed the proud daughter of a thousand jeddaks. that I promise you. and I reached the main floor of the chamber unobserved. The terrors of your death shall haunt the slumbers of the red men through all the ages to come. and Dejah Thoris and Sola stood alone before the jeddak of the Tharks. She was speaking. tonight thou art Tal Hajus'. and even at the distance I was from them I could read the scorn and disgust upon her face as she let her haughty glance rest without sign of fear upon him. It was Tars Tarkas. her head high held. and the fiendish leer of him as he let his great protruding eyes gloat upon the lines of her beautiful figure. She stood there erect before him. every inch of her dear. Presently Tal Hajus made a sign that the chamber be cleared. your grandfather. his six limbs accentuating the similarity in a horrible and startling manner. and could I have spoken a word into his ear at that moment the reign of Tal Hajus would have been over. I saw him standing in the shadows of a mighty column.itself out upon the platform where he squatted like some huge devil fish. but in her majesty dwarfing them into insignificance. But before the torture you shall be mine for one short hour. and word of that too shall go forth to Tardos Mors. so small. Slowly the chieftains. forty years ago. No one was near to intercept me. of the power and might and hate and cruelty of Tal Hajus. they will shudder in the shadows of the night as their fathers tell them of the awful vengeance of the green men.

moonlit moss. but instead reached to my side and pressed the little fingers of her I loved where they clung to me for support. Unseen we reached a rear window and with the straps and leather of my trappings I lowered. weary years. first Sola and then Dejah Thoris to the ground below. and placing the trappings upon them we hastened through the building to the avenue beyond. and so. instead." I did not answer. with all my rage. we rode from the city of Thark through the hills to the south. greater than she can ever pay you. sharp and gleaming was in my right hand. Instead of circling back around the city to the northwest and toward the nearest waterway which lay so short a distance from us. but I could hear the quiet sobbing of Dejah Thoris as she clung to me with her dear head resting against my shoulder. For my part I could not be other than joyful had I tried. We finally came upon my thoats in the courtyard where I had left them. each of us occupied with his own thoughts. "the debt is no less. in unbroken silence. "If we make it. the debt of Helium will be a mighty one. 78 . but scarcely had he touched her than I leaped between them. and motioning Sola to follow we sped noiselessly from the chamber and to the floor above. and thus we returned over the same course I had so recently followed from the distant boundary of the city. We therefore urged our beasts to a speed that must tell on them sorely before we could hope to sight the ending of the first stage of our journey. lay another main artery leading to Helium. for you have saved the last of our line from worse than death. we sped over the yellow. I swung my good right fist full upon the point of his jaw." she continued. and Dejah Thoris behind me upon the other. Mounting. My short-sword. I could have plunged it into his putrid heart before he realized that I was upon him. Without a sound he slipped to the floor as one dead. with all my hatred. I could not rob him of that sweet moment for which he had lived and hoped all these long. Sola upon one beast. for two hundred dangerous and weary miles. and with all our unpassed danger my heart was singing as gaily as though we were already entering the gates of Helium. though Helium will never know. Dropping lightly after them I drew them rapidly around the court in the shadows of the buildings. and should we not make it. my chieftain. Our earlier plans had been so sadly upset that we now found ourselves without food or drink. and. In the same deathly silence I grasped Dejah Thoris by the hand. and I alone was armed. but as I raised my arm to strike I thought of Tars Tarkas.He sprang down from the platform and grasped her roughly by the arm. No word was spoken until we had left the city far behind. we turned to the northeast and struck out upon the mossy waste across which. with Dejah Thoris' warm body pressed close to mine. and then.

although we had not attempted to force them out of a walk since about noon of the preceding day. the faithful brute had followed us across that trackless waste to share our fate. cried out that she saw a great party of mounted men filing down from a pass in the hills several miles away. Sola and I walked. Far ahead of us and a trifle to the right we could distinguish the outlines of low mountains. making Dejah Thoris ride. Night fell upon us before we reached our goal. but which way it was difficult to say. the mark of the great waterways throughout all Barsoom. and so we lay down upon the moss and slept for some five or six hours. Relieving him of his trappings. and so I decided not to kill him. At any rate no waterway was in sight. presenting as small an object as possible for fear of attracting the attention of the warriors toward us. Suddenly he lurched wildly to one side and pitched violently to the ground. We had gone scarcely a mile when I noticed that my thoat was commencing to stumble and stagger in a most pitiful manner. and we breathed a great sigh of relief that they were traveling in the opposite direction. late in the afternoon we had sighted no distant trees. I commanded the animal to lie down and we three did the same. and it was decided that we push on at once in an effort to gain the hills. They seemed to be headed in a southwesterly direction. Quickly lifting Dejah Thoris from the thoat. we left the poor fellow to his fate. Dejah Thoris and I were thrown clear of him and fell upon the soft moss with scarcely a jar. 79 . from her point of vantage upon the thoat. and the entire party was almost ready to drop from hunger. nor did it seem possible with the sun to guide us by day and the moons and stars by night. together with the rest would doubtless revive him. nor of the tears that came to my eyes as I thought of his love for me. almost fainting from weariness and weakness. we lay down and slept. nor am I ashamed that I did it. when it fell. the terrible truth flashed upon us—we were lost.We rode all night and all the following day with only a few short rests. not even being able to rise. and pushed on with the one thoat as best we could. thirst and fatigue. and opening my eyes with a start I beheld my blessed old Woola snuggling close to me. On the second night both we and our animals were completely fagged. and there. as I had thought it cruel to leave him alone there to die of hunger and thirst. All the following day we rode. although relieved of our weight. plainly discernible. which I flung down beside him. Sola and I both looked in the direction she indicated. were several hundred mounted warriors. These we decided to attempt to reach in the hope that from some ridge we might discern the missing waterway. much against her will. as was my first intention. but the poor beast was in a pitiable condition. Shortly after this Dejah Thoris and Sola awakened. They doubtless were Thark warriors who had been sent out to capture us. Putting my arms about his neck I pressed my cheek close to his. In this way we had progressed to within about a mile of the hills we were endeavoring to reach when Dejah Thoris. taking up the journey once more before daylight. Evidently we had circled. Sola told me that the coolness of the night. and. and when. I was awakened early in the morning by some huge body pressing close to mine. which would take them away from us. whatever it might be.

I knew that in the ravines and gullies they might find a temporary hiding place. to us a most providential ridge. Ah. and I can better escape them alone than could the three of us together. as an escape for themselves from the horrid death which recapture would surely mean. they scarcely could have failed to discover us. had they been in view for any great length of time. to our consternation. and I could feel the cold sweat start from every pore in my body. commanding the 80 . Dejah Thoris? Someone must hold these fellows off for a while. As his glass swung toward us our hearts stopped in our breasts. just for an instant. "Good-bye. "we may meet in Helium yet. I lifted Dejah Thoris in my arms and placed her upon the thoat behind Sola. as a last resort. Evidently he was a chieftain. There was but one slight chance and that we must take quickly. and then he lowered it and we could see him shout a command to the warriors who had passed from our sight behind the ridge. threw his small but powerful fieldglass to his eye and scanned the sea bottom in all directions.We could see them as they filed out of the pass. and. he halted and. "are you not coming with us?" "How may I. however. I have escaped from worse plights than this. gladly would I give up my life a thousand times could I only hear them once again. there was a sharp explosion as the missile reached its goal." she cried. Presently it swung full upon us and—stopped. Raising my strange Martian rifle to my shoulder I sighted and touched the button which controlled the trigger. As what proved to be the last warrior came into view from the pass. Sola! Dejah Thoris remains to die with the man she loves. Springing to my feet I urged the thoat to rise. before they were lost to view behind a friendly ridge. Forcing my two revolvers upon them as a slight means of protection. I picked her up bodily and tossed her to her seat behind Sola again. and the charging chieftain pitched backward from his flying mount. The tension on our nerves was near the breaking point. and pressing my lips to hers for the first time. saying with quiet dignity: "Fly. turned to Sola. and even though they died there of hunger and thirst it would be better so than that they fell into the hands of the Tharks. since. and I doubt if any of us breathed for the few moments he held us covered by his glass. for in certain marching formations among the green men a chieftain brings up the extreme rear of the column. but I could not then give even a second to the rapture of her sweet embrace. and directed Sola to take Dejah Thoris with her upon him and make a mighty effort to reach the hills before the green warriors were upon us." Those words are engraved upon my heart. instead he wheeled his thoat and came tearing madly in our direction." I whispered. "What. who had already mounted at my command." She sprang quickly from the thoat and. my princess." and I tried to smile as I lied. throwing her dear arms about my neck. He did not wait for them to join him.

and then a glance showing me that Dejah Thoris and Sola had disappeared among the hills. I fired until my rifle was empty and they were almost upon me. I beheld the green warriors mounting the ridge and looking for their chieftain. and I kept up a continuous stream of fire until I saw all of the warriors who had been first to return from behind the ridge either dead or scurrying to cover. They raced wildly after me until. and I went down beneath them to oblivion." replied the one so addressed. As I opened my eyes she turned to one of the warriors. CHAPTER XVIII CHAINED IN WARHOON It must have been several hours before I regained consciousness and I well remember the feeling of surprise which swept over me as I realized that I was not dead. My respite was short-lived however. I reeled beneath their blows which fell upon me in perfect torrents. and another hundred in the belt at my back. for soon the entire party. and started away in the direction opposite to that taken by Sola and her charge. and then. Turning." "'Tis well." 81 . but while it led them away from Dejah Thoris it did not distract their attention from endeavoring to capture me. "He will live. and although I drew my long-sword in an attempt to sell my life as dearly as possible. I sprang up. I had an even hundred rounds in the magazine of my rifle. it was granted those astonished warriors on that day long years ago. Dejah Thoris struggling to the last to free herself from Sola's grasp. I saw them borne away. and bending over me was an ancient and ugly female. finally. I was lying among a pile of sleeping silks and furs in the corner of a small room in which were several green warriors. all was black. numbering some thousand men. "he should render rare sport for the great games. and down I went sprawling upon the moss. As I looked up they were upon me. slapping the thoat upon the flank. throwing down my useless gun. lying flat upon my belly in the moss. it was soon over. racing madly toward me. my head swam. rising and approaching my couch.latter in peremptory tones to hold her there by force. In a moment they saw him. O Jed. but scarcely had they discovered me than I commenced firing. and then me. my foot struck a projecting piece of quartz. saying. If ever Martians had an exhibition of jumping. came charging into view.

with a mounted warrior on either side to prevent the beast from bolting. Dak Kova. and." replied the young ruler. was the object of the fierce and jealous hatred of his old lieutenant. My wounds gave me but little pain. who proved to be the jeddak of the hordes of Warhoon. Bar Comas. your jeddak. we rode forth at a furious pace in pursuit of the column. The jeddak. Strapped on either breast were human skulls and depending from these a number of dried human hands. I was immediately taken before the leader. if at all.And now as my eyes fell upon him. I was strapped securely to as wild and unmanageable a thoat as I had ever seen. the jed who had captured me. and I could not but note the almost studied efforts which the latter made to affront his superior. I saw that he was no Thark. would that Warhoon were ruled by a real jeddak rather than by a water-hearted weakling from whom even old Dak Kova could tear the metal with his bare hands!" 82 . His reference to the great games of which I had heard so much while among the Tharks convinced me that I had but jumped from purgatory into gehenna. Just before dark we reached the main body of troops shortly after they had made camp for the night. the jed ordered that we mount and ride after the main column. with emphasis and dignity. terribly scarred about the face and chest. who was comparatively young. He entirely omitted the usual formal salutation as we entered the presence of the jeddak. he was frightfully scarred. as well as to indicate their awful ferocity." "He will die as Bar Comas. and also decorated with the breastplate of human skulls and dried dead hands which seemed to mark all the greater warriors among the Warhoons. and so deftly had she bound and plastered the injuries. Like the jed who had brought me. Bar Comas. "I have brought a strange creature wearing the metal of a Thark whom it is my pleasure to have battle with a wild thoat at the great games. He was a huge fellow. "By the dead hands at my throat but he shall die. After a few more words with the female. during which she assured him that I was now fully fit to travel. and with one broken tusk and a missing ear. sees fit. so wonderfully and rapidly had the applications and injections of the female exercised their therapeutic powers. No maudlin weakness on your part shall save him. and as he pushed me roughly before the ruler he exclaimed in a loud and menacing voice. "If at all?" roared Dak Kova. which greatly transcends even that of the Tharks. for his ornaments and metal were not of that horde. O.

and only the most herculean efforts on the part of Dak Kova's females saved him from the fate he deserved. which was a raid upon a small Thark community in retaliation for the destruction of the incubator. sinuous bodies passed over me when I lay down. crawling things. until after the great games. I never before had seen two green Martian warriors battle with nature's weapons and the exhibition of animal ferocity which ensued was as fearful a thing as the most disordered imagination could picture. Bar Comas was stone dead. Bar Comas had much the better of the battle as he was stronger. Victor and vanquished rolled limp and lifeless upon the moss.Bar Comas eyed the defiant and insubordinate chieftain for an instant. and hurling himself at the body of his adversary he buried his single mighty tusk in Bar Comas' groin and with a last powerful effort ripped the young jeddak wide open the full length of his body. by custom. My introduction to these cruel and bloodthirsty people was but an index to the scenes I witnessed almost daily while with them. and in the darkness I occasionally caught glimpses of 83 . had not been moved from where it fell. or weeks. They tore at each others' eyes and ears with their hands and with their gleaming tusks repeatedly slashed and gored until both were cut fairly to ribbons from head to foot. They are a smaller horde than the Tharks but much more ferocious. fearless contempt and hate. turned back toward Warhoon. Not a day passed but that some members of the various Warhoon communities met in deadly combat. Three days later he walked without assistance to the body of Bar Comas which. The place was filled with creeping. The dead jeddak's hands and head were removed to be added to the ornaments of his conqueror. and then without drawing a weapon and without uttering a word he hurled himself at the throat of his defamer. and then his women cremated what remained. Food was brought me at intervals but owing to the utter darkness of the place I do not know whether I lay there days. or months. his expression one of haughty. the great tusk finally wedging in the bones of Bar Comas' jaw. It soon seemed that the encounter was done saving only the final death thrust when Bar Comas slipped in breaking away from a clinch. cold. It was the most horrible experience of all my life and that my mind did not give way to the terrors of that inky blackness has been a wonder to me ever since. ten thousand in number. I have seen as high as eight mortal duels within a single day. It was the one little opening that Dak Kova needed. We reached the city of Warhoon after some three days march and I was immediately cast into a dungeon and heavily chained to the floor and walls. a huge mass of torn and bloody flesh. quicker and more intelligent. amid wild and terrible laughter. and the entire body of warriors. The injuries to Dak Kova had delayed the march so greatly that it was decided to give up the expedition. and placing his foot upon the neck of his erstwhile ruler he assumed the title of Jeddak of Warhoon.

Presently they came in contact with a small chain at the end of which dangled a number of keys. fiery eyes. fixed in horrible intentness upon me. for months. and stealthily on came the awful eyes until they reached the dead body at my feet. Back into my corner I crouched holding my hands palms out.gleaming. 84 . with the cunning of a madman. although I at first bombarded him with questions. As I was groping to remove the chain from about my victim's neck I glanced up into the darkness to see six pairs of gleaming eyes fixed. I backed into the far corner of my cell when next I heard him approaching and gathering a little slack of the great chain which held me in my hand I waited his coming. So. CHAPTER XIX BATTLING IN THE ARENA Slowly I regained my composure and finally essayed again to attempt to remove the keys from the dead body of my former jailer. but a sane. No longer was I a jibbering idiot. But as I reached out into the darkness to locate it I found to my horror that it was gone. before me. Without a sound he slipped to the floor. I had noticed that he always advanced with his dim torch to where he could place the food within my reach and as he stooped to place it upon the floor his head was about on a level with my breast. No sound reached me from the world above and no word would my jailer vouchsafe when my food was brought to me. unwinking. Then slowly they retreated but this time with a strange grating sound and finally they disappeared in some black and distant recess of my dungeon. Slowly they approached and slowly I shrank back from the awful horror of them. for weeks. crouching like some beast of prey. Laughing and chattering like the idiot I was fast becoming I fell upon his prostrate form my fingers feeling for his dead throat. As he stooped to place my food upon the ground I swung the chain above my head and crashed the links with all my strength upon his skull. Then the truth flashed on me. Finally all the hatred and maniacal loathing for these awful creatures who had placed me in this horrible place was centered by my tottering reason upon this single emissary who represented to me the entire horde of Warhoons. reasoning man with the means of escape within my very hands. the owners of those gleaming eyes had dragged my prize away from me to be devoured in their neighboring lair. upon me. through all this awful eternity of my imprisonment to drag my dead carcass to their feast. as they had been waiting for days. stone dead. The touch of my fingers on these keys brought back my reason with the suddenness of thought.

but no trace of Dejah Thoris had been found. a padwar (lieutenant) in the navy of Helium. Two green Martian communities had been wiped off the face of Barsoom by the avenging fleets.For two days no food was brought me. his vessel had reached Helium with about ten survivors of the original crew of seven hundred officers and men. By the dim torch light I saw that he was a red Martian and I could scarcely await the departure of his guards to address him. and he briefly related the events which followed the defeat of the battleships. but while passing near the city of Zodanga. Immediately seven great fleets. "Dejah Thoris and Sola entered the hills not five miles from a great waterway and are now probably quite safe. but not again did I allow my reason to be submerged by the horror of my position. His vessel was chased for days by three of the Zodangan war ships but finally escaped during the darkness of a moonless night. "Who are you who speaks out of the darkness?" he answered "John Carter. but then a new messenger appeared and my incarceration went on as before." he said. Badly injured and only partially manned they had limped slowly toward Helium. Shortly after this episode another prisoner was brought in and chained near me. a friend of the red men of Helium. Thirty days after the capture of Dejah Thoris. each of one hundred mighty war ships. or about the time of our coming to Thark. kaor. the capital of Helium's hereditary enemies among the red men of Barsoom." "I am of Helium. He had been a member of the ill-fated expedition which had fallen into the hands of the Tharks at the time of Dejah Thoris' capture. As their retreating footsteps died away in the distance." And then I told him my story as I have written it here. "but I do not recall your name. My fellow prisoner was Kantos Kan." he assured me. They had been searching 85 . He was much excited by the news of Helium's princess and seemed quite positive that she and Sola could easily have reached a point of safety from where they left me. omitting only any reference to my love for Dejah Thoris. they had been attacked by a great body of war vessels and all but the craft to which Kantos Kan belonged were either destroyed or captured. and from these vessels two thousand smaller craft had been kept out continuously in futile search for the missing princess. He said that he knew the place well because the defile through which the Warhoon warriors had passed when they discovered us was the only one ever used by them when marching to the south. had been dispatched to search for Dejah Thoris. I called out softly the Martian word of greeting.

For two days and nights he had explored their quarters and their dungeons in search of his beloved princess only to fall into the hands of a party of Warhoons as he was about to leave. and formed a warm personal friendship. whether animal or man. Kantos Kan explained to me that at the end of the day one of these prisoners would gain freedom and the others would lie dead about the arena. the victor in the last encounter being set free. The din of their roaring. Shortly after we had been caged the amphitheater began to fill and within an hour every available part of the seating space was occupied. 86 . Dak Kova. The bravery and daring of the man won my greatest respect and admiration. however. and at each end had been constructed cages to hold them until their turns came to meet some horrible death upon the arena. In its present condition it held the entire twenty thousand Warhoons of the assembled hordes. and only within the past few days had they extended their quest to the south. with his jeds and chieftains. The arena was immense but extremely uneven and unkempt. In the others were wild calots. Kantos Kan had been detailed to one of the small one-man fliers and had had the misfortune to be discovered by the Warhoons while exploring their city. thoats. sat at the center of one side of the arena upon a large raised platform. Alone he had landed at the city's boundary and on foot had penetrated to the buildings surrounding the plaza. and many strange and ferocious wild beasts of Barsoom which I had never before seen. at the far end. growling and squealing was deafening and the formidable appearance of any one of them was enough to make the stoutest heart feel grave forebodings. We were conducted early one morning to an enormous amphitheater. after assuring himself that Dejah Thoris was not a captive there. green warriors. a pack of twelve calots. before we were dragged forth from our dungeon for the great games. mad zitidars. Kantos Kan and I were confined together in one of the cages. Around it the Warhoons had piled building stone from some of the ruined edifices of the ancient city to prevent the animals and the captives from escaping into the audience. The winners in the various contests of the day would be pitted against each other until only two remained alive. During the period of our incarceration Kantos Kan and I became well acquainted. or wild dogs were loosed upon them. which instead of having been built upon the surface of the ground was excavated below the surface. It had partially filled with debris so that how large it had originally been was difficult to say. The following morning the cages would be filled with a new consignment of victims. and women of other hordes. Each was given a dagger and then. A few days only elapsed. At a signal from Dak Kova the doors of two cages were thrown open and a dozen green Martian females were driven to the center of the arena.among the northern hordes. and so on throughout the ten days of the games.

During the day I was pitted against first men and then beasts. The women had given a good account of themselves. Finally there were but three of us left. Kantos Kan had fought several times during the day and like myself had always proven victorious. while Kantos Kan was some inches under six feet. The other two were to battle and then I to fight the conqueror for the liberty which was accorded the final winner. but occasionally by the smallest of margins. I had little hope that he could best his giant adversary who had mowed down all before him during the day. growling and foaming. as he came to within about twenty feet of the huge fellow he threw his sword arm far behind him over his shoulder and with a mighty sweep hurled his weapon point foremost at the green warrior. as Kantos Kan told me it was over. but as I was armed with a long-sword and always outclassed my adversary in agility and generally in strength as well. Next a mad zitidar was loosed among the remaining dogs. I whispered to him to go and claim his freedom and then look for me in the hills east of the city. snarling and growling over the bodies of their prey. 87 . Kantos Kan perceived my coup and stepping quickly to my side he placed his foot upon my neck and withdrawing his sword from my body gave me the final death blow through the neck which is supposed to sever the jugular vein. I saw three victorious calots. The fellow towered nearly sixteen feet in height. hot. horrible day. and myself. it proved but child's play to me. Just as I saw the sudden coming of dark I whispered to Kantos Kan to thrust his sword between my left arm and my body. and toward the end there were cries that I be taken from the arena and be made a member of the hordes of Warhoon. As they advanced to meet one another I saw for the first time a trick of Martian swordsmanship which centered Kantos Kan's every hope of victory and life on one cast of the dice.As the brutes. and so he left me. Kantos Kan. and so it went throughout the long. Time and time again I won the applause of the bloodthirsty multitude. In the darkness which had now fallen none could tell but that he had really finished me. especially when pitted against the green warriors. a great green warrior of some far northern horde. It flew true as an arrow and piercing the poor devil's heart laid him dead upon the arena. The yells and laughter of the green horde bore witness to the excellent quality of the sport and when I turned back to the arena. As he did so I staggered back clasping the sword tightly with my arm and thus fell to the ground with his weapon apparently protruding from my chest. for. but in this instance the cold blade slipped harmlessly into the sand of the arena. rushed upon the almost defenseless women I turned my head that I might not see the horrid sight. The horde evidently guessed that we had no hearts to fight each other and so they howled in rage as neither of us placed a fatal thrust. Kantos Kan and I were now pitted against each other but as we approached to the encounter I whispered to him to prolong the battle until nearly dark in the hope that we might find some means of escape.

I was at a loss to know. and I straining to maintain my grip and choke the life from it as I kept it from my throat. My only food consisted of vegetable milk from the plants which gave so bounteously of this priceless fluid. What manner of thing was upon me I did not know. as the hairy face touched mine again. but once I was down with vicious fangs at my jugular and a hairy face pressed close to mine before I knew that I was even threatened. upon its windpipe. until. strange. stumbling through the nights guided only by the stars and hiding during the days behind some protruding rock or among the occasional hills I traversed. The nearer moon. showed me that my preserver was Woola. or how found me. Only her death I felt sure. Several times I was attacked by wild beasts. My hands were at its throat before the fangs had a chance to bury themselves in my neck. CHAPTER XX IN THE ATMOSPHERE FACTORY For two days I waited there for Kantos Kan. vise-like. Through two long weeks I wandered. That I was glad of his companionship it is needless to say. so that I had ever to grasp my long-sword in my hand that I might be ready for them. could account for his absence from her. newly acquired telepathic power warned me in ample time. uncouth monstrosities that leaped upon me in the dark. so faithful I knew him to be to my commands. the beast exerting every effort to reach me with those awful fangs. hurtling suddenly above the horizon and lighting up the Barsoomian scene. The two rolled growling upon the moss. but my pleasure at seeing him was tempered by anxiety as to the reason of his leaving Dejah Thoris. but from whence he had come. And then a living mass of destruction sprang from the surrounding darkness full upon the creature that held me pinioned to the ground. I realized that all was over. and inch by inch the burning eyes and gleaming tusks of my antagonist crept toward me. and slowly I forced the hairy face from me and closed my fingers. but that it was large and heavy and many-legged I could feel. but it was soon over and my preserver stood with lowered head above the throat of the dead thing which would have killed me. Slowly my arms gave to the unequal struggle. but as he did not come I started off on foot in a northwesterly direction toward a point where he had told me lay the nearest waterway. Without sound we lay there. Usually my strange. tearing and rending one another in a frightful manner.When the amphitheater had cleared I crept stealthily to the top and as the great excavation lay far from the plaza and in an untenanted portion of the great dead city I had little trouble in reaching the hills beyond. 88 .

In the name of the ninth day. In color you are neither green nor red.By the light of the now brilliant moons I saw that he was but a shadow of his former self. In the name of humanity open to us. I explained that I had escaped from the Warhoons and was dying of starvation and exhaustion. 89 . A second and third door receded before me and slipped to one side as the first. Presently the door commenced to recede before me until it had sunk into the wall fifty feet. No one was in sight. nor was there any sign of life about it. and while I was thus engaged my invisible host put me through a severe and searching crossexamination. where from. About noon I dragged myself wearily to the portals of a huge building which covered perhaps four square miles and towered two hundred feet in the air. I. narrow corridor of concrete. yet immediately we passed the first door it slid gently into place behind us and receded rapidly to its original position in the front wall of the building. similar in every respect to the one I had just passed. I could find no bell or other method of making my presence known to the inmates of the place. At daybreak of the fifteenth day of my search I was overjoyed to see the high trees that denoted the object of my search. As the door had slipped aside I had noted its great thickness. was in but little better plight but I could not bring myself to eat the uncooked flesh and I had no means of making a fire. It showed no aperture in the mighty walls other than the tiny door at which I sank exhausted. and as it reached its place once more after closing behind us. at the further end of which was another door. what manner of creature are you?" "I am a friend of the red men of Barsoom and I am starving. and as he turned from my caress and commenced greedily to devour the dead carcass at my feet I realized that the poor fellow was more than half starved. exposing a short. fully twenty feet. "You wear the metal of a green warrior and are followed by a calot. then it stopped and slid easily to the left. When Woola had finished his meal I again took up my weary and seemingly endless wandering in quest of the elusive waterway. great cylinders of steel had dropped from the ceiling behind it and fitted their lower ends into apertures countersunk in the floor. and the nature of my errand. It was of about the bigness of a lead pencil and thinking that it might be in the nature of a speaking tube I put my mouth to it and was about to call into it when a voice issued from it asking me whom I might be. A voice directed me to satisfy my hunger and to feed my calot. unless a small round role in the wall near the door was for that purpose. yet you are of the figure of a red man." I replied. myself. before I reached a large inner chamber where I found food and drink set out upon a great stone table.

The secret of the entire process hinges on the use of the ninth ray. I can see all but your thoughts. dried up. "Yes. I did not apprise him of my ability to sense his mental operations. that scintillated nine different and distinct rays. I can tell that by the conformation of your brain and the strange location of your internal organs and the shape and size of your heart. as it is released. The old man sat and talked with me for hours." "Can you see through me?" I exclaimed. or rather certain proportions of refined electric vibrations are incorporated with it. as my new friend told me. an inch in diameter. and thus I learned a great deal which proved of immense value to me later and which I would never have known had he suspected my strange power. This product is then treated electrically. except for the exact center which was occupied by a strange stone. was that some accident might befall the pumping apparatus. and it is equally evident that you are not of Barsoom. little mummy of a man came toward me." Then a door opened at the far side of the chamber and a strange. The building in which I found myself contained the machinery which produces that artificial atmosphere which sustains life on Mars. and the result is then pumped to the five principal air centers of the planet where. to me. This ray is separated from the other rays of the sun by means of finely adjusted instruments placed upon the roof of the huge building. contact with the ether of space transforms it into atmosphere. He wore but a single article of clothing or adornment. on concluding its questioning."Your statements are most remarkable. and the only fear. one of the beautiful scintillations which I had noted emanating from the great stone in my host's diadem. three-quarters of which is used for reservoirs in which the ninth ray is stored." said the voice. He led me to an inner chamber where I beheld a battery of twenty radium pumps any one of which was equal to the task of furnishing all Mars with the atmosphere 90 . the seven colors of our earthly prism and two beautiful rays which. a small collar of gold from which depended upon his chest a great ornament as large as a dinner plate set solid with huge diamonds. I only know that they were beautiful in the extreme. for the Martians have such perfect control of their mental machinery that they are able to direct their thoughts with absolute precision. and the strangest part of our intercourse was that I could read his every thought while he could not fathom an iota from my mind unless I spoke. "but you are evidently speaking the truth. and were you a Barsoomian I could read those. There is always sufficient reserve of the ninth ray stored in the great building to maintain the present Martian atmosphere for a thousand years. I cannot describe them any more than you could describe red to a blind man. were new and nameless.

"But be sure that you do not let them know you are bound for Helium as they are at war with that country. and then a picture of him standing over me in the night. "I am sorry. Every red Martian is taught during earliest childhood the principles of the manufacture of atmosphere. built as it is with walls a hundred and fifty feet thick. which. For eight hundred years. even the roof being guarded from assault by air craft by a glass covering five feet thick. we belong to all Barsoom and this talisman which we wear protects us in all lands." And though he smiled pleasantly I saw in his thoughts the wish that he had never admitted me. The only fear they entertain of attack is from the green Martians or some demented red man. My assistant and I are of no country. From then on his manner toward me changed as though he feared that he had been surprised into divulging his great secret. The locks are so finely adjusted that the doors are released by the action of a certain combination of thought waves." 91 . but only two at one time ever hold the secret of ingress to the great building. Half a Martian year. but it is for the best good of Barsoom. As quick as a flash there leaped to his mind nine Martian sounds. isolated plant. One curious fact I discovered as I watched his thoughts was that the outer doors are manipulated by telepathic means. and I read suspicion and fear in his looks and thoughts. but as quickly faded as he answered that this was a secret he must not divulge. To experiment with my new-found toy I thought to surprise him into revealing this combination and so I asked him in a casual manner how he had managed to unlock the massive doors for me from the inner chambers of the building. he had watched these pumps which are used alternately a day each at a stretch. a long sleep. "And so good-night. or a little over twenty-four and one-half Earth hours. he told me. was the nearest Martian city. Before I retired for the night he promised to give me a letter to a nearby agricultural officer who would help me on my way to Zodanga. "may you have a long and restful sleep—yes. He has one assistant who divides the watch with him. each of these men spend alone in this huge. my friend. even among the green men— though we do not trust ourselves to their hands if we can avoid it. is absolutely unassailable.compound. about three hundred and forty-four of our days. and the swift thrust of a long dagger and the half formed words. though his words were still fair." he added." he continued. as all Barsoomians realize that the very existence of every form of life of Mars is dependent upon the uninterrupted working of this plant. which he said.

other than that we had full stomachs. I stole stealthily from my hiding place and crossed to the great door. intending to strike the central turnpike as quickly as possible. and then return to my bed chamber and finish me. Concentrating my mind upon the massive lock I hurled the nine thought waves against it. which seemed strange to me in my little knowledge of thought transference.As he closed the door of my chamber behind him his thoughts were cut off from me as was the sight of him. nor did I know where he kept himself by night. which would take about thirty minutes. Creeping stealthily through corridor after corridor and down winding runways which turned hither and thither I finally reached the great hall in which I had broken my long fast that morning. sought the inner of the great doors. Hastening away from the shadows of the formidable pile I made for the first crossroad. when finally the great door moved softly toward me and slid quietly to one side. 92 . One after the other the remaining mighty portals opened at my command and Woola and I stepped forth into the darkness. In breathless expectancy I waited. Nowhere had I seen my host. and as he entered the dimly lighted chamber which I had been about to pass through I saw that he held a long thin dagger in his hand and that he was sharpening it upon a stone. and with the stopping of the machinery of the great plant I should die with all the other inhabitants of the planet—all. I was on the point of stepping boldly out into the room when a slight noise behind me warned me back into the shadows of a recess in the corridor. Cautiously I opened the door of my apartment and. Dragging Woola after me I crouched low in the darkness. followed by Woola. This I reached about morning and entering the first enclosure I came to I searched for some evidences of a habitation. For the others I did not give the snap of my finger. free. What was I to do? How could I escape through these mighty walls? Easily could I kill him now that I was warned. but little better off than we had been before. In his mind was the decision to inspect the radium pumps. but the thought of Dejah Thoris drove from my mind all desire to kill my mistaken host. I would attempt to force the great locks by the nine thought waves I had read in my host's mind. but once he was dead I could no more escape. A wild scheme had come to me. As he passed through the great hall and disappeared down the runway which led to the pump-room. even Dejah Thoris were she not already dead. the inner of the three which stood between me and liberty. Presently the old man passed close by me.

All I ask is food and rest for myself and my calot and the proper directions for reaching my destination. They did no work themselves. with their wives and children. "I have been a prisoner among the green men and am on my way to Zodanga. The animal is about the size of a 93 . such as is used for saddle purposes by all red Martians. the red Martians simply run them up out of harm's way during the night. Instead of bothering with bolts and bars for their dwellings. They then took me to the house of one of them which was only a short distance away. occupied three similar houses on this farm. The labor was performed by convicts. "The chances are small that your tale will be believed until after you have proven your trustworthiness and won friends among the higher nobles of the court. delinquent debtors and confirmed bachelors who were too poor to pay the high celibate tax which all red-Martian governments impose. Weary and exhausted from sleeplessness I threw myself upon the ground commanding Woola to stand guard. prisoners of war. and no amount of hammering and hallooing brought any response. after the manner of their custom of salute. Some time later I was awakened by his frightful growlings and opened my eyes to see three red Martians standing a short distance from us and covering me with their rifles. being government officers in charge. the house proper standing among a grove of enormous trees. either in the army or the navy. had been raised at night some forty or fifty feet from the ground on a large round metal shaft which slid up or down within a sleeve sunk in the ground. "I am unarmed and no enemy." They lowered their rifles and advanced pleasantly toward me placing their right hands upon my left shoulder. resting and recuperating from my long and arduous experiences. as we are a warlike people on Barsoom.There were low rambling buildings of concrete barred with heavy impassable doors. These brothers. like all red-Martian homes. When they had heard my story—I omitted all reference to Dejah Thoris and the old man of the atmosphere plant—they advised me to color my body to more nearly resemble their own race and then attempt to find employment in Zodanga." explained one of them. and asking me many questions about myself and my wanderings." When I was ready to depart they furnished me with a small domestic bull thoat. They were the personification of cordiality and hospitality and I spent several days with them. The buildings I had been hammering at in the early morning were occupied only by stock and farm produce. and. This you can most easily do through military service. and was operated by a tiny radium engine in the entrance hall of the building." I hastened to explain. "and save our richest favors for the fighting man. They also have private means for lowering or raising them from the ground without if they wish to go away and leave them.

stretching as they do like narrow ribbons from pole to pole. and no insects. lie the cultivated districts. no high winds. attached to the house of Ptor. Paper money is issued by individuals as they require it and redeemed twice yearly. The water which supplies the farms of Mars is collected in immense underground reservoirs at either pole from the melting ice caps. square at the back and banged in front. CHAPTER XXI AN AIR SCOUT FOR ZODANGA As I proceeded on my journey toward Zodanga many strange and interesting sights arrested my attention. and thus wasting immense quantities of water by evaporation. If a man issues more than he can redeem. the precious liquid is carried underground through a vast network of small pipes directly to the roots of the vegetation. the government pays his creditors in full and the debtor works out the amount upon the farms or in mines. which are all owned by the government. and pumped through long conduits to the various populated centers. The brothers had supplied me with a reddish oil with which I anointed my entire body and one of them cut my hair. 94 . no rains. The crops upon Mars are always uniform. which was the family name of my benefactors. in the prevailing fashion of the time. The medium of exchange upon Mars is not dissimilar from our own except that the coins are oval. Along either side of these conduits. When I mentioned my inability to repay them for their kindness to me they assured me that I would have ample opportunity if I lived long upon Barsoom. and extending their entire length. These are divided into tracts of about the same size. but in color and shape an exact replica of his huge and fierce cousin of the wilds. each tract being under the supervision of one or more government officers. and at the several farm houses where I stopped I learned a number of new and instructive things concerning the methods and manners of Barsoom. or destroying birds. so that I could have passed anywhere upon Barsoom as a full-fledged red Martian. which had grown quite long.horse and quite gentle. and bidding me farewell they watched me until I was out of sight upon the broad white turnpike. My metal and ornaments were also renewed in the style of a Zodangan gentleman. They filled a little sack at my side with Zodangan money. through wild stretches peopled by wild animals and wilder men. for there are no droughts. This suits everybody except the debtor as it has been a difficult thing to obtain sufficient voluntary labor to work the great isolated farm lands of Mars. Instead of flooding the surface of the fields.

"Why." "And what." "Even now. It is said she will fall within the next few passages of the further moon.On this trip I tasted the first meat I had eaten since leaving Earth—large." While this information was in no way reassuring. "rightly boasts the most beautiful women of Barsoom. Dejah Thoris?" I asked as casually as possible. Our forces took advantage of the absence of the principal fleet of Helium on their search for the princess. juicy steaks and chops from the well-fed domestic animals of the farms. think you. scientific cultivation and breeding that the like of them on Earth dwindled into pale. From the moment that I had come in contact with the red inhabitants of Mars I had noticed that 95 . Every plant and flower and vegetable and animal has been so refined by ages of careful. neither was it at all conclusive proof of the death of Dejah Thoris. since it is not based on right or justice. Ten days after leaving the three Ptor brothers I arrived at Zodanga." he added. the people of Zodanga are voicing their displeasure. "Helium. gray. for the war is not a popular one. At a second stop I met some highly cultivated people of the noble class and while in conversation we chanced to speak of Helium. though our victorious armies are surrounding Helium. characterless nothingness by comparison. "That our ruler should have attacked the disabled fleet as it was returning to Helium was but another of his awful blunders which I fear will sooner or later compel Zodanga to elevate a wiser man to his place. Their thoats were found wandering upon the sea bottom and evidences of a bloody conflict were discovered nearby. She escaped from the hordes of Thark with a strange creature of another world. only to fall into the hands of the Warhoons. One of the older men had been there on a diplomatic mission several years before and spoke with regret of the conditions which seemed destined ever to keep these two countries at war. and so we have been able easily to reduce the city to a sorry plight. "She is dead. "This much was learned from a green warrior recently captured by our forces in the south. is the most exquisite flower. and of all her treasures the wondrous daughter of Mors Kajak. Dejah Thoris. but not a single article of food which was exactly similar to anything on Earth." he answered. "the people really worship the ground she walks upon and since her loss on that ill-starred expedition all Helium has been draped in mourning. may have been the fate of the princess. and so I determined to make every effort possible to reach Helium as quickly as I could and carry to Tardos Mors such news of his granddaughter's possible whereabouts as lay in my power." he said. Also I enjoyed luscious fruits and vegetables.

and shops. The shops as a rule were not raised from the ground nor were their doors bolted or barred. which is a characteristic of all Martian cities. since thievery is practically unknown upon Barsoom. since the huge brute belonged to a species which is never domesticated by the red men. I could not permit even Woola's life to threaten the success of my venture. that if I came through my adventure in safety that in some way I should find the means to search him out. and turning I placed my hand upon his shoulder. promising him. it became imperative that we separate. The residences. Assassination is the ever-present fear of all Barsoomians. for I doubted not he soon would forget me. but as he came abreast I recognized him. The letter I bore from them gained me immediate entrance to the vast. and other members of the royalty and nobility of Zodanga. cafes. mysterious city. or in times of danger. to me. The plaza of Zodanga covers a square mile and is bounded by the palaces of the jeddak. My way led to the central square or plaza. walled city. but resolutely set my face toward Zodanga and with a touch of heartsickness approached her frowning walls. The very thought of parting with the faithful fellow caused me so great regret and genuine sorrow that I put it off until just before we arrived at the city's gates. raised high upon their metal columns. however. The Ptor brothers had given me explicit directions for reaching the point of the city where I could find living accommodations and be near the offices of the government agents to whom they had given me letters. and for this reason alone their homes are raised high above the ground at night. Had nothing further than my own safety or pleasure been at stake no argument could have prevailed upon me to turn away the one creature upon Barsoom that had never failed in a demonstration of affection and loyalty. It was still very early in the morning and the streets were practically deserted. resembled huge rookeries. but then. and when I pointed back in the direction of Thark he turned sorrowfully away. As I was crossing the great square lost in wonder and admiration of the magnificent architecture and the gorgeous scarlet vegetation which carpeted the broad lawns I discovered a red Martian walking briskly toward me from one of the avenues. nor could I bear to watch him go. Were one to stroll down Broadway with a Numidian lion at his heels the effect would be somewhat similar to that which I should have produced had I entered Zodanga with Woola. but as I would willingly have offered my life in the service of her in search of whom I was about to challenge the unknown dangers of this. He paid not the slightest attention to me. And so I bade the poor beast an affectionate farewell. as well as by the principal public buildings. much less his momentary happiness. while the uprights themselves presented the appearance of steel tree trunks. He seemed to understand me fully. calling out: 96 .Woola drew a great amount of unwelcome attention to me. the jeds. finally.

" continued Kantos Kan. Jeddak of Helium." The plaza was now commencing to fill with people going and coming upon the daily activities of their duties. but his people love him the more for it and his strength in Helium is greater today than ever. there is but one man upon all Barsoom who can bounce about like a rubber ball. He 97 . "but I have not yet found where Dejah Thoris is imprisoned. John Carter. laughing. Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus. and have you become a Darseen that you can change your color at will?" "You gave me a bad half minute my friend. Kantos Kan took me with him to the headquarters of the air-scout squadron and introducing me to his superior asked that I be enrolled as a member of the corps. who is commander of this division of the navy. but Tardos Mors will not accede to the demands and has sent word that he and his people would rather look upon the dead face of their princess than see her wed to any than her own choice. I am here in the interest of Tardos Mors. Than Kosis. John Carter. The shops were opening and the cafes filling with early morning patrons. the prince. has her hidden in the city and has fallen madly in love with her. prince of Zodanga. By the mother of the further moon. has made her voluntary marriage to his son the price of peace between our countries. His reply was the deadliest affront he could have put upon Than Kosis and the Zodangans. and thus learn the whereabouts of Dejah Thoris. after I had briefly outlined my adventures since parting with him in the arena at Warhoon."Kaor. in response to the touching of tiny buttons to indicate their desires." he continued. His father. "I do not need a better reply. "I have been here three days. and that personally he would prefer being engulfed in the ashes of a lost and burning Helium to joining the metal of his house with that of Than Kosis. Kantos Kan!" Like lightning he wheeled and before I could so much as lower my hand the point of his long-sword was at my breast. Today I join the Zodangan navy as an air scout and I hope in this way to win the confidence of Sab Than. "Were my name and city known to the Zodangans I would shortly be sitting on the banks of the lost sea of Korus with my revered and departed ancestors. but Kantos Kan had told me to have no fear on this score as he would attend to that part of the matter. "Who are you?" he growled. I am glad that you are here. No hand touched the food from the time it entered the building in its raw state until it emerged hot and delicious upon the tables before the guests. Sab Than. In accordance with custom an examination was necessary. how came you here. to discover the whereabouts of Dejah Thoris. for I know your loyalty to my princess and two of us working together should be able to accomplish much. Jeddak of Zodanga. our princess. After our meal. and then as a backward leap carried me fifty feet from his sword he dropped the point to the ground and exclaimed.

Her power of repulsion for the planet was so great that it had carried her far into space. a tiny satellite that will thus encircle Barsoom to the end of time. measurements. but the Barsoomian eighth ray. is constantly streaming out from the planet constituting a force of repulsion of gravity which when confined is able to lift enormous weights from the surface of the ground. is unknown on Earth. where she can be seen today.accomplished this by taking my order for examination to the examining officer and representing himself as John Carter. by the aid of powerful telescopes. "when they check up my weights. or ray of propulsion. The solar eighth ray would be absorbed by the surface of Barsoom. and as a result of it I won a promotion which included quarters in the palace of Than Kosis. In one instance. some nine hundred years before. like the ninth ray. hurtling through the heavens ten thousand miles from Mars. and that it is the individual eighth ray of each planet which "reflects." he cheerfully explained. as it may be termed in view of its properties. They have learned that it is the solar eighth ray which propels the light of the sun to the various planets. 98 . two feet wide and three inches thick. which tends to propel light from Mars into space. This ray. During the early years of the discovery of this ray many strange accidents occurred before the Martians learned to measure and control the wonderful power they had found. noiseless radium engine which propels it." or propels the light thus obtained out into space once more. but the Martians have discovered that it is an inherent property of all light no matter from what source it emanates. and other personal identification data." The next few days were spent by Kantos Kan in teaching me the intricacies of flying and of repairing the dainty little contrivances which the Martians use for this purpose. The medium of buoyancy is contained within the thin metal walls of the body and consists of the eighth Barsoomian ray. The driver sits on top of this plane upon a seat constructed over the small. The body of the one-man air craft is about sixteen feet long. but it will be several months before this is done and our mission should be accomplished or have failed long before that time. the first great battle ship to be built with eighth ray reservoirs was stored with too great a quantity of the rays and she had sailed up from Helium with five hundred officers and men. never to return. The fourth day after my arrival at Zodanga I made my first flight. It is this ray which has enabled them to so perfect aviation that battle ships far outweighing anything known upon Earth sail as gracefully and lightly through the thin air of Barsoom as a toy balloon in the heavy atmosphere of Earth. "This ruse will be discovered later. tapering to a point at each end.

Finishing my man with almost no effort. as had now from much practice become habitual with me. following one of the great waterways which enter Zodanga from that direction. Each seemed striving to be the first to impale the poor Zodangan and in another moment his fate would have been sealed had it not been for my timely arrival. Reducing my speed I circled and came to the ground at the feet of the astonished Zodangan. A short distance away lay his tiny flier. hurled the fellow's headless body into the air over the head of his thoat. and bolted in opposite directions.As I rose above the city I circled several times. with their great metal-shod spears. for it was none other than a cousin of the jeddak of Zodanga whose life I had saved. The warriors finally dismounted and hobbling their animals advanced toward us on foot with drawn long-swords. The impact sufficient to have torn through inches of solid steel. I hastened to return to my new acquaintance whom I found indeed in desperate straits. Dropping my machine rapidly toward them. Driving my fleet air craft at high speed directly behind the warriors I soon overtook them and without diminishing my speed I rammed the prow of my little flier between the shoulders of the nearest. When they had approached within a hundred yards their thoats again became unmanageable and absolutely refused to advance further toward the air craft which had frightened them. He was warm in his thanks for my timely aid and promised that my day's work would bring the reward it merited. where it fell sprawling upon the moss. their flying mounts charging down on the relatively puny figure at terrific speed. and then throwing my engine into top speed I raced at terrific velocity toward the south. I had traversed perhaps two hundred miles in a little less than an hour when I descried far below me a party of three green warriors racing madly toward a small figure on foot which seemed to be trying to reach the confines of one of the walled fields. telling the Zodangan to do the best he could with the other. 99 . Hastening to his damaged machine we were bending every effort to finish the needed repairs and had almost completed them when we saw the two green monsters returning at top speed from opposite sides of us. I advanced to meet the larger. The mounts of the other two warriors turned squealing in terror. as I had seen Kantos Kan do. We wasted no time in talk as we knew that the warriors would surely return as soon as they had gained control of their mounts. I soon saw that the object of their pursuit was a red Martian wearing the metal of the scout squadron to which I was attached. surrounded by the tools with which he had evidently been occupied in repairing some damage when surprised by the green warriors. while the warriors leaned low to the right. and circling to the rear of the warriors. They were now almost upon him.

and together we made our way through the maze of low-lying air vessels until we hung directly over the jeddak of Zodanga and his staff. "John Carter. With a bound I cleared the fifty feet intervening between us. All were mounted upon the small domestic bull thoats of the red Martians. and their trappings and ornamentation bore such a quantity of gorgeously colored feathers that I could not but be struck with the startling resemblance the concourse bore to a band of the red Indians of my own Earth. and calling the name of a soldier commanded him to advance. he said. A member of the staff advanced toward the troops. The officer then recited the nature of the heroic act which had won the approval of the jeddak. As we neared the city we discovered a mighty concourse of civilians and troops assembled upon the plain before the city. and with outstretched point drove my sword completely through the body of the green warrior. As they waited for the troops to move into position facing the jeddak the two talked earnestly together. He would have to pilot his own craft. was for the purpose of conferring honors on individual officers and men for bravery and other distinguished service. A cursory examination of the latter revealed no mortal injuries and after a brief rest he asserted that he felt fit to attempt the return voyage. which.He was wounded and down with the huge foot of his antagonist upon his throat and the great long-sword raised to deal the final thrust. My companion signaled that I slow down. and the latter advanced and placed a metal ornament upon the left arm of the lucky man. harmless. as these frail vessels are not intended to convey but a single person. but the habit of military discipline is strong within me. Quickly completing the repairs we rose together into the still. flying long streamers of gay-colored silks. the jeddak and his staff occasionally glancing up at me. His sword fell. as the last body of troops had wheeled into position before their emperor. I could not hear their conversation and presently it ceased and all dismounted. and I dropped my little machine lightly to the ground and advanced on foot as 100 . and running his machine close beside mine suggested that we approach and watch the ceremony. and at great speed and without further mishap returned to Zodanga. cloudless Martian sky. air scout!" Never in my life had I been so surprised. Ten men had been so decorated when the aide called out. however. He then unfurled a little ensign which denoted that his craft bore a member of the royal family of Zodanga. and banners and flags of odd and picturesque design. to the ground and he sank limply upon the prostrate form of the Zodangan. The sky was black with naval vessels and private and public pleasure craft. One of the staff called the attention of Than Kosis to the presence of my companion above them and the ruler motioned for him to descend.

he addressed me in a voice audible to the entire assemblage of troops and spectators. 101 ." Than Kosis then advanced toward me and placing an ornament upon me. and with an orderly from the palace to guide me I reported to the officer in charge of the palace. and did not perceive my entrance. which seems little short of miraculous. The room was lighted by imprisoned rays of sunshine held between the ceiling proper and what appeared to be a ground-glass false ceiling a few inches below. and if you can so well defend a cousin of the jeddak how much better could you defend the person of the jeddak himself." he said. The walls of the apartment were completely hung with splendid tapestries which hid any windows or doors which may have pierced them. The ruler was engaged in conversation with his son." I thanked him. disclosing a passage which encircled the room. he said. "of your remarkable courage and skill in defending the person of the cousin of the jeddak Than Kosis and. between the hangings and the walls of the chamber. as the rule that all is fair in war seems to constitute the entire ethics of Martian conflict. After the ceremony I returned my machine to its quarters on the roof of the barracks of the airscout squadron. said: "My cousin has narrated the details of your wonderful achievement. Sab Than. My guide drew aside one of the tapestries. and several courtiers of his household. so long as Than Kosis was in the apartment. When he left I was to follow. is always in great danger of assassination. You are therefore appointed a padwar of The Guards and will be quartered in my palace hereafter. "In recognition. vanquishing three green warriors. it is the pleasure of our jeddak to confer on you the mark of his esteem. I would be relieved after a period of four hours. who. He therefore escorted me immediately to the apartment in which Than Kosis then was.I had seen the others do. My only duty was to guard the ruler and keep out of sight as much as possible. singlehanded. John Carter. CHAPTER XXII I FIND DEJAH The major-domo to whom I reported had been given instructions to station me near the person of the jeddak. As I halted before the officer. and at his direction joined the members of his staff. Within this passage I was to remain. in time of war. The major-domo then left me.

Than Kosis." "We shall see. say the word that will hasten my happiness. It would look strange indeed to my people and to yours were the Princess of Helium to give herself to her country's enemy in the midst of hostilities. to my son?" Dejah Thoris only smiled the more and with the roguish dimples playing at the corners of her mouth she made answer: "From the beginning of time upon Barsoom it has been the prerogative of woman to change her mind as she listed and to dissemble in matters concerning her heart. the green Thark. "To what strange freak do I owe this visit from the Princess of Helium. Prince of Zodanga. I shall at least offer it to them. and end this unpopular strife. Than Kosis. Than Kosis looked up in surprise.The tapestries were of a strange weaving which gave the appearance of heavy solidity from one side. As they approached Than Kosis the soldiers fell to either side and there standing before the jeddak and not ten feet from me. "It is far from my desire to push war further against the people of Helium. with rare consideration for my pride. Scarcely had I gained my post than the tapestry at the opposite end of the chamber separated and four soldiers of The Guard entered. and I have come to beg of you to forget my rash words and to accept the assurance of the Princess of Helium that when the time comes she will wed Sab Than. my father." "I am glad that you have so decided. still followed by her guards. assured me that she would prefer Tal Hajus." replied Than Kosis. as has your son. Sab Than." "It were better. after a few words. advanced to meet her. "that the proclamation wait the ending of this war. "how the people of Helium take to peace. That you will forgive. Two days ago I was not sure of his love for me. rising. saluted her. and." "Cannot the war be ended at once?" spoke Sab Than. but from my hiding place I could perceive all that took place within the room as readily as though there had been no curtain intervening." interrupted Dejah Thoris. "It requires but the word of Than Kosis to bring peace. Prince of Zodanga. and hand in hand they approached close to the jeddak. 102 . your promise shall be recorded and a proclamation to my people issued forthwith. who. was Dejah Thoris. two days ago." Dejah Thoris." replied Than Kosis. and. Say it. surrounding a female figure. her beautiful face radiant with smiles. turned and left the apartment. but now I am.

You must give me one or the other before you may pass. I did not know what he meant. hangs at my side. Moving on a few steps I discovered another passageway at the end of which lay a door. The woman for whom I had offered my life. but replied that I was a member of The Guard. "and not only shall you not enter the apartments of the Princess of Helium 103 ." cried the one who had first addressed me. and from whose lips I had so recently heard a declaration of love for me. Although I had heard it with my own ears I could not believe it. and thus the four stood. and so I deserted my post and hastened through the passage behind the tapestries toward the door by which she had left the chamber. my friend. to the ground of reality. calling to the others to join him. barring my further progress. Princess of Helium." I replied. had lightly forgotten my very existence and smilingly given herself to the son of her people's most hated enemy. with drawn weapons. Walking boldly forward I pushed into the room only to find myself in a small antechamber in which were the four guards who had accompanied her. "You are not here by the order of Than Kosis. tapping my long-sword. behind which I could hear Dejah Thoris conversing. branching and turning in every direction." "And your order?" asked the fellow. Slipping quietly through this opening I discovered a maze of winding corridors. to enter where I will. Apparently they were coming from the opposite side of the partition against which I leaned and presently I made out the tones of Dejah Thoris. saying. But my entrance was not to be so easily accomplished. The guardsman stepped before me. broken. "No one comes from Than Kosis without carrying an order or the password. I could not hear the words but I knew that I could not possibly be mistaken in the voice. One of them instantly arose and accosted me. "and wish to speak privately with Dejah Thoris. "will you let me pass in peace or no?" For reply he whipped out his own sword. "I am from Than Kosis." "The only order I require." I answered. and without waiting for a reply from him I strode toward the opposite door of the antechamber. Running rapidly down first one and then another of them I soon became hopelessly lost and was standing panting against a side wall when I heard voices near me.Thus was the edifice of my brief dream of happiness dashed. asking the nature of my business. I must search out her apartments and force her to repeat the cruel truth to me alone before I would be convinced.

fighting for my life. They had me backed against the wall in no time." "No friend of Helium's princess wears that metal. too late." "What do you mean.but you shall go back to Than Kosis under guard to explain this unwarranted temerity. "Too late." he added with a grim smile. "Who are you. it is not—it cannot be—no. for he is dead. My reply was a quick thrust which left me but three antagonists and I can assure you that they were worthy of my metal. with only two opposing me. but I would have willingly depopulated all Barsoom could I have reached the side of my Dejah Thoris in no other way. had you but returned one little hour before—but now it is too late. you cannot hope to overcome four of us. nor did Sola. "That you would not have promised yourself to the Zodangan prince had you known that I lived?" 104 . and there she stood throughout the conflict with Sola at her back peering over her shoulder. Slowly I worked my way to a corner of the room where I could force them to come at me only one at a time. the clanging of steel on steel producing a veritable bedlam in the little room. none other than John Carter. "Do you not recognize. I changed my tactics and rushed them down after the fashion of my fighting that had won me many a victory." she grieved. "O my chieftain that was. They were brave men and noble fighters. "Another enemy to harass me in my misery?" "I am a friend. Zodangan?" she whispered. Finally a lucky cut brought down a second guardsman and then. and the last lay dead upon the bloody floor a few moments later. and whom I thought dead." I said. Sheathing my bloody blade I advanced toward my Martian Princess. and thus we fought upward of twenty minutes. The third fell within ten seconds after the second. even through paint and strange metal. but as I reached to take her in my arms she drew back with a shudder and a little moan of misery." she replied. the heart of your chieftain?" As I came close to her she swayed toward me with outstretched hands. The noise had brought Dejah Thoris to the door of her apartment. who still stood mutely gazing at me without sign of recognition. and it grieved me that I had been forced to kill them. Her face was set and emotionless and I knew that she did not recognize me. too late. my Princess. "a once cherished friend. "and yet the voice! I have heard it before." "It is. Dejah Thoris?" I cried." I answered. Throw down your sword. though.

"I may never be yours while Sab Than lives." "I do not need ask your forgiveness now. But there was no one to tell you what I could not. The ceremonies which follow later are but meaningless formalities. hopelessly." 105 . Dejah Thoris. if you had only known our ways. I have come to claim you." "I know but little of your customs here upon Barsoom. but even then. You meant them then. They make the fact of marriage no more certain than does the funeral cortege of a jeddak again place the seal of death upon him. it is useless. John Carter. but I do know that I love you." "I meant them. and so today I have promised my body to another to save my people from the curse of a victorious Zodangan army. but never ask their hands. and you could have claimed me before all others."Think you. I am as good as married. Dejah Thoris. and if you meant the last words you spoke to me that day as the hordes of Warhoon were charging down upon us. and on Barsoom that is final." she cried. but I would have given my empire for my Tharkian chief. The one they fight for that they may ask them in marriage. John Carter. John Carter." she continued. Dejah Thoris. no other man shall ever claim you as his bride. my promise is given. I ask you to be my wife. and so when you called me your princess." Then aloud she said: "Do you remember the night when you offended me? You called me your princess without having asked my hand of me. and you mean them still! Say that it is true. John Carter." I cried." she faltered. and by all the Virginian fighting blood that flows in my veins you shall be. that I would give my heart to you yesterday and today to another? I thought that it lay buried with your ashes in the pits of Warhoon. It might have meant the fall of Helium. No longer are you my chieftain. I see that now. and I should not have been offended. "the promise would have been yours long months ago. you see. "You must know that my fault was of ignorance of your Barsoomian customs. my friend." "But I am not dead. You did not know. and all Zodanga cannot prevent it. John Carter. I did not repulse you. "I cannot repeat them now for I have given myself to another. or in any of the several terms which signify possession. half to herself. as I should have done. No longer may you call me your princess. Ah." "No. When a man has won a woman he may address her as his princess. the other kind they fight for also. You had fought for me. my princess. that upon Barsoom there are two kinds of women in the cities of the red men. John Carter. my princess." "It is too late. but had never asked me in marriage. until you made it doubly worse by taunting me with having won me through combat. "I was hurt." she whispered. I do now. What I failed to do. through implicit belief that my petition would be presumptuous and unwelcome. and then you boasted that you had fought for me.

The windows opened upon a great balcony which overlooked one of the broad avenues of Zodanga. The ground was about thirty feet below. my chieftain that was. Now. and searching for signs of the assassin. and the memory of the brief days among the Tharks. officers. constructed of polished glass about a foot in thickness. for it seemed that the squad had scarcely left the guardroom before one of their number burst in again breathlessly. I knew. Here I left my guides. sought for an avenue of escape. The walls of this room were hung with transparent tapestries behind which I secreted myself without being apprehended. This was my opportunity and slim as it appeared I grasped it. It is useless." she hastened to explain. I withdrew from the room. my troubles would commence in earnest and indeed they were upon me all too soon. I knew that my only hope lay in escape from the city of Zodanga. and at a like distance from the building was a wall fully twenty feet high. That. "I may not wed the man who slays my husband. and as I could never reach my original post without a guide. nor ever see me again. slipping to the nearest window. my princess—Sab Than dies. and awakened no interest in me until an officer entered the room and ordered four of the men to relieve the detail who were guarding the Princess of Helium. even in self-defense. crying that they had found their four comrades butchered in the antechamber. That at least we may share in common. The conversation of the guardsmen was general. You must bear the sorrow with me." "Nor that either. To a red Martian escape by this path would have appeared impossible. and this I followed downward for several stories until I reached the doorway of a large apartment in which were a number of guardsmen. servants. It is custom. courtiers. Good-bye. You must go now. nor would I admit that Dejah Thoris was lost to me until the ceremony had actually been performed. I was as absolutely lost in the mazes of winding passageways as I had been before I discovered Dejah Thoris' apartments. In a moment the entire palace was alive with people. for as a number of soldiers came hurrying past my hiding place I fell in behind them and followed through the mazes of the palace until. We are ruled by custom upon Barsoom. and. but I was not entirely discouraged. for the matter of the four dead guardsmen would have to be explained. As I wandered along the corridors. Guardsmen. and slaves ran helter-skelter through the corridors and apartments carrying messages and orders. suspicion would surely rest on me so soon as I was discovered wandering aimlessly through the palace."You have sealed his death warrant. Presently I came upon a spiral runway leading to a lower floor. I saw the blessed light of day coming in through a series of larger windows. my friend." Disheartened and dejected. in passing through a great hall. but 106 .

" said one of the men. a man whom she did not recognize as ever having seen. Into the capacious bowl-like vase I sprang with ease. for I could not make the leap in broad daylight while the court below and the avenue beyond were crowded with Zodangans. it seemed already accomplished. "but the description fits him to perfection." "Where is my erstwhile savior?" spoke another of the party. however. Though he wore the metal of Zodanga. O Jeddak. and scarcely had I settled down within it than I heard a number of people enter the apartment. and his fighting ability was little short of marvelous for he fought fair against the entire four and vanquished them by his surpassing skill and superhuman strength and endurance. "By the metal of my first ancestor. after making his formal greetings to his ruler." Another man now joined the group. She said that she witnessed a portion of the encounter. My only fear was in being detected before darkness fell. "The mind of the Princess of Helium whom I have examined and questioned was a blank to me. "In fact the impressions were strongly marked on the brain of each of the four guardsmen. but by a single opponent." 107 . and that when she looked there was but one man engaged with the guardsmen. The group stopped beneath my hiding place and I could plainly overhear their every word. especially as to his fighting ability. We shall soon know.to me. my Jeddak." replied the psychologist. but how a force of six or eight fighting men could have done so unobserved is beyond me. Their antagonist was a very tall man. Accordingly I searched for a hiding place and finally found one by accident. and that his statement was scarcely credited was evidenced by the impatient exclamation of incredulity which escaped the lips of Than Kosis. with my earthly strength and agility. for here comes the royal psychologist. such a man was never seen before in this or any other country upon Barsoom. it is a strange tale I read in the dead minds of your faithful guardsmen. "What manner of weird tale are you bringing me. inside a huge hanging ornament which swung from the ceiling of the hall. They were felled not by a number of fighting men. "It is the truth. and I could not read one iota of it. she has perfect control." He paused to let the full weight of this announcement impress his hearers. "Yes. my Jeddak. "It is the work of Heliumites. whom I had rescued from the green warriors. but how had they access to the palace? I could believe that even with the diligent care of your guardsmen a single enemy might reach the inner chambers. and about ten feet from the floor." he went on. and I recognized the voice of the cousin of Than Kosis. said: "O mighty Jeddak. and. wearing the metal of one of your own guardsmen. Notan?" he cried.

"The likeness of every person who has entered or left the palace grounds today has been carefully examined. of whose name. we were ignorant before today. unseen. What know you of him. "and not one approaches the likeness of this new padwar of the guards. John Carter. as darkness had fallen without. where I felt sure I should find Kantos Kan. the upper story where our apartments were situated was through an adjoining 108 . and rightly. other than that which was recorded of him at the time he entered. and as to my past." They left the hall. either in the palace or at my former quarters in the barracks of the air-scout squadron. cousin? It seemed strange to me now that I think upon it that there should have been such a fighting man in Zodanga. that the place would be guarded. Kantos Kan. Several men in civilian metal loitered near the front entrance and in the rear were others. My only means of reaching." Another messenger now entered with word that I was still within the palace walls. since he had but recently met me during our captivity among the Warhoons. and let every man who leaves the city by air or ground be subjected to the closest scrutiny. I slipped lightly from my hiding place and hastened to the balcony. As I neared the building I became more careful. as I judged. they had found and questioned. Come. "He also is a stranger and likely as not they both hail from Helium." commented Than Kosis contentedly. but he knew nothing of my whereabouts. and where one is we shall sooner or later find the other. "Keep your eyes on this other one. She may know more than she cared to divulge to you." "Then we will have him shortly. CHAPTER XXIII LOST IN THE SKY Without effort at concealment I hastened to the vicinity of our quarters. And his name too. Quadruple the air patrol." concluded the fellow. Few were in sight. and. "and in the meanwhile we will repair to the apartments of the Princess of Helium and question her in regard to the affair." commanded Than Kosis. who ever heard of such a name upon Barsoom!" Word was soon brought that I was nowhere to be found. even. Notan. he had told them he knew as little."Where is this man?" cried Than Kosis. and choosing a moment when none seemed near I sprang quickly to the top of the glass wall and from there to the avenue beyond the palace grounds. "Have him brought to me at once.

and grasping me by the shoulder raised his sword on high. Can you not think of some way to save Helium from this disgrace?" "If I can come within sword's reach of Sab Than. for Dejah Thoris. 109 .building. then raised it with an air of confidence." He bent his head in thought a moment. "It cannot be." Kantos Kan eyed me narrowly before he spoke. as my tour of duty must have ended some time since. and my word that Sab Than shall go out at the point of my sword for the sake of my love for Helium. and in another moment I stood in the room before him. I saw that he knew nothing of the events of the day at the palace. Leaping from roof to roof. and for you." he exclaimed. "It is impossible! Why no man in all Helium but would prefer death to the selling of our loved princess to the ruling house of Zodanga." The splendid fellow sprang to his feet." "How?" I asked. and repulses me only because she is promised to Sab Than. I soon reached an open window in the building where I hoped to find the Heliumite. He was alone and showed no surprise at my coming. She must have lost her mind to have assented to such an atrocious bargain. John Carter. "You are a resourceful man. Here is my hand upon your shoulder. You. saying he had expected me much earlier. The news that Dejah Thoris had promised her hand to Sab Than filled him with dismay. who do not know how we of Helium love the members of our ruling house. and when I had enlightened him he was all excitement. cannot appreciate the horror with which I contemplate such an unholy alliance. exclaiming: "And had the choice been left to me I could not have chosen a more fitting mate for the first princess of Barsoom." I answered. "I can solve the difficulty in so far as Helium is concerned." "What can be done. This very night I shall try to reach his quarters in the palace. "You love her!" he said. "Does she know it?" "She knows it. "You are strongly guarded and a quadruple force patrols the sky. but for personal reasons I would prefer that another struck the blow that frees Dejah Thoris. John Carter?" he continued. and after considerable maneuvering I managed to attain the roof of a shop several doors away. Kantos Kan.

and was known only to him."I only need to pass these guards and I can do it. "I know a secret entrance to the palace through the pinnacle of the highest tower. while the freight and passenger stations of the merchant squadrons rose nearly as high. The building was an enormous one. though several topped it by a few hundred feet." he said at last. and though I encircled the great building I could find no opening through them. rearing its lofty head fully a thousand feet into the air. the docks of the great battleships of the line standing some fifteen hundred feet from the ground. filled as it was with members of the air-scout squadron. Clinging to the wall with my feet and one hand. The eaves projected nearly twenty feet from the wall to which I clung. If I can reach the roof of the barracks and get my machine I can be in Sab Than's quarters in five minutes. Here I met my first real obstacle. and a face peering from the pinnacle of the high tower of the palace was. in common with all Zodanga. I did not dare to enter the building. Kantos Kan. and wait me there. and so I essayed the task. but how am I to escape from this building. and filled with soldiers engaged in the pastimes of their kind. It was a long climb up the face of the building." "Go to the roof of this building. and that I decided I must take—it was for Dejah Thoris. I unloosened one of the long leather straps of my trappings at the end of which dangled a great hook by which air sailors are 110 . and no man has lived who would not risk a thousand deaths for such as she. guarded as you say it is?" "How well are the machine sheds at the barracks guarded?" I asked. He was slightly put out at being detected and commanded me to keep the matter to myself. But few buildings in Zodanga were higher than these barracks. "There is usually but one man on duty there at night upon the roof. The top floor was alight. who. to me. The fact that Barsoomian architecture is extremely ornate made the feat much simpler than I had anticipated. were on the lookout for me. and one fraught with much danger. desperate chance. since I found ornamental ledges and projections which fairly formed a perfect ladder for me all the way to the eaves of the building. I could not. There was one slight. I therefore drew near and discovered that the possessor of the peering face was none other than Sab Than. most unusual. I fell upon it by chance one day as I was passing above the palace on patrol duty. explaining that the passage from the tower led directly to his apartments. but there was no other way. reach the roof through the building. In this work it is required that we investigate any unusual occurrence we may witness." Without stopping to explain my plans I retraced my way to the street and hastened to the barracks. therefore.

or I call the guard. sentry. "I am an air scout. but plunged immediately into a discussion of our plans for the immediate future. "Who are you and whence came you?" he cried. and death. As I gained my feet I was confronted by the sentry on duty. where. It was decided that I was to try to make Helium while Kantos 111 . turning toward the edge of the roof. hung all my weapons. I gagged and bound him and then hung him over the edge of the roof as I myself had hung a few moments before." "Look you here. Clambering quickly aloft I grasped the edge of the eaves and drew myself to the surface of the roof above. then the hook caught and I was safe. for just by the merest chance I escaped falling to the avenue below. gently I pulled on it to strengthen its hold. There was a little jerk at the top of the supporting eaves. I swung out into space at the end of the strap. releasing my grasp upon the supporting ornament. and I needed all the time that I could gain. stepped to my side and to his undoing. Quick. and by means of which landing parties are lowered to the ground from the battleships. and very near a dead one. twenty feet below. An instant I hesitated. but whether it would bear the weight of my body I did not know. I knew it would be morning before he would be discovered." I replied. In less than a minute I was settling safely upon the roof of our apartment beside the astonished Kantos Kan. into the muzzle of whose revolver I found myself looking. friend. man? No one has landed or come up from the building for the past hour. the hard pavements. and soon had out both my machine and Kantos Kan's. acting on impulse of curiosity. for as he leaned to peer over the eaves I grasped him by his throat and his pistol arm and threw him heavily to the roof. I lost no time in explanation. The fellow. Making his fast behind mine I started my engine. and then. Donning my trappings and weapons I hastened to the sheds. I swung this hook cautiously to the roof several times before it finally found lodgment. It might be barely caught upon the very outer verge of the roof. and a nasty slipping. at the end of my strap. explain yourself. Far below me lay the brilliantly lighted streets.hung to the sides and bottoms of their craft for various purposes of repair. The weapon dropped from his grasp. and you shall see how I came and how close a shave I had to not coming at all. and my fingers choked off his attempted cry for assistance. grating sound which turned me cold with apprehension. so that as my body swung out at the end of the strap it would slip off and launch me to the pavement a thousand feet below. "But how came you upon the roof. and skimming over the edge of the roof I dove down into the streets of the city far below the plane usually occupied by the air patrol." I answered.

and later by a swift cruiser carrying a hundred men and a battery of rapid-fire guns. The concussion nearly capsized her. barring accidents. Kantos Kan dropped quickly into the darkness. when a well-directed shot from the cruiser exploded at the prow of my little craft. following with a shot as I paid no attention to his hail. and with my compass intact I should have made the trip. morning found me speeding over a vast expanse of dead sea bottom after nearly six hours of continuous flight at high speed. and bidding each other farewell we rose together and sped in the direction of the palace which lay in the route which I must take to reach Helium. and finally making out their lights far behind me. He set my compass for me. and then I found to my consternation that a fragment of the projectile had utterly destroyed my only guide. If successful he was then to follow me. as I plainly heard the squealing of animals below me. but I was also losing ground by these tactics. as well as my speedometer. How far I fell before I regained control of the plane I do not know. and I was just congratulating myself on my lucky escape. As we neared the high tower a patrol shot down from above. now rising and now falling. Not until their lights were no longer discernible did I venture to flash my little lamp upon my compass. and so I decided to hazard everything on a straight-away course and leave the result to fate and the speed of my machine. Gradually I left my pursuers further and further behind. By twisting and turning my little machine. saw that they were landing. and with a sickening plunge she hurtled downward through the dark night. that greatly increased the speed of our machines. It was true I could follow the stars in the general direction of Helium. but it was not Helium. but without knowing the exact location of the city or the speed at which I was traveling my chances for finding it were slim. as that alone of all Barsoomian metropolises consists in two 112 .Kan was to enter the palace and dispatch Sab Than. in between four and five hours. Presently a great city showed below me. but the die was cast. but I must have been very close to the ground when I started to rise again. and a voice roared out a command to halt. so that I felt sure I could distance my pursuers if I could dodge their projectiles for a few moments. however. a clever little device which will remain steadfastly fixed upon any given point on the surface of Barsoom. and throwing on full speed I raced a straight course toward Helium. which is known only to the navy of Helium. I managed to elude their search-lights most of the time. As it turned out. Helium lies a thousand miles southwest of Zodanga. Rising again I scanned the heavens for my pursuers. evidently in search of me. Kantos Kan had shown me a trick of gearing. while I rose steadily and at terrific speed raced through the Martian sky followed by a dozen of the air-scout craft which had joined the pursuit. throwing its piercing searchlight full upon my craft. As I sped through the air the screeching of the bullets around me convinced me that only by a miracle could I escape.

immense circular walled cities about seventy-five miles apart and would have been easily distinguishable from the altitude at which I was flying. passing during the forenoon several other large cities. I had accounted for one of them when the mighty Thark regained his feet and quickly settled the other. and Tars Tarkas would have been gathered to his fathers in short order had I not sprung before his prostrate form and engaged his adversaries. Quick as lightning they were upon him. he said. of bright yellow and of the same height. among warriors who had not seen my approach so busily were they engaged in life and death struggles. sinking erratically to the ground. one of vivid scarlet rising nearly a mile into the air from the center of one of the cities. Scarcely had I seen them than a volley of shots was directed at me. touching my shoulder. and as I skimmed out across the plain beyond I came full upon several thousand green warriors engaged in a terrific battle. another distinguishing feature is the two immense towers. I recognized Tars Tarkas the Thark. and as I glanced at his fierce face. filled with the light of battle. I fell beside a huge monster who was engaged with three antagonists. He did not see me. I turned back in a southeasterly direction. and with the almost unfailing accuracy of their aim my little craft was instantly a ruined wreck. The mighty fellow made quick work of one of them. The men were fighting on foot with long-swords. and so I struck the ground with drawn long-sword ready to defend myself as I could. with good chances of dying in any event. He gave me one look. and just then the three warriors opposing him. marks her sister. but none resembling the description which Kantos Kan had given me of Helium. I fell almost directly in the center of the fierce combat. and whom I recognized as Warhoons. and a slight smile touched his grim lip as. 113 . while an occasional shot from a sharpshooter on the outskirts of the conflict would bring down a warrior who might for an instant separate himself from the entangled mass. In addition to the twin-city formation of Helium. Believing that I had come too far to the north and west. but in stepping back for another thrust he fell over a dead body behind him and was down and at the mercy of his foes in an instant. CHAPTER XXIV TARS TARKAS FINDS A FRIEND About noon I passed low over a great dead city of ancient Mars. while the other. charged simultaneously. As my machine sank among them I realized that it was fight or die. as I was a trifle behind him.

until the tide of battle turned and the remnant of the fierce Warhoon horde fell back upon their thoats. and together we fought. we must start. for the Warhoons were closing in about us. Tal Hajus has ordered me to bring you before him tonight. 114 . You shall not sacrifice yourself. "Tal Hajus knows that you are here. It was Woola—faithful. and it may be that tonight you can have the chance you wait. On our return to the city after the battle we had gone directly to Tars Tarkas' quarters. I think I have learned that there is such a thing as friendship." "And when you return. hot afternoon. Come. but he can be a friend as well. He had found his way back to Thark and. "Unless I should chance to have the opportunity I have so long waited of battling with Tal Hajus. loving Woola. possibly. While we were eating I repeated to Tars Tarkas the story which Sola had told me that night upon the sea bottom during the march to Thark. nor did they attempt to take prisoners." said Tars Tarkas." he replied. you may take your choice from among them. or worse. on his return from the jeddak's quarters. John Carter." He said no more. my friend. and as I glanced up there rushed suddenly upon me a huge and hideous creature which bore me backward upon the pile of silks and furs upon which I had been reclining. John Carter. and see Tal Hajus tonight. during all that long. shoulder to shoulder. Ten thousand men had been engaged in that titanic struggle. nor was there opportunity. and upon the field of battle lay three thousand dead." "We will stay. Neither side asked or gave quarter." He objected strenuously. and fled into the gathering darkness. had gone immediately to my former quarters where he had taken up his pathetic and seemingly hopeless watch for my return. as Tars Tarkas later told me. Tars Tarkas."I would scarcely recognize you. Tars Tarkas?" I asked. As I sat awaiting the return of the green warrior I heard something move in an adjoining apartment. where I was left alone while the chieftain attended the customary council which immediately follows an engagement. and I will accompany you to the nearest waterway that leads to Helium. John Carter. saying that Tal Hajus often flew into wild fits of passion at the mere thought of the blow I had dealt him. but there is no other mortal upon Barsoom who would have done what you have for me. and that if ever he laid his hands upon me I would be subjected to the most horrible tortures. I have ten thoats. "Sarkoja saw and recognized you as we were returning. Tars Tarkas may be a cruel green warrior. "The wild calots.

cruel. I have just discovered that the warrior who loved that woman has learned of your part in the transaction. felled him with a single blow of my fist. "Strap him to that pillar. Sarkoja. but how recently has one of you seen him fight with men? Why. "Who are you to set aside the customs of ages among the Tharks. Tal Hajus. he could scarcely wait to see me and was standing erect upon his platform glowering at the entrance as I came in. I thought it only right to warn you. with my own hands I shall burn the eyes from his head that he may not pollute my person with his vile gaze. "Sarkoja. but the great muscles of his face worked in passion and in agony at recollection of the horrors which had been heaped upon the only thing he had ever loved in all his cold." he shrieked. at least. In silence we hastened to the jeddak's palace. "Gag the creature and bind him as I command. turning to the assembled council and ignoring Tal Hajus. but where was your mighty jeddak during the fighting today? I did not see him in the thick of battle. he was not there. Sarkoja." said Tars Tarkas. a midget beside him." roared Tal Hajus. He rends defenseless women and little children in his lair. and the look of venomous hatred she cast upon me was almost adequate recompense for any future misfortunes this accidental return to Thark might bring me. Having heard that he would do this on the morrow. merely to test your fitness to survive and help perpetuate our race. "You are a brave people and you love bravery. while Tal Hajus fumed and frothed. justice!" echoed a dozen voices. At his request I accompanied him to her quarters. He no longer demurred when I suggested that we go before Tal Hajus. He may not kill you. nor was she ever seen after." "Yes. it is not our custom. a hearing. only saying that he would like to speak to Sarkoja first." "Chieftains of Thark." "Justice. I continued. but there is nothing to prevent him tying one end of a strap about your neck and the other end to a wild thoat. "forty years ago you were instrumental in bringing about the torture and death of a woman named Gozava. in fact. and today I have fought for Thark shoulder to shoulder with her greatest warrior." I cried. You claim to be just people—" "Silence. Is it of such that the Tharks fashion their jeddaks? There stands beside 115 . "I have been a chief among you." exclaimed Lorquas Ptomel. Heat the irons. I have won that much today. terrible existence. and so." The next morning Sarkoja was gone. Come. John Carter. You owe me. even I. for I am a just man. "We shall see who it is dares strike the mighty Tal Hajus. The river Iss is but a short pilgrimage.He said but little. where we were immediately admitted to his presence.

" he said. whose son she must wed to save her country from devastation at the hands of the Zodangan forces. "It but remains for this council to command. but Tal Hajus is afraid.me now a great Thark. and he knows it. The combat was soon over. and in a few words had explained to him the thought I had in mind. I grasped the opportunity to enlist them in my cause against Zodanga. That decree was final. His first act was to make me a full-fledged chieftain with the rank I had won by my combats the first few weeks of my captivity among them. I shall put it to you briefly. "never in my long life have I seen a jeddak of the Tharks so humiliated. "Chieftains. I told Tars Tarkas the story of my adventures. "John Carter suggests that we rescue her and return her to Helium. Tars Tarkas became jeddak among the Tharks. how sounds." continued Lorquas Ptomel. with his foot upon the neck of the dead monster. hard voice. There was no alternative. Dejah Thoris. "which meets with my sanction. "John Carter has made a proposal. Were he a brave man he would invite Tars Tarkas to combat. your jeddak. "Tal Hajus. "shall the jeddak. Tars Tarkas. as all eyes were riveted upon Tal Hajus. Jeddak of Thark?" A roar of deep-toned applause greeted this suggestion. There could be but one answer to this arraignment. is now held by the jeddak of Zodanga. Chieftains. and I have often thought that had we an alliance with the people of Helium we could obtain sufficient assurance of sustenance to permit us to 116 . a mighty warrior and a noble man. but the blotchy green of his countenance turned livid. and. Tal Hajus." After I ceased there was tense silence. addressing the council. and twenty swords flashed high in assent. We wait it." And still Tal Hajus stood as though electrified. Tal Hajus. as well as toward me. The loot of Zodanga would be magnificent. and so Tal Hajus drew his longsword and advanced to meet Tars Tarkas. is a coward. With my bare hands I could kill him." said Lorquas Ptomel in a cold. and the froth froze upon his lips. who was our prisoner. the Princess of Helium. prove his fitness to rule over Tars Tarkas?" There were twenty chieftains about the rostrum. Seeing the favorable disposition of the warriors toward Tars Tarkas. and Tal Hajus must prove his fitness to rule. He did not speak or move. for he does not love him.

But as we neared Zodanga their personal quarrels were submerged by their greater hatred for the red men. who had for years waged a ruthless campaign of extermination against the green men. Now that we were before Zodanga the task of obtaining entry to the city devolved upon me. ten days after we set out we halted at midnight outside the great walled city of Zodanga. The walls of Zodanga are seventy-five feet in height and fifty feet thick. At the head of the column I rode beside the great Thark while at the heels of my mount trotted my beloved Woola. What say you?" It was a chance to fight. directing special attention toward despoiling their incubators. but are covered by sentries. one hundred thousand strong. They are built of enormous blocks of carborundum. Never in the history of Barsoom. we were all kept indoors during the daylight hours. and especially for the Zodangans. as Tars Tarkas had been able to enlist the services of three smaller hordes on the promise of the great loot of Zodanga. We traveled entirely by night. one hundred and fifty thousand strong. and therefore did not know me. who patrol the avenue that encircles the city just within the walls as our metropolitan police patrol their beats. enlisted fifty thousand more warriors from various hordes. timing our marches so that we camped during the day at deserted cities where. For Tharks they were wildly enthusiastic. even to the beasts. to my escort of green warriors. with each division opposite a large gateway. through his remarkable ability and statesmanship. an opportunity to loot. and they rose to the bait as a speckled trout to a fly.increase the size and frequency of our hatchings. It was a monstrous task to keep even a semblance of harmony among them. Tars Tarkas told me. and it was a marvel to me that he got them to the city without a mighty battle among themselves. On the march Tars Tarkas. so that. 117 . and thus become unquestionably supreme among the green men of all Barsoom. had such a force of green warriors marched to battle together. and directing Tars Tarkas to hold his forces in two divisions out of earshot of the city. and the task of entering the city seemed. These gates have no regular guard. and before another half hour had passed twenty mounted messengers were speeding across dead sea bottoms to call the hordes together for the expedition. The fighting strength and efficiency of this horde of ferocious green monsters was equivalent to ten times their number of red men. In three days we were on the march toward Zodanga. an impossibility. The fellows who had been detailed to accompany me were of one of the smaller hordes. I took twenty dismounted warriors and approached one of the small gates that pierced the walls at short intervals.

The head of the topmost warrior towered over forty feet from the ground. We were to do our work quietly. with ten warriors. Once inside. however. but I finally was rewarded by seeing it swing upon its huge hinges. No one was in sight. while the balance of the great horde was attacking the barracks of the soldiery. After me I dragged six lengths of leather from an equal number of my warriors. Dispatching one of my men to Tars Tarkas for a detail of fifty Tharks. and with a final bound from the broad shoulders of the highest I clutched the top of the great wall and quietly drew myself to its broad expanse. Then starting from a short distance behind them I ran swiftly up from one tier to the next. I led them to the palace walls. and the guards at both gates followed them in silence. I commanded two more to mount to their shoulders. I built a series of three steps from the ground to the shoulders of the topmost man. I had learned from Kantos Kan the secret of opening these gates. I ordered ten warriors to capture and open one of the great gates while with the nine remaining I took the other. and a sixth I ordered to climb upon the shoulders of the upper two. headed by Tars Tarkas himself. I dropped the remaining thirty feet to the pavement below. which I negotiated easily without assistance. so. The immense hall was 118 . I found to my delight that I had entered at the lower boundary of the enormous palace grounds. with word of my intentions. In this way. no shots were to be fired and no general advance made until I had reached the palace with my fifty Tharks. and in another moment my twenty great fighting men stood within the doomed city of Zodanga. As we approached the palace I could see through the great windows of the first floor into the brilliantly illuminated audience chamber of Than Kosis. Our plans worked to perfection. and passing one end to the topmost warrior I lowered the other end cautiously over the opposite side of the wall toward the avenue below. The two sentries we met were dispatched to their fathers upon the banks of the lost sea of Korus. The building itself showed in the distance a blaze of glorious light. and soon my fierce escort was riding across the gardens of the jeddak of Zodanga. rode in upon their mighty thoats.Placing three of them with their faces to the wall and arms locked. These lengths we had previously fastened together. the gate gave me considerable trouble. CHAPTER XXV THE LOOTING OF ZODANGA As the great gate where I stood swung open my fifty Tharks. and on the instant I determined to lead a detachment of warriors directly within the palace itself. lowering myself to the end of my leather strap.

With a bound I was on the steps of the platform beside Than Kosis. The object of the ceremony was clear to me. the head of a procession which advanced to the foot of the throne. but presently two officers advanced and removed the scarlet robe from one of the figures. so that not a feature of either was discernible. from which the officers now removed the enshrouding silks. These two stopped at the foot of the throne. I presume. Before them stretched a broad aisle lined on either side with soldiery. and as I looked there entered this aisle at the far end of the hall. Prince of Zodanga. and as the ornaments were adjusted upon her beautiful figure and her collar of gold swung open in the hands of Than Kosis I raised my long-sword above my head. a great golden chain with a collar and padlock at each end. Princess of Helium. in another moment Dejah Thoris would be joined forever to the Prince of Zodanga. for it was Sab Than. sat Than Kosis and his consort. due. I could not hear his words. and so I came close and peered within. but to me it seemed the most fiendish sight I had ever witnessed. but the age-old 119 . and finally two figures entirely muffled in scarlet silk. upon a cushion of scarlet silk. Directly behind these officers came four others carrying a similar salver which supported the magnificent ornaments of a prince and princess of the reigning house of Zodanga. facing Than Kosis. It was an impressive and beautiful ceremony. At the foot of the throne these two parties separated and halted. First there marched four officers of the jeddak's Guard bearing a huge salver on which reposed. who stood revealed before me. I could have killed him as easily as I might a fly. Than Kosis now took a set of the ornaments from one of the salvers and placed one of the collars of gold about his son's neck. I presume. After a few more words addressed to Sab Than he turned to the other figure. Then came more dignitaries. and Sab Than sprang upon me with a jeweled dagger he had drawn from his nuptial ornaments. upon massive golden thrones encrusted with diamonds. springing the padlock fast. When the balance of the procession had entered and assumed their stations Than Kosis addressed the couple standing before him. surrounded by officers and dignitaries of state. I shattered the glass of the great window and sprang into the midst of the astonished assemblage. and as he stood riveted with surprise I brought my long-sword down upon the golden chain that would have bound Dejah Thoris to another. At one end of the chamber. There was not a guard in sight without the palace. as though some important function was in progress. and. facing each other at opposite sides of the aisle. a thousand drawn swords menaced me from every quarter. to the fact that the city and palace walls were considered impregnable. disclosing to my now comprehending view Dejah Thoris. and the officers of the palace and of the army. and I saw that Kantos Kan had failed in his mission. with the heavy hilt.crowded with nobles and their women. In an instant all was confusion.

and grasping his wrist as the dagger flew toward my heart I held him as though in a vise and with my long-sword pointed to the far end of the hall. With one swing of his mighty longsword he laid a dozen corpses at his feet. Thrusting Sab Than headlong from the platform. Kill her! Kill her!" Calling to Dejah Thoris to get behind me I worked my way toward the little doorway back of the throne. other than Dejah Thoris and myself. when several more rushed to the aid of their new ruler. "Zodanga has fallen. A cry of alarm and amazement broke from the assemblage. and so he hewed a pathway before him until in another moment he stood upon the platform beside me. and to avenge the death of the old. my last chance to win the woman I loved. and again we faced each other. As they advanced there were cries of "The woman! The woman! Strike her down. I was hard pressed to defend myself and yet not strike down Sab Than and. In an instant we were engaged. and I began to realize that nothing short of a miracle could save Dejah Thoris and myself." I cried. and in a moment the soldiers and nobles of Zodanga were hurling themselves upon the advancing Tharks. and one was down. Two I had disarmed. as he raised his hand to strike. and when the fighting ceased it was because only Tharks remained alive in the great hall. I drew Dejah Thoris to my side. As we circled upon the broad platform I saw Sab Than rushing up the steps to aid his father.custom of Barsoom stayed my hand. The Tharks were having their hands full in the center of the room. I fought once again for Dejah Thoris. and there. Behind the throne was a narrow doorway and in this Than Kosis now stood facing me. and three of them sprang in behind me and blocked my chances for gaining a position where I could have defended Dejah Thoris against any army of swordsmen. with him. when I saw Tars Tarkas surging through the crowd of pygmies that swarmed about him. The bravery of the Zodangans was awe-inspiring. but. but no word of fear. "Look!" All eyes turned in the direction I had indicated. forging through the portals of the entranceway rode Tars Tarkas and his fifty warriors on their great thoats. Dejah Thoris sprang before him and then my sword found the spot that made Sab Than jeddak of Zodanga. My blade was swinging with the rapidity of lightning as I sought to parry the thrusts and cuts of my opponents. 120 . but the officers realized my intentions. with drawn long-sword. He was soon joined by a quartet of officers. with my back against a golden throne. it is her plot. As his father rolled dead upon the floor the new jeddak tore himself free from Dejah Thoris' grasp. dealing death and destruction right and left. and I found no mean antagonist. not one attempted to escape. and.

you have done in a few short months what in all the past ages of Barsoom no man has ever done: joined together the wild hordes of the sea bottoms and brought them to fight as allies of a red Martian people. and the corpses of the flower of Zodangan nobility and chivalry covered the floor of the bloody shambles. came to us from the city's streets. She had sunk into one of the golden thrones. and soon we had Kantos Kan with us in the throne room. The jailers had all left to join the fighters in the throne room. I called Kantos Kan's name aloud in each new corridor and compartment." A pretty flush overspread her face and she answered. and Tars Tarkas hastened away to direct the fighting without. so that he had not even seen Sab Than. John Carter. "You may say that now. "It was not I who did it. the green warriors commencing a thorough search of the palace for other Zodangans and for loot. it was love." 121 . The sounds of heavy firing. "I know that Barsoom has never before seen your like. so we searched the labyrinthine prison without opposition. Can it be that all Earth men are as you? Alone.Sab Than lay dead beside his father. Dejah Thoris. threatened. and I may listen. My first thought when the battle was over was for Kantos Kan." "The answer is easy. love for Dejah Thoris. persecuted. mingled with shouts and cries. "Was there ever such a man!" she exclaimed. a stranger. hunted." I replied smiling. He told me that the air patrol had captured him before he reached the high tower of the palace. at his suggestion I returned to search the bodies on the floor above for keys to open the padlocks of his cell and of his chains. and Dejah Thoris and I were left alone. we soon found him helpless in a dark recess. so. and to know the meaning of the fight. Kantos Kan accompanied him to act as guide. and leaving Dejah Thoris in charge of Tars Tarkas I took a dozen warriors and hastened to the dungeons beneath the palace. He was overjoyed at seeing me. and finally I was rewarded by hearing a faint response. Fortunately among the first I examined I found his jailer. for I am free. faint echoes of which had reached his prison cell. Guided by the sound. a power that would work greater miracles than this you have seen. and as I turned to her she greeted me with a wan smile. We discovered that it would be futile to attempt to cut away the bars and chains which held him prisoner.

"And more still I have to say. did Dejah Thoris. to be mine. but that you are you is enough to make me doubt my sanity as I ask you. but never in my wildest fancies have I dreamed of winning a Dejah Thoris for myself—for never had I dreamed that in all the universe dwelt such a woman as the Princess of Helium. but there were thousands of war and merchant vessels under guard of Thark warriors. and columns of dense smoke were rising above the city as though to blot out from the eye of heaven the horrid sights beneath. followed by a fleet of transports with our thoats." she replied. Her forces were entirely destroyed or captured. In the middle of the afternoon we sighted the scarlet and yellow towers of Helium. And thus in the midst of a city of wild conflict. man as many vessels as possible with Zodangan prisoners and make for Helium without further loss of time. so it was decided that we collect what warriors we could. the God of War." I returned. That you are a princess does not abash me. Princess of Helium. filled with the alarms of war. and so I took her in my arms and kissed her. rising and placing her dear hands upon my shoulders. "I have done many strange things in my life. promise herself in marriage to John Carter. The lesser hordes had commenced looting and quarreling among themselves. 122 ." "He does not need to be abashed who so well knew the answer to his plea before the plea were made. and a short time later a great fleet of Zodangan battleships rose from the camps of the besiegers without the city. Behind us we left the stricken city in the fierce and brutal clutches of some forty thousand green warriors of the lesser hordes. Gentleman of Virginia. Several battleships had escaped. In a hundred places they had applied the torch. Five hours later we sailed from the roofs of the dock buildings with a fleet of two hundred and fifty battleships. carrying nearly one hundred thousand green warriors. with death and destruction reaping their terrible harvest around her. CHAPTER XXVI THROUGH CARNAGE TO JOY Sometime later Tars Tarkas and Kantos Kan returned to report that Zodanga had been completely reduced. many things that wiser men would not have dared. and advanced to meet us. true daughter of Mars. murdering. my princess. They were looting. and fighting amongst themselves. and no further resistance was to be expected from within. ere it is again too late.

one by one. Within but little more than an hour from the moment the victorious Zodangan squadron had risen to meet us from the camp of the besiegers the battle was over. was most effective. perceiving that we were friends. The vessels carrying our green warriors were kept circling above the contending fleets of Helium and Zodanga. sent out hundreds of vessels to aid us. the little figures of her crew plunging. and the final outcome of the engagement was strongly influenced. At first the two forces circled at the same altitude. from which they poured upon them from their keel bomb batteries a perfect torrent of exploding bombs. and the remaining vessels of the conquered Zodangans were headed toward the cities of Helium under prize crews. pouring broadside after broadside into each other. the battleships of Helium succeeded in rising above the Zodangans. leaped from the towering bows of their mighty craft to an awful death. and then began the first real air battle I had ever witnessed. A wild cry of exultation arose from the Heliumite squadron. holding their colors high above their heads. by their presence. have no skill in naval gunnery. then with sickening velocity she tore after them. Their small-arm fire. but the Zodangans did not need this sign to realize that we were enemies. with a lurch she turned completely over. since their batteries were useless in the hands of the Tharks who. the result of an age-old custom which demanded that surrender should be signalized by the voluntary plunging to earth of the commander of the vanquished vessel. however. Several others attempted to escape. There was an extremely pathetic side to the surrender of these mighty fliers. The twin cities of Helium. One after another the brave fellows. and with redoubled ferocity they fell upon the Zodangan fleet. but they were soon surrounded by thousands of tiny individual fliers. With their uncanny marksmanship they raked the on-coming fleet with volley after volley. having no navy. turning and twisting toward the ground a thousand feet below. 123 . for our green Martian warriors had opened fire upon them almost as they left the ground.The banners of Helium had been strung from stem to stern of each of our mighty craft. Presently a great hole was torn in the hull of one of the immense battle craft from the Zodangan camp. Then. if not wholly determined. almost completely burying herself in the soft loam of the ancient sea bottom. and in a short time a number of the beleaguering battleships were drifting hopeless wrecks toward the high scarlet tower of greater Helium. and above each hung a monster battleship of Helium ready to drop boarding parties upon their decks. By a pretty maneuver two of the vessels of Helium gained a position above their adversaries.

but what seemed to impress them most was that I had won the aid of the fierce Tharks in my campaign for the liberation of Dejah Thoris. "Lay your hands upon the shoulder of John Carter. and was much put out that I would not follow. the battle was but partly won. and I would not leave Tars Tarkas until that had been accomplished. "the man to whom Helium owes her princess as well as her victory today. who advanced to meet them. to my surprise. When the other vessels of the squadron caught the meaning of the signals flashed them they took up the wild acclaim and unfurled her colors in the gleaming sunlight. Dejah Thoris and I then advanced. Tars Tarkas. and that we wished to transfer her to the flagship that she might be taken immediately to the city. the Tharks are extremely formal. did the fighting cease. She received them gracefully. but at sight of Kantos Kan. was he much behind them in ease of bearing or in courtly speech. Jeddak of Thark. "and here he is. and the relief of Helium. We now signaled the flagship of Helium's navy to approach. as I explained to her. they came forward. As their astonished gaze fell upon the hundreds of green warriors. 124 . and the useless sacrifice of brave men come to an end. and when she was within hailing distance I called out that we had the Princess Dejah Thoris on board. As the full import of my announcement bore in upon them a great cry arose from the decks of the flagship. but." They were very courteous to me and said many kind and complimentary things. who now came forth from the fighting shelters. and a moment later the colors of the Princess of Helium broke from a hundred points upon her upper works. we still had the land forces of the besieging Zodangans to account for. The flagship bore down upon us. and they had no eyes for other than her. meet one of Barsoom's greatest soldiers and statesmen. and their ways lend themselves amazingly well to dignified and courtly manners." I said.Not until the commander of the entire fleet took the fearful plunge. turning toward me. Dejah Thoris went aboard the flagship. calling each by name. and she knew them well. and as she swung gracefully to and touched our side a dozen officers sprang upon our decks. for they were men high in the esteem and service of her grandfather." she said to them. nor. Though not a garrulous race. they stopped aghast. "You owe your thanks more to another man than to me. thus indicating the surrender of the remaining vessels." With the same polished courtesy that had marked their manner toward me they extended their greetings to the great Thark. crowding about him.

with the thoats of the green warriors. but with little loss. As soon as the last thoat was unloaded Tars Tarkas gave the command to advance. however. a huge triumphal procession of conquering heroes. With wild. as had been prearranged. It was necessary to lower the animals to the ground in slings and this work occupied the remainder of the day and half the night. gathered from pole to pole. and once more the mighty thoats bore their terrible riders against the ramparts of the enemy. 125 . Without landing stages it was to be a difficult matter to unload these beasts upon the open plain. wherever stretched their ribbon-like waterways. the prisoners were marched back to Helium. Again Tars Tarkas ordered the charge. Jeddak of Helium. About a mile from the main camp we encountered their outposts and. the south and the east. In the distance lay our fleet of transports. nor could we receive any word from them. Just at noon we heard heavy firing all along the line between the Zodangans and the cities. We did not catch them napping. and in three parties we crept upon the Zodangan camp from the north. and so we put out for a point about ten miles from the city and began the task. where they had remained during the battle. The plain before the city became a veritable shambles ere the last Zodangan surrendered. Time after time we were repulsed until. accepted this as the signal to charge. Nobly they fought. The Zodangans numbered nearly a million fighting men. but found a well-entrenched battle line confronting us.The commander of the naval forces of Helium promised to arrange to have the armies of Helium attack from the city in conjunction with our land attack. and after darkness shut down they withdrew. The forces from Helium had not arrived. and we entered the greater city's gates. At the same moment the battle line of Helium surged over the opposite breastworks of the Zodangans and in another moment they were being crushed as between two millstones. I began to fear for the result of the battle. but finally the carnage ceased. toward noon. ferocious cries and amidst the nasty squealing of battle-enraged thoats we bore down upon the Zodangans. and we knew then that our much-needed reinforcements had come. Twice we were attacked by parties of Zodangan cavalry. but there was nothing else for it. Tardos Mors. but in vain. and so the vessels separated and Dejah Thoris was borne in triumph back to the court of her grandfather. while pitted against them were less than a hundred thousand green warriors.

The broad avenues were lined with women and children." Tardos Mors then greeted each of the green jeddaks and jeds. for even in the face of the ferocious appearance of Woola the populace pressed close about me. That my poor services to Dejah Thoris had become known to the Heliumites was evidenced by the loud crying of my name. and by the loads of ornaments that were fastened upon me and my huge thoat as we passed up the avenues to the palace." returned Tars Tarkas. "may meet the greatest living warrior of Barsoom is a priceless honor." 126 . and without one word of opposition. my son." he said. and that they came now as friends and allies filled the red men with rejoicing. and as we reached the lower steps one of their number descended to meet us. platinum. tall." he said. "it has remained for a man of another world to teach the green warriors of Barsoom the meaning of friendship. My fierce Tharks caused the wildest excitement and enthusiasm. earnestly. and to each spoke words of friendship and appreciation. together with myself. that they can appreciate and reciprocate the sentiments so graciously expressed. silver. The first member of our party he met was Tars Tarkas and his first words sealed forever the new friendship between the races. on all Barsoom. is sufficient earnest of my esteem. but that he may lay his hand on the shoulder of a friend and ally is a far greater boon. Jeddak of Helium. At the top of the great steps leading up to the main portals of the palace stood the royal party. to him we owe the fact that the hordes of Thark can understand you. straight as an arrow. "Welcome. The city had gone mad with joy. gladly. "That Tardos Mors. superbly muscled and with the carriage and bearing of a ruler of men. dismount and accompany them to receive from Tardos Mors an expression of his gratitude for our services. "that you are granted." "Jeddak of Helium. We were greeted with an endless round of applause and showered with ornaments of gold. yes. He was an almost perfect specimen of manhood. the most precious jewel in all Helium. I did not need to be told that he was Tardos Mors. As we approached this magnificent pile we were met by a party of officers who greeted us warmly and requested that Tars Tarkas and his jeds with the jeddaks and jeds of his wild allies. among which were the few men whose duties necessitated that they remain within the city during the battle. Never before had an armed body of green warriors entered the gates of Helium. As he approached me he laid both hands upon my shoulders. and precious jewels.

her father. Vivid in my memory is the picture of the last night as we sat there talking in low tones of the strange romance which had woven our lives together and of this wonder which was coming to augment our happiness and fulfill our hopes. accompanied by Tars Tarkas and Sola. when the delicate shell should break. In a golden incubator upon the roof of our palace lay a snow-white egg. He had followed close behind Tardos Mors and seemed even more affected by the meeting than had his father. as I was to later learn. and no day passed that did not bring some new proof of their love for my princess. a reputation for ferocity and fearlessness as a fighter that was remarkable even upon warlike Barsoom. In common with all Helium he worshiped his daughter. nor could he think of what she had escaped without deep emotion. 127 . but his voice choked with emotion and he could not speak. CHAPTER XXVII FROM JOY TO DEATH For ten days the hordes of Thark and their wild allies were feasted and entertained. and father of Dejah Thoris. For nearly five years ten soldiers of the jeddak's Guard had constantly stood over it. The jed of lesser Helium with a small party of nobles accompanied them all the way to Thark to cement more closely the new bonds of peace and friendship. Sola also accompanied Tars Tarkas. and. Mors Kajak and his officers. Three weeks later. For nine years I served in the councils and fought in the armies of Helium as a prince of the house of Tardos Mors. returned upon a battleship that had been dispatched to Thark to fetch them in time for the ceremony which made Dejah Thoris and John Carter one. loaded with costly presents and escorted by ten thousand soldiers of Helium commanded by Mors Kajak. The people seemed never to tire of heaping honors upon me. they started on the return journey to their own lands. Jed of lesser Helium. the incomparable Dejah Thoris. and yet he had. then.We were then presented to Mors Kajak. who before all his chieftains had acknowledged her as his daughter. He tried a dozen times to express his gratitude to me. and not a day passed when I was in the city that Dejah Thoris and I did not stand hand in hand before our little shrine planning for the future.

"The men of Helium have prided themselves that they have ever shown Barsoom how a nation of red men should live." There was absolute silence for several minutes." The chamber rang with applause and as there was nothing better to do than to allay the fears of the people by our example we went our ways with smiles upon our faces and sorrow gnawing at our hearts. so I told her all that I had heard. and there would be little to fear were the engine of the pumping plant to run as it should and as they all have for hundreds of years now. Ten minutes after it touched at the palace a message called me to the council chamber. When I returned to my palace I found that the rumor already had reached Dejah Thoris. and then a young noble arose. It would take months to penetrate those mighty walls. "word reached the several governments of Barsoom that the keeper of the atmosphere plant had made no wireless report for two days. but the worst. now is our opportunity to show them how they should die. On the raised platform of the throne was Tardos Mors. "we have at best three days to live. Let us go about our duties as though a thousand useful years still lay before us.In the distance we saw the bright-white light of an approaching airship." he concluded. but we attached no special significance to so common a sight. has happened. which was found in the pits beneath his house horribly mutilated by some assassin. which I found filling with the members of that body. it circled impatiently awaiting the tardy patrol boat which must convoy it to the palace docks. 128 . we fear. When all were in their seats he turned toward us. The instruments show a rapidly decreasing air pressure on all parts of Barsoom—the engine has stopped. "This morning." he said. Flashing the signals which proclaimed it a dispatch bearer for the jeddak. All day a thousand cruisers have been searching for him until just now one of them returns bearing his dead body. pacing back and forth with tense-drawn face. Like a bolt of lightning it raced toward Helium until its very speed bespoke the unusual. nor had almost ceaseless calls upon him from a score of capitals elicited a sign of response. "I do not need to tell you what this means to Barsoom. in fact the work has already commenced." "My gentlemen. and with his drawn sword held high above his head addressed Tardos Mors. "The ambassadors of the other nations asked us to take the matter in hand and hasten the assistant keeper to the plant.

As I turned sadly from him my eyes fell upon Dejah Thoris. Tomorrow's sun will look down upon a dead world which through all eternity must go swinging through the heavens peopled not even by memories."We have been very happy. John Carter. and laid his strong hand upon the shoulders of the men. to all appearances she was lifeless. "I love you! I love you! It is cruel that we must be torn apart who were just starting upon a life of love and happiness. The fighting blood of Virginia sprang to life in my veins. my princess." He stooped and kissed the women of his family." The next two days brought no noticeable change in the supply of air. Her eyes opened and looked into mine. The days of the greatness of Barsoom are over." she said. As it was becoming perceptibly difficult to breathe Tardos Mors arose. men and women gave way to quiet grief. when we conversed at all. "Let us bid each other farewell. Dejah Thoris and I with the other members of the royal family had collected in a sunken garden within an inner courtyard of the palace. saying. Toward the middle of the day many of the weaker commenced to succumb and within an hour the people of Barsoom were sinking by thousands into the unconsciousness which precedes death by asphyxiation. The little incubator had been brought from the roof of our palace at request of Dejah Thoris and now she sat gazing longingly upon the unknown little life that now she would never know. With a cry I sprang to her and raised her in my arms. All business had ceased. Her head was drooping upon her breast. The avenues and plazas of Helium were filled with people. "Kiss me. Even Woola seemed to feel the weight of the impending calamity." As I pressed her dear lips to mine the old feeling of unconquerable power and authority rose in me." 129 . For the most part the people looked bravely into the face of their unalterable doom. who has fought his way through a strange world for love of you. "There is. will find it. whining pitifully." she murmured. It is the end. We conversed in low tones. for he pressed close to Dejah Thoris and to me. there must be some way. and John Carter. "It shall not be. however." I cried. "and I thank whatever fate overtakes us that it permits us to die together. Here and there. but on the morning of the third day breathing became difficult at the higher altitudes of the rooftops. John Carter. as the awe of the grim shadow of death crept over us.

and lying on my belly along the deck with one hand on the steering wheel and the other pushing the speed lever to its last notch I split the thin air of dying Mars with the speed of a meteor. I flung overboard everything but the engine and compass. Like a flash of lightning in the darkness their full purport dawned upon me—the key to the three great doors of the atmosphere plant! Turning suddenly toward Tardos Mors as I still clasped my dying love to my breast I cried. There were a few men still conscious." He did not wait to question. Kissing Dejah Thoris a dozen times and commanding Woola. but in an instant a guard was racing to the nearest dock and though the air was thin and almost gone at the rooftop they managed to launch the fastest one-man. air-scout machine that the skill of Barsoom had ever produced. But it is useless. but I took a straight course across an old sea bottom and so had to rise only a few feet above the ground. I can save Barsoom yet. That she had dropped into the last coma which would end in death. Beside the door a great crew of men had been laboring to pierce the wall. Jeddak! Quick! Order your swiftest flier to the palace top. An hour before dark the great walls of the atmosphere plant loomed suddenly before me. and with a sickening thud I plunged to the ground before the small door which was withholding the spark of life from the inhabitants of an entire planet. As I turned for a last look as I left the palace garden I had seen her stagger and sink upon the ground beside the little incubator.And with my words there crept above the threshold of my conscious mind a series of nine long forgotten sounds. and it was with difficulty that I breathed at all. "A flier. but they had scarcely scratched the flint-like surface. I had to fly low to get sufficient air to breathe." he replied. even to my ornaments. to remain and guard her. "If I can open these doors is there a man who can start the engines?" I asked. I traveled with awful velocity for my errand was a race against time with death. they are both dead and no one else upon Barsoom knew the secret of these 130 . and so. and now most of them lay in the last sleep from which not even air would awaken them. if the air supply remained unreplenished. Conditions seemed much worse here than at Helium. who would have followed me. throwing caution to the winds. I well knew. The face of Dejah Thoris hung always before me. and to one of these I spoke. "if you open quickly. I can last but a few moments more. and in another moment I was headed toward the goal of the hopes of all Barsoom. "I can. I bounded with my old agility and strength to the high ramparts of the palace.

as I touched the cord the skeletons swung to the motion with a noise as of the rustling of dry leaves. I was becoming very weak and it was with difficulty that I controlled my mind at all. CHAPTER XXVIII AT THE ARIZONA CAVE It was dark when I opened my eyes again. and as I saw the hope of Barsoom crawling weakly on hands and knees through the last doorway I sank unconscious upon the ground. and its dim flame lighted up what appeared to be a huge cave. Strange. and the thing it leaned over was a small charcoal burner upon which rested a round copper vessel containing a small quantity of greenish powder." I cried to my companion. As I approached it I saw that it was the dead and mummified remains of a little old woman with long black hair. "and if you reach the pump room turn loose all the pumps. and then the third. was a row of human skeletons. as I sank weakly to my knees I hurled the nine thought waves at that awful thing before me. with a final effort. But. depending from the roof upon rawhide thongs. toward the back of which I discovered a strange. Before me was a small patch of moonlit sky which showed through a ragged aperture. 131 . stiff garments were upon my body. and stretching entirely across the cave. From the thong which held them stretched another to the dead hand of the little old woman. For three days men crazed with fear have surged about this portal in vain attempts to solve its mystery. As my hands passed over my body they came in contact with pockets and in one of these a small parcel of matches wrapped in oiled paper. "After it. I attempted to rise and follow it but I was too weak. I felt myself over from head to foot and from head to foot I was clothed. The Martian had crawled to my side and with staring eyes fixed on the single panel before us we waited in the silence of death. though when I fell unconscious at the little doorway I had been naked. still figure huddled over a tiny bench. It is the only chance Barsoom has to exist tomorrow!" From where I lay I opened the second door." I had no time to talk. Behind her. One of these matches I struck. garments that cracked and powdered away from me as I rose to a sitting posture.awful locks. Slowly the mighty door receded before us.

It was a most grotesque and horrid tableau and I hastened out into the fresh air. The old mine. forty-eight million miles away. while at their feet is a huge and hideous creature with a heart of gold. Burying my head in my arms I turned. broken. which I found untouched. and at her side is a little boy who puts his arm around her as she points into the sky toward the planet Earth. has made me fabulously wealthy. and tonight she seems calling to me again as she has not called before since that long dead night. across that awful abyss of space. I can see her shining in the sky through the little window by my desk. I could scarcely believe my eyes. Did the Martian reach the pump room? Did the vitalizing air reach the people of that distant planet in time to save them? Was my Dejah Thoris alive. but what care I for wealth! As I sit here tonight in my little study overlooking the Hudson. but the truth slowly forced itself upon me—I was looking upon Arizona from the same ledge from which ten years before I had gazed with longing upon Mars. The silvered mountains in the distance. the cacti-studded valley below me were not of Mars. glad to escape from so gruesome a place. A new heaven and a new landscape met my gaze. I believe that they are waiting there for me. down the trail from the cave. 132 . a beautiful black-haired woman standing in the garden of a palace. the jeddak of Helium? For ten years I have waited and prayed for an answer to my questions. and I think I can see. For ten years I have waited and prayed to be taken back to the world of my lost love. the almost stationary moon hanging in the sky. or did her beautiful body lie cold in death beside the tiny golden incubator in the sunken garden of the inner courtyard of the palace of Tardos Mors. I would rather lie dead beside her there than live on Earth all those millions of terrible miles from her. and sorrowful. and something tells me that I shall soon know. The sight that met my eyes as I stepped out upon a small ledge which ran before the entrance of the cave filled me with consternation. just twenty years have elapsed since I first opened my eyes upon Mars. Above me shone the red eye of Mars holding her awful secret.

my princess lay entombed—but whether alive or dead I knew not.Warlord of Mars ON THE RIVER ISS In the shadows of the forest that flanks the crimson plain by the side of the Lost Sea of Korus in the Valley Dor. had been spent close to the grim shaft that held the mother of my boy. far beneath the surface of Mars. Half of them had passed. As if it were yesterday. Had Phaidor's slim blade found that beloved heart? Time only would reveal the truth. 133 . I saw the red girl. I crept stealthily along the trail of a shadowy form that hugged the darker places with a persistency that proclaimed the sinister nature of its errand. The smoke from the burning temple had come then to blot out the tragedy. distorted with jealous rage and hatred as she sprang forward with raised dagger upon the woman I loved. yet vivid in my memory. and all the time that I could spare from the numerous duties that had devolved upon me in the reconstruction of the government of the First Born since our victorious fleet and land forces had overwhelmed them. leap forward to prevent the hideous deed. and when the smoke had cleared. Then silence. Thuvia of Ptarth. For six long Martian months I had haunted the vicinity of the hateful Temple of the Sun. within whose slow-revolving shaft. there remained the last scene before the gust of smoke blinded my eyes and the narrow slit that had given me sight of the interior of her cell closed between me and the Princess of Helium for a long Martian year. speeding their meteoric way close above the bosom of the dying planet. I still saw the beautiful face of Phaidor. Carthoris of Helium. obliterating every event that had come before or after. beneath the hurtling moons of Mars. or would on the morrow. Much there had been to occupy my attention since that terrible moment. Six hundred and eighty-seven Martian days must come and go before the cell's door would again come opposite the tunnel's end where last I had seen my ever-beautiful Dejah Thoris. daughter of Matai Shang. the revolving temple had shut off all sight or sound from the chamber in which the three beautiful women were imprisoned. but never for an instant had the memory of the thing faded. but in my ears rang the single shriek as the knife fell.

was dead. since no word had been received from the missing Jeddak of Helium. while we of Helium returned to our own country. My heart could never be with the race that had heaped indignities upon my princess and my son. "Let one of their own blood rule you until they return. but I would have none of it. fiercest of them all. Almost unanimous was the request that I ascend the ancient throne of the black men. grandfather of Dejah Thoris. from the very spot where I had stood a year before when Zat Arras pronounced the sentence of death upon me. or his son. and with her the whole false fabric of their religion. had sat upon the throne of Issus and ruled the First Born while the allies were deciding the conquered nation's fate. At my suggestion Xodar became Jeddak of the First Born. From the high pinnacle of their egotism the First Born had been plunged to the depths of humiliation. her father. In their rage they had torn her to pieces. as I addressed them from the Pedestal of Truth beside the Throne of Righteousness in the Temple of Reward.The race of blacks that for ages had worshiped Issus. Their vaunted navy had fallen in defeat before the superior ships and fighting men of the red men of Helium. Here again was a throne offered me. the green warriors dispersed to their desolate sea bottoms. He had been a dator. Fierce green warriors from the ocher sea bottoms of outer Mars had ridden their wild thoats across the sacred gardens of the Temple of Issus. or his no less redoubtable son. even the First Born themselves concurring in it." I said to the assembled nobles of Helium. or prince. 134 . Mors Kajak. Over a year had elapsed since they had set out to explore the northern hemisphere in search of Carthoris. As I spoke I stepped forward and laid my hand upon the shoulder of Carthoris where he stood in the front rank of the circle of nobles about me. the false deity of Mars. and Tars Tarkas. for I would not believe that the mighty Tardos Mors. Once again I refused a throne. so that his fitness for the high office bestowed was unquestioned. Jed of Helium. Jeddak of Thark. until Issus had degraded him. had been left in a state of chaos by my revealment of her as naught more than a wicked old woman. Their deity was gone. Tardos Mors. The peace of the Valley Dor thus assured. and at last their disheartened people had accepted as truth the vague rumors of their death that had filtered in from the frozen region of the pole.

whose undying enmity I had earned that time I laid him low with my bare hands in the courtyard of the Temple of Issus. touched his jewelincrusted harness with a thousand changing lights and glanced from the glossy ebony of his smooth hide. so I had kept a watch upon his comings and goings. and loyalty in the performance of the arduous duties which had devolved upon him. Twice he turned his head back toward the forest. he had apparently accepted the new order of things with good grace. bravery. accompanied me. I started the following day for the Valley Dor that I might remain close to the Temple of the Sun until the fateful day that should see the opening of the prison cell where my lost love lay buried. swinging low across the valley. and bound him with his own harness before the noble men and women who had but a moment before been extolling his prowess. as he crept after me on his ten short. his new ruler. with my other noble lieutenants. 135 . though he must have felt quite safe from pursuit. The figure ahead was that of the black dator of the First Born. my Martian hound. Tonight he moved quickly along the edge of the forest until well beyond sight or sound of the city. and had sworn fealty to Xodar. Like many of his fellows. or grandfather. with hideous head and frightful fangs. I left with Carthoris at Helium. His tenure of office was to be for life or until his great-grandfather. where no honest business could lead any man. taking his way out into the cruel and horrible Valley Dor. The rays of the nearer moon. At my heels tonight the faithful beast moved softly in my tracks. Only Woola. Ten thousand swords sprang on high from as many scabbards. after the manner of one who is upon an evil errand. then he turned across the crimson sward toward the shore of the Lost Sea of Korus. and I was sure that in his heart he envied and hated Xodar. Having thus satisfactorily arranged this important duty for Helium. Thurid. muscular legs. the nobles and the people lifted their voices in a long cheer of approbation. should return. to the end that of late I had become convinced that he was occupied with some manner of intrigue. but I knew that he hated me. and the glorious fighting men of ancient Helium hailed Carthoris Jeddak of Helium. As large as a Shetland pony. Hor Vastus and Kantos Kan. but to me he was the embodiment of love and loyalty.As one. Several times I had observed him leaving the walled city of the First Born after dark. that he might have the benefit of their wisdom. he was indeed an awesome spectacle.

were wont to distribute along the banks of the Iss. In the far distance the Golden Cliffs raised their mighty barrier faces far into the starlit heavens. their hekkador. and the monstrous white apes that make Dor hideous by day. with their blood-sucking hands. Strenuous had been our endeavors to capture him. Then. but with a few of the faithful he had escaped. I hastened across the open after the black dator. to which for countless ages had been borne the deluded and unhappy Martians of the outer world upon the voluntary pilgrimage to this false heaven. In a few isolated countries they still retained their age-old power. with their organization of priests and lesser therns. Drawn up on the beach below me were a score of similar boats. Thurid was hugging the shore. Before me lay the Lost Sea of Korus. So it was that I remained hidden until after Thurid had disappeared over the edge of the steep bank beside the sea a quarter of a mile away. and was in hiding—where we knew not. the River of Mystery. that I might learn just where that destination lay and the business that awaited the night prowler there. that the long journey of their victims might be facilitated. At my back was the forest. the precious metals and scintillating jewels that composed them sparkling in the brilliant light of Mars's two gorgeous moons. had been driven from his temple. were hidden in their lairs for the night. There was no longer a Holy Thern upon the balcony in the Golden Cliffs above the Iss to summon them with weird cry to the victims floating down to their maws upon the cold. broad bosom of ancient Iss. 136 . at the other a paddle. The navies of Helium and the First Born had cleared the fortresses and the temples of the therns when they had refused to surrender and accept the new order of things that had swept their false religion from long-suffering Mars. pruned and trimmed like the sward to parklike symmetry by the browsing of the ghoulish plant men. with Woola following. As I came cautiously to the edge of the low cliff overlooking the Lost Sea of Korus I saw Thurid pushing out upon the bosom of the shimmering water in a small skiff—one of those strangely wrought craft of unthinkable age which the Holy Therns. The plant men.I did not dare follow him there beneath the moonlight. but Matai Shang. where it wound out from beneath the Golden Cliffs to empty into Korus. The quiet of the tomb lay upon the mysterious valley of death. Father of Therns. each with its long pole. at one end of which was a pike. crouching deep in its warm nest within the sunken area at the south pole of the dying planet. since it best suited my plans not to interrupt his—I wished him to reach his destination unsuspecting. while farther on I caught the shimmering ribbon of Iss.

they could not have commenced to approximate the horrible conditions which must have obtained before Tars Tarkas. The pursuit of Thurid carried me along the edge of the sea toward the mouth of the Iss. After him came Woola and I. Xodar. had set. The farther moon lay close to the horizon. through fear or a sudden awakening to the truth. Thuria. for the man was too intent upon forcing his craft up the river to have any eyes for what might be transpiring behind him. Without an instant's hesitation he turned up the grim river. so that I was ensured concealing darkness for that length of time at least. It seemed hopeless to attempt to follow him here where I could not see my hand before my face. the great green warrior. the nearer moon. Terrible as they were. and in the increasing light from the phosphorescent rock that lay embedded in great patches in the roughly arched roof of the cavern I had no difficulty in following him. the black dator. It was my first trip upon the bosom of Iss. nor would it rise again for near four hours. On into the Stygian darkness beyond he urged his craft. He hugged the shore where the current was less strong. Presently he came to the dark cavernous portal in the face of the Golden Cliffs.and as he passed out of sight round a near-by promontory I shoved one of the boats into the water and. through which the river poured. there to await his return. or with clawlike hands clutched at the bloated bodies that drifted down with the current. Now he was opposite the mouth of the Iss. Even now the low islands which dotted the broad stream were choked with the skeletons and half devoured carcasses of those who. and I brought the light of truth to the outer world and stopped the mad rush of millions upon the voluntary pilgrimage to what they believed would end in a beautiful valley of peace and happiness and love. paddling hard against the strong current. while on those which contained but clean-picked bones they battled with one another. pushed out from shore. closer now. had halted almost at the completion of their journey. In the awful stench of these frightful charnel isles haggard maniacs screamed and gibbered and fought among the torn remnants of their grisly feasts. when a sudden bend showed a faint luminosity ahead. On and on went the black warrior. and the things I saw there will live forever in my memory. calling Woola into it. 137 . and I was almost on the point of giving up the pursuit and drifting back to the mouth of the river. My quarry was plainly visible again. casting a dense shadow beneath the cliffs that fringed the water. the weaker furnishing sustenance for the stronger.

my attention was suddenly riveted upon Thurid. and then I saw that it was none other than Matai Shang. and then. I turned my eyes up the river in the direction that his were bent. for the main channel of the river was plainly visible to me from where I sat. though I proceeded several yards. As they drew up beside the ledge upon which Thurid awaited them. so that it was difficult to hold my craft in its position. and presently there came within my limited range of vision a long boat. I could not imagine what might cause this strong lateral flow. While I was still speculating upon the phenomenon. for he most surely would have seen me. I dared not follow across the stream. The evident cordiality with which the two men exchanged greetings filled me with wonder. The white skins. Instead I stopped close to the opposite wall beneath an overhanging mass of rock that cast a dense shadow beneath it.Thurid paid not the slightest attention to the screaming things that either menaced or pleaded with him as the mood directed them—evidently he was familiar with the horrid sights that surrounded him. in which were six men. came in low but distinct tones. and I could see the rippling junction of it and the mysterious current which had aroused my curiosity. for the black and white men of Barsoom were hereditary enemies—nor ever before had I known of two meeting other than in battle. He continued up the river for perhaps a mile. I edged farther into the shadow that I might find a hold upon the bank. Here I could watch Thurid without danger of discovery. and then. he in the bow of the boat arose to step ashore. Father of Therns. holding my position as best I could by paddling strongly against the current which flowed from beneath the rocky mass behind me. finding that I would soon reach a point from where I could no longer see the black man. and a moment later his "Kaor!" the Barsoomian word of greeting. I touched nothing. and the gorgeous diadems set in circlets of gold about their heads marked them as Holy Therns. looking up the river. but. the flowing yellow wigs which covered their bald pates. while the sixth sat in the seat of honor. As I lay there beneath the dark rocks I noticed that a strong current seemed to flow directly toward the center of the river. I was compelled to remain where I was. crossing over to the left bank. as though he were awaiting one whom he expected from that direction. who had raised both palms forward above his head in the universal salute of Martians. Five were at the paddles. drew his craft up on a low ledge that lay almost on a level with the water. 138 . The black was standing upon the ledge beside his boat.

but it was out of the question now to attempt to cross the river. and how easily they might have overcome and killed me with their superior force. What could I gain by betraying you to those who have ruined my nation and my house?" "Let us stop here a moment that I may hear your plans. Swinging the prow of my boat toward the right. Whatever action I was to take must be taken at once." 139 . At last the truth dawned upon me—I was following a subterranean river which emptied into the Iss at the very point where I had hidden. The noise of their own paddles drowned the sound of mine. and that the nature of his conspiring might be such as to strike very close to me or to my friends. Prince of Helium. The light from the river was no longer visible. which turned out into the river and. and there I lay while Matai Shang and Thurid approached up the center of the stream. Thern. The rowers were now quite close to me. "and then we may proceed with a better understanding of our duties and obligations. and still the water before me was open." the black dator was saying. but that his gestures had any reference to me I did not for a moment believe. "that I wish only vengeance upon John Carter. but at last it became evident that their craft was holding the same course. The five paddlers sent the larger boat ahead at a speed that taxed my energies to equal." replied the hekkador. I sought the river's rocky side. and so I lay quietly watching them. who would have given so much to have known how close I lay to them. As they came nearer I heard the voices of Thurid and the Father of Therns raised in argument. swinging round. I wished that I might have found a point closer to the two men from which to have heard their conversation. which was much narrower than the Iss. Presently he and Matai Shang entered the latter's boat. I am leading you into no trap. forged steadily across in my direction. but ahead I saw the faint tinge of a distant radiance.Evidently the reverses that had recently overtaken both peoples had resulted in an alliance between these two individuals—at least against the common enemy—and now I saw why Thurid had come so often out into the Valley Dor by night. "I tell you. but in another instant the growing light ahead would reveal me to them. Every instant I expected to feel my prow crash against solid rock. There was no time to be lost. As they advanced I moved my boat farther and farther in beneath the overhanging wall. Several times Thurid pointed across the river in my direction.

" "Let us proceed. "but never have I heard that its prisoners could be released before the allotted year of their incarceration had elapsed. then. nor was it ever Issus' way to divulge more of her secrets than were necessary. "nor is that all—power and riches shall be yours if you restore my daughter." replied Matai Shang. at some court that is yet loyal to thy ancient faith." "You shall have your way with her before another day has passed. By chance. "Ah. but even that I do not demand—it shall be as your own desire in the matter directs. When the thing has been accomplished I shall be glad if you will see to it that I am well received. "Thurid. the most minute directions for reaching the cells at any time. Matai Shang." replied Matai Shang." he continued with a malicious snarl. "if you but say the word." "I have heard of the Temple of the Sun. Nor had I long to wait. yet at the same time you must trust me." said Thurid. for we are six to your one. "Only Issus knew this. and there I found. How. "There are no obligations. Had they pulled in below me they must surely have seen me against the faint glow of light ahead. Father of Therns.To the rowers he issued the command that brought their boat in toward the bank not a dozen paces beyond the spot where I lay. to me. Phaidor. Princess of Helium. but those who thus learned the secret way were wont to die mysteriously immediately they had returned and made their reports to cruel Issus. after her death. but from where they finally came to rest I was as secure from detection as though miles separated us." said Matai Shang at last. may you accomplish the impossible?" "Access may be had to any cell of the temple at any time. "And more I learned—that many men had gone thither for Issus in the past. nor shall any vileness be too vile to inflict upon his princess. Dator of Issus. Would that it were in my power to force him to witness the humiliation and degradation of the red woman. then. "I must trust you. I listened intently. and I was anxious to learn what manner of vengeance Thurid was planning against me. as is befitting my ancient lineage and noble rank." continued the First Born. for I cannot return to the Valley Dor or elsewhere within the power of the Prince of Helium. Dator. has no price. and place within my power Dejah Thoris. Dator. "but the Earth man shall suffer for the indignities he has put upon the holy of holies." replied Thurid. plainly writ." 140 . The few words I had already overheard whetted my curiosity." "It shall be as you wish. I came upon an ancient plan of the temple. always on errands of death and torture to the prisoners.

To have followed the thern boat across the gleaming water would have been to invite instant detection. I was forced to wait in the shadows until the other boat had passed from my sight at the far extremity of the lake." replied Thurid. and I. Prince of Helium. When. lighted by glowing phosphorescent rock."I do not fear. to pass beneath which it was necessary that I compel Woola to lie flat in the boat. was splashed with the vivid rays of the diamond. must need bend double before the low roof cleared my head. UNDER THE MOUNTAINS As we advanced up the river which winds beneath the Golden Cliffs out of the bowels of the Mountains of Otz to mingle its dark waters with the grim and mysterious Iss the faint glow which had appeared before us grew gradually into an all-enveloping radiance. then. It was with difficulty that I restrained myself from rushing upon them and slaying the two vile plotters." Matai Shang spoke to the paddlers. 141 . nameless jewels of Barsoom which lay incrusted in the virgin gold which forms the major portion of these magnificent cliffs. and after we have defiled the Princess of Helium there will be still greater reason for the maintenance of our allegiance—unless I greatly mistake the temper of her lord. Then I paddled out upon the brilliant surface in the direction they had taken. which would cut down the only man who could lead the way to Dejah Thoris' prison before the long Martian year had swung its interminable circle. too. but quickly I saw the mad rashness of such an act. and so. With silent paddle I swung slowly into the wake of the larger craft. the ruby. though I was loath to permit Thurid to pass even for an instant beyond my sight. I reached the shadows at the upper end of the lake I found that the river issued from a low aperture. the sapphire. If he should lead Matai Shang to that hollowed spot. after what seemed an eternity. The river widened until it presented the aspect of a large lake whose vaulted dome. should he lead John Carter. The boat moved on up the tributary. myself. and the countless. Our hatred of the common enemy is sufficient bond to insure our loyalty to each other. "nor need you. Beyond the lighted chamber of the lake was darkness—what lay behind the darkness I could not even guess.

that I can recall. Here the way was through utter darkness. But the roar—the awful. Far ahead I presently heard a deep and sullen roar which increased in volume as I advanced. Two unexplored channels still remained from which to choose. and then broke upon my ears with all the intensity of its mad fury as I swung round a sharp curve into a dimly lighted stretch of water. With a sigh I turned the prow of my craft down stream. deafening roar of those tumbling waters penned in the rocky. I could find them at all. nor was there any means by which I could judge which was the more likely to lead me to the plotters. rising far above me several hundred feet—as magnificent a spectacle as I ever had seen. subterranean vault! Had the fall not entirely blocked my further passage and shown me that I had followed the wrong course I believe that I should have fled anyway before the maddening tumult. Thurid and the therns were nowhere to be seen—into which of the dark holes had they disappeared? There was no means by which I might know. 142 . By stumbling upon the wrong course I had lost the trail. if. Directly before me the river thundered down from above in a mighty waterfall that filled the narrow gorge from side to side. although the pace would be much swifter. Directly before me the river ran into this smaller chamber through three separate arched openings. It had taken several hours to force my way up to the falls against the strong current. and with mighty strokes hastened with reckless speed through the dark and tortuous channel until once again I came to the chamber into which flowed the three branches of the river. Instead only a feeble glow emanated from small and scattered patches of phosphorescent rock in wall and roof. but no longer was the way brilliantly lighted. so much depended upon haste. Never in my life. and so I chose the center opening as being as likely to lead me in the right direction as another. The stream was narrow—so narrow that in the blackness I was constantly bumping first one rock wall and then another as the river wound hither and thither along its flinty bed. Thurid and the therns could not have come this way. and they had gained so much ahead of me that now I might not be able to find them before it was too late. in fact. have I suffered such an agony of indecision. and other hours would be required for the descent. So much depended upon a correct choice.Immediately the roof rose again upon the other side.

since practically all the animals of the dead sea bottoms of Mars are able to go for incredible periods without nourishment. And as I looked there came bobbing out upon the current from the Stygian darkness of the interior the shell of one of the great. from beneath the grim. The water of the river was sweet and cold. Neither Woola nor I had eaten since the previous day. At last. and having eaten had cast the husk overboard. my intuition had been correct—it was the left-hand channel that I should have followed. My heart sank within me. 143 . yet it was with a lingering doubt that I turned a parting look at the sullen waters which rolled. At my right was a great. The stream soon widened.The hours that I had already lost might seal the fate of the incomparable Dejah Thoris were she not already dead—to sacrifice other hours. and maybe days in a fruitless exploration of another blind lead would unquestionably prove fatal. why the mere thought that I was nearing my beloved princess raised me above every material want. convinced by the oftrecurring phenomenon. They had eaten of this marvelous fruit which nature concentrates within the hard shell of the sorapus nut. It could have come from no others than the party I sought. low archway on the right. insensate messenger floated past me. for it told me that journeying Martians were above me on that very stream. and a moment later had turned into the right. Quickly I abandoned all thought of the left-hand passage. slow-moving eddy that circled far beneath the cliff's overhanging side. Had I been a woman I should have wept. the river became narrower and the current swift and turbulent—so swift in fact that it was with difficulty that I forced my craft upward at all. I could scarce restrain a shout of elation as this silent. I could not have been making to exceed a hundred yards an hour when. Several times I essayed the right-hand entrance only to turn back as though warned by some strange intuitive sense that this was not the way. on toward the Iss and Korus. for it was unpolluted by decaying bodies—like the Iss—and as for food. and. but in so far as he was concerned it mattered but little. As I proceeded. I was confronted by a series of rapids through which the river foamed and boiled at a terrific rate. and to rest my tired muscles before turning back I let my boat drift into its embrace. and recurring areas of phosphorescent rock lighted my way. I made good time. I cast my all upon the left-hand archway. Nor did I suffer. dark and forbidding. The sorapus nutshell had proved a false prophet. after all. succulent fruits of the sorapus tree. at a bend. but was convinced that I was nearly a day behind those I was tracking.

but except for the noise of the rapids. In an instant I was on the alert. A rope lay coiled in the bottom of my own craft. 144 . Peer as I would I could not penetrate the darkness. the soft scraping of the boats. so that the gentle touch of my boat upon the other easily could have gone unnoticed. for there could be no wood within that buried river that had not been man brought. What hellish fate had led me to select from three possible avenues the two that were wrong? As the lazy current of the eddy carried me slowly about the periphery of the watery circle my boat twice touched the rocky side of the river in the dark recess beneath the cliff. I stood motionless after entering the strange craft. It would mean another half-day's loss of time to retrace my way and take the only passage that yet remained unexplored. It was entirely possible that there might be men on board it who were still ignorant of my presence. savage brute. As usual. In one hand I grasped the rope. Calling to Woola to follow me I stepped out upon the ledge. but it had been the scraping of its side against the side of my own boat that had seemed most likely to alarm its occupants. and a second later I felt my fingers gripping the gunwale of another craft. I discovered a narrow ledge which I knew must be the avenue taken by those who had come before me. That they could be none other than Thurid and his party I was convinced by the size and build of the boat I had found. in the other my keen long-sword. and the lapping of the water at their sides I could distinguish no sound. perhaps. but the contact resulted in a different sound—the sound of wood scraping upon wood. Groping with my hands along the face of the rocks to which the craft was moored. if there were any. But there was no answering sound. Very softly I gathered it up. and then I listened intently for the sound of breathing near me. straining my eyes into the utter darkness before me in an effort to discover if the boat were occupied. As though turned to stone I sat in tense and rigid silence. crept after me. gently as it had before. It had rocked a trifle beneath my weight. For a full minute. my hand shot out across the boat's side. Almost coincidentally with my first apprehension of the noise. agile as a cat. The great. and making one end fast to the bronze ring in the prow I stepped gingerly into the boat beside me.I was almost prostrated by disappointment. and a moment later I had felt from stem to stern and found the boat deserted. for the boat was scraping gently against the rocks upon one side. I thought rapidly. A third time it struck.

Never had I known him to be in error in a matter of tracking. Woola halted suddenly before a narrow. As we advanced. from its appointments. Even as my mind framed the thought. I knew must have at one time been a guardroom. and so I pressed quietly forward to his side. for I had made no effort to impart to him the nature of our quest or the status of those we tracked. For hours we followed the dark and gloomy river farther and farther into the bowels of Mars. and that it ran up along the river's side beyond the rapids. but now its only occupants were two of the therns who had been of the party with Thurid and Matai Shang. Words could not have more plainly told me that danger of some sort lay near by. the way led from beneath the overhanging cliffs out into a dim light. nor would he desist until I had turned about and indicated that I would follow him voluntarily. arched doorway in the cliff by the trail's side. and then it was that I saw that the trail had been cut from the living rock. There were racks for weapons. so it was with a feeling of entire security that I moved cautiously in the huge beast's wake. at the same time turning his eyes toward me. From the direction and distance I knew that we must be well beneath the Valley Dor. Quickly he crouched back away from the entrance. Before me was a fair-sized chamber that. 145 . and possibly beneath the Sea of Omean as well—it could not be much farther now to the Temple of the Sun. Through Cimmerian darkness he moved along the narrow ledge beside the boiling rapids.As he passed through the boat that had been occupied by Thurid and the therns he emitted a single low growl. and slightly raised platforms for the sleeping silks and furs of the warriors. after the manner of green Martians with their beasts. indicated that Woola understood. and passing him looked into the aperture at our right. I let him know partially by the weird and uncanny telepathy of Barsoom and partly by word of mouth that we were upon the trail of those who had recently occupied the boat through which we had just passed. with a word to him to follow. I turned to the right along the ledge. As I turned to discover the cause of his act he continued to pull me steadily in the opposite direction. and. and then. and when he came beside me upon the ledge and my hand rested upon his neck I felt his short mane bristling with anger. This omission I now made haste to correct. but scarcely had I done so than I felt his mighty fangs tugging at my leathern harness. I think he sensed telepathically the recent presence of an enemy. A soft purr. like that of a great cat.

"You are my superior. thought that they were foolish to remain. though I still believe that we are foolish to remain. and then at last he will fall upon us with his confederates and slay us all. abysmal path? It was but a ruse to divide our numbers. "Perchance if we hasten after them we may come in time to rescue Matai Shang. and then for twenty-five tals with nine units. I had no reason to harbor any considerable love for this race of self-deified demons. "have I disobeyed a single command of the Father of Therns." I. 146 ." he said. It was worth trying anyway. "It will open nothing other than the way to a quick death for us all. it is silly. He had to make some answer when Matai Shang asked him flatly what he should do when he came to the Temple of the Sun. for I saw from Woola's actions that the trail led through the room where the two therns held guard." answered Lakor. should we guard this long-forgotten. "there can never be aught else than deadly hatred between thern and First Born. and wreak our own vengeance upon the black dator. yet I would have passed them by were it possible without molesting them." replied Lakor." "Indeed." one of them was saying. Lakor. There was no necessity for leaving us here to guard the way. and so he made his answer quickly from his imagination—I would wager a hekkador's diadem that he could not now repeat it himself. too. "I do not trust the black one. Against what. "I tell you. "I cannot do other than you sanction." "Let us not remain here longer." replied the other. I shall stay here until I rot if he does not return to bid me elsewhere. and to think that wise old Matai Shang should listen to such foolishness. and from their tones it was apparent that they were entirely unaware that they had listeners." "I believe you. for a fight might delay us considerably.The men were in earnest conversation. and for one xat let it shine with the intensity of one radium unit.' Those were his very words. or even put an end entirely to my search—better men than I have gone down before fighters of meaner ability than that possessed by the fierce thern warriors. And what think you of the ridiculous matter of the light? 'Let the light shine with the intensity of three radium units for fifty tals." spoke the other thern." Lakor's companion shook his head. Lakor. What say you?" "Never in a long life. pray. "He will have Matai Shang leave others elsewhere on some pretext or other.

for I thought that I was quite sufficiently well known either by personal experience or reputation to every thern upon Barsoom as to make my identity immediately apparent in any part of the planet. the black dator. in so far as we be concerned. glories in deadly strife. such as Thurid. On the other hand my reputation as a fighting man might be sufficient to pass me by these two were their livers not of the right complexion to welcome a battle to the death. To reveal my identity might be to precipitate an attack. for if I mistake not he is as much your enemy as mine. Let me pass then in peace. with the exception of my son. Prince of Helium.Signaling Woola to heel I stepped suddenly into the room before the two men. priest. "That you shall die should you elect to oppose me is evidenced by the moldering corpses of all the many great Barsoomian warriors who have gone down beneath this blade—I am John Carter." They lowered their swords and Lakor spoke. To be quite candid I did not attempt to delude myself with any such sophistry. "I know not whom you may be." I said. since I knew well that upon war-like Mars there are few cowards. "Tell us who you be. At sight of me their long-swords flashed from the harness at their sides. for every thern upon Barsoom knew that to me they owed the fall of their age-old spiritual supremacy. whether prince. with a vile name upon his lips. with the white skin of a thern and the black hair of a red man. In fact. And so I gripped my long-sword the tighter as I replied to Lakor. or peasant. 147 . and you can have no cause to protect him. but I raised my hand in a gesture of restraint." I was surprised that neither of them had recognized me. but were it only Thurid whose safety were at stake you might pass. not with you. I was the only white man upon Mars whose hair was black and whose eyes were gray. then maybe we can see our way to let you pass upon the errand which we should like to undertake would our orders permit. and what mission calls you to this unknown world beneath the Valley Dor. and then the younger of them. "My quarrel is with him. but only for a moment. and that every man. and welcome. "I believe that you will see the wisdom of permitting me to pass unmolested. "I seek Thurid. Dator of the First Born. "for it would avail you nothing to die uselessly in the rocky bowels of Barsoom merely to protect a hereditary enemy." For a moment that name seemed to paralyze the two men." I said. rushed toward me with ready sword. Carthoris.

" the fellow replied with a shrug. There be good reasons why every thern upon Barsoom should yearn to spill the blood of the blasphemer. sensed the villainy behind the smooth words. but a moment since. "Proceed. and while I saw the apparent logic of his reasoning I felt. The other thern turned toward him in evident surprise. "Let him go then and slay the black. I think that I shall do well to listen to the voice of instinct that is backed by love and loyalty. "and while I do not doubt your superior knowledge. nor have incurred the displeasure of the Father of Therns. where he stood emitting his coughing bark. as though begging for the word that would send him headlong at the bare throats before him." he said. Go!" During our conversation Woola had been growling and bristling close to my side. and now. the sacrilegist. He. drew back and nodded acquiescence to his superior's suggestion. "As you will. and at last ran quickly to the first opening at the left. "Hold!" commanded Lakor. When he returns we shall still be here to bar his way to the outer world. "The brute is seldom wrong. that his words did but veil some sinister intent." As he spoke I could not but note the crafty glint in his evil eyes. John Carter. "There will be plenty of time to fight if we find it wise to fight at all.He had been standing a little behind his companion. subconsciously perhaps. I turned a questioning look upon Lakor. Occasionally he would look up into my face with a low." As I spoke I smiled grimly that he might know without words that I distrusted him. and thus we shall have rid ourselves of two enemies. The Prince of Helium is bound upon an errand which we ourselves. ere he could engage me. "That way leads to Thurid. but let us mix wisdom with our righteous hate. during our parley. "In the end it shall be all the same. Thern. But when I would have called Woola to follow me there the beast whined and held back. but when Lakor had whispered a few brief words into his ear he." 148 . too. Lakor. as though urging me to follow him upon the right way." I said. Beyond the therns several doorways opened off the guardroom. and toward the one upon the extreme right Lakor motioned. pleading whine." said Lakor. the older man grasped his harness and drew him back. too. "but know that if Thurid does not lay you low there will be those awaiting your return who will see that you never pass again into the sunlight of the upper world. were wishing that we might undertake.

which Thurid denies. and by now. John Carter would have found it a short road to death had he taken it as you suggested to him. and like a flash he had wheeled and stood facing the threatened danger. backdrawn lips. for presently we saw the shadows of two men fall upon the floor of the main corridor athwart the doorway of our hiding place. and together we drew aside into another corridor a few paces farther on. These same lamps may have been doing continuous duty in these subterranean chambers for ages. nor was I surprised to see that the two were Lakor and his companion of the guardroom. They walked very softly. and though my back was toward my enemies. his mane all abristle and all his rows of glistening fangs bared by snarling. Woola heard it. the universal lighting medium of Barsoom." "Yes. nor did we have long to wait. and in the right hand of each gleamed a keen long-sword. than could the words of my mother tongue—it was the clank of metal—the metal of a warrior's harness—and it came from a little distance up the corridor upon my right. Very cautiously they were moving now—the accidental clank that had alarmed me was not repeated. since they require no attention and are so compounded that they give off but the minutest of their substance in the generation of years of luminosity. too. Presently they came opposite our station. With a gesture I silenced him. They halted quite close to the entrance of our retreat. yet I heard no sound of pursuit. The passageway was dimly lighted by occasional radium bulbs. whispering to each other.I turned and followed Woola into the left-hand passage. "which he may not so easily escape—should he succeed in escaping our two good swords. Curses on that calot of his that warned him toward the safer avenue!" "There be other dangers ahead of him. It was at the opening to one of these corridors upon my right that I presently heard a sound that spoke more plainly to John Carter. my ears were on the alert. though. "for the way which we took is by far the shorter to this point—for him who knows it. but not once did Woola hesitate. he should have been rapidly approaching it." replied the other. He surely would have stepped upon it. We had proceeded for but a short distance when we commenced to pass the mouths of diverging corridors. "Either that or the beast has led the man upon a wrong trail." spoke Lakor's fellow. 149 . "no amount of fighting ability would have saved him from the pivoted flagstone. "Can it be that we have distanced them already?" said Lakor." said Lakor. Here we waited. fighting man. if the pit beneath it has a bottom.

unless it were that they were even more skilled and fearless than the average among their race.Consider. and these two were no exception. what chance he will have. for my untimely sneeze had warned them of my presence and they were ready for me. for example. and though I loathe the very name of thern. Twice at least I saved my breast from the mortal thrust of piercing steel only by the wondrous agility with which my earthly muscles endow me under the conditions of lesser gravity and air pressure upon Mars. and they. THE TEMPLE OF THE SUN There was nothing for it now other than to fight. must have known that I understood their plan. In an instant I was engaged with both. nor did I have any advantage as I sprang. That they were following to fall upon me unawares was all too plain. into the corridor before the two therns. for they would have been a waste of breath. I must in all fairness admit that they are mighty swordsmen. It was then that Lakor quickly unslung a belt from his harness. but fate intervened. While it lasted it was indeed as joyous a conflict as I ever had experienced. yet not being able to penetrate his marvelous guard to reach a vulnerable spot for the brief instant that would have been sufficient to send him to his ancestors. coming unexpectedly into the chamber of—" I would have given much to have heard the balance of that conversation that I might have been warned of the perils that lay ahead. The very presence of the two proclaimed their treachery. throwing me heavily upon my back. of course. There were no words. and as I stepped back to parry a wicked thrust he lashed one end of it about my left ankle so that it wound there for an instant. sword in hand. The other thern was engaging me at the time. Yet even so I came near to tasting death that day in the gloomy corridor beneath Mars's southern pole. while he jerked suddenly upon the other end. and I was forcing him back—touching him here and there with my point until he was bleeding from a dozen wounds. 150 . for Lakor played a trick upon me that in all my experience of fighting upon two planets I never before had witnessed the like of. and just at the very instant of all other instants that I would not have elected to do it. I sneezed.

though from his harness I gleaned that he had reached the Ninth Cycle. and well it was that we were forewarned. Then endow this creature of your imagination with the agility and ferocity of a half-starved Bengal tiger and the strength of a span of bulls. so that at that point it 151 . like leaping panthers. warned by the fragment of conversation I had overheard. immediately making another turn in the original direction. but when I spoke to him and patted his huge head he at length became reconciled to the change. if you can. Imagine. and I had won his love and loyalty from the cruel and loveless masters of his former life. Never had I had the heart to punish Woola during the long years that had passed since that first day upon Mars when the green jed of the Tharks had placed him on guard over me. diadem. white tusks. and you will have some faint conception of Woola in action. A moment later I had torn his yellow wig from his bald pate and transferred it and the circlet. yet when I spoke to him sharply he cowed sheepishly as though he had done a thing to deserve censure and chastisement. He sniffed at me and growled ominously. As I stood for a moment looking at the gruesome havoc Woola had wrought. was a lesser thern. yet I believe he would have submitted to any cruelty that I might have inflicted upon him. a roaring embodiment of a thousand demons hurtled above my prostrate form and my loyal Martian calot was upon them. and at my command trotted off along the corridor in the direction we had been going when our progress had been interrupted by the therns. the Holy Thern whom Thuvia of Ptarth had slain. there recurred to me the memory of that other occasion upon which I had masqueraded in the wig. they were upon me. The diadem in the center of the circlet of gold upon the brow of Lakor proclaimed him a Holy Thern. but they had reckoned without Woola. while his companion. Before I could call him off he had crushed Lakor into a jelly with a single blow of one mighty paw. a huge grizzly with ten legs armed with mighty talons and an enormous froglike mouth splitting his head from ear to ear. not thus adorned. exposing three rows of long. I kept abreast of Woola that we might have the benefit of all our eyes for what might appear suddenly ahead to menace us. and now it occurred to me that it might prove of worth to utilize Lakor's trappings for the same purpose. and before ever a blade touched me. We moved cautiously now. At the bottom of a flight of narrow steps the corridor turned sharply back upon itself. so wondrous was his affection for me. Woola did not approve of the metamorphosis. to my own person. which is but one below that of the Holy Therns. and had literally torn the other thern to ribbons.Then. and harness of Sator Throg. as well as all his harness.

Then I glanced above me along the upper edge of the entrance to which we had come. 152 . I followed this gallery with my eyes. and so there was a way. These were the only reptiles I had ever seen upon Barsoom. the top leg of which debouched suddenly into a large chamber.formed a perfect letter S. to my delight. In an instant I had leaped to it and called Woola after me. but I knew from their similarity to the fossilized remains of supposedly extinct species I had seen in the museums of Helium that they comprised many of the known prehistoric reptilian genera. and for a moment I was almost completely discouraged. as well as others undiscovered. by comparison. but a line of radium bulbs inset along the threshold of their chamber brought them to a sudden halt—evidently they dared not cross that line of light. though I had not guessed at what deterred them. would make the cobra de capello seem quite as harmless as an angleworm. Coming as close to the threshold as I dared. As they spied me there was a concerted rush by those nearest the entrance where we stood. The simple fact that we had found no reptiles in the corridor through which we had just come was sufficient assurance that they did not venture there. To have attempted to cross that floor would have been to court instant death. As my eyes became accustomed to the dim light of its interior I gradually made out a low gallery at the far end of the apartment from which opened several exits. and a single step would have been all-sufficient to have sealed our doom. and the floor of which was completely covered by venomous snakes and loathsome reptiles. I had been quite sure that they would not venture beyond the room in which I had discovered them. I saw an end of the gallery not a foot above my head. I drew Woola out of harm's way. discovering that it circled the room as far as I could see. Then it occurred to me that Thurid and Matai Shang with their party must have crossed it. Had it not been for the fortunate accident by which I overheard even so small a portion of the therns' conversation we should have blundered at least a step or two into that wriggling mass of destruction. since substance is the only thing which they possess in common with any creature of the past or present with which you are familiar—even their venom is of an unearthly virulence that. It would be futile to attempt to describe them to Earth men. and then began a careful survey of as much of the Chamber of Reptiles as I could see from where I stood. and there. A more hideous aggregation of monsters had never before assailed my vision. illy lighted.

Part way around I found a tiny radium flash torch. I am upon the right trail. which I knew must be somewhere about. and then leaped after me. I called to him to follow me. Turning away abruptly. nor had I long to search. and as I watched I saw that it slowly revolved. that this portal had been the means of ingress to the temple used by Thurid. I had reached the base of the Temple of the Sun! Somewhere above me lay Dejah Thoris. for almost immediately thereafter I came upon a small door so cunningly inlaid in the shaft's base that it might have passed unnoticed by a less keen or careful observer. the walls of which were inlaid with gold in the strange hieroglyphics of the First Born. now that I had found the only vulnerable spot in their mighty prison. I walked 153 . I thought. but where was the means to open it? No button or lock were visible. Father of Therns.Here there were no reptiles—the way was clear to the opposite side of the hideous chamber—and a moment later Woola and I dropped down to safety in the corridor beyond. and Matai Shang. But how to reach them. There was the door that would lead me within the prison. Slowly I circled the great shaft. daughter of Matai Shang. Again and again I went carefully over every square inch of its surface. and with her were Phaidor. the black dator. looking for a means of ingress. During these experiments Woola had been standing at my side gazing intently at the door. I came suddenly upon the insignia of the house of Thurid jewel-inset in its metal case. and Thuvia of Ptarth. as I slipped the bauble into the pocket-pouch which hung from my harness. but the most that I could find was a tiny pinhole a little above and to the right of the door's center—a pinhole that seemed only an accident of manufacture or an imperfection of material. but again my efforts brought negligible results. I put my ear to it next and listened. For a moment he hesitated. Into this minute aperture I attempted to peer. Then I continued my search for the entrance. From the high dome of this mighty apartment a huge circular column extended to the floor. Not ten minutes later we came into a vast circular apartment of white marble. but whether it was but a fraction of an inch deep or passed completely through the door I could not tell—at least no light showed beyond it. whining and tugging at my harness to draw me back. and as my glance fell upon him it occurred to me to test the correctness of my hypothesis. and as I examined it in mild curiosity as to its presence there in this almost inaccessible and unknown spot. was still a baffling riddle.

however. and she had taken a slender. Could I but find a slender bit of steel I might yet fashion a key that would give me ingress to the temple prison. but what I read carried no immediate meaning to my mind. one below another: 3 |—| 50 T 1 |—| 1 X 9 |—| 25 T For only an instant my curiosity was piqued." 154 . "and for one xat let it shine with the intensity of one radium unit"—there was the second line. gazing straight at its shining surface. some distance from the door before I let him have his way. As I examined the heterogeneous collection of odds and ends that is always to be found in the pocket-pouch of a Martian warrior my hand fell upon the emblazoned radium flash torch of the black dator. Such a tiny keyhole as now defied me had opened the way to the intricate lock in that other door. again taking up his position facing the blank stone. Carefully I recalled every circumstance of my pursuit of Thurid. but my fingers had not unclasped from it when there rushed to my memory the recollection of the conversation between Lakor and his companion when the lesser thern had quoted the words of Thurid and scoffed at them: "And what think you of the ridiculous matter of the light? Let the light shine with the intensity of three radium units for fifty tals"—ah. that I might see precisely what he would do. and then I replaced the torch in my pocket-pouch. "and then for twenty-five tals with nine units.on. For an hour I worked to solve the mystery of the combination that would open the way before me. needle-like key from the keyring of her dead jailer to open the door leading back into the Chamber of Mystery where Tars Tarkas fought for his life with the great banths. Then I permitted him to lead me wherever he would. Casual curiosity prompted me to decipher them. unaided from within. there was the first line of characters upon the torch's metal case—3—50 T. Straight back to that baffling portal he dragged me. There were three sets of characters. But how had he accomplished it? I recalled the incident of the Chamber of Mystery in the Golden Cliffs that time I had freed Thuvia of Ptarth from the dungeon of the therns. Hastily I dumped the contents of my pocket-pouch upon the ground before me. As I was about to lay the thing aside as of no value in my present predicament my eyes chanced upon a few strange characters roughly and freshly scratched upon the soft gold of the case. and my conclusion was identical with my original belief—that Thurid had come this way without other assistance than his own knowledge and passed through the door that barred my progress.

or did the door really move? Slowly the solid stone sank noiselessly back into the wall—there was no hallucination here. but—what did it mean? I thought I knew. Back and back it slid for ten feet until it had disclosed at its right a narrow doorway leading into a dark and narrow corridor that paralleled the outer wall. Down the corridor at some distance I saw the faint reflection of a light. then one unit for one xat. Prince of Helium. and I. regulating the intensity of the light by means of the thumb-lever upon the side of the case. seizing a powerful magnifying glass from the litter of my pocket-pouch. and for what purpose there could be but a single answer—the mechanism of the lock was actuated by light rays. For fifty tals I let three units of light shine full in the pinhole.The formula was complete. and a little distance beyond this a brilliantly lighted chamber. 155 . held the combination in my hand—scratched by the hand of my enemy upon his own torch case. It was evident that for countless ages radium torches had been applied to this pinhole. For seven tals I waited—there had been no appreciable effect upon the lock's mechanism. and. I could have cried aloud in exultation when my scrutiny disclosed the almost invisible incrustation of particles of carbonized electrons which are thrown off by these Martian torches. I applied myself to a careful examination of the marble immediately about the pinhole in the door. Could it be that my theory was entirely wrong? Hold! Had the nervous strain resulted in a hallucination. Scarcely was the entrance uncovered than Woola and I had leaped through—then the door slipped quietly back into place. and for twenty-five tals nine units. Would the lock click at the end of those seemingly interminable intervals of time? Twenty-three! Twenty-four! Twenty-five! I shut off the light with a snap. I held the torch to the small aperture in the door. Timing my operations carefully. Those last twenty-five tals were the longest twenty-five seconds of my life. In a cylindrical bracelet of gold about my wrist was my Barsoomian chronometer— a delicate instrument that records the tals and xats and zodes of Martian time. John Carter. and toward this we made our way. presenting them to view beneath a strong crystal much after the manner of an earthly odometer. At the point where the light shone was a sharp turn.

so clear and transparent were the walls of the winding corridors. but after I had nearly brained myself a couple of times by attempting to pass through solid vitreous walls I went more carefully. but. and I was entirely at the mercy of his brute strength unless I cared to use my dagger upon him with my left hand. and finally when I pushed him from me and started once more to ascend he grasped my sword arm between his jaws and dragged me back. at the same time dashing against the clear partition at our left. looking up into my face as though to ask if I would now follow him voluntarily or if he must still resort to force. Presently he stopped and released me. After all. I had not the heart to run the sharp blade into that faithful body. Without a moment's hesitation Woola jerked me along this rocky passage. Immediately I knew that we had reached the center of the base of the Temple of the Sun—the spiral runway led upward past the inner walls of the prison cells. And well it was that I had been forced to follow him. 156 . until I thought that he was mad. unless Thurid and Matai Shang had already succeeded in stealing her.Here we discovered a spiral stairway leading up from the center of the circular room. Looking ruefully at the marks of his great teeth upon my bare arm I decided to do as he seemed to wish me to do. At first I thought it was one vast. He leaped back and forth. The resounding echoes of that fearsome cry were still reverberating through the subterranean chambers when I saw the thing that had startled it from the faithful beast. and across it to the side opposite that at which we had entered. Somewhere above me was Dejah Thoris. No amount of scolding or cuffing would suffice to make him release me. Here was another doorway leading into a corridor which ran directly down a steep incline. mad or no. But a short distance from the circular chamber we came suddenly into a brilliantly lighted labyrinth of crystal glass partitioned passages. Down into the chamber he dragged me. his strange instinct might be more dependable than my faulty human judgment. We had proceeded but a few yards along the corridor that had given us entrance to this strange maze when Woola gave mouth to a most frightful roar. We had scarcely started up the runway when Woola suddenly displayed the wildest excitement. standing between me and the way we had come. snapping at my legs and harness. unbroken chamber.

surrounded by a handful of the faithful. With her were Thuvia of Ptarth. and sometimes out into the valley. and then two of the therns grasped Dejah Thoris and Thuvia roughly by their arms and hurried them on. Thurid shook his fist at me. Father of Therns. held her arms out toward me. A moment later they had disappeared into a stone corridor beyond the labyrinth of glass. Here the trail of Dejah Thoris' abductors led along the mountains' base. as in a haze that made them seem unreal and ghostly. and the three lesser therns that had accompanied them. of a sudden. At the same instant. They say that love is blind. and the Father of Therns. my ever beautiful and ever youthful Princess of Helium. Here. they halted and looked about. Here was the secret hiding place of Matai Shang. the hekkador of the ancient faith. where we found fighting aplenty with the members of the various tribes that make up the population of this vale of hopelessness. THE SECRET TOWER I have no stomach to narrate the monotonous events of the tedious days that Woola and I spent ferreting our way across the labyrinth of glass. who had once been served by millions of vassals and dependents. But through it all we came at last to where the way led up a narrow gorge that grew steeper and more impracticable at every step until before us loomed a mighty fortress buried beneath the side of an overhanging cliff. Then. by the side of appalling precipices. evidently startled by Woola's fierce cry. or return to the various lands of the outer world from whence they came. but so great a love as that of Dejah Thoris that knew me even beneath the thern disguise I wore and across the misty vista of that crystal maze must indeed be far from blind. I discerned the figures of eight people— three females and five men. across steep and rugged ravines. dimly through the many thicknesses of intervening crystal. a woman. and even at that great distance I could see that her lips moved—it was Dejah Thoris. and Thurid. daughter of Matai Shang. Phaidor.Far in the distance. dispensed the spiritual words among 157 . through the dark and devious ways beyond that led beneath the Valley Dor and Golden Cliffs to emerge at last upon the flank of the Otz Mountains just above the Valley of Lost Souls—that pitiful purgatory peopled by the poor unfortunates who dare not continue their abandoned pilgrimage to Dor. one of them.

stepping back. The men stopped their game and looked up at me. the fact is that I marched buoyantly behind my guide straight into the jaws of death.the half dozen nations of Barsoom that still clung tenaciously to their false and discredited religion. he motioned me to enter. relying entirely upon my disguise. 158 . Why the apparent ease with which I seemingly deceived them did not rouse my suspicions I know not. and lest we be seen I drew back with Woola behind a jutting granite promontory. Afterward I learned that thern spies had been aware of my coming for hours before I reached the hidden fortress." I continued. "Kaor!" I said in true Martian greeting. led me across the outer courtyard toward a second buttressed wall. Matai Shang. Beyond were a handful of guards. "I have but just found my way hither from the Golden Cliffs. then. purple scrub that thrives upon the barren sides of Otz. Similarly they looked at Woola. Here we lay until the quick transition from daylight to darkness had passed. but there was no sign of suspicion. and so. Father of Therns. unless it was that my mind was still so full of that fleeting glimpse of my beloved princess that there was room in it for naught else." said one of the guard. I saw that none of the guardsmen had been of the party that accompanied Thurid and Matai Shang. Then I crept out to approach the fortress walls in search of a way within. the triple-barred gate stood ajar. into a clump of the hardy. and the warriors arose and saluted me. Either through carelessness or over-confidence in the supposed inaccessibility of their hiding place. Darkness was just falling as we came in sight of the seemingly impregnable walls of this mountain stronghold. more like a schoolboy than a seasoned warrior. The guards had been schooled well in their part of the conspiracy. Where may he be found?" "Follow me. The gate had been purposely left ajar to tempt me on. and. and I. Be that as it may. At the far side of the outer court a narrow door let into the angle made by one of the buttresses with the wall. laughing and talking over one of their incomprehensible Barsoomian games. "and seek audience with the hekkador. I walked boldly through the gateway and up to the thern guard. turning. ran headlong into the trap. Here my guide produced a key and opened the way within. growling at my heel.

Dejah Thoris. she shall be discarded. Hekkador of the Holy Therns." As he ceased speaking he awaited in silence evidently for some outbreak of rage upon my part—something that would have added to the spice of his revenge. And Thurid's bearing toward the ancient hekkador savored not at all of liking or respect. Before me a door opened. He would have struck back had not Matai Shang interfered. A handful of thern warriors stood just behind the little party. striking the beast a heavy blow with the manacles upon her wrist. all my suspicions now suddenly. its entire surface hand carved in bold relief with intricate and fanciful designs. circular chamber within the buttress. "Earth man. then. "At the end of that time. know you that when you have passed. shall become the plaything of my lieutenants—perhaps of thy most hated enemy. and as Woola and I passed through. the black dator. But I did not give him the satisfaction that he craved. with a shrug of my shoulders. aroused. as you know. for a Martian year. and with him were Thurid and Phaidor. Thurid hurled a taunt at me and placed a familiar hand upon the shoulder of my princess. as is usual. and there. and then I saw that the two men were not over-friendly. As I entered the enclosure the eyes of those in the balcony were full upon me. the fellow closed the door quickly upon us. to lead a quiet and honored life as high priestess of some hallowed shrine. Thurid." he said. For a moment I hesitated. I found myself in a small. 159 . When the altercation in the balcony had subsided Matai Shang turned again to me. It was of the strangely beautiful modern Barsoomian style of architecture. An ugly smile distorted the cruel lips of Matai Shang. indeed. Instead. upon the inner court beyond. Thuvia. for the manner of the thern was arrogant and domineering as he made it plain to the First Born that the Princess of Helium was the personal property of the Father of Therns. presumably. as is the law among us. was Matai Shang. but that the death you die tonight may be doubly bitter. your widow becomes the wife of Matai Shang. but not. Directly opposite me a massive tower rose to a height of three hundred feet. Thirty feet above the courtyard and overlooking it was a broad balcony. Like a tigress she turned upon him. I opened the door and stepped out into the glare of torches that lighted the inner court. The nasty laugh that came to my ears through the heavy planking of the door after the lock clicked was my first intimation that all was not as it should be. though tardily. and Dejah Thoris—the last two heavily ironed."Matai Shang is in the temple court beyond. Princess of Helium. "you have earned a more ignoble death than now lies within our weakened power to inflict upon you." he cried.

Then. And. For a moment the beasts hesitated beneath the brilliant glare of the torches. ere I threw Issus herself to the mob that once had worshiped her. "Let us have an end to this blaspheming!" he cried. struggling with the guards who now held her. when. parting glance toward my Dejah Thoris. Of all the holy of holies which the thern venerates and worships none is more revered than the yellow wig which covers his bald pate. In the brief interval of life that was left me I shot a last. would find a way to die before they could heap further tortures or indignities upon her. "Let loose the death!" he cried. Goddess of Life Eternal. to be torn to pieces in her own temple. and next thereto comes the circlet of gold and the great diadem. but upon the lips of Thurid I could see a grim smile of amusement. she turned and buried her dear face in her arms. lashing their tawny sides with their powerful tails. and immediately a dozen doors in the base of the tower swung open. Her beautiful face was set in an expression of horror. for I knew that if I died Dejah Thoris. they called the fearsome white apes and the hideous plant men to the feast of victims floating down the broad bosom of the mysterious Iss toward the silian-infested waters of the Lost Sea of Korus. This was not the first time that I had faced the ferocious Barsoomian lion. and as my eyes met hers she extended both arms toward me as.Instead. she endeavored to cast herself from the balcony into the pit beneath. I cried: "And thus did I with the holies of Issus. against a full dozen of them. and a dozen grim and terrible banths sprang into the arena. fell upon Woola and me. leaning over the edge of the balcony. for to him these things were not holy. but never had I been pitted. I did the one thing of all others that might rouse his anger and increase his hatred of me." That put an end to Thurid's grinning. Matai Shang rose and. there could be but a single outcome to so unequal a struggle. for he had been high in the favor of Issus. tossing them carelessly upon the flagging of the court. whose scintillant rays mark the attainment of the Tenth Cycle. single-handed. Matai Shang went livid with anger. so. and as a groan of rage arose from the balcony I spat full upon the holy diadem. lest he should derive too much amusement from my act. as the banths were about to close upon me. in times past. too. 160 . knowing this. but presently their eyes. that she might share my death with me. becoming accustomed to the light. and with bristling manes and deep-throated roars they advanced. I removed the wig and circlet from my head. Even with the assistance of the fierce Woola. Then I wiped my feet upon the yellow tresses. gave voice to the weird call that I had heard from the lips of the priests upon the tiny balcony upon the face of the Golden Cliffs overlooking the Valley Dor. turning to the Father of Therns.

There was naught to keep me from that balcony now. Matai Shang shrank back. For an instant Thurid hesitated. and every fierce head went high as the beasts sought the origin of the familiar call. "Those banths will never harm you now. dashed from the balcony in their wake. before they could silence her. For an instant I thought of relying on my earthly muscles and agility to escape the banths and reach the balcony. turning. Guards sprang to drag Thuvia away. but I could not force my gaze from the features of the red girl. 161 . Again Dejah Thoris wielded her heavy irons and fought him back. either. there was some deeper.Suddenly my attention was drawn toward Thuvia of Ptarth. within the Golden Cliffs. that time that. At the first note of that soothing sound the banths halted in their tracks. for I knew that her expression meant anything but the enjoyment of the grim tragedy that would so soon be enacted below her. The beautiful girl was leaning far over the edge of the balcony. Then the secret of Thuvia's excitement became apparent as from her lips there issued the purring sound I had heard once before. too. running leap I sprang far aloft until my hands grasped its lowest sill. and. nor Woola. "You need not fear them now. John Carter!" cried Thuvia. which I could easily have done. Thurid sprang forward with drawn sword to cut me down. and as one they turned and marched back into their dens. he. Then Matai Shang grasped her about the waist and dragged her away through a door leading within the tower. she called the fierce banths about her and led them as a shepherdess might lead her flock of meek and harmless sheep. as though fearing that the Father of Therns would escape him with the Princess of Helium." It was all I cared to know. hidden meaning which I sought to solve. In another instant the banths would be upon me. In an instant all was wild confusion. and with a long. Presently they discovered the red girl in the balcony above them. but I could not bring myself to desert the faithful Woola and leave him to die alone beneath the cruel fangs of the hungry banths. her eyes bright with excitement. but ere they had succeeded she had hurled a volley of commands at the listening brutes. that is not the way upon Barsoom. and then. roared out their recognition and their greeting. nor was it ever the way of John Carter.

so that my blade flew through the air with a swiftness and deadly accuracy that threw the two remaining therns into wild despair. Two of the guards she ordered to bear away Thuvia of Ptarth. Refuse and the fate that my father has threatened shall fall upon Dejah Thoris. but Phaidor must have guessed what the outcome of the battle would be. "for the last time I offer you the love of Phaidor. I in close pursuit. "for John Carter. When at last the sharp steel found the heart of one of them the other turned to flee.Phaidor alone retained her presence of mind. guessing that his steps would lead him along the way taken by those I sought. Accept and your princess shall be returned to the court of her grandfather. and. Through several inner chambers he raced until he came to a spiral runway. the way hence hath been made impossible. Make way." I replied. and with drawn long-sword faced my enemies. Prince of Helium. What say you?" "You knew my answer. for she turned and fled from the balcony the moment she saw that I would have none of her proposition. Instead. would pass!" With that I leaped over the low baluster that surrounded the balcony. for they fouled one another in the narrow precincts of the balcony. "You cannot save her now. they rushed me—the three of them simultaneously. "before ever you spoke. At the upper end we came out into a small chamber. "John Carter. and it was that which gave me an advantage. The three guardsmen did not wait for my attack. In an instant I guessed that it was a secret exit from the room. daughter of the Holy Hekkador. Then she turned toward me." I cried to the guards. Here the fellow tore frantically at what appeared to be but a piece of the blank wall opposite the single window. the walls of which were plank except for a single window overlooking the slopes of Otz and the Valley of Lost Souls beyond. for by this time they have reached a place where even you may not follow. There were three of them. for. for I cared 162 . and so I paused that he might have an opportunity to negotiate it. and you shall live in peace and happiness. Phaidor." she cried. Up this he dashed. the others she commanded to remain and prevent me from following. I let him keep ever far enough ahead to think that he was safely escaping my sword. though the way to the last stronghold of the Holy Therns was made easy for you. The red stain upon my point roused to its full the old blood-lust of the fighting man that has ever been so strong within my breast. Refuse and naught can save you. so that the foremost of them stumbled full upon my blade at the first onslaught.

puny endeavors. In fact. my long-lost princess." I said to him. A single sweeping circle of my own blade caught the flying weapon and hurled it clattering against the far wall. I was not there. and while none had ever resorted to precisely that same expedient. nor do I crave your life. I could have sworn that I caught the faint suggestion of taunting laughter from beyond the baffling panel. and with a frightful shriek he sank to the floor. for. for he repeatedly outraged a dozen Barsoomian fighting customs that an honorable man would rather die than ignore. I sprang across the chamber to the blank wall beyond. When he thrust. but the cold. and then. unyielding stone might well have laughed at my futile. I let him have my point full in the stomach as he hurtled by. he hurled it. javelinwise. But at length he overdid the thing. Clear to the hilt my weapon passed through his body. as I sidestepped my antagonist's impetuous rush.nothing to take the life of this poor servitor—all I craved was a clear road in pursuit of Dejah Thoris. drawing his shortsword. so that eventually he gave it up and turned to face me. at my body. Go!" For answer he sprang upon me with his sword. and so was ever on the alert for some new and devilish subterfuge when I was engaged with one of their race. try as he would. I knew them to be the least honorable and most treacherous fighters upon Mars. "Go thy way. at the same instant rushing upon me with his long-sword. Here I sought for the secret of its lock. 163 . but all to no avail. Thern. So there was nothing for it but to give him what he sought. The fellow was a clever swordsman—resourceful and extremely tricky. at that. Halting only for the brief instant that was required to wrench my sword from the carcass of my late antagonist. pointing toward the entrance to the runway up which we had but just come. and that as quickly as might be. however. In despair I tried to force the thing. He even went so far as to snatch his holy wig from his head and throw it in my face. "I have no quarrel with you. so as to blind me for a moment while he thrust at my unprotected breast. But. for I had fought with therns before. through which the thern had attempted to pass. he seemed never to have heard that there existed such a thing as a code of honor. that I was like to have gone down before his first rush. and so suddenly. that I might not be delayed too long in this chamber while Matai Shang and Thurid made way with Dejah Thoris and Thuvia of Ptarth. the panel would yield neither to cunning nor force. dead. In fact.

At times so slight was my hold upon the rounded surfaces of the carving's edges that a sneeze. and thence an easier avenue along which to prosecute my search. but not too great when the fate of a world's most wondrous woman was at stake. Fifty feet above me commenced a series of projecting cylindrical stones some six inches in diameter. There. so that at best my every hold was most precarious. in bands six feet apart. "Let us proceed to the hangar above that we may be far to the south before he finds another way—should that be possible. the tower's carved wall riveted my keenest attention. but.In disgust I desisted from my useless efforts and stepped to the chamber's single window. Somewhere within that massive pile was Dejah Thoris. I stepped to the window's outer sill and began my perilous ascent. should a foot slip but once. for I hoped that I might find ingress to the tower through one of these. which I must admit was half shudder. they presented a comparatively easy mode of ascent could I but reach them. towering far above me." The voice was Matai Shang's. or even a slight gust of wind would have dislodged me and sent me hurtling to the depths below." 164 . and I was on the point of breathing a sigh of relief when the sound of voices came to me from above through the open window. and as each stone cylinder protruded some four or five inches beyond the surface of the other ornamentation. possibly. and if not upon the boulders. A hundred feet beneath lay jagged granite boulders at the brink of a frightful chasm upon which the tower abutted. The slopes of Otz and the distant Valley of Lost Souls held nothing to compel my interest then. These apparently circled the tower at six-foot intervals. Laboriously I climbed toward them by way of some windows which lay below them. Above me I could see windows. To my dismay I found that. The risk was great. then at the chasm's bottom. I glanced below. lay death. or clutching fingers loose their hold for the fraction of an instant. But there was no other way and with a shrug. a cough. But finally I reached a point where my fingers could just clutch the sill of the lowest window. lay the only way by which I could reach her. unlike the ornamentation upon most Heliumetic structures. "He can never solve the secret of that lock. the edges of the carvings were quite generally rounded.

"All things seem possible to that vile calot. since more circuitous. Some ten feet below the roof. but I at least had always within my reach a point of safety to which I might cling in case of accident. flattened against the perpendicular wall. and a few thern warriors. He was not ten paces from me. which I recognized as Thurid's." said Matai Shang. where I was hastening to scramble to the secure footing of the roof. Thuvia of Ptarth. It is true that these projections were too far apart to make the balance of the ascent anything of a sinecure. the wall inclined slightly inward possibly a foot in the last ten feet. Later they may follow us upon another flier—overtaking us at Kaol. and once again I took up my hazardous ascent. scarce daring to breathe. and here the climbing was indeed immeasurably easier." replied another voice. The most difficult and dangerous part of the journey was accomplished at last. and when his eyes met mine his wicked face lighted with a malignant smile as he leaped toward me. in which to be discovered by Thurid! He had but to lean from the window to push me with his sword's point into eternity. now more difficult. and it was with relief that I felt my fingers close about the lowest of the stone cylinders. Matai Shang's reference to the hangar and the fliers indicated that my destination lay nothing short of the roof of the tower. 165 . Upon her deck were Matai Shang. and what cruel freak of fate should have caused him to turn about just as my eyes topped the roof's edge I may not even guess. while near her was Thurid in the act of clambering aboard. for I must climb so as to avoid the windows. Phaidor. What a horrible position. facing in the opposite direction. so that my fingers soon clutched the eaves. But turn he did. I will leave two who shall patrol this runway. Presently the sound of the voices became fainter. "But to be doubly sure. indeed. Dejah Thoris. and toward this seemingly distant goal I set my face." My upstretched fingers never reached the window's sill. "Then let us haste. As I drew my eyes above the level of the tower's top I saw a flier all but ready to rise. At the first sound of the voices I drew back my hand and clung there to my perilous perch.

Dejah Thoris must have seen me at the same instant, for she screamed a useless warning just as Thurid's foot, swinging in a mighty kick, landed full in my face. Like a felled ox, I reeled and tumbled backward over the tower's side.

ON THE KAOLIAN ROAD If there be a fate that is sometimes cruel to me, there surely is a kind and merciful Providence which watches over me. As I toppled from the tower into the horrid abyss below I counted myself already dead; and Thurid must have done likewise, for he evidently did not even trouble himself to look after me, but must have turned and mounted the waiting flier at once. Ten feet only I fell, and then a loop of my tough, leathern harness caught upon one of the cylindrical stone projections in the tower's surface—and held. Even when I had ceased to fall I could not believe the miracle that had preserved me from instant death, and for a moment I hung there, cold sweat exuding from every pore of my body. But when at last I had worked myself back to a firm position I hesitated to ascend, since I could not know that Thurid was not still awaiting me above. Presently, however, there came to my ears the whirring of the propellers of a flier, and as each moment the sound grew fainter I realized that the party had proceeded toward the south without assuring themselves as to my fate. Cautiously I retraced my way to the roof, and I must admit that it was with no pleasant sensation that I raised my eyes once more above its edge; but, to my relief, there was no one in sight, and a moment later I stood safely upon its broad surface. To reach the hangar and drag forth the only other flier which it contained was the work of but an instant; and just as the two thern warriors whom Matai Shang had left to prevent this very contingency emerged upon the roof from the tower's interior, I rose above them with a taunting laugh. Then I dived rapidly to the inner court where I had last seen Woola, and to my immense relief found the faithful beast still there. The twelve great banths lay in the doorways of their lairs, eyeing him and growling ominously, but they had not disobeyed Thuvia's injunction; and I thanked the fate that had made her their keeper within the Golden Cliffs, and endowed her with the kind and sympathetic nature that had won the loyalty and affection of these fierce beasts for her.

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Woola leaped in frantic joy when he discovered me; and as the flier touched the pavement of the court for a brief instant he bounded to the deck beside me, and in the bearlike manifestation of his exuberant happiness all but caused me to wreck the vessel against the courtyard's rocky wall. Amid the angry shouting of thern guardsmen we rose high above the last fortress of the Holy Therns, and then raced straight toward the northeast and Kaol, the destination which I had heard from the lips of Matai Shang. Far ahead, a tiny speck in the distance, I made out another flier late in the afternoon. It could be none other than that which bore my lost love and my enemies. I had gained considerably on the craft by night; and then, knowing that they must have sighted me and would show no lights after dark, I set my destination compass upon her—that wonderful little Martian mechanism which, once attuned to the object of destination, points away toward it, irrespective of every change in its location. All that night we raced through the Barsoomian void, passing over low hills and dead sea bottoms; above long-deserted cities and populous centers of red Martian habitation upon the ribbon-like lines of cultivated land which border the globe-encircling waterways, which Earth men call the canals of Mars. Dawn showed that I had gained appreciably upon the flier ahead of me. It was a larger craft than mine, and not so swift; but even so, it had covered an immense distance since the flight began. The change in vegetation below showed me that we were rapidly nearing the equator. I was now near enough to my quarry to have used my bow gun; but, though I could see that Dejah Thoris was not on deck, I feared to fire upon the craft which bore her. Thurid was deterred by no such scruples; and though it must have been difficult for him to believe that it was really I who followed them, he could not very well doubt the witness of his own eyes; and so he trained their stern gun upon me with his own hands, and an instant later an explosive radium projectile whizzed perilously close above my deck. The black's next shot was more accurate, striking my flier full upon the prow and exploding with the instant of contact, ripping wide open the bow buoyancy tanks and disabling the engine. So quickly did my bow drop after the shot that I scarce had time to lash Woola to the deck and buckle my own harness to a gunwale ring before the craft was hanging stern up and making her last long drop to ground.

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Her stern buoyancy tanks prevented her dropping with great rapidity; but Thurid was firing rapidly now in an attempt to burst these also, that I might be dashed to death in the swift fall that would instantly follow a successful shot. Shot after shot tore past or into us, but by a miracle neither Woola nor I was hit, nor were the after tanks punctured. This good fortune could not last indefinitely, and, assured that Thurid would not again leave me alive, I awaited the bursting of the next shell that hit; and then, throwing my hands above my head, I let go my hold and crumpled, limp and inert, dangling in my harness like a corpse. The ruse worked, and Thurid fired no more at us. Presently I heard the diminishing sound of whirring propellers and realized that again I was safe. Slowly the stricken flier sank to the ground, and when I had freed myself and Woola from the entangling wreckage I found that we were upon the verge of a natural forest—so rare a thing upon the bosom of dying Mars that, outside of the forest in the Valley Dor beside the Lost Sea of Korus, I never before had seen its like upon the planet. From books and travelers I had learned something of the little-known land of Kaol, which lies along the equator almost halfway round the planet to the east of Helium. It comprises a sunken area of extreme tropical heat, and is inhabited by a nation of red men varying but little in manners, customs, and appearance from the balance of the red men of Barsoom. I knew that they were among those of the outer world who still clung tenaciously to the discredited religion of the Holy Therns, and that Matai Shang would find a ready welcome and safe refuge among them; while John Carter could look for nothing better than an ignoble death at their hands. The isolation of the Kaolians is rendered almost complete by the fact that no waterway connects their land with that of any other nation, nor have they any need of a waterway since the low, swampy land which comprises the entire area of their domain self-waters their abundant tropical crops. For great distances in all directions rugged hills and arid stretches of dead sea bottom discourage intercourse with them, and since there is practically no such thing as foreign commerce upon warlike Barsoom, where each nation is sufficient to itself, really little has been known relative to the court of the Jeddak of Kaol and the numerous strange, but interesting, people over whom he rules. Occasional hunting parties have traveled to this out-of-the-way corner of the globe, but the hostility of the natives has usually brought disaster upon them, so that even the sport of hunting the strange and savage creatures which haunt the jungle fastnesses of Kaol has of later years proved insufficient lure even to the most intrepid warriors.

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It was upon the verge of the land of the Kaols that I now knew myself to be, but in what direction to search for Dejah Thoris, or how far into the heart of the great forest I might have to penetrate I had not the faintest idea. But not so Woola. Scarcely had I disentangled him than he raised his head high in air and commenced circling about at the edge of the forest. Presently he halted, and, turning to see if I were following, set off straight into the maze of trees in the direction we had been going before Thurid's shot had put an end to our flier. As best I could, I stumbled after him down a steep declivity beginning at the forest's edge. Immense trees reared their mighty heads far above us, their broad fronds completely shutting off the slightest glimpse of the sky. It was easy to see why the Kaolians needed no navy; their cities, hidden in the midst of this towering forest, must be entirely invisible from above, nor could a landing be made by any but the smallest fliers, and then only with the greatest risk of accident. How Thurid and Matai Shang were to land I could not imagine, though later I was to learn that to the level of the forest top there rises in each city of Kaol a slender watchtower which guards the Kaolians by day and by night against the secret approach of a hostile fleet. To one of these the hekkador of the Holy Therns had no difficulty in approaching, and by its means the party was safely lowered to the ground. As Woola and I approached the bottom of the declivity the ground became soft and mushy, so that it was with the greatest difficulty that we made any headway whatever. Slender purple grasses topped with red and yellow fern-like fronds grew rankly all about us to the height of several feet above my head. Myriad creepers hung festooned in graceful loops from tree to tree, and among them were several varieties of the Martian "man-flower," whose blooms have eyes and hands with which to see and seize the insects which form their diet. The repulsive calot tree was, too, much in evidence. It is a carnivorous plant of about the bigness of a large sage-brush such as dots our western plains. Each branch ends in a set of strong jaws, which have been known to drag down and devour large and formidable beasts of prey. Both Woola and I had several narrow escapes from these greedy, arboreous monsters. Occasional areas of firm sod gave us intervals of rest from the arduous labor of traversing this gorgeous, twilight swamp, and it was upon one of these that I finally 169

decided to make camp for the night which my chronometer warned me would soon be upon us. Many varieties of fruit grew in abundance about us; and as Martian calots are omnivorous, Woola had no difficulty in making a square meal after I had brought down the viands for him. Then, having eaten, too, I lay down with my back to that of my faithful hound, and dropped into a deep and dreamless sleep. The forest was shrouded in impenetrable darkness when a low growl from Woola awakened me. All about us I could hear the stealthy movement of great, padded feet, and now and then the wicked gleam of green eyes upon us. Arising, I drew my long-sword and waited. Suddenly a deep-toned, horrid roar burst from some savage throat almost at my side. What a fool I had been not to have found safer lodgings for myself and Woola among the branches of one of the countless trees that surrounded us! By daylight it would have been comparatively easy to have hoisted Woola aloft in one manner or another, but now it was too late. There was nothing for it but to stand our ground and take our medicine, though, from the hideous racket which now assailed our ears, and for which that first roar had seemed to be the signal, I judged that we must be in the midst of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the fierce, man-eating denizens of the Kaolian jungle. All the balance of the night they kept up their infernal din, but why they did not attack us I could not guess, nor am I sure to this day, unless it is that none of them ever venture upon the patches of scarlet sward which dot the swamp. When morning broke they were still there, walking about as in a circle, but always just beyond the edge of the sward. A more terrifying aggregation of fierce and bloodthirsty monsters it would be difficult to imagine. Singly and in pairs they commenced wandering off into the jungle shortly after sunrise, and when the last of them had departed Woola and I resumed our journey. Occasionally we caught glimpses of horrid beasts all during the day; but, fortunately, we were never far from a sward island, and when they saw us their pursuit always ended at the verge of the solid sod. Toward noon we stumbled upon a well-constructed road running in the general direction we had been pursuing. Everything about this highway marked it as the work of skilled engineers, and I was confident, from the indications of antiquity which it bore, as well as from the very evident signs of its being still in everyday use, that it must lead to one of the principal cities of Kaol.

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and at sight of us charged madly in our direction. Frightful jaws in front and mighty. Woola snarling at my side. one of the powerful hind legs caught me full in the chest and hurled me.Just as we entered it from one side a huge monster emerged from the jungle upon the other. so I stood my ground. to find his savage antagonist circling ten feet above the ground. my only hope to die as I had always lived—fighting. if not killed. Imagine. Even my powerful and ferocious Woola was as helpless as a kitten before that frightful thing. I passed between the boles of trees. dragging Woola from the ground. 171 . But to flee were useless. Dazed though I was. if you can. even had it ever been to my liking to turn my back upon a danger. but it was the only way. I dived beneath the great body as the creature rose. had I struck one of them I should have been badly injured. and glistening fangs buried themselves in the bone and cartilage and lower part of one of the huge eyes. Fortunately. a bald-faced hornet of your earthly experience grown to the size of a prize Hereford bull. The creature was upon us now. I stumbled to my feet and staggered back to Woola's assistance. and as his mighty jaws closed upon that fiendish face. If I could but remove the terrible menace of certain death hidden in the poison sacs that fed the sting the struggle would be less unequal. Nor could I hope to escape the lightning-like movements or hide from those myriad facet eyes which covered threefourths of the hideous head. and you will have some faint conception of the ferocious appearance and awesome formidability of the winged monster that bore down upon me. At the thought I called to Woola to leap upon the creature's head and hang there. and at the instant there seemed to me a single slight chance for victory. beating madly at the clinging calot with all six powerful legs. that it might bring its sting beneath and pierce the body of the thing hanging to its head. half stunned and wholly winded. Then. clear across the broad highway and into the underbrush of the jungle that fringes it. permitting the creature to see in all directions at one and the same time. poisoned sting behind made my relatively puny long-sword seem a pitiful weapon of defense indeed. and as the thing shot lightning-like toward me I swung my long-sword in a terrific cut that severed the deadly member close to the gorgeously marked body. To put myself in the path of that poison-laden lance was to court instant death. so swiftly had I been catapulted by that enormous hind leg. like a battering-ram.

The long lance of the warrior dipped toward us. but the instant that the red man's eyes fell upon us a word to the thoat brought the animal at full charge down upon us. Nor was it far from accomplishing this when an interruption occurred that put an end forever to its hostilities. light lance. "Who are you. "who dare enter the land of Kaol and hunt in the royal forest of the jeddak?" Then. By the time I had regained my feet the red man had turned and ridden back to us.Even during my sudden flight through the air I had not once released my grip upon my long-sword. careening once in mid air." he asked. dropping me to the ground. so that when I say futilely. and as thoat and rider hurtled beneath. but he cut me off peremptorily. the point passed through the body of our antagonist. The thing might easily have risen out of my reach. who still clung tenaciously to its gory head. one of the smaller species used by red men. He was mounted on a splendid thoat. and now I ran beneath the two battling monsters. From where I hung a few feet above the road I could see along the highway a few hundred yards to where it turned toward the east. for it dropped quickly toward me. the jaws relaxed. Time and again the now useless stub of its giant sting struck futilely against my body. and before I could escape had grasped my shoulder between its powerful jaws. full upon Woola. released his hold at my command and wriggled from beneath the body that had covered him. and just as I had about given up all hope of escaping the perilous position in which I now was I saw a red warrior come into view from around the bend. and then. finding his enemy inert and lifeless. I refer only to the natural function of the disabled member—eventually the thing would have hammered me to a pulp. jabbing the winged terror repeatedly with its sharp point. his eyes went wide and in an altered tone he whispered: "Can it be that you are a Holy Thern?" 172 . and together we faced the warrior looking down upon us. His mount was walking sedately when I first perceived them. the creature plunged headforemost to the road. Woola. With a convulsive shudder the thing stiffened. I started to thank the stranger for his timely assistance. and in his hand was a wondrous long. as he noted my white skin through the coating of grime and blood that covered me. but evidently it knew as little concerning retreat in the face of danger as either Woola or I. but the blows alone were almost as effective as the kick of a horse.

I might have deceived the fellow for a time, as I had deceived others, but I had cast away the yellow wig and the holy diadem in the presence of Matai Shang, and I knew that it would not be long ere my new acquaintance discovered that I was no thern at all. "I am not a thern," I replied, and then, flinging caution to the winds, I said: "I am John Carter, Prince of Helium, whose name may not be entirely unknown to you." If his eyes had gone wide when he thought that I was a Holy Thern, they fairly popped now that he knew that I was John Carter. I grasped my long-sword more firmly as I spoke the words which I was sure would precipitate an attack, but to my surprise they precipitated nothing of the kind. "John Carter, Prince of Helium," he repeated slowly, as though he could not quite grasp the truth of the statement. "John Carter, the mightiest warrior of Barsoom!" And then he dismounted and placed his hand upon my shoulder after the manner of most friendly greeting upon Mars. "It is my duty, and it should be my pleasure, to kill you, John Carter," he said, "but always in my heart of hearts have I admired your prowess and believed in your sincerity the while I have questioned and disbelieved the therns and their religion. "It would mean my instant death were my heresy to be suspected in the court of Kulan Tith, but if I may serve you, Prince, you have but to command Torkar Bar, Dwar of the Kaolian Road." Truth and honesty were writ large upon the warrior's noble countenance, so that I could not but have trusted him, enemy though he should have been. His title of Captain of the Kaolian Road explained his timely presence in the heart of the savage forest, for every highway upon Barsoom is patrolled by doughty warriors of the noble class, nor is there any service more honorable than this lonely and dangerous duty in the less frequented sections of the domains of the red men of Barsoom. "Torkar Bar has already placed a great debt of gratitude upon my shoulders," I replied, pointing to the carcass of the creature from whose heart he was dragging his long spear. The red man smiled. "It was fortunate that I came when I did," he said. "Only this poisoned spear pricking the very heart of a sith can kill it quickly enough to save its prey. In this section of Kaol we are all armed with a long sith spear, whose point is smeared with the poison of the creature it is intended to kill; no other virus acts so quickly upon the beast as its own.

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"Look," he continued, drawing his dagger and making an incision in the carcass a foot above the root of the sting, from which he presently drew forth two sacs, each of which held fully a gallon of the deadly liquid. "Thus we maintain our supply, though were it not for certain commercial uses to which the virus is put, it would scarcely be necessary to add to our present store, since the sith is almost extinct. "Only occasionally do we now run upon one. Of old, however, Kaol was overrun with the frightful monsters that often came in herds of twenty or thirty, darting down from above into our cities and carrying away women, children, and even warriors." As he spoke I had been wondering just how much I might safely tell this man of the mission which brought me to his land, but his next words anticipated the broaching of the subject on my part, and rendered me thankful that I had not spoken too soon. "And now as to yourself, John Carter," he said, "I shall not ask your business here, nor do I wish to hear it. I have eyes and ears and ordinary intelligence, and yesterday morning I saw the party that came to the city of Kaol from the north in a small flier. But one thing I ask of you, and that is: the word of John Carter that he contemplates no overt act against either the nation of Kaol or its jeddak." "You may have my word as to that, Torkar Bar," I replied. "My way leads along the Kaolian road, away from the city of Kaol," he continued. "I have seen no one—John Carter least of all. Nor have you seen Torkar Bar, nor ever heard of him. You understand?" "Perfectly," I replied. He laid his hand upon my shoulder. "This road leads directly into the city of Kaol," he said. "I wish you fortune," and vaulting to the back of his thoat he trotted away without even a backward glance. It was after dark when Woola and I spied through the mighty forest the great wall which surrounds the city of Kaol. We had traversed the entire way without mishap or adventure, and though the few we had met had eyed the great calot wonderingly, none had pierced the red pigment with which I had smoothly smeared every square inch of my body. But to traverse the surrounding country, and to enter the guarded city of Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol, were two very different things. No man enters a Martian city without giving a very detailed and satisfactory account of himself, nor did I delude myself with

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the belief that I could for a moment impose upon the acumen of the officers of the guard to whom I should be taken the moment I applied at any one of the gates. My only hope seemed to lie in entering the city surreptitiously under cover of the darkness, and once in, trust to my own wits to hide myself in some crowded quarter where detection would be less liable to occur. With this idea in view I circled the great wall, keeping within the fringe of the forest, which is cut away for a short distance from the wall all about the city, that no enemy may utilize the trees as a means of ingress. Several times I attempted to scale the barrier at different points, but not even my earthly muscles could overcome that cleverly constructed rampart. To a height of thirty feet the face of the wall slanted outward, and then for almost an equal distance it was perpendicular, above which it slanted in again for some fifteen feet to the crest. And smooth! Polished glass could not be more so. Finally I had to admit that at last I had discovered a Barsoomian fortification which I could not negotiate. Discouraged, I withdrew into the forest beside a broad highway which entered the city from the east, and with Woola beside me lay down to sleep.

A HERO IN KAOL It was daylight when I was awakened by the sound of stealthy movement near by. As I opened my eyes Woola, too, moved and, coming up to his haunches, stared through the intervening brush toward the road, each hair upon his neck stiffly erect. At first I could see nothing, but presently I caught a glimpse of a bit of smooth and glossy green moving among the scarlet and purple and yellow of the vegetation. Motioning Woola to remain quietly where he was, I crept forward to investigate, and from behind the bole of a great tree I saw a long line of the hideous green warriors of the dead sea bottoms hiding in the dense jungle beside the road. As far as I could see, the silent line of destruction and death stretched away from the city of Kaol. There could be but one explanation. The green men were expecting an exodus of a body of red troops from the nearest city gate, and they were lying there in ambush to leap upon them.

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I owed no fealty to the Jeddak of Kaol, but he was of the same race of noble red men as my own princess, and I would not stand supinely by and see his warriors butchered by the cruel and heartless demons of the waste places of Barsoom. Cautiously I retraced my steps to where I had left Woola, and warning him to silence, signaled him to follow me. Making a considerable detour to avoid the chance of falling into the hands of the green men, I came at last to the great wall. A hundred yards to my right was the gate from which the troops were evidently expected to issue, but to reach it I must pass the flank of the green warriors within easy sight of them, and, fearing that my plan to warn the Kaolians might thus be thwarted, I decided upon hastening toward the left, where another gate a mile away would give me ingress to the city. I knew that the word I brought would prove a splendid passport to Kaol, and I must admit that my caution was due more to my ardent desire to make my way into the city than to avoid a brush with the green men. As much as I enjoy a fight, I cannot always indulge myself, and just now I had more weighty matters to occupy my time than spilling the blood of strange warriors. Could I but win beyond the city's wall, there might be opportunity in the confusion and excitement which were sure to follow my announcement of an invading force of green warriors to find my way within the palace of the jeddak, where I was sure Matai Shang and his party would be quartered. But scarcely had I taken a hundred steps in the direction of the farther gate when the sound of marching troops, the clank of metal, and the squealing of thoats just within the city apprised me of the fact that the Kaolians were already moving toward the other gate. There was no time to be lost. In another moment the gate would be opened and the head of the column pass out upon the death-bordered highway. Turning back toward the fateful gate, I ran rapidly along the edge of the clearing, taking the ground in the mighty leaps that had first made me famous upon Barsoom. Thirty, fifty, a hundred feet at a bound are nothing for the muscles of an athletic Earth man upon Mars. As I passed the flank of the waiting green men they saw my eyes turned upon them, and in an instant, knowing that all secrecy was at an end, those nearest me sprang to their feet in an effort to cut me off before I could reach the gate. At the same instant the mighty portal swung wide and the head of the Kaolian column emerged. A dozen green warriors had succeeded in reaching a point between me and the gate, but they had but little idea who it was they had elected to detain.

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I did not slacken my speed an iota as I dashed among them, and as they fell before my blade I could not but recall the happy memory of those other battles when Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark, mightiest of Martian green men, had stood shoulder to shoulder with me through long, hot Martian days, as together we hewed down our enemies until the pile of corpses about us rose higher than a tall man's head. When several pressed me too closely, there before the carved gateway of Kaol, I leaped above their heads, and fashioning my tactics after those of the hideous plant men of Dor, struck down upon my enemies' heads as I passed above them. From the city the red warriors were rushing toward us, and from the jungle the savage horde of green men were coming to meet them. In a moment I was in the very center of as fierce and bloody a battle as I had ever passed through. These Kaolians are most noble fighters, nor are the green men of the equator one whit less warlike than their cold, cruel cousins of the temperate zone. There were many times when either side might have withdrawn without dishonor and thus ended hostilities, but from the mad abandon with which each invariably renewed hostilities I soon came to believe that what need not have been more than a trifling skirmish would end only with the complete extermination of one force or the other. With the joy of battle once roused within me, I took keen delight in the fray, and that my fighting was noted by the Kaolians was often evidenced by the shouts of applause directed at me. If I sometimes seem to take too great pride in my fighting ability, it must be remembered that fighting is my vocation. If your vocation be shoeing horses, or painting pictures, and you can do one or the other better than your fellows, then you are a fool if you are not proud of your ability. And so I am very proud that upon two planets no greater fighter has ever lived than John Carter, Prince of Helium. And I outdid myself that day to impress the fact upon the natives of Kaol, for I wished to win a way into their hearts—and their city. Nor was I to be disappointed in my desire. All day we fought, until the road was red with blood and clogged with corpses. Back and forth along the slippery highway the tide of battle surged, but never once was the gateway to Kaol really in danger. There were breathing spells when I had a chance to converse with the red men beside whom I fought, and once the jeddak, Kulan Tith himself, laid his hand upon my shoulder and asked my name. "I am Dotar Sojat," I replied, recalling a name given me by the Tharks many years before, from the surnames of the first two of their warriors I had killed, which is the custom among them. 177

The meal was scarcely concluded when a messenger arrived from Kulan Tith summoning me before him. Neither of us had come through the conflict unscathed. As I entered the royal presence the jeddak rose. came forward to meet me—a mark of distinction that is seldom accorded to other than a visiting ruler. 178 . and it was with renewed vigor and a joyous soul that I laid about me with my long-sword until the last of the green men had had enough and had withdrawn toward their distant sea bottom. overnight. I had spent a comfortable night. Dotar Sojat. "and when this day is done I shall speak with you again in the great audience chamber. who are renowned for their ease of manners and excellence of breeding. Not until the battle was over did I learn why the red troops had sallied forth that day." he replied. when the troops again set out from Kaol. healing salves of Barsoom had sufficed. to make us as good as new. whom I found as courteous and delightful hosts as even the nobles of Helium. and stepping from the dais which supported his magnificent throne."You are a mighty warrior. but he had sent an officer to find me and escort me to comfortable quarters in that part of the palace set aside for the officers of the royal guard. Tell me more of yourself—from what country you come. Woola had fought with me through the battle of the previous day." And then the fight surged upon us once more and we were separated." "I am from Hastor. I breakfasted with a number of the Kaolian officers. Dotar Sojat!" he greeted me. great numbers of which are often to be found with the savage green hordes of the dead sea bottoms. and it had been his wish to meet his guest a full day's journey from Kaol. for had it not been for your heroic bravery in daring fate to warn us of the ambuscade we must surely have fallen into the well-laid trap. but the marvelous. "I have summoned you to receive the grateful thanks of the people of Kaol. It seemed that Kulan Tith was expecting a visit from a mighty jeddak of the north— a powerful and the only ally of the Kaolians. I had not been bidden to the presence of Kulan Tith after the battle. "Kaor." I said. true to the instincts and training of a Martian war dog. There. But now the march of the welcoming host was delayed until the following morning. for in truth I had a small palace in that southern city which lies within the far-flung dominions of the Heliumetic nation. but my heart's desire was attained. and rose much refreshed after the arduous labors of the past few days. with Woola. and what errand brings you to the court of Kulan Tith.

for there." If Kulan Tith wondered what business brought me in a flier to the very edge of his domain he was good enough not to press me further for an explanation. commanding me to follow and be presented. with details of my achievements upon the field of battle. my flier being wrecked upon the southern fringe of your great forest. "shower thy blessings upon Dotar Sojat. which I should indeed have had difficulty in rendering. both Matai Shang and Thurid seemed most sincere in professing their pleasure at having had an opportunity to know me. whose wondrous heroism and marvelous ferocity saved the day for Kaol yesterday. so that I did not see their faces until Kulan Tith stepped past me to greet them. Matai Shang and Thurid. "Holy Hekkador of the Holy Therns. too. The black. and time and again he described the wondrous way in which I had leaped completely over an antagonist. Was he commencing to suspect? And then Kulan Tith told of the savage calot that fought beside me. It was with a sigh of relief that I quitted the chamber. was evidently entirely deceived."My presence in the land of Kaol is partly due to accident. It was while seeking entrance to the city of Kaol that I discovered the green horde lying in wait for your troops. and as I departed with an officer who was to procure proper trappings and a suitable mount for me. 179 . He spoke kindly to me and then presented me to Thurid. Then Kulan Tith regaled them. No slightest indication that he recognized me showed upon his countenance—my disguise was evidently complete. and several times I surprised him gazing intently into my face through narrowed lids. cleaving his skull wide open with my long-sword as I passed above him. convinced that nothing more than a guilty conscience had prompted my belief that either of my enemies suspected my true identity. The thing that seemed to have impressed him most was my remarkable agility. As I turned toward them it was with difficulty that I controlled my features. I thought that I saw Thurid's eyes widen a bit during the narrative. During my audience with the jeddak another party entered the chamber from behind me. listening to Kulan Tith's eulogistic words concerning me." Matai Shang stepped forward and laid his hand upon my shoulder. the valorous stranger from distant Hastor. much to my amusement." the jeddak was saying. stood my arch-enemies. and after that I saw suspicion in the eyes of Matai Shang—or did I but imagine it? At the close of the audience Kulan Tith announced that he would have me accompany him upon the way to meet his royal guest.

Except for the clanking of accouterments and the occasional squeal of an angry thoat or the low guttural of a zitidar. Never before today had I seen zitidars in the service of red men. flags. the passage of the cavalcade was almost noiseless. for the red Martians are a social. pearls. commodious wagons moved two abreast. Upon the back of each monster zitidar rode a Martian youth. I had seen or heard nothing of Dejah Thoris or Thuvia of Ptarth. pleasure-loving people—in direct antithesis to the cold and morbid race of green men. and then came a thousand gorgeous chariots drawn by huge zitidars. and pennons fluttered in the breeze. and I should have given much to have found a way to remain behind during Kulan Tith's absence. It was a gorgeous train that accompanied the visiting jeddak. which gives forth no sound. and the countless unnamed jewels of Mars. Though my eyes and ears had been wide open during my audience with the jeddak and my various passages through the palace. while from each chariot rose a dozen standards from which streamers. rubies. and the whole scene carried me back to my first days upon Barsoom. The beasts were hung with jeweled trappings and saddlepads of gay silk. for in the chariots were the women and children of the royal court. embroidered in fanciful designs with strings of diamonds. their trappings of jewel and metal-incrusted leather glistening in the sunlight. but when compared to the relatively small red man and his breed of thoats they assume Brobdingnagian proportions that are truly appalling. and for miles it stretched along the wide.A half-hour later I rode out of the city gate with the column that accompanied Kulan Tith upon the way to meet his friend and ally. Mounted troops. 180 . riflemen. That they must be somewhere within the great rambling edifice I was positive. Just in front of the chariots the visiting jeddak rode alone upon a pure white thoat— another unusual sight upon Barsoom—and after them came interminable ranks of mounted spearmen. when I had first beheld the gorgeous spectacle of a caravan of the green horde of Tharks. white road to Kaol. Now and then the gay laughter of a woman or the chatter of children could be heard. These low. for neither thoat nor zitidar is a hoofed animal. It was indeed a most imposing sight. and swordsmen. now twenty-two years in the past. Toward noon we came in touch with the head of the column we had set out to meet. that I might search for them. formed the vanguard of the body. These brutes are huge mastodonian animals that tower to an immense height even beside the giant green men and their giant thoats. emeralds. and the broad tires of the chariots are of an elastic composition. and on either side of them marched solid ranks of mounted warriors.

as I lunged headforemost through the darkness to seize my nocturnal visitor. I could not have slept over a quarter of an hour when I was suddenly awakened by the passing of some cold and clammy thing across my forehead. and after the great banquet. Fortunately. I returned to my quarters. But never did vague conjecture or fruitless fears for the future lie with sufficient weight upon my mind to keep me from my rest. For an instant my hand touched against human flesh. As I passed along the corridors between the banquet hall and the apartments that had been allotted me. I was well up toward the head of the column. By the time I had resumed my feet and found the button which controlled the light my caller had disappeared. and so I had had to relegate poor Woola to quarters in the stables where the royal thoats are kept. and then we turned and retraced our way toward the city of Kaol. caught a glimpse of a figure which darted into an open doorway the instant I wheeled about. even luxurious apartments. Careful search of the room revealed nothing to explain either 181 . but I would have given much to have had him with me. since if I were right in the conclusion induced by the cursory glimpse I had had of the spy. though it must have been nearly morning before the rear guard passed through the gateway. as soon as it was seemly for me to do so. which the head of the column reached just before dark. Instantly I sprang to my feet. yet in the brief glimpse that I had caught I could have sworn that I had seen a white face surmounted by a mass of yellow hair. and so tonight I threw myself upon my sleeping silks and furs and passed at once into dreamless slumber. Calots are not permitted within the walls of the palace proper. which I attended with the officers of the royal guard. then Matai Shang and Thurid must suspect my identity. There was so much activity and bustle about the palace all during the night with the constant arrival of the noble officers of the visiting jeddak's retinue that I dared not attempt to prosecute a search for Dejah Thoris. I was free to seek repose. Though I ran quickly back to the spot where the shadower had disappeared I could find no trace of him. The incident gave me considerable food for speculation. the thing which happened that night would not have come to pass. and then. clutching in the direction I thought the presence lay. He had comfortable. turning quickly in my tracks. and if that were true not even the service I had rendered Kulan Tith could save me from his religious fanaticism.The forms and ceremonials connected with the meeting of the two jeddaks consumed an hour. and if he had been. my foot became entangled in my sleeping silks and I fell sprawling to the floor. and. I had a sudden feeling that I was under surveillance. and so.

" he said. "from the first I suspected this stranger within thy palace. to the great audience chamber in the center of the massive structure. Matai Shang. and then Thurid." said Kulan Tith. filled with the nobles of Kaol and the officers of the visiting jeddak. "Kulan Tith commands your presence before him. turning to one who stood among the nobles at his right. That the purpose might be theft I could not believe. "Prefer thy charge. "Most noble Jeddak. Your description of his fiendish prowess tallied with that of the arch-enemy of truth upon Barsoom. "But that there might be no mistake I despatched a priest of your own holy cult to make the test that should pierce his disguise and reveal the truth. I had about given up fruitless conjecture and was on the point of returning to sleep when a dozen Kaolian guardsmen entered my apartment. Assassination. As I entered the brilliantly lighted apartment. Up the broad center aisle we marched beneath deadly silence. and the visiting jeddak. all eyes were turned upon me. 182 . is rampant. upon which sat Kulan Tith and his two guests. and at the foot of the thrones we halted. All eyes followed the direction of that accusing digit—I alone seemed at a loss to guess what fatal sign rested upon my brow. since thieves are practically unknown upon Barsoom. Upon the great dais at the end of the chamber stood three thrones.the identity or business of the person who had thus secretly sought me in the dead of night. the black dator of the First Born. addressing Kulan Tith. for he might easily have killed me had he desired." he said. however. but even this could not have been the motive of my stealthy friend. Jeddak of Kaol. Behold the result!" and Thurid pointed a rigid finger at my forehead. The officer in charge was one of my genial hosts of the morning. but now upon his face was no sign of friendship. stepped forward and faced me. "Come!" NEW ALLIES Surrounded by guardsmen I marched back along the corridors of the palace of Kulan Tith.

the noble drew a small mirror from his pocket-pouch and held it before my face. leaping to his feet and laying his hand upon the hilt of his sword. Before you.The officer beside me guessed my perplexity. addressing the officer of my guard." he cried. Defender of the Holies. listen that you may know the truth. Earth man. "You shall not escape this time. "It is indeed the arch-blasphemer. and then judge if my acts be not more in accord with true Barsoomian chivalry and honor than those of these revengeful devotees of the spurious creeds from whose cruel bonds I have freed your planet." he said. and as the brows of Kulan Tith darkened in a menacing scowl as his eyes rested upon me. for the sole purpose of assassinating me. The Holy Thern nodded his head. "Kulan Tith. For a moment Thurid ceased speaking. Listen to me as well as to them. Prince of Helium!" Kulan Tith looked toward Matai Shang as though for corroboration of these charges. From my forehead the hand of the sneaking thern had reached out through the concealing darkness of my bed-chamber and wiped away a patch of the disguising red pigment as broad as my palm. Jeddak of Kaol. the dramatic effect of his disclosure. Even the service that you rendered the arms of Kaol shall avail you naught. it was but a base subterfuge whereby you might win your way into my favor and reach the side of this holy man whose life you craved. Kulan Tith. stands John Carter. blasphemer! Kulan Tith need not permit the air of his audience chamber to be defiled by the heresies that issue from your polluted throat to judge you. "Even now he has followed me to the very heart of thy palace. I suspect. "You stand already self-condemned. The black grinned malevolently in my face." he taunted. To the pits with him!" he concluded. One glance at the reflection it gave back to me was sufficient. who has violated the persons of the Holy Therns themselves and turned a world against its age-old religion. Here was a pretty pass." "Silence!" roared the jeddak. 183 . He—" "He lies!" I cried. to enhance. indeed! What chance had I against a whole nation? What hope for me of mercy at the hands of the fanatical Kulan Tith with such advisers as Matai Shang and Thurid. "Here. Then he resumed. in your power. O Kulan Tith. It but remains to determine the manner of your death. "Silence. Beneath showed the tanned texture of my own white skin. Listen while I tell you why John Carter has followed Matai Shang to the heart of thy palace. "is he who has desecrated the temples of the Gods of Mars.

and ere the devilish smirk had faded from his handsome face I had caught him full upon the mouth with my clenched fist. Kulan Tith. old American blow landed. there beside him and to the death fights Thuvan Dihn. "If you value my friendship. for wherever or against whomsoever fights John Carter. Jeddak of Ptarth." he said slowly. to face a nation. The fighting blood of my Virginian sires coursed hot through my veins. on guard. too. with drawn long-sword. In an instant the guardsmen were upon me. threw himself between me and my adversaries." I could see that the Jeddak of Ptarth was of half a mind to throw his metal in Kulan Tith's face. but he controlled himself even as well as had his host. and as the good.The guards closed toward me. 184 . "Years ago. the black dator shot back a dozen feet. It was the visiting jeddak. I should prefer to remain silent until the Jeddak of Ptarth has won from me applause for his action by relating the causes which provoked it. to crumple in a heap at the foot of Kulan Tith's throne. should forget myself as has my royal friend. spitting blood and teeth from his hurt mouth. "None knows better than Thuvan Dihn. inspired by some unfathomable whim. and later you learned that. but before a blow had been struck a mighty voice rose above the din of shouting warriors. you were greatly taken with the charms and graces of my only daughter. Lest I. Nor to any man upon Barsoom does he owe a greater debt of gratitude than to John Carter. Then I drew my sword and swung round. call off your swordsmen." The shouting ceased and the menacing points were lowered as a thousand eyes turned first toward Thuvan Dihn in surprise and then toward Kulan Tith in question. but before he spoke he had mastered himself. "the laws which govern the acts of men in the domains of their neighbors. Prince of Helium. With a leap I was beside Thurid. "Hold!" he cried. Prince of Helium. but Thuvan Dihn owes allegiance to a higher law than these—the law of gratitude. You saw how I adored her." he continued. A red haze blurred my vision. The lust of battle in all its mad fury was upon me. and the age-old peace that has existed between our peoples. At first the Jeddak of Kaol went white in rage. "Thuvan Dihn. so that his tone was calm and even as befitted intercourse between two great jeddaks. Thuvia. "must have great provocation thus to desecrate the ancient customs which inspire the deportment of a guest within the palace of his host. "upon the occasion of your last visit to me. Kulan Tith." he said. and a giant figure leaped from the dais beside Kulan Tith and.

"More. but between you and Matai Shang my only office can be one of conciliation. I could see by the expression of his face that he was sore perplexed. "So I sent emissaries to Helium. too. and I prayed that my daughter Thuvia might have died before she ever committed the sacrilege of returning to the outer world. and his tone was friendly though sad. I heard. and to him who now rules those of the thern nation that have renounced their religion. few of whom dared to return to their own countries owing to the mandate of terrible death which rests against all who return from the Valley Dor. But then my father's love asserted itself. that I am willing to jeopardize my life. Kulan Tith. Faint rumors of the atrocities reported to have been committed by the therns upon those who for countless ages have floated down the mighty Iss came to my ears. The Prince of Helium shall be 185 . but were I faced by the same problem that has vexed you I doubt not that I should feel and act precisely as you have. and I was glad when I came here to find that Matai Shang was also your guest. "For a time I could not believe the heresies which I heard. and I vowed that I would prefer eternal damnation to further separation from her if she could be found. and to the court of Xodar. to champion the Prince of Helium?" For a moment Kulan Tith was silent. for I should have sought him out had it taken a lifetime. Then he spoke. long. "Some months ago I first heard of the expedition which John Carter had led against Issus and the Holy Therns. "who am I to judge my fellow-man? In my eyes the Father of Therns is still holy. "I heard that thousands of prisoners had been released. voluntary pilgrimage upon the cold bosom of the mysterious Iss. They told me how he fought for her and rescued her. and that of the chivalrous kindness that John Carter had accorded my daughter. "Many there were who had seen or known my daughter. "Thuvan Dihn.she had taken the last. and how he spurned escape from the savage Warhoons of the south. which I prize more than aught else. "Can you wonder. sending her to safety upon his own thoat and remaining upon foot to meet the green warriors. and from each and all I heard the same story of unspeakable cruelties and atrocities perpetrated upon the poor defenseless victims of their religion by the Holy Therns." he said. the peace of my nation. leaving me desolate. and the religion which he teaches the only true religion. "In so far as the Prince of Helium is concerned I may act. Jeddak of the First Born. and from therns who had been close to Matai Shang I learned of the indignities that he personally heaped upon her. or even your friendship.

for it is a lie." I would have had his life for that upon the spot." interrupted Matai Shang. "Knew you this thing. whispered in his ear by the Holy Thern or Dator Thurid? "I do not follow Matai Shang to kill him.escorted in safety to the boundary of my domain ere the sun has set again. "Now think you that I shall permit myself to be led beyond the walls of Kaol unless the mother of my son accompanies me. Thuvan Dihn?" The Jeddak of Ptarth nodded his assent. the black dator." I cried. breaking rudely in upon the beginnings of peace. Thuvan Dihn. Thuvia of Ptarth. but even as I sprang toward him Thuvan Dihn laid a heavy hand upon my shoulder. Kulan Tith?" he asked. Prince of Helium. Are you satisfied. but the ugly scowl that he bent upon Matai Shang harbored ill for that pasty-faced godling. I need not ask that the settlement of it be deferred until both have passed beyond the limits of my power. be satisfied when he has heard me through. like a decrepit thoat to the slaughter. and I do not intend to be led. white with what I am sure was more fear than rage. 186 . Do you know why I have followed Matai Shang and Thurid. from the goal that I have won by the prowess of my sword arm and the might of my muscles. where he shall be free to go whither he will. "Knew you that my daughter lay a prisoner in your palace?" "He could not know it. "Nor will Thuvan Dihn. for I had no stomach for peace at the price that had been named. I follow him. Princess of Helium. "He could not know it. but upon pain of death must he never again enter the land of Kaol. Rage flamed in his keen eyes. Jeddak of Ptarth. and thy daughter be restored?" Thuvan Dihn turned upon Kulan Tith. "I have escaped death in a dozen forms to follow Matai Shang and overtake him. though the God of mine own planet knows that my hands itch to be at his throat. but by the masterfulness of his self-control he kept his tones level as he spoke. from the forests of the Valley Dor across half a world through almost insurmountable difficulties? "Think you that John Carter. Dejah Thoris. "The Prince of Helium is far from satisfied. because with him are two prisoners—my wife. "If there be a quarrel between you and the Father of Therns. and your daughter. would stoop to assassination? Can Kulan Tith be such a fool as to believe that lie.

"and Matai Shang will give us assurance that no harm will come to the two women?" The thern assented with a nod." "None shall leave the palace tonight. that the recent disclosures of his true character had done much already to weaken the faith of Kulan Tith. A few moments later Kulan Tith indicated that the audience was at an end. and that no harm shall befall either Dejah Thoris or Thuvia of Ptarth between now and the moment they are brought into our presence in this chamber at daylight I shall not insist. I was about to object to any delay. and myself. and that it would require but little more to turn the powerful jeddak into an avowed enemy. "It is almost morning now. I found the father of Thuvia a man after my own heart." he said. Matai Shang was wise enough to seem to accept the mandate of his follower. "Phaidor. and demand that the Princess of Helium be brought to me forthwith." he said to me. "but if Kulan Tith will give me his assurance that none will be permitted to leave the palace this night."Wait." "Three women came with the Father of Therns. while he listened to the account of my experiences upon his planet and to all that had befallen his daughter during the time that we had been together. If these be Thuvia of Ptarth and Dejah Thoris of Helium I did not know it—I have seen neither. then shall they be returned to you on the morrow. and then to Kulan Tith." replied the Jeddak of Kaol." As he spoke he looked straight at Matai Shang. but as a ruler of men looks at one to whom he issues a command. the green Jeddak of Thark. "I should like to see my daughter at once. when Thuvan Dihn made such insistence seem unnecessary. Answer me. his daughter. "and I should dislike to break in upon the slumber of my daughter. not as a devotee should look at a high priest. It must have been plain to the Father of Therns." he said. This much have I learned of the Prince of Helium—he does not lie. 187 . and promised to bring the two slave women to the audience chamber on the morrow. as it was to me. but so strong are the seeds of superstition that even the great Kaolian still hesitated to cut the final strand that bound him to his ancient religion." and he emphasized the last word in an effort to affront me so subtlety that I could not take open offense. and that night saw the beginning of a friendship which has grown until it is second only to that which obtains between Tars Tarkas. or I would have them fetched at once that you might see that the Prince of Helium is mistaken. "It is not a lie. But if they be. where we sat until daylight. Kulan Tith—I have asked you a question." replied Kulan Tith. and at Thuvan Dihn's invitation I accompanied the Jeddak of Ptarth to his own apartments. and two who were reported to be her slaves.

so sure was I that all within the room must hear. for all Kaol is at your disposal. My heart pounded within my bosom until I looked about me in embarrassment. Halting before the throne he addressed his jeddak in a voice that was plainly audible to all within the chamber.The first burst of Mars's sudden dawn brought messengers from Kulan Tith. too late. It was he who broke the spell. for when he reached the apartments of the Father of Therns he found them empty. summoning us to the audience chamber where Thuvan Dihn was to receive his daughter after years of separation. "let us find those of your people who be responsible for the escape of Matai Shang and his followers. At last the messenger despatched to fetch Matai Shang returned. "your messenger returns alone." he cried. as were those occupied by his suite. "O Thuvan Dihn. My arms ached to enfold once more the divine form of her whose eternal youth and undying beauty were but outward manifestations of a perfect soul. "To wrest your daughter and the wife of this royal warrior from the clutches of these archfiends you have but to command the resources of a mighty nation. For a moment the silence of death reigned in the great audience chamber of Kulan Tith." Kulan Tith went white. Without assistance on the part of the palace guard this thing could not have come to pass. but too late. Jeddak of Kaol. "O Kulan Tith. 188 . and from them force an explanation of the manner of their going and the direction they have taken. Rising from his throne he stepped down from the dais to the side of Thuvan Dihn. I craned my neck to catch the first glimpse of those who should be following. Last night my life-long faith was weakened—this morning it has been shattered. but the messenger was alone. A low groan burst from the lips of Thuvan Dihn who stood next me. Mightiest of Jeddaks. and I was to be reunited with the glorious daughter of Helium after an almost unbroken separation of twelve years. Seek the guilty. Tears dimmed his eyes as he placed both his hands upon the shoulders of his friend. What may be done? Say the word!" "First. not having ascended the throne which awaited him beside his host." Before Kulan Tith could issue the commands that would initiate the investigation a handsome young officer stepped forward and addressed his jeddak. after the fashion of the court." I suggested." he cried. "that this should have happened in the palace of thy best friend! With my own hands would I have wrung the neck of Matai Shang had I guessed what was in his foul heart.

"Wait!" I exclaimed. "How left they. Last night it was I who commanded the palace guard. "I alone be responsible for this grievous error. and knew nothing of what transpired then. where no 'lying heretics' might seek him out. "Let the consequences and the punishment fall on me alone." "Where north could Matai Shang find an asylum?" asked Thuvan Dihn of Kulan Tith. mightiest of jeddaks. apparently deep in thought. "I have it!" he cried. Among them would he find a perpetual haven of refuge. 189 . "beyond the southern fringe of this great forest lies the wreck of the thern flier which brought me that far upon my way." I cried. Kulan Tith." replied Thuvan Dihn. For some time after they had departed I watched the vessel's lights. Mightiest of Jeddaks. Then a sudden light brightened his countenance. as though to ask our judgment upon the man. I can repair it in two days. "Only yesterday Matai Shang let drop a hint of his destination. mightier even than thou. "and what direction did they take?" "They left as they came." he said." asked Thuvan Dihn." "And in all Kaol there be no flier wherein to follow. which vanished finally due north."O Kulan Tith. so that when the Father of Therns summoned me and explained that it was your wish that his party be hastened from the city because of the presence here of a deadly enemy who sought the Holy Hekkador's life I did only what a lifetime of training has taught me was the proper thing to do—I obeyed him whom I believed to be the ruler of us all. and artificers to assist me. Those others of the palace guard who assisted in the flight did so under my instructions. but the error was so evidently excusable that neither of us had any mind to see the young officer suffer for a mistake that any might readily have made. They. It is there that Matai Shang has gone. had always been known to the Holy Therns and were devout and faithful followers of the ancient cult. for I alone am guilty. "upon their own flier. For some moments the Jeddak of Kaol stood with bowed head." Kulan Tith looked first at me and then at Thuvan Dihn. I was on duty in other parts of the palace during the audience of the early morning. telling me of a race of people unlike ourselves who dwell far to the north." replied the officer. If you will loan me men to fetch it. but the alacrity with which he embraced my suggestion. "Nor nearer than Ptarth. and the despatch with which a force of officers and men were placed at my disposal entirely removed the last vestige of my doubts. he said." I had been more than half suspicious of the seeming sincerity of the Kaolian jeddak's sudden apostasy.

I have spoken. ready to depart. As I stepped aboard her. Early in the second night we noticed the air becoming perceptibly colder. our destination compass led us after the fleeing flier upon which it had remained set since I first attuned it after leaving the thern fortress. What became of them none knew—only that they passed forever out of the sight of man into that grim and mysterious country of the pole." he said. but my flier could hold but one other than myself and Woola. for there only could I imagine a spot where Matai Shang might feel secure from John Carter.Two days later the flier rested upon the top of the watchtower. before I had run into a trap. Thuvan Dihn and Kulan Tith had offered me the entire resources of two nations— millions of fighting men were at my disposal. He turned to the highest of his own officers who had accompanied him to Kaol. day and night. "To you I entrust the return of my retinue to Ptarth. and so it was assumed that some frightful catastrophe awaited those who reached the "forbidden land. The Prince of Helium shall not go alone into the land of his enemies." as it had come to be called by the Martians of the outer world. I cast a look of questioning surprise upon him. The distance from the barrier to the pole was no more than a swift flier should cover in a few hours. My knowledge of the efforts that had been made by countless expeditions to explore that unknown land bade me to caution. and from the distance we had come from the equator were assured that we were rapidly approaching the north arctic region. Thuvan Dihn took his place beside me. if there really lay an inhabited country at the north pole. "There my son rules ably in my absence. Farewell!" THROUGH THE CARRION CAVES Straight toward the north. Prince of Helium. 190 . for it was my intention to move cautiously by day over the ice-pack that I might discover. Thus it was that I went more slowly as we approached the barrier. for never had flier returned who had passed to any considerable distance beyond the mighty ice-barrier that fringes the southern hem of the frigid zone.

for both moons had set. The flier reeled half over. and reversed our engine.We were flying at a snail's pace but a few feet above the ground—literally feeling our way along through the darkness. Fortunately none of us was injured. for I see no other way. Fierce. though I must admit that there was little enough for them to feed upon. and we plunged. carry it swiftly over the snow and ice. powerful neck. "Nor shall I admit that it is impassable before I have followed its entire circle and stand again upon this spot. to the ground twenty feet beneath. Suddenly a towering wall of white rose directly in our path." For five days of cold and suffering and privation we traversed the rough and frozen way which lies at the foot of the ice-barrier. the better. What fate! With the journey all but completed to be thus wrecked upon the wrong side of that precipitous and unscalable wall of rock and ice! I looked at Thuvan Dihn. headforemost. and the night was black with the clouds that are to be found only at Mars's two extremities. white-furred creature with six limbs. He but shook his head dejectedly. short and heavy. the patched buoyancy tanks burst. the engine stopped. we found that we were at the foot of a mighty ice-barrier. frigid miles that lie before us. and when we had disentangled ourselves from the wreckage. terminate in white. "How may we pass that which is impassable?" "First we must disprove its impassability. It is a huge. and it will take us more than a month to travel the weary. 191 . hairless hands. I was too late to avoid collision. defeated. with which it seizes and holds its prey. growing forward from its shoulders on either side of its long. Never for a moment were we safe from the sudden charge of some huge demon of the north. four of which. With a sickening crash we struck the high looming obstacle three-quarters on. while the other two. The sooner we start. fur-bearing creatures attacked us by daylight and by dark. With daylight my battered spirits regained something of their accustomed hopefulness. The balance of the night we spent shivering in our inadequate sleeping silks and furs upon the snow that lies at the foot of the ice-barrier. as one. from which outcropped great patches of the granite hills which hold it from encroaching farther toward the south. "What shall we do?" asked Thuvan Dihn. The apt was our most consistent and dangerous foe. and though I threw the helm hard over. and the lesser moon had burst again from below the horizon." I replied.

Its head and mouth are more similar in appearance to those of a hippopotamus than to any other earthly animal, except that from the sides of the lower jawbone two mighty horns curve slightly downward toward the front. Its two huge eyes inspired my greatest curiosity. They extend in two vast, oval patches from the center of the top of the cranium down either side of the head to below the roots of the horns, so that these weapons really grow out from the lower part of the eyes, which are composed of several thousand ocelli each. This eye structure seemed remarkable in a beast whose haunts were upon a glaring field of ice and snow, and though I found upon minute examination of several that we killed that each ocellus is furnished with its own lid, and that the animal can at will close as many of the facets of his huge eyes as he chooses, yet I was positive that nature had thus equipped him because much of his life was to be spent in dark, subterranean recesses. Shortly after this we came upon the hugest apt that we had seen. The creature stood fully eight feet at the shoulder, and was so sleek and clean and glossy that I could have sworn that he had but recently been groomed. He stood head-on eyeing us as we approached him, for we had found it a waste of time to attempt to escape the perpetual bestial rage which seems to possess these demon creatures, who rove the dismal north attacking every living thing that comes within the scope of their far-seeing eyes. Even when their bellies are full and they can eat no more, they kill purely for the pleasure which they derive from taking life, and so when this particular apt failed to charge us, and instead wheeled and trotted away as we neared him, I should have been greatly surprised had I not chanced to glimpse the sheen of a golden collar about its neck. Thuvan Dihn saw it, too, and it carried the same message of hope to us both. Only man could have placed that collar there, and as no race of Martians of which we knew aught ever had attempted to domesticate the ferocious apt, he must belong to a people of the north of whose very existence we were ignorant—possibly to the fabled yellow men of Barsoom; that once powerful race which was supposed to be extinct, though sometimes, by theorists, thought still to exist in the frozen north. Simultaneously we started upon the trail of the great beast. Woola was quickly made to understand our desires, so that it was unnecessary to attempt to keep in sight of the animal whose swift flight over the rough ground soon put him beyond our vision. For the better part of two hours the trail paralleled the barrier, and then suddenly turned toward it through the roughest and seemingly most impassable country I ever had beheld.

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Enormous granite boulders blocked the way on every hand; deep rifts in the ice threatened to engulf us at the least misstep; and from the north a slight breeze wafted to our nostrils an unspeakable stench that almost choked us. For another two hours we were occupied in traversing a few hundred yards to the foot of the barrier. Then, turning about the corner of a wall-like outcropping of granite, we came upon a smooth area of two or three acres before the base of the towering pile of ice and rock that had baffled us for days, and before us beheld the dark and cavernous mouth of a cave. From this repelling portal the horrid stench was emanating, and as Thuvan Dihn espied the place he halted with an exclamation of profound astonishment. "By all my ancestors!" he ejaculated. "That I should have lived to witness the reality of the fabled Carrion Caves! If these indeed be they, we have found a way beyond the ice-barrier. "The ancient chronicles of the first historians of Barsoom—so ancient that we have for ages considered them mythology—record the passing of the yellow men from the ravages of the green hordes that overran Barsoom as the drying up of the great oceans drove the dominant races from their strongholds. "They tell of the wanderings of the remnants of this once powerful race, harassed at every step, until at last they found a way through the ice-barrier of the north to a fertile valley at the pole. "At the opening to the subterranean passage that led to their haven of refuge a mighty battle was fought in which the yellow men were victorious, and within the caves that gave ingress to their new home they piled the bodies of the dead, both yellow and green, that the stench might warn away their enemies from further pursuit. "And ever since that long-gone day have the dead of this fabled land been carried to the Carrion Caves, that in death and decay they might serve their country and warn away invading enemies. Here, too, is brought, so the fable runs, all the waste stuff of the nation—everything that is subject to rot, and that can add to the foul stench that assails our nostrils. "And death lurks at every step among rotting dead, for here the fierce apts lair, adding to the putrid accumulation with the fragments of their own prey which they cannot devour. It is a horrid avenue to our goal, but it is the only one." "You are sure, then, that we have found the way to the land of the yellow men?" I cried.

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"As sure as may be," he replied; "having only ancient legend to support my belief. But see how closely, so far, each detail tallies with the world-old story of the hegira of the yellow race. Yes, I am sure that we have discovered the way to their ancient hiding place." "If it be true, and let us pray that such may be the case," I said, "then here may we solve the mystery of the disappearance of Tardos Mors, Jeddak of Helium, and Mors Kajak, his son, for no other spot upon Barsoom has remained unexplored by the many expeditions and the countless spies that have been searching for them for nearly two years. The last word that came from them was that they sought Carthoris, my own brave son, beyond the ice-barrier." As we talked we had been approaching the entrance to the cave, and as we crossed the threshold I ceased to wonder that the ancient green enemies of the yellow men had been halted by the horrors of that awful way. The bones of dead men lay man high upon the broad floor of the first cave, and over all was a putrid mush of decaying flesh, through which the apts had beaten a hideous trail toward the entrance to the second cave beyond. The roof of this first apartment was low, like all that we traversed subsequently, so that the foul odors were confined and condensed to such an extent that they seemed to possess tangible substance. One was almost tempted to draw his short-sword and hew his way through in search of pure air beyond. "Can man breathe this polluted air and live?" asked Thuvan Dihn, choking. "Not for long, I imagine," I replied; "so let us make haste. I will go first, and you bring up the rear, with Woola between. Come," and with the words I dashed forward, across the fetid mass of putrefaction. It was not until we had passed through seven caves of different sizes and varying but little in the power and quality of their stenches that we met with any physical opposition. Then, within the eighth cave, we came upon a lair of apts. A full score of the mighty beasts were disposed about the chamber. Some were sleeping, while others tore at the fresh-killed carcasses of new-brought prey, or fought among themselves in their love-making. Here in the dim light of their subterranean home the value of their great eyes was apparent, for these inner caves are shrouded in perpetual gloom that is but little less than utter darkness. To attempt to pass through the midst of that fierce herd seemed, even to me, the height of folly, and so I proposed to Thuvan Dihn that he return to the outer world with Woola, that the two might find their way to civilization and come again with a sufficient 194

force to overcome not only the apts, but any further obstacles that might lie between us and our goal. "In the meantime," I continued, "I may discover some means of winning my way alone to the land of the yellow men, but if I am unsuccessful one life only will have been sacrificed. Should we all go on and perish, there will be none to guide a succoring party to Dejah Thoris and your daughter." "I shall not return and leave you here alone, John Carter," replied Thuvan Dihn. "Whether you go on to victory or death, the Jeddak of Ptarth remains at your side. I have spoken." I knew from his tone that it were useless to attempt to argue the question, and so I compromised by sending Woola back with a hastily penned note enclosed in a small metal case and fastened about his neck. I commanded the faithful creature to seek Carthoris at Helium, and though half a world and countless dangers lay between I knew that if the thing could be done Woola would do it. Equipped as he was by nature with marvelous speed and endurance, and with frightful ferocity that made him a match for any single enemy of the way, his keen intelligence and wondrous instinct should easily furnish all else that was needed for the successful accomplishment of his mission. It was with evident reluctance that the great beast turned to leave me in compliance with my command, and ere he had gone I could not resist the inclination to throw my arms about his great neck in a parting hug. He rubbed his cheek against mine in a final caress, and a moment later was speeding through the Carrion Caves toward the outer world. In my note to Carthoris I had given explicit directions for locating the Carrion Caves, impressing upon him the necessity for making entrance to the country beyond through this avenue, and not to attempt under any circumstances to cross the ice-barrier with a fleet. I told him that what lay beyond the eighth cave I could not even guess; but I was sure that somewhere upon the other side of the ice-barrier his mother lay in the power of Matai Shang, and that possibly his grandfather and great-grandfather as well, if they lived. Further, I advised him to call upon Kulan Tith and the son of Thuvan Dihn for warriors and ships that the expedition might be sufficiently strong to insure success at the first blow. "And," I concluded, "if there be time bring Tars Tarkas with you, for if I live until you reach me I can think of few greater pleasures than to fight once more, shoulder to shoulder, with my old friend."

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When Woola had left us Thuvan Dihn and I, hiding in the seventh cave, discussed and discarded many plans for crossing the eighth chamber. From where we stood we saw that the fighting among the apts was growing less, and that many that had been feeding had ceased and lain down to sleep. Presently it became apparent that in a short time all the ferocious monsters might be peacefully slumbering, and thus a hazardous opportunity be presented to us to cross through their lair. One by one the remaining brutes stretched themselves upon the bubbling decomposition that covered the mass of bones upon the floor of their den, until but a single apt remained awake. This huge fellow roamed restlessly about, nosing among his companion and the abhorrent litter of the cave. Occasionally he would stop to peer intently toward first one of the exits from the chamber and then the other. His whole demeanor was as of one who acts as sentry. We were at last forced to the belief that he would not sleep while the other occupants of the lair slept, and so cast about in our minds for some scheme whereby we might trick him. Finally I suggested a plan to Thuvan Dihn, and as it seemed as good as any that we had discussed we decided to put it to the test. To this end Thuvan Dihn placed himself close against the cave's wall, beside the entrance to the eighth chamber, while I deliberately showed myself to the guardian apt as he looked toward our retreat. Then I sprang to the opposite side of the entrance, flattening my body close to the wall. Without a sound the great beast moved rapidly toward the seventh cave to see what manner of intruder had thus rashly penetrated so far within the precincts of his habitation. As he poked his head through the narrow aperture that connects the two caves a heavy long-sword was awaiting him upon either hand, and before he had an opportunity to emit even a single growl his severed head rolled at our feet. Quickly we glanced into the eighth chamber—not an apt had moved. Crawling over the carcass of the huge beast that blocked the doorway Thuvan Dihn and I cautiously entered the forbidding and dangerous den. Like snails we wound our silent and careful way among the huge, recumbent forms. The only sound above our breathing was the sucking noise of our feet as we lifted them from the ooze of decaying flesh through which we crept. Halfway across the chamber and one of the mighty beasts directly before me moved restlessly at the very instant that my foot was poised above his head, over which I must step.

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which stood huddled at the foot of another huge rock. undetected. The way was boulder-strewn. Beyond the last cave we emerged into a desolate country of snow and ice. as with the passing of a bad dream. balancing upon one foot. Once a month they sleep for a full day. the point hovering an inch above the thick fur beneath which beat the savage heart. 197 . Finally the apt relaxed. I planted my raised foot beyond the fierce head and an instant later had stepped over the beast. After a couple of hours we passed round a huge boulder to come to a steep declivity leading down into a valley. We withdrew behind an adjacent boulder to watch the actions of the little party. In my right hand was my keen short-sword. We were afterward to learn that but once a month is it possible to find all the apts of the Carrion Caves in a single chamber. Thuvan Dihn and I traversed the remaining nineteen caverns without adventure or mishap. so that we could see but a short distance ahead of us at any time. for I did not dare move a muscle. their backs toward us. The Carrion Caves consist of a series of twenty-seven connecting chambers. so that it would have been practically impossible for two men to have passed through the entire twentyseven chambers without encountering an apt in nearly every one of them. Thuvan Dihn followed directly after me.Breathlessly I waited. At other times they roam singly or in pairs in and out of the caves. but found a well-marked trail leading north. with skins the color of a ripe lemon. and present the appearance of having been eroded by running water in some far-gone age when a mighty river found its way to the south through this single breach in the barrier of rock and ice that hems the country of the pole. Directly before us we saw a half dozen men—fierce. as though even now that he saw them he found it scarce possible to believe that the very race we expected to find hidden in this remote and inaccessible land did really exist. and it was our good fortune to stumble by accident upon one of these occasions. black-bearded fellows. sighing. "The yellow men of Barsoom!" ejaculated Thuvan Dihn. as had been that south of the barrier. and another moment found us at the further door. and resumed the regular respiration of deep slumber.

but I was later to see the purpose of them and with what wondrous dexterity the yellow men manipulate them. As the lone warrior came opposite them the six rushed out upon him with fiendish yells that resembled nothing more closely than the savage war cry of the Apaches of the South-west. In addition to the weapons I have enumerated each man carried a dagger in his harness. With their sharp hooks the combatants attempted to take hold of an adversary. and somewhere between that of my long-sword and my short-sword. One of the swords which each of the warriors carried caught my immediate attention. The yellow men were armed with two swords. 198 .One of them was peering round the edge of the granite mass as though watching one who approached from the opposite side. They seemed puny and futile implements of safety against an even ordinary swordsman. the straight sword in the right. Once the lone warrior caught an antagonist in the side with his hook. and a short javelin was slung across the back of each. I call it a sword. and. but like lightning the cupshaped shield would spring before the darting weapon and into its hollow the hook would plunge. the concave sides of which turned outward toward an antagonist. The other sword was of about the same length as the hooked instrument. It was straight and twoedged. while from their left arms hung cuplike shields no larger than a dinner plate. and drawing him close ran his sword through him. As the white-furred one approached. the six grasped their swords more firmly—the hooked instrument in the left hand. but really it was a sharp-edged blade with a complete hook at the far end. while he who approached alone was resplendent in the pure white skin of an apt. But the odds were too unequal. though he who fought alone was by far the best and bravest of them all. Instantly the attacked drew both his swords. and as the six fell upon him I witnessed as pretty fighting as one might care to see. All were clothed in magnificent furs—the six in the black and yellow striped hide of the orluk. while above the left wrist the small shield was held rigid upon a metal bracelet. I saw that it was but a question of time before the remaining five would find an opening through his marvelous guard and bring him down. Presently the object of his scrutiny came within the range of my vision and I saw that it was another yellow man.

for they know that often I come alone to hunt and kill the sacred apt which 199 . Ruler of Okar. held it out. the three of us soon despatched the five black-bearded warriors who opposed us." said the yellow man. and when I said I was from Helium he raised his brows." and reaching beneath one of his wide sleeves he withdrew a bracelet and placed it upon my arm. "But little more than that they were captured by my uncle. which I had immediately done. for I love a good fight too well to need any other reason for joining in when one is afoot. "this token of my gratitude. and though I knew nothing of the cause of the trouble I could not stand idly by and see a brave man butchered by superior numbers. though we found the hooked weapon a strange and savage thing with which to deal." he said.Now my sympathies have ever been with the weaker side of an argument. As a matter of fact I presume I gave little attention to seeking an excuse. When the battle was over our new acquaintance turned to me. Jeddak of Jeddaks. "you seek your ruler and his company?" "Know you of them?" I asked. and from what land we hailed. but judged that it was but a form of expressing his gratitude to me. was what was expected of me. So it was that before Thuvan Dihn knew what I was about he saw me standing by the side of the white-clad yellow man. Next he asked our names. land of the yellow men of Barsoom. He then went through the same ceremony with Thuvan Dihn. "Ah. Prince of Marentina. WITH THE YELLOW MEN Thuvan Dihn was not long in joining me. He seemed quite familiar with the geography of the outerworld. Salensus Oll. battling like mad with his five adversaries. and removing the shield from his wrist. As to their fate I know nothing. I afterward learned that it symbolized the offering of a man's life in return for some great favor done him. and. "These from whom you have just saved me are warriors he has sent out to find and slay me. and my act of refusing. I did not know the significance of his act. "Then accept from Talu. for I am at war with my uncle. who would crush my power in the principality of Marentina.

"for a great change must be wrought in your appearance before you can hope to enter any city in Okar. How may I aid you? My palace is at your disposal. "But now you can assist us most by directing us to the court of Salensus Oll. and were it not for the great fear they have of him I could raise an army overnight that would wipe out the few that might remain loyal to him. whose every street and plaza and open space was roofed with glass. crystal covering that enveloped the whole city. Their cities were veritable hothouses.Salensus Oll so much reveres. the first view of which I had from a slight elevation a half-mile from the city." I replied." he said. if you wish to honor me by coming to Marentina. Nestled in a deep valley lay a city of Martian concrete. and when I had come within this one my respect and admiration for the scientific and engineering skill of this buried nation was unbounded. "He is a cruel and tyrannous master whom all hate. the capital city of Okar. "Nor can he force us. It is partly because I hate his religion that Salensus Oll hates me. for a dozen men may hold the narrow way to Marentina against a million. In my palace is one who can make you appear as truly yellow men as does Salensus Oll himself. for his little. Then I saw how these people combated the rigors of the arctic. domelike." Talu gazed ruefully at our smooth faces and at Thuvan Dihn's red skin and my white one. "First you must come to Marentina. and your apparel and trappings must be those least likely to arouse suspicion. and as there was apparently no other way to insure a successful entry to Kadabra. but mostly does he fear my growing power and the great faction which has arisen throughout Okar that would be glad to see me ruler of Okar and Jeddak of Jeddaks in his place. as to thine own affairs. and the little valley of Marentina has paid no tribute to the court of Salensus Oll for a year. or whatever other place we find our friends to be confined. My own people are faithful to me. All about lay snow and ice. and suggesting some means by which we may gain admission to the city and the palace. but there was none upon the rounded." "When our work is done we shall be glad to accept your invitation. But now. but at last we reached our destination. 200 . Prince of Marentina. and I do not wonder that in this land where there are neither thoats nor fliers that Marentina is in little fear of invasion." His counsel seemed wise. rock-bound country. The way was over some of the worst traveling I have ever seen. You must have yellow faces and black beards. and lived in luxury and comfort in the midst of a land of perpetual ice. we set out with Talu.

as did we. and aid in driving the machine. They move with absolute noiselessness between borders of crimson sward and beneath arching trees gorgeous with the wondrous blooms that mark so many of the highly cultivated varieties of Barsoomian vegetation. and when confined gives to the Martian craft their airy buoyancy. Our skins were of the same lemon color as his own. mossy avenues of Marentina. should the great central plant again cease functioning as it did upon that memorable occasion that gave me the opportunity of restoring life and happiness to the strange world that I had already learned to love so well. He showed us the heating system that stores the sun's rays in great reservoirs beneath the city. Except for his leathern harness. The broad tires of these unique fliers are but rubber-like gas bags filled with the eighth Barsoomian ray. and during that time he showered upon us every attention and courtesy within his power. He showed us all that was of interest in his great city. he was naked. along the soft. It is this ray which propels the inherent or reflected light of the planet off into space.The moment we entered the city Talu threw off his outer garments of fur. I know of no more delightful sensation than that of riding in one of these luxuriously appointed cars which skim. The trappings of warriors of Okar aided in the 201 . black beards and mustaches had been deftly affixed to our smooth faces. The Marentina atmosphere plant will maintain life indefinitely in the cities of the north pole after all life upon the balance of dying Mars is extinct through the failure of the air supply. covered thick with jewels and metal. or ray of propulsion—that remarkable discovery of the Martians that has made possible the great fleets of mighty airships that render the red man of the outer world supreme. For three days we remained the guests of Prince Talu. Broad avenues of sod sewn with the seed of the ocher vegetation of the dead sea bottoms carried the noiseless traffic of light and airy ground fliers that are the only form of artificial transportation used north of the gigantic ice-barrier. and I saw that his apparel differed but little from that of the red races of Barsoom. light and airy as feathers. and though the hind wheels are geared to the engine. nor could one have comfortably worn apparel in that warm and humid atmosphere. the bulk of this work is carried by a small propeller at the stern. and great. By the end of the third day the court barber—I can think of no other earthly appellation by which to describe him—had wrought so remarkable a transformation in both Thuvan Dihn and myself that our own wives would never have known us. The ground fliers of Marentina contain just sufficient buoyancy in their automobilelike wheels to give the cars traction for steering purposes. and how little is necessary to maintain the perpetual summer heat of the glorious garden spot within this arctic paradise.

and. the capital city of the Okar nation. These three are worn by nobles high in my confidence. "which is in my possession. John Carter. and should death threaten you swallow the ring rather than let it fall into the hands of enemies. we deferred attempting to enter the city until the following morning. It lies in a low depression near the pole. On parting he slipped upon my finger a curiously wrought ring set with a deadblack. As he had said. "Should another wearer of one of these gems call upon you for aid do not deny him. lusterless stone. Talu gave us careful directions for the journey to Kadabra. By it you will know that a friend is at hand upon whom you may depend for assistance in time of need. promising to aid us in any way that he found possible. and then. and it 202 . pricking sensation in the finger upon which you wear this ring. which appeared more like a bit of bituminous coal than the priceless Barsoomian gem which in reality it is.and yellow-striped orluk. From the pass through which we entered the valley we had a splendid view of this great city of the north. Jeddak of Jeddaks. He who wears one of its mates will experience the same feeling.deception. but even at the distance from which we looked upon the massive pile we could see that all were closed. bade us adieu. and we set our faces in the direction of the city of Kadabra and the court of Salensus Oll. which is the racial name of the yellow men. surrounded by rocky. all of whom have been sent on secret missions to the court of Salensus Oll. in accordance with Talu's suggestion. it is caused by an electrical action that takes place the moment two of these gems cut from the same mother stone come within the radius of each other's power. That very evening we came within sight of the walled and glass-roofed city of Kadabra. snow-clad hills. "There had been but three others cut from the mother stone. and for wear beyond the hothouse cities we each had suits of the black. Its crystal domes sparkled in the brilliant sunlight gleaming above the frost-covered outer wall that circles the entire one hundred miles of its circumference. This good friend even accompanied us part way. we found numerous caves in the hillsides about us. "Should you come within fifty feet of any of these three you will feel a rapid. Guard it with your life. for some day it may mean more than life to you. and into one of these we crept for the night. Our warm orluk skins kept us perfectly comfortable." he said. At regular intervals great gates give entrance to the city." With this parting admonition our good friend turned back toward Marentina.

the day was a failure. Following closely each detail of the instructions given us by our good friend of Marentina. "Kaor!" I cried as I came closer to them. "Only yesterday we arrived. After giving them time to get well out of sight of our cave. "Kaor!" responded the officer in charge of the party. which is a sport we do not find in our own neighborhood. approached Kadabra at a point several miles from that at which the party had quitted it in the morning. 203 . as it seemed that they had made great boasts to the captain of that gate about their skill at this dangerous sport. but this proved more than fortunate for us.was only after a most refreshing sleep that we awoke shortly after daylight on the following morning. and so were relieved of the danger of embarrassing questions and explanations on the part of the gate captain. black shaft that reared its head several hundred feet into the air from what appeared to be a tangled mass of junk or wreckage. When we had come almost to them I called aloud to their leader." I continued. We have hastened after you to pray that you allow us to accompany you. and from several of the gates we saw parties of yellow men emerging. We. therefore. We had come quite close to the city when my attention was attracted toward a tall. now partially snow-covered. since the yellow men were so chagrined by their misfortune that they would not enter the city by the same gate by which they had left it in the morning. In so far as the hunt was concerned." The officer was entirely deceived. for we did not see a single orluk. Thuvan Dihn and I crept out and followed them. and graciously permitted us to go with them for the day. and this morning the captain of the gate told us that you were setting out to hunt orluks. which has little or no intercourse with Kadabra. overtaking them when they were well into the hills. Already the city was astir. whom we had said had directed us to this particular hunting party. The chance guess that they were bound upon an orluk hunt proved correct. The crucial test had come. since that way leads directly to the vast plains frequented by this elephantine beast of prey. when the whole party halted and turned toward us. giving the name of the most remote city of Okar. and Talu had said that the chances were ten to one that such would be the mission of any party leaving Kadabra by the pass through which we entered the valley. Could we but deceive these men the rest would be comparatively easy. "We be from Illall. we remained concealed for several hours until one party of some half dozen warriors had passed along the trail below our hiding place and entered the hills by way of the pass along which we had come the previous evening.

and when she had come close enough I was surprised to see that her propellers were idle. but before we reached the city gate I was to learn the purpose of that grim shaft and the meaning of the mighty accumulation beneath it. Then I turned my eyes once more toward the flier. a fleet of which is part of the equipment of every Martian war vessel. Straight for that grim shaft she bore. rushed on at frightful speed toward the same now seemingly inevitable end that menaced the larger vessel. but what stupid beasts they are to continue to come to a region from whence none of them ever has returned. my eyes descried the hull of a large flier approaching rapidly from above the crest of the encircling hills. as I was presently to learn. too. manning the guns and preparing to launch the small.I did not dare venture an inquiry for fear of arousing suspicion by evident ignorance of something which as a yellow man I should have known. irresistible power. and then I saw the familiar signal flown that sends the lesser boats in a great flock from the deck of the mother ship. half to himself. She was moving rapidly toward the city. "for then what should we do for slaves and sport?" "True. for we may be needed. 204 . "we may remain. as though there were no need for haste—nor was there. "Still other fools who would solve the mysteries of the forbidden north. Following the direction he indicated." said the officer. Instantly a hundred tiny fliers rose from her deck. They moved leisurely. "The watch has seen him. Closer and closer to the black shaft the ship sped. and they. Intense excitement prevailed upon her deck." "Let us tarry and watch the end of this one." suggested one of the men. "Will they never cease their fatal curiosity?" "Let us hope not. but scarcely were they clear of the battleship than the nose of each turned toward the shaft. At the last minute I saw the great blades move to reverse her. We had come almost to the gate when one of the party called to his fellows. yet on she came as though drawn by some mighty. one-man fliers." answered one of the warriors. like a swarm of huge dragon flies. The officer looked toward the city. at the same time pointing toward the distant southern horizon. where men were running hither and thither. In another instant she must strike." he said." I looked toward the city and saw several hundred warriors issuing from the nearest gate.

and that their fall was not as rapid as might have been expected. A few of the uninjured red men battled bravely against their cruel foes. The shaft was a mighty magnet. was an explanation of the long absence of Tardos Mors and Mors Kajak. who held them with strong chains of the same metal as their collars. for each of them had come in violent collision with the solid shaft. and with it an explanation of the cause that prevented a flier that passed too far across the ice-barrier ever returning. black shaft I did not need to ask to know their mission.A moment later the collision came. I am a fighting man. Just beyond the gate the attendants loosened the whole terrible herd. yellow warriors swarmed over the mass of wreckage upon which they lay. I noticed that the wrecked fliers scraped down the shaft's side. bent and crumpled. not a scientist. Dejah Thoris. long plunge to the scrap-heap at the shaft's base. and then suddenly the secret of the shaft burst upon me. When the last of the prisoners had been confined. and as they bounded off toward the grim. each of which marched between two warriors. no power on earth could prevent such an end as we had just witnessed. I afterward learned that the shaft rests directly over the magnetic pole of Mars. whose long absence had bowed in grief the head of his beautiful mother. Had there not been those within the cruel city of Kadabra who needed succor far worse than the poor unfortunate dead and dying out there in the cold upon the bent and broken 205 . but whether this adds in any way to its incalculable power of attraction I do not know. Princess of Helium. but for the most part they seemed too overwhelmed by the horror of the catastrophe that had befallen them to do more than submit supinely to the golden chains with which they were manacled. took the last. With her fell a shower of her own tiny fliers. These valiant and intrepid warriors had dared the mysteries and dangers of the frozen north to search for Carthoris. at last. gold-collared apts. making prisoners of those who were uninjured and occasionally despatching with a sword-thrust one of the wounded who seemed prone to resent their taunts and insults. the party returned to the city. while she. at the gate of which we met a pack of fierce. and when once a vessel came within the radius of its powerful attraction for the aluminum steel that enters so largely into the construction of all Barsoomian craft. Here. Men were hurled in every direction from the ship's deck. The moment that the last of the fliers came to rest at the base of the shaft the blackbearded.

we had no difficulty in eluding our friends of the morning. Usually on a second or third floor there is a large sleeping-room for single women guests. raised platforms for the guest's sleeping silks and furs.carcasses of a thousand fliers I could not have restrained my desire to hasten back and do battle with those horrid creatures that had been despatched to rend and devour them. who pace back and forth through the sleeping-rooms day and night. and give thanks for the chance that had given Thuvan Dihn and me such easy ingress to the capital of Salensus Oll. As assassination is the one thing to be feared. ready to notify the warriors should their presence be required. No one will disturb or molest his belongings. fresh ones are furnished at a nominal charge. the floor of which is usually of white marble or heavy glass. but its appointments do not vary materially from the chamber occupied by men. Once a man's belongings have been deposited upon one of these platforms he is a guest of the house. kept scrupulously clean. The man whose post was past my sleeping platform had been commander of the navy of a great Martian nation. and presently found ourselves in a Martian hostelry. Here are many small. The number of guards and gorgeousness of their trappings quite usually denote the status of the hotel. vary but little. but fate had carried 206 . the proprietors of the hostelries furnish armed guards. while female slaves pace back and forth among the sleepers within. Baths are connected with the sleeping chambers. but generally a public eating place adjoins them. IN DURANCE The public houses of Barsoom. I have found. with bowed head. There is no privacy for other than married couples. and if he have none of his own clean. I was surprised to note that all the guards with the hotel at which we stopped were red men. as there are no thieves upon Mars. As it was I could but follow the yellow warriors. The guards who watch the women remain in the corridor outside the sleeping chamber. Men without their wives are escorted to a large chamber. and that platform his own until he leaves. and on inquiring of one of them I learned that they were slaves purchased by the proprietors of the hotels from the government. Once within the gates. No meals are served in these houses. and each guest is required to bathe daily or depart from the hotel.

Thuvan Dihn and I discussed our plans as we sat together among our sleeping silks and furs that night in the midst of the hundreds of yellow men who occupied the apartment with us. and late in the afternoon at the hour Talu told us we would find government officials in their offices. 207 . but he hastened to explain that he knew little of what took place within the palace. At last. we stopped before a magnificent building on the plaza opposite the royal grounds and the palace.his flagship across the ice-barrier within the radius of power of the magnetic shaft. and I did not see how this poor fellow could serve me yet. Neither had he heard any rumor of the coming of the Father of Therns and the black dator of the First Born. determining that all must be but idle speculation until after we had had a chance to explore the city and attempt to put into execution the plan Talu had suggested. but when I asked him if he had heard of the fate of Mors Kajak or Tardos Mors he shook his head. and that I should be so ignorant of customs and conditions among my own race. I had forgotten my disguise upon discovering a red man pacing before my sleeping platform. though I had it in my mind that later I might be the means of serving him and all the other thousands of prisoners who do the bidding of their stern masters in Kadabra. In fact. that two warriors from Illall wish to take service in the palace guard. we were well supplied with the funds current in Okar we purchased a handsome ground flier. saying that he never had heard of their being prisoners here. but. After breakfasting the following morning we set out to see Kadabra. but his growing expression of surprise warned me in time. and even jeddaks of the outer world. Having learned to drive them while in Marentina. as that is only what courtesy demands in a public sleeping place. we roused no suspicion. and as. through the generosity of the prince of Marentina. we bade each other good night and turned to sleep. "Tell Sorav. to be met by a red slave within who asked our wishes. though he was very familiar with the reputations and fame they bore in the outer world. for I had no mind to reveal my identity to any unless some good could come of it." I said. I could see that he wondered not a little that a yellow man should be so inquisitive about certain red prisoners from beyond the ice-barrier. We spoke in low whispers. your master. and now for many tedious years he had been a slave of the yellow men. Here we walked boldly in past the armed guard at the door. He told me that princes. jeds. we spent a delightful and profitable day exploring the city. were among the menials who served the yellow race.

These we found located upon the second floor of the palace in a semidetached tower at the rear of the edifice. Talu had told us. and here they were securely locked against the danger of attack by members of the guard. This individual again questioned us briefly. and finally despatched a soldier to guide us to our quarters.Sorav. Salensus Oll had. where we were courteously greeted by this ferocious-appearing. After a wait of several minutes in an ante-chamber we were summoned into the private office of Sorav. he was sure that we would be welcomed and few questions asked us. and then escort us to the quarters in the palace which are set aside for aspirants to membership in the palace guard. he put certain questions to us that Talu had foreseen and prepared us for. five copies being instantly reproduced in five different offices of the government. set apart these quarters for aspirants. The little experience we had had with the strange hooked sword of the yellow man and his cuplike shield made it seem rather unlikely that either of us could pass this final test. The interview could not have lasted over ten minutes when Sorav summoned an aid whom he instructed to record us properly. When we asked our guide why we were quartered so far from the guardroom he replied that the custom of the older members of the guard of picking quarrels with aspirants to try their metal had resulted in so many deaths that it was found difficult to maintain the guard at its full strength while this custom prevailed. but there was the chance that we might be quartered in the palace of Salensus Oll for several days after being accepted by Sorav before the Jeddak of Jeddaks would find time to put us to the final test. was the commander of the forces of the palace. He asked us our names and stations in our own city. black-bearded officer. He had primed us with such general information as he thought would be necessary for us to pass muster before Sorav. after which we would have to undergo a further examination before Salensus Oll that he might determine our physical fitness and our ability as warriors. there turning us over to the officer in charge. two of which are located in other cities miles distant. Then he led us through the palace grounds to the main guardroom of the palace. This unwelcome information put a sudden check to all our well-laid plans. The aid took us to his own office first. 208 . for it meant that we should virtually be prisoners in the palace of Salensus Oll until the time that he should see fit to give us the final examination for efficiency. and having received replies that were evidently satisfactory to him. and as men from the further cities of Okar—and especially Illall—were less likely to be tainted with the germ of intrigue which had for years infected the household of Salensus Oll. where he measured and weighed and photographed us simultaneously with a machine ingeniously devised for that purpose. therefore.

for this time the steel of a woman's look had entered my heart. Only ten feet of space and a few metal bars separated me from them. but an instant later his exclamation of surprise betokened that he. Ever heard you of such mad work.As it was this interval upon which we had banked to accomplish so much in our search for Dejah Thoris and Thuvia of Ptarth. To my astonishment and horror her head went high. As my eyes followed the direction indicated I saw two women pacing back and forth in an enclosed garden. With a wry face I turned to Thuvan Dihn." he cried to me. Could it be that my incomparable princess still clung to the hideous faith from which I had rescued her world? Could it be that she 209 . had turned against her father seemed incredible. With a cry I attracted their attention. too. In an instant I was by his side. for even though she spurned me I loved her. "Look!" said Thuvan Dihn. but when she saw me looking she again turned away. but never in all my long life have I suffered such anguish from a wound. had been repulsed by his own daughter. the length of a world. My companion but shook his head disconsolately and walked to one of the windows upon the far side of the apartment. "They have put their hands over their ears and walked to the farther end of the garden. I was at my wit's end to account for her strange actions. I heard Thuvan Dihn call aloud to Thuvia. and as a look of utter contempt touched her finely chiseled features she turned her back full upon me. With a groan I turned away and buried my face in my arms. Scarcely had he gazed beyond them than he called to me in a tone of suppressed excitement and surprise. At the same moment I recognized them—they were Dejah Thoris and Thuvia of Ptarth! There were they whom I had trailed from one pole to another. and that Thuvia. John Carter? The two must be bewitched. too. and could not keep my eyes from feasting upon her divine face and figure. our chagrin was unbounded when we heard the great lock click behind our guide as he had quitted us after ushering us into the chambers we were to occupy. and as Dejah Thoris looked up full into my eyes I made the sign of love that the men of Barsoom make to their women. pointing toward the courtyard below. My body is covered with the scars of a thousand conflicts." Presently I mustered the courage to return to the window. "They will not even listen.

"John Carter." replied Dejah Thoris. Would you not choose me rather than the other?" "I would choose neither. "I would save you from Matai Shang. and at the same instant I. for though he was evidently laboring under the stress of passion and excitement. As he did so he turned and slipped something into the hand of the yellow guardsman beyond the gate. gripping her tender throat in his brute clutch. As I gazed ruefully at the back of her haughty. and I saw that he was none other than Thurid." she said." Then I saw the black scoundrel go upon his knees beside her. "You know the fate that awaits you at his hands.looked upon me with loathing and contempt because I had returned from the Valley Dor. "The granddaughter of Tardos Mors can always die. Then he turned in the direction of the two women. it should be a plant man or a great white ape in preference to either Matai Shang or you. is dead. There was a nasty leer upon his face as he stepped close to her and spoke again." I heard him say. yet it seemed far from possible that such could be the case. but her answer came clearly. for the love of Dejah Thoris for John Carter had been a great and wondrous love—far above racial distinctions. "but she could never live at the price you name. and as they turned at the sound of his voice I saw Dejah Thoris shrink from him. royal head a gate at the opposite end of the garden opened and a man entered. Prince of Helium. Only part of what he said came to me. 210 . too. and I must needs choose another mate. fairly groveling in the dirt. creed. "even were I free to choose." "You ARE free!" he cried. pleading with her. the black dator of the First Born. went mad. as you know well I am not. it was equally apparent that he did not dare raise his voice for fear of detection. nor was the distance too great that I might not see that money had passed between them. but even were he dead. or because I had desecrated the temples and persons of the Holy Therns? To naught else could I ascribe her strange deportment. Thuvia screamed and sprang to aid her fellow-prisoner." "I know better than that. I could not hear his words." she answered with a sneer of contempt. as with a vile oath he leaped at the slender woman. Of a sudden the vicious beast lost all control of himself. or religion. Instantly I knew that this newcomer had bribed his way within the garden. He approached quite close to them before he spoke. black calot.

At his right stood Matai Shang. and with a single great bound I was upon him. Foaming with rage. but a hundred feet from where the black was choking the life from my Dejah Thoris. and he crumpled to the ground at my feet. I spoke no word as I tore his defiling fingers from that beautiful throat. but his question recalled me to myself. Then I heard a voice behind me. his knees gave beneath him." he shrieked. and as he lunged past me I planted a terrific right upon the side of his jaw. but ere I am done with you. and precisely as I had done that day in the courtyard of the Temple of Issus I did here in the garden of the palace of Salensus Oll. Prince of Helium. Just as he had done upon that other occasion he did now. O Jeddak. I ducked beneath his outstretched arms. It was the deep voice of authority that marks the ruler of men." Then he was upon me." he cried. "and from yonder window in the tower where I was confined awaiting the final test for fitness I saw this brute attack the—this woman. How came you here?" But for his last words I should have forgotten my disguise entirely and told him outright that I was John Carter. and when I turned to face the resplendent figure of a giant yellow man I did not need to ask to know that it was Salensus Oll. and both had corroborated my statements it began to look pretty dark for Thurid. and behind them a score of guardsmen. reaching for my throat. and yet feel that I was fit to serve and guard your royal person. Thurid regained his feet and charged me like a mad bull. "Yellow man. "you knew not upon whom you had laid your vile hands. nor did I utter a sound as I hurled him twenty feet from me. Hurling myself through the aperture I reached the garden. you will know well what it means to offend the person of a First Born. "I am an aspirant to membership in the palace guard. "Who are you. I pointed to the dislodged bars of the window above." I said. and see this thing done within the very palace grounds. Like a top he spun round. "and what means this intrusion within the precincts of the women's garden? I do not recall your face. I saw the ugly gleam in Matai Shang's evil eyes as Dejah Thoris narrated all that had passed between Thurid and herself." I had evidently made an impression upon the ruler of Okar by my fair words.and tearing at the bars that spanned my window I ripped them from their sockets as they had been but copper wire. I could not stand idly by. and when she came to that part which dealt with my 211 . and when he had turned to Dejah Thoris and Thuvia of Ptarth.

and then Thurid stepped quite close to him and whispered something in his ear—what. and when I entered.interference with the dator of the First Born her gratitude was quite apparent. "the man and the women do not speak the truth." he said. I know not." Salensus Oll looked puzzled. Dator of the First Born. Thurid. "O Mightiest of Jeddaks. when Salensus Oll's words and the expression of his face cut him short. Salensus Oll. "What know you of this man? He is a stranger to you. and I knew from the expression of his face that his next words were not the ones he had intended to speak. the woman screamed and the man sprang upon me and would have killed me. and I dare say that you will find him an enemy and a spy. Let him be put on trial. As the examination proceeded I cast a glance at Thurid and startled him looking wide-eyed and wonderingly at me." he commanded. was pointing an accusing finger at me. "See that this man be securely confined until we have time to go deeper into this affair. but that she should have denied me while she and Thuvia were the only occupants of the garden still cut me sorely. The fellow had come into the garden to assist them to escape. A cunning look crept into his eyes. "What have you to say in explanation of these charges?" he asked in a deep and terrible voice. with a malicious grin upon his face. Thurid had been about to reply and. Presently the yellow ruler turned to one of his officers. rather than your friend and guest. "Dare you aspire to one whom the Father of Therns has chosen—one who might even be a fit mate for the Jeddak of Jeddaks himself?" And then the black-bearded tyrant turned and cast a sudden greedy look upon Dejah Thoris. He turned again and looked upon Dejah Thoris. though I could see by her eyes that something puzzled her strangely. I did not wonder at her attitude toward me while others were present. and then of a sudden he laughed full in my face." 212 . I was beyond and overheard their conversation. as though with the words a new thought and a new desire had sprung up within his mind and breast. A moment later Salensus Oll turned toward the black. let chains be added. "and as bars alone seem inadequate to restrain him.

and as they reached the gateway the black turned and laughed again aloud in my face. that he might be alone with Thuvia. and among them I saw Thurid. Her position beside the Jeddak of Jeddaks boded ill for her and me. taking Dejah Thoris with him—his hand upon her shoulder. and yet with all my heart I hoped that it might be true. ruler of Okar. and on the instant that I saw her there. fettered with chains of gold. except 213 . too. apparently unnoticed. I often wondered as to the fate of Thuvan Dihn. Could it be possible that they had escaped? I doubted it. As the guards dragged me away my heart was very sad and bitter indeed. leaving Thuvia of Ptarth behind. Jeddak of Ptarth. During the short time that I lay there. Thurid and Matai Shang went also. and when Salensus Oll had left with Dejah Thoris and the others. My brave companion had followed me into the garden as I attacked Thurid. That it would mean almost instant death for me I cared not. THE PIT OF PLENTY I did not languish long within the prison of Salensus Oll.Then he turned and left the garden. and now I swore to myself that I should kill him if I found that the only way to save the Princess of Helium. had remained in the garden with his daughter. The third day of my incarceration brought a dozen warriors to escort me to the audience chamber. A great number of nobles crowded the room. and killed them with my bare hands. sat upon a small throne beside Salensus Oll. The expression of sad hopelessness upon her dear face cut deep into my heart. he. where Salensus Oll himself was to try me. The last I had seen of him he stood waiting for the warriors who escorted me to close the gate behind them. Dejah Thoris. for now to the two relentless enemies that had hounded her for so long another and a more powerful one had been added. as radiantly beautiful as ever. there sprang to my mind the firm intention never to leave that chamber alive if I must leave her in the clutches of this powerful tyrant. What could be the meaning of his sudden change toward me? Could he suspect my true identity? It must be that. I had killed better men than Salensus Oll. but Matai Shang was not there. for he was appareled similarly to the guards. and the thing that had betrayed me was the trick and blow that had laid him low for the second time. for I would have been but a fool had I not recognized the sudden love for Dejah Thoris that had just been born in the terrible breast of Salensus Oll. Jeddak of Jeddaks.

I know it to be true. unsheathe your swords and do homage to Dejah Thoris. Salensus Oll. and for this reason alone I would have chosen another way. "for already I be a wife and mother. "you have made a strange request of me. for at the end of the allotted ten days she shall become the wife of Salensus Oll. raising her hand aloft. "You tell me that a certain announcement will be the means of convicting this prisoner and." he said. but." Thurid nodded. "Then shall I make the announcement here before all my nobles. would you not feel that I had more than satisfied the promise that I made you?" answered Thurid. What mean you. "For a year no queen has sat upon the throne beside me. "Dator Thurid. John Carter. that I might learn all that I could of the Okarian ruler's intentions. "Nobles of Okar. A jeddak does not wed a married woman. in accordance with the ancient custom of Okar when a jeddak announces his intention to wed. 214 ." Salensus Oll turned upon Thurid with an ugly look. I determined to wait the final outcome of the trial. for even though I should kill Salensus Oll that act would not restore my beloved wife to her own people. at the court of Kulan Tith. I have decided to accede. A statement which none may truthfully deny. Scarcely had I come before him than Salensus Oll summoned Thurid also. and now it suits me to take to wife one who is reputed the most beautiful woman upon Barsoom. Dejah Thoris sprang to her feet and. nor will Salensus Oll thus violate the bonds of matrimony. "Is this the surprise you held in store for me?" he cried. at the same time." she pleaded. "I may not be the wife of Salensus Oll. open the way to the gratification of my dearest wish. and now I find that the one insuperable obstacle intervenes." continued Salensus Oll.that it would remove me from further efforts in behalf of Dejah Thoris. in accordance with your wishes and your promise that it will result only to my interests. for I overheard Matai Shang tell his daughter Phaidor that he had seen him in Kaor." As the nobles drew their blades and lifted them on high. still lives. Princess of Helium and future Queen of Okar. Jeddak. Prince of Helium. cried in a loud voice that they desist. and then act accordingly. man? What have you to say?" "And should I deliver John Carter into your hands. "You assured me that no obstacle which might not be easily overcome stood between me and this woman.

Salensus Oll." replied Thurid. This fellow be as yellow as myself. thinking that I might be contemplating the assassination of the Jeddak of Jeddaks." "I am talking only as a man who knows. while others. he cried: "There stands John Carter. Quick." replied Thurid. tanned skin beneath and my close-cropped black hair. This prisoner has a beard and mustache as large and black as any in Okar. Instantly pandemonium reigned in the audience chamber of Salensus Oll. to the pits with the black maniac who wishes to throw his life away for a poor joke upon your ruler!" "Hold!" cried Thurid." she cried. crowded behind their fellows. and springing forward before I could guess his intention. and then of a sudden I knew why she had denied me in the garden beneath the tower. What a fool I had been! Expecting that she would penetrate the marvelous disguise that had been wrought for me by the barber of Marentina! She had not known me. "You need not wait ten days. Indeed. with an ugly scowl. Prince of Helium!" "Fool!" shrieked Salensus Oll. but I had been a fool. "I am no child to be thus played with. and when she saw the sign of love from a stranger she was offended and righteously indignant. he had grasped my beard and ripped the whole false fabric from my face and head. that was all. out of curiosity to see one whose name was familiar from pole to pole. guardsmen. As my identity was revealed I saw Dejah Thoris spring to her feet—amazement writ large upon her face—and then through that jam of armed men she forced her way before any could prevent."Talk not like a fool." cried the enraged jeddak. "John Carter! John Carter!" she cried as I folded her to my breast. John Carter's face is smooth—Matai Shang has described him to me. "who spoke to me from the tower! How could I dream that my beloved Virginian lay behind that fierce beard and that yellow skin?" 215 . turning suddenly upon me as he extended a pointing finger." "Then turn John Carter over to me within ten days or yourself suffer the end that I should mete out to him were he in my power!" snapped the Jeddak of Jeddaks. Warriors pressed forward with drawn blades. A moment only and she was before me with outstretched arms and eyes filled with the light of her great love. "And it was you. and then. "Knows that he can do all that he claims. revealing my smooth. "Fool! John Carter is a white man.

made a thousand times more beautiful and hallowed by her dear lips. As I opened my eyes they goaded me with the points of their swords and bade me rise. and as I heard it again after all those long years my eyes became dimmed with tears and my voice choked with emotion. Then they led me through long corridors to a court far toward the center of the palace. Salensus Oll. 216 . beneath a half-hundred warriors. Prince of Helium? Lives there another man who could fight his way back and forth across a warlike planet." "Neither slave nor queen dictates to Salensus Oll. "John Carter shall die a natural death in the Pit of Plenty. am his. Standing there beside the great tyrant." she cried." I did not hear her reply. Salensus Oll." replied the Jeddak of Jeddaks." he cried to his warriors. and you will not kill him. and a hundred ruthless hands tore us apart. and the day he dies Dejah Thoris shall become my queen. Dejah Thoris. Then I went down. He fought for me and won me. but spare his life. "Think you. were he a thousand times dead. shouldered his way to us. "would ever dishonor his memory. by mating with a lesser mortal? Lives there upon any world such another as John Carter. trembling with rage and jealousy. for the love of a woman? "I. facing savage beasts and hordes of savage men. and I had fought my way half up the steps before the throne to which Salensus Oll had carried Dejah Thoris ere ever they could stop me. If you be a brave man you will honor the bravery that is his. As it was. she pointed to where I fought alone against such awful odds. But an instant did I crush that dear form to me ere Salensus Oll. fighting. Well it was for the nobles of the court of Okar that John Carter had been disarmed. Make him a slave if you will. a dozen of them felt the weight of my clenched fists. I would rather be a slave with such as he than be Queen of Okar. who clutched her by the arm.She had been wont to call me her Virginian as a term of endearment. but before they had battered me into unconsciousness I heard that from the lips of Dejah Thoris that made all my suffering well worth while. for she knew that I loved the sound of that beautiful name. for it was then that a blow upon my head brought unconsciousness. that the wife of such as he is. and when I recovered my senses only a handful of guardsmen remained in the audience chamber with me. Princess of Helium. "Seize the man.

but as its walls were smoothly polished it might as well have been a thousand feet. lined with shelves. for I could never hope to escape without outside assistance. and then. but ere ever I reached it the light was extinguished. To my amazement I found the sides of the pit. Simultaneously one of the waiting warriors raised his left hand. after which I kept my eyes turned away from the warrior and did not look at him again. With an exclamation of delight I sprang forward to partake of some of the welcome food. and in the brief interval before I was cast into the forbidding hole he breathed a single word into my ear: "Courage!" The pit. proved to be not more than a hundred feet in depth. at the same time raising my left hand to my forehead. one of them had brought his mouth close to my cheek. quite suddenly. awaiting me. that the ring might be visible to one who sought it. that I had thought smooth. and upon one of his fingers I saw the duplicate of my own ring. ostensibly to brush back his hair. When we reached the edge of the pit I saw that it was very deep. which he commenced to make ready as we approached. a brilliant light illumined my strange cell. One of them carried a long rope in his hands. For a moment I was nonplused by the odd feeling. A quick look of intelligence passed between us. and then.In the center of the court was a deep pit. and. and I fell into the yawning abyss. near the edge of which stood half a dozen other guardsmen. After the first jerk as I reached the end of the rope that had been paid out to let me fall below the pit's edge they lowered me quickly but smoothly. I was reasonably hungry and thirsty by this time. The moment before the plunge. and then there came to me recollection of that which in the stress of my adventure I had entirely forgotten—the gift ring of Prince Talu of Marentina. Instantly I looked toward the group we were nearing. upon which were the most delicious viands and liquid refreshments that Okar afforded. and presently I realized I was soon to judge just how far it extended below the surface of the court. while two or three of the men had been assisting in adjusting the rope about me. as all the warriors grasped it. he pushed me forward. which my imagination had pictured as bottomless. not having tasted food or drink since the day prior to my incarceration. for fear that I might arouse the suspicion of the Okarians. We had come to within fifty feet of these men when I felt a sudden strange and rapid pricking sensation in one of my fingers. For a day I was left in darkness. though I groped my way 217 . for he who held the rope passed it about my body in such a way that it could be released from above at any time.

and so simple was it that I wondered I had not guessed it before. the torturers left the light turned on in the hope that at last I could refrain no longer from giving them the delicious thrill of enjoyment that my former futile efforts to obtain it had caused. for it gave me an opportunity to solve the seeming mystery of those vanishing banquets. 218 . Slowly the pangs became less keen. hard wall that I had felt on my first examination of my prison. I now actually suffered for want of it. hellish torture! Day after day was the thing repeated. upon the outside of which the cold sweat of condensation stood. and before me stood an array of new and tempting dishes. And as I sat scrutinizing the laden shelves I presently saw how the thing was accomplished. Again. what a cruel mind must have devised this exquisite. I sprang forward to seize those tempting dishes. and then. The Pit of Plenty! Ah. Where before I had had but a mild craving for food and drink. with great bottles of clear water and flagons of refreshing wine. as I had done in the pits of the Warhoons. Glad I was that I had done so. By sheer will-power I regained control over my tottering mentality. as before. a silence that was broken only by a single mocking laugh. As I made no move to reach the food. Once more darkness and silence enveloped me. until I was on the verge of madness. with the hunger madness of a wild beast.about the chamber. firm hold upon my reason and forced it back into the channels of sanity. For another day nothing occurred to break the monotony of my imprisonment or relieve the suffering superinduced by hunger and thirst. The wall of my prison was of clearest glass—behind the glass were the tantalizing viands. as suffering deadened the activity of certain nerves. but. the light went out and I came to a sudden stop against a hard wall. and so successful was I that the next time that the light came I sat quite still and looked indifferently at the fresh and tempting food almost within my reach. I took a new. my hands came in contact with nothing beside the smooth. Then the mocking laugh rang out for a second time. and then the light flashed on once again. and all because of the tantalizing sight that I had had of food almost within my grasp. Immediately the pangs of hunger and thirst began to assail me.

like writing. and now my next dearest wish is to be realized. Nine days passed. Could it be that these were four words. I discovered that they were tablets of concentrated food such as are quite common in all parts of Barsoom. Now. "I have lived for you and fought for you. As I gathered them up. Well. a little parcel fell to the floor at my side. that I might live again for a few brief moments before I died some of the many happy moments of a long and happy life. my fingers by accident came in contact with the bit of paper in which the things had been wrapped. to be at quits with them. and I was weak from hunger and thirst. 219 . and that they were intended to carry a message to me? The more I thought of it the more excited I became. what of it? Why not end my misery now rather than drag out a few more wretched days in this dark pit? Slowly I raised one of the little pellets to my lips. gave a low laugh that none might mistake for the cackle of a maniac. taking the morsel in my mouth. Then." and. feeling of them and smelling of them. thinking it but some new invention of my jailers to add to my sufferings. until my fingers raced madly back and forth over those bewildering little hills and valleys upon that bit of paper. As I sat quietly upon the floor of my prison. but at last they seemed to take form. and then I realized that there was but a single line of them. but I. but this time there was no mocking laughter—at least not upon the part of my tormentors. my mind roaming far back into the past.After nearly an hour the light went out. Poison! I thought. within which I knew must lie the seeds of death—possibly of some hideous. torturing death. Indifferently I groped for it. I became aware of strange protuberances upon the smooth surface of the parchment-like substance in my hands. For a time they carried no special significance to my mind—I merely was mildly wondrous that they were there. I devoured it. at the end of a strong and slender cord. but no longer suffering— I was past that. more interestedly. One by one I ate them all. At last I found it—a tiny package wrapped in paper. my fingers traced and retraced them. waiting for the end. There were four separate and distinct combinations of raised lines. As I opened it a few lozenges fell to the floor. down through the darkness above. and as I idly played with it. "Good-bye. nor ever did anything taste better than those tiny bits of nourishment. my Dejah Thoris!" I breathed. for I shall die for you.

and so. It was "courage. but at last I made out the first one. Again and again my forefinger traced the first of those four combinations. Upon Barsoom there is but a single oral language. and he I knew was a friend. Courage! That was the word the yellow guardsman had whispered in my ear as I stood upon the verge of the Pit of Plenty. Not so their written languages. No two nations have the same written language. The message must be from him. With renewed hope I bent my every energy to the deciphering of the balance of the message. baffled me for some time." What rope? 220 . and is an entirely different language from the spoken language of Mars.But I could make nothing of them. if in reality they were words. just as it was at the beginning of human life upon Barsoom. no matter how far removed two nations or races. It is spoken today by every race and nation. and at last success rewarded my endeavor—I had read the four words: "Courage! Follow the rope. and often cities of the same nation have a written language that differs greatly from that of the nation to which they belong." "FOLLOW THE ROPE" What could it mean? "Follow the rope. It has grown with the growth of the planet's learning and scientific achievements. however. but so ingenious a thing it is that new words to express new thoughts or describe new conditions or discoveries form themselves—no other word could explain the thing that a new word is required for other than the word that naturally falls to it. Then I took it more slowly. their spoken languages are identical." and it was written in the letters of Marentina. and at last I decided that my very haste was preventing me from solving the mystery. Thus it was that the signs upon the paper. Martian writing is rather difficult to explain to an Earth man—it is something of a cross between shorthand and picture-writing.

Just as I scrambled into the dark hole before me the apt passed me.Presently I recalled the cord that had been attached to the parcel when it fell at my side. I did not pause longer than to learn the contents of the second message. To my chagrin I saw that the covering of the pit was being removed far above me. reaching out with his mighty hands to clutch me. however. Then I made another discovery—there was a second message knotted in the rope at about the height of my head. snarling apt being lowered over the side of the pit toward me. though I was none too sure of the meaning of the final admonition. just as my hope and courage had ebbed to their lowest. and that the sooner I took advantage of it the more likely was I to win to liberty. was amply able to sustain the weight of several men. ere I was well out of that damnable hole that I might have been very much worse off had I been compelled to remain there another two minutes. though small. I was to find. "Bring the rope with you. It depended from above. after all? And then. This I deciphered more easily. and after a little groping my hand came in contact with it again." That was all there was to this message. I could be but little worse off than I had been in the Pit of Plenty. and when I pulled upon it I discovered that it was rigidly fastened. into which my rope led. Could it be that I was laboriously working my way into some new trap? Were the messages spurious. 221 . Plainly now I saw the end for which Salensus Oll had destined me. possibly at the pit's mouth. and snapping. and in the light of the courtyard beyond I saw a number of yellow warriors. struggling. It was evidently hastily formed—an afterthought. and roaring in a most frightful manner. It had taken me about that length of time to ascend some fifty feet above the bottom when a noise above attracted my attention." yet I was sure that here before me lay an avenue of escape. At least. One was the body of a huge. Beyond the knots lies danger. and. and the other was an aperture in the side of the shaft—an aperture larger than a man's body. now that the key was mine. Upon examination I found that the cord. "Beyond the knots lies danger. After first torturing me with starvation he had caused this fierce beast to be lowered into my prison to finish the work that the jeddak's hellish imagination had conceived. growling. I saw two things.

I sought for the other end. "You need not more than step from this room for an instant when I give you the signal. too. The trend of the tunnel I had been traversing had been slightly upward. I almost laughed aloud as I thought how Salensus Oll's measure of safety was to aid in defeating the very end he sought. He who faced me was a yellow man—a little. at which two men were seated in earnest conversation. See how easy. The purpose of the apt was to insure my death before the tenth day." Now I went with the utmost caution. but I. you may come and throw the great switch back into its place. and in the center of the room stood a long table. Thurid was speaking as I came within hearing of the men's voices." he was saying. and I did not need to see his face to know that it was Thurid. wizened-up." and with the words the black dator rose from his seat and. I will do the rest. when I am gone. and from this I judged that the chamber into which I now found myself looking must be either on the first floor of the palace or directly beneath the first floor. Upon the opposite wall were many strange instruments and devices. "there is no risk and the reward is great. 222 . pasty-faced old fellow with great eyes that showed the white round the entire circumference of the iris. for when they discovered that the apt was alone in the Pit of Plenty they could not know but that he had completely devoured me. You know that you hate Salensus Oll and that nothing would please you more than to thwart him in some cherished plan. and all will be as before. I need but an hour's start to be safe beyond the devilish power that you control in this hidden chamber beneath the palace of your master. "Beyond the knots lies danger. I had followed it for several hundred yards when I felt a knot beneath my fingers. but found that as I followed it forward it extended always before me. and so no suspicion of my escape would cause a search to be made for me. brilliantly lighted chamber. and with your help I may win her. "Solan. His companion was a black man.And then another truth flashed upon me—I had lived nine days of the allotted ten which must intervene before Salensus Oll could make Dejah Thoris his queen. There be nothing that he more cherishes today than the idea of wedding the beautiful Princess of Helium. and then. So this was the meaning of the words: "Follow the rope. want her." The tunnel through which I crawled was low and dark. and a moment later a sharp turn in the tunnel brought me to an opening into a large. Coiling the rope that had carried me thus far upon my strange journey. for there was no other of the First Born north of the ice-barrier.

"I will remember." With that the dator threw a well-filled money-pouch upon the table. springing after him. "Even that were all too small an amount for the service you ask. "But if you were to die. with a shudder. all Kadabra would be consumed by heat before I could replace it. or will you go without her and see her in the arms of Salensus Oll tomorrow night?" "Take your price. "Ah. A look of combined greed and apprehension overspread his none too beautiful features." said Solan. "Half now and the balance when you have fulfilled your contract." he said." contradicted the black. Why. you would find the nerve to do it." muttered Solan. burnished lever that protruded from the opposite wall." he said. Solan. Well. I risk my life by even entertaining you here within the forbidden precincts of my station. anyway. This is the lever that you seek." "And myself into the bargain. Come away! Come away! You know not with what mighty powers you play. The old man hesitated. His weird eyes assumed a greedy expression. It is settled then I take it. Note well the symbol inlaid in white upon its ebon surface. "Double the figure. and you know it full well. Solan opened the pouch and with trembling fingers counted its contents. clutching movement of the fingers betokened the avariciousness of the miser. 223 . with a wild shriek. you might seize this very lever from which you have just warned me and wipe out the entire city." he continued. yellow man." replied Thurid. and should you pull it too far down. "Not that one! Not that one! That controls the sunray tanks." replied Thurid." Thurid approached and examined the handle of the lever. First Born. "Too great a power of life and death you hold over the people of Kadabra for Salensus Oll ever to risk threatening you with death. "I have often thought upon that very thing. "No! No!" cried the little old man. laid his hand upon a large. "Yes. a magnet." "He dare not do that.crossing the room. Should Salensus Oll learn of it he would have me thrown to the apts before the day was done. is your red princess worth the price I ask for my services. It was quite evident from his very mannerism that Thurid had keenly guessed the man's weakness—even the clawlike. Before ever his minions could lay their hands upon you. with an oath. and his unkempt beard and mustache twitched with the muscles of his mouth and chin.

you may expect the signal. for no more dare I spare you. and finally to an ugly growl. Presently his fingers ceased their play. where he again dumped the contents of the money-pouch. Already have you tempted fate too long within this forbidden place. shaking his fist at the closed door. fool. Then would he send for me. The croon changed to a querulous muttering. after that the way is along but a single branchless corridor. then into the fourth right-hand corridor straight to where three corridors meet. Solan replaced the money in the pouch and rose from the table." said Thurid. cackling note. rising to go. "are you quite sure that you know the way to your destination? You must travel quickly to cover the ground to the cave and from thence beyond the Great Power. "and now begone." repeated Solan. piling the coins into little towers. What would you have me do? Reduce the city and myself to ashes? No." answered Solan. counting. Dator. "At the end of this corridor I shall come to a spiral runway. all within a brief hour. then." He laughed in a nasty." "Tonight. "I follow a corridor. "Through yonder door. Then the old man rose from the table. here again I follow to the right." he commenced." said Thurid." he said. passing three diverging corridors upon my right. hugging the left wall closely to avoid the pit. and as the door closed behind his guest the old man continued to mutter as he turned back to the table." "Let me repeat it to you. and fondling the wealth the while he muttered on and on in a crooning undertone. pointing to a door at the far end of the apartment. his eyes popped wider than ever as they fastened upon the door through which Thurid had disappeared. 224 . "Think you that for your happiness Solan will give up his life? If you escaped. "Tonight. "Now. and his words came distinctly. Now he raised his voice. which I must follow down instead of up. recounting. "that you may see if I be letter-perfect." "Proceed. running his fingers through the heap of shining metal. Salensus Oll would know that only through my connivance could you have succeeded." replied Solan. or tomorrow. "Fool!" he muttered. there is a better way—a better way for Solan to keep thy money and be revenged upon Salensus Oll.Having satisfied himself that the amount was correct. Am I right?" "Quite right. or tomorrow.

" Then his voice dropped once more into mutterings that I could not translate. and Salensus Oll. but at last I reached it. and while he bent there. nor could I afford to ignore the advice to "follow the rope. and I thanked the kind Providence that had led me to this chamber at a time so filled with importance to Dejah Thoris and myself as this. bending to his knees. as was quite evidently his intention. when he sees your dead bodies. the old man's every move. and then the Guardian of the North will claim you and your woman. he took up the money-pouch and crossed to one end of the apartment. Instantly I guessed that here was the hiding place in which he hoarded his wealth. and with the utmost stealth essayed to reach the opposite side before he should complete his task and turn again toward the room's center. almost invisible upon the floor. but however I should accomplish it undetected with that old man in the very center of it baffled me. will never dream that the hand of Solan had aught to do with the thing. nor once had I taken my eyes from the back of the old miser's head. must I take. where. As I stood in the dark shadow of the tunnel's end racking my brain for a feasible plan the while I watched. and yet it seemed to my overwrought imagination that that farther wall was miles away. all told. There was no other way of which I knew. I entered the chamber upon tiptoe. and then he turned away from me as I passed through and gently closed the door. and then. he fumbled with a panel in the wall. When you have passed beyond this chamber in your flight. 225 . while should I kill him and another be stationed in his place Thurid would not come hither with Dejah Thoris. but I had heard enough to convince me that with him alive the knowledge that I had gained might serve me at some future moment."Poor fool! You may throw the great switch that will give you the freedom of the air of Okar. his back toward me. Scarcely thirty steps. He did not turn until my hand was upon the button that controlled the door through which my way led. Of course I might have sprung in upon him and with my bare hands silenced him forever." I must cross this room. what can prevent Solan replacing the switch as it was before your vile hand touched it? Nothing. go on with thy red princess to the freedom of— death. But how to pass the old man now! The cord. in fatuous security. catlike. but I had heard enough to cause me to guess a great deal more. stretched straight across the apartment to a door upon the far side.

indeed. for I had but passed a single knot. This fact and the words that had cautioned me that danger lay beyond the KNOTS convinced me that the rope had been severed since my friend had placed it as my guide. but there was nothing else to be done than follow one of the corridors. What was I to do? Which way should I turn? I was nonplused. and a moment later we were retracing the way I had just come. asking many silly questions about the country from which I had come. for neither did I know which avenue to follow nor when danger lay directly in my path. for these were all members of the palace guard—men familiar with my face. Prince of Helium. Then others saw me. I could hear nothing beyond. for I could gain nothing by remaining where I was. The first to reach me was the wearer of the mate to my strange ring. Now. and finally my captor announced that he would lead me back to my cell. and as he came close he whispered: "Surrender to me!" then in a loud voice shouted: "You are my prisoner.For an instant I paused. An officer ordered several other warriors to accompany him. The floor of the tunnel rose rapidly as I advanced. The first to see me opened his eyes wide in astonishment. but as no sound of pursuit came from within I wheeled and made my way along the new corridor. which I coiled and brought with me as I advanced. my ear close to the panel. and a moment later the way came to an abrupt end before a heavy door. The others now swarmed about us. meekly surrendered to a single antagonist. whereas there had evidently been two or more in the entire length of the cord. But a short distance farther on I came to the rope's end at a point where five corridors met. 226 . until finally his fellows paid no further attention to him or his gabbling. and. and at the same instant I felt the tingling sensation in my finger that denoted the presence of a friend of the ring. And so John Carter. but I would not talk to them. to learn if he had suspected aught. was I in a pretty fix. and there was a concerted rush to lay hands upon me. My friend walked close beside me. white man. A careful examination of the end of the rope revealed the fact that it had been cleanly cut with some sharp instrument. with my accustomed rashness. So I chose the central opening. asking many questions. pushed the portal wide to step into a room filled with yellow warriors. and passed on into its gloomy depths with a prayer upon my lips." and menaced me with his two weapons. following the rope.

so that presently he was able to converse with me in a low tone without attracting attention. As I ran for my life through the dark galleries beneath the palace of Salensus Oll I must indeed have presented a remarkable appearance had there been any to note it. as he spoke. he asked me why I had not followed the rope. my heart goes out to him as it did now to my new friend who had risked his life for me simply because I wore the mate to the ring his ruler had put upon his finger. and when we came in sight of the branching ways he whispered: "Run up the first upon the right. The corridor along which I ran led almost straight for a considerable distance. for he was sure that "the stupid Kadabrans would never have guessed its purpose. javelins. The walls of the room were lined with racks in which were hundreds of straight and hooked swords. of whatever race or color.Gradually. suddenly growing fainter as Talu's spy led them up the wrong passageway in fancied pursuit. up which I proceeded to emerge presently into a circular chamber upon the first floor of a tower. and when I meet another of their kind." Before we had reached the spot from which the five corridors diverge my Marentinian friend had managed to drop to the rear of the little column with me. and showed that Talu had not misjudged the man's fitness for the dangerous duty upon which he was detailed. From behind the voices of the excited guardsmen came reverberating along the corridor. It leads to the watchtower upon the south wall. at the same time crying out in simulated pain and alarm as he threw himself upon the floor as though I had felled him with a blow. he lowered his voice. It was evidently an armory. and when I told him that it had ended at the five corridors he said that it must have been cut by someone in need of a piece of rope. In this apartment a dozen red slaves were employed polishing or repairing the weapons of the yellow men. My eyes took in the entire scene at a glance. When he had fully assured himself that the other guardsmen were not listening. I will direct the pursuit up the next corridor. Here were weapons in plenty! Here were sinewy red warriors to wield them! 227 . and daggers. for though death loomed large about me. my face was split by a broad grin as I thought of the resourcefulness of the nameless hero of Marentina to whom I owed my life. terminating at the foot of a spiral runway. His ruse was a clever one." and with that he gave me a great shove into the dark mouth of the tunnel. Of such stuff are the men of my beloved Helium. There were but three warriors guarding the workers.

Then the first guardsman was upon me and the fight was on. The yellow men devoted all their attention to me. "What do you here?" "I come for Tardos Mors.And here now was John Carter. Mors Kajak." for I had seen that all the prisoners there were men of Tardos Mors's navy. but after a minute or two I had succeeded in wresting a second straight sword from one of the racks along the wall. One of the guards started toward me. to my horror. The three of them were on me at once. Jeddak of Helium. for the red men could not move over two feet from the great rings to which they were padlocked. Prince of Helium. guards and prisoners saw me simultaneously. though each had seized a weapon upon which he had been engaged when I entered the room. The foremost guardsman made a vicious lunge for my side with his hook after the three of them had backed me against the wall." I cried. and but for a lucky circumstance my end might have come quickly. Close to the entrance where I stood was a rack of straight swords. "Who are you?" he demanded. and as my hand closed upon the hilt of one of them my eyes fell upon the faces of two of the prisoners who worked side by side. but. nor were they long in discovering that the three of them were none too many to defend the armory against John Carter. and his son. but as I sidestepped 228 . and stood ready to join me could they have but done so. pointing to the two red prisoners. THE MAGNET SWITCH The guardsmen paid not the slightest attention to their wards. as it was. I felt more evenly equipped. "Rise. At first I had a time of it dodging their villainous hook-swords. who had now sprung to their feet. using it to parry the hooks of my antagonists. I rendered a satisfactory account of myself with the unfamiliar weapon of the yellow man. Would that I had had my own good long-sword in my hand that day. wide-eyed in astonished recognition. but scarce did we engage ere. in need both of weapons and warriors! As I stepped into the apartment. and thereafter. red men! Before we die let us leave a memorial in the palace of Okar's tyrant that will stand forever in the annals of Kadabra to the honor and glory of Helium. I saw that the red slaves were shackled to the floor.

Then one of them commenced calling for help. Already the guard was in sight. but it was too late to save them. forcing them back with a perfect torrent of cuts and thrusts. for now I heard answering shouts and the footfalls of many men running and the clank of accouterments and the commands of officers.and raised my arm his weapon but grazed my side. and then. weaving my sword in and out about their guards until I had the fear of death upon them. A dozen seconds would bring them into the tower. With a resounding bang I slammed it shut. John Carter. where it became entangled. "The door! Quick. Before he could release it I had run him through. You will have to force them. The yellow men were battering at the door with javelins and axes. 229 . In an instant both lay dead upon the floor. charging across the open court that was visible through the doorway. and I backed them about the armory as I would until I had them where I wanted them—within reach of the swords of the shackled slaves. asking where the keys might be which would unfasten their fetters. "Raise it a little to release the catch. "and he is among those without who seek entrance. I tried to slip the huge fastening into place. I rushed the two remaining warriors. To Tardos Mors I went first. but by the fraction of a second only. I raised the bar and shot it to the right just as the foremost of the guardsmen threw himself against the opposite side of the massive panels. The barrier held—I had been in time. falling back upon the tactics that have saved me a hundred times in tight pinches." Most of the prisoners were already hacking at their bonds with the swords in their hands. but it defied my every attempt." cried one of the red men." replied the Jeddak of Helium. "The officer of the guard has them. A single leap carried me to the heavy portal. They were as putty in my hands now. bar the door!" cried Tardos Mors. "The bar!" shouted Tardos Mors. passing into a rack of javelins. I could hear the yellow warriors leaping along the flagging just beyond the door. Now I turned my attention to the prisoners. But their cries had not been entirely fruitless.

What with the battering upon the door and the hacking of the red men at their chains the din within the armory was appalling. The first inrushing wave of yellow warriors recoiled from the slashing blades of ten of Helium's veteran fighting men. though a few inches of trailing chain still dangled from his ankle. We must work fast if we would have all those fetters cut before the door gave way. A splinter of wood falling inward from the door announced the headway that our enemies were making toward us. and Mors Kajak sprang to the opening to defend the way until we should have time to release the others. and then the door fell with a mighty crash before a hastily improvised battering-ram. With javelins snatched from the wall he wrought havoc among the foremost of the Okarians while we battled with the insensate metal that stood between our fellows and freedom. "To the upper chambers!" shouted the red man who was still fettered to the floor. No sooner was Tardos Mors free than he turned his attention to another of the prisoners." I cried to two of the red men. and a moment later Tardos Mors was free. The mighty panels trembled and bent beneath the furious onslaught of the enraged yellow men. A dozen Okarian corpses blocked the doorway. "To the upper chambers! There you may defend the tower against all Kadabra. Again and again I cut deep into the metal with my sharp blade. but ever faster and faster fell the torrent of blows upon the portal. and the yellow horde was upon us. but 230 . Now a panel crashed inward upon the floor." There were ten of us now to do battle with the Okarian guard." But I would have sacrificed the life of every man of us rather than desert a single red man. Do not delay because of me. "Cut his chains.I turned my attention to the chains that held Tardos Mors. who could pray for no better death than in the service of Tardos Mors and the Prince of Helium. At length all but one of the prisoners were freed. "while the balance of us hold off the foe. while I set to work to liberate Mors Kajak. At last a link parted beneath my efforts. and I warrant that that ancient watchtower never looked down upon a more hotly contested battle than took place that day within its own grim walls. much less the lion-hearted hero who begged us to leave him.

Scarce one of us but bled from a score of wounds. and with all our prowess we could not hope to withstand the unequal odds which would thus divide our attention and our small numbers. but at length all had backed into the runway except myself. From the lofty perch a view could be had for miles in every direction. Then. and thus. yet none had fallen. hand to hand. Upon the bloody mound we met them. I commenced the ascent of the spiral. "To the upper chambers!" cried Tardos Mors. and a moment later we fell back toward the runway that led to the floors above. who remained to hold back the Okarians until the others were safe above. so that I had little difficulty in holding them all back for the brief moment that was necessary. a noble fellow whom we could ill spare. and dimly toward the north I descried other Okarian cities. and mingled with the wild cry of the Okarian there rose and fell the glorious words: "For Helium! For Helium!" that for countless ages have spurred on the bravest of the brave to those deeds of valor that have sent the fame of Helium's heroes broadcast throughout the length and breadth of a world. All the long way to the tower's top the guardsmen pressed me closely. Here we lost our first man. and for a moment's respite I stepped to one side while they held the enemy off. Toward the south stretched the rugged. Toward the east and west. thrusting when we could push a foeman to arm's length. ice-clad waste to the edge of the mighty barrier. In the mouth of the narrow spiral but a single warrior could attack me at a time. From without we saw hundreds of guardsmen pouring into the courtyard. I came to the spacious glass-walled watchtower of Kadabra. Now were the fetters struck from the last of the red men. taking an awful toll with each few feet gained. and along the lower corridor from which I had found my way to the armory we could hear the clank of metal and the shouting of men. When one went down before my sword another scrambled over the dead man to take his place. shouting their hoarse and hideous war-cry. Here my companions clustered ready to take my place.over the gruesome barrier a score more of their fellows dashed. backing slowly before them. while in the 231 . Here another bloody battle was waged with the force of yellow men who charged into the armory as we fell back from the doorway. and thirteen strong we met each new charge of the soldiers of Salensus Oll. In a moment we should be attacked from two sides. stabbing where the quarters were too close to cut.

and the men of Helium go down. Turn and turn about we held the top of the runway while the others feasted their eyes upon the sight of our valiant countrymen battling far beneath us. just beyond the walls of Kadabra. and with a shout of joy that rose strangely in the midst of the cursing and groaning of the battling men at the entrance to the chamber. and there I saw a battle raging. But at last I could doubt no longer. and behind him rally the disorganized soldiers of Helium. beneath an overwhelming force. Then I cast my eyes down into the streets of Kadabra. Now they are repulsed by a deadly shower of javelins from the wall's top! Once again they charge. the city was yet far from capitulation.immediate foreground. As he raises his head aloft to fling a challenge at the men upon the palace walls I see his face. and beyond the city's walls I saw armed men marching in great columns toward a near-by gate. for though our troops had entered Kadabra. nor had the palace been even assaulted. and such a shout of thanksgiving arose as I warrant never before echoed through that age-old pile of stone. but a sortie by a large force of Okarians from an intersecting avenue crumples the head of the column. The warrior hews his way to the front. above which floated bravely in the arctic air the flags and banners of Helium. But still we must fight on. Now they have rushed the palace gate! Great battering-rams are dashed against its formidable surface. Eagerly I pressed forward against the glass wall of the observatory. picked men from the flower of the Okarian army. sallies forth to shatter the broken regiments. the grim guardian shaft reared its somber head. fighting. The palace gate flies open and a force of the jeddak's own guard. An instant later every red man in the lofty chamber had seen the inspiring sight. and my heart swells in pride and happiness as the red warriors leap to the side of their leader and win back the ground that they had but just lost—the face of him upon the mighty thoat is the face of my son—Carthoris of Helium. 232 . from which a sudden tumult had arisen. but one of his huge cousins of the dead sea bottoms. and then I see a noble figure upon a mighty thoat—not the tiny thoat of the red man. scarce daring to credit the testimony of my own eyes. I called to Tardos Mors. As he joined me I pointed down into the streets of Kadabra and to the advancing columns beyond. For a moment it looks as though nothing could avert defeat.

They were the huge green allies of Helium—the savage hordes from the dead sea bottoms of the far south. for I was to see my old friend battling once again." As I looked in the direction he indicated I saw the cause of his perturbation. Into the doomed city they charged. Now my attention was caught by a new element without the city wall—a great body of mounted warriors looming large above the red men. I had been taking my turn with the others in defending the approach to our lofty retreat when Mors Kajak. and as I reached him he pointed far out across the waste of snow and ice toward the southern horizon. and though not shoulder to shoulder with him. for still they came. who had been watching the battle in the street below. At times they would pause long enough to drag back the impeding corpses. but they were fighting nobly against the best that Okar afforded—valiant warriors who contested every inch of the way. On and on they came with ever increasing velocity. The red men had not yet forced the outer palace wall. would be fighting in the same cause here in the high tower of Okar. though the way to our chamber was often clogged with the bodies of their dead. then. the padded hoofs of their frightful mounts giving forth no sound. "that I should be forced to witness cruel fate betray them without power to warn or aid. but surely they could avenge! And such retribution as that unconquered army would deal out to the hateful Okarians! I sighed to think that I might not be alive to witness it. 233 . nor did I need a second look to know that it was Woola—my faithful Woola who had thus well performed his arduous task and brought the succoring legions in the nick of time. called aloud in sudden excitement. I. and as they wheeled across the wide plaza before the palace of the Jeddak of Jeddaks I saw.At his side fights a huge Martian war-hound. but they be past either now. Nor did it seem that our foes would ever cease their stubborn attacks. "Alas!" he cried. too. In grim and terrible silence they sped on toward the gate. and then fresh warriors would forge upward to taste the cup of death. was to be gratified. My wish. Jeddak of Thark. "In the nick of time?" Who yet might say that they were not too late to save. Again I turned to the windows. riding at their head. the mighty figure of their mighty leader—Tars Tarkas. A mighty fleet of fliers was approaching majestically toward Kadabra from the direction of the ice-barrier. There was a note of apprehension in his voice that brought me to his side the instant that I could turn my place over to another.

Grasping my sword more firmly in my hand. but something else I saw that Mors Kajak did not. saw." I. but be that as it may. and yellow hordes would be loosed from another gate to rush out upon the few survivors stumbling blindly down through the mass of wreckage. "Way for the Prince of Helium!" I shouted. near the bottom. I beat my way down that warrior-choked spiral until. lying at the base of the shaft beyond the city's wall. "Way for the Prince of Helium!" I shouted as I cut a path through the astonished guardsmen of Salensus Oll. too." said Mors Kajak sadly. crumpled and broken. 234 . and before the astonished yellow man whose misfortune it was to be at the fighting end of the line at that particular moment could gather his wits together my sword had decapitated him. as the subconscious does not reason. In the center of the chamber was a long table. a grim and terrible monument to the mighty force of destruction which naught can resist. for if my mind goes through the tedious formality of reasoning. thinking that an army was descending upon them. then the apts would come. Psychologists tell me that. And now celerity of action was the prime essential to the success of the thing that I had decided upon. turned and fled. "just as it beckoned to Tardos Mors and his great fleet. and I was rushing like a mad bull down upon those behind him. Hewing to right and left. plainest of all. in my mind's eye I saw a buried chamber whose walls were lined with strange instruments and devices. I have often won success while the thinker would have been still at the endless task of comparing various judgments. those below. see where they lie. it must be a subconscious act of which I am not objectively aware. I saw upon the wall a great switch with a small magnet inlaid within the surface of its black handle."The grim shaft that they call the Guardian of the North is beckoning to them. I shuddered at the thought. In five minutes that mighty armada of the skies would be bent and worthless scrap. pop-eyed old man counting his money. Quick have I always been to decide and act. and before it sat a little. but. I called to the red man at the opening to the runway to stand aside. The impulse that moves me and the doing of the thing seem simultaneous. Then I glanced out at the fast-approaching fleet. for I could vividly picture the whole horrible scene. too close a scrutiny of my mental activities might prove anything but flattering.

without a single appreciative eye to witness it has always seemed to me almost a world calamity—at least from the viewpoint Barsoomian. That day in the buried chamber beneath the palace of Salensus Oll I learned what swordsmanship meant. and before I had half a chance to awaken to my danger he was like to have made a monkey of me. and to what heights of sword mastery I could achieve when pitted against such a wizard of the blade as Solan. and I was quick to see why Solan had been chosen for this important duty. so none saw me continue down the spiral toward the corridor beneath. With scarce more than a glance toward him I leaped for the great switch. Like a tiger he turned upon me. and a dead monkey at that. quick as I was. for he forced me back an inch for the first five minutes of our battle. nor does it seem credible that any Martian-born creature could approximate the marvelous speed of my earthly muscles. Never in all my life have I seen such wondrous swordsmanship and such uncanny agility as that ancient bag of bones displayed. That that duel-royal should have taken place in the dark recesses of a cellar. How he did it I shall never know. but. For a time he liked to have bested me. 235 .The armory at the first floor was vacant when I entered it. Solan to prevent me. Without the formality of a knock. Here I ran as rapidly as my legs would carry me toward the five corners. and. though we stood not three feet from it. He was in forty places at the same time. that wiry old fellow was there before me. nations. and there plunged into the passageway that led to the station of the old miser. I was fighting to reach the switch. where bloody strife is the first and greatest consideration of individuals. but as he saw me he sprang to his feet. There sat the old man at his table. and races. and I fought as I had never dreamed a human being could fight. It is strange how new and unexpected conditions bring out unguessed ability to meet them. but presently the latent possibilities that must have been lying dormant within me for a lifetime came to the fore. I burst into the room. drawing his sword. I could not win an inch toward it. the last of the Okarians having fled into the courtyard.

THE TIDE OF BATTLE But solan's last loud cry had not been without effect. and turn he did. But the fellows were pressing me. To uncover my breast for an instant would have been to court sudden death. and so I tried my old rushing tactics. The result of the sudden coming of the guardsmen had been to compel me to seek seclusion in the first passageway that I could find. or possibly find a way to reach the city streets. I soon saw that they would overtake me unless I found a place to conceal myself until they had passed. and I think that that must give a man greater confidence than though he knew himself to be battling in a wicked cause. he wheeled toward the switch with a loud shriek—a shriek which was his last. In fact. but another upon its left. and when I next rushed Solan it was to one side with implicit confidence that he must turn to meet my new line of attack. and as I did not know the way at all. I reached out my point and caught the great switch a sudden blow that released it from its seating. though not before I had so bent and demolished the great switch that it could not be again used to turn the powerful current into the mighty magnet of destruction it controlled. but I saw no other way than to chance it. but right was on my side. and that to my disappointment proved to be not the one with which I was familiar. so that now we fought with our sides towards the coveted goal—the great switch stood within my reach upon my right hand. and so. for before his hand could touch the lever it sought. I had no mind to stop and fight these men here when there was fighting aplenty elsewhere in the city of Kadabra—fighting that could be of much more avail to me and mine than useless life-taking far below the palace. succoring fleet. I did not want in confidence. for a moment later a dozen guardsmen burst into the chamber.I knew that if I were to throw it in time to save the oncoming fleet it must be done in the next few seconds. So surprised and horrified was Solan that he forgot to finish his thrust. my sword's point had passed through his heart. but I might as well have rushed a brick wall for all that Solan gave way. 236 . instead. which would then give me an opportunity to return the way I had come and regain the tower. in the face of a wicked sword-thrust. They must have either heard or guessed which way I went. for I had proceeded but a short distance when I heard the sound of pursuit. if by so doing I might rescue that oncoming. I came near to impaling myself upon his point for my pains. At least.

beneath which the poor." Then. The addressed hastened to a small door at the far end of the chamber and. looked within the larger apartment. and. "and though the enemies of Okar be within her gates. he issued some command in a low voice.The passageway had risen rapidly since leaving the apartment of the switch. standing before a throne upon which sat Salensus Oll. and as they all looked alike to me I tried the first one that I reached. still had she fought against the thing that they would do to her. swinging it wide. Before me were a party of perhaps fifty gorgeously clad nobles of the court. and was evidently an ante-chamber off some office or audience chamber of the palace. chained though she was. cried: "Way for Dejah Thoris. and now ran level and well lighted straight into the distance as far as I could see. evidently to prevent suicide. 237 . The great ceremony must be omitted that no single man may be kept from his place in the defenses other than the fifty that custom demands shall witness the creation of a new queen in Okar. Her hands were still manacled behind her. On the far side was a heavily curtained doorway beyond which I heard the hum of voices. It opened into a small chamber. Presently I saw a series of doors opening from either side of the corridor. Instantly I crossed the small chamber. "In a moment the thing shall have been done and we may return to the battle. "The allotted hour has come. and my itching fingers fondled the hilt of my bloody sword." he was saying as I entered the apartment. luxuriously furnished. with no chance to escape from the corridor undetected. turning to a courtier. naught may stay the will of Salensus Oll. while she who is now the Princess of Helium looks down from the queen's tower upon the annihilation of her former countrymen and witnesses the greatness which is her husband's. The moment that my pursuers reached this straight stretch I would be in plain sight of them. parting the curtains. beautiful creature was dragged toward her doom. Her disheveled hair and panting bosom betokened that. and the sword of each of the fifty nobles was raised on high to form an arch. A grim smile forced itself to my lips as I thought of the rude awakening that lay in store for the ruler of Okar. The Jeddak of Jeddaks was addressing them. At sight of her Salensus Oll rose and drew his sword. future Queen of Okar!" Immediately two guardsmen appeared dragging the unwilling bride toward the altar.

The Jeddak of Jeddaks was a great mountain of a man—a coarse. With a snarl he sprang toward me with naked sword. if such a thing were possible. grinning in horrible death. With a single. brutal beast of a man—and as he towered above me there. I faced the tyrant of the north and his roomful of noble warriors. and I fought for the most glorious woman of a glorious race. of course. commenced to drone out a sing-song ritual.As I watched the procession that moved slowly toward the throne—a procession which consisted of but a handful of priests. and I fought for a great love and for the mother of my boy. but the advantage was mine. For a moment tense silence reigned in the nuptial-room. Salensus Oll reached for the hand of his bride. I swung her behind me as. but whether it were accomplished before or after the mock marriage was a matter of secondary import. and I had no eyes and no thoughts for aught else. Then the fifty nobles rushed upon me. and before the nobles of Okar knew that aught had happened I had leaped through their thin line and was upon the dais beside Dejah Thoris and Salensus Oll. for with Dejah Thoris at my back I was no longer human—I was a superman. to the foot of the steps below his marriage throne. there could be no valid marriage while I lived. With the flat of my sword I struck down his polluting hand. drawn faces of his nobles Salensus Oll rolled. Furiously we fought. I saw the vile hand of Salensus Oll reach out for the hand of my beloved princess I could restrain myself no longer. I had intended waiting until some circumstance should give me a reasonable hope of success. raising his hand. and grasping Dejah Thoris round the waist. his fierce black whiskers and mustache bristling in rage. was the rescuing of Dejah Thoris—I wished to take her from the palace of Salensus Oll. When. Now the guardsmen were forcing the Princess of Helium up the few steps to the side of the tyrant of Okar. even though the entire ceremony should be completed. What I was most concerned in. for. 238 . but whether Salensus Oll was a good swordsman or a poor I never learned. however. who followed Dejah Thoris and the two guardsmen—I caught a fleeting glimpse of a black face peering from behind the draperies that covered the wall back of the dais upon which stood Salensus Oll awaiting his bride. for I stood upon a raised platform above them. and no man could have withstood me then. A priest opened a book and. low: "For the Princess of Helium!" I ran my blade straight through the rotten heart of Okar's rotten ruler. I can well imagine that a less seasoned warrior might have trembled before him. with my back against the draperies of the dais. and before the white.

"Then fly. That alone was enough to inspire me to victory over even greater odds. I thought. But she did not come. and I verily believe that I should have bested the entire roomful of yellow warriors that day in the nuptial chamber of the palace at Kadabra had not interruption come to my aid. rose the brave battle anthem of Helium which the nation's women sing as their men march out to victory. "for naught can save you. "The Jeddak of Jeddaks!" he cried. and glad I was. for. up the steps before the throne only to fall back before a sword hand that seemed to have gained a new wizardry from its experience with the cunning Solan. He alone may save the day for Okar. Hark! They come!" 239 . and then of a sudden all that remained of them formed below me for a last. and but now the great gate of the palace itself has been forced and the warriors of the south are pouring into its sacred precincts. and so I fought on secure in the belief that my divine princess stood close behind me. and one of them pointed to the grinning corpse. mad. but even as they advanced the door at the far end of the chamber swung wide and a wild-eyed messenger sprang into the room. The messenger staggered back in horror as though from a blow in the face. the spirit is theirs. in the silvery cadence of that dear voice. For half an hour at least I must have fought there against the nobles of Okar ere ever a one placed a foot upon the dais where I stood. nobles of Okar!" he cried. "Where is Salensus Oll? He alone may revive the flagging courage of our warriors. desperate charge. and they have been known to do that very thing upon countless occasions. though the women of Mars are not trained in the arts of war. for it would have doubled my burden in protecting her before I should have been able to force her back again out of harm's way. She must be contemplating some cunning strategy. time and again.And from behind my shoulder. and noted that the sound of the battle anthem had ceased. Two were pressing me so closely that I could not turn when I heard a movement behind me. Was Dejah Thoris preparing to take her place beside me? Heroic daughter of a heroic world! It would not be unlike her to have seized a sword and fought at my side. Fast and furious was the fighting as the nobles of Salensus Oll sprang. "Where is the Jeddak of Jeddaks? The city has fallen before the hordes from beyond the barrier. Where is Salensus Oll?" The nobles stepped back from about the dead body of their ruler.

when their eyes had sought its entire area. stubbornly resisting the advance of a handful of red men who faced them and forced them slowly but inevitably back. there could be no danger to Dejah Thoris standing there alone beside the throne. revealed the figures of Matai Shang. and a cold and cunning smile touched the lips of Phaidor. his daughter. though I did not turn to look at her. too. to my surprise. Father of Therns and Phaidor. upon me. a look of fierce rage overspread the features of Matai Shang. but not before a taunting laugh was thrown directly in my face by the woman. and with this idea in mind I sprang from the dais. He was leading the little party that had won its way into the very heart of the palace of Salensus Oll. A quick glance about they took. Almost immediately a force of yellow warriors appeared in the doorway through which the messenger had come. and with Kantos Kan and his warriors winning to the apartment. upon the corpses of the nobles who had fallen thick before the throne. though great indeed must have been those which won for them a way into the almost impregnable palace of the tyrant of the north. 240 . Without another glance toward me. who had stood a spectator of the tragic scene. They were backing toward the apartment. wide in horror. They did not essay to enter the apartment. but scanned its every corner from where they stood. and upon the battling warriors at the other door.As he spoke we heard the deep roar of angry men from the corridor without. for I knew that this knowledge would inspire them to even greater deeds of valor than they had performed in the past. In an instant I saw that by attacking the Okarians from the rear I could so quickly disorganize them that their further resistance would be short-lived. As I crossed the chamber to attack the Kadabrans from the rear a small doorway at my left opened. and the clank of metal and the clang of swords. casting a word of explanation to Dejah Thoris over my shoulder. upon the blood that crimsoned the floor. upon the dead body of Salensus Oll. I wanted the men of Helium to see me and to know that their beloved princess was here. and. Their eyes rested for a moment. Above the heads of the contestants I could see from my elevated station upon the dais the face of my old friend Kantos Kan. the nobles wheeled and fled from the apartment through another exit. Then they were gone. With myself ever between her enemies and herself. peering into the room. and then.

Slowly they pressed me back into the room. Now were the tables turned. The yellow men. one of them closed and bolted the door. I could fold her in my arms. effectually barring the way against the men of Kantos Kan. 241 . and I longed for the moment when. but I knew that neither boded good for me. So it was with no feelings of despair that I turned my attention to the business of the moment. like hungry lions upon their prey. Constantly my thoughts reverted to Dejah Thoris. During the fighting in the chamber I had not even a single chance to so much as steal a glance at her where she stood behind me beside the throne of the dead ruler. and when they had all passed in after me. They kept me busy. It was a glorious battle. All were compelled to turn to meet this new assault by a greatly superior force. and it was the men of Helium who seemed doomed to be ground between two millstones. and I knew that Kantos Kan had battled his way from a hundred more dangerous traps than that in which he now was. A moment later I was upon the backs of the yellow men. Fought as I should have fought had I been in their stead. but I did not need more than the knowledge that I was battling for her to bring out the best that is in me. It was a clever move. "For the Prince of Helium!" they cried. too. But I have faced heavier odds myself than were pitted against me that day. and as the red men of Helium saw me above the shoulders of their antagonists a great shout rang through the corridor. cornered between two enemies. for it put me at the mercy of a dozen men within a chamber from which assistance was locked out. fought with the desperation that utter hopelessness often induces. but the end seemed inevitable. with the determination to take as many of my enemies with me when I died as lay within the power of my sword arm. "For the Prince of Helium!" and. the fighting done. they fell once more upon the weakening warriors of the north. so busy that I began to wonder if indeed I should ever be done with them. when presently from down the corridor behind the red men came a great body of reenforcing yellow warriors. I wondered why she no longer urged me on with the strains of the martial hymn of Helium. and it gave the red men in the corridor beyond no avenue of escape should their new antagonists press them too closely. so that to me was left the remnants of the yellow men within the throneroom.I did not understand then the meaning of Matai Shang's rage or Phaidor's pleasure. and hear once more the words of love which had been denied me for so many years. and for a moment drowned the noise of battle.

The glad cry died.It would be wearisome to narrate the details of that bloody struggle. realized that Thurid had stolen the prize from beneath his very nose. Dejah Thoris was gone. vain regret would not erase the calamity that had befallen. Thurid. Now I realized the cause of the rage that had been writ so large upon the features of Matai Shang and the cruel pleasure that I had seen upon the face of Phaidor. Again was all my arduous labor gone for naught. With a single jerk I tore the priceless stuff from its fastenings. I turned with outstretched arms to seize my princess. with a glad cry. the black dator of the First Born. Why had the sight of that evil countenance not warned me to greater caution? Why had I permitted the rapid development of new situations to efface the recollection of that menacing danger? But. and as my lips smothered hers to reap the reward that would be thrice ample payment for the bloody encounters through which I had passed for her dear sake from the south pole to the north. 242 . frozen upon my lips. the full length of the room to the very foot of the throne before the last of my antagonists fell with my blade piercing his heart. and there before me was revealed a narrow doorway behind the throne. REWARDS With the realization that Dejah Thoris was no longer within the throneroom came the belated recollection of the dark face that I had glimpsed peering from behind the draperies that backed the throne of Salensus Oll at the moment that I had first come so unexpectedly upon the strange scene being enacted within the chamber. as well as to a partial satisfaction of her jealous hatred for the Princess of Helium. alas. for there it was that I had seen Thurid. They had known or guessed the truth. Phaidor's pleasure had been due to her realization of what this last cruel blow would mean to me. And then. Once again had Dejah Thoris fallen into the clutches of that archfiend. of how we fought from the doorway. as one who reels beneath the burden of a mortal wound I staggered up the steps before the throne. and the hekkador of the Holy Therns. My first thought was to look beyond the draperies at the back of the throne. who had evidently come to the chamber in the hope of thwarting Salensus Oll in his contemplated perfidy against the high priest who coveted Dejah Thoris for himself. my arms dropped limp and lifeless to my sides.

jeweled ornament which lay a few steps within the corridor beyond. the black dator. nor was there any sign that another had passed through the room since I had been there. but for the most it was fairly well lighted.No question entered my mind but that here lay the opening of the avenue of escape which Thurid had followed. I had followed but a short distance when I came upon the room in which Solan formerly had held sway. scarce a foot wide. and Dejah Thoris. Clad for the warm atmosphere of the hothouse city of Kadabra. But at last I had won safely beyond it. hugging the left wall closely to avoid the pit. the memory of the words of the First Born came to me: "Follow a corridor. and then a feeble light made the balance of the way plain. For a moment I paused uncertain as to which of the several exits from the apartment would lead me upon the right path. and had there been it would have been dissipated by the sight of a tiny. It did not take me long to start upon that unknown way. I tried to recollect the directions which I had heard Thurid repeat to Solan. until. as though through a heavy fog. seemed a cruel fate. and as I staggered back into the warmth of the tunnel's end I was as near hopelessness as I ever have been." And I recalled the exit at which he had pointed as he spoke. Part of the way was black as sin. after that the way is along but a single branchless corridor. At the end of this corridor I shall come to a spiral runway which I must follow down instead of up. was all that had been left to carry the initiated past that frightful cavity into which the unknowing must surely have toppled at the first step. The stretch where I must hug the left wall to avoid the pits was darkest of them all. A narrow ledge. 243 . here again follow to the right. slowly. although I knew that there might be grave dangers before me. almost naked as I was. but the worst of it was that I knew I could not endure the bitter cold. As I snatched up the bauble I saw that it bore the device of the Princess of Helium. and then pressing it to my lips I dashed madly along the winding way that led gently downward toward the lower galleries of the palace. the sudden change to arctic frigidity was anything but pleasant. and at last. nor did I go with caution. and that I would perish before ever I could overtake Thurid and Dejah Thoris. His dead body still lay where I had left it. but I knew that two had done so—Thurid. I came suddenly out into the glare of day upon a field of snow and ice. who had had all the arts and wiles of cunning man pitted against him. passing three diverging corridors upon the right. at the end of the last corridor. and I was nearly over the edge of the abyss before I knew that I was near the danger spot. To be thus blocked by nature. then into the fourth right-hand corridor to where three corridors meet.

but if there were a safer way it were well worth the delay to attempt to discover it. having knowledge of it. at last. the walls of which were lined with hooks from which depended suits of the complete outdoor apparel of the yellow men. that I might come again to the side of Dejah Thoris in fit condition to do battle for her. I could see by the signs of those who had gone before that when Dejah Thoris had walked she had been continually holding back. and that the black man had been compelled to drag her. and the telltale fur that had fallen partly within the corridor had proved the means of guiding me to the very spot he would least have wished me to have knowledge of. or harassed by darkness or hidden dangers. deep and close together in the heavy snow. and I could well imagine that she had fought him fiercely every step of the way. for though the going was rough in the extreme. Once more I stepped beyond the tunnel's mouth to find the fresh tracks of Thurid and Dejah Thoris in the new-fallen snow. was my task an easy one. it was quite evident that this was the dressing-room used by the nobles leaving and entering the hothouse city. Beyond these it dipped again into another canon. I was no longer vexed by doubts as to the direction I should follow. for if needs be I would go ahead though I perished ere ever I reached my goal. In the darkness I could not see what held it.I had by no means given up my intention of continuing the pursuit. only to rise a quarter-mile farther on toward a pass which skirted the flank of a rocky hill. It required but the matter of a few seconds to don the necessary orluk-skin clothing. Now. Scarce had I returned to the tunnel than I stumbled over a portion of a fur garment that seemed fastened to the floor of the corridor close to the wall. Pushing the portal aside. Through a snow-covered canyon the way led up toward the summit of low hills. As I came round the jutting promontory of the hill's shoulder I saw that which quickened my pulses and set my heart to beating high. I found myself upon the threshold of a small chamber. with the heavy. but by groping with my hands I discovered that it was wedged beneath the bottom of a closed door. and I knew from these signs that then he had been forced to carry her. had stopped here to outfit himself and Dejah Thoris before venturing into the bitter cold of the arctic world beyond. For other stretches only his foot-prints were visible. for within a tiny basin between the 244 . Situated as it was at the mouth of a tunnel leading from the palace. In his haste he had dropped several garments upon the floor. fur-lined boots that are so essential a part of the garmenture of one who would successfully contend with the frozen trails and the icy winds of the bleak northland. and that Thurid.

crest of this hill and the next stood four people before the mouth of a great cave. The two redoubled their efforts at the propeller at which they were working. and then both made a rush for the boarding-ladder. and beside them upon the gleaming snow rested a flier which had evidently but just been dragged from its hiding place. wheeling him around in my direction as he pointed to where I was now plainly visible. Thurid. and Matai Shang. That there was something radically wrong with the flier was evident from its lack of buoyancy. for the moment that I knew I had been perceived I cast aside every attempt at stealth and broke into a mad race for the flier. and the further fact that though Thurid had turned twice to the starting lever 245 . while above him leaned the evil face of the First Born. but before ever I could reach them Thurid could easily make good his escape. They had the thing completed before I had covered half the distance that lay between me and them. while the black scoffed at him as he went about the work at which he was engaged. Thurid was the first to reach it. Phaidor. A trailing rope from the vessel's stern put new hope in me. though not with the speed that marks the well-conditioned flier. swinging ladder toward the deck. for if I could but reach it before it whipped too high above my head there was yet a chance to gain the deck by its slender aid. where a touch of the button controlling the buoyancy tanks sent the craft slowly upward. Phaidor entered the small cabin upon the vessel's deck. The two men were engaged in a heated argument—the Father of Therns threatening. and which very evidently was being replaced after having been removed for some purpose of repair. and then both again descended to the ground to complete the preparations for departure. I saw him seize Thurid by the shoulder. Back by the city of Kadabra lay a great fleet of mighty fliers—the ships of Helium and Ptarth that I had saved from destruction earlier in the day. for with Phaidor's assistance they both set about dragging the resisting Dejah Thoris to the flier's deck. I had come to within a quarter of a mile of them when Matai Shang espied me. and with the agility of a monkey clambered swiftly to the boat's deck. The four were Dejah Thoris. As I ran I saw Matai Shang clambering up the swaying. I was still some hundred yards away as I saw them rising from my grasp. As I crept toward them cautiously that I might come as near as possible before being discovered. I saw that finally the men appeared to have reached some sort of a compromise. Here they made her fast.

246 . but the change of position that resulted caused me to slip more rapidly toward the end of the rope. Tightly as I clung I felt the rope slipping. A long. With the blow upon my head came unconsciousness. With a mighty. I was almost to the trailing rope by now. the while it drifted from me. and the flier drifted but a hundred yards farther to the south—but the end of the trailing rope was now a good thirty feet above the ground. for when I opened my eyes Thurid and Matai Shang yet battled at the ladder's top. and just beneath the rope's dangling end I put my earthly muscles to the supreme test. except for a slight drifting with a low breeze from the north. With a prayer of gratitude upon my lips I scrambled upward toward the boat's deck. With a loud shriek of fear the Holy Hekkador grasped frantically at that menacing arm. Goaded to madness by the cruel misfortune that had tripped me when success was almost within my grasp. while all that was dearest to me drifted farther from my reach in the clutches of that black fiend. the end of which was now just leaving the ground. Now Matai Shang was close to the gunwale. but I heard the sounds of conflict and thus knew that they still fought—the thern for his life and the black for the increased buoyancy that relief from the weight of even a single body would give the craft. It could not have been more than a few seconds that I lay senseless there upon the northern ice. striking my head upon a rock as I fell sprawling but an arm's length from the rope. The craft was still rising slowly. slipping through my grasp. catlike bound I sprang upward toward that slender strand—the only avenue which yet remained that could carry me to my vanishing love. Thurid leaned farther down toward his co-conspirator. In a moment all that I had gained would be lost—then my fingers reached a knot at the very end of the rope and slipped no more. Slowly I felt the tantalizing thing escaping me. Then I stumbled on the icy way. Down it drove toward the white face of the Father of Therns.the boat still hung motionless in the air. I tried to raise my free hand to take a second hold above my first. claw-like hand was reaching up to grasp the metal rail. A foot above its lowest end my fingers closed. I could not see Thurid and Matai Shang now. I tore frantically across the intervening space. Suddenly a raised dagger gleamed in the upflung hand of the black.

I cast a last look upon my beloved princess. and eyes that betrayed the recent presence of mortal tears—above which this proud goddess had always held herself—she leaped to the deck directly before me. and a look of suffering. At last my hand closed upon the ship's rail and that very instant a horrid shriek rang out below me that sent my blood cold and turned my horrified eyes downward to a shrieking. I knew it. slim dagger. struggling at her bonds. That she should be forced to witness my awful death made my bitter fate seem doubly cruel. but had there been a doubt in my mind the nasty leer of triumph upon that wicked face would have convinced me. But a few paces lay between us. Then my head came above the deck and I saw Thurid. In her hand was a long. I should at least die as I had lived—fighting. twisting thing that shot downward into the awful chasm beneath me. 247 . Father of Therns. He was opposite the forward end of the cabin. It seemed incredible that one so lovely could yet harbor within her fair bosom a heart so cruel and relentless. I ceased my efforts to climb across the gunwale. hurtling. and today there was a new expression in her wondrous eyes that I never before had seen there—an unfamiliar softness. No power on earth could raise me to that deck before the infuriated black would be upon me. for the black dator need but cut the rope above me to be freed from me forever. It was Matai Shang. Never have I seen that beautiful face more beautiful than it was at that moment. Holy Hekkador. gone to his last accounting. As Thurid came opposite the cabin's doorway a new element projected itself into the grim tragedy of the air that was being enacted upon the deck of Matai Shang's disabled flier. dagger in hand. Beyond Thurid I could see my Dejah Thoris. as men should who are about to die. wide-eyed and horrified. My end had come. It was Phaidor. With flushed face and disheveled hair. Then I turned my face up toward Phaidor— waiting for the blow. Instead I took a firm grasp upon the rail with my left hand and drew my dagger. for the vessel had drifted across the brink of a chasm into whose yawning depths my body would drop to be crushed to a shapeless pulp should Thurid reach the rope now. while I was attempting to clamber aboard near the vessel's stern. smiling.Should Matai Shang die before I reached the deck my chances of ever reaching it would be slender indeed. leaping toward me.

daughter of the Holy Hekkador of the Holy Therns. "You wonder. for in her alone can you find true happiness. for Phaidor extended her hand to me and assisted me to the deck. and though I be deathless. A wan smile touched her lips—it was not the cruel and haughty smile of the goddess with which I was familiar. and that. where I stood gazing at her in unconcealed and stupefied wonderment. and if Phaidor.Thurid was beside her now—pushing past to reach me first." and with each word her sharp point pierced the vile heart of the great villain. "But there is another way." she said. with a vindictive shove she cast the carcass of the First Born from the deck to fall in awful silence after the body of his victim. Now could I love as Dejah Thoris loves. for you that has taught me what true love may be—what it should be. I have many sins to expiate. Dejah Thoris. and she buried her blade deep in the dator's breast. Prince of Helium. and so my only happiness can be to know that you and she are once more united." With her last word she turned and leaped from the vessel's deck into the abyss below. John Carter. she will prove her sincerity in the only way that lies open—having saved you for another. and now I was to be still further amazed by her next act. 248 . "for John Carter. I had been so paralyzed by surprise that I had made no move to reach the deck during the awe-inspiring scene which I had just witnessed. "Now I am different. and lest you doubt the sincerity of her protestations and her avowal of a new love that embraces Dejah Thoris also. and then what happened happened so quickly that it was all over before I could realize the truth of it. It is love—love of you. Phaidor's slim hand shot out to close upon the black's dagger wrist." and when I darkened my brows in disapproval of her words she raised an appealing hand. "It is a different love from mine—it is the love of your princess. "Wait. Her right hand went high with its gleaming blade. "But I am unhappy because of the wickedness that I have wrought. "what strange thing has wrought this change in me? I will tell you." she said. "And that. Then. has sinned she has this day already made partial reparation. Phaidor leaves you to her embraces. "That for the wrong you would have done Dejah Thoris!" and again the sharp steel sank into the bloody flesh. and how far from real love was my selfish and jealous passion for you. life is all too short for the atonement. "That for Matai Shang!" she cried. and that!" she shrieked.

Presently we came to the chamber of Solan. turned back across the frozen waste toward the city of Kadabra. Her engine would not start. for I had not known that Thuvia had wrested the blade from the daughter of Matai Shang before it had touched either Dejah Thoris or herself. and the tender love of Thuvia. for we had much to say to each other. With tear-dimmed eyes I turned away that I might not see the awful sight beneath. I had been proceeding without thought of caution. and Phaidor. THE NEW RULER The flier upon whose deck Dejah Thoris and I found ourselves after twelve long years of separation proved entirely useless. She told me of that last terrible moment months before when the door of her prison cell within the Temple of the Sun was slowly closing between us. and as her dear arms went about my neck and her perfect lips pressed to mine I forgot the horrors that I had witnessed and the suffering that I had endured in the rapture of my reward. and now hung above a low hill. too.With a cry of horror I sprang forward in a vain attempt to save the life that for two years I would so gladly have seen extinguished. for I was sure that the city and the palace were both in the hands of my friends by this time. I was too late. We were helpless there in mid air above the arctic ice. Of the cruel hatred of Phaidor. Dejah Thoris and I stepped from her deck and. Her buoyancy tanks leaked badly. Through the tunnel that had led me in pursuit of them we passed. and as she touched. Opening the buoyancy escape valves I permitted her to come slowly to the ground. The craft had drifted across the chasm which held the corpses of Matai Shang. walking slowly. and of Thuvia's shriek as she had realized the foul intention of the thern goddess. Of how Phaidor had sprung upon her with uplifted dagger. and of how even when despair was the darkest those two red girls had clung to the same hope and belief—that John Carter would find a way to release them. hand in hand. 249 . Thurid. It had been that cry that had rung in my ears all the long. weary months that I had been left in cruel doubt as to my princess' fate. She told me. of the awful eternity of her imprisonment. A moment later I had struck the bonds from Dejah Thoris.

" The nobles shrank back. and then. and there was a smile upon my lips. John Carter. still smiling grimly. She looked up at me wonderingly as the warriors advanced upon us with drawn swords. "We shall have the satisfaction of a partial vengeance at least when we leave behind us here the dead and mutilated corpses of the Prince and Princess of Helium. whispering together for a few moments. John Carter. When they had come almost within sword's reach of me I raised my hand and laid it upon the polished surface of a great lever. fearing a ruse. "they will realize that the vengeance of the yellow man costs his enemies dear. I looked my enemies full in the face. "Go your way. but their leader urged them on. looked in surprise." I answered. but we shall not die alone. "You dream not what you do!" "Right you are. and then as I made no move to draw they hesitated. "Stop!" shrieked their leader. "When they find them." "Prisoners do not go their own way." he said. and then an ugly smile overspread the features of their leader. He knows—knows that should one of you take another step toward Dejah Thoris. and then as their eyes fell upon the leader of the new party their faces 250 . for mine still hung within its scabbard at my side. casting affrighted glances at me and at one another." I stood close to the instrument-covered wall—Dejah Thoris at my side. As one they came to a sudden stop. At last their leader turned to me." Before they could make answer a door upon the opposite side of the apartment opened and a score of yellow men poured into the apartment. jerking his thumb upward toward the palace above. They were passing through on their way to the outside world along the corridors we had just traversed. "John Carter does not dream. "The author of all our misfortunes!" he cried. "and you are prisoners—prisoners of the Prince of Helium. pointing at me. and she and I shall die together." he went on. too. The yellow nobles. "and we shall go ours. I pull this lever wide." I replied. but that your end may be the more bitter. Prepare to die.And so it was that I bolted into the chamber full into the midst of a dozen nobles of the court of Salensus Oll. At sight of us they halted in their tracks. Princess of Helium. For an instant the nobles looked relieved. know that I may change my intention as to meting a merciful death to your princess—possibly she shall be preserved as a plaything for my nobles.

my son." he cried. and though the lives and training of royal Martians tend not toward vulgar demonstration. There were savage. Fortunate for Okar is it that you were here to prevent their escape. jeds and jeddaks. Here was a vast concourse of warriors. and leaping and tearing at my harness in the exuberance of his great love was dear old Woola—frantic mad with happiness. and they knew that they could look for neither aid nor mercy at his hands. I did not need to ask to know what had sent them thither—the courageous jeddak and his loyal daughter. for these be the greatest villains north of the ice-barrier. since nothing but death faced them should they resist. rebel Prince of Marentina. There was Tardos Mors and Mors Kajak. and Kantos Kan. green warriors from the dead sea bottoms of the south. Then indeed would we have had a more villainous ruler than the hated tyrant who fell before your sword. "Well done. These three fell upon Dejah Thoris as we entered the apartment. we made our way to the great audience chamber that had been Salensus Oll's. rubbing elbows with the blacks of the First Born who had come under my friend Xodar to help in the search for me and my princess. my old-time friends. escorted by the warriors of Talu. deafening was the din of ringing metal as the veteran warriors of every Martian clime clashed their blades together on high in token of success and victory.fell." The Okarian nobles now submitted to arrest. Jeddak of Thark. but as I passed among the throng of saluting nobles and warriors. John Carter. and a handful of white-skinned therns who had renounced their religion and sworn allegiance to Xodar. Carthoris. Long and loud was the cheering that burst forth at sight of us. yellow men of the north. I made inquiries concerning them among men of every nation. 251 . Red men from Helium and Ptarth. And there were Tars Tarkas. I thought that they would suffocate her with their embraces. and at last from one of the yellow prisoners of war I learned that they had been apprehended by an officer of the palace as they sought to reach the Pit of Plenty while I lay imprisoned there. my heart still was heavy. and tall and mighty in his gorgeous warrior trappings. and this one"—pointing to the leader of the party—"would have made himself Jeddak of Jeddaks in the place of the dead Salensus Oll. for there were two faces missing that I would have given much to have seen there—Thuvan Dihn and Thuvia of Ptarth were not to be found in the great chamber. "You turn their own mighty power against them. My informer said that they lay now in one of the many buried dungeons of the palace where they had been placed pending a decision as to their fate by the tyrant of the north. for he was Talu. and.

into this strange and savage world. the green warriors of the ancient seas acknowledge none but a green ruler. The hand of every race and nation was raised in continual strife and warring against the men of every other land and color. Twenty-two years before I had been cast. and now if I could but cement the fierce yellow race into this solidarity of nations I should feel that I had rounded out a great lifework. Men of Okar. naked and a stranger. but now there seemed to be no dissenting voice. none might compare with that upon which it now looked down. but a great stride forward toward that goal had been taken. As is ever the way with me. All the nations of Barsoom were not yet as one. and a single man who could insure the success of my hopes. nor would it be to the interests of either yellow or red man were a red jeddak to sit upon the throne of Okar. black man and white. I saw but one way." I cried. I acted then as I always act—without deliberation and without consultation. and my cup of happiness was full when I saw them being escorted into the room by a cheering guard of honor. Of all the strange scenes it must have witnessed since that long-dead age that had first seen a Jeddak of Jeddaks take his seat upon it. and I needed no better proof of the love these two bore for each other than the sincerity with which they embraced. "Warriors of Barsoom. the rebel prince of Marentina!" 252 . And as I thought. "Kadabra has fallen. I sprang to the throne that had once been Salensus Oll's. by the might of my sword and the loyalty of the friends my sword had made for me. and with her the hateful tyrant of the north. The red men are ruled by red jeddaks. Thuvia's first act was to rush to the side of Dejah Thoris. raise your swords to your new ruler—Talu. as. and as I pondered the past and future of that long-buried race of black-bearded yellow men I thought that I saw a brighter and more useful existence for them among the great family of friendly nations that now stretched from the south pole almost to their very doors. Looking down upon that crowded chamber stood the silent and empty throne of Okar. Today. grasping Talu by the arm. the First Born of the south pole take their law from black Xodar. Those who do not like my plans and my ways of promoting them have always their swords at their sides wherewith to back up their disapproval. red man and green rubbed shoulders in peace and good-fellowship. and repaid to Mars at least a portion of the immense debt of gratitude I owed her for having given me my Dejah Thoris.A moment later searching parties were scouring the ancient pile in search of them. but the integrity of Okar must be preserved. "There be but one warrior best fitted for the ancient and mighty title of Jeddak of Jeddaks of the North.

The sky was gorgeous with gaily trimmed fliers. and the hunting of the sacred apt shall be the sport of my nobles until no single specimen of that hideous creature roams the frozen north. upon the great fleet which I had been so fortunate to preserve from destruction. that the green men may find an easy way to the land of the yellow. Every roof within both cities was spread with costly silks and tapestries. "Henceforth. 253 . The people had long been preparing for our coming. There we remained. and upon a carved seat of wondrous beauty beneath a bower of purple blooms we saw two who had preceded us—Thuvia of Ptarth and Carthoris of Helium. for all had thought that the red men would retain that which they had taken by force of arms. why not? What matter ages in this world of perpetual youth? We remained at Kadabra. as the work was completed.And then a great cry of rejoicing rose among the free men of Marentina and the Kadabran prisoners. until after his formal induction into office." he said. where all day and half a night the vessels disembarked their crews. the guest of Thuvan Dihn. The victorious warriors who had followed Carthoris joined in the mad demonstration. "The Carrion Caves shall be cleansed. thin towers of the twin cities of Helium. cementing the new ties that had been formed between Kaol and Helium. The handsome head of the handsome youth was bent low above the beautiful face of his companion. and that they should be ruled henceforth by an alien Jeddak. Above the mighty forests of Kaol we hovered until word from Kulan Tith brought us to his single landing-tower. Dejah Thoris and I passed out into the gorgeous garden of the jeddaks that graces the inner courtyard of the palace of Kadabra. for a month. and amidst the wild confusion and the tumult and the cheering. I looked at Dejah Thoris. but not before we had witnessed the total demolition of the grim Guardian of the North under orders of the new Jeddak of Jeddaks. and as I drew her close to me I whispered: "Why not?" Indeed. as we set sail for Ptarth. and I could see that Carthoris would have remained forever had he not been a Prince of Helium. and then. for such had been the way upon Barsoom. "the fleets of the red men and the black are free to come and go across the ice-barrier as over their own lands. At our heels walked Woola." We bade our yellow friends farewell with real regret. smiling. and then one long-to-be-remembered day we sighted the tall. At the city of Kaol we visited. the guests of Talu. we sailed south across the ice-barrier.

there was Thuvan Dihn. there was Talu. the royal family of Helium was reunited in their own mighty city. Could it be possible that the strict sense of justice which dominates the men of Mars had caused them to overlook the great good that had come out of my heresy? Could they ignore the fact that to me. was due the rescue of Carthoris. of Mors Kajak. where we had long since caused a lovely garden to be made that we three might find seclusion and quiet happiness among ourselves. whom we had but just left within his own palace a few days since. Nor did any of us who had been upon that expedition of indescribable danger and glory lack for plaudits. Slowly there came to me the recollection of the deferred doom that awaited me since that time I had been tried here in the Temple by Zat Arras for the sin of returning from the Valley Dor and the Lost Sea of Korus. and Xodar. As our flier touched the landing stage at the temple's top we saw countless other craft arriving and departing. but when the jeddak summons no man delays. whom I could have sworn was still in his icebound hothouse city beyond the northern barrier. Women and children and mighty warriors wept in gratitude for the fate that had restored their beloved Tardos Mors and the divine princess whom the whole nation idolized. and me alone. In the streets below a great multitude surged toward the great gates of the temple. of Dejah Thoris. with enough lesser jeds and jeddaks to make up the thirty-one who must sit in judgment upon their fellow-man. of Tardos Mors? I could not believe it. Jeddak of the First Born. so that the two cities seemed ablaze with the fires of the hearts of the magnificent stones and burnished metal that reflected the brilliant sunlight. Jeddak of Ptarth—how came he to Helium as soon as we? There was Tars Tarkas. At last. far from the pomp and ceremony of court. to summon us to the Temple of Reward—"where one is to be judged this night." the summons concluded. 254 . changing it into countless glorious hues. There was Kulan Tith. and among them sat Tardos Mors and Mors Kajak. and yet for what other purpose could I have been summoned to the Temple of Reward immediately upon the return of Tardos Mors to his throne? My first surprise as I entered the temple and approached the Throne of Righteousness was to note the men who sat there as judges. Jeddak of Jeddaks of the North. That night a messenger came to me as I sat with Dejah Thoris and Carthoris upon the roof of my city palace.Gold and jewels were scattered over roof and street and plaza. after twelve years. I racked my brain to try and determine what important case there might be pending which could call the royal family from their palaces on the eve of their return to Helium after years of absence. surrounded by joy-mad millions before the palace gates. Jeddak of Kaol. Jeddak of Thark.

"take your place upon the Pedestal of Truth. "John Carter. uncompromising judges. I could have wept had I not been so mad with rage that I almost whipped my sword out and had at them all upon the spot. Then Tardos Mors arose.A right royal tribunal indeed." he said. When the reading had ceased Tardos Mors arose. there to do their duty. a green-bronze statue. martial voice. and as I glanced about that circle of faces that a moment before I could have sworn contained the best friends I had upon Barsoom. for you are to be tried by a fair and impartial tribunal of your fellow-men. far above us all." he exclaimed. Tars Tarkas. A clerk rose and from a great book read a long list of the more notable deeds that I had thought to my credit. I warrant." With level eye and high-held head I did as he bade. as never before sat together during all the history of ancient Mars. silence fell upon the great concourse of people that packed the auditorium. He turned a baleful eye upon me—he. As I entered." he said in his deep. It is the way upon Barsoom to recite a man's virtues with his sins when he is come to trial. towering height until he loomed. with whom I had fought through countless battles. unfolding all his mighty. What is your judgment?" Then Tars Tarkas came slowly to his feet. With the others he read of all that I had done within the circle of the Otz Mountains where the Holy Therns and the First Born had held sway. No longer may John Carter be Prince of Helium"—he paused—"but instead let him be Jeddak of Jeddaks. and so I was not surprised that all that was to my credit should be read there to my judges—who knew it all by heart—even down to the present moment. Warlord of Barsoom!" As the thirty-one judges sprang to their feet with drawn and upraised swords in unanimous concurrence in the verdict. Prince of Helium—the good with the bad. and such a one. whom I loved as a brother. "Most righteous judges. "there can be but one verdict. I saw no single friendly glance—only stern. 255 . covering a long period of twenty-two years since first I had stepped the ocher sea bottom beside the incubator of the Tharks. "Judges. the storm broke throughout the length and breadth and height of that mighty building until I thought the roof would fall from the thunder of the mad shouting. "you have heard recited all that is known of John Carter.

and as the people saw who sat within.Now. and there Tardos Mors assisted her from the car. at last." he said. I saw the grim humor of the method they had adopted to do me this great honor. 256 . for she whom the nobles carried was Dejah Thoris. but that there was any hoax in the reality of the title they had conferred upon me was readily disproved by the sincerity of the congratulations that were heaped upon me by the judges first and then the nobles. Straight to the Throne of Righteousness they bore her. Before them all I drew my wife close to me and kissed her upon the lips. "Let a world's most beautiful woman share the honor of her husband. leading her forward to my side. the cheers that had rung out for me paled into insignificance beside those which thundered through the vast edifice now. beloved Princess of Helium. Presently fifty of the mightiest nobles of the greatest courts of Mars marched down the broad Aisle of Hope bearing a splendid car upon their shoulders.