9. WITH THE YELLOW MEN
Thuvan Dihn was not long in joining me; and, though we found the
hooked weapon a strange and savage thing with which to deal, the
three of us soon despatched the five black-bearded warriors who
When the battle was over our new acquaintance turned to me, and
removing the shield from his wrist, held it out. I did not know
the significance of his act, but judged that it was but a form of
expressing his gratitude to me.
I afterward learned that it symbolized the offering of a man's life
in return for some great favor done him; and my act of refusing,
which I had immediately done, was what was expected of me.
"Then accept from Talu, Prince of Marentina," said the yellow man,
"this token of my gratitude," and reaching beneath one of his wide
sleeves he withdrew a bracelet and placed it upon my arm. He then
went through the same ceremony with Thuvan Dihn.
Next he asked our names, and from what land we hailed. He seemed
quite familiar with the geography of the outerworld, and when I
said I was from Helium he raised his brows.
"Ah," he said, "you seek your ruler and his company?"
"Know you of them?" I asked.
"But little more than that they were captured by my uncle, Salensus
Oll, Jeddak of Jeddaks, Ruler of Okar, land of the yellow men of
Barsoom. As to their fate I know nothing, for I am at war with my
uncle, who would crush my power in the principality of Marentina.
"These from whom you have just saved me are warriors he has sent
out to find and slay me, for they know that often I come alone to
hunt and kill the sacred apt which Salensus Oll so much reveres.
It is partly because I hate his religion that Salensus Oll hates
me; 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.
"He is a cruel and tyrannous master whom all hate, 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. My
own people are faithful to me, and the little valley of Marentina
has paid no tribute to the court of Salensus Oll for a year.
"Nor can he force us, for a dozen men may hold the narrow way to
Marentina against a million. But now, as to thine own affairs.
How may I aid you? My palace is at your disposal, if you wish to
honor me by coming to Marentina."
"When our work is done we shall be glad to accept your invitation,"
I replied. "But now you can assist us most by directing us to the
court of Salensus Oll, and suggesting some means by which we may
gain admission to the city and the palace, or whatever other place
we find our friends to be confined."
Talu gazed ruefully at our smooth faces and at Thuvan Dihn's red
skin and my white one.
"First you must come to Marentina," he said, "for a great change
must be wrought in your appearance before you can hope to enter
any city in Okar. You must have yellow faces and black beards,
and your apparel and trappings must be those least likely to arouse
suspicion. In my palace is one who can make you appear as truly
yellow men as does Salensus Oll himself."
His counsel seemed wise; and as there was apparently no other way
to insure a successful entry to Kadabra, the capital city of Okar,
we set out with Talu, Prince of Marentina, for his little, rock-bound
The way was over some of the worst traveling I have ever seen, and
I do not wonder that in this land where there are neither thoats
nor fliers that Marentina is in little fear of invasion; but at
last we reached our destination, the first view of which I had from
a slight elevation a half-mile from the city.
Nestled in a deep valley lay a city of Martian concrete, whose
every street and plaza and open space was roofed with glass. All
about lay snow and ice, but there was none upon the rounded,
domelike, crystal covering that enveloped the whole city.
Then I saw how these people combated the rigors of the arctic, and
lived in luxury and comfort in the midst of a land of perpetual
ice. Their cities were veritable hothouses, and when I had come
within this one my respect and admiration for the scientific and
engineering skill of this buried nation was unbounded.
The moment we entered the city Talu threw off his outer garments
of fur, as did we, and I saw that his apparel differed but little
from that of the red races of Barsoom. Except for his leathern
harness, covered thick with jewels and metal, he was naked, nor could
one have comfortably worn apparel in that warm and humid atmosphere.
For three days we remained the guests of Prince Talu, 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
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, 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, and how little is necessary to maintain
the perpetual summer heat of the glorious garden spot within this
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.
The broad tires of these unique fliers are but rubber-like gas bags
filled with the eighth Barsoomian ray, 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. It is this ray which propels the inherent
or reflected light of the planet off into space, and when confined
gives to the Martian craft their airy buoyancy.
The ground fliers of Marentina contain just sufficient buoyancy in
their automobile-like wheels to give the cars traction for steering
purposes; and though the hind wheels are geared to the engine, and
aid in driving the machine, the bulk of this work is carried by a
small propeller at the stern.
I know of no more delightful sensation than that of riding in one
of these luxuriously appointed cars which skim, light and airy as
feathers, along the soft, mossy avenues of Marentina. 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.
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. Our skins were of the
same lemon color as his own, and great, black beards and mustaches
had been deftly affixed to our smooth faces. The trappings of
warriors of Okar aided in the deception; and for wear beyond the
hothouse cities we each had suits of the black- and yellow-striped
Talu gave us careful directions for the journey to Kadabra, the
capital city of the Okar nation, which is the racial name of the
yellow men. This good friend even accompanied us part way, and
then, promising to aid us in any way that he found possible, bade
On parting he slipped upon my finger a curiously wrought ring set
with a dead-black, lusterless stone, which appeared more like a
bit of bituminous coal than the priceless Barsoomian gem which in
reality it is.
"There had been but three others cut from the mother stone," he
said, "which is in my possession. These three are worn by nobles
high in my confidence, all of whom have been sent on secret missions
to the court of Salensus Oll.
"Should you come within fifty feet of any of these three you will
feel a rapid, pricking sensation in the finger upon which you wear
this ring. He who wears one of its mates will experience the same
feeling; 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. By it you will know that a friend
is at hand upon whom you may depend for assistance in time of need.
"Should another wearer of one of these gems call upon you for aid
do not deny him, and should death threaten you swallow the ring
rather than let it fall into the hands of enemies. Guard it with
your life, John Carter, for some day it may mean more than life to
With this parting admonition our good friend turned back toward
Marentina, and we set our faces in the direction of the city of
Kadabra and the court of Salensus Oll, Jeddak of Jeddaks.
That very evening we came within sight of the walled and glass-roofed
city of Kadabra. It lies in a low depression near the pole,
surrounded by rocky, snow-clad hills. From the pass through which
we entered the valley we had a splendid view of this great city of
the north. 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.
At regular intervals great gates give entrance to the city; but
even at the distance from which we looked upon the massive pile
we could see that all were closed, and, in accordance with Talu's
suggestion, we deferred attempting to enter the city until the
As he had said, we found numerous caves in the hillsides about
us, and into one of these we crept for the night. Our warm orluk
skins kept us perfectly comfortable, and it was only after a
most refreshing sleep that we awoke shortly after daylight on the
Already the city was astir, and from several of the gates we saw
parties of yellow men emerging. Following closely each detail
of the instructions given us by our good friend of Marentina, 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.
After giving them time to get well out of sight of our cave, Thuvan
Dihn and I crept out and followed them, overtaking them when they
were well into the hills.
When we had come almost to them I called aloud to their leader, when
the whole party halted and turned toward us. The crucial test had
come. Could we but deceive these men the rest would be comparatively
"Kaor!" I cried as I came closer to them.
"Kaor!" responded the officer in charge of the party.
"We be from Illall," I continued, giving the name of the most remote
city of Okar, which has little or no intercourse with Kadabra.
"Only yesterday we arrived, and this morning the captain of the
gate told us that you were setting out to hunt orluks, which is
a sport we do not find in our own neighborhood. We have hastened
after you to pray that you allow us to accompany you."
The officer was entirely deceived, and graciously permitted us to
go with them for the day. The chance guess that they were bound
upon an orluk hunt proved correct, 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,
since that way leads directly to the vast plains frequented by this
elephantine beast of prey.
In so far as the hunt was concerned, the day was a failure, for
we did not see a single orluk; but this proved more than fortunate
for us, 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, as it seemed that they had made great
boasts to the captain of that gate about their skill at this
We, therefore, approached Kadabra at a point several miles from
that at which the party had quitted it in the morning, and so were
relieved of the danger of embarrassing questions and explanations
on the part of the gate captain, whom we had said had directed us
to this particular hunting party.
We had come quite close to the city when my attention was attracted
toward a tall, black shaft that reared its head several hundred
feet into the air from what appeared to be a tangled mass of junk
or wreckage, now partially snow-covered.
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; but before we reached the city gate I was to learn the
purpose of that grim shaft and the meaning of the mighty accumulation
We had come almost to the gate when one of the party called to
his fellows, at the same time pointing toward the distant southern
horizon. Following the direction he indicated, my eyes descried
the hull of a large flier approaching rapidly from above the crest
of the encircling hills.
"Still other fools who would solve the mysteries of the forbidden
north," said the officer, half to himself. "Will they never cease
their fatal curiosity?"
"Let us hope not," answered one of the warriors, "for then what
should we do for slaves and sport?"
"True; but what stupid beasts they are to continue to come to a
region from whence none of them ever has returned."
"Let us tarry and watch the end of this one," suggested one of the
The officer looked toward the city.
"The watch has seen him," he said; "we may remain, for we may be
I looked toward the city and saw several hundred warriors issuing
from the nearest gate. They moved leisurely, as though there were
no need for haste--nor was there, as I was presently to learn.
Then I turned my eyes once more toward the flier. She was moving
rapidly toward the city, and when she had come close enough I was
surprised to see that her propellers were idle.
Straight for that grim shaft she bore. At the last minute I saw
the great blades move to reverse her, yet on she came as though
drawn by some mighty, irresistible power.
Intense excitement prevailed upon her deck, where men were running
hither and thither, manning the guns and preparing to launch the
small, one-man fliers, a fleet of which is part of the equipment
of every Martian war vessel. Closer and closer to the black shaft
the ship sped. In another instant she must strike, and then I saw
the familiar signal flown that sends the lesser boats in a great
flock from the deck of the mother ship.
Instantly a hundred tiny fliers rose from her deck, like a swarm of
huge dragon flies; but scarcely were they clear of the battleship
than the nose of each turned toward the shaft, and they, too, rushed
on at frightful speed toward the same now seemingly inevitable end
that menaced the larger vessel.
A moment later the collision came. Men were hurled in every
direction from the ship's deck, while she, bent and crumpled, took
the last, long plunge to the scrap-heap at the shaft's base.
With her fell a shower of her own tiny fliers, for each of them
had come in violent collision with the solid shaft.
I noticed that the wrecked fliers scraped down the shaft's side,
and that their fall was not as rapid as might have been expected;
and then suddenly the secret of the shaft burst upon me, and with
it an explanation of the cause that prevented a flier that passed
too far across the ice-barrier ever returning.
The shaft was a mighty magnet, 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,
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, but whether this adds in any way to its incalculable
power of attraction I do not know. I am a fighting man, not a
Here, at last, was an explanation of the long absence of Tardos Mors
and Mors Kajak. These valiant and intrepid warriors had dared the
mysteries and dangers of the frozen north to search for Carthoris,
whose long absence had bowed in grief the head of his beautiful
mother, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium.
The moment that the last of the fliers came to rest at the base of
the shaft the black-bearded, yellow warriors swarmed over the mass
of wreckage upon which they lay, 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.
A few of the uninjured red men battled bravely against their cruel
foes, 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.
When the last of the prisoners had been confined, the party
returned to the city, at the gate of which we met a pack of fierce,
gold-collared apts, each of which marched between two warriors,
who held them with strong chains of the same metal as their collars.
Just beyond the gate the attendants loosened the whole terrible
herd, and as they bounded off toward the grim, black shaft I did
not need to ask to know their mission. 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 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.
As it was I could but follow the yellow warriors, with bowed head,
and give thanks for the chance that had given Thuvan Dihn and me
such easy ingress to the capital of Salensus Oll.
Once within the gates, we had no difficulty in eluding our friends
of the morning, and presently found ourselves in a Martian hostelry.
10. IN DURANCE
The public houses of Barsoom, I have found, vary but little. There
is no privacy for other than married couples.
Men without their wives are escorted to a large chamber, the floor
of which is usually of white marble or heavy glass, kept scrupulously
clean. Here are many small, raised platforms for the guest's sleeping
silks and furs, and if he have none of his own clean, fresh ones
are furnished at a nominal charge.
Once a man's belongings have been deposited upon one of these
platforms he is a guest of the house, and that platform his own
until he leaves. No one will disturb or molest his belongings, as
there are no thieves upon Mars.
As assassination is the one thing to be feared, the proprietors
of the hostelries furnish armed guards, who pace back and forth
through the sleeping-rooms day and night. The number of guards and
gorgeousness of their trappings quite usually denote the status of
No meals are served in these houses, but generally a public eating
place adjoins them. Baths are connected with the sleeping chambers,
and each guest is required to bathe daily or depart from the hotel.
Usually on a second or third floor there is a large sleeping-room
for single women guests, but its appointments do not vary materially
from the chamber occupied by men. The guards who watch the women
remain in the corridor outside the sleeping chamber, while female
slaves pace back and forth among the sleepers within, ready to
notify the warriors should their presence be required.
I was surprised to note that all the guards with the hotel at which
we stopped were red men, and on inquiring of one of them I learned
that they were slaves purchased by the proprietors of the hotels from
the government. The man whose post was past my sleeping platform
had been commander of the navy of a great Martian nation; but fate
had carried his flagship across the ice-barrier within the radius
of power of the magnetic shaft, and now for many tedious years he
had been a slave of the yellow men.
He told me that princes, jeds, and even jeddaks of the outer
world, were among the menials who served the yellow race; but when
I asked him if he had heard of the fate of Mors Kajak or Tardos Mors
he shook his head, saying that he never had heard of their being
prisoners here, though he was very familiar with the reputations
and fame they bore in the outer world.
Neither had he heard any rumor of the coming of the Father of Therns
and the black dator of the First Born, but he hastened to explain
that he knew little of what took place within the palace. 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,
and that I should be so ignorant of customs and conditions among
my own race.
In fact, I had forgotten my disguise upon discovering a red man
pacing before my sleeping platform; but his growing expression of
surprise warned me in time, for I had no mind to reveal my identity
to any unless some good could come of it, and I did not see how
this poor fellow could serve me yet, 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
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. We spoke in low
whispers, but, as that is only what courtesy demands in a public
sleeping place, we roused no suspicion.
At last, 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, we bade each other good
night and turned to sleep.
After breakfasting the following morning we set out to see Kadabra,
and as, through the generosity of the prince of Marentina, we were
well supplied with the funds current in Okar we purchased a handsome
ground flier. Having learned to drive them while in Marentina, we
spent a delightful and profitable day exploring the city, and late
in the afternoon at the hour Talu told us we would find government
officials in their offices, we stopped before a magnificent building
on the plaza opposite the royal grounds and the palace.
Here we walked boldly in past the armed guard at the door, to be
met by a red slave within who asked our wishes.
"Tell Sorav, your master, that two warriors from Illall wish to
take service in the palace guard," I said.
Sorav, Talu had told us, was the commander of the forces of the
palace, 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, he was
sure that we would be welcomed and few questions asked us.
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.
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, 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.
After a wait of several minutes in an ante-chamber we were summoned
into the private office of Sorav, where we were courteously greeted
by this ferocious-appearing, black-bearded officer. He asked us
our names and stations in our own city, and having received replies
that were evidently satisfactory to him, he put certain questions
to us that Talu had foreseen and prepared us for.
The interview could not have lasted over ten minutes when Sorav
summoned an aid whom he instructed to record us properly, and then
escort us to the quarters in the palace which are set aside for
aspirants to membership in the palace guard.
The aid took us to his own office first, where he measured and
weighed and photographed us simultaneously with a machine ingeniously
devised for that purpose, five copies being instantly reproduced in
five different offices of the government, 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, there turning us over
to the officer in charge.
This individual again questioned us briefly, and finally despatched
a soldier to guide us to our quarters. These we found located upon
the second floor of the palace in a semi-detached tower at the rear
of the edifice.
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. Salensus
Oll had, therefore, set apart these quarters for aspirants, and here
they were securely locked against the danger of attack by members
of the guard.
This unwelcome information put a sudden check to all our well-laid
plans, 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.
As it was this interval upon which we had banked to accomplish
so much in our search for Dejah Thoris and Thuvia of Ptarth, 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.
With a wry face I turned to Thuvan Dihn. My companion but shook
his head disconsolately and walked to one of the windows upon the
far side of the apartment.
Scarcely had he gazed beyond them than he called to me in a tone
of suppressed excitement and surprise. In an instant I was by his
"Look!" said Thuvan Dihn, pointing toward the courtyard below.
As my eyes followed the direction indicated I saw two women pacing
back and forth in an enclosed garden.
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, the
length of a world. Only ten feet of space and a few metal bars
separated me from them.
With a cry I attracted their attention, 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.
To my astonishment and horror her head went high, and as a look
of utter contempt touched her finely chiseled features she turned
her back full upon me. My body is covered with the scars of a
thousand conflicts, but never in all my long life have I suffered
such anguish from a wound, for this time the steel of a woman's
look had entered my heart.
With a groan I turned away and buried my face in my arms. I
heard Thuvan Dihn call aloud to Thuvia, but an instant later his
exclamation of surprise betokened that he, too, had been repulsed
by his own daughter.
"They will not even listen," he cried to me. "They have put their
hands over their ears and walked to the farther end of the garden.
Ever heard you of such mad work, John Carter? The two must be
Presently I mustered the courage to return to the window, for
even though she spurned me I loved her, and could not keep my eyes
from feasting upon her divine face and figure, but when she saw me
looking she again turned away.
I was at my wit's end to account for her strange actions, and that
Thuvia, too, had turned against her father seemed incredible. 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 looked
upon me with loathing and contempt because I had returned from the
Valley Dor, or because I had desecrated the temples and persons of
the Holy Therns?
To naught else could I ascribe her strange deportment, yet it seemed
far from possible that such could be the case, for the love of
Dejah Thoris for John Carter had been a great and wondrous love--far
above racial distinctions, creed, or religion.
As I gazed ruefully at the back of her haughty, royal head a gate
at the opposite end of the garden opened and a man entered. As he
did so he turned and slipped something into the hand of the yellow
guardsman beyond the gate, nor was the distance too great that I
might not see that money had passed between them.
Instantly I knew that this newcomer had bribed his way within the
garden. Then he turned in the direction of the two women, and
I saw that he was none other than Thurid, the black dator of the
He approached quite close to them before he spoke, and as they turned
at the sound of his voice I saw Dejah Thoris shrink from him.
There was a nasty leer upon his face as he stepped close to her
and spoke again. I could not hear his words, but her answer came
"The granddaughter of Tardos Mors can always die," she said, "but
she could never live at the price you name."
Then I saw the black scoundrel go upon his knees beside her, fairly
groveling in the dirt, pleading with her. Only part of what he said
came to me, for though he was evidently laboring under the stress
of passion and excitement, it was equally apparent that he did not
dare raise his voice for fear of detection.
"I would save you from Matai Shang," I heard him say. "You know
the fate that awaits you at his hands. Would you not choose me
rather than the other?"
"I would choose neither," replied Dejah Thoris, "even were I free
to choose, as you know well I am not."
"You ARE free!" he cried. "John Carter, Prince of Helium, is dead."
"I know better than that; but even were he dead, and I must needs
choose another mate, it should be a plant man or a great white
ape in preference to either Matai Shang or you, black calot," she
answered with a sneer of contempt.
Of a sudden the vicious beast lost all control of himself, as with
a vile oath he leaped at the slender woman, gripping her tender
throat in his brute clutch. Thuvia screamed and sprang to aid her
fellow-prisoner, and at the same instant I, too, went mad, and
tearing at the bars that spanned my window I ripped them from their
sockets as they had been but copper wire.
Hurling myself through the aperture I reached the garden, but a
hundred feet from where the black was choking the life from my Dejah
Thoris, and with a single great bound I was upon him. I spoke no
word as I tore his defiling fingers from that beautiful throat,
nor did I utter a sound as I hurled him twenty feet from me.
Foaming with rage, Thurid regained his feet and charged me like a
"Yellow man," he shrieked, "you knew not upon whom you had laid
your vile hands, but ere I am done with you, you will know well
what it means to offend the person of a First Born."
Then he was upon me, reaching for my throat, 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. I ducked beneath his
outstretched arms, and as he lunged past me I planted a terrific
right upon the side of his jaw.
Just as he had done upon that other occasion he did now. Like a
top he spun round, his knees gave beneath him, and he crumpled to
the ground at my feet. Then I heard a voice behind me.
It was the deep voice of authority that marks the ruler of men,
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. At
his right stood Matai Shang, and behind them a score of guardsmen.
"Who are you," he cried, "and what means this intrusion within the
precincts of the women's garden? I do not recall your face. 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, Prince of Helium;
but his question recalled me to myself. I pointed to the dislodged
bars of the window above.
"I am an aspirant to membership in the palace guard," I said, "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. I
could not stand idly by, O Jeddak, and see this thing done within
the very palace grounds, and yet feel that I was fit to serve and
guard your royal person."
I had evidently made an impression upon the ruler of Okar by my
fair words, and when he had turned to Dejah Thoris and Thuvia of
Ptarth, and both had corroborated my statements it began to look
pretty dark for Thurid.
I saw the ugly gleam in Matai Shang's evil eyes as Dejah Thoris
narrated all that had passed between Thurid and herself, and when
she came to that part which dealt with my interference with the
dator of the First Born her gratitude was quite apparent, 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;
but that she should have denied me while she and Thuvia were the
only occupants of the garden still cut me sorely.
As the examination proceeded I cast a glance at Thurid and startled
him looking wide-eyed and wonderingly at me, and then of a sudden
he laughed full in my face.
A moment later Salensus Oll turned toward the black.
"What have you to say in explanation of these charges?" he asked
in a deep and terrible voice. "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, as though with the words a new thought and
a new desire had sprung up within his mind and breast.
Thurid had been about to reply and, with a malicious grin upon his
face, was pointing an accusing finger at me, when Salensus Oll's
words and the expression of his face cut him short.
A cunning look crept into his eyes, and I knew from the expression
of his face that his next words were not the ones he had intended
"O Mightiest of Jeddaks," he said, "the man and the women do not
speak the truth. The fellow had come into the garden to assist
them to escape. I was beyond and overheard their conversation,
and when I entered, the woman screamed and the man sprang upon me
and would have killed me.
"What know you of this man? He is a stranger to you, and I dare
say that you will find him an enemy and a spy. Let him be put on
trial, Salensus Oll, rather than your friend and guest, Thurid,
Dator of the First Born."
Salensus Oll looked puzzled. He turned again and looked upon Dejah
Thoris, and then Thurid stepped quite close to him and whispered
something in his ear--what, I know not.
Presently the yellow ruler turned to one of his officers.
"See that this man be securely confined until we have time to go
deeper into this affair," he commanded, "and as bars alone seem
inadequate to restrain him, let chains be added."
Then he turned and left the garden, taking Dejah Thoris with him--his
hand upon her shoulder. Thurid and Matai Shang went also, and as
they reached the gateway the black turned and laughed again aloud
in my face.
What could be the meaning of his sudden change toward me? Could
he suspect my true identity? It must be that, and the thing that
had betrayed me was the trick and blow that had laid him low for
the second time.
As the guards dragged me away my heart was very sad and bitter
indeed, for now to the two relentless enemies that had hounded her
for so long another and a more powerful one had been added, 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, ruler of Okar.