A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 142

where I stood swung open my fifty Tharks, headed by
Tars Tarkas himself, rode in upon their mighty thoats. I led them to
the palace walls, which I negotiated easily without assistance. Once
inside, however, the gate gave me considerable trouble, but I finally
was rewarded by seeing it swing upon its huge hinges, and soon my
fierce escort was riding across the gardens of the jeddak 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. The immense hall was crowded with nobles and their women,
as though some important function was in progress. There was not a
guard in sight without the palace, due, I presume, to the fact that the
city and palace walls were considered impregnable, and so I came close
and peered within.

At one end of the chamber, upon massive golden thrones encrusted with
diamonds, sat Than Kosis and his consort, surrounded by officers and
dignitaries of state. 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, the head of a procession which advanced to the
foot of the throne.

First there marched four officers of the jeddak's Guard bearing a huge
salver on which reposed, upon a cushion of scarlet silk, a great golden
chain with a collar and padlock at each end. 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.

At the foot of the throne these two parties separated and halted,
facing each other at opposite sides of the aisle. Then came more
dignitaries, and the officers of the palace and of the army, and
finally two figures entirely muffled in scarlet silk, so that not a
feature of either was discernible. These two stopped at the foot of
the throne, facing Than Kosis. When the balance of the procession had
entered and assumed their stations Than Kosis addressed the couple
standing before him. I could not hear his words, but presently two
officers advanced and removed the scarlet robe from one of the figures,
and I saw that Kantos Kan had failed in his mission, for it was Sab
Than, Prince of Zodanga, who stood revealed before me.

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

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