A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 94

Tardos Mors, Jeddak of Helium, your grandfather, that he may grovel
upon the ground in the agony of his sorrow. Tomorrow the torture will
commence; tonight thou art Tal Hajus'; come!"

He sprang down from the platform and grasped her roughly by the arm,
but scarcely had he touched her than I leaped between them. My
short-sword, sharp and gleaming was in my right hand; I could have
plunged it into his putrid heart before he realized that I was upon
him; but as I raised my arm to strike I thought of Tars Tarkas, and,
with all my rage, with all my hatred, I could not rob him of that sweet
moment for which he had lived and hoped all these long, weary years,
and so, instead, I swung my good right fist full upon the point of his
jaw. Without a sound he slipped to the floor as one dead.

In the same deathly silence I grasped Dejah Thoris by the hand, and
motioning Sola to follow we sped noiselessly from the chamber and to
the floor above. Unseen we reached a rear window and with the straps
and leather of my trappings I lowered, first Sola and then Dejah Thoris
to the ground below. Dropping lightly after them I drew them rapidly
around the court in the shadows of the buildings, and thus we returned
over the same course I had so recently followed from the distant
boundary of the city.

We finally came upon my thoats in the courtyard where I had left them,
and placing the trappings upon them we hastened through the building to
the avenue beyond. Mounting, Sola upon one beast, and Dejah Thoris
behind me upon the other, we rode from the city of Thark through the
hills to the south.

Instead of circling back around the city to the northwest and toward
the nearest waterway which lay so short a distance from us, we turned
to the northeast and struck out upon the mossy waste across which, for
two hundred dangerous and weary miles, lay another main artery leading
to Helium.

No word was spoken until we had left the city far behind, but I could
hear the quiet sobbing of Dejah Thoris as she clung to me with her dear
head resting against my shoulder.

"If we make it, my chieftain, the debt of Helium will be a mighty one;
greater than she can ever pay you; and should we not make it," she
continued, "the debt is no less, though Helium will never know, for you
have saved the

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