The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 111

Tara of Helium and the slave
girl, Lan-O. He seized the former roughly by a shoulder. "Stand!" he
commanded. Tara struck his hand from her and rising, backed away.

"Lay not your hand upon the person of a princess of Helium, beast!" she
warned.

E-Med laughed. "Think you that I play at jetan for you without first
knowing something of the stake for which I play?" he demanded. "Come
here!"

The girl drew herself to her full height, folding her arms across her
breast, nor did E-Med note that the slim fingers of her right hand were
inserted beneath the broad leather strap of her harness where it passed
over her left shoulder.

"And O-Tar learns of this you shall rue it, E-Med," cried the slave
girl; "there be no law in Manator that gives you this girl before you
shall have won her fairly."

"What cares O-Tar for her fate?" replied E-Med. "Have I not heard? Did
she not flout the great jeddak, heaping abuse upon him? By my first
ancestor, I think O-Tar might make a jed of the man who subdued her,"
and again he advanced toward Tara.

"Wait!" said the girl in low, even tone. "Perhaps you know not what you
do. Sacred to the people of Helium are the persons of the women of
Helium. For the honor of the humblest of them would the great jeddak
himself unsheathe his sword. The greatest nations of Barsoom have
trembled to the thunders of war in defense of the person of Dejah
Thoris, my mother. We are but mortal and so may die; but we may not be
defiled. You may play at jetan for a princess of Helium, but though you
may win the match, never may you claim the reward. If thou wouldst
possess a dead body press me too far, but know, man of Manator, that
the blood of The Warlord flows not in the veins of Tara of Helium for
naught. I have spoken."

"I know naught of Helium and O-Tar is our warlord," replied E-Med; "but
I do know that I would examine more closely the prize that I shall play
for and win. I would test the lips of her who is to be my slave after
the next games; nor is it well, woman, to drive me too far to anger."
His eyes narrowed as he spoke, his visage taking on the semblance of
that of a snarling beast. "If you doubt the truth of my words ask
Lan-O, the slave girl."

"He speaks truly, O woman of Helium," interjected Lan-O. "Try not the
temper of E-Med, if

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