The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 5

Was the faint shadow of
a frown that crossed her brow an indication of displeasure at the sight
that met her eyes, or did the brilliant rays of the noonday sun
distress her? Who may say! She had been reared to believe that one day
she should wed Djor Kantos, son of her father's best friend. It had
been the dearest wish of Kantos Kan and The Warlord that this should
be, and Tara of Helium had accepted it as a matter of all but
accomplished fact. Djor Kantos had seemed to accept the matter in the
same way. They had spoken of it casually as something that would, as a
matter of course, take place in the indefinite future, as, for
instance, his promotion in the navy, in which he was now a padwar; or
the set functions of the court of her grandfather, Tardos Mors, Jeddak
of Helium; or Death. They had never spoken of love and that had puzzled
Tara of Helium upon the rare occasions she gave it thought, for she
knew that people who were to wed were usually much occupied with the
matter of love and she had all of a woman's curiosity--she wondered
what love was like. She was very fond of Djor Kantos and she knew that
he was very fond of her. They liked to be together, for they liked the
same things and the same people and the same books and their dancing
was a joy, not only to themselves but to those who watched them. She
could not imagine wanting to marry anyone other than Djor Kantos.

So perhaps it was only the sun that made her brows contract just the
tiniest bit at the same instant that she discovered Djor Kantos sitting
in earnest conversation with Olvia Marthis, daughter of the Jed of
Hastor. It was Djor Kantos' duty immediately to pay his respects to
Dejah Thoris and Tara of Helium; but he did not do so and presently the
daughter of The Warlord frowned indeed. She looked long at Olvia
Marthis, and though she had seen her many times before and knew her
well, she looked at her today through new eyes that saw, apparently for
the first time, that the girl from Hastor was noticeably beautiful even
among those other beautiful women of Helium. Tara of Helium was
disturbed. She attempted to analyze her emotions; but found it
difficult. Olvia Marthis was her friend--she was very fond of her and
she felt no anger toward her. Was she angry with Djor Kantos? No, she
finally decided that she was not.

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