The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 99

swarm up from the dead sea bottoms lusting
for pillage and for loot, the stately ships of her beloved navy would
soar above the unprotected towers and minarets of the doomed city which
only capitulation and heavy tribute could then save.

But John Carter did not know! There was only one other to whom she
might hope to look--Turan the panthan; but where was he? She had seen
his sword in play and she knew that it had been wielded by a master
hand, and who should know swordplay better than Tara of Helium, who had
learned it well under the constant tutorage of John Carter himself.
Tricks she knew that discounted even far greater physical prowess than
her own, and a method of attack that might have been at once the envy
and despair of the cleverest of warriors. And so it was that her
thoughts turned to Turan the panthan, though not alone because of the
protection he might afford her. She had realized, since he had left her
in search of food, that there had grown between them a certain
comradeship that she now missed. There had been that about him which
seemed to have bridged the gulf between their stations in life. With
him she had failed to consider that he was a panthan or that she was a
princess--they had been comrades. Suddenly she realized that she missed
him for himself more than for his sword. She turned toward O-Tar.

"Where is Turan, my warrior?" she demanded.

"You shall not lack for warriors," replied the jeddak. "One of your
beauty will find plenty ready to fight for her. Possibly it shall not
be necessary to look farther than the jeddak of Manator. You please me,
woman. What say you to such an honor?"

Through narrowed lids the Princess of Helium scrutinized the Jeddak of
Manator, from feathered headdress to sandaled foot and back to
feathered headdress.

"'Honor'!" she mimicked in tones of scorn. "I please thee, do I? Then
know, swine, that thou pleaseth me not--that the daughter of John
Carter is not for such as thou!"

A sudden, tense silence fell upon the assembled chiefs. Slowly the
blood receded from the sinister face of O-Tar, Jeddak of Manator,
leaving him a sickly purple in his wrath. His eyes narrowed to two thin
slits, his lips were compressed to a bloodless line of malevolence. For
a long moment there was no sound in the throne room of the palace at
Manator. Then the jeddak turned toward U-Dor.

"Take her away," he said in a level voice that belied his appearance of
rage. "Take

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Ha-ah! but it is droll.