The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 120

man, and I must admit that I
seldom have felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed as I did that moment.
While I was quite familiar with the Martian custom which allows female
slaves to Martian men, whose high and chivalrous honour is always ample
protection for every woman in his household, yet I had never myself
chosen other than men as my body servants.

"And I ever return to Helium, Thuvia," I said, "you shall go with me,
but as an honoured equal, and not as a slave. There you shall find
plenty of handsome young nobles who would face Issus herself to win a
smile from you, and we shall have you married in short order to one of
the best of them. Forget your foolish gratitude-begotten infatuation,
which your innocence has mistaken for love. I like your friendship
better, Thuvia."

"You are my master; it shall be as you say," she replied simply, but
there was a note of sadness in her voice.

"How came you here, Thuvia?" I asked. "And where is Tars Tarkas?"

"The great Thark, I fear, is dead," she replied sadly. "He was a
mighty fighter, but a multitude of green warriors of another horde than
his overwhelmed him. The last that I saw of him they were bearing him,
wounded and bleeding, to the deserted city from which they had sallied
to attack us."

"You are not sure that he is dead, then?" I asked. "And where is this
city of which you speak?"

"It is just beyond this range of hills. The vessel in which you so
nobly resigned a place that we might find escape defied our small skill
in navigation, with the result that we drifted aimlessly about for two
days. Then we decided to abandon the craft and attempt to make our way
on foot to the nearest waterway. Yesterday we crossed these hills and
came upon the dead city beyond. We had passed within its streets and
were walking toward the central portion, when at an intersecting avenue
we saw a body of green warriors approaching.

"Tars Tarkas was in advance, and they saw him, but me they did not see.
The Thark sprang back to my side and forced me into an adjacent
doorway, where he told me to remain in hiding until I could escape,
making my way to Helium if possible.

"'There will be no escape for me now,' he said, 'for these be the
Warhoon of the South. When they have seen my metal it will be to the
death.'

"Then

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