The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 148

prisoner and his past services to Helium and
Barsoom, grant a respite of one year, or until the return of Mors
Kajak, or Tardos Mors to Helium. Disperse quietly to your houses. Go."

No one moved. Instead, they stood in tense silence with their eyes
fastened upon me, as though waiting for a signal to attack.

"Clear the temple," commanded Zat Arrras, in a low tone to one of his
officers.

Fearing the result of an attempt to carry out this order by force, I
stepped to the edge of the platform and, pointing toward the main
entrance, bid them pass out. As one man they turned at my request and
filed, silent and threatening, past the soldiers of Zat Arrras, Jed of
Zodanga, who stood scowling in impotent rage.

Kantos Kan with the others who had sworn allegiance to me still stood
upon the Throne of Righteousness with me.

"Come," said Kantos Kan to me, "we will escort you to your palace, my
Prince. Come, Carthoris and Xodar. Come, Tars Tarkas." And with a
haughty sneer for Zat Arrras upon his handsome lips, he turned and
strode to the throne steps and up the Aisle of Hope. We four and the
hundred loyal ones followed behind him, nor was a hand raised to stay
us, though glowering eyes followed our triumphal march through the
temple.

In the avenues we found a press of people, but they opened a pathway
for us, and many were the swords that were flung at my feet as I passed
through the city of Helium toward my palace upon the outskirts. Here
my old slaves fell upon their knees and kissed my hands as I greeted
them. They cared not where I had been. It was enough that I had
returned to them.

"Ah, master," cried one, "if our divine Princess were but here this
would be a day indeed."

Tears came to my eyes, so that I was forced to turn away that I might
hide my emotions. Carthoris wept openly as the slaves pressed about
him with expressions of affection, and words of sorrow for our common
loss. It was now that Tars Tarkas for the first time learned that his
daughter, Sola, had accompanied Dejah Thoris upon the last long
pilgrimage. I had not had the heart to tell him what Kantos Kan had
told me. With the stoicism of the green Martian he showed no sign of
suffering, yet I knew that his grief was as poignant as my own.

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