The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 176

and the island, where I remained to wait the coming of
Carthoris and the others.

Among the prisoners was Yersted, commander of the submarine. He
recognized me from the three trips that I had taken with him during my
captivity among the First Born.

"How does it seem," I asked him, "to have the tables turned? To be
prisoner of your erstwhile captive?"

He smiled, a very grim smile pregnant with hidden meaning.

"It will not be for long, John Carter," he replied. "We have been
expecting you and we are prepared."

"So it would appear," I answered, "for you were all ready to become my
prisoners with scarce a blow struck on either side."

"The fleet must have missed you," he said, "but it will return to
Omean, and then that will be a very different matter--for John Carter."

"I do not know that the fleet has missed me as yet," I said, but of
course he did not grasp my meaning, and only looked puzzled.

"Many prisoners travel to Issus in your grim craft, Yersted?" I asked.

"Very many," he assented.

"Might you remember one whom men called Dejah Thoris?"

"Well, indeed, for her great beauty, and then, too, for the fact that
she was wife to the first mortal that ever escaped from Issus through
all the countless ages of her godhood. And the way that Issus
remembers her best as the wife of one and the mother of another who
raised their hands against the Goddess of Life Eternal."

I shuddered for fear of the cowardly revenge that I knew Issus might
have taken upon the innocent Dejah Thoris for the sacrilege of her son
and her husband.

"And where is Dejah Thoris now?" I asked, knowing that he would say the
words I most dreaded, but yet I loved her so that I could not refrain
from hearing even the worst about her fate so that it fell from the
lips of one who had seen her but recently. It was to me as though it
brought her closer to me.

"Yesterday the monthly rites of Issus were held," replied Yersted, "and
I saw her then sitting in her accustomed place at the foot of Issus."

"What," I cried, "she is not dead, then?"

"Why, no," replied the black, "it has been no year since she gazed upon
the divine glory of the radiant face of--"

"No year?" I interrupted.

"Why, no," insisted Yersted. "It cannot have been upward of three
hundred and seventy or eighty days."

A great light burst upon me. How stupid I had been!

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