The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 185

heard the
sounds of conflict within the palace. I knew not what they meant, but
I have hoped against hope that it might be the men of Helium headed by
my Prince.

"And tell me, what of Carthoris, our son?"

"He was with me less than an hour since, Dejah Thoris," I replied. "It
must have been he whose men you have heard battling within the
precincts of the temple.

"Where is Issus?" I asked suddenly.

Dejah Thoris shrugged her shoulders.

"She sent me under guard to this room just before the fighting began
within the temple halls. She said that she would send for me later.
She seemed very angry and somewhat fearful. Never have I seen her act
in so uncertain and almost terrified a manner. Now I know that it must
have been because she had learned that John Carter, Prince of Helium,
was approaching to demand an accounting of her for the imprisonment of
his Princess."

The sounds of conflict, the clash of arms, the shouting and the
hurrying of many feet came to us from various parts of the temple. I
knew that I was needed there, but I dared not leave Dejah Thoris, nor
dared I take her with me into the turmoil and danger of battle.

At last I bethought me of the pits from which I had just emerged. Why
not secrete her there until I could return and fetch her away in safety
and for ever from this awful place. I explained my plan to her.

For a moment she clung more closely to me.

"I cannot bear to be parted from you now, even for a moment, John
Carter," she said. "I shudder at the thought of being alone again
where that terrible creature might discover me. You do not know her.
None can imagine her ferocious cruelty who has not witnessed her daily
acts for over half a year. It has taken me nearly all this time to
realize even the things that I have seen with my own eyes."

"I shall not leave you, then, my Princess," I replied.

She was silent for a moment, then she drew my face to hers and kissed
me.

"Go, John Carter," she said. "Our son is there, and the soldiers of
Helium, fighting for the Princess of Helium. Where they are you should
be. I must not think of myself now, but of them and of my husband's
duty. I may not stand in the way of that. Hide me in the

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