The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 191

Xodar, and without waiting for my
reply he dashed down into the tunnel at our feet. At his heels I ran
down through a half-dozen tiers of galleries, until at last he led me
along a level floor at the end of which I discerned a lighted chamber.

Massive bars blocked our further progress, but beyond I saw her--my
incomparable Princess, and with her were Thuvia and Phaidor. When she
saw me she rushed toward the bars that separated us. Already the
chamber had turned upon its slow way so far that but a portion of the
opening in the temple wall was opposite the barred end of the corridor.
Slowly the interval was closing. In a short time there would be but a
tiny crack, and then even that would be closed, and for a long
Barsoomian year the chamber would slowly revolve until once more for a
brief day the aperture in its wall would pass the corridor's end.

But in the meantime what horrible things would go on within that
chamber!

"Xodar!" I cried. "Can no power stop this awful revolving thing? Is
there none who holds the secret of these terrible bars?"

"None, I fear, whom we could fetch in time, though I shall go and make
the attempt. Wait for me here."

After he had left I stood and talked with Dejah Thoris, and she
stretched her dear hand through those cruel bars that I might hold it
until the last moment.

Thuvia and Phaidor came close also, but when Thuvia saw that we would
be alone she withdrew to the further side of the chamber. Not so the
daughter of Matai Shang.

"John Carter," she said, "this be the last time that you shall see any
of us. Tell me that you love me, that I may die happy."

"I love only the Princess of Helium," I replied quietly. "I am sorry,
Phaidor, but it is as I have told you from the beginning."

She bit her lip and turned away, but not before I saw the black and
ugly scowl she turned upon Dejah Thoris. Thereafter she stood a little
way apart, but not so far as I should have desired, for I had many
little confidences to impart to my long-lost love.

For a few minutes we stood thus talking in low tones. Ever smaller and
smaller grew the opening. In a short time now it would be too small
even to permit the slender form of my Princess to pass. Oh, why

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