The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 137

her out of harm's way.

Immediately Hor Vastus dispatched a dozen air scouts in as many
directions to search for her. It could not be possible that she had
gone far since we had last seen her. We others stepped to the deck of
the craft that had been sent to fetch us, and a moment later were upon
the Xavarian.

The first man to greet me was Kantos Kan himself. My old friend had
won to the highest place in the navy of Helium, but he was still to me
the same brave comrade who had shared with me the privations of a
Warhoon dungeon, the terrible atrocities of the Great Games, and later
the dangers of our search for Dejah Thoris within the hostile city of
Zodanga.

Then I had been an unknown wanderer upon a strange planet, and he a
simple padwar in the navy of Helium. To-day he commanded all Helium's
great terrors of the skies, and I was a Prince of the House of Tardos
Mors, Jeddak of Helium.

He did not ask me where I had been. Like Hor Vastus, he too dreaded
the truth and would not be the one to wrest a statement from me. That
it must come some time he well knew, but until it came he seemed
satisfied to but know that I was with him once more. He greeted
Carthoris and Tars Tarkas with the keenest delight, but he asked
neither where he had been. He could scarcely keep his hands off the
boy.

"You do not know, John Carter," he said to me, "how we of Helium love
this son of yours. It is as though all the great love we bore his
noble father and his poor mother had been centred in him. When it
became known that he was lost, ten million people wept."

"What mean you, Kantos Kan," I whispered, "by 'his poor mother'?" for
the words had seemed to carry a sinister meaning which I could not
fathom.

He drew me to one side.

"For a year," he said, "Ever since Carthoris disappeared, Dejah Thoris
has grieved and mourned for her lost boy. The blow of years ago, when
you did not return from the atmosphere plant, was lessened to some
extent by the duties of motherhood, for your son broke his white shell
that very night."

"That she suffered terribly then, all Helium knew, for did not all
Helium suffer with her the loss of her lord! But with the boy gone
there was nothing left, and after

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