The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 146

of Helium that I speak now. When I am done let the men
of Zodanga have their will with me. Zat Arras has taken my sword from
me, so the men of Zodanga no longer fear me. Will you listen?"

"Speak, John Carter, Prince of Helium," cried a great noble from the
audience, and the multitude echoed his permission, until the building
rocked with the noise of their demonstration.

Zat Arras knew better than to interfere with such a sentiment as was
expressed that day in the Temple of Reward, and so for two hours I
talked with the people of Helium.

But when I had finished, Zat Arras arose and, turning to the judges,
said in a low tone: "My nobles, you have heard John Carter's plea;
every opportunity has been given him to prove his innocence if he be
not guilty; but instead he has but utilized the time in further
blasphemy. What, gentlemen, is your verdict?"

"Death to the blasphemer!" cried one, springing to his feet, and in an
instant the entire thirty-one judges were on their feet with upraised
swords in token of the unanimity of their verdict.

If the people did not hear Zat Arras' charge, they certainly did hear
the verdict of the tribunal. A sullen murmur rose louder and louder
about the packed coliseum, and then Kantos Kan, who had not left the
platform since first he had taken his place near me, raised his hand
for silence. When he could be heard he spoke to the people in a cool
and level voice.

"You have heard the fate that the men of Zodanga would mete to Helium's
noblest hero. It may be the duty of the men of Helium to accept the
verdict as final. Let each man act according to his own heart. Here
is the answer of Kantos Kan, head of the navy of Helium, to Zat Arras
and his judges," and with that he unbuckled his scabbard and threw his
sword at my feet.

In an instant soldiers and citizens, officers and nobles were crowding
past the soldiers of Zodanga and forcing their way to the Throne of
Righteousness. A hundred men surged up on the platform, and a hundred
blades rattled and clanked to the floor at my feet. Zat Arras and his
officers were furious, but they were helpless. One by one I raised the
swords to my lips and buckled them again upon their owners.

"Come," said Kantos Kan, "we will escort John Carter and his party to
his own

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