The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 153

hundred swords leaped from a hundred scabbards, and a hundred
fighting-men sprang to the table-top and pledged me their lives and
fortunes to the expedition. Already my plans were formulated. I
thanked each loyal friend, and leaving Carthoris to entertain them,
withdrew to my own audience chamber with Kantos Kan, Tars Tarkas,
Xodar, and Hor Vastus.

Here we discussed the details of our expedition until long after dark.
Xodar was positive that Issus would choose both Dejah Thoris and Thuvia
to serve her for a year.

"For that length of time at least they will be comparatively safe," he
said, "and we will at least know where to look for them."

In the matter of equipping a fleet to enter Omean the details were left
to Kantos Kan and Xodar. The former agreed to take such vessels as we
required into dock as rapidly as possible, where Xodar would direct
their equipment with water propellers.

For many years the black had been in charge of the refitting of
captured battleships that they might navigate Omean, and so was
familiar with the construction of the propellers, housings, and the
auxiliary gearing required.

It was estimated that it would require six months to complete our
preparations in view of the fact that the utmost secrecy must be
maintained to keep the project from the ears of Zat Arras. Kantos Kan
was confident now that the man's ambitions were fully aroused and that
nothing short of the title of Jeddak of Helium would satisfy him.

"I doubt," he said, "if he would even welcome Dejah Thoris' return, for
it would mean another nearer the throne than he. With you and
Carthoris out of the way there would be little to prevent him from
assuming the title of Jeddak, and you may rest assured that so long as
he is supreme here there is no safety for either of you."

"There is a way," cried Hor Vastus, "to thwart him effectually and for
ever."

"What?" I asked.

He smiled.

"I shall whisper it here, but some day I shall stand upon the dome of
the Temple of Reward and shout it to cheering multitudes below."

"What do you mean?" asked Kantos Kan.

"John Carter, Jeddak of Helium," said Hor Vastus in a low voice.

The eyes of my companions lighted, and grim smiles of pleasure and
anticipation overspread their faces, as each eye turned toward me
questioningly. But I shook my head.

"No, my friends," I said, smiling, "I thank you, but it cannot be. Not
yet, at least. When we know that Tardos Mors and Mors

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