The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 159

were he free to act, but in so far as I
knew, he also might be a prisoner in Zat Arras' pits.

That Zat Arras' spy had overheard our conversation relative to the
selection of a new Jeddak, I knew, and scarcely a half-dozen minutes
prior we had discussed the details of the plan to rescue Dejah Thoris.
The chances were that that matter, too, was well known to him.
Carthoris, Kantos Kan, Tars Tarkas, Hor Vastus, and Xodar might even
now be the victims of Zat Arras' assassins, or else his prisoners.

I determined to make at least one more effort to learn something, and
to this end I adopted strategy when next the youth came to my cell. I
had noticed that he was a handsome fellow, about the size and age of
Carthoris. And I had also noticed that his shabby trappings but illy
comported with his dignified and noble bearing.

It was with these observations as a basis that I opened my negotiations
with him upon his next subsequent visit.

"You have been very kind to me during my imprisonment here," I said to
him, "and as I feel that I have at best but a very short time to live,
I wish, ere it is too late, to furnish substantial testimony of my
appreciation of all that you have done to render my imprisonment
bearable.

"Promptly you have brought my food each day, seeing that it was pure
and of sufficient quantity. Never by word or deed have you attempted
to take advantage of my defenceless condition to insult or torture me.
You have been uniformly courteous and considerate--it is this more than
any other thing which prompts my feeling of gratitude and my desire to
give you some slight token of it.

"In the guard-room of my palace are many fine trappings. Go thou there
and select the harness which most pleases you--it shall be yours. All
I ask is that you wear it, that I may know that my wish has been
realized. Tell me that you will do it."

The boy's eyes had lighted with pleasure as I spoke, and I saw him
glance from his rusty trappings to the magnificence of my own. For a
moment he stood in thought before he spoke, and for that moment my
heart fairly ceased beating--so much for me there was which hung upon
the substance of his answer.

"And I went to the palace of the Prince of Helium with any such demand,
they would laugh at me and, into the bargain, would

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