The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 81

the room by another exit.

Turning to me, she said: "You shall be returned to Shador for the
present. Later Issus will see the manner of your fighting. Go." Then
she disappeared, followed by her retinue. Only Phaidor lagged behind,
and as I started to follow my guard toward the gardens, the girl came
running after me.

"Oh, do not leave me in this terrible place," she begged. "Forgive the
things I said to you, my Prince. I did not mean them. Only take me
away with you. Let me share your imprisonment on Shador." Her words
were an almost incoherent volley of thoughts, so rapidly she spoke.
"You did not understand the honour that I did you. Among the therns
there is no marriage or giving in marriage, as among the lower orders
of the outer world. We might have lived together for ever in love and
happiness. We have both looked upon Issus and in a year we die. Let
us live that year at least together in what measure of joy remains for
the doomed."

"If it was difficult for me to understand you, Phaidor," I replied,
"can you not understand that possibly it is equally difficult for you
to understand the motives, the customs and the social laws that guide
me? I do not wish to hurt you, nor to seem to undervalue the honour
which you have done me, but the thing you desire may not be.
Regardless of the foolish belief of the peoples of the outer world, or
of Holy Thern, or ebon First Born, I am not dead. While I live my
heart beats for but one woman--the incomparable Dejah Thoris, Princess
of Helium. When death overtakes me my heart shall have ceased to beat;
but what comes after that I know not. And in that I am as wise as
Matai Shang, Master of Life and Death upon Barsoom; or Issus, Goddess
of Life Eternal."

Phaidor stood looking at me intently for a moment. No anger showed in
her eyes this time, only a pathetic expression of hopeless sorrow.

"I do not understand," she said, and turning walked slowly in the
direction of the door through which Issus and her retinue had passed.
A moment later she had passed from my sight.



In the outer gardens to which the guard now escorted me, I found Xodar
surrounded by a crowd of noble blacks. They were reviling and cursing
him. The men slapped his

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