that the Prince of Helium might be suspected
of considerable knowledge of the act and the whereabouts of the
In the council chamber of John Carter, Warlord of Mars, was Tardos
Mors, Jeddak of Helium; Mors Kajak, his son, Jed of Lesser Helium;
Carthoris, and a score of the great nobles of the empire.
"There must be no war between Ptarth and Helium, my son," said John
Carter. "That you are innocent of the charge that has been placed
against you by insinuation, we well know; but Thuvan Dihn must know
it well, too.
"There is but one who may convince him, and that one be you. You
must hasten at once to the court of Ptarth, and by your presence
there as well as by your words assure him that his suspicions are
groundless. Bear with you the authority of the Warlord of Barsoom,
and of the Jeddak of Helium to offer every resource of the allied
powers to assist Thuvan Dihn to recover his daughter and punish
her abductors, whomsoever they may be.
"Go! I know that I do not need to urge upon you the necessity for
Carthoris left the council chamber, and hastened to his palace.
Here slaves were busy in a moment setting things to rights for the
departure of their master. Several worked about the swift flier
that would bear the Prince of Helium rapidly toward Ptarth.
At last all was done. But two armed slaves remained on guard.
The setting sun hung low above the horizon. In a moment darkness
would envelop all.
One of the guardsmen, a giant of a fellow across whose right cheek
there ran a thin scar from temple to mouth, approached his companion.
His gaze was directed beyond and above his comrade. When he had
come quite close he spoke.
"What strange craft is that?" he asked.
The other turned about quickly to gaze heavenward. Scarce was his
back turned toward the giant than the short-sword of the latter
was plunged beneath his left shoulder blade, straight through his
Voiceless, the soldier sank in his tracks--stone dead. Quickly
the murderer dragged the corpse into the black shadows within the
hangar. Then he returned to the flier.
Drawing a cunningly wrought key from his pocket-pouch, he removed
the cover of the right-hand dial of the controlling destination
compass. For a moment he studied the construction of the mechanism
beneath. Then he returned the dial to its place, set the pointer,
and removed it again to note the resultant change in the position
of the parts affected
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