Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 125

nobles."

I stood close to the instrument-covered wall--Dejah Thoris at my
side. She looked up at me wonderingly as the warriors advanced
upon us with drawn swords, for mine still hung within its scabbard
at my side, and there was a smile upon my lips.

The yellow nobles, too, looked in surprise, and then as I made no
move to draw they hesitated, fearing a ruse; but their leader urged
them on. When they had come almost within sword's reach of me
I raised my hand and laid it upon the polished surface of a great
lever, and then, still smiling grimly, I looked my enemies full in
the face.

As one they came to a sudden stop, casting affrighted glances at
me and at one another.

"Stop!" shrieked their leader. "You dream not what you do!"

"Right you are," I replied. "John Carter does not dream. He
knows--knows that should one of you take another step toward Dejah
Thoris, Princess of Helium, I pull this lever wide, and she and I
shall die together; but we shall not die alone."

The nobles shrank back, whispering together for a few moments. At
last their leader turned to me.

"Go your way, John Carter," he said, "and we shall go ours."

"Prisoners do not go their own way," I answered, "and you are
prisoners--prisoners of the Prince of Helium."

Before they could make answer a door upon the opposite side of the
apartment opened and a score of yellow men poured into the apartment.
For an instant the nobles looked relieved, and then as their eyes
fell upon the leader of the new party their faces fell, for he was
Talu, rebel Prince of Marentina, and they knew that they could look
for neither aid nor mercy at his hands.

"Well done, John Carter," he cried. "You turn their own mighty
power against them. Fortunate for Okar is it that you were here
to prevent their escape, for these be the greatest villains north
of the ice-barrier, and this one"--pointing to the leader of the
party--"would have made himself Jeddak of Jeddaks in the place
of the dead Salensus Oll. Then indeed would we have had a more
villainous ruler than the hated tyrant who fell before your sword."

The Okarian nobles now submitted to arrest, since nothing but death
faced them should they resist, and, escorted by the warriors of
Talu, we made our way to the great audience chamber that had been
Salensus Oll's. Here was a vast concourse of warriors.

Red men from Helium and Ptarth, yellow men

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