Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 54

has
followed me to the very heart of thy palace, Kulan Tith, for the
sole purpose of assassinating me. He--"

"He lies!" I cried. "Kulan Tith, listen that you may know the
truth. Listen while I tell you why John Carter has followed Matai
Shang to the heart of thy palace. Listen to me as well as to them,
and then judge if my acts be not more in accord with true Barsoomian
chivalry and honor than those of these revengeful devotees of the
spurious creeds from whose cruel bonds I have freed your planet."

"Silence!" roared the jeddak, leaping to his feet and laying his
hand upon the hilt of his sword. "Silence, blasphemer! Kulan Tith
need not permit the air of his audience chamber to be defiled by
the heresies that issue from your polluted throat to judge you.

"You stand already self-condemned. It but remains to determine
the manner of your death. Even the service that you rendered the
arms of Kaol shall avail you naught; it was but a base subterfuge
whereby you might win your way into my favor and reach the side
of this holy man whose life you craved. To the pits with him!" he
concluded, addressing the officer of my guard.

Here was a pretty pass, indeed! What chance had I against a whole
nation? What hope for me of mercy at the hands of the fanatical
Kulan Tith with such advisers as Matai Shang and Thurid. The black
grinned malevolently in my face.

"You shall not escape this time, Earth man," he taunted.

The guards closed toward me. A red haze blurred my vision. The
fighting blood of my Virginian sires coursed hot through my veins.
The lust of battle in all its mad fury was upon me.

With a leap I was beside Thurid, and ere the devilish smirk had
faded from his handsome face I had caught him full upon the mouth
with my clenched fist; and as the good, old American blow landed,
the black dator shot back a dozen feet, to crumple in a heap at
the foot of Kulan Tith's throne, spitting blood and teeth from his
hurt mouth.

Then I drew my sword and swung round, on guard, to face a nation.

In an instant the guardsmen were upon me, but before a blow had
been struck a mighty voice rose above the din of shouting warriors,
and a giant figure leaped from the dais beside Kulan Tith and, with
drawn long-sword, threw himself between me and my

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