Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 8

rank,
at some court that is yet loyal to thy ancient faith, for I cannot
return to the Valley Dor or elsewhere within the power of the Prince
of Helium; but even that I do not demand--it shall be as your own
desire in the matter directs."

"It shall be as you wish, Dator," replied Matai Shang; "nor is that
all--power and riches shall be yours if you restore my daughter,
Phaidor, to me, and place within my power Dejah Thoris, Princess
of Helium.

"Ah," he continued with a malicious snarl, "but the Earth man shall
suffer for the indignities he has put upon the holy of holies, nor
shall any vileness be too vile to inflict upon his princess. Would
that it were in my power to force him to witness the humiliation
and degradation of the red woman."

"You shall have your way with her before another day has passed,
Matai Shang," said Thurid, "if you but say the word."

"I have heard of the Temple of the Sun, Dator," replied Matai Shang,
"but never have I heard that its prisoners could be released before
the allotted year of their incarceration had elapsed. How, then,
may you accomplish the impossible?"

"Access may be had to any cell of the temple at any time," replied
Thurid. "Only Issus knew this; nor was it ever Issus' way to
divulge more of her secrets than were necessary. By chance, after
her death, I came upon an ancient plan of the temple, and there I
found, plainly writ, the most minute directions for reaching the
cells at any time.

"And more I learned--that many men had gone thither for Issus in the
past, always on errands of death and torture to the prisoners; but
those who thus learned the secret way were wont to die mysteriously
immediately they had returned and made their reports to cruel
Issus."

"Let us proceed, then," said Matai Shang at last. "I must trust
you, yet at the same time you must trust me, for we are six to your
one."

"I do not fear," replied Thurid, "nor need you. Our hatred of
the common enemy is sufficient bond to insure our loyalty to each
other, and after we have defiled the Princess of Helium there will
be still greater reason for the maintenance of our allegiance--unless
I greatly mistake the temper of her lord."

Matai Shang spoke to the paddlers. The boat moved on up the
tributary.

It was with difficulty that I restrained myself from rushing upon
them and slaying the two vile plotters; but quickly I saw the mad
rashness

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