Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 89

to which Salensus Oll had carried Dejah Thoris ere ever
they could stop me.

Then I went down, fighting, beneath a half-hundred warriors; but
before they had battered me into unconsciousness I heard that from
the lips of Dejah Thoris that made all my suffering well worth
while.

Standing there beside the great tyrant, who clutched her by the
arm, she pointed to where I fought alone against such awful odds.

"Think you, Salensus Oll, that the wife of such as he is," she
cried, "would ever dishonor his memory, were he a thousand times
dead, by mating with a lesser mortal? Lives there upon any world
such another as John Carter, Prince of Helium? Lives there another
man who could fight his way back and forth across a warlike planet,
facing savage beasts and hordes of savage men, for the love of a
woman?

"I, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, am his. He fought for me
and won me. If you be a brave man you will honor the bravery that
is his, and you will not kill him. Make him a slave if you will,
Salensus Oll; but spare his life. I would rather be a slave with
such as he than be Queen of Okar."

"Neither slave nor queen dictates to Salensus Oll," replied the
Jeddak of Jeddaks. "John Carter shall die a natural death in the
Pit of Plenty, and the day he dies Dejah Thoris shall become my
queen."

I did not hear her reply, for it was then that a blow upon my
head brought unconsciousness, and when I recovered my senses only
a handful of guardsmen remained in the audience chamber with me.
As I opened my eyes they goaded me with the points of their swords
and bade me rise.

Then they led me through long corridors to a court far toward the
center of the palace.

In the center of the court was a deep pit, near the edge of which
stood half a dozen other guardsmen, awaiting me. One of them
carried a long rope in his hands, which he commenced to make ready
as we approached.

We had come to within fifty feet of these men when I felt a sudden
strange and rapid pricking sensation in one of my fingers.

For a moment I was nonplused by the odd feeling, and then there
came to me recollection of that which in the stress of my adventure
I had entirely forgotten--the gift ring of Prince Talu of Marentina.

Instantly I looked toward the group we were nearing, at the same
time raising

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