A Princess of Mars
assurance of the Princess of Helium that when the time comes she will wed Sab Than,
Prince of Zodanga."
"I am glad that you have so decided," replied Than Kosis. "It is far from my desire to
push war further against the people of Helium, and, your promise shall be recorded and a
proclamation to my people issued forthwith."
"It were better, Than Kosis," interrupted Dejah Thoris, "that the proclamation wait the
ending of this war. It would look strange indeed to my people and to yours were the
Princess of Helium to give herself to her country's enemy in the midst of hostilities."
"Cannot the war be ended at once?" spoke Sab Than. "It requires but the word of Than
Kosis to bring peace. Say it, my father, say the word that will hasten my happiness, and
end this unpopular strife."
"We shall see," replied Than Kosis, "how the people of Helium take to peace. I shall at
least offer it to them."
Dejah Thoris, after a few words, turned and left the apartment, still followed by her
Thus was the edifice of my brief dream of happiness dashed, broken, to the ground of
reality. The woman for whom I had offered my life, and from whose lips I had so
recently heard a declaration of love for me, had lightly forgotten my very existence and
smilingly given herself to the son of her people's most hated enemy.
Although I had heard it with my own ears I could not believe it. I must search out her
apartments and force her to repeat the cruel truth to me alone before I would be
convinced, and so I deserted my post and hastened through the passage behind the
tapestries toward the door by which she had left the chamber. Slipping quietly through
this opening I discovered a maze of winding corridors, branching and turning in every
Running rapidly down first one and then another of them I soon became hopelessly lost
and was standing panting against a side wall when I heard voices near me. Apparently
they were coming from the opposite side of the partition against which I leaned and
presently I made out the tones of Dejah Thoris. I could not hear the words but I knew that
I could not possibly be mistaken in the voice.
Moving on a few steps I discovered another passageway at the end of which lay a door.
Walking boldly forward I pushed into the room only to find myself in a small
antechamber in which were the four guards who had accompanied her. One of them
instantly arose and accosted me, asking the nature of my business.
"I am from Than Kosis," I replied, "and wish to speak privately with Dejah Thoris,
Princess of Helium."