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A Princess of Mars

With Dejah Thoris
As we reached the open the two female guards who had been detailed to watch over
Dejah Thoris hurried up and made as though to assume custody of her once more. The
poor child shrank against me and I felt her two little hands fold tightly over my arm.
Waving the women away, I informed them that Sola would attend the captive hereafter,
and I further warned Sarkoja that any more of her cruel attentions bestowed upon Dejah
Thoris would result in Sarkoja's sudden and painful demise.
My threat was unfortunate and resulted in more harm than good to Dejah Thoris, for, as I
learned later, men do not kill women upon Mars, nor women, men. So Sarkoja merely
gave us an ugly look and departed to hatch up deviltries against us.
I soon found Sola and explained to her that I wished her to guard Dejah Thoris as she had
guarded me; that I wished her to find other quarters where they would not be molested by
Sarkoja, and I finally informed her that I myself would take up my quarters among the
men.
Sola glanced at the accouterments which were carried in my hand and slung across my
shoulder.
"You are a great chieftain now, John Carter," she said, "and I must do your bidding,
though indeed I am glad to do it under any circumstances. The man whose metal you
carry was young, but he was a great warrior, and had by his promotions and kills won his
way close to the rank of Tars Tarkas, who, as you know, is second to Lorquas Ptomel
only. You are eleventh, there are but ten chieftains in this community who rank you in
prowess."
"And if I should kill Lorquas Ptomel?" I asked.
"You would be first, John Carter; but you may only win that honor by the will of the
entire council that Lorquas Ptomel meet you in combat, or should he attack you, you may
kill him in self-defense, and thus win first place."
I laughed, and changed the subject. I had no particular desire to kill Lorquas Ptomel, and
less to be a jed among the Tharks.
I accompanied Sola and Dejah Thoris in a search for new quarters, which we found in a
building nearer the audience chamber and of far more pretentious architecture than our
former habitation. We also found in this building real sleeping apartments with ancient
beds of highly wrought metal swinging from enormous gold chains depending from the
marble ceilings. The decoration of the walls was most elaborate, and, unlike the frescoes
in the other buildings I had examined, portrayed many human figures in the
compositions. These were of people like myself, and of a much lighter color than Dejah
Thoris. They were clad in graceful, flowing robes, highly ornamented with metal and
 
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