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The Gods of Mars

Chapter 22. Victory And Defeat
"John Carter, John Carter," she sobbed, with her dear head upon my shoulder; "even now
I can scarce believe the witness of my own eyes. When the girl, Thuvia, told me that you
had returned to Barsoom, I listened, but I could not understand, for it seemed that such
happiness would be impossible for one who had suffered so in silent loneliness for all
these long years. At last, when I realized that it was truth, and then came to know the
awful place in which I was held prisoner, I learned to doubt that even you could reach me
here.
"As the days passed, and moon after moon went by without bringing even the faintest
rumour of you, I resigned myself to my fate. And now that you have come, scarce can I
believe it. For an hour I have heard the sounds of conflict within the palace. I knew not
what they meant, but I have hoped against hope that it might be the men of Helium
headed by my Prince.
"And tell me, what of Carthoris, our son?"
"He was with me less than an hour since, Dejah Thoris," I replied. "It must have been he
whose men you have heard battling within the precincts of the temple.
"Where is Issus?" I asked suddenly.
Dejah Thoris shrugged her shoulders.
"She sent me under guard to this room just before the fighting began within the temple
halls. She said that she would send for me later. She seemed very angry and somewhat
fearful. Never have I seen her act in so uncertain and almost terrified a manner. Now I
know that it must have been because she had learned that John Carter, Prince of Helium,
was approaching to demand an accounting of her for the imprisonment of his Princess."
The sounds of conflict, the clash of arms, the shouting and the hurrying of many feet
came to us from various parts of the temple. I knew that I was needed there, but I dared
not leave Dejah Thoris, nor dared I take her with me into the turmoil and danger of battle.
At last I bethought me of the pits from which I had just emerged. Why not secrete her
there until I could return and fetch her away in safety and for ever from this awful place. I
explained my plan to her.
For a moment she clung more closely to me.
"I cannot bear to be parted from you now, even for a moment, John Carter," she said. "I
shudder at the thought of being alone again where that terrible creature might discover
me. You do not know her. None can imagine her ferocious cruelty who has not witnessed
 
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