A Princess of Mars HTML version

Lost In The Sky
Without effort at concealment I hastened to the vicinity of our quarters, where I felt sure I
should find Kantos Kan. As I neared the building I became more careful, as I judged, and
rightly, that the place would be guarded. Several men in civilian metal loitered near the
front entrance and in the rear were others. My only means of reaching, unseen, the upper
story where our apartments were situated was through an adjoining building, and after
considerable maneuvering I managed to attain the roof of a shop several doors away.
Leaping from roof to roof, I soon reached an open window in the building where I hoped
to find the Heliumite, and in another moment I stood in the room before him. He was
alone and showed no surprise at my coming, saying he had expected me much earlier, as
my tour of duty must have ended some time since.
I saw that he knew nothing of the events of the day at the palace, and when I had
enlightened him he was all excitement. The news that Dejah Thoris had promised her
hand to Sab Than filled him with dismay.
"It cannot be," he exclaimed. "It is impossible! Why no man in all Helium but would
prefer death to the selling of our loved princess to the ruling house of Zodanga. She must
have lost her mind to have assented to such an atrocious bargain. You, who do not know
how we of Helium love the members of our ruling house, cannot appreciate the horror
with which I contemplate such an unholy alliance."
"What can be done, John Carter?" he continued. "You are a resourceful man. Can you not
think of some way to save Helium from this disgrace?"
"If I can come within sword's reach of Sab Than," I answered, "I can solve the difficulty
in so far as Helium is concerned, but for personal reasons I would prefer that another
struck the blow that frees Dejah Thoris."
Kantos Kan eyed me narrowly before he spoke.
"You love her!" he said. "Does she know it?"
"She knows it, Kantos Kan, and repulses me only because she is promised to Sab Than."
The splendid fellow sprang to his feet, and grasping me by the shoulder raised his sword
on high, exclaiming:
"And had the choice been left to me I could not have chosen a more fitting mate for the
first princess of Barsoom. Here is my hand upon your shoulder, John Carter, and my
word that Sab Than shall go out at the point of my sword for the sake of my love for
Helium, for Dejah Thoris, and for you. This very night I shall try to reach his quarters in
the palace."