The plane on whose deck Dejah Thoris and I reunited after a twelve-year resignation proved utterly unfit. Its support tanks leaked badly; the machines did not work. We were helpless in the air, and beneath us was a polar glacier.
The ship had drifted across the abyss into which the bodies of Matai Shang, Thurid, and Phaidor had been buried, and was currently hovering over a low hill. I opened the valves of the support tanks and allowed the ship to slowly land on the ground. Then Dejah Thoris and I stepped down from the deck of the ship and went hand in hand to sky across the ice desert back to the city of Kadabra.
We had a lot of talking to each other and slowly stepped into the tunnel through which I had rushed as I chased them.
He told me of the last moment of horror months ago when his booth in the temple of the sun closed loosely between us. He described how Phaidor had escaped against him with a dagger elevated and how Thuvia had shone in realizing the vicious intention of the goddess of therns.
That cry it had echoed in my ears all those long, difficult months when the horrible doubts about the fate of my princess had torn my heart. For he did not know that Thuvia had received a gun from the hand of Matai Shang’s daughter before it happened to Dejah Thoris or him.
He also described the freezing of his long, seemingly eternal period of imprisonment, Phaidor’s bitter hatred, and Thuvia’s tender love. She recounted how, even in the darkest moments of despair, the two red women had hoped and believed together that John Carter would come up with a way to free them.
We arrived at Solan’s chamber. I had made no progress, for I was sure that both the city and the palace were already under the control of my friends at that moment.
And so we came to smell the room in the middle of the dozen bosses of Salensus Olli’s court. Through this, they were on their way to the outside world along the same corridors from which we had just arrived.
When they saw us, they stopped, and then a mischievous smile spread across their leader’s face.
“The cause of our entire accident!” he roared, pointing at me. “We have at least the pleasure of being partially moistened when we leave here the lifeless and mutilated bodies of the Prince and Princess of Helium.
“When they do,” he continued, raising his thumb toward the tops of the palace, “they will find you, and they will realize that the revenge of the yellow men will be costly to the enemies. Prepare to die, John Carter, my mind and I will not bring your princess into liberating death, perhaps I will reserve her as a toy for my nobles! ”
I stood next to the machine-covered wall next to Dejah Thoris. As the soldiers approached us with their swords bare, he looked at me in wonder, for my container still hung in my sheath by my side and a smile flashed through my lips.
The yellow superiors, too, were astonished, and as I still stood still in my place, they began to hesitate, fearing some plot. But their leader incited them to attack me. When they had almost reached the sword within me, I raised my hand and lowered it onto the polished handle of the lever and, still smiling, looked into the eyes of my enemies.
Like one man they all stopped suddenly, creating frightened glances at me and each other.
“Stop!” shouted the leader. “You can’t dream what you’re doing!”
“You’re right,” I replied. “John Carter is not dreaming. He knows – knows that if none of you take another step towards Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Helium, then he and I will die together. But we will not die alone.”
The arrogants shuddered, retreated, and whispered to each other for a moment. Finally their leader addressed me.
“Keep going, John Carter! We’re going our own way!”
“Prisoners do not go their own way,” I replied, “and you are prisoners, prisoners of the
Prince of Helium.”
Before they could answer anything, the door at the other end of the room opened and twenty yellow men rushed in. At first the expressions of the nobles brightened, but when their gaze then fell on the commander of the newly arrived party, their faces went long, for he was Talu, the rebellious prince of Marentina, and they knew that no mercy, let alone help, could be expected when it fell into his hands.
One glance clarified the situation for Talu.
“Look that way, John Carter!” he exclaimed. “You turn they use competent forces against them himself Was Okarin lucky that you were here to stop their escape, as these are the biggest rascals, jäämuurin this side and that.” – he referred to the troupe leader – “sought jeddakien jeddakiksi Salensus Oll-deceased palace And then. surely we would have had an even more rogue ruler than the hated tyrant you killed. ”
Okar’s superiors now surrendered to captivity, for by resisting they would have achieved nothing but death. Accompanied by Talu soldiers, we then continued our journey to the former spacious reception hall of Salensus Olli. Soldiers had gathered here until the tribulation.
There were the red men of Helium and Ptarth and the yellow people of the North side by side under the leadership of my friend Xodar and with the black firstborns who had come to look for me and my princess. There were wild green soldiers from the bottoms of the southern dried-up seas and a handful of white-faced therne who had renounced their faith and swore an oath of allegiance to Xodar.
There was Tardos Mors and Mors Kajak and my son Carthoris clumsy and powerful, in their magnificent warfare. The three of them surrounded Dejah Thoris as we entered the room, and although the royal Martians, by their way of life and education, are by no means sensitive to surrender to the power of folk outbursts of emotion, I feared they would suffocate my princess with his embrace.
And there was Thark’s jeddak Tars Tarkas and Kantos Kan, my old friends, and as an insane joy, my dear old Woolani jumped against me and jerked my straps showing his devotional affection.
Upon our arrival, the occupants of the hall burst into long, loud cries of joy. A intoxicating noise arose as military veterans from all zones of Mars raised their tanks high in the air and rocked them against each other as a sign of success and victory. But as I stepped crowded between the glorious superiors and the soldiers, the Jedi and the Jeddaks, my heart was heavy, however, as the crowd lacked two faces that I would have been willing to pay a lot to see – Thuvan Dihn and Ptarthin Thuvia were not in the spacious hall.
I questioned them from men of all nations, and finally a yellow prisoner of war said that an officer from another palace had surprised them as they tried to enter the vault of Abundance, where I was then crawling as a prisoner.
I didn’t have to ask to know what led them — a brave jeddak and his faithful daughter — to get there. My narrator explained that they were now lurking in one of the palace’s numerous underground prison caves, where they had been thrown to wait until the Nordic tyrant solved their fate.
Soon they had been rushed to all parts of the giant-sized old palace in search of the departments sent to them, and my cup of happiness was full when I saw them appear in the hall, accompanied by a joyful guard of honor. For her first job, Thuvia thanked Dejah Thoris, and I didn’t need a better testimony of the mutual friendship between the two women than their heartfelt embrace.
On the high wall of the crowded hall stood the empty throne of Okar.
Of all the strange visions it had witnessed since the ancient days when the first Jeddak Jeddak had sat on it, nothing was likely to compare to what it was now watching. And as I pondered the past and future of the long-isolated black-bearded, yellow-skinned human race, I now felt it was weaving a more useful life as a member of a large family of friendly peoples that already stretched from the South Pole to almost the door of that region.
Twenty-three years ago, as a naked stranger, I had arrived in this strange, fierce world. Every race and every nation lived in a never-ending war against all other nations and all people of a different color.
Today, as a result of the efforts of my own struggles and the faithful friends I had gained in the struggles, black and white, red and green people had gathered here, standing side by side in peace and good harmony. Not all the peoples of Barsoom could yet be considered one, but a long step had been taken towards that goal. And if only now could I get the wild yellow race attached to this union of nations, then I could feel that I had fulfilled the great work of life and paid Mars at least part of the infinite debt of gratitude I had incurred when I had received Dejah Thoris from it.
And in my thoughts, I saw only one way and one single man for that, who could guarantee that my wishes would be fulfilled. As Tapani is, I act then, as I always do – without thinking and negotiating.
If anyone does not approve of my plans or the ways in which they are carried out, then
he will always have a sword by his side to intensify his protest with it.
But now there was not a single dissenting voice as I grabbed
Talu’s arm and jumped on the former throne of Salensus Olli.
“Soldiers of Barsoom!” I exclaimed. “Kadabra has been overthrown and the tyrant of the North has fallen with it. But Okar must be kept untouched. The red peoples are ruled by red jeddaks; the green soldiers for the benefit of the race if a red jeddak ascended the throne of Okar.
“- There is only one man best suited to the ancient and mighty title of Jeddak of the Nordic Jeddaks. Men of Okar, raise your sword in honor of your new ruler, Talu, the Rebel Prince of Marentina!”
The free Marentines and the captive Cadabrians echoed with a strong cry for approval, for all of them had thought that the red men would not give up what they had achieved by force – as was the custom in Barsoom – and that they would henceforth be ruled by a foreign-born Jeddah.
The victorious soldiers who followed Carthoris joined in a violent outburst of emotion. In the hall, confused by the rush of crowded crowds and rejoicing, Dejah Thoris and I moved into the magnificent Jeddah Jeddak Park, which adorns the courtyard of Kadabra Palace.
Woola stepped on our hocks. On the marvelously beautiful, sculpturally decorated bench of a gazebo formed by purple-flowered plants, we saw two people sitting before us — Thartia of Ptart and Carthoris of Helium.
The handsome young man’s slender head was tilted deep toward his comrade’s face. I looked at Dejah Thoris with a smile and pulled him close to me and whispered, “Why not?”
So indeed, why not? What did the age difference mean in this world of eternal youth?
We remained Talu’s guests in Kadabra until he had formally taken the reins. We then sailed across the ice wall to the south in a large fleet, which the unfortunate had allowed me to save from destruction. Before that, however, we had seen how the hollow Nordic Guard was thoroughly destroyed by the order of the new Jeddak Jeddak.
“From now on,” this explained, when the work was finished, “the fleets of the red and black peoples will be able to move across the ice wall as freely as they would in their own territories.
“- The caves are cleaned so that it is easy for green people to come to the yellow people, and the hunting of holy apes must be a sport of supremacy, as long as there are none of these horrible creatures left wandering the glaciers of the North.”
With real feelings of longing, we said goodbye to our yellow friends and headed for our ship towards Ptarth. The days of the month we were there as guests of Thuvan Dihn, and I easily noticed that Carthoris would have liked to have stayed there in a compliment if he had not been the Prince of Helium.
We hovered over the vast forests of Kaoli until word came from Kulan Tith, after which we landed on his only airport tower. Went all that day and the middle of the next night as the crew unloaded from the ships ashore. We visited the city of Kaoli and strengthened the ‘new ties’ between Kaoli and Helium. One day in our minds, we then saw the tall, slender towers of the twin cities of Helium.
The people had long been prepared to receive us. The sky was colorfully flagged with planes. In both cities, precious silks and embroidered wall curtains were spread on each roof.
Gold and gems had been scattered on the roofs, streets, and squares, so that both cities seemed to glow and blaze with stunning gems and polished metal reflecting the rays of the sun shining brightly, scattering them into innumerable lovely nuances.
Finally, twelve years later, the royal family of Helium was gathered in their own proud city, surrounded by millions of subordinates drunk with joy and crowded at the palace gate. The women and children and the valiant warriors wept with joy, thanking for destiny, having regained the beloved Tardos Morse and the divine princess worshiped by the whole nation as their idol. And all of us who had been on this indescribably dangerous and glorious expedition received a resounding Applause.
That night I sat with Dejah Thoris and Carthoris on the roof of my palace, where long ago we had put a charming garden to sit there in threes apart from others, in the heart of peaceful happiness, far from the court’s solemn expenses, came to me sent to invite us to the Temple of Reward and Revenge must be condemned tonight, “as the closing words of the summons were to say.
I bothered my head as I tried to guess what important thing might have been on the table when it was deemed necessary to invite from his palace a royal family who had just arrived in Helium after a twelve-year absence. But after receiving an invitation, no one procrastinated.
As our plane landed on the pier on the roof of the temple, countless incoming and outgoing ships rumbled in the air. Down the streets, crowds flowed crowded towards the main hallway of the temple.
Gradually, a memory awoke in my mind of the adjourned judgment that had awaited me since Zat Arras had executed it after I had committed the sin of returning from the valley of Dor and the shores of the forgotten Lake Korus.
Would it be possible that the Martians, compelled by the strict sense of justice that guided them, would have ignored all the good that had arisen from this act of insulting my religion? Had they so soon forgotten what debt of gratitude they owed me for having freed them from the shackles of horrible superstition? Could they care that I, alone, was thanked for the salvation of Carthoris, Dejah Thoris, Mors Kayak, and Tardos Mors?
I couldn’t believe it. But for what other reason could I have been called to the Temple of Reward and Revenge as soon as Tardos Morsi returned to his throne?
As I entered the temple and approached the Righteous Grace, I was first amazed by the composition of the court. There was Kulan’s Tith, Kaolin’s Jeddak, from whom we had only separated a few days ago in his own palace; there was Thuvan Dihn, the Jeddak of Ptarth – how had he arrived in Helium as soon as we had?
There was Thark’s Jeddak Tars Tarkas and the firstborn Jeddak Xodar; there was the Jeddak Jeddak Farm of the North, which I could have sworn was still in its ice-besieged foyer town on the other side of the northern ice wall; and among them were also Tardos Mors and Mors Kajak, as well as the required number of inferior Jedi and Jeddaks to supplement the number of judges, which shall be thirty-one.
Whether the court was truly royal, and I can guarantee that there had never been one before it throughout the long history of Mars.
When I came in, silence arose in places of the crowd that were filled to the brim with a densely crowded crowd. Then Tardos Mors rose to speak.
“John Carter,” he uttered in his deep Martian voice, “step on the pedestal of Truth, for the matter will be decided by a fair and impartial tribunal composed of your brothers and sisters!”
Looking confident and head-to-head, I did as he had commanded, but when I then looked at the faces of the people around me, a moment ago I could have sworn to be my best friends all over Barsoom, I didn’t face a single kind of gaze — they were all rigid, unwavering judges ready to do their duty.
One secretary stood up and began reading in a thick book a long list of my most notable deeds that I had earned and completed in twenty-two years, from the moment I first pedaled the yellow seabed at the Tharkian incubator. Among other things, he mentioned everything I had done on the other side of the Otz Mountains, in the realm of sacred therns and firstborns.
Barsoom tends to list the merits of the man on the dock as well as his transgressions. Therefore, I was not at all surprised that all the points to be credited to me were now read to my judges – who knew them all quite well – all the way to the last events. At the end of the reading, Tardos Mors rose to speak again.
“The most righteous judges,” he exclaimed, “you have heard all that is known about John Carter, the Prince of Helium – both good and evil. What judgment will you make?”
Then Tars Tarkas slowly stood up, reaching straight for his huge body until he appeared above all others, resembling a green bronze statue. He gave me a gloomy look – he, Tars Tarkas, with whom I had fought in countless battles and whom I loved like a brother.
I could have cried if I hadn’t been in such a rampant rage that I was about to draw my sword and visit the spot right away to attack them all.
“Judges,” said Tars Tarkas. “Only one decision is possible. Let John Carter no longer be the prince of Helium,” he stopped.
As all the lone judges jumped to their feet, slashing their swords and holding them up, thus showing unanimous acceptance of this judgment, such a storm of voices erupted through the huge building that I thought the roof was rising from the wild roaring screams.
It was only now that I realized that they had decided in this playful way of the juro to prepare me such a great tribute. And the sincere congratulations that rained on me first from the judges and then from the superiors clearly showed that the title given to me was by no means a ruin.
Along the wide shells of Hope marched towards us to the mighty supremacy of the fifty largest courts on Mars, carrying glorious chariots on their shoulders. And when the people saw who was sitting in the chariots, the spacious temple trembled with applause, alongside which the screams that had just resounded to me felt like insignificant snooze, as carried by the nobles arrived Dejah Thoris, the beloved princess of Helium.
They took him straight to the mercy seat of Righteousness, and there
Tardos Mors helped him out of the chariots, then led him beside me.
“May the most beautiful woman in the world share the glory with her husband!” he said.
To everyone, I closed my wife’s arms and pressed a kiss to her lips.