CHAPTER 64: "DISTANT TRAVELER"
Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst
John Carter constructed a bower of large blue leaves and
long scarlet grasses on the edge of the meadow and there he and the princess
rested. She spoke constantly of her thirst and so he brought her juicy
fruits and moist succlulent vegetable stems from the forest. But still
"Dear princess," he said, stroking her deep copper cheeks,
"I will go back into the forest to find something cool for you to drink.
We must build your strength back up. You've grown weak and I know your
mind is weary. Will you wait here for my return?"
"You'll not be gone long?" the girl asked, wrapping her
slender arms about his bronzed neck and pressing her full bosom tightly
against the good man. "I do not like it when you are not here. Come close
to me, my chieftain -- blend your body with mine the way you come so gently
into my mind."
"I promise you, Dejah, "I'll not go far. The breezes may
grow chilly, so I will find you a big soft leaf to fold over you when you
sleep. The sooner, I go the sooner I can return."
"Then come back soon, John -- but leave the feelings of
your heart here to comfort me!"
John Carter pressed her dainty hand to his lips and bade
her farewell. Then he opened his eyes.
"It is getting late. I did not know I'd slept so long!"
were his first words.
"Were you truly sleeping, Dotar Sojat?" Sola asked. "You
seemed always on the edge of wakefulness. But no matter that. I read many
of your thoughts, and through them the feelings of my dear friend the princess.
She is like a hatchling, isn't she?"
John Carter had little idea what a red Martian was like,
fresh out of the egg, but he had spent time with youngsters of the green
race and understood Sola's meaning.
"An idea came to me, while I lay beside her," the Earthman
explained. "I felt that I should be quite content to remain forever in
that dreamland paradise with the red princess, but I know that is an illusion
which holds her back from this world of real things. Although I would be
happy to indulge my feelings and cultivate the girl's growing attachment
to that imaginary place, I also know that would be wrong. I am a warrior
of another world, but I have chosen to make Barsoom my home, come what
may. I feel that I must now take a great risk and do what I can to bring
Dejah Thoris back to this same Barsoom. It would be a sin to delay her
awakening much longer."
"So, what then is your idea, Jasoomian?" Oman questioned.
The Virginian explained what had to be done. The green
girl and the robot understood their parts in the scheme. It was already
late afternoon and little time remained in which to do many things.
"When the Princess of Helium reawakens, I want her to
see my face, before anything else." Sola charged the bronzed swordsman.
"Given what we have just decided," he answered. "I presume
that she will. Now, young lady, let us gather up these things and help
Oman with his preparations. The day grows short."
"Oh! you have returned, John!" the red princess cried
out happily. "Have you brought me something to drink?"
John Carter took the fair maiden into his arms and held
her tightly. Then they reclined together within the little bower.
"If you will believe me, I have a refreshing flask of
pure water just out of sight. If you will indulge me in a game for a little
while, you shall see that and some other things I've brought you."
"But of course, my chieftain!" the young woman said with
a twinkle in her eye. "You know how I love games!"
The maiden playfully beat her hands upon his chest and
the man amused her by following along with her antics. She made a dainty
circlet of blossoms and placed it upon the warrior.
"I crown thee jedwar of the royal bedchamber!" she laughed.
Then the princess crawled upon his prone frame and held down his wrists
in a mock fight.
"For a jedwar you do not resist the foe very well. I have
half a mind to demote your rank to the royal handmaidens' sandal polisher!"
the Martian female teased.
Suddenly she let go and sat up very straight and proper.
The woman's demeanor changed a little and a thoughtful look came into her
"John, do you suppose that the people of your world and
people of mine could ever have children together?"
"A most intriguing question, Dejah Thoris. But before
I answer, please look at something I brought for you," he replied.
"I see nothing at all," the princess said back quizzically.
"Then look again -- it is a blue cape, just like the cape
that Sola likes to wear on cool evenings. Close your eyes half-way and
try to visualize it. The fabric is very fine and you must try very hard
to see it, my dear."
Dejah Thoris played the man's game. He shook her in a
frisky sort of way and she peered though her eyelids. Then he shook her
"Why yes! Yes I do! It's Sola's old blue cape. John, wherever
did you find it?"
"Welcome back, my friend!" a voice called out.
The Princess of Helium rubbed her eyes in wonder. One
last time the man made her body shake. Then she saw clearly.
"Sola! Can it possibly be? By Issus' blood, where have
The Thark maiden's face lit up in a rare smile. She reached
out with her lower arms and pulled Dejah Thoris up to her.
"Princess," she laughed, "I think the more appropriate
question is, where have you been!