chapter xiv nalboon unmasked after a long, sound sleep, seaton awoke andsprang out of bed. no sooner had he started to shave, however, than oneof the slaves touched his arm, motioning him into a reclining chairand showing him a keen blade, long and slightly curved. seaton lay downand the slave shaved him with a rapidity and smoothness he had never beforeexperienced, so wonderfully sharp was the peculiar razor.after seaton had dressed, the barber started to shave the chief slave, withoutany preliminary
treatment save rubbing his face with a perfumedoil. "hold on a minute," interjected seaton, whowas watching the process with interest, "here's something that helpsa lot." he lathered the face with his brush and the man looked up in surprisedpleasure as his stiff beard was swept away without a sound. seaton called to the others and soon the partywas assembled in his room, all dressed very lightly, because ofthe unrelieved and unvarying heat, which was constant at one hundred degrees.a gong sounded, and one of the slaves opened the door, ushering ina party of servants bearing a
table, ready set. during the meal, seatonwas greatly surprised at hearing dorothy carrying on a halting conversation,with one of the women standing behind her. "i knew that you were a language shark, dottie,with five or six different ones to your credit, but i didn'tsuppose you could learn to talk this stuff in one day." "i can't," she replied, "but i've picked upa few words of it. i can understand very little of what they are tryingto tell me." the woman spoke rapidly to the man standingbehind seaton, and as soon
as the table had been carried away, he askedpermission to speak to dorothy. fairly running across to her, hemade a slight obeisance and in eager tones poured forth such a stream oflanguage that she held up her hand to silence him. "go slower, please," she said, and added acouple of words in his own tongue. there ensued a strange dialogue, with manyrepetitions and much use of signs. she turned to seaton, with a puzzledlook. "i can't make out all he says, dick, but hewants you to take him into
another room of the palace here, to get backsomething or other that they took from him when they captured him.he can't go aloneâ€”i think he says he will be killed if he goes anywherewithout you. and he says that when you get there, you must be sure not tolet the guards come inside." "all right, let's go!" and seaton motionedthe man to precede him. as seaton started for the door, dorothy fellinto step beside him. "better stay back, dottie, i'll be back ina minute," he said at the door. "i will not stay back. wherever you go, igo," she replied in a voice
inaudible to the others. "i simply will notstay away from you a single minute that i don't have to." "all right, little girl," he replied in thesame tone. "i don't want to be away from you, either, and i don't thinkthat we're in any danger here." preceded by the chief slave and followed byhalf a dozen others, they went out into the hall. no opposition wasmade to their progress, but a full half-company of armed guards fell inaround them as an escort, regarding seaton with looks composed of equalparts of reverence and
fear. the slave led the way rapidly to a roomin a distant wing of the palace and opened the door. as seaton steppedin, he saw that it was evidently an audience-chamber or court-room,and that it was now entirely empty. as the guard approached thedoor, seaton waved them back. all retreated across the hall exceptthe officer in charge, who refused to move. seaton, the personificationof offended dignity, first stared at the offender, who returned the stare,and stepped up to him insolently, then pushed him back roughly,forgetting that his strength, great upon earth, would be gigantic upon thissmaller world. the officer
spun across the corridor, knocking down threeof his men in his flight. picking himself up, he drew his sword andrushed, while his men fled in panic to the extreme end of the corridor.seaton did not wait for him, but in one bound leaped half-way across theintervening space to meet him. with the vastly superior agility of hisearthly muscles he dodged the falling broadsword and drove his leftfist full against the fellow's chin, with all the force of his mighty armand all the momentum of his rapidly moving body behind the blow. the crackof breaking bones was distinctly audible as the officer's head snappedback. the force of the
blow lifted him high into the air, and afterturning a complete somersault, he brought up with a crash againstthe opposite wall, dropping to the floor stone dead. as severalof his men, braver than the others, lifted their peculiar rifles, seatondrew and fired in one incredibly swift motion, the x-plosive bulletobliterating the entire group of men and demolishing that end of thepalace. in the meantime the slave had taken severalpieces of apparatus from a cabinet in the room and had placed them inhis belt. stopping only to observe for a few moments a small instrumentwhich he clamped upon the
head of the dead man, he rapidly led the wayback to the room they had left and set to work upon the instrument hehad constructed while the others had been asleep. he connected it, inan intricate system of wiring, with the pieces of apparatus he hadjust recovered. "that's a complex job of wiring," said duquesneadmiringly. "i've seen several intricate pieces of apparatus myself,but he has so many circuits there that i'm lost. it would takean hour to figure out the lines and connections alone." straightening abruptly, the slave clampedseveral electrodes upon his
temples and motioned to seaton and the others,speaking to dorothy as he did so. "he wants us to let him put those things onour heads," she translated. "shall we let him, dick?" "yes," he replied without hesitation. "i'vegot a real hunch that he's our friend, and i'm not sure of nalboon. hedoesn't act right." "i think so, too," agreed the girl, and craneadded: "i can't say that i relish the idea, but sincei know that you are a good poker player, dick, i am willing to followyour hunch. how about
you, duquesne?" "not i," declared that worthy, emphatically."nobody wires me up to anything i can't understand, and that machineis too deep for me." margaret elected to follow crane's example,and, impressed by the need for haste evident in the slave's bearing,the four walked up to the machine without further talk. the electrodeswere clamped into place quickly and the slave pressed a lever. instantlythe four visitors felt that they had a complete understanding ofthe languages and customs of both mardonale, the nation in which they nowwere, and of kondal, to
which nation the slaves belonged, the onlytwo civilized nations upon osnome. while the look of amazement at thismethod of receiving instruction was still upon their faces, theslaveâ€”or rather, as they now knew him, dunark, the kofedix or crownprince of the great nation of kondalâ€”began to disconnect the wires. hecut out the wires leading to the two girls and to crane, and was reachingfor seaton's, when there was a blinding flash, a crackling sound, theheavy smoke of burning metal and insulation, and both dunark andseaton fell to the floor. before crane could reach them, however, theywere upon their feet and
the stranger said in his own tongue, now understoodby every one but duquesne: "this machine is a mechanical educator, athing entirely new, in our world at least. although i have been workingon it for a long time, it is still in a very crude form. i did not liketo use it in its present state of development, but it was necessaryin order to warn you of what nalboon is going to do to you, and to convinceyou that the best way of saving your lives would save our lives aswell. the machine worked perfectly until something, i don't know what,went wrong. instead of
stopping, as it should have done, at teachingyour party to speak our languages, it short-circuited us two completely,so that every convolution in each of our brains has beenimprinted upon the brain of the other. it was the sudden formation ofall the new convolutions that rendered us unconscious. i can only apologizefor the break-down, and assure you that my intentions were of thebest." "you needn't apologize," returned seaton."that was a wonderful performance, and we're both gainers, anyway,aren't we? it has taken us all our lives to learn what little we know,and now we each have the
benefit of two lifetimes, spent upon differentworlds! i must admit, though, that i have a whole lot of knowledgethat i don't know how to use." "i am glad you take it that way," returnedthe other warmly, "for i am infinitely the better off for the exchange.the knowledge i imparted was nothing, compared to that which i received.but time pressesâ€”i must tell you our situation. i am, as you now know,the kofedix of kondal. the other thirteen are fedo and fediro, or,as you would say, princes and princesses of the same nation. we werecaptured by one of nalboon's
raiding parties while upon a hunting trip,being overcome by some new, stupefying gas, so that we could not killourselves. as you know, kondal and mardonale have been at war for over tenthousand karkamoâ€”something more than six thousand years of your time.the war between us is one of utter extermination. captives are never exchangedand only once during an ordinary lifetime does one ever escape.our attendants were killed immediately. we were being taken to furnishsport for nalboon's party by being fed to one of his captive kolonoâ€”animalssomething like your earthly devilfishâ€”when the escort of battleshipswas overcome by those
four karlono, the animals you saw, and oneof them seized nalboon's plane, in which we were prisoners. you killedthe karlon, saving our lives as well as those of nalboon and hisparty. "having saved his life, you and your partyshould be honored guests of the most honored kind, and i venture to saythat you would be so regarded in any other nation of the universe.but nalboon, the domakâ€”a title equivalent to your word 'emperor' andour word 'karfedix'â€”of mardonale, is utterly without either honoror conscience, as are all mardonalians. at first he was afraid of you,as were we all. we thought
you visitors from a planet of our fifteenthsun, which is now at its nearest possible approach to us. after yourdisplay of superhuman power and ability, we expected instant annihilation.however, after seeing the skylark as a machine, discovering that youare short of power, and finding that you are gentle instead of bloodthirstyby nature, nalboon lost his fear of you and resolved to rob youof your vessel, with its wonderful secrets of power. though we areso ignorant of chemistry that i cannot understand the thousandth part ofwhat i just learned from you, we are a race of mechanics and have developedmachines of many kinds to
a high state of efficiency, including electricalmachines of all kinds. in fact, electricity, generated by our greatwaterfalls, is our only power. no scientist upon osnome has ever hadan inkling that intra-atomic energy exists. nalboon cannotunderstand the power, but he solved the means of liberating it at a glanceâ€”andthat glance sealed your death-warrants. with the skylark, hecould conquer kondal, and to assure the downfall of my nation he woulddo anything. "also, he or any other osnomian scientistwould go to any lengths whateverâ€”would challenge the great firstcause itselfâ€”to secure even
one of those little bottles of the chemicalyou call 'salt.' it is far and away the scarcest and most precious substancein the world. it is so rare that those bottles you produced at thetable held more than the total amount previously known to exist uponosnome. we have great abundance of all the heavy metals, but thelighter metals are rare. sodium and chlorin are the rarest of all knownelements. its immense value is due, not to its rarity, but to thefact that it is an indispensable component of the controllinginstruments of our wireless power stations and that it is used as a catalystin the manufacture of
our hardest metals. "for these reasons, you understand why nalboondoes not intend to let you escape and why he intends that this kokam(our equivalent of a day) shall be your last. about the second or thirdkam (hour) of the sleeping period he intends to break into the skylark,learn its control, and secure the salt you undoubtedly have in thevessel. then my party and myself will be thrown to the kolon. you andyour party will be killed and your bodies smelted to recover the saltthat is in them. this is the warning i had to give you. its urgency explainsthe use of my untried
mechanical educator; the hope that my partycould escape with yours, in your vessel, explains why you saw me, thekofedix of kondal, prostrate myself before that arch-fiend nalboon." "how do you, a captive prince of another nation,know these things?" asked crane, doubtfully. "i read nalboon's ideas from the brain ofthat officer whom the karfedix seaton killed. he was a ladex of the guardsâ€”anofficer of about the same rank as one of your colonels. he washigh in nalboon's favor, and he was to have been in charge of the workof breaking into the skylark
and killing us all. let me caution you now;do not let any mardonalian touch our hands with a wire, for if you do,your thoughts will be recorded and the secrets of the skylark andyour many other mysterious things, such as smoking, matches, and magicfeats, will be secrets no longer." "thanks for the information," responded seaton,"but i want to correct your title for me. i'm no karfedixâ€”merelya plain citizen." "in one way i see that that is true," repliedthe kofedix with a puzzled look. "i cannot understand your governmentat allâ€”but the inventor of
the skylark must certainly rank as a karfedix." as he spoke, a smile of understanding passedover his face and he continued: "i see. your title is doctor of philosophy,which must mean that you are the karfedix of knowledge of the earth." "no, no. you're way off. i'm...." "certainly seaton is the karfedix of knowledge,"broke in duquesne. "let it go at that, anyway, whatever it means.the thing to do now is to figure a way out of this."
"you chirped it then, blackie. dunark, youknow this country better than we do; what do you suggest?" "i suggest that you take my party into theskylark and escape from mardonale as soon as possible. i can pilotyou to kondalek, the capital city of our nation. there, i can assure you,you will be welcomed as you deserve. my father, the karfedix, will treatyou as a karfedix should be treated. as far as i am concerned, nothingi can ever do will lighten the burden of my indebtedness to you, buti promise you all the copper you want, and anything else you may desirethat is within the power of
man to give you." seaton thought deeply a moment, then shookdunark's hand vigorously. "that suits me, kofedix," he said warmly."i thought from the first that you were our friend. shall we make for theskylark right now, or wait a while?" "we had better wait until after the secondmeal," the prince replied. "we have no armor, and no way of making any.we would be helpless against the bullets of any except a groupsmall enough so that you could kill them all before they could fire. thekam after the second meal is
devoted to strolling about the grounds, sothat our visiting the skylark would look perfectly natural. as the guardis very lax at that time, it is the best time for the attempt." "but how about my killing his company of guardsand blowing up one wing of his palace? won't he have something tosay about that?" "i don't know," replied the kofedix doubtfully."it depends upon whether his fear of you or his anger is the greater.he should pay his call of state here in your apartment in a short time,as it is the inviolable rule of osnome, that any visitor shall receivea call of state from one
of his own rank before leaving his apartmentfor the first time. his actions may give you some idea as to his feelings,though he is an accomplished diplomat and may conceal hisreal feelings entirely. but let me caution you not to be modest or soft-spoken.he will mistake softness for fear." "all right," grinned seaton. "in that casei won't wait to try to find out what he thinks. if he shows any signsof hostility at all, i'll open up on him." "well," remarked crane, calmly, "if we havesome time to spare, we may
as well wait comfortably instead of standingin the middle of the room. i, for one, have a lot of questions to askabout this new world." acting upon this suggestion, the party seatedthemselves upon comfortable divans, and dunark rapidly dismantledthe machine he had constructed. the captives remained standing,always behind the visitors until seaton remonstrated. "please sit down, everybody. there's no needof keeping up this farce of your being slaves as long as we're alone,is there, dunark?" "no, but at the first sound of the gong announcinga visitor we must be
in our places. now that we are all comfortableand waiting, i will introduce my party to yours. "fellow kondalians, greet the karfedo seatonand crane," he began, his tongue fumbling over the strange names, "ofa distant world, the earth, and the two noble ladies, miss vaneman andmiss spencer, soon to be their karfediro. "guests from earth, allow me to present toyou the kofedir sitar, the only one of my wives who accompanied me uponour ill-fated hunting expedition."
then, still ignoring duquesne as a captive,he introduced the other kondolians in turn as his brothers, sisters,cousins, nieces, and nephewsâ€”all members of the great rulinghouse of kondal. "now," he concluded, "after i have a wordwith you in private, doctor seaton, i will be glad to give the othersall the information in my power." he led seaton out of earshot of the othersand said in a low voice: "it is no part of nalboon's plan to kill thetwo women. they are so beautiful, so different from our osnomianwomen, that he intends to keep
themâ€”alive. understand?" "yes," returned seaton grimly, his eyes turninghard, "i get you all rightâ€”but what he'll do and what he thinkshe'll do are two entirely different breeds of cats." returning to the others, they found dorothyand sitar deep in conversation. "so a man has half a dozen or so wives?" dorothywas asking in surprise. "how do you get along together? i'd fightlike a wildcat if my husband tried to have other wives!"
"we get along splendidly, of course," returnedthe osnomian princess in equal surprise. "i would not think of beinga man's only wife. i wouldn't consider marrying a man who couldwin only one wifeâ€”think what a disgrace it would be! and think how lonelyone would be while her husband is away at warâ€”we would go insaneif we did not have the company of the other wives. there are sixof us, and we could not get along at all without each other." "i've got a compliment for you and peggy,dottie," said seaton. "dunark here thinks that you two girls look good enoughto eatâ€”or words to that
effect." both girls flushed slightly, thepurplish-black color suffusing their faces. they glanced at each other anddorothy voiced the thought of both as she said: "how can you, kofedix dunark? in this horriblelight we both look perfectly dreadful. these other girls wouldbe beautiful, if we were used to the colors, but we two look simplyhideous." "oh, no," interrupted sitar. "you have a wonderfullyrich coloring. it is a shame to hide so much of yourselves withrobes." "their eyes interpret colors differently thanours do," explained
seaton. "what to us are harsh and discordantcolors are light and pleasing to their eyes. what looks like akind of sloppy greenish black to us mayâ€”in fact, doesâ€”look a pale pinkto them." "are kondal and mardonale the only two nationsupon osnome?" asked crane. "the only civilized nations, yes. osnome isdivided into two great and almost equal continents, separated by a wideocean which encircles the globe. one is kondal, the other mardonale.each nation has several nations or tribes of savages, which inhabitvarious waste places."
"you are the light race, mardonale the dark,"continued crane. "what are the servants, who seem half-way between?" "they are slaves...." "captured savages?" interrupted dorothy. "no. they are a separate race. they are arace so low in intelligence that they cannot exist except as slaves, butthey can be trained to understand language and to do certain kindsof work. they are harmless and mild, making excellent servants, otherwisethey would have perished ages ago. all menial work and most of themanual labor is done by the
slave race. formerly criminals were sterilizedand reduced to unwilling slavery, but there have been no unwillingslaves in kondal for hundreds of karkamo." "why? are there no criminals any more?" "no. with the invention of the thought recorderan absolutely fair trial was assured and the guilty were all convicted.they could not reproduce themselves, and as a natural result crimedied out." "that is," he added hastily, "what we regardas crime. duelling, for instance, is a crime upon earth; here it isa regular custom. in kondal
duels are rather rare and are held only whenhonor is involved, but here in mardonale they are an every-day affair,as you saw when you landed." "what makes the difference?" asked dorothycuriously. "as you know, with us every man is a soldier.in kondal we train our youth in courage, valor, and high honorâ€”inmardonale they train them in savage blood-thirstiness alone. each nationfixed its policy in bygone ages to produce the type of soldier it thoughtmost efficient." "i notice that everyone here wears those heavycollars," said margaret. "what are they for?"
"they are identification marks. when a childis nearly grown, a collar bearing his name and the device of his houseis cast about his neck. this collar is made of 'arenak,' a syntheticmetal which, once formed, cannot be altered by any usual means. it cannotbe scratched, cut, bent, broken, or worked in any way except at sucha high temperature that death would result, if such heat were appliedto the collar. once the arenak collar is cast about a person's neckhe is identified for life, and any adult osnomian not wearing a collaris put to death." "that must be an interesting metal," remarkedcrane. "is your belt a
similar mark?" "this belt is an idea of my own," and dunarksmiled broadly. "it looks like opaque arenak, but isn't. it is merelya pouch in which i carry anything i am particularly interested in.even nalboon thought it was arenak, so he didn't trouble to try to openit. if he had opened it and taken my tools and instruments, i couldn'thave built the educator." "is that transparent armor arenak?" "yes, the only difference being that nothingis added to the matrix to color or make opaque the finished metal. itis in the preparation of
this metal that salt is indispensable. itacts only as a catalyst, being recovered afterward, but neither nation hasever had enough salt to make all the armor they want." "aren't those monstersâ€”karlono, i thinkyou called themâ€”covered by the same thing? and what are those animals, anyway?"dorothy asked. "yes, they are armored with arenak, and itis thought that the beasts grow it, the same as fishes grow scales. thekarlono are the most frightful scourge of osnome. very little isknown of them, though every scientist has theorized upon them since timeimmemorial. it is very
seldom that one is ever killed, as they easilyoutfly our swiftest battleships, and only fight when they canbe victorious. to kill one requires a succession of the heaviest high-explosiveshells in the same spot, a joint in the armor; and after thearmor is once penetrated, the animal is blown into such small fragmentsthat reconstruction is impossible. from such remains it has beenvariously described as a bird, a beast, a fish, and a vegetable; sexual,asexual, and hermaphroditic. its habitat is unknown, it being variouslysupposed to live high in the air, deep in the ocean, and buried in theswamps. another theory is that
they live upon one of our satellites, whichencounters our belt of atmosphere every karkam. nothing is certainlyknown about the monsters except their terrible destructiveness andtheir insatiable appetites. one of them will devour five or six airshipsat one time, absorbing the crews and devouring the cargo and all of thevessels except the very hardest of the metal parts." "do they usually go in groups?" asked crane."if they do, i should think that a fleet of warships would be necessaryfor every party." "no, they are almost always found alone. onlyvery rarely are two found
together. this is the first time in historythat more than two have ever been seen together. two battleships can alwaysdefeat one karlon, so they are never attacked. with four battleshipsnalboon considered his expedition perfectly safe, especially as theyare now rare. the navies hunted down and killed what was supposed tobe the last one upon osnome more than a karkam ago, and none have beenseen since, until we were attacked...." the gong over the door sounded and the kondaliansleaped to their positions back of the earthly visitors. thekofedix went to the door.
nalboon brushed him aside and entered, escortedby a full company of heavily-armed soldiery. a scowl of anger wasupon his face and he was plainly in an ugly mood. "stop, nalboon of mardonale!" thundered seatonin the mardonalian tongue and with the full power of his mighty voice."dare you invade my privacy unannounced and without invitation?" the escort shrank back, but the domak stoodhis ground, although he was plainly taken aback. with an apparent efforthe smoothed his face into lines of cordiality.
"i merely came to inquire why my guards areslain and my palace destroyed by my honored guest?" "as for slaying your guards, they sought toinvade my privacy. i warned them away, but one of them was foolish enoughto try to kill me. then the others attempted to raise their childishrifles against me, and i was obliged to destroy them. as for the wall,it happened to be in the way of the thought-waves i hurled againstyour guardsâ€”consequently it was demolished. an honored guest! bah! arehonored guests put to the indignity of being touched by the filthy handsof a mere ladex?"
"you do not object to the touch of slaves!"with a wave of his hand toward the kondalians. "that is what slaves are for," coldly. "isa domak to wait upon himself in the court of mardonale? but to return tothe issue. were i an honored guest this would never have happened. know,nalboon, that when you attempt to treat a visiting domak of my raceas a low-born captive, you must be prepared to suffer the consequencesof your rashness!" "may i ask how you, so recently ignorant,know our language?" "you question me? that is bold! know thati, the boss of the road, show
ignorance or knowledge, when and where i please.you may go." end of chapter xiv end of chapter xv the escape from mardonale "that was a wonderful bluff, dick!" exclaimedthe kofedix in english as soon as nalboon and his guards had disappeared."that was exactly the tone to take with him, tooâ€”you've sure gothim guessing!" "it seemed to get him, all right, but i'mwondering how long it'll hold him. i think we'd better make a dash for theskylark right now, before
he has time to think it over, don't you?" "that is undoubtedly the best way," dunarkreplied, lapsing into his own tongue. "nalboon is plainly in awe of younow, but if i understand him at all, he is more than ever determined toseize your vessel, and every darkam's delay is dangerous." the earth-people quickly secured the few personalbelongings they had brought with them. stepping out into the halland waving away the guards, seaton motioned dunark to lead theway. the other captives fell in behind, as they had done before, and theparty walked boldly toward
the door of the palace. the guards offeredno opposition, but stood at attention and saluted as they passed. as theyapproached the entrance, however, seaton saw the major-domo hurryingaway and surmised that he was carrying the news to nalboon. outsidethe door, walking directly toward the landing dock, dunark spoke in alow voice to seaton, without turning. "nalboon knows by this time that we are makingour escape, and it will be war to the death from here to the skylark.i do not think there will be any pursuit from the palace, but he haswarned the officers in charge
of the dock and they will try to kill us assoon as we step out of the elevator, perhaps sooner. nalboon intendedto wait, but we have forced his hand and the dock is undoubtedly swarmingwith soldiers now. shoot first and oftenest. shoot first and thinkafterward. show no mercy, as you will receive noneâ€”remember that thequality you call 'mercy' does not exist upon osnome." rounding a great metal statue about fiftyfeet from the base of the towering dock, they saw that the door leadinginto one of the elevators was wide open and that two guards stood justinside it. as they caught
sight of the approaching party, the guardsraised their rifles; but, quick as they were, seaton was quicker. atthe first sight of the open door he had made two quick steps and had hurledhimself across the intervening forty feet in a long footballplunge. before the two guards could straighten, he crashed into them, hisgreat momentum hurling them across the elevator cage and crushing theminto unconsciousness against its metal wall. "good work!" said dunark, as he preceded theothers into the elevator, and, after receiving seaton's permission,distributed the weapons of the
two guards among the men of his party. "nowwe can surprise those upon the roof. that was why you didn't shoot?" "yes, i was afraid to risk a shotâ€”it wouldgive the whole thing away," seaton replied, as he threw the unconsciousguards out into the grounds and closed the massive door. "aren't you going to kill them?" asked sitar,amazement in every feature and a puzzled expression in her splendid eyes.a murmur arose from the other kondalians, which was quickly silencedby the kofedix. "it is dishonorable for a soldier of earthto kill a helpless prisoner,"
he said briefly. "we cannot understand it,but we must not attempt to sway him in any point of honor." dunark stepped to the controls and the elevatorshot upward, stopping at a landing several stories below the top ofthe dock. he took a peculiar device from his belt and fitted it over themuzzle of his strange pistol. "we will get out here," he instructed theothers, "and go up the rest of the way by a little-used flight of stairs.we will probably encounter some few guards, but i can dispose of themwithout raising an alarm. you
will all stay behind me, please." seaton remonstrated, and dunark went on: "no, seaton, you have done your share, andmore. i am upon familiar ground now, and can do the work alone betterthan if you were to help me. i will call upon you, however, beforewe reach the dock." the kofedix led the way, his pistol restinglightly against his hip, and at the first turn of the corridor they camefull upon four guards. the pistol did not move from its place at theside of the leader, but there were four subdued clicks and the four guardsdropped dead, with bullets
through their brains. "seaton, that is _some_ silencer," whisperedduquesne. "i didn't suppose a silencer could work that fast." "they don't use powder," seaton replied absently,all his faculties directed toward the next corner. "the bulletsare propelled by an electrical charge." in the same manner dunark disposed of severalmore guards before the last stairway was reached. "seaton," he whispered in english, "now isthe time we need your rapid
pistol-work and your high-explosive shells.there must be hundreds of soldiers on the other side of that door, armedwith machine-cannon shooting high-explosive shells at the rateof a thousand per minute. our chance is thisâ€”their guns are probably trainedupon the elevators and main stairways, since this passage is unusedand none of us would be expected to know of it. most of them don'tknow of it themselves. it will take them a second or two to bring theirguns to bear upon us. we must do all the damage we canâ€”kill themall, if possibleâ€”in that second or two. if crane will lend me a pistol,we'll make the rush
together." "i've a better scheme than that," interruptedduquesne. "next to you, seaton, i'm the fastest man with a gun here.also, like you, i can use both hands at once. give me a couple of clipsof those special cartridges and you and i will blow that bunchinto the air before they know we're here." it was decided that the two pistol expertsshould take the lead, closely followed by crane and dunark. the weaponswere loaded to capacity and put in readiness for instant use.
"let's go, bunch!" said seaton. "the quickerwe start the quicker we'll get back. get ready to run out there, allthe rest of you, as soon as the battle's over. ready? on your marksâ€”getsetâ€”go!" he kicked the door open and there was a stutteringcrash as the four automatic pistols simultaneously burst intopractically continuous flameâ€”a crash obliterated by an overwhelmingconcussion of sound as the x-plosive shells, sweeping the entire roofwith a rapidly-opening fan of death, struck their marks and exploded. wellit was for the little group of wanderers that the two men in the doorwere past masters in the art
of handling their weapons; well it was thatthey had in their tiny pistol-bullets the explosive force of hundredsof giant shells! for rank upon rank of soldiery were massed upon theroof; rapid-fire cannon, terrible engines of destruction, were pointingtoward the elevators and toward the main stairways and approaches.but so rapid and fierce was the attack, that even those trained gunnershad no time to point their guns. the battle lasted little more than asecond, being over before either crane or dunark could fire a shot,and silence again reigned even while broken and shattered remnants of theguns and fragments of the
metal and stone of the dock were still fallingto the ground through a fine mist of what had once been men. assured by a rapid glance that not a singlemardonalian remained upon the dock, seaton turned back to the others. "make it snappy, bunch! this is going to bea mighty unhealthy spot for us in a few minutes." dorothy threw her arms around his neck inrelief. with one arm about her, he hastily led the way across the docktoward the skylark, choosing the path with care because of the yawningholes blown into the structure
by the terrific force of the explosions. theskylark was still in place, held immovable by the attractor, but whata sight she was! her crystal windows were shattered; her mighty platesof four-foot norwegian armor were bent and cracked and twisted; two ofher doors, warped and battered, hung awry from their broken hinges.not a shell had struck her: all this damage had been done by flyingfragments of the guns and of the dock itself; and seaton and crane,who had developed the new explosive, stood aghast at its awful power. they hastily climbed into the vessel, andseaton assured himself that
the controls were uninjured. "i hear battleships," dunark said. "is itpermitted that i operate one of your machine guns?" "go as far as you like," responded seaton,as he placed the women beneath the copper barâ€”the safest placein the vesselâ€”and leaped to the instrument board. before he reached it,and while duquesne, crane, and dunark were hastening to the guns, thewhine of giant helicopter-screws was plainly heard. a rangingshell from the first warship, sighted a little low, exploded againstthe side of the dock
beneath them. he reached the levers just asthe second shell screamed through the air a bare four feet above them.as he shot the skylark into the air under five notches of power, a steadystream of the huge bombs poured through the spot where, an instantbefore, the vessel had been. crane and duquesne aimed several shots atthe battleships, which were approaching from all sides, but the rangewas so extreme that no damage was done. they heard the continuous chattering of themachine gun operated by the kofedix, however, and turned toward him. hewas shooting, not at the
warships, but at the city rapidly growingsmaller beneath them; moving the barrel of the rifle in a tiny spiral;spraying the entire city with death and destruction! as they looked, thefirst of the shells reached the ground, just as dunark ceased firing forlack of ammunition. they saw the palace disappear as if by magic, beinginstantly blotted out in a cloud of dustâ€”a cloud which, with a spiralmotion of dizzying rapidity, increased in size until it obscuredthe entire city. having attained sufficient altitude to besafe from any possible pursuit and out of range of even the heaviest guns,seaton stopped the vessel
and went out into the main compartment toconsult with the other members of the group, about their next move. "it sure does feel good to get a breath ofcool air, folks," he said, as he drew with relief a deep breath of the air,which, at that great elevation, was of an icy temperature and verythin. he glanced at the little group of kondalians as he spoke, thenleaped back to the instrument board with an apology on his lipsâ€”theywere gasping for breath and shivering with the cold. he switchedon the heating coils and dropped the skylark rapidly in a long descenttoward the ocean.
"if that is the temperature you enjoy, i understandat last why you wear clothes," said the kofedix, as soon as hecould talk. "do not your planes fly up into the regionsof low temperature?" asked "only occasionally, and all high-flying vesselsare enclosed and heated to our normal temperature. we have heavy wraps,but we dislike to wear them so intensely that we never subject ourselvesto any cold." "well, there's no accounting for tastes,"returned seaton, "but i can't hand your climate a thing. it's hotter eventhan washington in august; 'and that,' as the poet feelingly remarked,'is going some!'
"but there's no reason for sitting here inthe dark," he continued, as he switched on the powerful daylight lampswhich lighted the vessel with the nearest approach to sunlight possibleto produce. as soon as the lights were on, dorothy looked intently atthe strange women. "now we can see what color they really are,"she explained to her lover in a low voice. "why, they aren't so verydifferent from what they were before, except that the colors are much softerand more pleasing. they really are beautiful, in spite of being green.don't you think so, dick?"
"they're a handsome bunch, all right," heagreed, and they were. their skins were a light, soft green, tanned toan olive shade by their many fervent suns. their teeth were a brilliantand shining grass-green. their eyes and their long, thick hair werea glossy black. the kondalians looked at the earthly visitorsand at each other, and the women uttered exclamations of horror. "what a frightful light?" exclaimed sitar."please shut it off. i would rather be in total darkness than look likethis!" "what's the matter, sitar?" asked the puzzleddorothy as seaton turned
off the lights. "you look perfectly stunningin this light." "they see things differently than we do,"explained seaton. "their optic nerves react differently than ours do. whilewe look all right to them, and they look all right to us, in both kindsof light, they look just as different to themselves under our daylightlamps as we do to ourselves in their green light. is that explanationclear?" "it's clear enough as far as it goes, butwhat do they look like to themselves?" "that's too deep for meâ€”i can't explainit, any better than you can.
take the osnomian color 'mlap,' for instance.can you describe it?" "it's a kind of greenish orangeâ€”but it seemsas though it ought not to look like that color either." "that's it, exactly. from the knowledge youreceived from the educator, it should be a brilliant purple. that is dueto the difference in the optic nerves, which explains why we see thingsso differently from the way the osnomians do. perhaps they can describethe way they look to each other in our white light." "can you, sitar?" asked dorothy.
"one word describes itâ€”'horrible.'" repliedthe kondalian princess, and her husband added: "the colors are distorted and unrecognizable,just as your colors are to your eyes in our light." "well, now that the color question is answered,let's get going. i pretty nearly asked you the way, dunarkâ€”forgotthat i know it as well as you do." the skylark set off at as high an altitudeas the osnomians could stand. as they neared the ocean several great mardonalianbattleships, warned
of the escape, sought to intercept them; butthe skylark hopped over them easily, out of range of their heaviestguns, and flew onward at such speed that pursuit was not even attempted.the ocean was quickly crossed. soon the space-car came to rest overa great city, and seaton pointed out the palace; which, with its landingdock nearby, was very similar to that of nalboon, in the capitalcity of mardonale. crane drew seaton to one side. "do you think it is safe to trust these kondalians,any more than it was the others? how would it be to stay in thelark instead of going into
the palace?" "yes, mart, this bunch can be trusted. dunarkhas a lot of darn queer ideas, but he's square as a die. he's ourfriend, and will get us the copper. we have no choice now, anyway, lookat the bar. we haven't an ounce of copper leftâ€”we're down to the platingin spots. besides, we couldn't go anywhere if we had a ton of copper,because the old bus is a wreck. she won't hold airâ€”you could throwa cat out through the shell in any direction. she'll have to have a lotof work done on her before we can think of leaving. as to staying inher, that wouldn't help us a
bit. steel is as soft as wood to these folksâ€”theirshells would go through her as though she were made of mush.they are made of metal that is harder than diamond and tougher than rubber,and when they strike they bore in like drill-bits. if they areout to get us they'll do it anyway, whether we're here or there, so wemay as well be guests. but there's no danger, mart. you know i swappedbrains with him, and i know him as well as i know myself. he's a good,square manâ€”one of our kind of folks." convinced, crane nodded his head and the skylarkdropped toward the
dock. while they were still high in air, dunarktook an instrument from his belt and rapidly manipulated a small lever.the others felt the air vibrateâ€”a peculiar, pulsating wave, which,to the surprise of the earthly visitors, they could read withoutdifficulty. it was a message from the kofedix to the entire city, tellingof the escape of his party and giving the news that he was accompaniedby two great karfedo from another world. then the pulsations becameunintelligible, and all knew that he had tuned his instrument away fromthe "general" key into the individual key of some one person.
"i just let my father, the karfedix, knowthat we are coming," he explained, as the vibrations ceased. from the city beneath them hundreds of greatguns roared forth a welcome, banners and streamers hung from everypossible point, and the air became tinted and perfumed with a bewilderingvariety of colors and scents and quivered with the rush of messagesof welcome. the skylark was soon surrounded by a majestic fleet ofgiant warships, who escorted her with impressive ceremony to the landingdock, while around them flitted great numbers of other aircraft. thetiny one-man helicopters
darted hither and thither, apparently alwaysin imminent danger of colliding with some of their larger neighbors,but always escaping as though by a miracle. beautiful pleasure-planessoared and dipped and wheeled like giant gulls; and, cleaving theirstately way through the numberless lesser craft; immense multiplanepassenger liners partially supported by helicopter screws turned asidefrom their scheduled courses to pay homage to the kofedix of kondal. as the skylark approached the top of the dock,all the escorting vessels dropped away and crane saw that instead ofthe brilliant assemblage he
had expected to see upon the landing-placethere was only a small group of persons, as completely unadorned as werethose in the car. in answer to his look of surprise, the kofedix said,with deep feeling: "my father, mother, and the rest of the family.they know that we, as escaped captives, would be without harnessor trappings, and are meeting us in the same state." seaton brought the vessel to the dock nearthe little group, and the earthly visitors remained inside their vesselwhile the rulers of kondal welcomed the sons and daughters they had givenup for dead.
after the affecting reunion, which was verysimilar to an earthly one under similar circumstances, the kofedix ledhis father up to the skylark and his guests stepped down upon thedock. "friends," dunark began, "i have told youof my father, roban, the karfedix of kondal. father, it is a greathonor to present to you those who rescued us from mardonaleâ€”seaton, karfedixof knowledge; crane, karfedix of wealth; miss vaneman; and missspencer. karfedix duquesne," waving his hand toward him, "is a lesser karfedixof knowledge, captive to the others."
"the kofedix dunark exaggerates our services,"deprecated seaton, "and doesn't mention the fact that he saved allour lives. but for him we all should have been killed." the karfedix, disregarding seaton's remark,acknowledged the indebtedness of kondal in heartfelt accentsbefore he led them back to the other party and made the introductions.as all walked toward the elevators, the emperor turned to his son witha puzzled expression. "i know from your message, dunark, that ourguests are from a distant solar system, and i can understand your accidentwith the educator, but
i cannot understand the titles of these men.knowledge and wealth are not ruled over. are you sure that you havetranslated their titles correctly?" "as correctly as i canâ€”we have no wordsin our language to express the meaning. their government is a most peculiarone, the rulers all being chosen by the people of the whole nation...." "extraordinary!" interjected the older man."how, then, can anything be accomplished?" "i do not understand the thing myself, itis so utterly unheard-of. but
they have no royalty, as we understand theterm. in america, their country, every man is equal. "that is," he hastened to correct himself,"they are not all equal, either, as they have two classes which wouldrank with royaltyâ€”those who have attained to great heights of knowledgeand those who have amassed great wealth. this explanation isentirely inadequate and does not give the right idea of their positions,but it is as close as i can come to the truth in our language." "i am surprised that you should be carryinga prisoner with you,
karfedo," said roban, addressing seaton andcrane. "you will, of course, be at perfect liberty to put him to deathin any way that pleases you, just as though you were in your own kingdoms.but perchance you are saving him so that his death will crown yourhome-coming?" the kofedix spoke in answer while seaton,usually so quick to speak, was groping for words. "no, father, he is not to be put to death.that is another peculiar custom of the earth-men; they consider itdishonorable to harm a captive, or even an unarmed enemy. for thatreason we must treat the
karfedix duquesne with every courtesy duehis rank, but at the same time he is to be allowed to do only such thingsas may be permitted by seaton and crane." "yet they do not seem to be a weak race,"mused the older man. "they are a mighty race, far advanced in evolution,"replied his son. "it is not weakness, but a peculiar moralcode. we have many things to learn from them, and but few to give themin return. their visit will mean much to kondal." during this conversation they had descendedto the ground and had
reached the palace, after traversing groundseven more sumptuous and splendid than those surrounding the palaceof nalboon. inside the palace walls the kofedix himself led the guests totheir rooms, accompanied by the major-domo and an escort of guards. heexplained to them that the rooms were all inter-communicating, each havinga completely equipped bathroom. "complete except for cold water, you mean,"said seaton with a smile. "there is cold water," rejoined the other,leading him into the bathroom and releasing a ten-inch stream of lukewarmwater into the small
swimming pool, built of polished metal, whichforms part of every kondalian bathroom. "but i am forgetting thatyou like extreme cold. we will install refrigerating machines at once." "don't do itâ€”thanks just the same. we won'tbe here long enough to make it worth while." dunark smilingly replied that he would makehis guests as comfortable as he could, and after informing them that inone kam he would return and escort them in to koprat, took his leave.scarcely had the guests freshened themselves when he was back, buthe was no longer the dunark
they had known. he now wore a metal-and-leatherharness which was one blaze of precious gems, and a leather belthung with jeweled weapons replaced the familiar hollow girdle of metal.his right arm, between the wrist and the elbow, was almost covered bysix bracelets of a transparent metal, deep cobalt-blue in color,each set with an incredibly brilliant stone of the same shade.on his left wrist he wore an osnomian chronometer. this was an instrumentresembling the odometer of an automobile, whose numerous revolvingsegments revealed a large and constantly increasing numberâ€”the date andtime of the osnomian day,
expressed in a decimal number of the karkamoof kondalian history. "greetings, oh guests from earth! i feel morelike myself, now that i am again in my trappings and have my weaponsat my side. will you accompany me to koprat, or are you not hungry?" as heattached the peculiar timepieces to the wrists of the guests, withbracelets of the deep-blue metal. "we accept with thanks," replied dorothy promptly."we're starving to death, as usual." as they walked toward the dining hall, dunarknoticed that dorothy's
eyes strayed toward his bracelets, and heanswered her unasked question: "these are our wedding rings. man and wifeexchange bracelets as part of the ceremony." "then you can tell whether a man is marriedor not, and how many wives he has, simply by looking at his arm? we shouldhave something like that on earth, dickâ€”then married men wouldn'tfind it so easy to pose as bachelors!" roban met them at the door of the great dininghall. he also was in full panoply, and dorothy counted ten of the heavybracelets upon his right
arm as he led them to places near his own.the room was a replica of the other osnomian dining hall they had seen andthe women were decorated with the same barbaric splendor of scintillatinggems. after the meal, which was a happy one, takingthe nature of a celebration in honor of the return of thecaptives, duquesne went directly to his room while the others spentthe time until the zero hour in strolling about the splendid grounds, alwaysescorted by many guards. returning to the room occupied by the twogirls, the couples separated, each girl accompanying her lover to the doorof his room.
margaret was ill at ease, though trying hardto appear completely self-possessed. "what is the matter, sweetheart peggy?" askedcrane, solicitously. "i didn't know that you...." she broke offand continued with a rush: "what did the kofedix mean just now, whenhe called you the karfedix of wealth?" "well, you see, i happen to have some money...."he began. "then you are the great m. reynolds crane?"she interrupted, in consternation.
"leave off 'the great,'" he said, then, notingher expression, he took her in his arms and laughed slightly. "is that all that was bothering you? whatdoes a little money amount to between you and me?" "nothingâ€”but i'm awfully glad that i didn'tknow it before," she replied, as she returned his caress with fervor."that is, it means nothing if you are perfectly sure i'm not...." crane, the imperturbable, broke a life-longrule and interrupted her. "do not say that, dear. you know as well asi do that between you and me
there never have been, are not now, and nevershall be, any doubts or any questions." "if i could have a real cold bath now, i'dfeel fine," remarked seaton, standing in his own door with dorothy by hisside. "i'm no blooming englishman but in weather as hot as this isure would like to dive into a good cold tank. how do you feel after allthis excitement, dottie? up to standard?" "i'm scared purple," she replied, nestlingagainst him, "or, at least, if not exactly scared, i'm apprehensive andnervous. i always thought i
had good nerves, but everything here is sohorrible and unreal, that i can't help but feel it. when i'm with youi really enjoy the experience, but when i'm alone or with peggy, especiallyin the sleeping-period, which is so awfully long and when it seemsthat something terrible is going to happen every minute, my mind goesoff in spite of me into thoughts of what may happen. why, last night,peggy and i just huddled up to each other in a ghastly yellow funkâ€”dreadingwe knew not whatâ€”the two of us slept hardly at all." "i'm sorry, little girl," replied seaton,embracing her tenderly,
"sorrier than i can say. i know that yournerves are all right, but you haven't roughed it enough, or lived in strangeenvironments enough, to be able to feel at home. the reason you feelsafer with me is that i feel perfectly at home here myself, not thatyour nerves are going to pieces or anything like that. it won't befor long, though, sweetheartâ€”as soon as we get the chariotfixed up we'll beat it back to the earth so fast it'll make your head spin." "yes, i think that's the reason, lover. ihope you won't think i'm a clinging vine, but i can't help being afraidof something here every
time i'm away from you. you're so self-reliant,so perfectly at ease here, that it makes me feel the same way." "i am perfectly at ease. there's nothing tobe afraid of. i've been in hundreds of worse places, right on earth.i sure wish i could be with you all the time, sweetheart girlâ€”only youcan understand just how much i wish itâ€”but, as i said before, it won'tbe long until we can be together all the time." dorothy pushed him into his room, followedhim within it, closed the door, and put both hands on his arm.
"dick, sweetheart," she whispered, while ahot blush suffused her face, "you're not as dumb as i thought you wereâ€”you'redumber! but if you simply won't say it, i will. don't you knowthat a marriage that is legal where it is performed is legal anywhere,and that no law says that the marriage must be performed upon the earth?" he pressed her to his heart in a mighty embrace,and his low voice showed in every vibration the depth of thefeeling he held for the beautiful woman in his arms as he replied: "i never thought of that, sweetheart, andi wouldn't have dared mention
it if i had. you're so far away from yourfamily and your friends that it would seem...." "it wouldn't seem anything of the kind," shebroke in earnestly. "don't you see, you big, dense, wonderful man, thatit is the only thing to do? we need each other, or at least, i need you,so much now...." "say 'each other'; it's right," declared herlover with fervor. "it's foolish to wait. mother would like tohave seen me married, of course; but there will be great advantages,even on that side. a grand wedding, of the kind we would simply haveto have in washington, doesn't
appeal to me any more than it does to youâ€”andit would bore you to extinction. dad would hate it, tooâ€”it'sbetter all around to be married seaton, who had been trying to speak, silencedher. "i'm convinced, dottie, have been ever sincethe first word. if you can see it that way i'm so glad that i can't expressit. i've been scared stiff every time i thought of our wedding.i'll speak to the karfedix the first thing in the morning, and we'llbe married tomorrowâ€”or rather today, since it is past the zero kam," ashe glanced at the chronometer upon his wrist, which, driven by wirelessimpulses from the master-clock
in the national observatory, was clickingoff the darkamo with an almost inaudible purr of its smoothly-revolving segments. "how would it be to wake him up and have itdone now?" "oh, dick, be reasonable! that would neverdo. tomorrow will be most awfully sudden, as it is! and dick, pleasespeak to martin, will you? peggy's even more scared than i am, and martin,the dear old stupid, is even less likely to suggest such a thing asthis kind of a wedding than you are. peggy's afraid to suggest it to him." "woman!" he said in mock sternness, "is thisa put-up job?"
"it certainly is. did you think i had nerveenough to do it without help?" seaton turned and opened the door. "mart! bring peggy over here!" he called,as he led dorothy back into the girls' room. "heavens, dick, be careful! you'll spoil thewhole thing!" "no, i won't. leave it to meâ€”i bashfullyadmit that i'm a regular bear-cat at this diplomatic stuff. watch mysmoke!" "folks," he said, when the four were together,"dottie and i have been
talking things over, and we've decided thattoday's the best possible date for a wedding. dottie's afraid of theselong, daylight nights, and i admit that i'd sleep a lot sounder if iknew where she was all the time instead of only part of it. she saysshe's willing, provided you folks see it the same way and make it double.how about it?" margaret blushed furiously and crane's lean,handsome face assumed a darker color as he replied: "a marriage here would, of course, be legalanywhere, provided we have a certificate, and we could be married againupon our return if we think
it desirable. it might look as though we weretaking an unfair advantage of the girls, dick, but considering all thecircumstances, i think it would be the best thing for everyone concerned." he saw the supreme joy in margaret's eyes,and his own assumed a new light as he drew her into the hollow of hisarm. "peggy has known me only a short time, butnothing else in the world is as certain as our love. it is the bride'sprivilege to set the date, so i will only say that it cannot be too soonfor me." "the sooner the better," said margaret, witha blush that would have
been divine in any earthly light, "did yousay 'today,' dick?" "i'll see the karfedix as soon as he getsup," he answered, and walked with dorothy to his door. "i'm just too supremely happy for words,"dorothy whispered in seaton's ear as he bade her good-night. "i won't beable to sleep or anything!" chapter xvi an osnomian marriage seaton awoke, hot and uncomfortable, but witha great surge of joy in his heartâ€”this was his wedding day! springingfrom the bed, he released
the full stream of the "cold" water, fillingthe tank in a few moments. poising lightly upon the edge, he made a clean,sharp dive, and yelled in surprise as he came snorting to the surface.for dunark had made good his promiseâ€”the water was only a few degreesabove the freezing point! after a few minutes of vigorous splashingin the icy water, he rubbed himself down with a coarse towel, shaved,threw on his clothes, and lifted his powerful, but musical, bass voicein the wedding chorus from "the rose maiden." _"rise, sweet maid, arise, arise,rise, sweet maid, arise, arise,
'tis the last fair morning for thy maideneyes,"_ he sang lustily, out of his sheer joy in beingalive, and was surprised to hear dorothy's clear soprano, margaret'spleasing contralto, and crane's mellow tenor chime in from the adjoiningroom. crane threw open the door and seaton joined the others. "good morning. dick, you sound happy," saidcrane. "who wouldn't be? look what's doing today,"as he ardently embraced his bride-to-be. "besides, i found some cold waterthis morning." "everyone in the palace heard you discoveringit," dryly returned crane,
and the girls laughed merrily. "it surprised me at first," admitted seaton,"but it's great after a fellow once gets wet." "we warmed ours a trifle," said dorothy. "ilike a cold bath myself, but not in ice-water." all four became silent, thinking of the comingevent of the day, until crane said: "they have ministers here, i know, and i knowsomething of their religion, but my knowledge is rather vague.you know more about it than
we do, dick, suppose you tell us about itwhile we wait." seaton paused a moment, with an odd look onhis face. as one turning the pages of an unfamiliar book of reference,he was seeking the answer to crane's question in the vast store of osnomianinformation received from dunark. his usually ready speech came a littleslowly. "well, as nearly as i can explain it, it'sa funny kind of a mixtureâ€”partly theology, partly darwinism,or at least, making a fetish of evolution, and partly pure economic determinism.they believe in a supreme being, whom they call the first causeâ€”thatis the nearest
english equivalentâ€”and they recognize theexistence of an immortal and unknowable life-principle, or soul. they believethat the first cause has decreed the survival of the fittest asthe fundamental law, which belief accounts for their perfect physiques...." "perfect physiques? why, they're as weak aschildren," interrupted dorothy. "yes, but that is because of the smallnessof the planet," returned seaton. "you see, a man of my size weighsonly eighty-six pounds here, on a spring balance, so he would need onlythe muscular development of a
boy of twelve or so. in a contest of strength,either of you girls could easily handle two of the strongest men uponosnome. in fact, the average osnomian could stand up on our earth onlywith the greatest difficulty. but that isn't the fault of the people; theyare magnificently developed for their surroundings. they have attainedthis condition by centuries of weeding out the unfit. they have no hospitalsfor the feeble-minded or feeble-bodiedâ€”abnormal persons are notallowed to live. the same reasoning accounts for their perfect cleanliness,moral and physical. vice is practically unknown. they believethat clean living and clean
thinking are rewarded by the production ofa better physical and mental type...." "yes, especially as they correct wrong livingby those terrible punishments the kofedix told us about," interruptedmargaret. "that probably helps some. they also believethat the higher the type is, the faster will evolution proceed, andthe sooner will mankind reach what they call the ultimate goal, and knowall things. believing as they do that the fittest must survive, and thinkingthemselves, of course, the superior type, it is ordained that mardonalemust be destroyed
utterly, root and branch. they believe thatthe slaves are so low in the scale, millions of years behind in evolution,that they do not count. slaves are simply intelligent and docile animals,little more than horses or oxen. mardonalians and savages areunfit to survive and must be exterminated. "their ministers are chosen from the veryfittest. they are the strongest, cleanest-living, and most vigorousmen of this clean and vigorous nation, and are usually high armyofficers as well as ministers."
an attendant announced the coming of the karfedixand his son, to pay the call of state. after the ceremonious greetingshad been exchanged, all went into the dining hall for darprat.as soon as the meal was over, seaton brought up the question of the doublewedding that kokam, and the karfedix was overjoyed. "karfedix seaton," he said earnestly, "nothingcould please us more than to have such a ceremony performed in our palace.marriage between such highly-evolved persons as are you four iswished by the first cause, whose servants we are. aside from that, itis an unheard-of honor for
any ruler to have even one karfedix marriedbeneath his roof, and you are granting me the privilege of two! i thankyou, and assure you that we will do our poor best to make the occasionmemorable." "don't do anything fancy," said seaton hastily."a simple, plain wedding will do." unheeding seaton's remark, the karfedix tookhis wireless from its hook at his belt and sent a brief message. "i have summoned karbix tarnan to performthe ceremony. our usual time for ceremonies is just before kopratâ€”isthat time satisfactory to you?"
assured that it was, he turned to his son. "dunark, you are more familiar than i withthe customs of our illustrious visitors. may i ask you to takecharge of the details?" while dunark sent a rapid succession of messages,dorothy whispered to seaton: "they must be going to make a real functionof our double wedding, dick. the karbix is the highest dignitary of thechurch, isn't he?" "yes, in addition to being the commander-in-chiefof all the kondalian armies. next to the karfedix he is the mostpowerful man in the empire.
something tells me, dottie, that this is goingto be some ceremony!" as dunark finished telegraphing, seaton turnedto him. "dorothy said, a while ago, that she wouldlike to have enough of that tapestry-fabric for a dress. do you supposeit could be managed?" "certainly. in all state ceremonials we alwayswear robes made out of the same fabric as the tapestries, but muchfiner and more delicate. i would have suggested it, but thought perhapsthe ladies would prefer their usual clothing. i know that you twomen do not care to wear our robes?"
"we will wear white ducks, the dressiest andcoolest things we have along," replied seaton. "thank you for youroffer, but you know how it is. we should feel out of place in such gorgeousdress." "i understand. i will call in a few of ourmost expert robe-makers, who will weave the gowns. before they come, letus decide upon the ceremony. i think you are familiar with our marriagecustoms, but i will explain them to make sure. each couple is marriedtwice. the first marriage is symbolized by the exchange of plain braceletsand lasts four karkamo, during which period divorce may be obtainedat will. the children of
such divorced couples formerly became wardsof the state, but in my lifetime i have not heard of there being anysuch childrenâ€”all divorces are now between couples who discover theirincompatibility before children are conceived." "that surprises me greatly," said crane. "somesystem of trial-marriage is advocated among us on earth every few years,but they all so surely degenerate into free love that no such systemhas found a foothold." "we are not troubled in that way at all. yousee, before the first marriage, each couple, from the humblest peasantryto the highest
royalty, must submit to a mental examination.if they are marrying for any reason at all other than love, such asany thought of trifling in the mind of the man, or if the woman is marryinghim for his wealth or position, he or she is summarily executed,regardless of station." no other questions being asked, dunark continued: "at the end of four karkamo the second marriageis performed, which is indissoluble. in this ceremony jeweled braceletsare substituted for the plain ones. in the case of highly-evolvedpersons it is permitted that the two ceremonies be combined into one. thenthere is a third ceremony,
used only in the marriage of persons of thevery highest evolution, in which the 'eternal' vows are taken and thefaidon, the eternal jewel, is exchanged. as you are all in the permittedclass, you may use the eternal ceremony if you wish." "i think we all know our minds well enoughto know that we want to be married for goodâ€”the longer the better,"said seaton, positively. "we'll make it the eternal, won't we, folks?" "i should like to ask one question," saidcrane, thoughtfully. "does that ceremony imply that my wife would bebreaking her vows if she
married again upon my death?" "far from it. numbers of our men are killedevery karkam. their wives, if of marriageable age, are expected to marryagain. then, too, you know that most kondalian men have several wives.no matter how many wives or husbands may be linked together in that way,it merely means that after death their spirits will be grouped into one.just as in your chemistry," smiling in comradely fashion atseaton, "a varying number of elements may unite to form a stable compound." after a short pause, the speaker went on:
"since you are from the earth and unaccustomedto bracelets, rings will be substituted for them. the plain rings willtake the place of your earthly wedding rings, the jeweled ones thatof your engagement rings. the only difference is that while we discardthe plain bracelets, you will continue to wear them. have you men anyobjections to wearing the rings during the ceremony? you may discardthem later if you wish and still keep the marriage valid." "not i! i'll wear mine all my life," respondedseaton earnestly, and crane expressed the same thought.
"there is only one more thing," added thekofedix. "that is, about the mental examination. since it is not your custom,it is probable that the justices would waive the ruling, especiallysince everyone must be examined by a jury of his own or a superiorrank, so that only one man, my father alone, could examine you." "not in a thousand years!" replied seatonemphatically. "i want to be examined, and have dorothy see the record.i don't care about having her put through it, but i want her to know exactlythe kind of a guy she is getting."
dorothy protested at this, but as all fourwere eager that they themselves should be tested, the karfedixwas notified and dunark clamped sets of multiple electrodes, connectedto a set of instruments, upon the temples of his father, dorothy, andseaton. he pressed a lever, and instantly dorothy and seaton read eachother's minds to the minutest detail, and each knew that the karfedix wasreading the minds of both. after margaret and crane had been examined,the karfedix expressed himself as more than satisfied. "you are all of the highest evolution andyour minds are all untainted
by any base thoughts in your marriage. thefirst cause will smile upon your unions," he said solemnly. "let the robe-makers appear," the karfedixordered, and four women, hung with spools of brilliantly-colored wire ofincredible fineness and with peculiar looms under their arms, entered theroom and accompanied the two girls to their apartment. as soon as the room was empty save for thefour men, dunark said: "while i was in mardonale, i heard bits ofconversation regarding an immense military discovery possessed by nalboon,besides the gas whose
deadly effects we felt. i could get no inklingof its nature, but feel sure that it is something to be dreaded. ialso heard that both of these secrets had been stolen from kondal, and thatwe were to be destroyed by our own superior inventions." the karfedix nodded his head gloomily. "that is true, my sonâ€”partly true, at least.we shall not be destroyed, however. kondal shall triumph. the discoverieswere made by a kondalian, but i am as ignorant as are you concerningtheir nature. an obscure inventor, living close to the bordering ocean,was the discoverer. he
was rash enough to wireless me concerningthem. he would not reveal their nature, but requested a guard. the mardonalianpatrol intercepted the message and captured both him and hisdiscoveries before our guard could arrive." "that's easily fixed," suggested seaton. "let'sget the skylark fixed up, and we'll go jerk nalboon out of his palaceâ€”ifhe's still aliveâ€”bring him over here, and read hismind." "that might prove feasible," answered thekofedix, "and in any event we must repair the skylark and replenish hersupply of copper immediately.
that must be our first consideration, so thatyou, our guests, will have a protection in any emergency." the karfedix went to his duties and the otherthree made their way to the wrecked space-car. they found that besidesthe damage done to the hull, many of the instruments were broken,including one of the object-compasses focused upon the earth. "it's a good thing you had three of them,mart. i sure hand it to you for preparedness," said seaton, as he tossedthe broken instruments out upon the dock. dunark protested at this treatment,and placed the
discarded instruments in a strong metal safe,remarking: "these things may prove useful at some futuretime." "well, i suppose the first thing to do isto get some powerful jacks and straighten these plates," said seaton. "why not throw away this soft metal, steel,and build it of arenak, as it should be built? you have plenty of salt,"suggested dunark. "fine! we have lots of salt in the galley,haven't we, mart?" "yes, nearly a hundred pounds. we are stockedfor emergencies, with two years' supply of food, you know."
dunark's eyes opened in astonishment at theamount mentioned, in spite of his knowledge of earthly conditions. hestarted to say something, then stopped in confusion, but seaton divinedhis thought. "we can spare him fifty pounds as well asnot, can't we, mart?" "certainly. fifty pounds of salt is a ridiculouslycheap price for what he is doing for us, even though it is veryrare here." dunark acknowledged the gift with shiningeyes and heartfelt, but not profuse, thanks, and bore the precious bagto the palace under a heavy escort. he returned with a small army of workmen,and after making tests
to assure himself that the power-bar wouldwork as well through arenak as through steel, he instructed the officersconcerning the work to be done. as the wonderfully skilled mechanicsset to work without a single useless motion, the prince stood silent, witha look of care upon his handsome face. "worrying about mardonale, dunark?" "yes. i cannot help wondering what that terriblenew engine of destruction is, which nalboon now has at hiscommand." "say, why don't you build a bus like the skylark,and blow mardonale off
the map?" "building the vessel would be easy enough,but x is as yet unknown upon osnome." "we've got a lot of it...." "i could not accept it. the salt was different,since you have plenty. x, however, is as scarce upon earth as saltis upon osnome." "sure you can accept it. we stopped at a planetthat has lots of it, and we've got an object-compass pointing at itso that we can go back and get more of it any time we want it. we'vegot more of it on hand now
than we're apt to need for a long time, sohave a hunk and get busy," and he easily carried one of the lumps outof his cabin and tossed it upon the dock, from whence it required twoof kondal's strongest men to lift it. the look of care vanished from the face ofthe prince and he summoned another corps of mechanics. "how thick shall the walls be? our battleshipsare armed with arenak the thickness of a hand, but with your vast supplyof salt you may have it any thickness you wish, since the materialsof the matrix are cheap and
abundant." "one inch would be enough, but everythingin the bus is designed for a four-foot shell, and if we change it fromfour feet we'll have to redesign our guns and all our instruments.let's make it four feet." seaton turned to the crippled skylark, uponwhich the first crew of kondalian mechanics were working with skilland with tools undreamed-of upon earth. the whole interior of the vesselwas supported by a complex falsework of latticed metal, then the four-footsteel plates and the mighty embers, the pride of the great macdougall,were cut away as
though they were made of paper by revolvingsaws and enormous power shears. the sphere, grooved for the repellersand with the members, braces, and central machinery complete, ofthe exact dimensions of the originals, was rapidly moulded of a stiff,plastic substance resembling clay. this matrix soon hardened into a rock-likemass into which the doors, machine-gun emplacements, and otheropenings were carefully cut. all surfaces were then washed with a dilutesolution of salt, which the workmen handled as though it were radium.two great plates of platinum were clamped into place upon either side ofthe vessel, each plate
connected by means of silver cables as largeas a man's leg to the receiving terminal of an enormous wirelesspower station. the current was applied and the great spherical mass apparentlydisappeared, being transformed instantly into the transparentmetal arenak. then indeed had the earth-men a vehicle such as had neverbeen seen before! a four-foot shell of metal five hundred times as strongand hard as the strongest and hardest steel, cast in one piece withthe sustaining framework designed by the world's foremost engineerâ€”astructure that no conceivable force could deform or injure,housing an inconceivable
propulsive force! the falsework was rapidly removed and thesustaining framework was painted with opaque varnish to render it plainlyvisible. at seaton's suggestion the walls of the cabins were alsopainted, leaving transparent several small areas to serve aswindows. the second work-period was drawing to a close,and as seaton and crane were to be married before koprat, they stoppedwork. they marveled at the amount that had been accomplished, andthe kofedix told them: "both vessels will be finished tomorrow, exceptfor the controlling
instruments, which we will have to make ourselves.another crew will work during the sleeping-period, installingthe guns and other fittings. do you wish to have your own guns installed,or guns of our pattern? you are familiar with them now." "our own, please. they are slower and lessefficient than yours, but we are used to them and have a lot of x-plosiveammunition for them," replied seaton, after a short conference withcrane. after instructing the officers in charge ofthe work, the three returned to the palace, the hearts of two of them beatinghigh in anticipation.
seaton went into crane's room, accompaniedby two attendants bearing his suitcase and other luggage. "we should have brought along dress clothes,mart. why didn't you think of that, too?" "nothing like this ever entered my mind. itis a good thing we brought along ducks and white soft shirts. i mustsay that this is extremely informal garb for a state wedding, but sincethe natives are ignorant of our customs, it will not make any difference." "that's right, tooâ€”we'll make 'em thinkit's the most formal kind of
dress. dunark knows what's what, but he knowsthat full dress would be unbearable here. we'd melt down in a minute.it's plenty hot enough as it is, with only duck trousers and sport-shirtson. they'll look green instead of white, but that's a small matter." dunark, as best man, entered the room sometime later. "give us a look, dunark," begged seaton, "andsee if we'll pass inspection. i was never so rattled in my life." they were clad in spotless white, from theirduck oxfords to the white ties encircling the open collars of theirtennis shirts. the two tall
figuresâ€”crane's slender, wiry, at perfectease; seaton's broad-shouldered, powerful, prowling aboutwith unconscious, feline suppleness and graceâ€”and the two handsome,high-bred, intellectual faces, each wearing a look of eager happiness,fully justified dunark's answer. "you sure will do!" he pronounced enthusiastically,and with seaton's own impulsive good will he shook hands andwished them an eternity of happiness. "when you have spoken with your brides," hecontinued, "i shall be
waiting to escort you into the chapel. sitartold me to say that the ladies are ready." dorothy and margaret had been dressed in theirbridal gowns by sitar and several other princesses, under the watchfuleyes of the karfedir herself. sitar placed the two girls side byside and drew off to survey her work. "you are the loveliest creatures in the wholeworld!" she cried. they looked at each other's glittering gowns,then margaret glanced at dorothy's face and a look of dismay overspreadher own.
"oh, dottie!" she gasped. "your lovely complexion!isn't it terrible for the boys to see us in this light?" there was a peal of delighted laughter fromsitar and she spoke to one of the servants, who drew dark curtains acrossthe windows and pressed a switch, flooding the room with brilliant whitelight. "dunark installed lamps like those of yourship for you," she explained with intense satisfaction. "i knew in advancejust how you would feel about your color." before the girls had time to thank their thoughtfulhostess she
disappeared and their bridegrooms stood beforethem. for a moment no word was spoken. seaton stared at dorothyhungrily, almost doubting the evidence of his senses. for white was white,pink was pink, and her hair shone in all its natural splendor of burnishedbronze. in their wondrous osnomian bridal robes thebeautiful earth-maidens stood before their lovers. upon their feetwere jeweled slippers. their lovely bodies were clothed in softly shimmeringgarments that left their rounded arms and throats bareâ€”garments infinitelymore supple than the finest silk, thick-woven of metallic threadsof such fineness that the
individual wires were visible only under alens; garments that floated and clung about their perfect forms in linesof exquisite grace. for black-haired margaret, with her ivory skin,the kondalian princess had chosen a background of a rare white metal,upon which, in complicated figures, glistened numberless jewels of palecolors, more brilliant than diamonds. dorothy's dress was of a peculiar,dark-green shade, half-hidden by an intricate design of blazinggreen gemsâ€”the strange, luminous jewels of this strange world. bothgirls wore their long, heavy hair unbound, after the kondalian bridal fashion,brushed until it fell
like mist about them and confined at the templesby metallic bands entirely covered with jewels. seaton looked from dorothy to margaret andback again; looked down into her violet eyes, deep with wonder and withlove, more beautiful than any jewel in all her gorgeous costume. unheedingthe presence of the others, she put her dainty hands upon his mighty shouldersand stood on tiptoe. "i love you, dick. now and always, here orat home or anywhere in the universe. we'll never be parted again," shewhispered, and her own beloved violin had no sweeter tones than hadher voice.
a few minutes later, her eyes wet and shining,she drew herself away from him and glanced at margaret. "isn't she the most beautiful thing you everlaid eyes on?" "no," seaton answered promptly, "she is notâ€”butpoor old mart thinks she is!" accompanied by the karfedix and his son, seatonand crane went into the chapel, which, already brilliant, had beendecorated anew with even greater splendor. glancing through the widearches they saw, for the first time, osnomians clothed. the great roomwas filled with the
highest nobility of kondal, wearing theirheavily-jeweled, resplendent robes of state. every color of the rainbowand numberless fantastic patterns were there, embodied in the soft,lustrous, metallic fabric. as the men entered one door dorothy and margaret,with the karfedir and sitar, entered the other, and the entire assemblagerose to its feet and snapped into the grand salute. moving to theaccompaniment of strange martial music from concealed instruments,the two parties approached each other, meeting at the raised platformor pulpit where karbix tarnan, a handsome, stately, middle-aged manwho carried easily his
hundred and fifty karkamo of age, awaitedthem. as he raised his arms, the music ceased. it was a solemn and wonderfully impressivespectacle. the room, of burnished metal, with its bizarre decorationswrought in scintillating gems; the constantly changing harmony of colorsas the invisible lamps were shifted from one shade to another; thegroup of mighty nobles standing rigidly at attention in a silenceso profound that it was an utter absence of everything audible as thekarbix lifted both arms in a silent invocation of the great first causeâ€”allthese things deepened
the solemnity of that solemn moment. when tarnan spoke, his voice, deep with somegreat feeling, inexplicable even to those who knew him best, carried clearlyto every part of the great chamber. "friends, it is our privilege to assist todayin a most notable event, the marriage of four personages from anotherworld. for the first time in the history of osnome, one karfedix hasthe privilege of entertaining the bridal party of another. it is not forthis fact alone, however, that this occasion is to be memorable. a fardeeper reason is that we
are witnessing, possibly for the first timein the history of the universe, the meeting upon terms of mutualfellowship and understanding of the inhabitants of two worlds separatedby unthinkable distances of trackless space and by equally great differencesin evolution, conditions of life, and environment. yet thesestrangers are actuated by the spirit of good faith and honor which isinstilled into every worthy being by the great first cause, in the workingout of whose vast projects all things are humble instruments. "in honor of the friendship of the two worlds,we will proceed with the
ceremony. "richard seaton and martin crane, exchangethe plain rings with dorothy vaneman and margaret spencer." they did so, and repeated, after the karbix,simple vows of love and loyalty. "may the first cause smile upon this temporarymarriage and render it worthy of being made permanent. as a lowlyservant of the all-powerful first cause i pronounce you two, and you two,husband and wife. but we must remember that the dull vision of mortalman cannot pierce the veil
of futurity, which is as crystal to the all-beholdingeye of the first cause. though you love each other truly, unforeseenthings may come between you to mar the perfection of yourhappiness. therefore a time is granted you during which you may discoverwhether or not your unions are perfect." a pause ensued, then tarnan went on: "martin crane, margaret spencer, richard seaton,and dorothy vaneman, you are before us to take the final vows whichshall bind your bodies together for life and your spirits togetherfor eternity. have you
considered the gravity of this step sufficientlyto enter into this marriage without reservation?" "i have," solemnly replied the four, in unison. "exchange the jeweled rings. do you, richardseaton and dorothy vaneman; and you, martin crane and margaret spencer;individually swear, here in the presence of the first cause and that ofthe supreme justices of kondal, that you will be true and loyal, eachhelping his chosen one in all things, great and small; that never throughouteternity, in thought or in action, will either your body or yourmind or your conscious
spirit stray from the path of fairness andtruth and honor?" "i do." "i pronounce you married with the eternalmarriage. just as the faidon which you each now wearâ€”the eternal jewelwhich no force of man, however applied, has yet been able to changeor deform in any particular; and which continues to give offits inward light without change throughout eternityâ€”shall endurethrough endless cycles of time after the metal of the ring which holds itshall have crumbled in decay: even so shall your spirits, formerly two,now one and indissoluble,
progress in ever-ascending evolution throughouteternity after the base material which is your bodies shall have returnedto the senseless dust from whence it arose." the karbix lowered his arms and the bridalparty walked to the door through a double rank of uplifted weapons.from the chapel they were led to another room, where the contracting partiessigned their names in a register. the kofedix then brought forwardtwo marriage certificatesâ€”heavy square plates of a brilliantpurple metal, beautifully engraved in parallel columns ofenglish and kondalian
script, and heavily bordered with preciousstones. the principals and witnesses signed below each column, the signaturesbeing deeply engraved by the royal engraver. leaving the registry,they were escorted to the dining hall, where a truly royal repast wasserved. between courses the highest nobles of the nation welcomed thevisitors and wished them happiness in short but earnest addresses.after the last course had been disposed of, the karbix rose at a sign fromthe karfedix and spoke, his voice again agitated by the emotion whichhad puzzled his hearers during the marriage service.
"all kondal is with us here in spirit, tryingto aid us in our poor attempts to convey our welcome to these ourguests, of whose friendship no greater warrant could be given than theirwillingness to grant us the privilege of their marriage. not only havethey given us a boon that will make their names revered throughout thenation as long as kondal shall exist, but they have also been the meansof showing us plainly that the first cause is upon our side, thatour age-old institution of honor is in truth the only foundation uponwhich can be built a race fitted to survive. at the same time they havebeen the means of showing
us that our hated foe, entirely without honor,building his race upon a foundation of bloodthirsty savagery alone,is building wrongly and must perish utterly from the face of osnome." his hearers listened, impressed by his earnestness,but plainly not understanding his meaning. "you do not understand?" he went on, witha deep light shining in his eyes. "it is inevitable that two peoples inhabitingworlds so widely separated as are our two should be possessedof widely-varying knowledge and abilities, and these strangers have alreadymade it possible for us
to construct engines of destruction whichshall obliterate mardonale completely...." a fierce shout of joy interruptedthe speaker and the nobles sprang to their feet, saluting thevisitors with upraised weapons. as soon as they had reseated themselves,the karbix continued: "that is the boon. the vindication of oursystem of evolution is easily explained. the strangers landed first uponmardonale. had nalboon met them in honor, he would have gained the boon.but he, with the savagery characteristic of his evolution, attemptedto kill his guests and steal their treasures, with what results you alreadyknow. we, on our part, in
exchange for the few and trifling serviceswe have been able to render them, have received even more than nalboonwould have obtained, had his plans not been nullified by their vastly superiorstate of evolution." the orator seated himself and there was adeafening clamor of cheering as the nobles formed themselves into an escortof honor and conducted the two couples to their apartments. alone in their room, dorothy turned to herhusband with tears shining in her beautiful eyes. "dick, sweetheart, wasn't that the most wonderfulthing that anybody
ever heard of? using the word in all its realmeaning, it was indescribably grand, and that old man is simplysuperb. it makes me ashamed of myself to think that i was everafraid or nervous here." "it sure was all of that, dottie mine, littlebride of an hour. the whole thing gets right down to where a fellowlivesâ€”i've got a lump in my throat right now so big that it hurts meto think. earthly marriages are piffling in comparison with that ceremony.it's no wonder they're happy, after taking those vowsâ€”especiallyas they don't have to take them until after they are sure of themselves.
"but we're sure already, sweetheart," as heembraced her with all the feeling of his nature. "those vows are nota bit stronger than the ones we have already exchangedâ€”bodily and mentallyand spiritually we are one, now and forever." end of chapter xviMy Little Pony Coloring Pages Of Rainbow Dash