The day of the duel has arrived, Conan v. Zaius, winner take the princess. The bulk of the town has turned out to witness this event, understandably so, since if it's as dull as it seems they probably haven't had this much excitement since the last outbreak of Shemitish sand fleas. Zaius blusters and struts, thinking the Barbarian easy prey for his disciplined sword arm. As Monarch and townspeople watch, Zaius raises his sword and then neatly cuts his own head off*.
Conan is astounded and demands what sort of farce this contest is, but he is quickly shushed by the priestess's of Qjara lest he spoil the moment with his blasphemous chatter. Conan is thus defeated, through a technicality, and is shunned by the tiny nation-state of Qjara. He protests, but this avails him nothing. So in leaving Qjara, he reflects on what brought him here in the first place.
After leaving Zamboula, he began to journey northwest. But a series of dry oasis necessitated his veering off course during his journey. His ultimate goal was and still is to return to Shadizar, but since he had been thwarted by nature, he chose to wait in Qjara for a northbound caravan. But that has now been denied him as well, not one to sulk, he sets off on his own.
After some days he finds himself in a deserted city in the middle of the waste. He realizes with horror that this city is the cursed Yb. A demon haunted ruin shunned by everyone. He eventually encounters an unlikely procession, a great wagon bearing a stone idol, headed towards Qjara under the auspices of Khumannos the high priest. With a desire to right the wrongs inflicted on him by the people of Qjara he accepts Khumannos as a traveling companion and they head eastward once more.
*I swear I'm not making this up.