Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 100

he asked.

"He escaped my blade, and ran down this corridor," replied Kar
Komak.

"We must lose no time, then!" exclaimed Carthoris. "He will have
the guard upon us yet!"

Together the three hastened along the winding passages through which
Carthoris and Kar Komak had tracked the Dusarians by the marks of
the latter's sandals in the thin dust that overspread the floors
of these seldom-used passage-ways.

They had come to the chamber at the entrances to the lifts before
they met with opposition. Here they found a handful of guardsmen,
and an officer, who, seeing that they were strangers, questioned
their presence in the palace of Astok.

Once more Carthoris and Kar Komak had recourse to their blades,
and before they had won their way to one of the lifts the noise of
the conflict must have aroused the entire palace, for they heard
men shouting, and as they passed the many levels on their quick
passage to the landing-stage they saw armed men running hither and
thither in search of the cause of the commotion.

Beside the stage lay the Thuria, with three warriors on guard.
Again the Heliumite and the Lotharian fought shoulder to shoulder,
but the battle was soon over, for the Prince of Helium alone would
have been a match for any three that Dusar could produce.

Scarce had the Thuria risen from the ways ere a hundred or more
fighting men leaped to view upon the landing-stage. At their head
was Astok of Dusar, and as he saw the two he had thought so safely
in his power slipping from his grasp, he danced with rage and
chagrin, shaking his fists and hurling abuse and vile insults at
them.

With her bow inclined upward at a dizzy angle, the Thuria shot
meteor-like into the sky. From a dozen points swift patrol boats
darted after her, for the scene upon the landing-stage above the
palace of the Prince of Dusar had not gone unnoticed.

A dozen times shots grazed the Thuria's side, and as Carthoris could
not leave the control levers, Thuvia of Ptarth turned the muzzles
of the craft's rapid-fire guns upon the enemy as she clung to the
steep and slippery surface of the deck.

It was a noble race and a noble fight. One against a score now, for
other Dusarian craft had joined in the pursuit; but Astok, Prince
of Dusar, had built well when he built the Thuria. None in the
navy of his sire possessed a swifter flier; no other craft so well
armoured or so well armed.

One by one the pursuers were distanced,

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