Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 11

warriors watched the lights of the patrol boat diminishing in
the distance.

"The intellects of our ancestors are with us to-night," said one
in a low tone.

"No plan ever carried better," returned another. "They did precisely
as the prince foretold."

He who had first spoken turned toward the man who squatted before
the control board.

"Now!" he whispered. There was no other order given. Every man
upon the craft had evidently been well schooled in each detail
of that night's work. Silently the dark hull crept beneath the
cathedral arches of the dark and silent grove.

Thuvia of Ptarth, gazing toward the east, saw the blacker blot
against the blackness of the trees as the craft topped the buttressed
garden wall. She saw the dim bulk incline gently downward toward
the scarlet sward of the garden.

She knew that men came not thus with honourable intent. Yet she
did not cry aloud to alarm the near-by guardsmen, nor did she flee
to the safety of the palace.


I can see her shrug her shapely shoulders in reply as she voices
the age-old, universal answer of the woman: Because!

Scarce had the flier touched the ground when four men leaped from
its deck. They ran forward toward the girl.

Still she made no sign of alarm, standing as though hypnotized.
Or could it have been as one who awaited a welcome visitor?

Not until they were quite close to her did she move. Then the
nearer moon, rising above the surrounding foliage, touched their
faces, lighting all with the brilliancy of her silver rays.

Thuvia of Ptarth saw only strangers--warriors in the harness of
Dusar. Now she took fright, but too late!

Before she could voice but a single cry, rough hands seized her.
A heavy silken scarf was wound about her head. She was lifted
in strong arms and borne to the deck of the flier. There was the
sudden whirl of propellers, the rushing of air against her body,
and, from far beneath the shouting and the challenge from the guard.

Racing toward the south another flier sped toward Helium. In its
cabin a tall red man bent over the soft sole of an upturned sandal.
With delicate instruments he measured the faint imprint of a small
object which appeared there. Upon a pad beside him was the outline
of a key, and here he noted the results of his measurements.

A smile played upon his lips as he completed his task and turned
to one who waited at the opposite side of the table.


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