Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 19

but it was not Ptarth. No multitudes surged through
its broad avenues. No signs of life broke the dead monotony of
its deserted roof tops. No gorgeous silks, no priceless furs lent
life and colour to the cold marble and the gleaming ersite.

No patrol boat lay ready with its familiar challenge. Silent and
empty lay the great city--empty and silent the surrounding air.

What had happened?

Carthoris examined the dial of his compass. The pointer was set
upon Ptarth. Could the creature of his genius have thus betrayed
him? He would not believe it.

Quickly he unlocked the cover, turning it back upon its hinge. A
single glance showed him the truth, or at least a part of it--the
steel projection that communicated the movement of the pointer upon
the dial to the heart of the mechanism beneath had been severed.

Who could have done the thing--and why?

Carthoris could not hazard even a faint guess. But the thing now
was to learn in what portion of the world he was, and then take up
his interrupted journey once more.

If it had been the purpose of some enemy to delay him, he had
succeeded well, thought Carthoris, as he unlocked the cover of the
second dial the first having shown that its pointer had not been
set at all.

Beneath the second dial he found the steel pin severed as in the
other, but the controlling mechanism had first been set for a point
upon the western hemisphere.

He had just time to judge his location roughly at some place
south-west of Helium, and at a considerable distance from the twin
cities, when he was startled by a woman's scream beneath him.

Leaning over the side of the flier, he saw what appeared to be a red
woman being dragged across the plaza by a huge green warrior--one
of those fierce, cruel denizens of the dead sea-bottoms and deserted
cities of dying Mars.

Carthoris waited to see no more. Reaching for the control board,
he sent his craft racing plummet-like toward the ground.

The green man was hurrying his captive toward a huge thoat that
browsed upon the ochre vegetation of the once scarlet-gorgeous
plaza. At the same instant a dozen red warriors leaped from the
entrance of a nearby ersite palace, pursuing the abductor with
naked swords and shouts of rageful warning.

Once the woman turned her face upward toward the falling flier,
and in the single swift glance Carthoris saw that it was Thuvia of
Ptarth!




CHAPTER IV

A GREEN MAN'S CAPTIVE


When the light of day broke upon

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