Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 21

a huge palace that even in
decay reflected the splendour of the age which its youth had known.

Just before dawn on the third day she had been aroused by the voices
of two of her abductors.

"He should be here by dawn," one was saying. "Have her in readiness
upon the plaza--else he will never land. The moment he finds that
he is in a strange country he will turn about--methinks the prince's
plan is weak in this one spot."

"There was no other way," replied the other. "It is wondrous work
to get them both here at all, and even if we do not succeed in
luring him to the ground, we shall have accomplished much."

Just then the speaker caught the eyes of Thuvia upon him, revealed
by the quick-moving patch of light cast by Thuria in her mad race
through the heavens.

With a quick sign to the other, he ceased speaking, and advancing
toward the girl, motioned her to rise. Then he led her out into
the night toward the centre of the great plaza.

"Stand here," he commanded, "until we come for you. We shall
be watching, and should you attempt to escape it will go ill with
you--much worse than death. Such are the prince's orders."

Then he turned and retraced his steps toward the palace, leaving
her alone in the midst of the unseen terrors of the haunted city,
for in truth these places are haunted in the belief of many Martians
who still cling to an ancient superstition which teaches that the
spirits of Holy Therns who die before their allotted one thousand
years, pass, on occasions, into the bodies of the great white apes.

To Thuvia, however, the real danger of attack by one of these
ferocious, manlike beasts was quite sufficient. She no longer
believed in the weird soul transmigration that the therns had taught
her before she was rescued from their clutches by John Carter; but
she well knew the horrid fate that awaited her should one of the
terrible beasts chance to spy her during its nocturnal prowlings.

What was that?

Surely she could not be mistaken. Something had moved, stealthily,
in the shadow of one of the great monoliths that line the avenue
where it entered the plaza opposite her!

Thar Ban, jed among the hordes of Torquas, rode swiftly across the
ochre vegetation of the dead sea-bottom toward the ruins of ancient

He had ridden far that night, and fast, for he had but come from
the despoiling of the incubator of a neighbouring green horde

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