Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 29

over that Carthoris could scarce believe
his senses as the mighty body rushed madly past him. Either he
had not placed himself in the centre of the tunnel, or else the
blinded banth had erred in its calculations.

However, the huge body missed him by a foot, and the creature
continued on down the tunnel as though in pursuit of the prey that
had eluded him.

Carthoris, too, followed the same direction, nor was it long before
his heart was gladdened by the sight of the moonlit exit from the
long, dark passage.

Before him lay a deep hollow, entirely surrounded by gigantic
cliffs. The surface of the valley was dotted with enormous trees,
a strange sight so far from a Martian waterway. The ground itself
was clothed in brilliant scarlet sward, picked out with innumerable
patches of gorgeous wild flowers.

Beneath the glorious effulgence of the two moons the scene was one
of indescribable loveliness, tinged with the weirdness of strange
enchantment.

For only an instant, however, did his gaze rest upon the natural
beauties outspread before him. Almost immediately they were riveted
upon the figure of a great banth standing across the carcass of a
new-killed thoat.

The huge beast, his tawny mane bristling around his hideous head,
kept his eyes fixed upon another banth that charged erratically
hither and thither, with shrill screams of pain, and horrid roars
of hate and rage.

Carthoris quickly guessed that the second brute was the one he had
blinded during the fight in the tunnel, but it was the dead thoat
that centred his interest more than either of the savage carnivores.

The harness was still upon the body of the huge Martian mount, and
Carthoris could not doubt but that this was the very animal upon
which the green warrior had borne away Thuvia of Ptarth.

But where were the rider and his prisoner? The Prince of Helium
shuddered as he thought upon the probability of the fate that had
overtaken them.

Human flesh is the food most craved by the fierce Barsoomian lion,
whose great carcass and giant thews require enormous quantities of
meat to sustain them.

Two human bodies would have but whetted the creature's appetite,
and that he had killed and eaten the green man and the red girl
seemed only too likely to Carthoris. He had left the carcass
of the mighty thoat to be devoured after having consumed the more
tooth-some portion of his banquet.

Now the sightless banth, in its savage, aimless charging and
counter-charging, had passed beyond the kill of its fellow, and
there the light breeze that was blowing wafted the

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