Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 39

the Holy
Therns, and the great creatures fawned upon instead of devouring
me, I ever have had the same strange power over them. They come
at my call and do my bidding, even as the faithful Woola does the
bidding of your mighty sire."

With a word the girl dispersed the fierce pack. Roaring, they
returned to their interrupted feast, while Carthoris and Thuvia
passed among them toward the walled city.

As they advanced the man looked with wonder upon the dead bodies
of those of the green men that had not been devoured or mauled by
the banths.

He called the girl's attention to them. No arrows protruded from
the great carcasses. Nowhere upon any of them was the sign of
mortal wound, nor even slightest scratch or abrasion.

Before the bowmen's dead had disappeared the corpses of the Torquasians
had bristled with the deadly arrows of their foes. Where had the
slender messengers of death departed? What unseen hand had plucked
them from the bodies of the slain?

Despite himself Carthoris could scarce repress a shudder of
apprehension as he glanced toward the silent city before them. No
longer was sign of life visible upon wall or roof top. All was
quiet--brooding, ominous quiet.

Yet he was sure that eyes watched them from somewhere behind that
blank wall.

He glanced at Thuvia. She was advancing with wide eyes fixed upon
the city gate. He looked in the direction of her gaze, but saw
nothing.

His gaze upon her seemed to arouse her as from a lethargy. She
glanced up at him, a quick, brave smile touching her lips, and then,
as though the act was involuntary, she came close to his side and
placed one of her hands in his.

He guessed that something within her that was beyond her conscious
control was appealing to him for protection. He threw an arm about
her, and thus they crossed the field. She did not draw away from
him. It is doubtful that she realized that his arm was there, so
engrossed was she in the mystery of the strange city before them.

They stopped before the gate. It was a mighty thing. From its
construction Carthoris could but dimly speculate upon its unthinkable
antiquity.

It was circular, closing a circular aperture, and the Heliumite knew
from his study of ancient Barsoomian architecture that it rolled
to one side, like a huge wheel, into an aperture in the wall.

Even such world-old cities as ancient Aaanthor were as yet undreamed
of when the races lived that built

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