Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 43

that there were no soldiers in
Lothar," said the Heliumite, with a gesture toward the guardsmen.
"What are these?"

"Ask Tario," replied the other. "We shall soon be before him."

Nor was it long before they entered a lofty chamber at one end of
which a man reclined upon a rich couch that stood upon a high dais.

As the trio approached, the man turned dreamy eyes sleepily upon
them. Twenty feet from the dais their conductor halted, and,
whispering to Thuvia and Carthoris to follow his example, threw
himself headlong to the floor. Then rising to hands and knees,
he commenced crawling toward the foot of the throne, swinging his
head to and fro and wiggling his body as you have seen a hound do
when approaching its master.

Thuvia glanced quickly toward Carthoris. He was standing erect,
with high-held head and arms folded across his broad chest. A
haughty smile curved his lips.

The man upon the dais was eyeing him intently, and Carthoris of
Helium was looking straight in the other's face.

"Who be these, Jav?" asked the man of him who crawled upon his
belly along the floor.

"O Tario, most glorious Jeddak," replied Jav, "these be strangers
who came with the hordes of Torquas to our gates, saying that they
were prisoners of the green men. They tell strange tales of cities
far beyond Lothar."

"Arise, Jav," commanded Tario, "and ask these two why they show
not to Tario the respect that is his due."

Jav arose and faced the strangers. At sight of their erect positions
his face went livid. He leaped toward them.

"Creatures!" he screamed. "Down! Down upon your bellies before
the last of the jeddaks of Barsoom!"




CHAPTER VII

THE PHANTOM BOWMEN


As Jav leaped toward him Carthoris laid his hand upon the hilt of
his long-sword. The Lotharian halted. The great apartment was
empty save for the four at the dais, yet as Jav stepped back from
the menace of the Heliumite's threatening attitude the latter found
himself surrounded by a score of bowmen.

From whence had they sprung? Both Carthoris and Thuvia looked
their astonishment.

Now the former's sword leaped from its scabbard, and at the same
instant the bowmen drew back their slim shafts.

Tario had half raised himself upon one elbow. For the first time
he saw the full figure of Thuvia, who had been concealed behind
the person of Carthoris.

"Enough!" cried the jeddak, raising a protesting hand, but at
that very instant the sword of the Heliumite cut viciously at its
nearest antagonist.

As the keen edge reached

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