Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 44

its goal Carthoris let the point fall to
the floor, as with wide eyes he stepped backward in consternation,
throwing the back of his left hand across his brow. His steel
had cut but empty air--his antagonist had vanished--there were no
bowmen in the room!

"It is evident that these are strangers," said Tario to Jav. "Let
us first determine that they knowingly affronted us before we take
measures for punishment."

Then he turned to Carthoris, but ever his gaze wandered to the
perfect lines of Thuvia's glorious figure, which the harness of a
Barsoomian princess accentuated rather than concealed.

"Who are you," he asked, "who knows not the etiquette of the court
of the last of jeddaks?"

"I am Carthoris, Prince of Helium," replied the Heliumite. "And
this is Thuvia, Princess of Ptarth. In the courts of our fathers
men do not prostrate themselves before royalty. Not since the First
Born tore their immortal goddess limb from limb have men crawled
upon their bellies to any throne upon Barsoom. Now think you that
the daughter of one mighty jeddak and the son of another would so
humiliate themselves?"

Tario looked at Carthoris for a long time. At last he spoke.

"There is no other jeddak upon Barsoom than Tario," he said. "There
is no other race than that of Lothar, unless the hordes of Torquas
may be dignified by such an appellation. Lotharians are white;
your skins are red. There are no women left upon Barsoom. Your
companion is a woman."

He half rose from the couch, leaning far forward and pointing an
accusing finger at Carthoris.

"You are a lie!" he shrieked. "You are both lies, and you dare to
come before Tario, last and mightiest of the jeddaks of Barsoom,
and assert your reality. Some one shall pay well for this, Jav,
and unless I mistake it is yourself who has dared thus flippantly
to trifle with the good nature of your jeddak.

"Remove the man. Leave the woman. We shall see if both be lies.
And later, Jav, you shall suffer for your temerity. There be few
of us left, but--Komal must be fed. Go!"

Carthoris could see that Jav trembled as he prostrated himself once
more before his ruler, and then, rising, turned toward the Prince
of Helium.

"Come!" he said.

"And leave the Princess of Ptarth here alone?" cried Carthoris.

Jav brushed closely past him, whispering:

"Follow me--he cannot harm her, except to kill; and that he can do
whether you remain or not. We had best go now--trust

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