Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 45

me."

Carthoris did not understand, but something in the urgency of the
other's tone assured him, and so he turned away, but not without a
glance toward Thuvia in which he attempted to make her understand
that it was in her own interest that he left her.

For answer she turned her back full upon him, but not without first
throwing him such a look of contempt that brought the scarlet to
his cheek.

Then he hesitated, but Jav seized him by the wrist.

"Come!" he whispered. "Or he will have the bowmen upon you, and
this time there will be no escape. Did you not see how futile is
your steel against thin air!"

Carthoris turned unwillingly to follow. As the two left the room
he turned to his companion.

"If I may not kill thin air," he asked, "how, then, shall I fear
that thin air may kill me?"

"You saw the Torquasians fall before the bowmen?" asked Jav.

Carthoris nodded.

"So would you fall before them, and without one single chance for
self-defence or revenge."

As they talked Jav led Carthoris to a small room in one of the
numerous towers of the palace. Here were couches, and Jav bid the
Heliumite be seated.

For several minutes the Lotharian eyed his prisoner, for such
Carthoris now realized himself to be.

"I am half convinced that you are real," he said at last.

Carthoris laughed.

"Of course I am real," he said. "What caused you to doubt it? Can
you not see me, feel me?"

"So may I see and feel the bowmen," replied Jav, "and yet we all
know that they, at least, are not real."

Carthoris showed by the expression of his face his puzzlement at
each new reference to the mysterious bowmen--the vanishing soldiery
of Lothar.

"What, then, may they be?" he asked.

"You really do not know?" asked Jav.

Carthoris shook his head negatively.

"I can almost believe that you have told us the truth and that you
are really from another part of Barsoom, or from another world. But
tell me, in your own country have you no bowmen to strike terror
to the hearts of the green hordesmen as they slay in company with
the fierce banths of war?"

"We have soldiers," replied Carthoris. "We of the red race are
all soldiers, but we have no bowmen to defend us, such as yours.
We defend ourselves."

"You go out and get killed by your enemies!" cried Jav incredulously.

"Certainly," replied Carthoris. "How do the Lotharians?"

"You have seen," replied the other. "We send out our deathless
archers--deathless because they are

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