Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 54

into whose side she had slipped her long, keen blade.

The girl glanced apprehensively about, first for signs of the return
of the bowmen, and then for some means of escape.

The wall behind the dais was pierced by two small doorways, hidden
by heavy hangings. Thuvia was running quickly towards one of
these when she heard the clank of a warrior's metal at the end of
the apartment behind her.

Ah, if she had but an instant more of time she could have reached
that screening arras and, perchance, have found some avenue of
escape behind it; but now it was too late--she had been discovered!

With a feeling that was akin to apathy she turned to meet her fate,
and there, before her, running swiftly across the broad chamber to
her side, was Carthoris, his naked long-sword gleaming in his hand.

For days she had doubted the intentions of the Heliumite. She
had thought him a party to her abduction. Since Fate had thrown
them together she had scarce favoured him with more than the most
perfunctory replies to his remarks, unless at such times as the
weird and uncanny happenings at Lothar had surprised her out of
her reserve.

She knew that Carthoris of Helium would fight for her; but whether
to save her for himself or another, she was in doubt.

He knew that she was promised to Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol, but
if he had been instrumental in her abduction, his motives could
not be prompted by loyalty to his friend, or regard for her honour.

And yet, as she saw him coming across the marble floor of the audience
chamber of Tario of Lothar, his fine eyes filled with apprehension
for her safety, his splendid figure personifying all that is finest
in the fighting men of martial Mars, she could not believe that
any faintest trace of perfidy lurked beneath so glorious an exterior.

Never, she thought, in all her life had the sight of any man been
so welcome to her. It was with difficulty that she refrained from
rushing forward to meet him.

She knew that he loved her; but, in time, she recalled that she was
promised to Kulan Tith. Not even might she trust herself to show
too great gratitude to the Heliumite, lest he misunderstand.

Carthoris was by her side now. His quick glance had taken in the
scene within the room--the still figure of the jeddak sprawled upon
the floor--the girl hastening toward a shrouded exit.

"Did he harm you, Thuvia?" he asked.

She held up her crimsoned blade that

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