Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 60

here before, nor
ever have I cared to do so."

"Come," suggested Thuvia, "let us explore. There must be a way
out."

Together the three approached the doorway through which Komal had
entered the apartment that was to have witnessed their deaths.
Beyond was a low-roofed lair, with a small door at the far end.

This, to their delight, opened to the lifting of an ordinary latch,
letting them into a circular arena, surrounded by tiers of seats.

"Here is where Komal is fed in public," explained Jav. "Had Tario
dared it would have been here that our fates had been sealed; but
he feared too much thy keen blade, red man, and so he hurled us
all downward to the pit. I did not know how closely connected were
the two chambers. Now we may easily reach the avenues and the city
gates. Only the bowmen may dispute the right of way, and, knowing
their secret, I doubt that they have power to harm us."

Another door led to a flight of steps that rose from the arena
level upward through the seats to an exit at the back of the hall.
Beyond this was a straight, broad corridor, running directly through
the palace to the gardens at the side.

No one appeared to question them as they advanced, mighty Komal
pacing by the girl's side.

"Where are the people of the palace--the jeddak's retinue?" asked
Carthoris. "Even in the city streets as we came through I scarce
saw sign of a human being, yet all about are evidences of a mighty
population."

Jav sighed.

"Poor Lothar," he said. "It is indeed a city of ghosts. There are
scarce a thousand of us left, who once were numbered in the millions.
Our great city is peopled by the creatures of our own imaginings.
For our own needs we do not take the trouble to materialize these
peoples of our brain, yet they are apparent to us.

"Even now I see great throngs lining the avenue, hastening to and
fro in the round of their duties. I see women and children laughing
on the balconies--these we are forbidden to materialize; but yet
I see them--they are here. . . . But why not?" he mused. "No
longer need I fear Tario--he has done his worst, and failed. Why
not indeed?

"Stay, friends," he continued. "Would you see Lothar in all her
glory?"

Carthoris and Thuvia nodded their assent, more out of courtesy than
because they fully grasped the import of his mutterings.

Jav gazed at them penetratingly for an

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