Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 62

turned they saw a company of
bowmen debouching upon the plain from the gate through which they
had but just passed.

Upon the wall above the gate were a number of Lotharians, among whom
Jav recognized Tario. The jeddak stood glaring at them, evidently
concentrating all the forces of his trained mind upon them. That
he was making a supreme effort to render his imaginary creatures
deadly was apparent.

Jav turned white, and commenced to tremble. At the crucial moment
he appeared to lose the courage of his conviction. The great banth
turned back toward the advancing bowmen and growled. Carthoris
placed himself between Thuvia and the enemy and, facing them,
awaited the outcome of their charge.

Suddenly an inspiration came to Carthoris.

"Hurl your own bowmen against Tario's!" he cried to Jav. "Let us
see a materialized battle between two mentalities."

The suggestion seemed to hearten the Lotharian, and in another
moment the three stood behind solid ranks of huge bowmen who hurled
taunts and menaces at the advancing company emerging from the walled
city.

Jav was a new man the moment his battalions stood between him and
Tario. One could almost have sworn the man believed these creatures
of his strange hypnotic power to be real flesh and blood.

With hoarse battle cries they charged the bowmen of Tario. Barbed
shafts flew thick and fast. Men fell, and the ground was red with
gore.

Carthoris and Thuvia had difficulty in reconciling the reality of
it all with their knowledge of the truth. They saw utan after utan
march from the gate in perfect step to reinforce the outnumbered
company which Tario had first sent forth to arrest them.

They saw Jav's forces grow correspondingly until all about them
rolled a sea of fighting, cursing warriors, and the dead lay in
heaps about the field.

Jav and Tario seemed to have forgotten all else beside the struggling
bowmen that surged to and fro, filling the broad field between the
forest and the city.

The wood loomed close behind Thuvia and Carthoris. The latter cast
a glance toward Jav.

"Come!" he whispered to the girl. "Let them fight out their empty
battle--neither, evidently, has power to harm the other. They are
like two controversialists hurling words at one another. While they
are engaged we may as well be devoting our energies to an attempt
to find the passage through the cliffs to the plain beyond."

As he spoke, Jav, turning from the battle for an instant, caught
his words. He saw the girl move to accompany the Heliumite.

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