Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 63

cunning look leaped to the Lotharian's eyes.

The thing that lay beyond that look had been deep in his heart
since first he had laid eyes upon Thuvia of Ptarth. He had not
recognized it, however, until now that she seemed about to pass
out of his existence.

He centred his mind upon the Heliumite and the girl for an instant.

Carthoris saw Thuvia of Ptarth step forward with outstretched
hand. He was surprised at this sudden softening toward him, and
it was with a full heart that he let his fingers close upon hers,
as together they turned away from forgotten Lothar, into the woods,
and bent their steps toward the distant mountains.

As the Lotharian had turned toward them, Thuvia had been surprised
to hear Carthoris suddenly voice a new plan.

"Remain here with Jav," she had heard him say, "while I go to search
for the passage through the cliffs."

She had dropped back in surprise and disappointment, for she knew
that there was no reason why she should not have accompanied him.
Certainly she should have been safer with him than left here alone
with the Lotharian.

And Jav watched the two and smiled his cunning smile.

When Carthoris had disappeared within the wood, Thuvia seated
herself apathetically upon the scarlet sward to watch the seemingly
interminable struggles of the bowmen.

The long afternoon dragged its weary way toward darkness, and still
the imaginary legions charged and retreated. The sun was about to
set when Tario commenced to withdraw his troops slowly toward the

His plan for cessation of hostilities through the night evidently
met with Jav's entire approval, for he caused his forces to form
themselves in orderly utans and march just within the edge of
the wood, where they were soon busily engaged in preparing their
evening meal, and spreading down their sleeping silks and furs for
the night.

Thuvia could scarce repress a smile as she noted the scrupulous
care with which Jav's imaginary men attended to each tiny detail
of deportment as truly as if they had been real flesh and blood.

Sentries were posted between the camp and the city. Officers
clanked hither and thither issuing commands and seeing to it that
they were properly carried out.

Thuvia turned toward Jav.

"Why is it," she asked, "that you observe such careful nicety in
the regulation of your creatures when Tario knows quite as well as
you that they are but figments of your brain? Why not permit them
simply to dissolve into thin air until you again require their
futile service?"

"You do not understand them," replied Jav. "While

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