Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 65

the Lotharian. "I tell you he has fled
the valley. He has left you to your fate. But Jav will see that
it is a pleasant one. To-morrow we shall return into Lothar at the
head of my victorious army, and I shall be jeddak and you shall be
my consort. Come!" And he attempted to crush her to his breast.

The girl struggled to free herself, striking at the man with her
metal armlets. Yet still he drew her toward him, until both were
suddenly startled by a hideous growl that rumbled from the dark
wood close behind them.



As Carthoris moved through the forest toward the distant cliffs
with Thuvia's hand still tight pressed in his, he wondered a little
at the girl's continued silence, yet the contact of her cool palm
against his was so pleasant that he feared to break the spell of
her new-found reliance in him by speaking.

Onward through the dim wood they passed until the shadows of the
quick coming Martian night commenced to close down upon them. Then
it was that Carthoris turned to speak to the girl at his side.

They must plan together for the future. It was his idea to pass
through the cliffs at once if they could locate the passage, and
he was quite positive that they were now close to it; but he wanted
her assent to the proposition.

As his eyes rested upon her, he was struck by her strangely ethereal
appearance. She seemed suddenly to have dissolved into the tenuous
substance of a dream, and as he continued to gaze upon her, she
faded slowly from his sight.

For an instant he was dumbfounded, and then the whole truth flashed
suddenly upon him. Jav had caused him to believe that Thuvia was
accompanying him through the wood while, as a matter of fact, he
had detained the girl for himself!

Carthoris was horrified. He cursed himself for his stupidity, and
yet he knew that the fiendish power which the Lotharian had invoked
to confuse him might have deceived any.

Scarce had he realized the truth than he had started to retrace
his steps toward Lothar, but now he moved at a trot, the Earthly
thews that he had inherited from his father carrying him swiftly
over the soft carpet of fallen leaves and rank grass.

Thuria's brilliant light flooded the plain before the walled city
of Lothar as Carthoris broke from the wood opposite the great gate
that had given the fugitives egress from the city

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