Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 72

down the sinking marble floor toward an unknown
fate.

Then she had not chidden him for the use of that familiar salutation,
nor did she chide him now, though she was promised to another.
She wondered at herself--flushing at her own turpitude; for upon
Barsoom it is a shameful thing for a woman to listen to those two
words from another than her husband or her betrothed.

Carthoris saw her flush of mortification, and in an instant regretted
his words. There was but a moment before the green warriors would
be upon them.

"Forgive me!" said the man in a low voice. "Let my great love be
my excuse--that, and the belief that I have but a moment more of
life," and with the words he turned to meet the foremost of the
green warriors.

The fellow was charging with couched spear, but Carthoris leaped to
one side, and as the great thoat and its rider hurtled harmlessly
past him he swung his long-sword in a mighty cut that clove the
green carcass in twain.

At the same moment Kar Komak leaped with bare hands clawing at the
leg of another of the huge riders; the balance of the horde raced
in to close quarters, dismounting the better to wield their favourite
long-swords; the Dusarian fliers touched the soft carpet of the
ochre-clad sea-bottom, disgorging fifty fighting men from their
bowels; and into the swirling sea of cutting, slashing swords sprang
Komal, the great banth.




CHAPTER XI

GREEN MEN AND WHITE APES


A Torquasian sword smote a glancing blow across the forehead of
Carthoris. He had a fleeting vision of soft arms about his neck,
and warm lips close to his before he lost consciousness.

How long he lay there senseless he could not guess; but when he
opened his eyes again he was alone, except for the bodies of the
dead green men and Dusarians, and the carcass of a great banth that
lay half across his own.

Thuvia was gone, nor was the body of Kar Komak among the dead.

Weak from loss of blood, Carthoris made his way slowly toward
Aaanthor, reaching its outskirts at dark.

He wanted water more than any other thing, and so he kept on up
a broad avenue toward the great central plaza, where he knew the
precious fluid was to be found in a half-ruined building opposite
the great palace of the ancient jeddak, who once had ruled this
mighty city.

Disheartened and discouraged by the strange sequence of events
that seemed fore-ordained to thwart his every attempt to serve
the Princess of Ptarth, he paid little or no attention to his
surroundings,

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