Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 77

the courtyard where the thoats were kept it was necessary
for Carthoris to pass through one of the buildings which surrounded
the square. Which were occupied and which not he could not even
guess, so he was compelled to take considerable chances to gain
the enclosure in which he could hear the restless beasts squealing
and quarrelling among themselves.

Chance carried him through a dark doorway into a large chamber in
which lay a score or more green warriors wrapped in their sleeping
silks and furs. Scarce had Carthoris passed through the short
hallway that connected the door of the building and the great room
beyond it than he became aware of the presence of something or some
one in the hallway through which he had but just passed.

He heard a man yawn, and then, behind him, he saw the figure of a
sentry rise from where the fellow had been dozing, and stretching
himself resume his wakeful watchfulness.

Carthoris realized that he must have passed within a foot of the
warrior, doubtless rousing him from his slumber. To retreat now
would be impossible. Yet to cross through that roomful of sleeping
warriors seemed almost equally beyond the pale of possibility.

Carthoris shrugged his broad shoulders and chose the lesser evil.
Warily he entered the room. At his right, against the wall,
leaned several swords and rifles and spears--extra weapons which
the warriors had stacked here ready to their hands should there
be a night alarm calling them suddenly from slumber. Beside each
sleeper lay his weapon--these were never far from their owners from
childhood to death.

The sight of the swords made the young man's palm itch. He stepped
quickly to them, selecting two short-swords--one for Kar Komak,
the other for himself; also some trappings for his naked comrade.

Then he started directly across the centre of the apartment among
the sleeping Torquasians.

Not a man of them moved until Carthoris had completed more than half
of the short though dangerous journey. Then a fellow directly in
his path turned restlessly upon his sleeping silks and furs.

The Heliumite paused above him, one of the short-swords in readiness
should the warrior awaken. For what seemed an eternity to the young
prince the green man continued to move uneasily upon his couch,
then, as though actuated by springs, he leaped to his feet and
faced the red man.

Instantly Carthoris struck, but not before a savage grunt escaped
the other's lips. In an instant the room was in turmoil. Warriors
leaped to their feet, grasping their weapons as they

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