Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 83

too, was dead--dead across the body of the Heliumite. She
was, indeed, alone now. There was none to protect her.

The Dusarian warriors dragged her to the deck of the nearest flier.
All about them the green warriors surged in an attempt to wrest
her from the red.

At last those who had not died in the conflict gained the decks
of the two craft. The engines throbbed and purred--the propellers
whirred. Quickly the swift boats shot heavenward.

Thuvia of Ptarth glanced about her. A man stood near, smiling down
into her face. With a gasp of recognition she looked full into
his eyes, and then with a little moan of terror and understanding
she buried her face in her hands and sank to the polished skeel-wood
deck. It was Astok, Prince of Dusar, who bent above her.

Swift were the fliers of Astok of Dusar, and great the need for
reaching his father's court as quickly as possible, for the fleets
of war of Helium and Ptarth and Kaol were scattered far and wide
above Barsoom. Nor would it go well with Astok of Dusar should
any one of them discover Thuvia of Ptarth a prisoner upon his own
vessel.

Aaanthor lies in fifty south latitude, and forty east of Horz, the
deserted seat of ancient Barsoomian culture and learning, while
Dusar lies fifteen degrees north of the equator and twenty degrees
east from Horz.

Great though the distance is, the fliers covered it without a stop.
Long before they had reached their destination Thuvia of Ptarth had
learned several things that cleared up the doubts that had assailed
her mind for many days. Scarce had they risen above Aaanthor than
she recognized one of the crew as a member of the crew of that other
flier that had borne her from her father's gardens to Aaanthor.
The presence of Astok upon the craft settled the whole question.
She had been stolen by emissaries of the Dusarian prince--Carthoris
of Helium had had nothing to do with it.

Nor did Astok deny the charge when she accused him. He only smiled
and pleaded his love for her.

"I would sooner mate with a white ape!" she cried, when he would
have urged his suit.

Astok glowered sullenly upon her.

"You shall mate with me, Thuvia of Ptarth," he growled, "or, by
your first ancestor, you shall have your preference--and mate with
a white ape."

The girl made no reply, nor could he draw her into conversation
during the balance of the journey.

As a matter of fact Astok was a trifle awed

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