Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 9

the examination of each who seeks
service with the nobles of the court.

A good rule that, and only relaxed by courtesy in favour of the
retinue of visiting royalty from a friendly foreign power.

It was late in the morning of the next day that a giant serving man
in the harness of the house of a great Ptarth noble passed out into
the city from the palace gates. Along one broad avenue and then
another he strode briskly until he had passed beyond the district
of the nobles and had come to the place of shops. Here he sought
a pretentious building that rose spire-like toward the heavens,
its outer walls elaborately wrought with delicate carvings and
intricate mosaics.

It was the Palace of Peace in which were housed the representatives
of the foreign powers, or rather in which were located their
embassies; for the ministers themselves dwelt in gorgeous palaces
within the district occupied by the nobles.

Here the man sought the embassy of Dusar. A clerk arose questioningly
as he entered, and at his request to have a word with the minister
asked his credentials. The visitor slipped a plain metal armlet
from above his elbow, and pointing to an inscription upon its inner
surface, whispered a word or two to the clerk.

The latter's eyes went wide, and his attitude turned at once to
one of deference. He bowed the stranger to a seat, and hastened
to an inner room with the armlet in his hand. A moment later
he reappeared and conducted the caller into the presence of the
minister.

For a long time the two were closeted together, and when at last
the giant serving man emerged from the inner office his expression
was cast in a smile of sinister satisfaction. From the Palace of
Peace he hurried directly to the palace of the Dusarian minister.

That night two swift fliers left the same palace top. One sped
its rapid course toward Helium; the other--


Thuvia of Ptarth strolled in the gardens of her father's palace, as
was her nightly custom before retiring. Her silks and furs were
drawn about her, for the air of Mars is chill after the sun has
taken his quick plunge beneath the planet's western verge.

The girl's thoughts wandered from her impending nuptials, that
would make her empress of Kaol, to the person of the trim young
Heliumite who had laid his heart at her feet the preceding day.

Whether it was pity or regret that saddened her expression as she
gazed toward the southern heavens where she

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