Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 96

shot downward
at sickening speed, the bowman grappled with the slave. Carthoris
could not leave the control to assist his companion, for should
they touch the lowest level at the speed at which they were going,
all would be dashed to instant death.

Below him he could now see the top of Astok's cage in the parallel
shaft, and he reduced the speed of his to that of the other. The
slave commenced to scream.

"Silence him!" cried Carthoris.

A moment later a limp form crumpled to the floor of the cage.

"He is silenced," said Kar Komak.

Carthoris brought the cage to a sudden stop at one of the higher
levels of the palace. Opening the door, he grasped the still form
of the slave and pushed it out upon the floor. Then he banged the
gate and resumed the downward drop.

Once more he sighted the top of the cage that held Astok and Vas
Kor. An instant later it had stopped, and as he brought his car
to a halt, he saw the two men disappear through one of the exits
of the corridor beyond.



The morning of the second day of her incarceration in the east tower
of the palace of Astok, Prince of Dusar, found Thuvia of Ptarth
waiting in dull apathy the coming of the assassin.

She had exhausted every possibility of escape, going over and over
again the door and the windows, the floor and the walls.

The solid ersite slabs she could not even scratch; the tough
Barsoomian glass of the windows would have shattered to nothing
less than a heavy sledge in the hands of a strong man. The door
and the lock were impregnable. There was no escape. And they had
stripped her of her weapons so that she could not even anticipate
the hour of her doom, thus robbing them of the satisfaction of
witnessing her last moments.

When would they come? Would Astok do the deed with his own hands?
She doubted that he had the courage for it. At heart he was a
coward--she had known it since first she had heard him brag as, a
visitor at the court of her father, he had sought to impress her
with his valour.

She could not help but compare him with another. And with whom
would an affianced bride compare an unsuccessful suitor? With her
betrothed? And did Thuvia of Ptarth now measure Astok of Dusar by
the standards of Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol?

She was about to die; her thoughts

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