Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/120

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The Centaurians

Saunders) declared they were planets; bless my soul!"

Potolili shrugged his shoulders. He had become accustomed to our interruptions and patiently waited till we ended our side talk, then continued without answering my question.

"The four societies wonderingly witnessed the northern phenomenon. As the narrow ribbons of fire shot upward, bursting into thousands of bright-hued sparks, these wise men concluded it was a signal of some sort and claim they responded; then hurriedly returned and reported to the Centaurians, who communicated with and solicited aid of the Potolilis, the most northern tribe in the universe. We are thoroughly familiar with these regions up to a certain degree, beyond that we dare not venture, though we have a legend that centuries ago a sturdy Potolili dared into the Unknown and safely reached the other side. He encountered a strange, wild race, became their chief and founder of the Potolili tribe over there. It is doubtful, as are all legends, but it adds distinction to the Potolilis, and enrages the Octrogonas, with whom we are at war—they are legendless.

"Our instructions were, if we discovered anything to return with it, or with news without delay. Our reward will be a piece of land we have coveted for over half a century. The scientific societies are regarded with respect, awe, and have a wide and popular hearing; but little reliance is placed upon their reports. They are continually discovering something that, upon investigation, refuses to be