Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/124

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The Centaurians

River of Life. "Whose source springs from the inexhaustible wells of my great body of fresh water," Sheldon added.

We guyed him unmercifully, but he answered good-naturedly and the cool, green-shaded wood rang with our shouts. Saxe. felt so frisky he started a song in a terrible bass; we joined in the chorus and traveled some distance before it dawned upon us Potolili did not approve of our noise, though occasionally he smiled sympathetically. He looked worried, was unusually silent, and his manner, also that of his men, appeared very uneasy. He had sent little bands ahead to reconnoitre, and all sharply watched hedges and thicket, and jumped at every sound. Finally Potolili told us we would very soon have to part company. "We are nearing the Octrogona reservation," he explained. "Possibly you may have to travel a few miles alone. Follow the river bank, it leads direct to Latonia. But you'll reach the Octrogonas first; they're on the lookout for you and will present you to the Centaurians, and attempt to claim the discovery. I have, sent a messenger ahead over the mountains, and before you fall in with this savage tribe the Centaurians will know the northern streams of light heralded the arrival of four wise men from the other side."

From the disdainful way Potolili mentioned the Octrogonas we concluded they ranked rather low in the advanced civilization of this side and believed we were about to encounter the genuine, every-day savage of our world (Saxe. got his box