Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/133

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The Centaurians

like a mask the sternness vanished. His smile was as sweetly alluring as a woman's.

"Greetings! greetings!" he cried, clasping Saxe.'s hand.

We clustered about him and each in turn received the embrace of welcome. He motioned us to seats, then explained he had been commissioned by the Centaurians to discover the cause of the phenomenal northern lights, but Potolili, with whom he was at war (his face darkened ominously), had spies, vermin, crawling throughout the Octrogona forces, who conveyed to their chief the news of the northern commission, etc.

Potolili at once organized and headed an expedition and was well on his way north before the Octrogonas had commenced preparations.

"To the Potolilis," he continued, "is the credit, reward, of discovery; but it is an honor stolen, and for the theft they shall pay. I have vowed this war shall end only with the extermination of the Potolilis. The black tribes must dissolve in one; the enemy does not progress; they are now as centuries ago—savages. They are guilty of innumerable outrages against us; from our stock they pick the best, and for years have appropriated our women and boasted of their gallantry because the women failed to return—they dared not. They have in every way sought to injure our good repute with the Centaurians, and Potolili's latest offence is the seizure of my sister. He forcibly removed her and her women from the retreat I had placed her in. She was the most beautiful woman of the