Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/135

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The Centaurians

troops slaughtered the Potolilis in every engagement. I had troops stationed in ambush to capture Potolili when he neared the reservation, never believing he would abandon his 'discovery' three miles from the boundary line. He is a coward, sneak, and up to his old deviltry! He will not fight openly like a soldier! But it is destiny, the Octrogonas will be victorious. And, gentlemen (he bowed deeply), my abode is at your disposal."

We thanked him, mentioning the car, preferring not to intrude upon him.

Impatiently he threw up his hand, commanding silence, then conducted us to an adjoining tent and advised us to "cleanse," while attendants hauled in several huge jars containing ice water.

"I suppose he thinks we bathed every day in an ice lake while fooling around the Pole," grumbled Sheldon, dousing himself in the chilling water.

"He certainly had some good reason for forcing us to clean up in water at freezing point," Saxe. admitted. "Let's ask him for it."

"Ask him for what?" sputtered Saunders.

"Something to eat," murmured Saxe. sweetly.

And Saunders glared because we all snickered.

Octrogona's quarters consisted of a number of tents pitched closely together in a circle, and when we ventured forth we promptly became entangled in the tent maze, butting into places where we had no business to and startling a number of dusky individuals who rushed upon us chattering wildly, but promptly salaamed as though we were gods. And they were black! Whew!