Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/208

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The Centaurians

forest of magnificent trees circling Centur like a great feathery belt; beyond stretched a broad vista of lovely verdant country, but the blue line of distance seemed strangely cut and uneven, a shadowy obstruction reared to a tremendous height extending over the land for miles.

Curious, I wandered to the edge of the forest wall, resting a few minutes, undecided whether to advance or turn back; then I struck out direct over the soft green fields, avoiding the road, which is always the longest route. Why?

The heat was intense, the journey long, tedious, but in the glorious end fatigue was forgotten. I finally reached a high, massive iron trellis wall, through which I peered at a scene; ah! entrancing, Eden-like, veiled with the enchantment of mystery. I found the ponderous gates invitingly wide and dared to enter this strangely still sphere of illusion, dense with overpowering, exotic odors of millions of brilliant-hued blossoms. I gorged my sight with the rainbow tinted vision, then waded neck deep in the wild, flowery maze, wondering for all the heavy-scented fascination just why this paradise had been created.

Gradually my senses pierced the charm and I discovered the bewildering-hued floral abundance was massed cleverly together forming clusters of stars, circles and crescents, separated by broad stone paths, all leading to a gigantic structure rearing higher than any building in Centur. A grim abode, marring, darkening the brilliant surroundings. I ventured near this huge, strange building; high,