Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/267

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The Centaurians

with me; we should never have dallied in this dim retreat."

She hurried forward. I sprang to my feet and followed her.

"Alpha," I called, catching her arm. "King Benlial, what message does he take to his son, the Prince?"

For an instant she seemed puzzled. Then her great eyes blazed scornfully. "I am the Priestess of the Sun!" she cried. "I worship a god! My descendants shall unite the white races."

She hurried away, and I sighed with relief, but chuckled gleefully as I thought of the chagrin of old Benlial. He and Centauri had left the hall hours ago, presumably to discuss affairs of state.

I joined the group surrounding the fair Priestess of the Sun and edged my way to her side. The guests were departing reluctantly. I thought they would never go, but at last Alpha and I remained alone in the great, brilliantly lit rooms.

"Good-night, Virgillius," she murmured, as I raised her hand to my lips. "Come on the morrow as early as you wish, I will tell you of my plans."

She tried to free her hand, then smiled softly. The tender light in her eyes emboldened me. I drew her to me and flung my arms around her. "You who love so deeply and truly," I whispered; "why, ah, Alpha, are you so cruel to me?"

"Oh, you do not understand love at all!" she interrupted, quickly passing from my embrace. "You did not willingly love, you were forced into it—and you love a woman. With you, Love is