Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/269

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The Centaurians

bronze entrance stood wide as always, there were no sentinels in this wondrous land of harmony. As I neared the grand vestibule, the voices raised loud, discordant in angry dispute, and I paused in astonishment. A brilliant light suddenly flared from the Audience, or Throne Room, where royal magnificence defied comparison. A sultry silence, followed by the rustling of silks, warned me I had barely time to conceal myself behind the huge fluted column which supported the dome, when a door swung wide and Alpha Centauri stepped out, her bearing that of a Queen, a disdainful, arrogant Queen. By her side was the Vespa King, wild with rage; in the rear Centauri stood, arms uplifted in dismay and bewilderment.

"At least meet Prince Benlial," snorted the angry King, trying to detain her. Alpha gazed scornfully upon him.

"I do not refuse to meet the Prince," she answered, "but shall be absent from Centur indefinitely. However, when I return will give him an audience."

"Bah!" scoffed the King, unable to control his fury. "Leave the veneer for publicity; we are alone, be natural. You must meet my son, and cold, superior, as you think you are, you will——."

Quickly she raised her hand, commanding silence.

"Useless!" she told him. "You have my decision. I am the Priestess of the Sun, and shall never wed."

She walked slowly away, the King watched her with bulging eyes, too furious for speech. Suddenly she turned and flashed him a brilliant smile.