Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/276

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The Centaurians

gent eyes, the whole vivid with that which was lacking in the painted prettiness of Abella. It was a masterstroke placing the two side by side, the one fair, smiling, shallow, the other dark, wintry, magnetic. The failure was obscured; the ideal charmed the eye and attention.

I was wondering which type I admired when startled by the sudden flare of lights in the building—the signal of the setting sun—and instantly forgot all types but one and hurried away in happy anticipation.

I found Mike greatly perturbed. He told me every one in the palace had been thrown in great confusion by the tempestuous King of the Vespa Belt.

"Alpha Centauri honors the traditions of her family," he informed me. "She proclaims herself Priestess of the Sun, and that her celestial duties do not include the unification of the white race. King Benlial departed at sun-down. Friendly relations between the two countries are at an end. Centauri and his daughter escorted the wrathy King to his ship. In loud, excited tones, he told them the Prince would visit Centur. 'Greetings,' Alpha replied, 'the people of Centur will welcome the Prince when honored by his presence.' Her stateliness, serenity, superiority to the man before her—it was sacrilegious to dream of mating her with the son of such a barbarian!"

Mike waxed indignant.

"Centauri watched the departure of their royal visitor till the ship was out of sight," he continued,