"Old Centauri returned with us last night," Sheldon told me. "The Prince was notified the Priestess of the Sun had returned and he wanted to accompany us back to the city, but was advised to remain and view the Otega, as possibly the queenly young woman would not give him an audience for several days. It is believed he will visit the Potolili and Octrogona camps, both chiefs having, on separate occasions, been guests of old Benlial; but I think the young fellow will slip the dusky ones in his anxiety to inspect the female Centauri. I'm positive he'll reach the city before midnight. We're included in the feast, eh, Mike?"
Mike nodded vigorously, and ordered his three assistants to work, then tackled me; and while the ordeal of rejuvenation was taking place I despatched a messenger to ascertain when it would be convenient for Alpha to receive me. Her reply was verbal, brief, and disappointing as usual. Plans had been changed, the Prince had not been expected to return to the city for several days, but now would arrive any moment. I would find her in the reception rooms—would I please hurry to her——. We hustled and were soon ready to descend.
Mike was disappointed with us; he thought the handsome costume of Centauri more suitable for the occasion, but we couldn't see it. He followed us dismally, we jarred his artistic nerves. Poor fellow!