Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/342

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The Centaurians

clared he would extinguish his opponents. He ordered all prisoners slaughtered like cattle. Alpha shuddered. Potolili laughed cynically as he watched her, and said the world would become a moon before the supreme passion, Hate, became extinct. Both tribes loaded us with gifts, and each were sincere in wishing us luck. Potolili declared his race would in time travel beyond the Pole and join our people.

We bade the warring chiefs farewell; even the savages of this country had become dear to us.

As the atmosphere cleared, rarified to a penetrating distinctness, we could see hundreds of miles ahead. Centauri had passed from us forever; we were up in the snow regions, and far in the distance, like a gigantic shadow resting upon the vast whiteness, was the fearful, barren regions of the Pole, tipped by the violet, illusive, ice mountains that had led many an explorer to his death.

The Centaurians traveling with us suffered intensely from the cold and had become strangely silent and sad; all dreaded the finale.

Alpha's vivaciousness was gone, the sweet face paled before the biting blast of the north, the glorious eyes clouded and drooped with weariness, yet watched my every movement with intense wistfulness—our last parting was near.

The ship gradually sailed nearer the earth, then a few miles farther north the order was given to lower—the hour I dreaded had arrived. Alpha, breathing with difficulty, tremblingly clung to my arm. I caressed and tried to soothe her.