Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/344

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The Centaurians

near being mated. Alpha," he continued, roughly taking her from me, "look up, be brave, make your choice, there is yet time. If it is Virgillius I return to the Belt, content that you are happy. If I am the one, say farewell, and let Virgillius depart in peace."

She shook her head, then slowly raised her eyes to his compelling glance; he drew her to him, she sighed wearily and her head sank to his breast. He held out his hand and gripped mine in a parting shake.

Without a word I turned and ran off the ship, which floated upward ere my feet scarcely touched the snow. Centauri leaned dangerously over the railing, her long black hair floated on the icy breeze, but she was clasped securely in the arms of the Vespa Prince.

"Virgillius! Virgillius!" she called, stretching out her arms. "Come back; ah, Virgillius, come back to me!"

Higher rose the ship.

"Virgillius!" the name wafted from the clouds. I scarce could see the lovely face. Then something fell; a bright yellow object softly plowed the snow and my control deserted me as I raised the shining thing. It was the little golden cap she had always worn to keep secret the charm that none but she could see—a huge yellow stone that flashed fire. Alpha Centauri gave up her religion when I passed from her life. To me she had given the sacred emblem of the Sun.

She and the ship had sailed swiftly away for-