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Next paragraph       Were I to live here in Invak the rest of my life I am sure I could never accustom myself to these uncanny presences, or to the knowledge that someone might always be standing close to me listening to everything that I said to Ptor Fak.
Next paragraph       Presently I felt a soft hand upon my arm, and then that same sweet voice that I had heard before said, "It is Rojas."
Next paragraph       "I am glad that you came," I said. "I wished an opportunity to thank you for the testimony you gave in my behalf before Ptantus today."
Next paragraph       "I'm afraid it didn't do you much good," she replied; "Ptantus doesn't like me."
Next paragraph       "Why should he dislike you?" I asked.
Next paragraph       " Pnoxus wanted me as his mate and I refused him; so, though Ptantus doesn't like Pnoxus, his pride was hurt; and he has been venting his spleen on my family ever since." She moved closer to me, I could feel the warmth of her arm against mine as she leaned against me. " Dotar Sojat," she said, "I wish that you were an Invak so that you might remain here forever in safety."
Next paragraph       "That is very sweet of you, Rojas," I said, "but I am afraid that Fate has ordained it otherwise."
Next paragraph       The soft arm stole up around my shoulders. The delicate perfume which had first announced her presence to me that afternoon, filled my nostrils and I could feel her warm breath upon my cheek. "Would you like to stay here, Dotar Sojat," she paused, "-with me?"
Next paragraph       The situation was becoming embarrassing. Even Ptor Fak was embarrassed and there were no soft invisible arms about his neck. I knew that he was embarrassed because he had moved away from us the full length of his chain. Of course he couldn't see Rojas any more than I could but he must have heard her words; and, being a gentleman, he had removed himself as far as possible; and now he sat there with his back toward us. Being made love to by a beautiful girl in a moonlit garden may be romantic, but if the girl is wholly invisible it is like being made love to by a ghost; though I can assure you that Rojas didn't feel like a ghost at all.
Next paragraph       "You have not answered me, Dotar Sojat," she said.
Next paragraph       I have never loved but one woman my incomparable Dejah Thoris; nor do I, like some men, run around pretending love for other women. So, as you say in America, I was on the spot. They say that all is fair in love and war; and as far as I was concerned I, personally, was definitely at war with Invak. Here was an enemy girl whose loyalty I could win or whose bitter hatred I could incur by my reply.
Next paragraph       Had I had only myself to consider I should not have hesitated; but the fate of Llana of Gathol outweighted all other considerations, and so I temporized.
Next paragraph       "No matter how much I should like to be with you always, Rojas," I said, "I know that is impossible. I shall be here only subject to the whims of your jeddak and then death will separate us forever."
Next paragraph       "Oh, no, Dotar Sojat," she cried, drawing my cheek close to hers, "you must not die for I love you."
Next paragraph       "But Rojas," I expostulated, "how can you love a man whom you have known for only a few hours and seen but for a few minutes?"
Next paragraph       "I knew that I loved you the moment that I set eyes upon you," she replied, "and I've seen you for a great many more than a few minutes. I have been almost constantly in the courtyard since I first saw you, watching you. I know every changing expression of your face. I have seen the light of anger, and of humor, and of friendship in your eyes. Had I known you all my life I could not know you better. Kiss me, Dotar Sojat," she concluded. And, then I did something for which I shall probably always be ashamed. I took Rojas in my arms and kissed her.
Next paragraph       Did you ever hold a ghost in your arms and kiss her? It humiliates me to admit that it was not an unpleasant experience. But Rojas clung to me so tightly and for so long that I was covered with confusion and embarrassment.
Next paragraph       "Oh, that we could be always thus," sighed Rojas.
Next paragraph       Personally I thought that however pleasant, it might be a little inconvenient.
Next paragraph       However, I said, "Perhaps you will come often again, Rojas, before I die."
Next paragraph       "Oh, don't speak of death," she cried.
Next paragraph       "But you know yourself that Ptantus will have me killed unless I escape."
Next paragraph       "Escape!" She scarcely breathed the word.
Next paragraph       "But I suppose there will be no escape for me," I added, and I tried not to sound too hopeful.
Next paragraph       "Escape," she said again, "Escape! ah if I could but go with you."
Next paragraph       "Why not?" I asked. I had gone this far and I felt that I might as well go all the way if by so doing I could release Llana of Gathol from captivity.
Next paragraph       "Yes, why not?" repeated Rojas, "but how?"
Next paragraph       "If I could become invisible," I suggested.
Next paragraph       She thought that over for a moment and then said, "It would be treason. It would mean death, a horrible death, were I apprehended."
Next paragraph       "I couldn't ask that of you," I said, and I felt like a hypocrite for that I knew that I could ask it of her if I thought that she would do it. I would willingly have sacrificed the life of every person in Invak, including my own, if thereby I could have liberated Llana of Gathol. I was desperate, and when a man is desperate he will resort to any means to win his point.
Next paragraph       "I am most unhappy here," said Rojas, in a quite natural and human attempt at self-justification. "Of course, if we were successful," continued Rojas, "it wouldn't make any difference who knew what I had done because they could never find us again. We would both be invisible, and together we could make our way to your country." She was planning it all out splendidly.
Next paragraph       "Do you know where the flier is that brought the girl prisoner?" I asked.
Next paragraph       "Yes, it was landed on the roof of the city."
Next paragraph       "That will simplify matters greatly," I said. "If we all become invisible we can reach it and escape with ease."
Next paragraph       "What do you mean 'all'?" she demanded.
Next paragraph       "Why I want to take Ptor Fak with me," I said, "and Llana of Gathol who was captured the same time I was."
Next paragraph       Rojas froze instantly and her arms dropped from about me. "Not the girl," she said.
        "But, Rojas, I must save her," I insisted. There was no reply. I waited a moment and then I said, " Rojas!" but she did not answer, and a moment later I saw her slim back materialize in the entrance to one of the streets opposite me. A slim back surmounted by a defiantly held head. That back radiated feminine fury.
         
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