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Guns Of The Gods
by Talbot Mundy
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"The why and wherefore of my privilege to write a true account of the Princess Yasmini's early youth is a story in itself too long to tell here; but it came about through no peculiar wisdom. I fell in a sort of way in love with her, and that led to opportunity. She never made any secret of the scorn with which she regards those who singe wings at her flame. Rather she boasts of it with limit-overreaching epithets. Her respect is reserved for those rare men and women who can meet her in unfair fight and, if not defeat her, then come close to it. She asks no concessions on account of sex. Men's passions are but weapons forged for her necessity; and as for genuine love affairs, like Cleopatra, she had but two, and the second ended in disaster to herself. This tale is of the first one that succeeded, although fraught with discontent for certain others." (Jacketless library hardcover.)
Yasmini left them, and walked alone to the very edge of the pond, where she stood still for several minutes, apparently gazing at her own reflection in the moonlit water--or perhaps listening. There was no sign of any one else, nor sound of footfall. Then, as if the reflection satisfied, or she had heard some whisper meant for her and none else, she began to dance, moving very slowly in the first few rhythmic steps, resembling a water-goddess, the clinging silk displaying her young outline as she bent and swayed.
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