At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 46

compare with that occasionally experienced in dreams.

And as I crossed Phutra's flower-bespangled plain that time I seemed
almost to fly, though how much of the sensation was due to Perry's
suggestion and how much to actuality I am sure I do not know. The more
I thought of Perry the less pleasure I took in my new-found freedom.
There could be no liberty for me within Pellucidar unless the old man
shared it with me, and only the hope that I might find some way to
encompass his release kept me from turning back to Phutra.

Just how I was to help Perry I could scarce imagine, but I hoped that
some fortuitous circumstance might solve the problem for me. It was
quite evident however that little less than a miracle could aid me, for
what could I accomplish in this strange world, naked and unarmed? It
was even doubtful that I could retrace my steps to Phutra should I once
pass beyond view of the plain, and even were that possible, what aid
could I bring to Perry no matter how far I wandered?

The case looked more and more hopeless the longer I viewed it, yet with
a stubborn persistency I forged ahead toward the foothills. Behind me
no sign of pursuit developed, before me I saw no living thing. It was
as though I moved through a dead and forgotten world.

I have no idea, of course, how long it took me to reach the limit of
the plain, but at last I entered the foothills, following a pretty
little canyon upward toward the mountains. Beside me frolicked a
laughing brooklet, hurrying upon its noisy way down to the silent sea.
In its quieter pools I discovered many small fish, of four-or
five-pound weight I should imagine. In appearance, except as to size
and color, they were not unlike the whale of our own seas. As I
watched them playing about I discovered, not only that they suckled
their young, but that at intervals they rose to the surface to breathe
as well as to feed upon certain grasses and a strange, scarlet lichen
which grew upon the rocks just above the water line.

It was this last habit that gave me the opportunity I craved to capture
one of these herbivorous cetaceans--that is what Perry calls them--and
make as good a meal as one can on raw, warm-blooded fish; but I had
become rather used, by this time, to the eating of food in its natural
state, though I still balked

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