At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 70

in all my life have I heard of a
prisoner returning to the Mahars of his own free will. There are but
few who escape them, though some do, and these would rather die than be
recaptured."

"I see no other way, Ja," I said, "though I can assure you that I would
rather go to Sheol after Perry than to Phutra. However, Perry is much
too pious to make the probability at all great that I should ever be
called upon to rescue him from the former locality."

Ja asked me what Sheol was, and when I explained, as best I could, he
said, "You are speaking of Molop Az, the flaming sea upon which
Pellucidar floats. All the dead who are buried in the ground go there.
Piece by piece they are carried down to Molop Az by the little demons
who dwell there. We know this because when graves are opened we find
that the bodies have been partially or entirely borne off. That is why
we of Anoroc place our dead in high trees where the birds may find them
and bear them bit by bit to the Dead World above the Land of Awful
Shadow. If we kill an enemy we place his body in the ground that it
may go to Molop Az."

As we talked we had been walking up the canyon down which I had come to
the great ocean and the sithic. Ja did his best to dissuade me from
returning to Phutra, but when he saw that I was determined to do so, he
consented to guide me to a point from which I could see the plain where
lay the city. To my surprise the distance was but short from the beach
where I had again met Ja. It was evident that I had spent much time
following the windings of a tortuous canyon, while just beyond the ridge
lay the city of Phutra near to which I must have come several times.

As we topped the ridge and saw the granite gate towers dotting the
flowered plain at our feet Ja made a final effort to persuade me to
abandon my mad purpose and return with him to Anoroc, but I was firm in
my resolve, and at last he bid me good-bye, assured in his own mind
that he was looking upon me for the last time.

I was sorry to part with Ja, for I had come to like him very much
indeed. With his hidden city upon

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