At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 71

the island of Anoroc as a base, and
his savage warriors as escort Perry and I could have accomplished much
in the line of exploration, and I hoped that were we successful in our
effort to escape we might return to Anoroc later.

There was, however, one great thing to be accomplished first--at least
it was the great thing to me--the finding of Dian the Beautiful. I
wanted to make amends for the affront I had put upon her in my
ignorance, and I wanted to--well, I wanted to see her again, and to be
with her.

Down the hillside I made my way into the gorgeous field of flowers, and
then across the rolling land toward the shadowless columns that guard
the ways to buried Phutra. At a quarter-mile from the nearest entrance
I was discovered by the Sagoth guard, and in an instant four of the
gorilla-men were dashing toward me.

Though they brandished their long spears and yelled like wild Comanches
I paid not the slightest attention to them, walking quietly toward them
as though unaware of their existence. My manner had the effect upon
them that I had hoped, and as we came quite near together they ceased
their savage shouting. It was evident that they had expected me to
turn and flee at sight of them, thus presenting that which they most
enjoyed, a moving human target at which to cast their spears.

"What do you here?" shouted one, and then as he recognized me, "Ho! It
is the slave who claims to be from another world--he who escaped when
the thag ran amuck within the amphitheater. But why do you return,
having once made good your escape?"

"I did not 'escape'," I replied. "I but ran away to avoid the thag, as
did others, and coming into a long passage I became confused and lost
my way in the foothills beyond Phutra. Only now have I found my way
back."

"And you come of your free will back to Phutra!" exclaimed one of the
guardsmen.

"Where else might I go?" I asked. "I am a stranger within Pellucidar
and know no other where than Phutra. Why should I not desire to be in
Phutra? Am I not well fed and well treated? Am I not happy? What
better lot could man desire?"

The Sagoths scratched their heads. This was a new one on them, and so
being stupid brutes they took me to their masters whom they felt would
be better fitted to solve the riddle of

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