At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 73

my right.

"You are to appear before the learned ones who will question you
regarding this strange world from which you say you come."

After a moment's silence he turned to me again.

"Do you happen to know," he asked, "what the Mahars do to slaves who
lie to them?"

"No," I replied, "nor does it interest me, as I have no intention of
lying to the Mahars."

"Then be careful that you don't repeat the impossible tale you told
Sol-to-to just now--another world, indeed, where human beings rule!" he
concluded in fine scorn.

"But it is the truth," I insisted. "From where else then did I come?
I am not of Pellucidar. Anyone with half an eye could see that."

"It is your misfortune then," he remarked dryly, "that you may not be
judged by one with but half an eye."

"What will they do with me," I asked, "if they do not have a mind to
believe me?"

"You may be sentenced to the arena, or go to the pits to be used in
research work by the learned ones," he replied.

"And what will they do with me there?" I persisted.

"No one knows except the Mahars and those who go to the pits with them,
but as the latter never return, their knowledge does them but little
good. It is said that the learned ones cut up their subjects while
they are yet alive, thus learning many useful things. However I should
not imagine that it would prove very useful to him who was being cut
up; but of course this is all but conjecture. The chances are that ere
long you will know much more about it than I," and he grinned as he
spoke. The Sagoths have a well-developed sense of humor.

"And suppose it is the arena," I continued; "what then?"

"You saw the two who met the tarag and the thag the time that you
escaped?" he said.

"Yes."

"Your end in the arena would be similar to what was intended for them,"
he explained, "though of course the same kinds of animals might not be
employed."

"It is sure death in either event?" I asked.

"What becomes of those who go below with the learned ones I do not
know, nor does any other," he replied; "but those who go to the arena
may come out alive and thus regain their liberty, as did the two whom
you saw."

"They gained their liberty? And how?"

"It is the custom of the Mahars to liberate those who remain alive
within the arena after the beasts depart or

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