At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 79

between me and that frightful
chamber of torture.

Presently I reduced my speed to a brisk walk, and later realizing the
danger of running into some new predicament, were I not careful, I
moved still more slowly and cautiously. After a time I came to a
passage that seemed in some mysterious way familiar to me, and
presently, chancing to glance within a chamber which led from the
corridor I saw three Mahars curled up in slumber upon a bed of skins.
I could have shouted aloud in joy and relief. It was the same corridor
and the same Mahars that I had intended to have lead so important a
role in our escape from Phutra. Providence had indeed been kind to me,
for the reptiles still slept.

My one great danger now lay in returning to the upper levels in search
of Perry and Ghak, but there was nothing else to be done, and so I
hastened upward. When I came to the frequented portions of the
building, I found a large burden of skins in a corner and these I
lifted to my head, carrying them in such a way that ends and corners
fell down about my shoulders completely hiding my face. Thus disguised
I found Perry and Ghak together in the chamber where we had been wont
to eat and sleep.

Both were glad to see me, it was needless to say, though of course they
had known nothing of the fate that had been meted out to me by my
judges. It was decided that no time should now be lost before
attempting to put our plan of escape to the test, as I could not hope
to remain hidden from the Sagoths long, nor could I forever carry that
bale of skins about upon my head without arousing suspicion. However
it seemed likely that it would carry me once more safely through the
crowded passages and chambers of the upper levels, and so I set out
with Perry and Ghak--the stench of the illy cured pelts fairly choking
me.

Together we repaired to the first tier of corridors beneath the main
floor of the buildings, and here Perry and Ghak halted to await me.
The buildings are cut out of the solid limestone formation. There is
nothing at all remarkable about their architecture. The rooms are
sometimes rectangular, sometimes circular, and again oval in shape.
The corridors which connect them are narrow and not always straight.
The chambers are lighted by diffused sunlight reflected through tubes
similar to those by which the

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