At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 80

avenues are lighted. The lower the tiers
of chambers, the darker. Most of the corridors are entirely unlighted.
The Mahars can see quite well in semidarkness.

Down to the main floor we encountered many Mahars, Sagoths, and slaves;
but no attention was paid to us as we had become a part of the domestic
life of the building. There was but a single entrance leading from the
place into the avenue and this was well guarded by Sagoths--this
doorway alone were we forbidden to pass. It is true that we were not
supposed to enter the deeper corridors and apartments except on special
occasions when we were instructed to do so; but as we were considered a
lower order without intelligence there was little reason to fear that
we could accomplish any harm by so doing, and so we were not hindered
as we entered the corridor which led below.

Wrapped in a skin I carried three swords, and the two bows, and the
arrows which Perry and I had fashioned. As many slaves bore
skin-wrapped burdens to and fro my load attracted no comment. Where I
left Ghak and Perry there were no other creatures in sight, and so I
withdrew one sword from the package, and leaving the balance of the
weapons with Perry, started on alone toward the lower levels.

Having come to the apartment in which the three Mahars slept I entered
silently on tiptoe, forgetting that the creatures were without the
sense of hearing. With a quick thrust through the heart I disposed of
the first but my second thrust was not so fortunate, so that before I
could kill the next of my victims it had hurled itself against the
third, who sprang quickly up, facing me with wide-distended jaws. But
fighting is not the occupation which the race of Mahars loves, and when
the thing saw that I already had dispatched two of its companions, and
that my sword was red with their blood, it made a dash to escape me.
But I was too quick for it, and so, half hopping, half flying, it
scurried down another corridor with me close upon its heels.

Its escape meant the utter ruin of our plan, and in all probability my
instant death. This thought lent wings to my feet; but even at my best
I could do no more than hold my own with the leaping thing before me.

Of a sudden it turned into an apartment on the right of the corridor,
and an instant later as I

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