At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 85

mountain fastness to beat off any number of

At last, after what seemed months, and may, I now realize, have been
years, we came in sight of the dun escarpment which buttressed the
foothills of Sari. At almost the same instant, Hooja, who looked ever
quite as much behind as before, announced that he could see a body of
men far behind us topping a low ridge in our wake. It was the
long-expected pursuit.

I asked Ghak if we could make Sari in time to escape them.

"We may," he replied; "but you will find that the Sagoths can move with
incredible swiftness, and as they are almost tireless they are
doubtless much fresher than we. Then--" he paused, glancing at Perry.

I knew what he meant. The old man was exhausted. For much of the
period of our flight either Ghak or I had half supported him on the
march. With such a handicap, less fleet pursuers than the Sagoths
might easily overtake us before we could scale the rugged heights which
confronted us.

"You and Hooja go on ahead," I said. "Perry and I will make it if we
are able. We cannot travel as rapidly as you two, and there is no
reason why all should be lost because of that. It can't be helped--we
have simply to face it."

"I will not desert a companion," was Ghak's simple reply. I hadn't
known that this great, hairy, primeval man had any such nobility of
character stowed away inside him. I had always liked him, but now to
my liking was added honor and respect. Yes, and love.

But still I urged him to go on ahead, insisting that if he could reach
his people he might be able to bring out a sufficient force to drive
off the Sagoths and rescue Perry and myself.

No, he wouldn't leave us, and that was all there was to it, but he
suggested that Hooja might hurry on and warn the Sarians of the king's
danger. It didn't require much urging to start Hooja--the naked idea
was enough to send him leaping on ahead of us into the foothills which
we now had reached.

Perry realized that he was jeopardizing Ghak's life and mine and the
old fellow fairly begged us to go on without him, although I knew that
he was suffering a perfect anguish of terror at the thought of falling
into the hands of the Sagoths. Ghak finally solved the problem, in
part, by lifting Perry in his

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