At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 86

powerful arms and carrying him. While
the act cut down Ghak's speed he still could travel faster thus than
when half supporting the stumbling old man.



XIII

THE SLY ONE


THE SAGOTHS WERE GAINING ON US RAPIDLY, FOR once they had sighted us
they had greatly increased their speed. On and on we stumbled up the
narrow canyon that Ghak had chosen to approach the heights of Sari. On
either side rose precipitous cliffs of gorgeous, parti-colored rock,
while beneath our feet a thick mountain grass formed a soft and
noiseless carpet. Since we had entered the canyon we had had no
glimpse of our pursuers, and I was commencing to hope that they had
lost our trail and that we would reach the now rapidly nearing cliffs
in time to scale them before we should be overtaken.

Ahead we neither saw nor heard any sign which might betoken the success
of Hooja's mission. By now he should have reached the outposts of the
Sarians, and we should at least hear the savage cries of the tribesmen
as they swarmed to arms in answer to their king's appeal for succor.
In another moment the frowning cliffs ahead should be black with
primeval warriors. But nothing of the kind happened--as a matter of
fact the Sly One had betrayed us. At the moment that we expected to
see Sarian spearmen charging to our relief at Hooja's back, the craven
traitor was sneaking around the outskirts of the nearest Sarian
village, that he might come up from the other side when it was too late
to save us, claiming that he had become lost among the mountains.

Hooja still harbored ill will against me because of the blow I had
struck in Dian's protection, and his malevolent spirit was equal to
sacrificing us all that he might be revenged upon me.

As we drew nearer the barrier cliffs and no sign of rescuing Sarians
appeared Ghak became both angry and alarmed, and presently as the sound
of rapidly approaching pursuit fell upon our ears, he called to me over
his shoulder that we were lost.

A backward glance gave me a glimpse of the first of the Sagoths at the
far end of a considerable stretch of canyon through which we had just
passed, and then a sudden turning shut the ugly creature from my view;
but the loud howl of triumphant rage which rose behind us was evidence
that the gorilla-man had sighted us.

Again the canyon veered sharply to the left, but to the right another
branch ran on at a

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