At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 88

tough and this, with the strength
and elasticity of my new string, gave me unwonted confidence in my
weapon.

Never had I greater need of steady nerves than then--never were my
nerves and muscles under better control. I sighted as carefully and
deliberately as though at a straw target. The Sagoth had never before
seen a bow and arrow, but of a sudden it must have swept over his dull
intellect that the thing I held toward him was some sort of engine of
destruction, for he too came to a halt, simultaneously swinging his
hatchet for a throw. It is one of the many methods in which they
employ this weapon, and the accuracy of aim which they achieve, even
under the most unfavorable circumstances, is little short of miraculous.

My shaft was drawn back its full length--my eye had centered its sharp
point upon the left breast of my adversary; and then he launched his
hatchet and I released my arrow. At the instant that our missiles flew
I leaped to one side, but the Sagoth sprang forward to follow up his
attack with a spear thrust. I felt the swish of the hatchet as it
grazed my head, and at the same instant my shaft pierced the Sagoth's
savage heart, and with a single groan he lunged almost at my
feet--stone dead. Close behind him were two more--fifty yards
perhaps--but the distance gave me time to snatch up the dead
guardsman's shield, for the close call his hatchet had just given me
had borne in upon me the urgent need I had for one. Those which I had
purloined at Phutra we had not been able to bring along because their
size precluded our concealing them within the skins of the Mahars which
had brought us safely from the city.

With the shield slipped well up on my left arm I let fly with another
arrow, which brought down a second Sagoth, and then as his fellow's
hatchet sped toward me I caught it upon the shield, and fitted another
shaft for him; but he did not wait to receive it. Instead, he turned
and retreated toward the main body of gorilla-men. Evidently he had
seen enough of me for the moment.

Once more I took up my flight, nor were the Sagoths apparently
overanxious to press their pursuit so closely as before. Unmolested I
reached the top of the canyon where I found a sheer drop of two or
three hundred feet to the bottom of a rocky chasm; but on

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