At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 101

of doubt swept over me. It was quite within the
possibilities of Dian to look down upon me even were I king. She was
quite the most superior person I ever had met--with the most convincing
way of letting you know that she was superior. Well, I could go to the
cave, and tell her that I had killed Jubal, and then she might feel
more kindly toward me, since I had freed her of her tormentor. I hoped
that she had found the cave easily--it would be terrible had I lost her
again, and I turned to gather up my shield and bow to hurry after her,
when to my astonishment I found her standing not ten paces behind me.

"Girl!" I cried, "what are you doing here? I thought that you had gone
to the cave, as I told you to do."

Up went her head, and the look that she gave me took all the majesty
out of me, and left me feeling more like the palace janitor--if palaces
have janitors.

"As you told me to do!" she cried, stamping her little foot. "I do as
I please. I am the daughter of a king, and furthermore, I hate you."

I was dumbfounded--this was my thanks for saving her from Jubal! I
turned and looked at the corpse. "May be that I saved you from a worse
fate, old man," I said, but I guess it was lost on Dian, for she never
seemed to notice it at all.

"Let us go to my cave," I said, "I am tired and hungry."

She followed along a pace behind me, neither of us speaking. I was too
angry, and she evidently didn't care to converse with the lower orders.
I was mad all the way through, as I had certainly felt that at least a
word of thanks should have rewarded me, for I knew that even by her own
standards, I must have done a very wonderful thing to have killed the
redoubtable Jubal in a hand-to-hand encounter.

We had no difficulty in finding my lair, and then I went down into the
valley and bowled over a small antelope, which I dragged up the steep
ascent to the ledge before the door. Here we ate in silence.
Occasionally I glanced at her, thinking that the sight of her tearing
at raw flesh with her hands and teeth like some wild animal would cause
a revulsion of my sentiments toward her; but to my surprise I found
that she

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