At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 110

young men out as instructors to every nation of the
federation, and the movement had reached colossal proportions before
the Mahars discovered it. The first intimation they had was when three
of their great slave caravans were annihilated in rapid succession.
They could not comprehend that the lower orders had suddenly developed
a power which rendered them really formidable.

In one of the skirmishes with slave caravans some of our Sarians took a
number of Sagoth prisoners, and among them were two who had been
members of the guards within the building where we had been confined at
Phutra. They told us that the Mahars were frantic with rage when they
discovered what had taken place in the cellars of the buildings. The
Sagoths knew that something very terrible had befallen their masters,
but the Mahars had been most careful to see that no inkling of the true
nature of their vital affliction reached beyond their own race. How
long it would take for the race to become extinct it was impossible
even to guess; but that this must eventually happen seemed inevitable.

The Mahars had offered fabulous rewards for the capture of any one of
us alive, and at the same time had threatened to inflict the direst
punishment upon whomever should harm us. The Sagoths could not
understand these seemingly paradoxical instructions, though their
purpose was quite evident to me. The Mahars wanted the Great Secret,
and they knew that we alone could deliver it to them.

Perry's experiments in the manufacture of gunpowder and the fashioning
of rifles had not progressed as rapidly as we had hoped--there was a
whole lot about these two arts which Perry didn't know. We were both
assured that the solution of these problems would advance the cause of
civilization within Pellucidar thousands of years at a single stroke.
Then there were various other arts and sciences which we wished to
introduce, but our combined knowledge of them did not embrace the
mechanical details which alone could render them of commercial, or
practical value.

"David," said Perry, immediately after his latest failure to produce
gunpowder that would even burn, "one of us must return to the outer
world and bring back the information we lack. Here we have all the
labor and materials for reproducing anything that ever has been
produced above--what we lack is knowledge. Let us go back and get that
knowledge in the shape of books--then this world will indeed be at our
feet."

And so it was decided that I should return in the prospector, which
still lay

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