At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 111

upon the edge of the forest at the point where we had first
penetrated to the surface of the inner world. Dian would not listen to
any arrangement for my going which did not include her, and I was not
sorry that she wished to accompany me, for I wanted her to see my
world, and I wanted my world to see her.

With a large force of men we marched to the great iron mole, which
Perry soon had hoisted into position with its nose pointed back toward
the outer crust. He went over all the machinery carefully. He
replenished the air tanks, and manufactured oil for the engine. At
last everything was ready, and we were about to set out when our
pickets, a long, thin line of which had surrounded our camp at all
times, reported that a great body of what appeared to be Sagoths and
Mahars were approaching from the direction of Phutra.

Dian and I were ready to embark, but I was anxious to witness the first
clash between two fair-sized armies of the opposing races of
Pellucidar. I realized that this was to mark the historic beginning of
a mighty struggle for possession of a world, and as the first emperor
of Pellucidar I felt that it was not alone my duty, but my right, to be
in the thick of that momentous struggle.

As the opposing army approached we saw that there were many Mahars with
the Sagoth troops--an indication of the vast importance which the
dominant race placed upon the outcome of this campaign, for it was not
customary with them to take active part in the sorties which their
creatures made for slaves--the only form of warfare which they waged
upon the lower orders.

Ghak and Dacor were both with us, having come primarily to view the
prospector. I placed Ghak with some of his Sarians on the right of our
battle line. Dacor took the left, while I commanded the center.
Behind us I stationed a sufficient reserve under one of Ghak's head
men. The Sagoths advanced steadily with menacing spears, and I let
them come until they were within easy bowshot before I gave the word to
fire.

At the first volley of poison-tipped arrows the front ranks of the
gorilla-men crumpled to the ground; but those behind charged over the
prostrate forms of their comrades in a wild, mad rush to be upon us
with their spears. A second volley stopped them for an instant, and
then my reserve sprang through the openings in

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