At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 31

had
on the second believed that I clung only to the memory of a gentle
friendship I had lost, yet now it seemed that it would have been
disloyalty to her to have said that I did not want Dian the Beautiful
as my mate. I had not thought of her except as a welcome friend in a
strange, cruel world. Even now I did not think that I loved her.

I believe Ghak must have read the truth more in my expression than in
my words, for presently he laid his hand upon my shoulder.

"Man of another world," he said, "I believe you. Lips may lie, but
when the heart speaks through the eyes it tells only the truth. Your
heart has spoken to me. I know now that you meant no affront to Dian
the Beautiful. She is not of my tribe; but her mother is my sister.
She does not know it--her mother was stolen by Dian's father who came
with many others of the tribe of Amoz to battle with us for our
women--the most beautiful women of Pellucidar. Then was her father
king of Amoz, and her mother was daughter of the king of Sari--to whose
power I, his son, have succeeded. Dian is the daughter of kings,
though her father is no longer king since the sadok tossed him and
Jubal the Ugly One wrested his kingship from him. Because of her
lineage the wrong you did her was greatly magnified in the eyes of all
who saw it. She will never forgive you."

I asked Ghak if there was not some way in which I could release the
girl from the bondage and ignominy I had unwittingly placed upon her.

"If ever you find her, yes," he answered. "Merely to raise her hand
above her head and drop it in the presence of others is sufficient to
release her; but how may you ever find her, you who are doomed to a
life of slavery yourself in the buried city of Phutra?"

"Is there no escape?" I asked.

"Hooja the Sly One escaped and took the others with him," replied Ghak.
"But there are no more dark places on the way to Phutra, and once there
it is not so easy--the Mahars are very wise. Even if one escaped from
Phutra there are the thipdars--they would find you, and then--" the
Hairy One shuddered. "No, you will never escape the Mahars."

It was a cheerful prospect. I asked Perry what he

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