At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 54

told her of how I had saved his life, and she was thereafter
most kind and hospitable toward me, even permitting me to hold and
amuse the tiny bundle of humanity whom Ja told me would one day rule
the tribe, for Ja, it seemed, was the chief of the community.

We had eaten and rested, and I had slept, much to Ja's amusement, for
it seemed that he seldom if ever did so, and then the red man proposed
that I accompany him to the temple of the Mahars which lay not far from
his village. "We are not supposed to visit it," he said; "but the
great ones cannot hear and if we keep well out of sight they need never
know that we have been there. For my part I hate them and always have,
but the other chieftains of the island think it best that we continue
to maintain the amicable relations which exist between the two races;
otherwise I should like nothing better than to lead my warriors amongst
the hideous creatures and exterminate them--Pellucidar would be a
better place to live were there none of them."

I wholly concurred in Ja's belief, but it seemed that it might be a
difficult matter to exterminate the dominant race of Pellucidar. Thus
conversing we followed the intricate trail toward the temple, which we
came upon in a small clearing surrounded by enormous trees similar to
those which must have flourished upon the outer crust during the
carboniferous age.

Here was a mighty temple of hewn rock built in the shape of a rough
oval with rounded roof in which were several large openings. No doors
or windows were visible in the sides of the structure, nor was there
need of any, except one entrance for the slaves, since, as Ja
explained, the Mahars flew to and from their place of ceremonial,
entering and leaving the building by means of the apertures in the roof.

"But," added Ja, "there is an entrance near the base of which even the
Mahars know nothing. Come," and he led me across the clearing and
about the end to a pile of loose rock which lay against the foot of the
wall. Here he removed a couple of large bowlders, revealing a small
opening which led straight within the building, or so it seemed, though
as I entered after Ja I discovered myself in a narrow place of extreme
darkness.

"We are within the outer wall," said Ja. "It is hollow. Follow me
closely."

The red man groped ahead

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