At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 66

realized our intentions
and that he was quite likely to lose all his meal instead of having it
doubled as he had hoped.

When he saw me clambering up that spear he let out a hiss that fairly
shook the ground, and came charging after me at a terrific rate. I had
reached the top of the spear by this time, or almost; another six
inches would give me a hold on Ja's hand, when I felt a sudden wrench
from below and glancing fearfully downward saw the mighty jaws of the
monster close on the sharp point of the weapon.

I made a frantic effort to reach Ja's hand, the sithic gave a
tremendous tug that came near to jerking Ja from his frail hold on the
surface of the rock, the spear slipped from his fingers, and still
clinging to it I plunged feet foremost toward my executioner.

At the instant that he felt the spear come away from Ja's hand the
creature must have opened his huge jaws to catch me, for when I came
down, still clinging to the butt end of the weapon, the point yet
rested in his mouth and the result was that the sharpened end
transfixed his lower jaw.

With the pain he snapped his mouth closed. I fell upon his snout, lost
my hold upon the spear, rolled the length of his face and head, across
his short neck onto his broad back and from there to the ground.

Scarce had I touched the earth than I was upon my feet, dashing madly
for the path by which I had entered this horrible valley. A glance
over my shoulder showed me the sithic engaged in pawing at the spear
stuck through his lower jaw, and so busily engaged did he remain in
this occupation that I had gained the safety of the cliff top before he
was ready to take up the pursuit. When he did not discover me in sight
within the valley he dashed, hissing into the rank vegetation of the
swamp and that was the last I saw of him.



I hastened to the cliff edge above Ja and helped him to a secure
footing. He would not listen to any thanks for his attempt to save me,
which had come so near miscarrying.

"I had given you up for lost when you tumbled into the Mahar temple,"
he said, "for not even I could save you from their clutches, and you
may imagine my surprise when on seeing a canoe dragged up upon the
beach of

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