At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 95

the bow until the
very tip of the shaft rested upon the thumb of my left hand, and then
as the great creature darted toward us I let drive straight for that
tough breast.

Hissing like the escape valve of a steam engine, the mighty creature
fell turning and twisting into the sea below, my arrow buried
completely in its carcass. I turned toward the girl. She was looking
past me. It was evident that she had seen the thipdar die.

"Dian," I said, "won't you tell me that you are not sorry that I have
found you?"

"I hate you," was her only reply; but I imagined that there was less
vehemence in it than before--yet it might have been but my imagination.

"Why do you hate me, Dian?" I asked, but she did not answer me.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, "and what has happened to you since
Hooja freed you from the Sagoths?"

At first I thought that she was going to ignore me entirely, but
finally she thought better of it.

"I was again running away from Jubal the Ugly One," she said. "After I
escaped from the Sagoths I made my way alone back to my own land; but
on account of Jubal I did not dare enter the villages or let any of my
friends know that I had returned for fear that Jubal might find out.
By watching for a long time I found that my brother had not yet
returned, and so I continued to live in a cave beside a valley which my
race seldom frequents, awaiting the time that he should come back and
free me from Jubal.

"But at last one of Jubal's hunters saw me as I was creeping toward my
father's cave to see if my brother had yet returned and he gave the
alarm and Jubal set out after me. He has been pursuing me across many
lands. He cannot be far behind me now. When he comes he will kill you
and carry me back to his cave. He is a terrible man. I have gone as
far as I can go, and there is no escape," and she looked hopelessly up
at the continuation of the ledge twenty feet above us.

"But he shall not have me," she suddenly cried, with great vehemence.
"The sea is there"--she pointed over the edge of the cliff--"and the
sea shall have me rather than Jubal."

"But I have you now Dian," I cried; "nor shall Jubal, nor any other
have you, for

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