At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 96

you are mine," and I seized her hand, nor did I lift it
above her head and let it fall in token of release.

She had risen to her feet, and was looking straight into my eyes with
level gaze.

"I do not believe you," she said, "for if you meant it you would have
done this when the others were present to witness it--then I should
truly have been your mate; now there is no one to see you do it, for
you know that without witnesses your act does not bind you to me," and
she withdrew her hand from mine and turned away.

I tried to convince her that I was sincere, but she simply couldn't
forget the humiliation that I had put upon her on that other occasion.

"If you mean all that you say you will have ample chance to prove it,"
she said, "if Jubal does not catch and kill you. I am in your power,
and the treatment you accord me will be the best proof of your
intentions toward me. I am not your mate, and again I tell you that I
hate you, and that I should be glad if I never saw you again."

Dian certainly was candid. There was no gainsaying that. In fact I
found candor and directness to be quite a marked characteristic of the
cave men of Pellucidar. Finally I suggested that we make some attempt
to gain my cave, where we might escape the searching Jubal, for I am
free to admit that I had no considerable desire to meet the formidable
and ferocious creature, of whose mighty prowess Dian had told me when I
first met her. He it was who, armed with a puny knife, had met and
killed a cave bear in a hand-to-hand struggle. It was Jubal who could
cast his spear entirely through the armored carcass of the sadok at
fifty paces. It was he who had crushed the skull of a charging dyryth
with a single blow of his war club. No, I was not pining to meet the
Ugly One-and it was quite certain that I should not go out and hunt for
him; but the matter was taken out of my hands very quickly, as is often
the way, and I did meet Jubal the Ugly One face to face.

This is how it happened. I had led Dian back along the ledge the way
she had come, searching for a path that would lead us to the

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