At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 97

top of the
cliff, for I knew that we could then cross over to the edge of my own
little valley, where I felt certain we should find a means of ingress
from the cliff top. As we proceeded along the ledge I gave Dian minute
directions for finding my cave against the chance of something
happening to me. I knew that she would be quite safely hidden away
from pursuit once she gained the shelter of my lair, and the valley
would afford her ample means of sustenance.

Also, I was very much piqued by her treatment of me. My heart was sad
and heavy, and I wanted to make her feel badly by suggesting that
something terrible might happen to me--that I might, in fact, be
killed. But it didn't work worth a cent, at least as far as I could
perceive. Dian simply shrugged those magnificent shoulders of hers,
and murmured something to the effect that one was not rid of trouble so
easily as that.

For a while I kept still. I was utterly squelched. And to think that
I had twice protected her from attack--the last time risking my life to
save hers. It was incredible that even a daughter of the Stone Age
could be so ungrateful--so heartless; but maybe her heart partook of
the qualities of her epoch.

Presently we found a rift in the cliff which had been widened and
extended by the action of the water draining through it from the
plateau above. It gave us a rather rough climb to the summit, but
finally we stood upon the level mesa which stretched back for several
miles to the mountain range. Behind us lay the broad inland sea,
curving upward in the horizonless distance to merge into the blue of
the sky, so that for all the world it looked as though the sea lapped
back to arch completely over us and disappear beyond the distant
mountains at our backs--the weird and uncanny aspect of the seascapes
of Pellucidar balk description.

At our right lay a dense forest, but to the left the country was open
and clear to the plateau's farther verge. It was in this direction
that our way led, and we had turned to resume our journey when Dian
touched my arm. I turned to her, thinking that she was about to make
peace overtures; but I was mistaken.

"Jubal," she said, and nodded toward the forest.

I looked, and there, emerging from the dense wood, came a perfect whale
of a man.

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