Ĉe la koro de la tero

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 13

povi konkuri kontraux la viglo de miaj junaj
muskoloj, do mi kapablis salti flanken, antaux ol la malvigla menso
de la besto povis redirekti gxin al mia postsekvo.

La tiel akiritaj kelkaj sekundoj ebligis, ke mi sendifekte rifugxu en
la brancxojn de arbo kelkajn pasxojn for de tiu, en kiu Perry trovis
havenon.

Cxu mi diris, ke mi sendifekte rifugxis? Tiam mi kredis, ke ni estas
tute ekster dangxero, kaj ankaux Perry tion kredis. Li levis sian
vocxon pregxe, por danki Dion pri nia savigxo, kaj li jxus finis ian
peanon de danko, ke la besto ne kapablas grimpi en arbojn, kiam sen
averto gxi bauxmis malantaux li sur la vostego kaj la postpiedoj kaj
etendis siajn timinde armitajn piedojn gxis la brancxo, sur kiu li
kusxis.

Gxian samtempan mugxon preskaux tute dronis la timokrio de Perry, kiu
preskaux enfalis la fauxkan busxegon sub si, cxar li tiel subite
ekimpetis por foriri de la dangxera brancxo. Kun profunda sopiro de
trankviligxo mi vidis lin sendifekte atingi pli altan brancxon.

Kaj tiam la besto faris ion, kio denove glaciigis min pro teruro.
Kaptante la arbotrunkon per siaj potencaj antauxpiedoj, gxi tiris
tiun malsupren per la tuta pezego de sia granda masiveco kaj per la
tuta nerezistebla potenco de siaj fortegaj muskoloj. Malrapide, sed
konstante, la trunko komencis kurbigxi al la bestego. Colon post
colo, li suprenmetis la piedojn, dum la arbo pli kaj pli forklinigxis
de sia vertikala pozicio. Perry alkrocxigxis, klakigante siajn
dentojn pro teruro. Pli kaj pli alten en la klinigxantan kaj
svingigxantan arbon li grimpis. Pli kaj pli rapide la arbopinto
ekklinigxis teren.

Tiam mi vidis, kial la bestego estas armita per tiaj kolosaj piedoj.
Jen gxi uzis ilin por gxuste tiu celo, por kiu la naturo destinis
ilin. La bradipsimila estajxo estis plantmangxulo, kaj por nutri sian
korpegon gxi bezonis forsxiri la foliaron de tutaj arboj. Kial gxi
atakis nin, estis facile klarigeble, se oni premisis temperamenton
tiel malbelan kiel cxe la feroca kaj stulta afrika rinocero. Sed
cxion cxi ni pensis nur poste. En tiu momento mi tro timegis pro
Perry por pensi pri io alia ol rimedo por savi lin de la jam tiel
proksima morto.

Mi sciis, ke sur la Tero mi povus kuri pli rapide ol la mallerta
besto, do mi faligis min el mia folioza rifugxejo, celante nur unu
aferon: logi la atenton de la estajxo for de Perry suficxe longe por
ebligi, ke la maljunulo atingu la havenon de pli granda arbo. Apude
staris multaj, kiujn ecx la grandega forto de tiu giganta monstro ne
povus klini.

Kiam mi alterigxis, mi prenis falintan brancxon el la implikita
amaso, kiu kovris la teron en tiu

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