Ĉe la koro de la tero

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 77

de mi.

Denove mi ekkuris for, kaj la sagotoj ne sxajnis tre avidaj dauxrigi
la postcxason tiel proksime kiel antauxe. Negxenate, mi atingis la
supron de la kanjono, kie mi trovis krutan, rokozan abismon profundan
je ducent gxis tricent futoj; sed maldekstre, mallargxa kornico
cxirkauxiris la kurbajxon de la krutajxosupro. Lauxlonge de gxi mi
iris antauxen, kaj cxe abrupta turnigxo, kelkajn jardojn post la fino
de la kanjono, la vojo largxigxis, kaj maldekstre mi vidis la
aperturon de granda kaverno. Antaux gxi la kornico pluiris, gxis gxi
eliris el la vidkampo cxirkaux alia elstarajxo de la monto.

Tie mi sentis, ke mi povus defii armeon, cxar la malamikoj povus
ataki min nur po unu, kaj tiu unu ne povus scii, ke mi atendas lin,
gxis li plene montrus sin, cxirkauxirinte vojturnigxon. Cxirkaux mi
kusxis disigitaj sxtonoj de la krutajxo, supere. Ili estis de
diversaj grandoj kaj formoj, sed suficxe multaj havis oportunan
grandecon, tiel ke mi povus uzi ilin anstataux miaj tre valoraj
sagoj. Ariginte plurajn rokojn en amaseton, flanke de la fauxko de la
kaverno, mi atendis la atakon de la sagotoj.

Dum mi staris tie, strecxa kaj silenta, atendante la unuan mallauxtan
sonon, kiu indikos la proksimigxon de miaj malamikoj, eta bruo el la
nigra profundo de la kaverno altiris mian atenton. Eble gxin
produktis la movigxo de la granda korpo de iu bestego levigxanta de
sur la rokoza planko de sia logxejo. Preskaux sammomente, mi kredis
auxdi la skrapon de ledaj sandaloj sur la kornico cxirkaux la
vojturnigxo. Dum la postaj kelkaj sekundoj, mia atento estis
konsiderinde dividita.

Kaj tiam, el la inkeca nigro je mia dekstra flanko, mi vidis du
flamantajn okulojn rigardadi en miajn. Ili situis pli ol du futojn
pli alte ol mia kapo. Estas vere eble, ke la besto, kiu ilin posedis,
staris sur altajxo en la kaverno, aux ke gxi eble bauxmis sur la
postpiedoj; sed mi jam vidis suficxe multajn el la monstroj de
Pelucidaro por scii, ke mi nun eble frontas novan kaj timegindan
Titanon, kies dimensioj kaj feroco superas tiujn de cxio antauxe
vidita.

Kio ajn gxi estis, gxi malrapide aliris la fauxkon de la kaverno, kaj
nun, profundavocxe kaj fortimige, gxi eligis malaltan kaj minacan
mugxon. Mi ne atendis pli longe por disputi pri la posedo de la
kornico kun la kreitajxo, kiu posedis tiun vocxon. La bruo ne estis
lauxta--mi dubas, cxu la sagotoj ecx auxdis gxin--sed la sugesto pri
latentaj eblecoj en gxi estis suficxa, por ke mi sciu, ke gxi povas
deveni nur de enorma kaj feroca bestego.

Dum mi retroiris laux la kornico, mi baldaux preterpasis la fauxkon
de la kaverno, kie mi ne plu povis

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