Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 110

alive. None of the missiles struck
us, for Hooja's archers were not nearly the marksmen that are my
Sarians and Amozites.

We had now gained sufficient headway to hold our own on about even
terms with Hooja's paddlers. We did not seem to be gaining, though;
and neither did they. How long this nerve-racking experience lasted I
cannot guess, though we had pretty nearly finished our meager supply of
provisions when the wind picked up a bit and we commenced to draw away.

Not once yet had we sighted land, nor could I understand it, since so
many of the seas I had seen before were thickly dotted with islands.
Our plight was anything but pleasant, yet I think that Hooja and his
forces were even worse off than we, for they had no food nor water at
all.

Far out behind us in a long line that curved upward in the distance, to
be lost in the haze, strung Hooja's two hundred boats. But one would
have been enough to have taken us could it have come alongside. We had
drawn some fifty yards ahead of Hooja--there had been times when we
were scarce ten yards in advance-and were feeling considerably safer
from capture. Hooja's men, working in relays, were commencing to show
the effects of the strain under which they had been forced to work
without food or water, and I think their weakening aided us almost as
much as the slight freshening of the wind.

Hooja must have commenced to realize that he was going to lose us, for
he again gave orders that we be fired upon. Volley after volley of
arrows struck about us. The distance was so great by this time that
most of the arrows fell short, while those that reached us were
sufficiently spent to allow us to ward them off with our paddles.
However, it was a most exciting ordeal.

Hooja stood in the bow of his boat, alternately urging his men to
greater speed and shouting epithets at me. But we continued to draw
away from him. At last the wind rose to a fair gale, and we simply
raced away from our pursuers as if they were standing still. Juag was
so tickled that he forgot all about his hunger and thirst. I think
that he had never been entirely reconciled to the heathenish invention
which I called a sail, and that down in the bottom of his heart he
believed that the paddlers would eventually overhaul us; but now he
couldn't praise it

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