By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 115

great puff
of smoke broke from the bow of the leading felucca, followed almost
simultaneously by a terrific explosion, and a solid shot screamed close
over the heads of the men in Hooja's craft, raising a great splash
where it clove the water just beyond them.

Perry had perfected gunpowder and built cannon! It was marvelous!
Dian and Juag, as much surprised as Hooja, turned wondering eyes toward
me. Again the cannon spoke. I suppose that by comparison with the
great guns of modern naval vessels of the outer world it was a
pitifully small and inadequate thing; but here in Pellucidar, where it
was the first of its kind, it was about as awe-inspiring as anything
you might imagine.

With the report an iron cannonball about five inches in diameter struck
Hooja's dugout just above the water-line, tore a great splintering hole
in its side, turned it over, and dumped its occupants into the sea.

The four dugouts that had been abreast of Hooja had turned to intercept
the leading felucca. Even now, in the face of what must have been a
withering catastrophe to them, they kept bravely on toward the strange
and terrible craft.

In them were fully two hundred men, while but fifty lined the gunwale
of the felucca to repel them. The commander of the felucca, who proved
to be Ja, let them come quite close and then turned loose upon them a
volley of shots from small-arms.

The cave men and Sagoths in the dugouts seemed to wither before that
blast of death like dry grass before a prairie fire. Those who were
not hit dropped their bows and javelins and, seizing upon paddles,
attempted to escape. But the felucca pursued them relentlessly, her
crew firing at will.

At last I heard Ja shouting to the survivors in the dugouts--they were
all quite close to us now--offering them their lives if they would
surrender. Perry was standing close behind Ja, and I knew that this
merciful action was prompted, perhaps commanded, by the old man; for no
Pellucidarian would have thought of showing leniency to a defeated foe.

As there was no alternative save death, the survivors surrendered and a
moment later were taken aboard the Amoz, the name that I could now see
printed in large letters upon the felucca's bow, and which no one in
that whole world could read except Perry and I.

When the prisoners were aboard, Ja brought the felucca alongside our
dugout. Many were the willing hands that reached down to lift us to
her decks. The

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