Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 39

allotted moment arrived--the moment for which I had
been trying to prepare myself, for how long I could not even guess. A
great Sagoth came and spoke some words of command to those who watched
over me. I was jerked roughly to my feet and with little consideration
hustled upward toward the higher levels.

Out into the broad avenue they conducted me, where, amid huge throngs
of Mahars, Sagoths, and heavily guarded slaves, I was led, or, rather,
pushed and shoved roughly, along in the same direction that the mob
moved. I had seen such a concourse of people once before in the
buried city of Phutra; I guessed, and rightly, that we were bound for
the great arena where slaves who are condemned to death meet their end.

Into the vast amphitheater they took me, stationing me at the extreme
end of the arena. The queen came, with her slimy, sickening retinue.
The seats were filled. The show was about to commence.

Then, from a little doorway in the opposite end of the structure, a
girl was led into the arena. She was at a considerable distance from
me. I could not see her features.

I wondered what fate awaited this other poor victim and myself, and why
they had chosen to have us die together. My own fate, or rather, my
thought of it, was submerged in the natural pity I felt for this lone
girl, doomed to die horribly beneath the cold, cruel eyes of her awful
captors. Of what crime could she be guilty that she must expiate it in
the dreaded arena?

As I stood thus thinking, another door, this time at one of the long
sides of the arena, was thrown open, and into the theater of death
slunk a mighty tarag, the huge cave tiger of the Stone Age. At my
sides were my revolvers. My captors had not taken them from me,
because they did not yet realize their nature. Doubtless they thought
them some strange manner of war-club, and as those who are condemned to
the arena are permitted weapons of defense, they let me keep them.

The girl they had armed with a javelin. A brass pin would have been
almost as effective against the ferocious monster they had loosed upon
her.

The tarag stood for a moment looking about him--first up at the vast
audience and then about the arena. He did not seem to see me at all,
but his eyes fell presently upon the girl. A hideous

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