Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 84

to take up his position where he could watch the
boat and await Dian, I to crawl cautiously on toward the caves. I had
no difficulty in following the directions given me by Juag, the name by
which Dacor's friend said he was called. There was the leaning tree,
my first point he told me to look for after rounding the boulder where
we had met. After that I crawled to the balanced rock, a huge boulder
resting upon a tiny base no larger than the palm of your hand.

From here I had my first view of the village of caves. A low bluff ran
diagonally across one end of the mesa, and in the face of this bluff
were the mouths of many caves. Zig-zag trails led up to them, and
narrow ledges scooped from the face of the soft rock connected those
upon the same level.

The cave in which Juag had been confined was at the extreme end of the
cliff nearest me. By taking advantage of the bluff itself, I could
approach within a few feet of the aperture without being visible from
any other cave. There were few people about at the time; most of these
were congregated at the foot of the far end of the bluff, where they
were so engrossed in excited conversation that I felt but little fear
of detection. However I exercised the greatest care in approaching the
cliff. After watching for a while until I caught an instant when every
head was turned away from me, I darted, rabbitlike, into the cave.

Like many of the man-made caves of Pellucidar, this one consisted of
three chambers, one behind another, and all unlit except for what
sunlight filtered in through the external opening. The result was
gradually increasing darkness as one passed into each succeeding
chamber.

In the last of the three I could just distinguish objects, and that was
all. As I was groping around the walls for the hole that should lead
into the cave where Dian was imprisoned, I heard a man's voice quite
close to me.

The speaker had evidently but just entered, for he spoke in a loud
tone, demanding the whereabouts of one whom he had come in search of.

"Where are you, woman?" he cried. "Hooja has sent for you."

And then a woman's voice answered him:

"And what does Hooja want of me?"

The voice was Dian's. I groped in the direction of the sounds, feeling
for the hole.

"He wishes you brought to the

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