By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 85

Island of Trees," replied the man; "for
he is ready to take you as his mate."

"I will not go," said Dian. "I will die first."

"I am sent to bring you, and bring you I shall."

I could hear him crossing the cave toward her.

Frantically I clawed the wall of the cave in which I was in an effort
to find the elusive aperture that would lead me to Dian's side.

I heard the sound of a scuffle in the next cave. Then my fingers sank
into loose rock and earth in the side of the cave. In an instant I
realized why I had been unable to find the opening while I had been
lightly feeling the surface of the walls--Dian had blocked up the hole
she had made lest it arouse suspicion and lead to an early discovery of
Juag's escape.

Plunging my weight against the crumbling mass, I sent it crashing into
the adjoining cavern. With it came I, David, Emperor of Pellucidar. I
doubt if any other potentate in a world's history ever made a more
undignified entrance. I landed head first on all fours, but I came
quickly and was on my feet before the man in the dark guessed what had

He saw me, though, when I arose and, sensing that no friend came thus
precipitately, turned to meet me even as I charged him. I had my stone
knife in my hand, and he had his. In the darkness of the cave there
was little opportunity for a display of science, though even at that I
venture to say that we fought a very pretty duel.

Before I came to Pellucidar I do not recall that I ever had seen a
stone knife, and I am sure that I never fought with a knife of any
description; but now I do not have to take my hat off to any of them
when it comes to wielding that primitive yet wicked weapon.

I could just see Dian in the darkness, but I knew that she could not
see my features or recognize me; and I enjoyed in anticipation, even
while I was fighting for her life and mine, her dear joy when she
should discover that it was I who was her deliverer.

My opponent was large, but he also was active and no mean knife-man.
He caught me once fairly in the shoulder--I carry the scar yet, and
shall carry it to the grave. And then he did a foolish thing, for as

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