Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 86

leaped back to gain a second in which to calm the shock of the wound
he rushed after me and tried to clinch. He rather neglected his knife
for the moment in his greater desire to get his hands on me. Seeing
the opening, I swung my left fist fairly to the point of his jaw.

Down he went. Before ever he could scramble up again I was on him and
had buried my knife in his heart. Then I stood up--and there was Dian
facing me and peering at me through the dense gloom.

"You are not Juag!" she exclaimed. "Who are you?"

I took a step toward her, my arms outstretched.

"It is I, Dian," I said. "It is David."

At the sound of my voice she gave a little cry in which tears were
mingled--a pathetic little cry that told me all without words how far
hope had gone from her--and then she ran forward and threw herself in
my arms. I covered her perfect lips and her beautiful face with
kisses, and stroked her thick black hair, and told her again and again
what she already knew--what she had known for years--that I loved her
better than all else which two worlds had to offer. We couldn't devote
much time, though, to the happiness of love-making, for we were in the
midst of enemies who might discover us at any moment.

I drew her into the adjoining cave. Thence we made our way to the
mouth of the cave that had given me entrance to the cliff. Here I
reconnoitered for a moment, and seeing the coast clear, ran swiftly
forth with Dian at my side. We dodged around the cliff-end, then
paused for an instant, listening. No sound reached our ears to
indicate that any had seen us, and we moved cautiously onward along the
way by which I had come.

As we went Dian told me that her captors had informed her how close I
had come in search of her--even to the Land of Awful Shadow--and how
one of Hooja's men who knew me had discovered me asleep and robbed me
of all my possessions. And then how Hooja had sent four others to find
me and take me prisoner. But these men, she said, had not yet
returned, or at least she had not heard of their return.

"Nor will you ever," I responded, "for they have gone to that place
whence none ever returns." I then related my adventure

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He was as primitive and uncouth in appearance as the Grabritins--a shaggy, unkempt savage, clothed in a shirt of skin cured with the head on, the latter surmounting his own head to form a bonnet, and giving to him a most fearful and ferocious aspect.
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But which way had she gone since she stopped here? Would she go on down the river, that she might thus bring herself nearer her own Grabritin, or would she have sought to search for us upstream, where she had seen us last? I had hailed Taylor, and sent him across the river to take in Delcarte, that the two might join me and discuss my discovery and our future plans.
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From his office I was led to a guardhouse, in which I found about fifty half-naked whites, clad in the skins of wild beasts.
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I had been a prisoner at the little frontier post for over a month, when orders came to Colonel Belik to hasten to the eastern frontier with the major portion of his command, leaving only one troop to garrison the fort.
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That night we were held under a strong guard just outside the eastern wall of the city, and the next morning were started upon a long march toward the east.