We crossed the river and passed through the mountains beyond,
and finally we came out upon a great level plain which stretched
away as far as the eye could reach. I cannot tell you in what
direction it stretched even if you would care to know, for all
the while that I was within Pellucidar I never discovered any but
local methods of indicating direction--there is no north, no
south, no east, no west. UP is about the only direction which is
well defined, and that, of course, is DOWN to you of the outer
crust. Since the sun neither rises nor sets there is no method of
indicating direction beyond visible objects such as high
mountains, forests, lakes, and seas.
We had barely entered the great plain when we discovered two
enormous animals approaching us from a great distance. So far
were they that we could not distinguish what manner of beasts
they might be, but as they came closer, I saw that they were
enormous quadrupeds, eighty or a hundred feet long, with tiny
heads perched at the top of very long necks. Their heads must
have been quite forty feet from the ground. The beasts moved very
slowly--that is their action was slow--but their strides covered
such a great distance that in reality they traveled considerably
faster than a man walks.
"They are lidis from the land of the Thorians," she cried.
"Thoria lies at the outer verge of the Land of Awful Shadow. The
Thorians alone of all the races of Pellucidar ride the lidi, for
nowhere else than beside the dark country are they found."
"It is the land which lies beneath the Dead World," replied
Dian; "the Dead World which hangs forever between the sun and
Pellucidar above the Land of Awful Shadow. It is the Dead World
which makes the great shadow upon this portion of
I remember that Perry was very much excited when I told him
about this Dead World, for he seemed to think that it explained
the hitherto inexplicable phenomena of nutation and the
precession of the equinoxes.
In an instant I was white with jealousy, but only for an
instant; since Dian quickly drew the man toward me, telling him
that I was David, her mate.
It appeared that the woman was Dacor's mate. He had found none
to his liking among the Sari, nor farther on until he had come to
the land of the Thoria, and there he had found and fought for
this very lovely Thorian maiden whom he was bringing back to his
After a journey which was, for Pellucidar, quite uneventful,
we came to the first of the Sarian villages which consists of
between one and two hundred artificial caves cut into the face of
a great cliff. Here to our immense delight, we found both Perry
and Ghak. The old man was quite overcome at sight of me for he
had long since given me up as dead.
Ghak and Dacor reached a very amicable arrangement, and it was
at a council of the head men of the various tribes of the Sari
that the eventual form of government was tentatively agreed upon.
Roughly, the various kingdoms were to remain virtually
independent, but there was to be one great overlord, or emperor.
It was decided that I should be the first of the dynasty of the
emperors of Pellucidar.
We sent our young men out as instructors to every nation of
the federation, and the movement had reached colossal proportions
before the Mahars discovered it. The first intimation they had
was when three of their great slave caravans were annihilated in
rapid succession. They could not comprehend that the lower orders
had suddenly developed a power which rendered them really
The Mahars had offered fabulous rewards for the capture of any
one of us alive, and at the same time had threatened to inflict
the direst punishment upon whomever should harm us. The Sagoths
could not understand these seemingly paradoxical instructions,
though their purpose was quite evident to me. The Mahars wanted
the Great Secret, and they knew that we alone could deliver it to
"David," said Perry, immediately after his latest failure to
produce gunpowder that would even burn, "one of us must return to
the outer world and bring back the information we lack. Here we
have all the labor and materials for reproducing anything that
ever has been produced above--what we lack is knowledge. Let us
go back and get that knowledge in the shape of books--then this
world will indeed be at our feet."
With a large force of men we marched to the great iron mole,
which Perry soon had hoisted into position with its nose pointed
back toward the outer crust. He went over all the machinery
carefully. He replenished the air tanks, and manufactured oil for
the engine. At last everything was ready, and we were about to
set out when our pickets, a long, thin line of which had
surrounded our camp at all times, reported that a great body of
what appeared to be Sagoths and Mahars were approaching from the
direction of Phutra.
As the opposing army approached we saw that there were many
Mahars with the Sagoth troops--an indication of the vast
importance which the dominant race placed upon the outcome of
this campaign, for it was not customary with them to take active
part in the sorties which their creatures made for slaves--the
only form of warfare which they waged upon the lower orders.
At the first volley of poison-tipped arrows the front ranks of
the gorilla-men crumpled to the ground; but those behind charged
over the prostrate forms of their comrades in a wild, mad rush to
be upon us with their spears. A second volley stopped them for an
instant, and then my reserve sprang through the openings in the
firing line to engage them with sword and shield. The clumsy
spears of the Sagoths were no match for the swords of the Sarian
and Amozite, who turned the spear thrusts aside with their
shields and leaped to close quarters with their lighter, handier
The battle did not last a great while, for when Dacor and I
led our men in upon the Sagoth's right with naked swords they
were already so demoralized that they turned and fled before us.
We pursued them for some time, taking many prisoners and
recovering nearly a hundred slaves, among whom was Hooja the Sly
There were a number of Mahars among our prisoners, and so
fearful were our own people of them that they would not approach
them unless completely covered from the sight of the reptiles by
a piece of skin. Even Dian shared the popular superstition
regarding the evil effects of exposure to the eyes of angry
Mahars, and though I laughed at her fears I was willing enough to
humor them if it would relieve her apprehension in any degree,
and so she sat apart from the prospector, near which the Mahars
had been chained, while Perry and I again inspected every portion
of the mechanism.
All I know is that it was Hooja who brought Dian to the
prospector, still wrapped from head to toe in the skin of an
enormous cave lion which covered her since the Mahar prisoners
had been brought into camp. He deposited his burden in the seat
beside me. I was all ready to get under way. The good-byes had
been said. Perry had grasped my hand in the last, long farewell.
I closed and barred the outer and inner doors, took my seat again
at the driving mechanism, and pulled the starting lever.
But on the instant of departure I was nearly thrown from my
seat by the sudden lurching of the prospector. At first I did not
realize what had happened, but presently it dawned upon me that
just before entering the crust the towering body had fallen
through its supporting scaffolding, and that instead of entering
the ground vertically we were plunging into it at a different
angle. Where it would bring us out upon the upper crust I could
not even conjecture. And then I turned to note the effect of this
strange experience upon Dian. She still sat shrouded in the great
The thing beneath the skin was not Dian--it was a hideous
Mahar. Instantly I realized the trick that Hooja had played upon
me, and the purpose of it. Rid of me, forever as he doubtless
thought, Dian would be at his mercy. Frantically I tore at the
steering wheel in an effort to turn the prospector back toward
Pellucidar; but, as on that other occasion, I could not budge the
thing a hair.
For months I have been waiting here for a white man to come. I
dared not leave the prospector for fear I should never be able to
find it again--the shifting sands of the desert would soon cover
it, and then my only hope of returning to my Dian and her
Pellucidar would be gone forever.
That is the story as David Innes told it to me in the
goat-skin tent upon the rim of the great Sahara Desert. The next
day he took me out to see the prospector--it was precisely as he
had described it. So huge was it that it could have been brought
to this inaccessible part of the world by no means of
transportation that existed there--it could only have come in the
way that David Innes said it came--up through the crust of the
earth from the inner world of Pellucidar.
I took the things back to Algeria myself, and accompanied them
to the end of the railroad; but from here I was recalled to
America upon important business. However, I was able to employ a
very trustworthy man to take charge of the caravan--the same
guide, in fact, who had accompanied me on the previous trip into
the Sahara--and after writing a long letter to Innes in which I
gave him my American address, I saw the expedition head
I received several letters from him after I returned to
America--in fact he took advantage of every northward-passing
caravan to drop me word of some sort. His last letter was written
the day before he intended to depart. Here it is.
Tomorrow I shall set out in quest of Pellucidar and Dian. That
is if the Arabs don't get me. They have been very nasty of late.
I don't know the cause, but on two occasions they have threatened
my life. One, more friendly than the rest, told me today that
they intended attacking me tonight. It would be unfortunate
should anything of that sort happen now that I am so nearly ready
Here is the friendly Arab who is to take this letter north for
me, so good-bye, and God bless you for your kindness to me.
A year later found me at the end of the railroad once more,
headed for the spot where I had left Innes. My first
disappointment was when I discovered that my old guide had died
within a few weeks of my return, nor could I find any member of
my former party who could lead me to the same spot.
And always do these awful questions harass me when I think of
David Innes and his strange adventures.
Does the answer lie somewhere upon the bosom of the broad
Sahara, at the end of two tiny wires, hidden beneath a lost
cairn? I wonder.