Once out of the direct path of the animal, fear of it left me,
but another emotion as quickly gripped me--hope of escape that
the demoralized condition of the guards made possible for the
Without thought of the possible consequence, I darted into the
shadows of the tunnel, feeling my way along through the gloom for
some distance. The noises of the amphitheater had grown fainter
and fainter until now all was as silent as the tomb about me.
Faint light filtered from above through occasional ventilating
and lighting tubes, but it was scarce sufficient to enable my
human eyes to cope with the darkness, and so I was forced to move
with extreme care, feeling my way along step by step with a hand
upon the wall beside me.
Cautiously I crept up the stairway to the tunnel's end, and
peering out saw the broad plain of Phutra before me. The numerous
lofty, granite towers which mark the several entrances to the
subterranean city were all in front of me--behind, the plain
stretched level and unbroken to the nearby foothills. I had come
to the surface, then, beyond the city, and my chances for escape
seemed much enhanced.
Rank grass, waist high, grows upon the plain of Phutra--the
gorgeous flowering grass of the inner world, each particular
blade of which is tipped with a tiny, five-pointed
blossom--brilliant little stars of varying colors that twinkle in
the green foliage to add still another charm to the weird, yet
And as I crossed Phutra's flower-bespangled plain that time I
seemed almost to fly, though how much of the sensation was due to
Perry's suggestion and how much to actuality I am sure I do not
know. The more I thought of Perry the less pleasure I took in my
new-found freedom. There could be no liberty for me within
Pellucidar unless the old man shared it with me, and only the
hope that I might find some way to encompass his release kept me
from turning back to Phutra.
The case looked more and more hopeless the longer I viewed it,
yet with a stubborn persistency I forged ahead toward the
foothills. Behind me no sign of pursuit developed, before me I
saw no living thing. It was as though I moved through a dead and
It was this last habit that gave me the opportunity I craved
to capture one of these herbivorous cetaceans--that is what Perry
calls them--and make as good a meal as one can on raw,
warm-blooded fish; but I had become rather used, by this time, to
the eating of food in its natural state, though I still balked on
the eyes and entrails, much to the amusement of Ghak, to whom I
always passed these delicacies.
Then I drank from the clear pool, and after washing my hands
and face continued my flight. Above the source of the brook I
encountered a rugged climb to the summit of a long ridge. Beyond
was a steep declivity to the shore of a placid, inland sea, upon
the quiet surface of which lay several beautiful islands.
The gently sloping beach along which I walked was thickly
strewn with strangely shaped, colored shells; some empty, others
still housing as varied a multitude of mollusks as ever might
have drawn out their sluggish lives along the silent shores of
the antediluvian seas of the outer crust. As I walked I could not
but compare myself with the first man of that other world, so
complete the solitude which surrounded me, so primal and
untouched the virgin wonders and beauties of adolescent nature. I
felt myself a second Adam wending my lonely way through the
childhood of a world, searching for my Eve, and at the thought
there rose before my mind's eye the exquisite outlines of a
perfect face surmounted by a loose pile of wondrous, raven
The rude shock of awakening to what doubtless might prove some
new form of danger was still upon me when I heard a rattling of
loose stones from the direction of the bluff, and turning my eyes
in that direction I beheld the author of the disturbance, a great
copper-colored man, running rapidly toward me.
The speed of the fellow seemed to preclude the possibility of
escaping him upon the open beach. There was but a single
alternative--the rude skiff--and with a celerity which equaled
his, I pushed the thing into the sea and as it floated gave a
final shove and clambered in over the end.
A glance over my shoulder showed me that the copper-colored
one had plunged in after me and was swimming rapidly in pursuit.
His mighty strokes bade fair to close up the distance between us
in short order, for at best I could make but slow progress with
my unfamiliar craft, which nosed stubbornly in every direction
but that which I desired to follow, so that fully half my energy
was expended in turning its blunt prow back into the course.
His hand was reaching upward for the stern when I saw a sleek,
sinuous body shoot from the depths below. The man saw it too, and
the look of terror that overspread his face assured me that I
need have no further concern as to him, for the fear of certain
death was in his look.
As I looked at that hopeless struggle my eyes met those of the
doomed man, and I could have sworn that in his I saw an
expression of hopeless appeal. But whether I did or not there
swept through me a sudden compassion for the fellow. He was
indeed a brother-man, and that he might have killed me with
pleasure had he caught me was forgotten in the extremity of his
Nobly the giant battled for his life, beating with his stone
hatchet against the bony armor that covered that frightful
carcass; but for all the damage he inflicted he might as well
have struck with his open palm.
With a loud hiss the creature abandoned its prey to turn upon
me, but the spear, imbedded in its throat, prevented it from
seizing me though it came near to overturning the skiff in its
mad efforts to reach me.