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Title:      Savage Pellucidar
Author:     Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Title:      Savage Pellucidar
Author:     Edgar Rice Burroughs



PART I: THE RETURN TO PELLUCIDAR


I

DAVE INNES came back to Sari. He may have been gone a week, or he may
have been gone for years. It was still noon. But Perry had completed his
aeroplane. He was very proud of it. He could scarcely wait to show it to
Dave Innes.

"Does it fly?" asked Innes.

"Of course it flies," snapped Perry. "What good would an aeroplane be
which did not fly."

"None," replied Innes. "Have you flown it yet?"

"No, of course not. The day of the first flight is going to be epochal in
the annals of Pellucidar. Do you think I'd fly it without you being here
to see?"

"That's mighty nice of you, Abner; and I appreciate it. When are you
going to fly it?"

"Right now, right now. Come and see it,"

"Just what do you propose using an aeroplane for?" asked Innes.

"To drop bombs, of course, just think of the havoc it will raise! Think
of these poor people who have never seen an aeroplane before running out
from their caves as it circles overhead. Think of the vast stride it will
be in civilizing these people! Why, we should be able to wipe out a
village with a few bombs."

"When I went back to the outer crust after the Great War that ended in
1918," said Innes, "I heard a lot about the use of aeroplanes in war; but
I also heard about a weapon which causes far more suffering and death
than bombs."

"What was that?" demanded Perry, eagerly.

"Poison gas," said Innes.

"Ah, well," said Perry, "perhaps I shall put my mind to that later."

Dave Innes grinned. He knew that there was not a kinder hearted person
living than Abner Perry. He knew that Perry's plans for slaughter were
purely academic. Perry was a theoretician, pure and simple. "All right,"
he said, "let's have a look at your plane."

Perry led him to a small hangar--a strange anachronism in Stone-Age
Pellucidar. "There!" he said, with pride. "There she is; the first
aeroplane to fly the skies of Pellucidar."

"Is that an aeroplane?" demanded Innes. "It certainly doesn't look like
one."

"That is because it utilizes some entirely new principles," explained
Perry.

"It looks more like a parachute with a motor and a cockpit on top of it."

"Exactly!" said Perry. "You grasped the idea instantly yet there is more
to it than the eye perceives. You see one of the dangers of flying is,
naturally, that of falling; now, by designing a plane on the principles
of a parachute, I have greatly minimized that danger."

"But what keeps it in the air at all? What gets it up?"

"Beneath the plane is a blower, operated by the engine. This blows a
strong current of air constantly straight up from beneath the wing; and,
of course, the air flow, while the ship is in motion supports it as is
true in other, less advanced, designs; while the blower assists it in
quickly attaining altitude."

"Are you going to try to go up in that thing?" demanded Innes.

"Why, no; I have been saving that honor for you. Think of it! The first
man to have flown in the heavens of Pellucidar. You should be grateful to
me, David."

Dave Innes had to smile; Perry was so naive about the whole thing.
"Well," he said, "I don't want to disappoint you, Abner; and so I'll give
the thing a trial--just to prove to you that it won't fly."

"You'll be surprised," said Perry. "It will soar aloft like a lark on the
wing."

A considerable number of Sarians had gathered to inspect the plane and
witness the flight. They were all skeptical, but not for the same reasons
that David Innes was skeptical. They knew nothing about aeronautics, but
they knew that man could not fly. Dian the Beautiful was among them. She
is Dave Innes's mate.

"Do you think it will fly?" she asked Innes.

"No."

"Then why risk your life?"

"If it doesn't fly, there will be no risk; and it will please Abner if I
try," he replied.

"There will be no honor," she said, "for it will not be the first
aeroplane to fly over Pellucidar. The great ship that you called a
dirigible brought a plane. Was it not Jason Gridley who flew it until it
was brought down by a thipdar?"

They were walking around the plane examining it carefully. The frame of
the single parachute-like wing was of bamboo: the "fabric" was fabricated
of the peritoneum of a large dinosaur. It was a thin, transparent
membrane well suited to the purpose. The cockpit was set down into the
top of the wing; the motor stuck out in front like a sore thumb; and
behind a long tail seemed to have been designed to counter-balance the
weight of the engine. It carried the stabilizers, fin, rudder, and
elevators.

The engine, the first gas engine built in Pellucidar, was, an achievement
of the first magnitude. It had been built practically by hand by men of
the Stone Age, under the direction of Perry, and without precision
instruments.

"Will it run?" asked Innes.

"Of course it will run," replied Perry. "It is, I will concede, a trifle
noisy; and is susceptible to some refinements, but a sweet thing
nevertheless."

"I hope so," said Innes.

"Are you ready, David?" asked the inventor.

"Quite," replied Innes.

"Then climb into the cockpit and I'll explain the controls to you. You
will find everything very simple."

Ten minutes later Innes said he knew all about flying the ship that he
would ever know, and Perry climbed down to the ground.

"Everybody get out of the way!" he shouted. "You are about to witness the
beginning of a new epoch in the history of Pellucidar."

A mechanic took his place at the propeller. It was so far off the ground
that he had to stand on a specially constructed ladder. A man on either
side stood ready to pull the blocks from beneath the wheels.

"Contact!" shouted Perry.

"Contact!" replied Innes.

The man at the propeller gave it a turn. The engine spluttered and died.
"By golly!" exclaimed Innes. "It really fired. Try it again."

"Give her more throttle," said Perry.

The mechanic spun her again, and this time the engine took hold. The
mechanic leaped from the ladder and dragged it away. David opened the
throttle a little wider, and the engine almost leaped from its seat. It
sounded as though a hundred men were building a hundred boilers
simultaneously.

David shouted to the two men to pull the blocks, but no one could hear
him above the din of the motor. He waved and pointed and signalled, and
finally Perry grasped what he wanted, and had the blocks withdrawn.
Everyone stood in wide-eyed silence as David opened the throttle wider.
The engine raced. The plane moved! But it moved backward! It swung around
and nearly crashed into the crowd of Sarians before Innes could cut the
motor.

Perry approached, scratching his head. "What in the world did you do,
David," he asked, "to make an aeroplane back up?"

Dave Innes laughed.

"What are you laughing at?" demanded Perry. "Don't you realize that we
may have stumbled upon something sensational in aerodynamics? Just think
of a fighter plane that could go either forward or backward! just think
of how it could dodge enemy planes! Think of its maneuverability! What
did you do, David?"

"The honor is wholly yours, Abner," replied Innes. "You did it."

"But how did I do it?"

"You've reversed the pitch of your propeller blades. The plane cannot go
in any other direction than backward."

"Oh," said Perry, weakly.

"But it does move," said Innes, encouragingly, "and the fault is easily
remedied."

There being no such thing as time in Pellucidar, no, one cared how long
it took to effect a change in the propeller. Everyone except Perry and a
couple of his mechanics lay down in the shade, under trees or under the
plane until Perry announced that the propeller had been reversed.

Innes took his place in the cockpit, a mechanic spun the prop, the engine
started, the blocks were yanked away. The engine roared and pounded and
leaped. The plane almost jumped from the ground in harmony with the
vibration. Innes was thrown about so violently in the cockpit that he
could scarcely find the controls or keep his hands and feet on them.

Suddenly the plane started forward. It gained momentum. It rushed down
the long, level stretch that Perry had selected on which to build his
hangar. Innes struggled with the controls, but the thing wouldn't rise.
It bounced about like a ship in a heavy sea until Innes was dizzy; and
then, suddenly the fabric burst into flame.

Dave Innes discovered the flames as he was nearing the end of the runway.
He shut off the motor, applied the brakes, and jumped. A moment later the
gas tank burst, and Abner Perry's latest invention went up in smoke.

II

EVEN THOUGH Abner Perry's first gun powder would not burn, his aeroplane
would not leave the ground, and his first ship turned bottomside up when
it was launched, nevertheless he had achieved a great deal since Fate and
the Iron Mole had deposited him at the center of the Earth.

He had discovered ores and smelted them; he had manufactured steel; he
had made cement and produced a very good grade of concrete. He had
discovered oil in Sari and refined it to produce gasoline; he had
manufactured small arms and cannon. He had found and mined gold, silver,
platinum, lead, and other metals. He was probably the busiest man in a
whole world and the most useful. The great trouble was that the men of
the Stone Age, or at least most of them, were not far enough advanced to
appreciate what Perry had done and could do for them.

Often warriors armed with his rifles would throw them away in battle and
go after the enemy with stone hatchets, or they would seize them by the
muzzles and use them as clubs. He built a pumping plant near the village
of Sari and pumped water through concrete pipes right into the villa yet
many of the women still insisted upon walking half a mile to the spring
and carrying water back in gourds balanced on the tops of their heads.
Time meant nothing to them and carrying water on their heads gave them a
fine carriage.

But Perry kept on just the same. He was never discouraged. He was almost
perpetually good natured; and when he wasn't praying, he was swearing
like a trooper. Dave Innes loved him, and so did Dian the Beautiful One
and Ghak the Hairy One, who was king of Sari. In fact everyone who knew
Abner Perry loved him. The young Sarians who worked for him looked up to
him and worshipped him as though he were a god. And Abner Perry was very
happy.

After the aeroplane failed, he started in on another invention that he
had had in mind for some time. If he had known what was to come of it, he
would probably have thrown away all his plans; but of course he could not
know.

Dave Innes took a company of warriors and went on a tour of inspection of
some of the other kingdoms of the loose confederation which constitutes
the Empire of Pellucidar, of which he had been elected Emperor, following
the incident of the aeroplane. He went first to Amoz, which is two
hundred miles northeast of Sari on the Lural Az, a great uncharted,
unexplored ocean. Six hundred miles northeast of Amoz lies Kali. Kali is
the last of the kingdoms in this direction which still gives allegiance
to the Empire. Suvi, four hundred miles westerly from Kali, dropped out
of the confederation and made war upon Kali. The king of Suvi, whose name
is Fash, had once held Dian the Beautiful prisoner; and that act had
never been avenged.

Dave Innes had this in mind when he went north. It would be well to teach
Fash a lesson and, perhaps, place on the throne of Suvi a man loyal to
the Empire.

Sari is not on the sea coast; so the party marched to Greenwich, a
hundred and fifty miles, and there took one of the ships of the Navy,
which had been built under Perry's direction. Greenwich was established
and named by Dave Innes and Abner Perry. Through it passes the prime
meridian of Pellucidar, also an invention of Innes and Perry.

From Greenwich, they sailed to Amoz in the EPS Sari. The EPS is a conceit
of Perry's. It means Empire of Pellucidar ship, like USS California. The
Sari, like most of the ships of Pellucidar, was manned by red-skinned
Mezops from the Island of Anoroc, a seafaring race of fighting men. They
had known only canoes until Perry and Innes introduced them to sails, but
they soon mastered the new ships and learned what little of navigation
Dave Innes could teach them--all dead reckoning, with only crude compasses
to aid them.

Beneath a stationary sun, without the aid of stars or moon, there can be
few navigational aids. The Mezops knew all there was to know about tides
and currents in the coastal waters near their island. Innes and Perry
gave them the compass, the log, and a chronometer which was never
accurate and which could never be corrected; so it was seldom used. Their
navigation was mostly by guess and by God, but they got places. They
could always sail the most direct course toward home because of the
marvellous homing sense which is common to all Pellucidarians, a
Providential compensation for their lack of guiding celestial bodies.

Kander is king of Amoz. The title, like that of Emperor, was Perry's
idea. Kander, like the other kings of the confederation, is chief of a
tribe of cave men. He is about as far advanced in the scale of evolution
and civilization as the Cro-Magnons of the outer crust were in their
time; but like the Cro-Magnons, he is intelligent.

From him Innes learned that Fash was warring with Kali again and had
boasted that he would move on down south and conquer Amoz and Sari,
making himself Emperor of Pellucidar. Now Innes had brought but fifty
warriors with him, but he decided to go on to Kali and learn first hand
what was happening there. First he sent a runner back to Sari with a
verbal message instructing Ghak to gather the fleet at Amoz and proceed
to Kali with as many warriors as the ships would accommodate; then he got
a detail of fifty warriors from Kander and sailed north for Kali, the
hundred warriors straining the capacity of the EPS Sari.

Six hundred miles by water brought the Sari opposite Kali, which lies
some forty miles inland; and from here he dispatched a runner to Oose,
king of Kali. The runner was Hodon the Fleet One, a Sarian warrior of
proven courage and loyalty; and it requires courage to carry a message
across savage Pellucidar. Fierce beasts and fiercer reptiles are a
constant menace, and hostile tribes may be in ambush along the way.

All the forty miles to Kali, Hodon had good fortune with him. Once he met
a tarag, the giant sabertooth tiger; and the beast charged him, but an
experienced runner knows how best to safeguard himself. He does not run
in a straight line across open plains, but from tree to tree, much, after
the manner of a merchant ship zigzagging to elude a submarine.

The sabertooth, which is a confirmed man-eater, may be aware of this
strategy from hunting of men; but, be that as it may, this particular
beast timed its charge to a nicety and launched it at the moment that
Hodon was farthest from any tree.

It was a thrilling race--for Hodon a race with Death; for few men have met
and killed a tarag singlehanded. An occasional super-warrior may boast
that he has done so with the long, stout spear which they usually carry;
but Hodon, running light, carried no spear. He had only his speed upon
which he might depend for his life, his speed and a stone knife.

The tarag covered the ground in great bounding leaps which would quickly
have overhauled an ordinary man; but Hodon is no ordinary man. He has not
won the distinction of having Fleet One added to his name for nothing.
And now he really ran.

The great beast was but a few yards behind him when Hodon sprang into the
tree that was his goal and scrambled out of harm's way; then he sat upon
a branch and spit down into the face of the tarag and called him all the
vile names to which a Pellucidarian can lay his tongue, and they are many.

The tarag wasted no time waiting for Hodon to come down, as experience
may have taught him that he would starve to death before any man-thing
would come down to be eaten; so he made off in search of other prey.

A little farther on another tree saved Hodon from the talons of a
thipdar, a huge pterodactyl such as winged the steaming skies of the
Mesozoic. This mighty pteranodon, with a wing spread of twenty feet,
hunted high in the air--a preposterous eagle or hawk, ready to swoop down
upon any living thing. The only defense against it is the shelter of a
tree, and once again Hodon reached this sanctuary just in time.

Hissing with rage, the reptile soared away; and when it was out of sight
Hodon continued on to Kali, which he reached without further adventure.

The village of Kali consists mostly of caves in a limestone cliff, with
a few rude, thatched shelters at its base, which are used for cooking,
eating, and communal gatherings.

As Hodon approached the village he was met by a score of warriors, which
was what he might have expected on approaching any well-guarded village.
They demanded his business there; and when he told them that he bore a
message from the Emperor of Pellucidar to Oose, the king of Kali, they
looked at one another; and some of them grinned behind his back.

"I will take word to the king," said one. "Wait here."

Presently the man returned and instructed Hodon to follow him, and all
the warriors who had come to meet him accompanied them. It might have
been a guard of honor, but Hodon had a feeling that it more nearly
resembled the guard of a prisoner.

He was conducted to one of the thatched shelters, where a man sat upon a
stool, surrounded by other warriors.

"What message do you bring to Oose, king of Kali, from the Emperor of
Pellucidar?" demanded the man.

Now, Hodon had never before been to Kali, nor had he ever seen Oose; but
it was evident to him that this man was the king. He thought that he was
an ill-favored fellow, and he took an instinctive dislike to him.

"You are the king?" he asked, wishing to make sure before he delivered
the message. "You are the king of Kali?"

"Yes," replied the man. "I am the king of Kali. What message do you
bring?"

"The Emperor wishes you to know that his ship is anchored off the coast
of Kali with a hundred warriors. He has heard that you are having trouble
with Fash, the king of Suvi; and he wishes to talk the matter over with
you, that an expedition may be sent against Fash to punish him for his
treason to the Empire. I am to take word back to him as to whether you
will come to the coast to talk with him, or if you would prefer that he
came here; for he knows that it is not always easy for a village to feed
a hundred extra men."

"I will send a runner to the Emperor," said the king of Kali. "You will
remain here and rest."

"My orders are to bring the message to the Emperor myself," replied Hodon.

"I give orders here," said the king; and then he spoke to the leader of
the warriors who surrounded Hodon. "Take this man to a high cave and
place a guard over him. See that he does not escape."

"What is the meaning of this?" demanded Hodon. "I am a Sarian and one of
the Emperor's men. What you are doing is treason."

"Take him away," said the king.

Up rickety wooden ladders Hodon's guard forced him to climb to the
highest level. Here a narrow ledge ran in front of several cave mouths. A
guard of two warriors already squatted on the ledge near the top of the
ladder; two others sat before the mouth of one of the caves. Into this
cave Hodon was ordered, and at the same time the king of Kali dispatched
a runner to the coast with a message for David Innes.

When Hodon's eyes became accustomed to the darkness of the interior of
the cave, he saw that he was not alone. The cave was a large one, and
fully fifty men squatted or lay upon the floor.

"Who are you?" demanded one of these, as Hodon groped his way in search
of a place to sit down.

"I seem to be a prisoner." replied Hodon.

"We are all prisoners," said the man. "I did not recognize you as you
came in. Are you a Kalian?"

"Are you?" asked Hodon.

"We are all Kalians."

"Then why are you prisoners in Kali?' demanded Hodon.

"Because the warriors of Suvi attacked and overcame the village while
most of the men were on the hunt and as we returned they fell upon us
from ambush, killing many and capturing the rest."

"Then the man sitting in the shelter at the foot of the cliff is not king
of Kali?" asked Hodon.

"He calls himself king of Kali, because he has captured the village,"
replied the man; "but I am king of Kali."

"You are Oose?" demanded Hodon.

"I am Oose, and the man who calls himself king of Kali is Fash, the king
of Suvi."

"Then I have given the Emperor's message to the Emperor's enemy," said
Hodon, "but how was I to know."

"The message was for me?" asked Oose.

"For you," said Hodon, and then he repeated the message to Oose.

"It is bad," said Oose, "for now Fash is warned."

"How many warriors has he?" asked Hodon.

"I can count only to ten times the number of my fingers," said Oose. "We
men of Kali are not wise like the men of Sari who had been taught many
things by Innes and Perry, but if I counted all of my fingers ten times;
then I should say that Fash has five times that many warriors."

Hodon shook his head. "I must escape," he said; "for when I do not return
after a couple of sleeps, the Emperor will come after me; and he will be
outnumbered five to one."

"You cannot escape," said Oose. "Four warriors squat upon the ledge, and
many warriors are at the foot of the cliff."

"Are we allowed on the ledge?" asked Hodon.

"If you have a good reason you will be allowed to go to the little cave
at the far end of the ledge."

"I have a good reason," said Hodon, and he went to the mouth of the cave
and spoke to one of the warriors on guard there.

The fellow grunted surly permission, and Hodon came out upon the ledge
and moved slowly toward the little cave at the far end. He did not look
down; but always up, scanning the face of the cliff to its summit, which
was only a few feet above his head.


A WARRIOR CAME to the shore of the Lural Az. He saw a ship anchored in a
little cove a short distance off shore, and he shouted until he had
attracted attention of those on board. A small boat floated beside the
ship, and presently a number of copper-colored warriors dove from the
deck of the ship and clambered into the small boat, which they paddled
toward the shore. When they had come close, they shouted to the warrior
and asked him who he was and what he wanted.

"I bring a message from the king of Kali to the Emperor of Pellucidar,"
the man replied; then the boat was brought to the shore, and the
messenger taken aboard. A few moments later he was hauled to the deck of
the Sari and brought before David Innes.

"You bring a message from the king of Kali?" asked Innes. "Why did my own
warrior not return with it as I ordered?"

"Hodon was ill; and he was very, very tired," replied the messenger.
"That there might be no delay, the king sent me."

"What is the message?"

"The king asks that you come to Kali. He cannot leave Kali now because of
the danger of attack."

"I understand," said Innes. "I shall come at once."

"I will go ahead and tell the king. He will be very pleased. Will you
come alone?"

"I will bring a hundred warriors with me," replied Innes.

So David Innes started for Kali, and the messenger of Fash went ahead to
carry the word to his king.


HODON WALKED SLOWLY along the ledge, examining every inch of the cliff
face above him until he came to the little cave at the far end. Here the
cliff dipped downward, and its summit was scarcely four feet above
Hodon's head. He turned and looked back along the ledge. One of the
guards was watching him; so Hodon stooped and entered the little cave. He
turned around immediately, waited a moment, and then looked out. The
guard was still looking at him. Hodon retreated into the cave, remained
there a short time, and then came boldly out. His heart sank--two members
of the guard had their eyes on him. He knew that he must have just a
moment while no one was looking in order to put his plan into successful
operation. Now there was nothing to do but return to the prison cave.

Here he tried to think of some plan that would help him to carry out that
which he had in mind, and finally he hit upon one. He moved over beside
Oose, and sat down close to him; then he explained his plan in low
whispers.

"We will do it," said Oose; "but do not forget what I told you--you cannot
escape."

"I can try," said Hodon.

After a while--whether an hour, a day, or a week of outer Earthly time,
who may know?--the guard upon the ledge was changed; then Hodon went
immediately to the mouth of the cave and asked permission to go to the
small cave at the end of the ledge. Again he was granted permission.

He walked along the ledge slowly. This time he looked down. At the bottom
of the cliff he saw women and children, but only a few warriors--perhaps
just enough to guard the village. Where were the others? Hodon thought
that he knew, and he chafed to make good his escape. If he did, would he
be in time?

Just as he reached the little cave he heard shouts and yells behind him.
They were muffled, as though they came from the interior of a cave. He
glanced back, and saw the four guards running toward the prison cave.
Hodon smiled.

III

AFTER DAVID INNES left for Kali, Abner Perry busied himself upon a new
project. He was determined to have something worth while to show Innes
when he returned, for he was still a little depressed over the signal
failure of his aeroplane.

He sent hunters out to slay dinosaurs--the largest they could find--with
orders to bring back only the peritonea of those they killed; and while
they were gone he succeeded in capping a gas well which had been blowing
millions of cubic feet of natural gas into the air of Pellucidar
for--well, who knows for how long?

He had many women braiding rope, and others weaving a large basket--a
basket four feet in diameter and three feet high. It was the largest
basket the Sarians had ever seen.

While this work was going on, the messenger arrived from Innes
instructing Ghak to set forth with many warriors. When they had departed
there were few warriors left, and they had to remain in the village as a
guard, except for a couple of hunters sent out daily for fresh meat. The
village was full of women; but that did not interfere with Perry's plans,
as the warriors had returned with more than enough peritonea.

The peritonea were stretched and dried and rubbed until they were
thoroughly cured; then Perry cut them into strange shapes according to a
pattern he had fashioned, and the women sewed them together with very
fine stitches and sealed the seams with a cement that Perry thought would
not be attacked by the constituents of natural gas.

When this work was complete, Perry attached the great bag to the basket
with the ropes the women had braided; and to the bottom of the basket he
attached a heavier rope that was five or six hundred feet long. No one in
Sari had ever seen a rope like that, but they had long since ceased to
marvel much at anything that Perry did.

With little ropes, many little ropes, Perry fastened the basket to the
ground by means of pegs driven into the earth all around it; then he ran
a clay pipe from the gas well into the opening at the small end of the
bag. Perry had given birth to a balloon! To him it was the forerunner of a
fleet of mighty dirigibles which could carry tons of high-explosive
bombs, and bring civilization to countless underprivileged cliff dwellers.


HODON SMILED, JUST A fleeting little smile that vanished almost as it was
born; then he stooped before the little cave at the far end of the ledge
and leaped upward. Hodon was proud of his legs; so was all Sari. They
were the best legs in the Empire of Pellucidar, so far as anyone knew to
the contrary; and they were just as marvelous at jumping as they were at
running. They easily carried Hodon upward until his fingers could seize
the top of the cliff. It was solid limestone. Hodon had determined that
when he first examined the cliff. Had there been top soil right up to the
edge of the cliff, the thing would not have been so easy--it might, in
fact, have been impossible of accomplishment; but there was no top soil,
and the hard stone did not crumble. It held magnificently, doing its part
to thwart the evil machinations of the wicked Fash.

Sometimes we are annoyed by the studied perversities of inanimate
objects, like collar buttons and quail on toast; but we must remember
that, after all, some of them are the best friends of man. Take the
dollar bill, for instance--but why go on? You can think of as many as I
can.

So Hodon the Fleet One clambered over the summit of the cliff of Kali,
and no man saw him go. When he had come he had carried a stone knife, but
they had taken that from him. Now he must go absolutely unarmed across
perhaps forty miles of danger-ridden terrain, but he was not afraid.
Sometimes I think that the men of the Old Stone Age must have been very
brave. They must have had to be very brave, as otherwise they could not
have survived. The coward might have survived for a while--just long
enough for him to starve to death--but it took a brave man to go out and
brave the terrific creatures he must have had to face to find food for
himself and his family.

Hodon's only thought now was to reach David Innes before he ran into the
ambush that he was sure Fash had laid for him. He moved swiftly, but he
moved silently. Always every sense was alert for danger. His keen eyes
ranged far ahead; his sensitive nostrils picked up every scent borne to
them by each vagrant breeze. He was glad that he was running up wind, for
now he could be warned of almost any danger that lay ahead.

Suddenly he caught a scent which brought a frown of puzzlement to his
brow. It told him that there was a woman ahead of him--a lone woman--where
there should not have been a woman. His judgment told him that there must
be at least one man where there was a woman so far from a village, but
his nostrils told him that there was no man.

He kept on in the direction of the woman, for that was the direction in
which he was going. Now he went even more warily, if that were possible;
and at last he saw her. Her back was toward him. She was moving slowly,
looking in all directions. He guessed that she was afraid. She did not
know that she was not alone until a hand fell upon her shoulder. She
wheeled, a dagger in her hand--a slim dagger laboriously chipped from
basalt--and as she wheeled, she struck a vicious blow at Hodon's breast.

Being a Pellucidarian, he had expected something like this; for one does
not accost a strange lady with impunity in the Stone Age. So he was
ready. He seized her wrist, and held it. Then she tried to bite him.

Hodon smiled down into her flashing eyes, for she was young and
beautiful. "Who are you?" he demanded. "What are you doing out here so
far from your village alone?"

"That is my business," she said. "Let me go! You cannot keep me, for if
you do I'll surely kill you."

"I can't waste time on you," said Hodon, "but you are too young and good
looking to be left for the first stray tarag to make a meal of. You may
come along with me, if you wish. We have only your dagger, but I'll use
it for you."

"Tell me who you are," she said, a trifle more amicably.

"I am Hodon of Sari," he said.

"A Sarian! They are the friends of my father's people.

"You are a Sarian, you will not harm me."

"Who said I would. I am a Sarian. Now who are you?"

"I am O-aa, the daughter of Oose, king of Kali."

"And you are running away because Fash has conquered your people. Am I
right?" He released his hold upon her wrist, and she returned her dagger
to its sheath.

"Yes, you are right," she replied. "After Fash had conquered Kali, he
took me for himself; but I escaped. It was well for Fash that I did,
because I should have killed him. You see, I am the daughter of a king,
and my mother was--"

"I have no time to listen to your life history," said Hodon. "Are you
coming with me, or not?"

"Where are you going?"

He told her.

"I do not like your manner; and I shall probably not like you," said
O-aa, "but I will come with you. You are better than nobody. Being the
daughter of a king, I am accustomed to being treated with respect. All of
my father's people--"

"Come!" said Hodon. "You talk too much," and he started off again in the
direction of the coast.

O-aa trotted along at his side. "I suppose you will delay me," grumbled
Hodon.

"I can run as fast and as far as you can. My mother's father was the
fastest runner in all his country, and my brother--"

"You are not your mother's father nor are you your brother," said Hodon.
"I am only interested in how fast and how far you can run. If you cannot
keep up with me, you will be left behind. The fate of the Emperor is much
more important than yours."

"You don't call this running, do you?" demanded O-aa, derisively. "Why,
when I was a little girl I used to run down and capture the orthopi.
Everyone marveled at my swiftness. Even my mother's father and my brother
could not run down and capture the orthopi."

"You are probably lying," said Hodon, increasing his speed.

"For that, my brother will probably kill you," said O-aa. "He is a mighty
warrior. He--"

Hodon was running so fast now that O-aa had not the breath for both
running and talking, which was what Hodon had hoped for.


GHAK THE HAIRY ONE, king of Sari, embarked a thousand warriors on two
ships. They were much larger ships than the Sari which was the first
successful ship that Perry had built and now practically obsolete. While
the Sari had but two guns, one-pounders, one in the bow and the other in
the stern, the newer ships had eight guns, four on each side on a lower
deck; and they fired shells which occasionally burst when they were
supposed to, but more often did not burst at all or prematurely. However,
the cannon made a most satisfactory racket and emitted vast clouds of
black smoke.

When Perry's first one-pounder was fired for the first time, the cannon
ball rolled out and fell on the ground in front of the cannon. Innes said
that this had its advantages, since there would be no waste of ammunition
--they could just pick the balls up and use them over again; but--Perry's
new pieces hurled a shell a full mile. He was very proud of them. The
trouble was that the ships never found anyone to shoot at. There was no
other known navy in Pellucidar except that of the Korsars, and Korsar is
five thousand miles from Sari by water.

As Ghak's expeditionary force beat up the coast toward Kali, David Innes
and his hundred warriors marched inland toward the village. Half of
Innes's men were armed with the Perry musket, a smooth bore, muzzle
loading flintlock; the other half carried bows and arrows. All had
knives, and many carried the short spear that all Pellucidarians prefer.
It hung by a leather thong about their necks and swung down their backs.

These men were all veterans--the corps elite of the Pellucidarian army.
Perry had named them the Imperial Guard, and Innes had succeeded in
inculcating some ideas of discipline upon their ruggedly individualistic
egos. They marched in a loose column of fours, and there were an
advance guard and flankers. A hundred yards in front of the advance guard
three warriors formed the point. Innes was taking no chance on an ambush.

They had covered about half the distance to Kali when the point halted at
the summit of a little rise; then one of them turned and raced back
toward the main body.

He came directly to Innes. "Many warriors are coming this way," he
reported.

Innes disposed his men and advanced slowly. The musketeers were in the
first line. As a rule the noise and smoke of one of their ragged volleys
would frighten away almost any enemy; which was well; because they seldom
hit anybody. After they fired, the archers moved up through their ranks
and formed the first line while the musketeers reloaded.

But none of this was necessary now; as a messenger came racing back from
the point to say that the force approaching them was friendly--Oose's
warriors coming to welcome them to Kali and escort them to the village,
Innes went forward to investigate personally. At the top of the rise he
found a hairy caveman waiting for him. Beyond, he saw a large force of
warriors.

"Where is Oose?" he demanded.

"Oose is sick. He has a pain in his belly. He could not come; so he sent
me to guide you to Kali."

"Why did he send so many warriors?"

"Because we are at war with Suvi, and Fash's warriors may be nearby."

Innes nodded. The explanation seemed reasonable. "Very well," he said,
"lead the way."

His warriors advanced. Soon they were in contact with the warriors of the
other party, and these offered them food. They seemed to wish to make
friends. They moved among the warriors of the Imperial Guard, handing out
food, passing rough jokes. They seemed much interested in the muskets,
which they took in their hands and examined interestedly. Soon all the
muskets of the Imperial Guard were in the hands of these friendly
warriors, and four or five of them surrounded each member of the Guard.


HODON HAD TAKEN A short cut. He and O-aa had come over a hill through a
forest, and now they halted at the edge of the forest and looked down
into the little valley below. In the valley were hundreds of warriors.
Hodon's keen eyes picked out David Innes among them; they saw the muskets
of the musketeers. Hodon was puzzled. He knew that most of those warriors
were the warriors of Fash of Suvi, but there was no battle. The men
appeared to be mingling in peace and friendship.

"I cannot understand it," he said. He was thinking out loud.

"I can," said O-aa.

"What do you understand?" asked Hodon. "Tell me in a few words without
any genealogical notes."

O-aa bridled. "My brother--" she began.

"Oh, bother your brother!" cried Hodon. "Tell me what you think you
understand. You can tell me while we are walking down there to join David
Innes."

"You would be fool enough to do that," the girl sneered.

"What do you mean?"

"That is one of Fash's tricks. Wait and see. If you go down, you will
soon be back in the prison cave--if they do not kill you instead; which
would be good riddance."

She had scarcely ceased speaking, when the leader of the friendly
warriors voiced a war whoop and, with several of his men, leaped upon
David Innes and bore him to the ground. At the signal, the rest of the
friendly warriors leaped upon the members of the Imperial Guard whom they
had surrounded. There was some resistance, but it was futile. A few men
were killed and a number wounded, but the outcome was inevitable. Inside
of five minutes the survivors of the Imperial Guard had their hands tied
behind their backs.

Then Fash came from behind a bush were he had been hiding and confronted
David Innes. "You call yourself Emperor," he said with a sneer. "You
would like to be Emperor of all Pellucidar. You are too stupid. It is
Fash who should be Emperor."

"You may have something there," said David Innes, "at least for the time
being. What do you intend doing with us?"

"Those of your men who will promise to obey me shall live; I will kill
the others."

"For every one of my men you kill, five Suvians shall die."

"You talk big, but you can do nothing. You are through, David Innes. You
should have stayed in that other world you are said to have come from. It
does not pay to come to Pellucidar and meddle. As for you, I do not know.
Perhaps I shall kill you; perhaps I shall hold you and trade you for
ships and guns. Now that I am also king of Kali, I can make use of ships
with which to conquer the rest of Pellucidar. Now I am Emperor! I shall
build a city on the shore of the Lural Az and all Pellucidar shall soon
know who is Emperor."

"You have a big mouth," said Innes. "Perhaps you are digging your grave
with it."

"I have a big fist, too," growled Fash, and with that, he knocked David
Innes down.

At word from Fash, a couple of warriors yanked Innes to his feet. He
stood there, the blood running from his mouth. A shout of anger rose from
the men of the Guard.

David Innes looked straight into the shifty eyes of Fash, the king of
Suvi. "You had better kill me, Fash," he said, "before you unbind my
wrists."

Hodon looked on in consternation. There was nothing that he could do. He
moved back into the forest, lest some of Fash's warriors see him. Not
that they could have caught him, but he did not wish them to know that
their act had been witnessed by a friend of David Innes.

"You were right," he said to O-aa. "It was a trick of Fash's."

"I am always right," said O-aa. "It used to make my brother very angry."

"I can well understand that," said Hodon.

"My brother--"

"Yes, yes," said Hodon; "but haven't you any other relatives than a
brother and a mother's father?"

"Yes, indeed," cried O-aa. "I have a sister. She is very beautiful. All
the women in my mother's family have always been very beautiful. They say
my mother's sister was the most beautiful woman in Pellucidar. I look
just like her."

"So you have a mother's sister!" exclaimed Hodon. "The family tree is
growing. I suppose that will give you something more to talk about."

"That is a peculiar thing about the women of my family," said O-aa; "they
seldom talk, but when they do--"

"They never stop," said Hodon, sadly.

"I could talk if I had some one of intelligence to listen to me," said
O-aa.

IV

THE GAS BAG of Perry's balloon filled rapidly. It billowed upon the
ground and grew larger. It rose above its basket. The eyes of the Sarians
grew wide in astonishment. It grew fat stretching its envelope. It tugged
at the guy ropes.

Perry shut off the gas. There were tears on the old man's cheeks as he
stood there fondling the great thing with his eyes.

"It is a success!" he murmured. "The very first time it is a success."

Dian the Beautiful came and slipped her arm through his. "It is
wonderful, Abner," she said; "but what is it for?"

"It is a balloon, my dear," explained Perry. "It will take people up into
the air."

"What for?" asked Dian the Beautiful.

Perry cleared his throat. "Well, my dear, for many reasons."

"Yes?" inquired Dian. "What, for instance?"

"Come, come," said Perry; "you wouldn't understand."

"How could they get down again?" she asked.

"You see that big rope? It is attached to the bottom of the basket. The
other end of the rope passes around the drum of this windlass we have
built. After the balloon has ascended as high as we wish it to we turn
the windlass and pull it down."

"Why would anyone wish to go up there?" asked Dian. "There is nothing up
there but air and we have plenty of air down here."

"Just think of all the country you could see from way up there," said
Perry. "You could see all the way to the Lural Az. With my binoculars,
you might see all the way to Amoz."

"Could I see David, if he were coming back?"

"You could see his ships on the Lural Az a long way off," said Perry,
"and you could see a large body of marching men almost as far as
Greenwich."

"I shall go up in your balloon, Perry," said Dian the Beautiful. "Go and
let your bi-bi-whatever you called them, that I may look through them and
see if David is returning. I have slept many times and we have had no
word from him since his messenger came summoning Ghak."

"I think that we had better test it first," said Perry. "There might be
something wrong with it. There have been isolated instances where some of
my inventions have not functioned entirely satisfactorily upon their
initial trial."

"Yes," agreed Dian the Beautiful.

"I shall put a bag of earth of more than twice your weight in the basket,
send it up, and haul it down. That should prove an entirely adequate
test."

"Yes," said Dian, "and please hurry."

"You are sure you are not afraid to go up?" asked Perry.

"When was a woman of Sari ever afraid?" demanded Dian.


HODON RETRACED HIS steps to the summit of the cliff above Kali. He had a
plan, but it all depended upon Fash's imprisoning David Innes in the cave
on the upper ledge of the village.

Just before he reached the summit of the cliff, he stopped and told O-aa
to remain hidden among some bushes. "And do not talk!" he commanded.

"Why?" asked O-aa. "Who are you to tell me that I cannot talk?"

"Never mind about that," said Hodon, "and don't start telling me about
any of your relations. They make me sick, just remember this: if you
talk, one of the warriors on guard may hear you and then there will be an
investigation. And remember one more thing: if you talk before I come
back here, I'll cut your throat. Can you remember that?"

"Wait until my brother--"

"Shut up!" snapped Hodon and walked away toward the top of the cliff.

As he neared it he got down on his belly and crawled. He wormed his way
forward like an Apache Indian; and like an Apache Indian he carried a
little bush in one hand. When he was quite close to the cliff edge, he
held the little bush in front of his face and advanced but an inch at a
time. At last he could peer over the edge and down upon the village of
Kali. Once in position he did not move. He waited, waited with the
infinite patience of primitive man.

He thought of David Innes, for whom he would have gladly laid down his
life. He thought of O-aa and he smiled. She had spirit and the Sarians
liked women with spirit. Also she was undeniably beautiful. The fact that
she knew it detracted nothing from her charm. She would have been a fool
if she hadn't known it, and a hypocrite if she had pretended that she did
not know that she was beautiful. It was true that she talked too much,
but a talkative woman was better than a sullen one.

Hodon thought that O-aa might be very desirable but he knew that she was
not for him--she had too frankly emphasized her dislike of him. However
one sometimes took a mate against her will. He would give the matter
thought. One trouble with that was that David Innes did not approve of
the old-fashioned method of knocking a lady over the head with a club and
dragging her off to one's cave. He had made very strict laws on the
subject. Now no man could take a mate without the girl's consent.

As these thoughts were passing through his mind, he saw warriors
approaching the village. They kept coming into view from an opening in
the forest. Yes, it was the Suvians with their prisoners. He saw David
Innes walking with his head up, just as he always walked in paths of
peace or paths of war. No one ever saw David Innes' chin on his chest.
Hodon was very proud of him.

There was a brief halt at the foot of the cliff, and then some of the
prisoners were herded toward the cliff and up the ladders. Would David
Innes be one of these? So much depended on it that Hodon felt his heart
beating a little faster.

All the prisoners could not be accommodated in the prison cave on the
upper ledge. Some of them would have to be confined elsewhere or
destroyed. Hodon was sure that no member of the Imperial Guard would
accept Fash's offer and prove a traitor to the Empire.

Yes! At last here came David Innes! The guards were particularly cruel to
him. They prodded him with spears as he climbed the rickety ladders. They
had removed the bonds from his wrists, but they had seen that he was at a
safe distance from Fash before they did so.

Up and up he climbed. At last he was on the topmost ladder. Inwardly,
Hodon whooped for joy. Now there was a chance. Of course his plan was
full of bugs, but there was one chance in a hundred that it might succeed
--one wild chance.

Just one little hour of night would have simplified things greatly but
Hodon knew nothing of night. From the day of his birth he had known only
one long, endless day, with the stationary sun hanging perpetually at
zenith. Whatever he did now, as always, would have to be done in broad
daylight among a people who had no set hours for sleeping; so that at
least a half of them could be depended upon to be awake and watchful at
all times.

He watched until he saw David Innes enter the prison cave; then he
crawled back to O-aa. She was fast asleep! How lovely she looked. Her
slim, brown body was almost naked, revealing the perfection of its
contours. Hodon knelt beside her. For a moment he forgot David Innes,
duty, honor. He seized O-aa and lifted her in his arms. He pressed his
lips to hers. She awakened with a start. With the speed and viciousness
of a cat, she struck--she struck him once across the mouth with her hand,
and then her dagger sprang from its sheath.

Hodon leaped quickly back, but not quite quickly enough; the basalt blade
ripped a six-inch slash in his chest. Hodon grinned.

"Well done," he said. "Some day you are going to be my mate, and I shall
be very proud of you."

"I would as soon mate with a jalok," she said.

"You will mate with me of your own free will," said Hodon, "and now come
and help me."

V

"YOU THINK you understand perfectly what you are to do?" asked Hodon a
few minutes later, after carefully explaining his plan to O-aa.

"You are bleeding," said O-aa.

"It is nothing but a flesh wound," said Hodon.

"Let me get some leaves and stop it."

"Later," said Hodon. "You are sure you understand?"

"Why did you want to kiss me?" asked O-aa. "Was it just because I am so
beautiful?"

"If I tell you, will you answer my question?"

"Yes," said O-aa.

"I think it was just because you are O-aa," said Hodon.

O-aa sighed. "I understand all that I am to do," she said. "Let us
commence."

Together they gathered several large and small pieces of sandstone from a
weathered outcropping, and inched them up to the very edge of the cliff.
One very large piece was directly over the ladder which led to the next
ledge below; others were above the mouth of the prison cave.

When this was accomplished, Hodon went into the forest and cut several
long lianas and dragged them close to the cliff; then he fastened an end
of each of them to trees which grew a few yards back.

"Now!" he whispered to O-aa.

"Do not think," she said, "because I have helped you and have not slipped
my dagger between your ribs, that I do not hate you. Wait until my
brother--"

"Yes," said Hodon. "After we have finished this you may tell me all about
your brother. You will have earned the right. You have been splendid,
O-aa. You will make a wonderful mate."

"I shall make a wonderful mate," agreed O-aa, "but not for you."

"Come on," said Hodon, "and keep your mouth shut--if you can."

She gave him a venomous look, but she followed him toward the edge of the
cliff. Hodon looked over to be sure that everything was as he hoped it
would be. He nodded his head at O-aa, and grinned.

He pushed the great stone nearer the edge, and O-aa did the same with
some of her smaller ones. She watched Hodon very closely, and when she
saw him pushing his over the edge, she stood up and hurled one of hers
down.

The big stone struck the two guards squatting at the top of the ladder,
carrying them and the ladder crashing down from ledge to ledge, carrying
other ladders with them.

Hodon ran to the rocks that O-aa was hurling down, and O-aa ran to the
lianas and dropped them over the edge. Hodon was calling David Innes by
name. One of the other two guards had been hit and had fallen over the
cliff; then David Innes and some of the other prisoners ran from the cave.

Only one guard opposed them. Neither O-aa or Hodon had been able to
strike him with a rock. David Innes rushed him, and the guard met him on
the narrow ledge with his short spear. As he lunged at Innes, the latter
seized the weapon and struggled to wrench it from the Suvian's grasp. The
two men wrestled for the weapon on the brink of eternity. At any moment
either of them might be precipitated to the foot of the cliff. The other
prisoners seemed too stunned or too anxious to escape to go to Innes'
assistance, but not Hodon. Sensing the danger to his chief, he slid down
one of the lianas and ran to Innes' side. With a single blow he knocked
the Suvian over the edge of the cliff; then he pointed to the lianas.

"Hurry!" he said. "They are already starting up the canyon to climb the
cliff and head us off."

Each on a different liana, the two men clambered to the summit. Already
most of the Kalians had disappeared into the forest. Innes had been the
only Sarian confined on the upper ledge. Oose had not run away. He and
another Kalian were talking with O-aa. Oose's companion was a squat,
bearded fellow with a most unprepossessing countenance. He looked like a
throwback to a Neanderthal type. As Hodon and Innes approached the three,
they heard O-aa say, "I will not!"

"Yes, you will," snapped Oose. "I am your father and your king. You will
do as I tell you. Blug is a mighty hunter, a mighty fighter. He will make
a fine mate. He has a large cave and three other women to lighten your
labors."

O-aa stamped a sandalled foot. "I tell you I will not. I would just as
soon mate with a Sagoth."

Now, the Sagoths are those half human gorilla men who did the strong arm
work for the Mahars, the reptiles who dominated Pellucidar before David
Innes drove them away--at least away from that portion of the inner world
of which he was Emperor. O-aa could scarcely have voiced a more
comprehensive insult.

Blug growled angrily. "Enough!" he said. "I take her." He reached for
O-aa, but Hodon stepped between them and struck Blug's hand away.

"You do not take her," he said. "O-aa chooses her own mate."

Blug, being more or less of an inarticulate low-brow, with a short
temper, replied to words with action. He swung a terrific blow at Hodon
that might well have felled a bos, had there been a bos there and had the
blow landed; but there was no bos and the blow did not land. Hodon ducked
under it, picked Blug up and hurled him heavily to the ground.

Blug was surprised and so was Oose, for Hodon looked like no match for
the massive Blug. Hodon's muscles rolled smoothly beneath his bronzed
skin--deceptively. They had great strength and they possessed agility.
Blug had only strength; but he had courage, too--the courage of
stupidity. He scrambled to his feet and charged Hodon-charged like a wild
bull. And this time Hodon struck him full in the mouth and dropped him in
his tracks.

"Enough of this!" snapped David Innes. "If you stand here fighting, we
shall all be captured."

"Enough," said Oose to Blug.

"I shall kill him later, then," said Blug.

"What--again?" asked Hodon. He looked about him.

"Where is O-aa?" he asked.

O-aa had fled. While the two men fought, she had run away. Maybe she
thought, as Blug and Oose had thought, that Blug would easily kill Hodon.

"I did not see her go," said Oose. "When I find her, I shall beat her and
give her to Blug."

"Not if I'm around," said Hodon.

"You should not interfere in the affairs of others, Hodon," counselled
David.

"It is my affair," said Hodon.

Innes shrugged. "Very well," he said; "but if it's your own funeral, too,
do not say that I did not warn you. Now we must get away from here."

"There are some caves farther up the coast," said Oose, "that we have
used at other times that Kali has been invaded. My people have probably
gone there. We had better go there also."

"I shall remain near here," said Innes. "Many of my warriors are
prisoners here. I cannot desert them."

"I will stay with you," said Hodon.

Oose and Blug moved away into the forest. "If you are around here when I
come back," said the latter to Hodon, "I will kill you. I will bring my
mate back to see me do it. I shall find O-aa at the other caves, and
there I shall take her."

"You have a big mouth," said Hodon. "It fills so much of your head that
there is no room for brains."

Blug did not retort. He could think of nothing to say, his powers of
repartee being limited; so he disappeared into the forest wrapped in the
gloomy cloak of anger.

"I hear the Suvians coming," said Innes.

"Yes," replied Hodon. "Come with me. I have become a little familiar with
parts of this land, and I know where we can find a hiding place."

"I do not like to hide," said David Innes.

"Nor I; but two men cannot fight five hundred."

"You are right," said Innes. "Lead the way. I will follow you."

They moved away very quietly, Hodon trying to find rocks to step on
wherever he could and Innes stepping always in the exact spots that Hodon
stepped. When they came to a little stream, Hodon entered it and walked
up its bed. It would take an excellent tracker to follow them at all.


VI

PERRY BEAMED with satisfaction, and Dian the Beautiful clapped her hands
ecstatically. Many other Sarians, mostly women and children, stood open
mouthed and goggle eyed. Every head was tilted back, every eye looked
straight aloft to where a great gas bag partially eclipsed the eternal
noonday sun. The balloon was a success.

Its basket loaded with rock, it had risen at the end of its rope, as four
stalwart Sarians payed out on the windlass. Everyone was surprised, none
more so than Abner Perry; for this was the first one of his "inventions"
that functioned on its initial trial. He would not have been greatly
surprised had it instead of going up bored itself into the ground.

"This is a great day for Pellucidar, Dian," he said. "Won't David be
surprised!"

True enough David was due for a big surprise.

As those who had been left behind in Sari watched the swaying balloon,
like little children with a new toy, Ghak the Hairy One and his thousand
fighting men sailed on toward Kali.

And Hodon led David Innes to a little canyon into the head of which
tumbled a mountain brook in a waterfall of exquisite beauty. Continually
watered by the spray and warmed by the never-failing sun, lush vegetation
swarmed up the side of the cliff and spread out on the floor of the
valley. Great sprays of orchids trailed down the rocky face of the cliff,
gorgeous corsages pinned to the breast of the mountain. Flowers that
withered and died forever on the outer crust eons ago challenged the
beauty of the orchids, and hidden behind this mass of greenery and blooms
was a little cave--a cave that could be defended by a single warrior
against an army of Stone Age men.

"Beautiful!" exclaimed Innes, "and not far from Kali. We can stay here
until Ghak comes. We will take turns watching for him. Really, we should
watch by the sea; but I want to be where I can also watch Kali; here my
warriors are imprisoned. Perhaps an opportunity will come for us to get
them out of the prison caves."

Fruit and nuts grew in abundance on the trees and shrubs of the little
canyon; but fighting men require meat; and one must have weapons to have
meat. These two had not even a stone knife between them, but the first
men had no weapons originally. They had to make them.

Innes and Hodon went into the little stream and hunted around until they
found a large mussel. They pried it open with a sharp stone, and each
took a half shell. With these they cut two pieces of bamboo-like
arborescent grass to form the hafts of two spears. Searching again they
collected a number of stones: soft stones, hard stones, flat stones,
stones with sharp edges; and with some of these they chipped and scraped
at others until they had fashioned two spear heads and a couple of crude
knives. While Hodon was finding the toughest fibers with which to bind
the spear heads to the hafts, Innes made a bow and some arrows, for this
was one of his favorite weapons.

How long all this took, of course there was no way of telling, only that
they ate several times and slept once. All in all, it may have taken them
a week of outer earthly time, or half a day, or a year. Occasionally one
of them would go to a high point in the hills and look out across the
country toward the coast always hoping to see Ghak the Hairy One and his
warriors.

Hodon was hunting. He had gone out northeast of Kali a little farther
this time than usual; for his luck had not been good. He had seen some
game--red deer and orthopi the little primitive three toed horse that once
ranged the outer crust--but something had always happened to frighten them
away before he could get within spear range.

Of a sudden he heard a terrific roaring, and the crash of a heavy body
coming through the undergrowth of the forest. Hodon looked for a tree
that could be easily and swiftly scaled. He knew the author of that roar.
It was a cave lion and the less business he had with a cave lion the
happier he would be and the longer he would live.

He had just found a nice tree when he saw something burst from the
underbrush in the direction from which the roaring was coming, but it was
not a cave lion. It was O-aa. She was running like a scared rabbit and
right behind her was the cave lion.

Hodon forgot the tree. The lion was not making as good progress through
the underbrush as was O-aa. She was leaping as lightly and almost as
swiftly as a springbok. Hodon ran to meet her.

"Go back!" she cried. "It is Ta-ho."

Hodon could see that it was Ta-ho, but he didn't go back. As O-aa passed
him, he knelt and jammed the butt of his spear into the ground, holding
the haft at an angle, the stone point ahead of him.

The spear was a little short for the purpose for which he was using it.
With a long spear some great hunters had killed the cave lion and the
sabertooth tiger thus; but with a short spear such as his, one would be
almost sure to be mauled to death before death came to the beast.
However, Hodon had never hesitated from the moment that he had seen O-aa.

The great lion rose snarling above him, its face a hideous mask of
savagery; and then its momentum hurled it upon the spear point. Instantly
Hodon leaped to one side and drew his puny stone knife; then he threw
himself upon the back of the pain maddened beast tangling the fingers of
one hand in its mane while with the other he plunged his knife through
the thick hide into the beast's side.

The lion threw itself from side to side. It turned to seize the
man-thing. It rolled upon the ground to dislodge him; and then, quite
suddenly, it rolled over on its side. The spear had pierced its heart.

Hodon stood up and looked around him, searching for O-aa. She was nowhere
in sight. He called her by name, but there was no answer. So, he had
risked his life for her and she had run away from him! At that moment
Hodon almost became a misogynist.

He started out to look for her with the intention of giving her a good
beating when he found her. Being an excellent tracker it did not take him
long to pick up her trail. He followed it as silently as though he were
stalking the wariest of game for that he knew she would be.

Beyond the edge of the forest he saw her. Evidently she thought that she
had eluded him, for she was walking along quite nonchalantly. The sight
of her impertinent little back goaded Hodon to fury. He decided that a
beating was far from adequate punishment; so he drew his stone knife from
its scabbard and ran quietly after her determined to cut her throat.

After all, Hodon the Fleet One was only a cave man of the Stone Age. His
instincts were primitive and direct, but they were sometimes faulty--as in
this instance. He thought that the feeling that he harbored for O-aa was
hate, when, as a matter of fact, it was love. Had he not loved her, he
would not have cared that she ran away from him while he was risking his
life for her. There are few sentiments more closely allied and
inextricably intermingled than love and hate, but of this Hodon was not
aware. At that moment he hated O-aa with utter single-mindedness and
abandon.

He caught up with O-aa and seized her by the hair, spinning her around so
that he looked down into her upturned face. That was a mistake, if he
really wished to kill her. Only a man with a stone where his heart should
have been could have slit O-aa's throat while looking into her face.

O-aa's eyes were very wide. "You are going to kill me?" she asked. "When
my brother--"

"Why did you run away from me?" demanded Hodon. "I might have been
killed."

"I did not run away until I saw Ta-ho roll over dead," said O-aa.

"Why did you run away then?" Hodon's knife hand hung at his side, and he
loosened his grasp on O-aa's hair. Hodon's rage was oozing out through
his eyes as they looked into the eyes of O-aa.

"I ran away because I am afraid of you. I do not wish to mate with you or
any other man until I am ready. No man has won me yet."

"I have fought for you," Hodon reminded her. "I have killed Ta-ho in your
defense."

"Ta-ho is not a man," said O-aa, as though that settled the whole matter.

"But I fought Blug for you. Every time I fight for you you run away. Why
do you do that?"

"That time, I was running away from Blug. I thought he would kill you and
then come after me; and anyway, fighting Blug was nothing--you didn't kill
him. I saw Blug and my father afterward, but they did not see me."

"So, I shall have to kill a man before you will mate with me?" demanded
Hodon.

"Why, of course. I think you will have to kill Blug. I do not understand
why he did not kill you when you fought. If I were you I should keep out
of Blug's way. He is a very great fighter. I think he would break you in
two. I should like to see that fight."

Hodon looked at her for a long minute; then he said, "I think you are not
worth having for a mate."

O-aa's eyes flashed. "It is a good thing for you that my brother did not
hear you say that," she said with asperity.

"There you go," said Hodon, "dragging in your family again. I am sick and
tired of hearing of your family all the time."

As they talked, unconscious of any but themselves, six strange-looking
creatures crept toward them through the underbrush.

VII

THE FOUR Sarians at the windlass wound the balloon down to earth, and
held it there while others removed the stone ballast. Everyone clustered
around, examining it and heaping praise on Abner Perry. And Perry was so
proud and happy that he felt like doing a little dance.

"And now," said Dian, "I shall go up."

"Perhaps you had better wait until David comes," counselled Perry.
"Something might happen."

"It took all that rock up," argued Dian, "and I do not weigh as much as
the rock."

"That is not the point," said Perry. "It would take you up, all right;
but I don't think you should go until after David gets back. As I said
before, something might happen."

"Well, I am going," said Dian.

"What if I forbade it?" asked Perry.

"I should go anyhow. Am I not Empress of Pellucidar?" She smiled as she
said it; but Perry knew that, Empress of Pellucidar or not, Dian the
Beautiful would go up in the balloon if she wished to.

"Very well," he said; "I'll let you go up a little way."

"You'll let me go up to the end of the rope," she said. "I want to see if
David is coming home."

"Very well," said Perry, resignedly. "Get in."

The other Sarians clustered around Dian as she clambered into the basket.
Here was a new experience far beyond anything that they had ever
imagined, and Dian the Beautiful was about to have it. They all envied
her. They made little jokes and told her what to look for when she got up
to the sun. They asked her all the questions outer Earth people might
have asked under similar circumstances--all but one: nobody asked her if
she were afraid. One does not ask a Sarian if he is afraid.

Perry signalled to the four men at the windlass and the balloon commenced
to rise. Dian the Beautiful clapped her hands happily. "Faster!" she
called to the four men at the windlass.

"Slower!" said Perry. "Take it easy."

Up and up went the great gas bag. A little breeze caught it, and it
swayed to, and fro. Dian felt very small up there all alone with that
huge thing billowing above her.

"Can you see David?" some one shouted.

"Not yet," shouted Dian, "but I can see the Lural Az. Send me up higher!"

Soon almost all the rope was out, and Perry was glad; for then he could
start pulling the balloon down. He was anxious to see Dian the Beautiful
on terra firma again. Perhaps Perry had a premonition.


THE TERRIBLE CREATURES crept closer and closer to Hodon and O-aa. They
were men, naked black men with long, prehensile tails. Their brows
protruded above small, close-set eyes; and there was practically no head
above the brows. Short, stiff black hair grew straight out from their
skulls; but their outstanding feature was a pair of tusks that curved
down from the upper jaw to below the chin.

"I wish," O-aa was saying, "that you would go away and leave me alone. I
do not like you. If my brother--"

It was then that the creatures charged, roaring like beasts. With hands
and tails, they seized Hodon and O-aa; and the two were helpless in their
grasp. Chattering and jabbering among themselves they dragged their
prisoners off into the forest.

Hodon tried to talk to them; but they did not understand him, nor could
he understand them. They were very rough, slapping and cuffing their
captives without provocation.

"Now we shall die," said O-aa.

"What makes you think so?" asked Hodon. "If they had intended to kill us,
they could have done so when they attacked us."

"Do you not know what they are?" asked O-aa.

"No," said Hodon. "I have never seen nor heard of such creatures before."

"They are the sabertooth men," she said. Of course she did not use the
word saber. What she said was, roughly, the taragtooth men--the tarag
being the sabertooth tiger. "They are man-eaters," she added for good
measure.

"You mean they are taking us home to eat?" demanded Hodon.

"Exactly," said O-aa.

"If you had come with me long ago, this would not have happened to you,"
said Hodon.

"Oh, there are worse things than being eaten by a sabertooth man,"
rejoined O-aa.

"Maybe you are right," agreed Hodon; "having to hear about your family,
for instance."

"My brother is a mighty fighter," said O-aa. "He could break you in two,
and my sister is very beautiful. You have no women in Sari so beautiful
as my sister. She is almost as beautiful as I. My mother's father was so
strong that he could carry the carcass of a full grown bos on his back."

"Now, I know you are lying," said Hodon. "Why must you lie so much, and
always about your family? I am not interested in your family. I am only
interested in you."

"My father is a king," said O-aa.

"He can be a Sagoth, for all I care. I do not wish to mate with your
father."

"Now you will never mate with anybody," said O-aa. "Instead, you will be
eaten by a sabertooth man and his mate."

"Maybe the same man will eat us both," said Hodon, grinning. "Then we
shall be truly mated."

"If he does that to me I will give him a pain in his belly," said O-aa.

"You do not like me very well," said Hodon.

"You are very stupid, if you have only just discovered that," replied
O-aa.

"I do not understand why you don't like me. I am not bad to look at. I
would be kind to you, and I can certainly protect you."

"This looks like it," said O-aa.

Hodon subsided.

Two of the sabertooth men each had his tail wrapped around the neck of
one of the captives. Thus they dragged them along, while other
sabertooth men pushed, and slapped, and kicked their prisoners from the
rear. The grotesque blacks kept jabbering. They reminded Hodon of the
little hairy men who lived in the trees of the forests.

The cliff of Kali was the last rampart of a range of mountains that
extended toward the northeast, parallel with the coast of the Lural Az.
It was into these mountains that O-aa and Hodon were being dragged. The
terrain became rougher as they ascended, the limestone formation giving
way to volcanic rock. Extinct volcanos were visible on either hand. The
vegetation was sparse and poor. It was a tough country.

Buffeted and bruised, the prisoners were dragged at last to a yawning
hole in the side of a mountain. Inside it was dark as a pocket, but the
sabertooth men did not even pause on the threshold. Still jabbering, they
entered the cavern and raced along as though in broad daylight. Neither
O-aa nor Hodon could see a thing. They felt the smooth surface of the
rock beneath their sandals and they could tell that they were ascending.
Presently the ascent became so steep that they would have fallen back had
not their captors supported them. Up and up they went, dragged by their
necks. In the grip of the choking tails they were gasping for breath.

At last the ascent became absolutely perpendicular and here were long
lianas depending from above and there was daylight. Above them they could
see a round opening into which the sun shone, and they could see that
they were ascending a circular shaft. They did not know it, but they were
in a volcanic tube.

The sabertooth men swarmed up the lianas, dragging O-aa and Hodon with
them; and when they reached the top of the tube both their prisoners were
unconscious. Then they released them, and the two lay as though dead
where they had fallen.


VIII

DIAN THE BEAUTIFUL looked out across forest and rolling hills and fertile
plains. She saw great herds of bos and red deer and herbivorous dinosaurs
feeding on the lush vegetation. She saw the Lural Az curving upward, like
Professor Einstein's time and space, until it was simply lost in the
distance; for there is no horizon in Pellucidar. She saw Anoroc Island,
where the copper, colored Mezops dwell in their tree houses; and beyond
Anoroc, the Luana Islands. She could have seen Greenwich had it been more
than an imaginary spot on an imaginary map. But she saw no sign of David
Innes, though she strained her eyes until the tears came to them.

The four men at the windlass kept letting out more and more rope, their
eyes on the balloon and not on the drum. Perry was watching the balloon,
too. He felt that Dian the Beautiful had gone high enough and had been up
long enough to have seen all that there was to see; so he turned to the
men at the windlass to order them to haul the balloon down. What he saw
brought a scream of horror from his throat.


IX

AT THE SAME TIME, David Innes stood upon a promontory above Kali and
looked out toward the Lural Az. He was looking for Ghak the Hairy One,
but his search was no more successful than had Dian's been. Slowly he
made his way back to the hidden canyon. Hodon would have returned with
meat, he thought; and they would feast, but Hodon was not there.

David went into the cave and slept, and when he awoke there was still no
sign of Hodon. So David went out and made a kill himself. He ate many
times and slept twice more, and still Hodon had not returned. Now David
became worried, for he knew that Hodon would have returned had all been
well with him. He determined to go and search for him, though he knew
that it would be like searching for a needle in a hay stack.

He found Hodon's almost obliterated tracks, and he came upon the carcass
of the cave lion. The dagger wounds in the beast's side and the spear
wound in its breast told a graphic story. Then he discovered the prints
of O-aa's little sandals.

What he read when he came to the spot at which the two had been captured
by the sabertooth men filled him with apprehension. He saw great splayed,
manlike footprints, and the trail of the party leading away to the
northeast. For the most part, the spoor of O-aa and Hodon was obliterated
by that of their captors; but David Innes saw enough to know that a party
of creatures unknown to him had captured O-aa and Hodon.

There was but one thing to do: he must follow. This he did until the
trail entered the dark mouth of the volcanic tube. He went in a short
distance, but he could neither see nor hear anything; he felt a strong
wind sucking in past him toward the interior of the cave. He came out
and examined the terrain. Above him lay the slope of an extinct volcano.
He could see the rim of the crater sharply defined against the blue of
the sky. Suddenly he had an inspiration, and he commenced the ascent of
the mountain.

When Hodon and O-aa regained consciousness they were still lying where
they had fallen. All around them rose the walls of a volcanic crater, the
level floor of which was covered with verdure. In the center was a small
lake of blue water. Rude shelters were dotted about.

They found themselves surrounded by sabertooth people--men, women, and
children. There was much jabbering in the strange, monkey-like language
of these hideous people. They snarled and growled at one another and
occasionally one of them would try to grab either O-aa or Hodon with a
long, prehensile tail. Three or four large males stood close to the
captives, and every time one of their fellows tried to seize either of
them, he would be set upon and chased away. It was apparent to Hodon that
they were being guarded, but why?

After they regained consciousness, these guards jerked them to their feet
and led them away toward one of the shacks--an open structure with a
flimsy grass roof. Here a large male squatted on the ground, and beside
him was the strangest-looking human being either Hodon or O-aa had ever
seen. He was a little, wizened old man with a white beard that almost
concealed the rest of his features. He had no teeth, and his eyes were
the eyes of a very old man.

"Well," he said, looking them over, "you're certainly in a fix. Back in
Cape Cod, we'd say you was in a Hell of a fix; but we ain't back in Cape
Cod, and you never heard of Hell, unless this here place is it, which I
sometimes believe; for doesn't the Good Book tell us that people go down
to Hell? or doesn't it? Well, I dunno; but I came down to get to this
here place, an' I don't believe Hell could be much worse." He spoke in
Pellucidarian with a Cape Cod accent. "Well," he continued, taking a
breath, "here you are. Do you know what's goin' to happen to you?"

"No," said Hodon; "do you?"

"Well, they'll probably fatten you up and eat you. That's what they
usually do. They might keep you a long time. They're funny that way. You
see they ain't no such thing as time down here; so how's a body to know
how long it will be before you get fat or before they eat you? God only
knows how long I been here. I had black hair and a good set o' teeth when
I come, but look at me now! Maybe they'll keep you until your teeth fall
out. I hope so, because I get danged lonesome for company down here.
These here things aren't very good company."

"Why haven't they I eaten you?" asked Hodon.

"Well, that there's a long story. I'll tell you all about it--if they
don't eat you too quick."

The large sabertooth man sitting beside the old man now commenced to
jabber at him, and the old man jabbered back in the same strange tongue;
then he turned to Hodon.

"He wants to know where you come from and if there's more like you real
handy. He says that if you'll guide his people to your village, he won't
have you killed right away."

"Tell him I've got to rest first," said Hodon. "Maybe I can think of a
village where the people are all nice and fat."

The old man turned and translated this to the sabertooth man, who replied
at some length.

"He says that's all right, and he'll send some of his people with you
right away."

"Tell him I've got to rest first," said Hodon.

After some further conversation between the sabertooth man and the old
man, the latter said: "You can come with me now. I'm to look after you
until you have rested."

He got up, and Hodon and O-aa followed him to another shelter, which was
much more substantially built than the others.

"This is my cabin," said the old man. "Sit down and make yourselves at
home. I built this myself. Got all the comforts of home!" The comforts of
home were a bunk filled with dried grass, a table, and a bench.

"Tell me how you got here, and why they don't eat you," said Hodon.

"Well, the reason they don't eat me, or rather the reason they didn't eat
me at first, was because I saved the life of that fellow you seen sitting
beside me. He's chief. I think about the only reason they don't eat me
now is because I'm too damned old and tough.

"Now, as to how I got here, I come from a place you never even heard of
in a world you never heard of. You don't know it, but you're living in
the center of a round ball; and on the outside is another world, entirely
different from this one. Well, I come from that other world on the
outside.

"I was a seafarin' man up there. Used to go whalin' up around the Arctic.
Last time I went was an awful open summer up there. We went farther north
than we'd ever been before, and no ice--just a great open polar sea as far
as the eye could reach.

"Well, everything was lovely till we run into the worst dod-blasted storm
you ever see; and the Dolly Dorcas was wrecked. The Dolly Dorcas was my
ship. I dunno what become of the others, but there was eight of us in the
boat I was in. We had food an' water an' a compass an' sails as well as
oars; but still it didn't look very good. We was way up in the Arctic
Ocean an' winter comin' on. We could just about kiss ourselves goodby.

"We sailed what we thought was south for a long time, and all the time
the compass kept acting stranger an' stranger. You'd thought the
dod-blasted thing had gone crazy. Then we ran out o' food, an' the fust
thing you knowed we commenced to eat one another--startin’ in on the
weakest fust. Then some of 'em went crazy; an' two jumped overboard,
which was a dirty trick when they knew we craved meat so bad.

"Well, to make a long story short, as the feller said, finally they
wasn't nobody left but me; and then, dod-blast it, if the weather didn't
commence to get warmer, and pretty soon I sighted land and found fruits
and nuts, and fresh water. Believe me, it was just in time too; for I was
so doggone hungry I was thinkin' of cuttin' off one of my legs an' eatin'
it."

O-aa sat wide eyed and wondering, drinking in every word. Hodon had never
known her to be silent for so long. At last she had met her match.

"What's become of your brother and your mother's father?" asked Hodon.

"Eh! What's that?" demanded the old man.

"I was speaking to O-aa," said Hodon.

"Well, don't interrupt me. You talk too much. Now, where was I? You got
me all confused."

"You were thinking of eating your leg," said O-aa.

"Yes, yes. Well, to make a long story short, as the feller said, I was in
Pellucidar. How I ever lived, I'll be doggone if I know; but I did. I got
in with one tribe after another, an' none of 'em killed me for one reason
or another. I learned the language an' how to hunt with spears. I made
out somehow. Finally I stole a canoe an' set sail on the biggest doggone
ocean you ever seen. My beard was a yard long when I landed near here an'
got captured by these things.

"Well, I better start feedin' you an' fattenin' you up. I reckon this gal
will be pretty tasty eatin' right soon." He reached out and pinched
O-aa's flesh. "Yum!" he exclaimed. "She's just about right now."

"Do you eat human flesh?" demanded Hodon.

"Well, you see I sort o' acquired a taste for it after the Dolly Dorcas
was wrecked. Ole Bill was a mite tough an' rank, but there was a Swede I
et who was just about the nicest eatin' you ever see. Yes, I eat what the
Lord furnishes. I reckon I'm goin' to enjoy both of you."

"I thought you said you hoped they wouldn't eat us, because you would
like to have our company," said O-aa.

"Yes, I'm sort o' torn between two loves, as the feller said: I loves to
eat an' I loves to talk."

"We like to listen," said Hodon.

"Yes," agrees O-aa; "we could listen to you forever."


WHAT PERRY HAD SEEN that had brought the scream to his lips was the end
of the rope slipping from the drum. He had forgotten to have it made
fast! He sprang forward and seized at the rope, but the free balloon
leaped upward carrying the rope's end far above him. Of course his
gesture was futile, as a dozen men could not have held the great gas bag
that Perry had made.

The old man looked up at the great balloon, rapidly growing smaller as it
rose; then he sat down, and, covering his face with his hands, commenced
to sob; for he knew that Dian the Beautiful was already as good as dead.
No power on earth or within it could save her now.

How high she would be carried he could not even guess, nor how far from
Sari. She would doubtless die from lack of oxygen, and then her body
would be carried for a thousand miles or more before the bag would lose
sufficient gas to bring it down.

He loved Dian the Beautiful as he would have loved a daughter, and he
knew that David Innes worshipped her. Now he had killed Dian and wrecked
David's life--the two people he loved most in the world. His silly
inventions had done a little good and some harm, but whatever good they
had accomplished had been wiped out by this. Worst of all, he realized,
was his criminal absent-minded carelessness.

Dian felt the sudden upward rush of the balloon. She looked down over the
edge of the basket and instantly realized what had happened. Everything
was growing smaller down there. Soon she could no longer distinguish
people. She wondered what would become of her. Perhaps she would be
carried up to the sun and incinerated. She saw that the wind was carrying
the balloon in a south-westerly direction.

She did not realize the greatest error of all that Perry had made;
neither did Perry. He had arranged no rip cord on the gas bag. With that,
Dian could have let gas out of the bag gradually and made a landing
within a comparatively few miles from Sari. Perry was always leaving some
essential thing off of everything he built. His first musket had no
trigger.

Dian the Beautiful guessed that she was as good as dead. She cried, but
not because she was afraid to die. She cried because she would never see
David again.

And David, far away, reached the rim of the crater and looked over. Below
him, scarcely a hundred feet, he saw a round valley, green with verdure.
He saw a little lake and grass thatched shelters and people. He saw Hodon
and O-aa. His surmise had been correct.

He saw the strange sabertooth people. There were a couple of hundred of
them. How could he, single handed, rescue Hodon and O-aa from such an
overwhelming number of enemies?

David Innes was resourceful; but the more he cudgeled his brains, the
more hopeless a solution of his problem appeared. It would profit them
nothing if he went down into the crater. That would mean simply his own
capture; then he could do nothing for them.

He examined the crater closely. The inside walls were perpendicular and
unscalable in all but a single place. There the wall had crumbled inward,
the rubble forming an incline that reached to the top of the rim that was
little more than fifty feet above the floor of the crater at that point.
There was an avenue of escape, but how could he call Hodon's attention to
it. How could he create a diversion that would take the attention of
their captors from them long enough for them to make a break for freedom.
Suddenly he recalled the wind rushing past him as he had stood in the
darkness of the cavern that was the entrance to the crater. He turned and
started down the mountainside.


X

THE OLD MAN HAD been talking constantly. Even O-aa could not get a word
in edgewise, but at last he paused for a moment, probably to refresh his
mind concerning the past, in which he lived.

Hodon seized upon this moment to voice a suggestion that had been in his
mind for some time. "Why don't you escape?" he asked the old man.

"Eh? What? Escape? Why--er--I haven't thought of it since before my last
bicuspid dropped out. But of course I couldn't escape."

"I don't see why not," said Hodon. "I don't see why the three of us
couldn't escape. Don't you see that low place there? We could run up
there in no time if you could find some way to get their attention
somewhere else."

"M-m-m," murmured the old man thoughtfully. "Sometimes many of them are
asleep at the same time. It might be done, but I doubt it. Anyway, what
good would it do me to escape? I'd only be killed by the first tribe that
captured me if some of the beasts didn't get me before."

"No," said Hodon. "I would take you to Sari. They would treat you well
there. You might meet some old friends. There are two men from Hartford,
Connecticut there."

The old man became instantly alert. "What do you know about Hartford,
Connecticut?" he demanded.

"Nothing," said Hodon, "but these men do. I have heard them speak of it
many times."

"How did they get down here? That must be a story like mine. I'll bet
they'd like to hear my story."

"I know they would," said O-aa, who was nobody's fool. "I think you ought
to come with us."

"I'll think it over," said the old man.

David Innes made his way to the entrance to the tube. He gathered dry
wood and leaves and green grass, and he piled it far into the tube, with
the grass on top. Then he made fire and lighted it. As soon as he saw
that it was burning freely, he ran from the tube and started up the side
of the mountain as fast as he could go.

When he reached the top and looked over he saw smoke rising from the
opening into the tube. Already a jabbering crowd of sabertooth men were
gathering about it. Others were joining them. David was just about to
risk everything by shouting to Hodon to run for the low place in the rim,
when he saw O-aa, Hodon, and another walking toward it. He saw that the
third member of the party was not one of the natives; so he assumed it
must be another prisoner.

The diversion that Hodon had hoped for had occurred almost miraculously,
and the three lost no time in taking advantage of it.

"You are sure, are you, that these men from Hartford, Connecticut, are
where we are going?" demanded the old man. "Dod-burn you, if they ain't,
I'll eat you the first chance I get."

"Oh, they're there all right," said O-aa. "I saw them just before we
left."

Hodon looked at her in amazement not unmixed with admiration. "We may see
one of them before we get to Sari," he said. "He was with me just before
we were captured."

"I hope so," said the old man. "I'd sure like to see some one from
Hartford. By gum, I'd even like to see some one from Kansas."

"Oh," said O-aa with a shrug. "We know lots of people from Kansas. You
can see all you want."

Hodon's expression turned to one of awe, but now they were at the base of
the shelving rubble. He looked back. Every single sabertooth was gathered
around the smoking vent; not an eye was turned in their direction. "Start
up slowly," he cautioned. "Do not start to hurry unless they discover
what we are doing; then you'll really have to climb. Once on the outside
you and I, O-aa, can outdistance any of them, but I don't know about the
old man."

"Listen, son," said that worthy. "I can run circles around you and all
your family. Why, when I was a young man they used to race me against
race horses. I'd give 'em two lengths start and beat 'em in a mile."

Hodon didn't know what a horse was; but he had an idea that whatever it
was the old man was lying; so he said nothing. He was thinking that
between O-aa and the old man it was a toss-up.

They reached the summit without being detected; and as they started down,
Hodon saw David coming toward him. He hurried forward to meet him, "It
was you who started the fire that made the smoke, wasn't it? But how did
you know we were in the crater?"

"Is this one of the men from Hartford?" demanded the little old man.

"Yes," said Hodon, "but don't start telling him the story of your life
now. Wait until we get out of reach of your friends."


XI

DIAN WAS SURPRISED to discover that the nearer the sun she got the colder
she was. She was also mystified by the noises she heard in her ears and
the difficulty she had in breathing; but even so, she gave little thought
to her own danger. She could think only of David. David whom she would
never see again.

The balloon was drifting now at an even altitude. It would rise no
higher. Eventually it would commence to drop lower; but before it came to
earth, Dian the Beautiful might be dead of hunger and exhaustion. Being
practically naked, except for a most sketchy loin cloth she was already
chilled through and shivering.

A hunting party far below saw the strange thing floating toward them; and
they ran and hid beneath trees, thinking it some new and terrible
reptile. Dacor the Strong One, Dian's brother, was in the party. Little
did he dream that his sister floated there high above him. He and his
companions would tell of the awful creature they had seen; and the story
would grow in the telling, but nothing which they could fabricate could
equal the truth, if they could have known it.


XII

THE SABERTOOTH PEOPLE are not very bright, but they do know what a
volcano is; because there is an intermittently active one in the
mountains not far from their own crater; so, putting two and two
together, they assumed that their own volcano was about to become active.
Had they been just a little bit more intelligent, they would have
reasoned that wood smoke does not come from a volcano; but all they knew
was that it was smoke and smoke meant fire; and they were afraid.

The best thing to do, then, was to get out of the crater; so they turned
to the low point in the crater's rim. It was then that they discovered
that their prisoners had escaped.

As they swarmed out of the crater, they were not only frightened but
angry. No prisoner had ever escaped before, and they didn't purpose
letting these prisoners get away with it. Being good trackers capable of
moving with great speed, they had no doubt but that they would soon
overhaul the fugitives. The latter however, were also fleet of foot; and
they had two advantages: they did not have to watch for spoor to follow,
and they were fleeing for their lives. There is no greater spur to honest
and concentrated effort than this. Even the old man revealed amazing
possibilities as he scampered in the wake of the others.

David and Hodon, being congenitally opposed to flight, hated the position
in which they found themselves, but what were they to do? David alone was
armed. He carried his crude bow and arrow and a stone knife but these
were not enough to repel an attack by a numerically greater force of
savage beasts such as the sabertooth men.

While they did not yet know that they were being followed, they assumed
that they would be; and the old man had assured them that they would.

"I been there since before my teeth began falling out," he said, "an' you
can lay to it that they'll follow us all the way to hell an' gone, for
they ain't no prisoner ever escaped from 'em in my time."

Hodon, who was leading, guided them toward the little canyon where he and
David had found sanctuary; and they succeeded in reaching its mouth
before the first of the pursuers came within sight. It was just after
they entered it that a chorus of savage roars told them that the
sabertooth men had overtaken them.

David glanced back. Racing toward him were, three or four of the swiftest
males and strung out behind them were other bucks and shes and young--the
whole tribe was on their heels!

"Get the others into the cave, Hodon!" he called. "I'll hold them up
until you're all in."

Hodon hesitated. He wanted to come back and fight at David's side.

"Go on!" shouted the latter. "We'll all be lost if you don't." Then Hodon
raced on toward the cave with O-aa and the old man.

David wheeled about and sent an arrow into the breast of the leading
savage. The fellow screamed and clutched at the shaft; then he spun
around like a top and crashed to earth. A second and a third arrow in
quick succession found their marks, and two more sabertooth warriors
writhed upon the ground. The others paused. David fitted another arrow to
his bow and backed away toward the cave.

The sabertooths jabbered and chattered among themselves. Finally a huge
buck charged. Hodon and O-aa were in the cave; and the former, reaching
down, grasped the hand of the old man and dragged him up. David was still
backing toward the cave, holding his fire. His supply of arrows would not
last forever; so he must not miss.

The great brute was almost upon him before he loosed his shaft. It drove
straight through the heart of the buck, but there were others coming
behind him. Not until he had dropped two more in rapid succession did the
others pause momentarily; then David turned and raced for the cave. At
his heels came the whole tribe of sabertooths, roaring and screaming.
They came in mighty leaps and bounds, covering the ground twice as
rapidly as David.

Hodon stood in the mouth of the cave. "Jump!" he cried to David. He
leaned out and down, extending his hand. As David leaped upward toward
the cave mouth, a sabertooth at his heels reached out to seize him; but
simultaneously a bit of rock struck the fellow full between the eyes, and
he stumbled forward on his face. O-aa, grinning, brushed the dust from
her hands.

Hodon pulled David into the cave. "I never thought you'd make it," he
said.

There were extra spears and arrows in the cave and a little food. The
waterfall dropped so close that they could reach out and catch water in a
cupped hand. They would not suffer from thirst. One man with a spear
could defend the entrance against such ill-armed brutes as the
sabertooths. Altogether, they felt rather secure.

"These brutes won't stay here forever," said David. "When they find they
can't get us, they'll go away."

"You don't know 'em," said the old man. "They'll stick around here till
Hell freezes over, but the joke's goin' to be on them."

"What do you mean?" asked David.

"Why, instead of gettin' four of us, they're only goin' to get one,"
explained the old man.

"How's that?" inquired David.

"We can't get no food in here," said the old man; "so we gotta eat each
other. I reckon I'll be the last man. I'm too dod-burned old and tough to
eat. Even the sabertooths wouldn't eat me. This here'll make a tender
morsel. I reckon we'll start on her."

"Shut up!" snapped David. "We're not cannibals."

"Well, neither was I back at Cape Cod. I would have reared up on my hind
legs an' hit anybody then that had said I'd ever eat man, woman, or
child; but then I hadn't never nearly starved to death, nor I didn't know
what good eatin' some people can be after you get used to it. Before you
come along I was tellin' these other two, about that sweet Swede I et
once."

"You also said," interposed O-aa, "that after you'd eaten all your
friends you were about to cut your leg off and start eating yourself."

"Yes," admitted the old man, "that's plumb right."

"Then," said O-aa, "when you get hungry, you'd better start eating
yourself; because you're not going to eat any of us."

"That's what I calls plumb selfish," said the old man. "If we don't eat
each other, the sabertooths are goin' to eat us; an' I'd think you'd
rather be eaten by a friend than by one of them critters."

"Look here--er--what is your name, anyway?" David spoke with marked
asperity.

The old man puckered his brow in thought. "Dod-burn it," he exclaimed at
last. "What the dickens is my name? I'll be dod-burned if I ain't plumb
forgot. You see I ain't heard it since I was a young man."

"I think," said O-aa to David, "that his name is Dolly Dorcas."

"Well, never mind," said David; "but get this straight: there's to be no
more talk of eating one another. Do you understand?"

"Wait until you get good an' hungry," said the old man; "then it won't be
a matter of talking about it."

David rationed out what food there had been stored in the cave--mostly
nuts and tubers; as these would not spoil quickly. Each had his share.
They took turns watching, while the others slept, if they cared to; and
as there was nothing else to do, they slept a great part of the time. It
is a custom of Pellucidarians. They seem to store up energy thus, so that
they need less sleep, afterward. Thus they prepare themselves for long
journeys or arduous undertakings.

Some of the sabertooths remained in the canyon at all times. They made
several attempts to storm the cave; but after being driven off easily,
they gave up. They would starve their quarry out.

The food supply in the cave dwindled rapidly. David presently suspected
that it dwindled fastest while the old man was on watch and the others
slept; so once he feigned sleep and caught the old man taking a little
food from the supply of each of the others and hiding it in a crevice in
the back of the cave.

He awoke the others and told them, and O-aa wanted to kill the old man at
once. "He deserves to die," said David, "but I have a better plan than
that of killing him ourselves. We'll drop him down to the sabertooths."

The old man whimpered and begged, and promised never to do it again; so
they let him live, but they did not let him stand watch alone again.

At last their food was all gone, and the sabertooths were still in the
canyon. The besieged were ravenous. They drank quantities of water to
allay the craving for food. They were getting weaker and weaker, and
David realized that the end was near. They slept a great deal, but
fitfully.

Once, when O-aa was standing watch, David awoke with a start; and was
horrified to see the old man sneaking up behind her with a spear. His
intentions were all too obvious. David called a warning and leaped for
him but just in time.

Hodon awoke. The old man was grovelling on the floor of the cave. O-aa
and David were looking down at him.

"What has happened?" demanded Hodon.

They told him. Hodon came toward the old man. "This time he dies," he
said.

"No! No!" shrieked the terrified creature. "I was not going to keep it
all for myself. I was going to share it with you."

"You beast!" exclaimed Hodon, picking up the spear the old man had
dropped.

Screaming the latter leaped to his feet; and, running to the mouth of the
cave, sprang out.

A hundred sabertooths were in the canyon. Straight toward them the old
man ran, screaming at the top of his voice, his eyes wild with terror,
his toothless mouth contorted.

The sabertooths fell aside, shrinking from him; and through the lane they
made the old man fled and disappeared in the forest beyond the end of the
canyon.


XIII

GHAK THE HAIRY ONE, with a thousand warriors, marched up to Kali. He did
not know that Fash, the king of Suvi, had conquered it; so he was
surprised when his advance guard was attacked as they neared the cliff.
However, it made no difference to Ghak the Hairy One whether he fought
Suvian or Kalian.

Fash had thought that the advance guard constituted the whole force with
which he had to deal, as it was his own custom to hold all his warriors
in one body when he attacked. He did not know that David Innes had taught
the Sarians a different method of warfare, which was unfortunate for Fash.

When Ghak's main body came up, Fash's men scattered in all directions. A
number retreated to the caves of Kali. The Sarians swarmed up after them
before they could remove the ladders. Men fought hand to hand on the
narrow ledges all the way up to the highest ledge. Here, cornered Suvians
leaped to their death; and at last Ghak the Hairy One stood victorious
above the caves of Kali.

Then the Sarian prisoners came from their prison caves and for the first
time Ghak learned that David's little force had been either killed or
made prisoner and that David was missing. All agreed that he must be dead.

Ghak's force rested and fed at the Kali cliff; and then victorious but
sad, started back to their ships waiting on the Lural Az. They had
scarcely left the cliff when a strange figure of a man came dashing out
of the forest a toothless little old man with an enormous white beard.
His beard was stained with juice of berries and the pulp of fruit. He
jibbered and yammered like the little hairy men who live in the trees of
the forest.

The warriors of Sari had never seen a creature like this before; so they
captured him, as they might have captured any strange animal and took him
to show to Ghak.

"Who are you?" demanded Ghak.

"Are you going to kill me?" The old man was whimpering, the tears rolling
down his cheeks.

"No," Ghak assured him. "Tell me who you are and what you are doing
here."

"My name is not Dolly Dorcas," said the old man, "and I was going to
divide O-aa with the others, but Hodon wanted to kill me."

"Hodon!" exclaimed Ghak. "What do you know of Hodon?"

"I know that he was going to kill me, but I ran away."

"Where is Hodon?" demanded Ghak.

"He and David and O-aa are in the cave. The sabertooth men are waiting to
eat them."

"What cave? Where is it?" asked Ghak.

"If I told you, you'd take me back there and Hodon would kill me," said
the old man.

"If you lead us to where David and Hodon are, no one will kill you. I
promise you that," Ghak assured him.

"And you'll see that I get plenty to eat?"

"All you can hold."

"Then follow me, but look out for the sabertooths; they will eat you all
unless you kill them."


XIV

O-AA LOOKED VERY wan and weak. Hodon looked at her and tears almost came
to his eyes; then he spoke to David.

"David," he said, "perhaps I have done wrong. I have hoarded my ration of
food, eating only half of it."

"It was yours to do with as you wished," said David. "We shall not take
it from you."

"I do not want it," said Hodon. "I saved it for O-aa, and now she needs
it."

O-aa looked up and smiled. "I hoarded mine too, Hodon," she said. "I
saved it for you. Here it is." She took a little package of food wrapped
in the large leaves that grew over the mouth of the cave and handed it to
Hodon.

David walked to the mouth of the cave and looked out down the little
canyon; but everything was blurred, as though he were looking through a
mist.

Hodon knelt beside O-aa. "A woman would do that only for the man she
loved," he said.

O-aa nodded and crept into his arms. "But I have not killed Blug," said
Hodon.

O-aa drew his lips down to hers.

"What will your brother and sister say?" asked Hodon.

"I have no brother or sister," said O-aa.

Hodon held her so tight that she gasped for breath.

Presently the mist cleared, and David could see quite plainly. He saw
sabertooths who had been outside the canyon running in. They were
jabbering excitedly. Then he saw human warriors approaching, warriors who
carried muskets. There were many of them. When the sabertooths charged
them, they were mowed down by a ragged volley. The noise was terrific,
and clouds of black smoke filled the mouth of the canyon.

At the noise of the muskets, O-aa and Hodon ran to the mouth of the cave.

"Ghak has come," said David. "Now everything is all right."

It was well that he was to have a brief interlude of happiness before he
returned to Sari.


PART II: MEN OF THE BRONZE AGE


I

WHEN THE LAST of the sabertooth men had been killed or had fled, David,
Hodon, and O-aa joined Ghak and his warriors. Immediately, Hodon espied
the little old man and advanced upon him.

"I kill," said Hodon.

The little old man screamed and hid behind Ghak. "You promised that you
would not let Hodon kill me," he whimpered, "if I guided you here."

"I shall keep my promise," said Ghak. "Leave the man alone, Hodon! What
has he done that you should want to kill him?"

"He tried to kill O-aa; so that he could eat her," replied Hodon.

"I was not going to keep her all for myself," whined the old man; "I was
going to share her with Hodon and David."

"Who is this old man," demanded Ghak, "who says that his name is not
Dolly Dorcas?"

"He was a prisoner of the sabertooth men," said David. "I think he is a
little crazy."

"He led me here," said Ghak; "so you have him to thank for your rescue.
Do not harm him. What does he mean by saying his name is not Dolly
Dorcas?"

"He told us," explained David, "that he was wrecked on a ship named the
Dolly Dorcas near the North Pole of the outer world from which I come;
then, in a small boat, he drifted through the North Polar Opening into
Pellucidar. O-aa got things a little mixed and thought his name was Dolly
Dorcas."'

"He ate all the men that were in the boat with him," said O-aa; "and he
said that when they were all gone, he was about to cut off one of his own
legs and eat that, when he found food. He is a very hungry man."

"I do not see how he could eat anybody," said Ghak; "he has no teeth."

"You'd be surprised," said the little old man.

"Well, you--What is your name anyway, if it isn't Dolly Dorcas?" demanded
Ghak.

"I don't remember," said the old man.

"Well, then, we shall just call you Ah-gilak; and that will be your
name." (Ah-gilak means in Pellucidarian, old man.)

"Well," said the little old man, "at least Ah-gilak is a better name for
a man than Dolly Dorcas."

"And remember this, Ah-gilak," continued Ghak, "if you ever try to eat
anybody again, I'll let Hodon kill you.

"Some of them were very good eating," sighed Ah-gilak, reminiscently,
"especially that Swede."

"Let us go the village of Kali now," said David. "O-aa, Hodon, and I must
have food. We nearly starved to death in that cave. Then I shall send a
runner north to the caves where Oose and the remnants of his people are
hiding, after which we will go down to the Lural Az, where your ships
lie, Ghak, and embark for home; if you feel that you have taught the
Suvians their lessons sufficiently well."

Between the canyon and the village of Kali, they saw a party of men
coming from the north. At sight of so many armed warriors, these people
turned to flee; but O-aa called to them, "Come back! It is all right;
these are our friends;" then she said to Ghak, "those are my people; I
recognized my father, the king of Kali."

When the newcomers approached more closely, Hodon saw the Blug was with
Oose; and he went and put his arm around O-aa. When Blug saw that, he ran
forward.

"I told you that if you were around here when I came back, I'd kill you,"
he shouted.

"Go away!" said O-aa. "Hodon is my mate."

"What is that?" demanded Oose, her father. "I told you you were to mate
with Blug, and I meant it; Blug shall have you."

"I kill!" shouted Blug, as he bore down on Hodon.

The Sarian met him with a clean right to the chin, and Blug dropped in
his tracks. The Sarian warriors yelled in delight; but Blug was up in an
instant, and this time he managed to clinch. The two men fell to the
ground, fighting like a couple of wild cats. It was not a pretty fight,
as the Marquis of Queensberry was entirely unknown to these men of the
Stone Age. They gouged and bit and scratched, as Blug tried to fasten his
teeth in Hodon's jugular.

They were both covered with blood, and one of Blug's eyes was hanging out
on his cheek, when Hodon espied a rock lying near at hand. He happened to
be on top for the moment; and, seizing the rock, he raised it high and
brought it down with all his strength full on Blug's face.

Blug had never been beautiful; but without any features to speak of left,
and those scrambled, he was something of a sight. Hodon raised the rock
and struck again; the third time, Blug relaxed and lay still; but Hodon
did not stop striking him until his whole head was a jelly; then he stood
up.

He looked at Oose. "O-aa is my mate," he said.

Oose looked down at Blug. "Blug is not much good any more," he said. "If
O-aa wants you she may have you."

They looked around, then, for O-aa. She had disappeared. "It has always
been thus," said Hodon. "Three times I have fought for her, and three
times she has run away while I was fighting."

"When you catch her, you should beat her," said Oose.

"I will," said Hodon.

He searched for O-aa for a long time, but he did not find her; then he
came to the village of Kali, where his fellow Sarians were eating and
resting.

When David Innes had rested sufficiently, the Sarians bid the Kalians
farewell and departed for their ships, which lay off the coast forty
miles away.

Hodon went with them. He was very sad, for he thought that O-aa had run
away from him because she did not really wish to be his mate.

And O-aa? When she had seen Blug get his arms around Hodon, and the two
men had fallen to the ground, she had known that Hodon would be killed;
so she had run away, rather than remain and mate with Blug. She started
south, intending to find Sari, which lay eight hundred miles away. She
knew that she had a long journey before her and that the chances were
quite remote that she would survive all the innumerable dangers of the
way; but, with Hodon dead, she did not care much.

She was a cave girl, and death was such a familiar occurrence in her life
that she did not fear it particularly. Early man must have been a
fatalist; otherwise he would have gone crazy from fear. O-aa was a
fatalist. She said to herself, "If the tarag, or the thipdar, or Ta-ho
happened to meet me at just the right time and place, I shall be killed.
Whatever they and I are doing now must lead up to that moment when we
meet or do not meet; nothing can change it." That is the way she felt; so
she did not worry--but she kept her eyes and her ears open, just the same.

O-aa had never been to Sari, but she knew that it lay inland from the
Lural Az and that between Kali and Sari there were a few tribes which
belonged to the Federation and would be friendly to her. She would follow
along the shore of the Lural Az until she found one of these tribes, and
then she could get better directions for the remainder of her journey.

She knew that David Innes and the other Sarians would soon be going down
to the sea and their ships, but she wanted to avoid them for fear that
they would send her back to her father and Blug; so she went quite a
distance south before she turned toward the east and the Lural Az, that
great body of uncharted water, teeming with giant saurians, such as ruled
the Cretaceous seas in the Mesozoic period of the outer crust. O-aa was a
hill girl and was afraid of the great sea, but no less terrible were the
dangers that threatened her on land.

And as O-aa came down to the sea of which she was so afraid, eyes watched
her from the concealment of bushes that she was approaching.


II

ABNER PERRY WAS a broken man; he could neither eat nor sleep, for he knew
that it was his own culpable carelessness that had tossed Dian the
Beautiful to the mercy of the winds on high. He had dispatched three
runners to try to follow the course of the drifting balloon; but he held
too little hope that, should they find it when it came to earth, they
would find Dian alive: cold, hunger, and thirst would long since have
taken their grim toll of her strength. For the first time in his life,
Abner Perry seriously considered taking his own life.

Dian the Beautiful had been mildly surprised by the sudden upward rush of
the balloon, but she had not guessed what it portended until she looked
down over the edge of the basket and saw the end of the rope which had
secured the balloon to the windlass dangling high above the village of
Sari.

Dian the Beautiful is a cave girl of the Stone Age. She knew nothing
about balloons other than what she had gathered from Abner Perry while he
was building this one. Only in a vague way did she know what made it go
up in the air. She knew nothing about rip cords, and so she did not
realize that once again Perry had blundered; he had neglected to equip
the balloon with this safety device.

Had she known more about balloonery, she would have known that she might
have climbed the suspension lines to the net and cut a hole in the gas
bag with her dagger, letting the gas escape. But Dian the Beautiful did
not know this; and so she watched her friends shrink to tiny dots far
below; and eventually, with the village of Sari, disappear in the
distance.

Dian knew that the sun was a ball of fire; and so she was surprised to
discover that the closer she got to the sun, the colder she became. It
didn't make sense, and it upset a theory that was as old as the human
race in Pellucidar. But then the balloon upset some long-standing
theories, too. She knew that the basket and the peritonea of dinosaurs,
of which the gas bag was fabricated, were far too heavy to sail up into
the air. Why they should do so was beyond her; so she decided that it was
because Perry could do anything.

The prevailing winds of Pellucidar blow, generally, from the north to
south for half the outer-Earthly year and from south to north the other
half, depending upon whether it is winter at one Pole or the other. The
wind that carried Dian away from Sari was blowing in a southwesterly
direction and bearing her toward Thuria, the Land of Awful Shadow.

Beneath the eternal noonday sun, the surface temperature of Pellucidar is
usually high, requiring of her inhabitants a minimum of clothing; so
Dian's costume was scanty to a degree. A bit of skin, caught with a
rawhide throng across one shoulder, hung gracefully and becomingly in a
long point to below her knees in one place, leaving one well-shaped leg
entirely bare almost to her waist. It had been designed with as much
subtlety as the finest creation of a French couturier, to accentuate and
reveal, to hide and intrigue; but it had not been designed for great
altitudes. Dian was cold.

Dian was hungry and thirsty, too; but there were neither food nor drink
in this new world into which she had soared; so she did what
Pellucidarians usually do when they are hungry and cannot obtain food--she
lay down and slept. This conserves energy and prolongs life; it also
gives one some respite from the gnawing of hunger and the pangs of thirst.

Dian did not know how long she slept, but when she awoke she was over the
Land of Awful Shadow. She was in shadow herself, and now it was very
cold. Above her was the Dead World, as the Pellucidarians call it, that
tiny satellite of Pellucidar's sun that, revolving coincidentally with
the rotation of the Earth, remained constantly in a fixed position above
that part of the inner world known as the Land of Awful Shadow. Below her
was Thuria, which lies partially within the shadow, and, to her right,
the Lidi Plains where the Thurians graze and train their gigantic saddle
animals, the huge diplodocuses of the Upper Jurassic, which they call
lidi.

The greater cold had awakened Dian, and now she was suffering from that
and from hunger and from thirst. Hope had left her, for she knew that she
must soon die; and she thought that her dead body would continue to float
around above Pellucidar forever.

When the balloon emerged again into sunlight, Dian lay down and slept;
and, from exhaustion, she must have slept a long time, for when she awoke
she was above the nameless strait that extends for a thousand miles or
more and connects the Sojar Az with the Korsar Az. She knew what it was,
for it bounds the southwestern portion of the continent on which Sari
lies--beyond it was the terra incognita of her people, and no man knew
what lay in that land of mystery.

The strait is about two hundred miles wide at the point at which Dian was
crossing it; and the land curving gently upward around her, gave her such
a range of vision that she could see the opposite shore.

Even in her hopelessness she could not but be impressed by the fact that
she was looking upon a new world, the first of all her people to set eyes
upon it. It gave her a little thrill, in which, possibly, was something
of terror.

Her absorption was broken in upon by a hissing sound that came from above
and behind her. Turning and looking up, she saw that terror of the
Pellucidarian skies--a giant thipdar circling above the gas bag. The body
of this huge pterodactyl measures some forty feet in length, while its
bat-like wings have a spread of fully thirty feet. Its mighty jaws are
armed with long, sharp teeth and its claws are equipped with horrible
talons.

As a rule it attacks anything in sight. If it attacked the gas bag and
ripped it open, Dian would be plummeted into the water below. She was
helpless; she could only watch the terrible creature circling about the
balloon and listen to its angry hisses.

The gas bag had the thipdar baffled. It paid no attention to him, but
floated on serenely; it neither tried to escape nor give battle. What was
the thing, anyway? He wondered if it were good to eat; and to find out,
he gave it a tentative nip. Instantly some foul smelling stuff blew into
his nostrils. He hissed angrily, and flew off a short distance; then he
wheeled and came screaming toward the gas bag again.

Dian tried to think only of David, as one might concentrate on prayer who
knew the end was near.


III

O-AA, ALWAYS ALERT to danger, nevertheless was not aware of the man
hiding in the bushes. He was a large man with broad shoulders, a deep
chest, and mighty forearms and biceps. He wore a loin cloth, made of the
feathers of birds--yellow feathers with two transverse bars of red
feathers. It was artistic and striking. He had rings in his ears; they
were made of fish bone. A few strands of his hair were braided and made
into a small knot at the top of the back of his head; into this knot were
stuck three long, yellow feathers barred with red. He carried a stone
knife and a spear tipped with the tooth of a huge shark. His features
were strong and regular; he was a handsome man, and he was suntanned to a
golden bronze.

As O-aa came opposite him, he leaped from his concealment and seized her
by the hair; then he started to drag her through the bushes down toward
the beach. He soon found that that was not so easy as he had hoped.
Dragging O-aa was like dragging a cat with hydrophobia; O-aa didn't drag
worth a cent. She pulled back; she bit; she scratched; she kicked; and
when she wasn't biting, she was emitting a stream of vitriolic
vituperation that would have done credit to Pegler when on the subject of
Mr. Brown.

Cave people of the Stone Age are of few words and short tempers; the
prehistoric Adonis who was dragging O-aa along by the hair was no
exception that proved the rule; he was wholly orthodox. After a couple of
bites, he raised his spear and clunked O-aa on the head with, the haft of
it; and O-aa took the full count. Then he swung her across one shoulder
and trotted down to the beach, where a canoe was drawn up on the sand. He
dumped O-aa into it and then pulled it out into the water.

He held it against the incoming rollers; and at precisely the
psychological moment, he leaped in and paddled strongly. The light craft
rose on the next roller, dove into the trough beyond, and O-aa was
launched upon the great sea she so greatly feared.

When she recovered consciousness her heart sank. The canoe was leaping
about boisterously, and land was already far away. The man sat upon the
deck of the tapering stern and paddled with a very broad, flat paddle.
O-aa appraised him furtively. She noted and appreciated his pulchritude
at the same time that she was seeking to formulate a plan for killing him.

She also examined the canoe. It was about twenty feet long, with a three-foot
beam; it was decked over fore and aft for about six feet, leaving an
eight-foot cockpit; transverse booms were lashed across it at each end of
the cockpit, protruding outboard about four feet on either side; lashed
to the underside of the ends of these booms was a twenty-foot length of
bamboo, about six inches in diameter, running parallel with the craft on
each side, the whole constituting a double out-rigger canoe. It was a
clumsy craft to handle, but it was uncapsizable; even O-aa, who knew
nothing about boats or seas, could see that; and she felt reassured. She
would have been even more reassured had she known that the compartments
beneath the two decks were watertight and that in addition to this, they
held fresh water in bamboo containers and a quantity of food.

The man saw that she had regained consciousness. "What is your name?" he
asked.

"My name is O-aa," she snapped; "I am the daughter of a king. When my
mate, my father, and my seven brothers learn of this, they will come and
kill you."

The man laughed. "My name is La-ak," he said. "I live on the Island of
Canda. I have six wives; you will be the seventh. With seven wives I
shall be a very important man; our chief has only seven. I came to the
mainland to get another wife; I did not have to look long, did I?" Again
he laughed.

"I will not mate with you," O-aa snapped.

Once again La-ak laughed. "You will be glad to," he said, "after my other
six wives teach you how to behave that is, you will if you live through
it; they will not stand for any foolishness. They have already killed two
women whom I brought home, who refused to become my wives. In my country
no man may take a mate without her consent. I think it is a very foolish
custom; but it is an old one, and we have to abide by it."

"You had better take me back to the mainland," said O-aa, "for I will not
mate with you; and I shall certain kill some of your wives before they
kill me; then you will be worse off than you are now."

He looked at her for a long time before he spoke again, "I believe you,"
he said; "but you are very beautiful, and I do not intend to be cheated
of you entirely. What happens in this canoe, no one in Canda will ever
know, for I'll throw you overboard before we get there," then he laid
down his paddle and came toward her.


IV

DAVID INNES, HODON, and the little old man, Ah-gilak, boarded the ship of
Ghak the Hairy One; and when all of the other warriors had boarded this
and the other ships, the fleet set sail.

Ah-gilak looked around him with a critical and contemptuous eye.
"Dod-burn it" he ejaculated. "What dod-burned landlubber built this tub?
There ain't a gol-durned thing right about her. I reckon as how she'd
sail sidewise just as well as she would ahead! an' a lateen sail!" he
added, disgustedly. "Now, you should have saw the Dolly Dorcas; there was
a sweet ship."

Ghak the Hairy One glared at him with a dangerous gleam in his eye, for
Ghak was proud of every ship in the Navy of the Empire of Pellucidar.
They were the first ships he had ever seen and they carried the first
sails; to him they were the last word in perfection and modernity. Abner
Perry had designed them; did this little, toothless runt think he could
do better than Abner Perry? With a great, hairy hand Ghak seized Ah-gilak
by the beard.

"Wait!" cautioned David. "I think Ah-gilak knows what he is talking
about. He sailed ships on the outer Earth. Perry never did. Perry did the
best he could down here, with no knowledge of ship design and no one to
help him who had ever seen a ship before. He would be the first to
welcome some one who could help us build a better navy. I think we can
use Ah-gilak after we get home."

Ghak reluctantly released Ah-gilak's beard. "He talks too much," he said,
and, turning, walked away.

"If I hadn't been wrecked in the Arctic and washed down into this
dod-burned world," said Ah-gilak, "I would probably have commanded the
fastest clipper ship in the world today. I was aimin' for to build it
just as soon as I got back to Cape Cod."

"Clipper ship!" said David. "There aren't any more clipper ships. I don't
suppose there's been one built in more than fifty years."

"Why, dod-burn you," exclaimed Ah-gilak; "they hadn't been building 'em
more'n five year when the Dolly Dorcas went down--let's see; that was
1845."

David Innes looked at him in amazement. "Are you sure of that date?" he
demanded.

"Sure as I am that I'm standin' here, as the feller said," replied
Ah-gilak.

"How old were you when the Dolly Dorcas was lost?" asked David.

"I was forty years old. I can always remember, because my birthday was
the same as President Tyler's. He would have been fifty-five on March
29th, 1845, if he lived; an' I was just fifteen years younger than him.
They was talkin' about a feller named Polk runnin' for President when we
sailed."

"Do you know how old you are now?" asked David.

"Well, I sort o' lost track o' time down here in this dod-burned world;
but I reckon I must be close to sixty."

"Not very close," said David; "you're a hundred and fifty-three."

"Well, of all the dod-burned liars, you sure take the cake! A hundred an'
fifty-three! God an' Gabriel! Do I look a hundred an' fifty-three?"

"No," said David; "I'd say that you don't look a day over a hundred and
fifty."

The old man looked at David disgustedly. "I ain't mentionin' no names,"
he said; "but some folks ain't got no more sense than a white pine dog
with a poplar tail, as the feller said;" then he turned and walked away.

Hodon had been listening to the conversation; but he knew nothing about
years or ages, and he wondered what it all meant. Anyway, he would not
have been much interested, had he; for he was thinking of O-aa, and
wondering where she was. He was sorry now that he had not stayed on shore
and searched for her.

The flag ship of the little fleet of three ships was called Amoz in honor
of Dian the Beautiful, who came from the land of Amoz. It was crowded
with five hundred warriors. It had eight guns, four on a side, on a lower
deck. There were solid shot, chain shot, and shells for each of the guns,
all of which were muzzle loading. They had to be run back on crude wooden
tracks to load, and then run forward again, with their muzzles sticking
out of port holes to fire; they were the pride of the Navy.

The sailors who manned the Amoz and the other ships were copper colored
Mezops from the Anoroc Islands; and the Admiral of the Fleet was Ja, King
of Anoroc. The lateen sail of the Amoz was enormous; it required the
combined strength of fifty husky Mezops to raise it. Like the gas bag of
Perry's balloon and the fabric of his late aeroplane, it was made of the
peritonea of dinosaurs. This was one of Perry's prime discoveries, for
there were lots of dinosaurs and their peritonea were large and tough.
Habitually, they objected to giving them up; so it was quite an exciting
job collecting peritonea, for dinosaurs such as carry A-1 peritonea are
large, ferocious, and ill-mannered.

The fleet had been under way for but a short time, when Ah-gilak, casting
a weather eye about from long habit, discovered a cloud astern. "We're
a-goin' to have a blow," he said to Ja, and pointed.

Ja looked and nodded. "Yes," he said, and gave orders to shorten sail.

The cloud was not very large when it was first discovered, but it was
undeniably a wind cloud. As it came closer, it grew in extent; and it
became black. Ragged shreds of it whipped ahead. Around the ship was a
sudden, deadly calm.

"We're a-goin' to have more 'n a gale. That there looks like a dod-burned
hurricane."

Now there was a sudden gust of wind that made the sagging sail flap
angrily. Ja had ordered it close reefed; and the Mezops were battling
with the whipping peritonea, as the wind increased in violence.

And now the storm was upon them. Rolling black clouds shut out the
eternal sun, lightning flashed, and thunder roared; rain began to
fall--not in drops or sheets, but in solid masses. The wind wailed and
shrieked like some ferocious demon of destruction. Men clung to the
ship's rails, to one another, to anything that they could lay hands on to
keep from being blown overboard.

David Innes went among them, ordering them below; at last only the Mezop
sailors and a few Sarians remained on the upper deck--they and the little
old man, Ah-gilak. Innes and Ghak and Hodon clustered behind Ja and
Ah-gilak. The little old man was in his element.

"I bin wrecked seven times," he shrieked above the storm, "an' I can be
wrecked again, as the feller said; an' dod-burn it if I don't think I'm
goin' to be."

The sea had risen, and the waves were growing constantly in immensity.
The clumsy, overloaded ship wallowed out of one great sea only to be half
swallowed by another.

So dark was it and so thick the rain that neither of the other ships
could be seen. David was fearful for the safety of the little Sari; in
fact, he was fearful for the fate of all three of the ships if the storm
did not abate soon or if it increased in violence. As though possessed of
sardonic humor, the hurricane raged even more violently while the thought
was yet in David's mind.

The Amoz rose upon the crest of a watery mountain to plunge into a watery
abyss. The men clung to whatever they could as the ship buried its nose
deep in the sea; and a huge, following wave combed over the stern,
submerging them.

David thought it was the end. He knew that the ship would never rise
again from beneath those tons of raging water, yet still he clung to the
thing he had seized. Slowly, ponderously, like some gigantic beast trying
to drag itself from quick-sand, the Amoz, staggered up, shaking the water
from its deck.

"Dod-burn me!" screamed Ah-gilak; "but this is a sweet ship. It didn't
take half that sea to swamp the Dolly Dorcas, and I thought she was a
sweet ship. Well live and learn, as the feller said."

There were not as many men on the deck as there had been. David wondered
how many of the poor devils had been lost. He looked at those about him;
Ghak, and Ja, and Hondon, and Ah-gilak were all there.

David looked up at the waves as they towered above the ship, and he
looked down into the abysses as the ship started down from the crest.
"Seventy feet," he said, half to himself; "a good seventy feet."

Suddenly Ah-gilak yelled, "Make fast there an' say your prayers!"

David glanced astern. The most stupendous wave he had ever seen trembled
above them--hundreds of tons of water poised to crush the ship; then it
came!


V

DIAN THE BEAUTIFUL awaited the end with supreme indifference; she had
reached the limit of human endurance; but she was not afraid. In fact,
she was just a little fascinated by the situation, and wondered whether
the screaming thipdar winging toward her was coming for her or the gas
bag--not that it would make much difference to her in the end.

Suddenly the giant pterodactyl veered to one side, and rushed past. Dian
watched it as it soared away, waiting for it to turn and renew the
attack; but it did not return, it had finally discovered something of
which it was afraid.

Dian looked down over the edge of the basket. She could see the land
beyond the strait quite plainly now; she seemed to be much lower, and
wondered. She did not know that the gas was leaking from the balloon
where the thipdar had nipped it.

It was some time before she realized the truth--that the balloon was
actually descending; and now she had something more to worry about: would
it reach the shore, or would it come down in the water? If the latter,
she would make food for some saurian; or for a horde of them that would
tear her to pieces.

And on the land a short distance back from the shore she saw an amazing
sight for Pellucidar--a city, a walled city. She would not have known what
it was had David not told her of the cities of his world. Well, she might
be about as well off among the saurians as among strange human beings.
There was little choice, but upon reflection she hoped that the balloon
reached the land before it came down.

It was quite low now, and the land was still a good half mile away. She
tried to gauge the relation between its drop and its horizontal progress
toward the land. She looked down over the edge of the basket and saw that
the rope was already dragging in the water. The rope was five hundred
feet long. After a part of the rope was submerged the balloon didn't seem
to drop any more; but its progress toward land was also retarded, as it
dragged the submerged rope through the water. However, it appeared now
that it would reach the land first. Dian was congratulating herself on
this as she peered down into the strait when she saw the head of a
creature which she knew as an aztarag, or tiger of the sea, break the
water near the trailing rope.

She was congratulating herself upon the fact that she was not down there,
when the creature seized the rope in its mighty jaws and started for the
center of the strait.

This was too much! Tired, hungry, thirsty, and exhausted, though no
longer cold, Dian almost broke down. With an effort she kept back the
tears for now there was no hope.

But was there one! If she could cut the rope, the balloon would be freed;
and would continue on toward shore. Relieved of the weight of five
hundred feet of heavy rope, it would certainly drift far inland before it
came down. But she couldn't reach the rope; it was fastened to the
underneath side of the basket.

There must be some way! She drew her stone knife and commenced to hack at
the wickerwork of the basket's floor. At last she had a hole large enough
to get her arm through. Feeling around, she found the large rope. It was
attached to the basket by many smaller ropes which ran to the periphery
of the basket's bottom.

Dian commenced to saw on these smaller ropes. She could see through the
hole in the bottom of the basket, and she saw that the balloon was being
rapidly dragged toward the water--the aztarag had sounded and was pulling
the balloon down behind it!

The girl worked frantically, for once the basket was submerged she would
be lost--the sea beneath her was alive with hungry creatures. She saw a
gigantic shark just below her; it thrust its snout out of water; and she
could almost touch it, as the last rope parted.

Instantly the balloon leaped into the air, and once more started its
precarious and seemingly endless journey toward the mysterious world
beyond the nameless strait.


VI

AS O-AA SAW La-ak coming toward her she stood up. "Go back to your
paddle," she said, "or I will jump overboard."

La-ak hesitated; for he guessed, rightly, that the girl meant what she
said; furthermore, he knew that eventually she must sleep; then he could
overpower her. "You are a fool," he said, as he resumed his paddle; "one
lives but once."

"O-aa lives in her own way," retorted the girl.

She sat facing the stern; so that she might watch La-ak. She saw his
spear lying beside him; she saw the dagger at his hip. These were
instruments of escape, but she could not get them. She glanced around
over the great sea that she so feared. Very, very dimly, through the haze
of distance, she thought that she could see the mainland; elsewhere there
was no sign of land--just the vast expanse of blue water rolling gradually
upward in the distance to merge with the blue sky that arched over them
and down again to merge with the blue water again on the opposite side.
To her left she saw a little cloud, far away. It meant nothing to O-aa,
who was a hill girl and consequently less cloud conscious than those who
live much upon the sea.

Astern, she saw something else--a long, slender neck toppled by a hideous
head with great-fanged jaws. Occasionally she caught a glimpse of a
sleek, seal-like body rising momentarily above the slow ground swells.
She knew this thing as a ta-ho-az, or a sea lion. It was not the
harmless, playful creature that sports in the waters of our own Pacific
Ocean; but a terrible engine of destruction whose ravenous appetite was
never satisfied.

The fearsome creature was gliding smoothly through the water toward the
canoe. That long neck would arch over the gunwale and snatch either La-ak
or herself, probably both; or the creature would place a giant flipper on
the craft and capsize or swamp it. O-aa thought quickly. She wished to be
saved from La-ak, but not at the risk of her own life, if that
comfortable circumstance could be avoided.

She stood up and pointed, taking a couple of steps toward La-ak as she
did so. "Look!" she cried.

La-ak turned to look behind him, and as he did so O-aa sprang forward and
seized his spear; then she thrust it with all her strength into the body
of La-ak beneath his left shoulder.

With a scream of agony and rage, La-ak tried to turn upon her; but O-aa
held to the end of the spear's haft; and when La-ak turned, the sharp
shark's tooth with which the spear was tipped, tore into his heart. Thus
died La-ak of the Island of Canda.

O-aa looked back at the ta-ho-az. It was approaching, but leisurely; as
though it was quite sure that its quarry could not escape, and
consequently saw no occasion for haste.

O-aa looked at the pretty yellow and red feather loin cloth on the body
of La-ak and at the feathers in his hair. These she had admired greatly;
so she removed them, after jerking the spear from the dead man; and then
she rolled the naked body of La-ak over the stern of the canoe, after
which she picked up the paddle; and with strong, if clumsy, strokes sent
the craft ahead.

She glanced back often to see what the ta-ho-az was doing; and at last,
to her relief, she saw that it was doing what she had hoped it would
do--it had stopped to devour the body of La-ak. This, she guessed, would
occupy it for some time; since, though its jaws were enormous, its neck
was slender; and it must necessarily nibble rather than gulp.

O-aa had never handled a paddle before, which is not strange, since never
before had she been in a boat of any description; but she had watched
La-ak; and now she did remarkably well, considering her ignorance and
clumsiness of the craft.

She was hungry, thirsty, and sleepy, and, as now she had lost sight of
all land and had no idea in which direction to paddle, she decided that
it would be foolish to paddle at all; since, there being so many
different directions, and the nearest land being in one direction only,
the chances were all in favor of her paddling in a wrong direction. It
would be much pleasanter just to drift with the wind.

Of course she was endowed with that homing instinct that is the common
heritage of all Pellucidarians to compensate them for lack of heavenly
bodies to guide them, but out here on this vast expanse of water in an
environment so totally unfamiliar, for the first time in her life she did
not trust it.

The little cloud that she had seen had grown to a big cloud, and was
coming nearer. O-aa looked at it and thought that it was going to rain,
for which she would be thankful; since it would give her water to drink;
then she turned her attention to other things.

She had noticed that there was one plank in the after deck where La-ak
had sat that didn't seem to fit as well as the others; and though it was
a trivial thing, she had wondered at it. It had suggested something to
her--that no one would come out upon this great ocean without food or
water. Now she investigated; for O-aa, as you may have gathered, was no
fool; and she found that the board, skillfully grooved on both edges,
pulled out, revealing a large compartment beneath. In this compartment
were extra weapons, fishhooks, lines, nets, bamboo water containers, and
smoked meats and dried fruits and vegetables.

O-aa ate and drank her fill; then, she lay down to sleep, while the
great, black cloud billowed toward her, and the lightning flashed and the
thunder boomed. O-aa slept the dreamless sleep of utter exhaustion plus a
full and contented stomach.


VII

DAVID WAS SURE THAT the Amoz was doomed, as he saw the giant wave curling
above her stern; then it broke over them, crushing them to the deck,
tearing at them to break their holds on the supports to which they clung,
driving the prow of the ship deep into the sea.

Not a man there but knew she could never recover from this blow; but, she
did. Rolling and wallowing she slowly emerged; and as the water sluiced
from her deck, David saw the little old man going with it toward the bow,
and he lunged after him.

The mast had gone, leaving only a stump, around which was tangled cordage
and a section of the sail, that had fouled and ripped away, just as he
reached this, David caught the little old man by one ankle; then, as he
himself was being washed toward the stern, he managed to seize hold of
the cordage and retain his hold until the last of the water had gone over
the side.

He thought that a man one hundred and fifty-three years old could never
recover from such a shock; and he was about to pick him up and carry him
back, when Ah-gilak scrambled to his feet.

"Dad-burn it!" ejaculated the old man, "I durn near got my feet wet that
time, as the feller said."

"Are you all right?" David asked.

"Never felt so fit in my life," replied Ah-gilak. "Say, you come after
me, didn't you? Why, you dod-burned fool, you might have been washed
overboard." That was all he ever said about it.

That last wave marked the height of the storm. The wind continued to blow
a gale, but the hurricane was past. The sea still ran high, but was
diminishing. After what the Amoz had withstood, she seemed safe enough
now. With no headway, she wallowed in the trough of the sea; often
standing on her beam ends, but always righting herself.

"It'd take a dod-burned act of Congress to upset this tub," said
Ah-gilak. "You can't sail her, an' you can't steer her; but, by gum, you
can't wreck her; an' if I'd a had her instead o' the Dolly Dorcas I
wouldn't be down here now in this dod-burned hole-in-the-ground, but back
in Cape Cod, probably votin' for John Tyler again, or some other good
Democrat."

David went below, at the risk of life and limb, to see how the men there
had fared. With the coming of the storm, they had closed all ports, and
fastened the guns down more securely. Fortunately, none of them had
broken loose; and there were only a few minor casualties among the men,
from being thrown about during the wild pitching of the ship.

The Mezop sailors above had not fared so well; all but twenty-five of
them had been washed overboard. And the boats were gone, the mast was
gone, and most of the sail. The Amoz was pretty much of a derelict.
Neither of the other ships was in sight; and David had given them both up
for lost, especially the little Sari.

Their situation looked rather hopeless to these men of the Stone Age. "If
the boats hadn't been lost," said Ghak, "some of us could get ashore."

"Why can't we break up the deck and build a raft--several of them?"
suggested Hodon. "We could paddle rafts to shore, but we couldn't ever
paddle the Amoz."

"You dod-burned landlubbers give me a pain," snorted Ah-gilak. "We got
the stub of a mast, part of the sail, and plenty cordage; we can jury rig
the dod-burned tub, an' get to shore twice as fast an' ten times as easy
as buildin' rafts an' paddlin'. Give me some hands, an' I'll have her
shipshape in two shakes of a dead lamb's tail, as the feller said. How
fer is to port?"

David shrugged. "That depends on how far the hurricane carried us and in
what direction. We may be fifty miles from port, or we may be five
hundred. Your guess would be better than mine."

"How's the fresh water?" demanded Ah-gilak.

"We've enough for many sleeps," said Ja.

"Dod-burn it!" cried the old man; "how in tarnation's a fellow goin' to
do any figurin' with a bunch of landlubbers that ain't never knowed what
time it was they was born."

"On the contrary," said David, "they always know what time it is."

"How come?" demanded Ah-gilak.

"It is always noon."

Ah-gilak snorted. He was in no mood for persiflage. "Well," he said,
"we'll do the dod-burndest best we can. We may run short of water, but we
got plenty food," he cast his eyes on the warriors coming up from the
lower deck.


VIII

O-AA WAS AWAKENED by the pitching of the canoe, and opened her eyes to
see a wall of water towering above her. She lay in a watery canyon, with
another wall of water hemming her in on the other side. This was a
harrowing situation that was quite beyond her experience; nothing could
save her; one of the walls would topple over on her. But nothing of the
kind happened, Instead, the wall came down; and the canoe was lifted to
the summit of one just like it. Here, O-aa could see a tumbling mass of
wind-torn water as far as the eye could reach. The sky was black with
angry, rolling clouds that were split by vivid flashes of lightning to
the accompaniment of peals of earth shaking thunder. The wind howled and
shrieked in a fury of malign hate. Then the canoe sank into another
canyon.

This went on and on; there seemed to be no end to it. The cockpit was
half full of water; but La-ak had built well-the canoe could neither
capsize nor sink and it was so light that it rode the crest of even the
most mountainous waves; nothing short of a bolt of lightning could
destroy it. This, however, O-aa did not know; she thought that each wave
would be the last, as far as she was concerned; but as wave after wave
lifted her upon its crest and then dropped her into a new abyss that was
exactly like the last one, she took courage; until presently she was
enjoying the experience. O-aa had never been on a roller coaster; but she
was getting the same sort of thrill out of this experience; and it lasted
much longer, and she didn't have to buy any tickets.

THE SARI, BEING a lighter ship than either of the other two, was blown
along before the hurricane much faster; also, as it carried a much
smaller sail, its mast did not go by the board as quickly as had that of
the Amoz. The third ship had lost its mast even before that of the Amoz
had gone; so when the wind abated a little, the Sari, while also by this
time a demasted derelict, was far ahead of her sister ships.

Having but a single, open deck, she had lost most of her complement; but
she was still staunch of frame and timber--for Perry and David had built
her well, much better than the first ship Perry had designed, and for
which she was named, which had turned bottomside up at its launching.

The continuing gale, which persisted after the worst of the hurricane had
past, was blowing the Sari merrily along to what fate or what destination
no man knew. The survivors were only glad that they were alive; like most
men of the Stone Age, they had no questions to ask of the future, the
present being their only immediate concern; though, belying that very
assertion, they did catch what rain water they could to augment the
supply already aboard.

The deck of the Sari was still a more or less precarious resting place,
when one of the Mezops sighted something floating dead ahead. He called
his companions' attention to it, and several of them worked their way
around the rail to have a look at what he had discovered.

Now, anything floating on this lonely sea was worthy of remark; it was
not like the waters off the coast of California, where half the deck
loads of Oregon lumbermen bob around to menace navigation and give the
Coast Guard the jitters.

"It's a canoe," said Ko, the big Mezop who had discovered it.

"Is there anyone in it?" asked Raj, the captain of the Sari and a chief
among the Mezops.

"Wait until it comes up again," said Ko.

"It must be a wonderful canoe, to have lived through such a storm," said
Raj.

"It had a most peculiar look," said Ko. "Here it comes again! I think I
see someone in it."

"It is a strange canoe," said Raj. "There are things sticking out from
its sides."

"I once saw one like it," said another Mezop; "perhaps many thousand
sleeps ago. It was blown to our island with a man who said that he came
from an island called Canda, far out on the Lural Az. The canoe had
bamboo floats on either side of it. It could not capsize. It had
watertight compartments; so it could not sink. We killed the man. I think
this canoe is from Canda."

Presently the Sari, which presented a larger surface to the wind than the
canoe, overhauled it. O-aa was watching it. Having heard about the great
ships of the Sarians from Hodon and David, she guessed that this must be
one of them; and she was not afraid. Here was rescue, if she could get
aboard. She waved to the men looking over the rail at her.

"It is a girl," said Raj. "Get a rope; we will try to get her aboard."

"She is from Canda," said the sailor who had seen the man from Canda,
"she wears the same feather loin cloth that the man from Canda wore. We
had better let her drown."

"No," said Raj; "she is a girl." Just what were the implications of this
statement, you may guess as well as I. Raj was a man of the Stone Age;
so, in many respects he was probably far more decent than men of the
civilized outer world; but he was still a man.

One of the outriggers of the canoe bumped against the side of the Sari
just as Ko threw a rope to O-aa. The girl seized it as the ship heeled
over to starboard and rose on another wave while the canoe dropped into
the trough, but O-aa held on. She was jerked from the canoe and banged
against the side of the ship; but she clambered up the rope like a
monkey--cave girls are that way, probably from climbing inadequate and
rickety ladders and poles all their lives.

As she clambered over the side, Raj took her by the arm. "She is not only
a girl," he said, "but she is beautiful; I shall keep her for myself."

O-aa slapped him in the face, and jerked away. "I am the daughter of a
king," she said. "My mate, my father, and my nine brothers will find you
out and kill you if you harm me."


IX

A MAN FROM THURIA, who was searching for a herd of lidi which had
strayed, followed them to the end of the world which is bounded by the
nameless strait. There a shadow passed across him. He looked up, thinking
to see a thipdar; but there was a tree close by, and he was not afraid.
What he saw filled him with amazement and not a little awe. A great round
thing, to the bottom of which something seemed to be attached, was
floating high in the air out across the nameless strait. He watched it
for a long time, until it was only a speck; then he went on searching for
his lost lidi which he never found.

He thought a great deal about this remarkable experience as he made his
way back to Thuria on his giant lidi. What could the thing have been? He
was sure that it was not alive, for he had seen no wings nor any movement
of any kind; the thing had seemed just to drift along on the wind.

Being a Stone Age man living in a savage world, he had had so many
exciting adventures that he didn't even bother to mention most of them
after he got home; unless he hadn't had any adventures at all and hadn't
killed any one or anything, nor hadn't been nearly killed himself; then
he told his mate about that, and they both marvelled.

But this thing that he had seen above the nameless strait was different;
this was something really worth talking about. No one else in the world
had ever seen anything like that, and the chances were that nobody would
believe him when he told about it. He would have to take that chance, but
nothing could change the fact that he had seen it.

As soon as he got home, he commenced to talk about it; and, sure enough,
no one believed him, his mate least of all. That made him so angry that
he beat her.

"You were probably off in that village of Liba with that frowzy, fat,
she-jalok; and are trying to make me believe that you went all the way to
the end of the world," she had said; so perhaps he should have beaten her.

He had been home no great time, perhaps a couple of sleeps, when a runner
came from Sari. Everybody gathered around the chief to hear what the
runner had to say.

"I have run all the way from Sari," he said "to ask if any man of Thuria
has seen a strange thing floating through the air. It is round--"

"And it has something fastened to the bottom of it fairly shouted the man
whom no one would believe.

"Yes!" cried the runner. "You have seen it?"

"I have seen it," said the man.

His fellow Thurians looked at him in amazement; after all he had told the
truth--that was the amazing part of it. His mate assumed an air of
importance and an I-told-you-so expression as she looked around at the
other women.

"Where did you see it?" demanded the runner.

"I had gone to the end of the world in search of my lost lidi," explained
the man, "and I saw this thing floating out across the nameless strait."

"Then she is lost," cried the runner.

"Who is lost?" demanded the chief.

"Dian the Beautiful who was in the basket which hung from the bottom of
the great round ball that Perry called a balloon."

"She will never be found," said the chief. "No man knows what lies beyond
the nameless strait. Sometimes, when it is very clear, men have thought
that they saw land there; that is why it is called a strait; but it may
be an ocean bigger than the Sojar Az, which has no farther shore as far
as any man knows."


X

RELIEVED OF THE weight of the rope, the balloon soared aloft much higher
than it had been when the rope first started to drag in the waters of the
nameless strait. Soon it was over the land and the city. Dian looked down
and marvelled at this wondrous thing built by men.

It was a mean little city of clay houses and narrow winding streets, but
to a cave girl of the Stone Age who had never before seen a city, it was
a marvelous thing. It impressed her much as New York City impresses the
outlanders from Pittsburgh or Kansas City, who see it for the first time.

The balloon was floating so low now that she could see the people in the
streets and on the roofs of the buildings. They were looking up at her in
wonder. If Dian had never seen a city, she had at least heard of them;
but these people had not only never before seen a balloon, but they had
never heard of such a thing.

When the balloon passed over the city and out across the country beyond,
hundreds of people ran out and followed it. They followed it for a long
way as it slowly came closer and closer to the ground.

Presently Dian saw another city in the distance, and when she came close
to this second city she was quite close to the ground--perhaps twenty feet
above it; then she saw men running from the city. They carried shields
and bows and arrows, and for the first time she noticed that those who
had followed her all the way from the first city were all men and that
they, too, carried shields and bows and arrows.

Before the basket touched the ground the men from the two cities were
fighting all around it. At first they fought with bows and arrows, but
when they came to close quarters they drew two bladed short-swords from
scabbards that hung at their sides and fought hand-to-hand. They shouted
and screamed at one another, and altogether made a terrible din.

Dian wished that she could make the balloon go up again, for she did not
wish to fall into the hands of such ferocious people, but down came the
balloon right in the midst of the fighting. Of course the gas bag dragged
it, bumping and jumping along the ground, closer and closer to the second
city. Warriors of both sides seized the edge of the basket and pulled and
hauled, the men from the first city trying to drag it back and those of
the second city trying to haul it on toward their gates.

"She is ours!" cried one of the latter. "See! She tries to come to
Lolo-lolo! Kill the infidels who would steal our Noada!"

"She is ours!" screamed the men of the first city; "we saw her first.
Kill the infidels who would cheat us of our Noada!"

Now the basket was near the gates of the city, and suddenly a dozen men
rushed forward, seized hold of Dian, lifted her from the basket, and
carried her through the gates, which were immediately slammed on friend
and foe alike.

Relieved of the weight of Dian, the balloon leaped into the air, and
drifted across the city. Even the fighters stopped to watch the miracle.

"Look!" exclaimed the warrior of the second city, "it has brought us our
Noada, and now it returns to Karana."

Lolo-lolo was another city of clay houses and winding, crooked streets
through which Dian the Beautiful was escorted with what, she realized,
was deepest reverence.

A warrior went ahead, shouting, "Our Noada has come!" and as she passed,
the people, making way for her little cortege, knelt, covering their eyes
with their hands.

None of this could Dian understand, for she knew nothing of religion, her
people being peculiarly free from all superstition. She only knew that
these strange people seemed friendly, and that she was being received
more as an honored guest than as a prisoner. Everything here was strange
to her; the little houses built solidly along both sides of the narrow
streets; the yellow skins of the people; the strange garments that they
wore--leather aprons, painted with gay designs, that fell from their
waists before and behind; the leather helmets of the men; the feather
headdress of the women. Neither men nor women wore any garment above the
waist, while the children and young people were quite naked.

The armlets and anklets and other metal ornaments of both men and women,
as well as the swords, the spear heads, and the arrow tips of the
warriors were of a metal strange to Dian. They were bronze, for these
people had passed from the Stone Age and the Age of Copper into the
Bronze Age. That they were advancing in civilization was attested by the
fact that their weapons were more lethal than those of the Stone Age
people the more civilized people become, the more deadly are the
inventions with which they kill one another.

Dian was escorted to an open square in the center of the village. Here
the buildings were a little larger, though none was over one story in
height. In the center of one side of the quadrangle was a domed building,
the most imposing in the city of Lolo-lolo; although to describe it as
imposing is a trifle grandiloquent. It was, however, remarkable, in that
these people could design and construct a dome as large as this one.

The shouting warrior who had preceded the escort had run ahead to the
entrance of this building, where he shouted, "Our Noada comes!" repeating
it until a number of weirdly costumed men emerged. They wore long leather
coats covered with painted ornamentation, and the head of each was
covered by a hideous mask.

As Dian approached the entrance to the building, these strange figures
surrounded her; and, kneeling, covered the eye holes of their masks with
their hands.

"Welcome, our Noada! Welcome to your temple in Lolo-lolo! We, your
priests welcome you to the House of the Gods!" they chanted in unison.

The words welcome, priests, and gods were new words to Dian; she did not
know what they meant; but she was bright enough to know that she was
supposed to, and to realize that they thought her somebody she was not
and that this belief of theirs was her best safeguard; so she merely
inclined her head graciously and waited for what might come next.

The square behind her had filled with people, who now began to chant a
weird pagan song to the beating of drums, as Dian the Beautiful was
escorted into the House of the Gods by the priests of Noada.


UNDER THE EXPERT direction of Ah-gilak, the men of the Amoz set up a jury
rig; and once more the ship moved on its journey. A man from Amoz was the
compass, sextant, chronometer, and navigator; for the navel base of
Pellucidar was the little bay beside which were the cliffs of Amoz.
Guided by his inherent homing instinct, he stood beside the wheelsman and
pointed toward Amoz. His relief was another Amozite, and the period of
his watch was terminated when he felt like sleeping. The arrangement was
most satisfactory, and the results obtained were far more accurate than
those which might have been had by use of compass, sextant, and
chronometer.

The wind had not abated and the seas were still high; but the EPS Amoz
wallowed and plowed along toward port, which all aboard were now
confident it would reach eventually.

"Dod-burn the old hooker," said Ah-gilak; "she'll get there some day, as
the feller said."


XI

WHEN O-AA SAID to Raj, "I am the daughter of a king," the Mezop cocked an
ear, for the word had been grafted onto the language of Pellucidar by
Abner Perry, and those who had a right to the title were the heads of
"kingdoms" that belonged to the federation known as the Empire of
Pellucidar. If the girl was just any girl, that was one thing; but if her
people belonged to the Federation, that was something very different
indeed.

"Who is your father?" demanded Raj.

"Oose, king of Kali," she replied; "and my mate is Hodon the Fleet One,
of Sari. My nine brothers are very terrible men."

"Never mind your nine brothers," said Raj; "that you are a Kalian, or
that your mate is Hodon of Sari is enough. You will be well treated on
this ship."

"And that will be a good thing for you," said O-aa, "for if you hadn't
treated me well, I should have killed you. I have killed many men. My
nine brothers and I used to raid the village of Suvi all alone, and I
always killed more men than any of my brothers. My mother's brother was
also a great killer of men, as are my three sisters. Yes, it will be very
well for you if you treat me nicely. I always--"

"Shut up," said Raj, "you talk too much and you lie too much. I shall not
harm you, but we Mezops beat women who talk too much; we do not like
them."

O-aa stuck her chin in the air, but she said nothing; she knew a man of
his word when she met one.

"If you are not from Canda," said the sailor who had once seen a man from
Canda, "where did you get that feather loin cloth?"

"I took it from La-ak, the Candian, after I had killed him," replied
O-aa, "and that is no lie."

The Sari was blown along before the gale, and at the same time it was in
the grip of an ocean current running in the same direction; so it was
really making excellent headway, though to O-aa it seemed to be going up
and down only.

When they came opposite the Anoroc Islands, the Mezops became restless.
They could not see the islands; but they knew exactly the direction in
which they lay, and they didn't like the idea of being carried past their
home. The four boats of the Sari had been so securely lashed to the deck
against the rail that the storm had not been able to tear them away; so
Raj, suggested to the Sarians that he and his fellow Mezops take two of
the boats and paddle to Anaroc, and that the Sarians take the other two
and make for shore, since the ship was also opposite Sari.

The high seas made it extremely difficult and dangerous to launch the
boats; but the Mezops are excellent sailors, and they finally succeeded
in getting both their boats off; and with a final farewell they paddled
away over the high seas.

O-aa looked on at all of this with increasing perturbation. She saw the
frail boats lifted high on mighty waves only to disappear into the
succeeding trough. Sometimes she thought that they would never come up
again. She had watched the lowering of the boats and the embarkation of
the Mezops with even greater concern; so, when the Sarians were ready to
launch their boats, she was in more or less of a blue funk.

They told her to get into the first boat, but she said that she would go
in the second--she wanted to delay the dread moment as long as possible.
What added to her natural fear of the sea, was the fact that she was
quite aware that the Sarians were not good sailors. Always they have
lived inland, and had never ventured upon the sea until David and Perry
had decreed that they become a naval power, and even then they had always
gone as cargo and not as sailors.

O-aa watched the lowering of the first boat in fear and trepidation. They
first lowered the boat into the sea with two men in it; these men tried
to hold it from pounding against the side of the ship, using paddles for
the purpose. They were not entirely successful. O-aa expected any minute
to see it smashed to pieces. The other Sarians who were to go in the
first boat slid down ropes; and when they were all in the boat, the Sari
suddenly heeled over and capsized it. Some of the men succeeded in
seizing the ropes down which they had slid, and these were hauled to the
deck of the Sari; for the others there was no hope. O-aa watched them
drown.

The remaining Sarians were dubious about lowering the second boat; no one
likes to be drowned in a high sea full of ravenous reptiles. They talked
the matter over.

"If half the men had taken paddles and held the boat away from the Sari,
instead of trying to paddle before the ship rolled away from them, the
thing would not have happened," said one. Others agreed with him.

"I think we can do it safely," said another. O-aa didn't think so.

"If we drift around on the Sari, we shall die of thirst and starvation,"
said a third; "we won't have a chance. Once in the boat, we will have a
chance. I am for trying it." Finally the others agreed.

The boat was lowered successfully, and a number of men slid down into it
to hold it away from the ship's side.

"Down you go," said a man to O-aa, pushing her toward the rail.

"Not I," said O-aa. "I am not going."

"What! You are going to remain on board the Sari alone?" he demanded.

"I am," said O-aa; "and if you ever get to Sari, which you won't and
Hodon is there, tell him that O-aa is out on the Lural Az in the Sari. He
will come and get me."

The man shook his head, and slid over the side. The others followed him.
O-aa watched them as they fended the boat from the side of the ship until
it rolled away from them; then they drove their paddles into the water
and stroked mightily until they were out of danger. She watched the boat
being tossed about until it was only a speck in the distance. Alone on a
drifting derelict on a storm-tossed ocean, O-aa felt much safer than she
would have in the little boat which she was sure would never reach land.

O-aa had what she considered an inexhaustible supply of food and water,
and some day the Sari would drift ashore; then she would make her way
home. The greatest hardship with which she had to put up was the lack of
some one with whom to talk; and, for O-aa, that was a real hardship.

The wind blew the ship toward the southwest, and the ocean current
hastened it along in the same direction. O-aa slept many times, and it
was still noon. The storm had long since abated. Great, smooth swells
lifted the Sari gently and gently lowered it. Where before the ocean had
belabored the ship, now it caressed her.

When O-aa was awake she was constantly searching for land, and at last
she saw it. It was very dim and far away; but she was sure that it was
land, and the Sari was approaching it--but, oh, so slowly. She watched
until she could no longer hold her eyes open, and then she slept. How
long she slept no man may know; but when she awoke the land was very
close, but the Sari was moving parallel with it and quite rapidly. O-aa
knew that she could never reach the land if the ship kept on its present
course, but there was nothing that she could do about it.

A strong current runs through the nameless strait from the Sojar Az, into
which the Sari had drifted, to the Korsar Az, a great ocean that bounds
the western shore of the land mass on which Sari is located. None of this
O-aa knew, nor did she know that the land off the port side of the Sari
was that dread terra incognita of her people.

The wind, that had been blowing gently from the east, changed into the
north and increased, carrying the Sari closer inshore. Now she was so
close that O-aa could plainly discern things on land. She saw something
that aroused her curiosity, for she had never seen anything like it
before; it was a walled city. She had not the slightest idea what it was.
Presently she saw people emerging from it; they were running down to the
shore toward which the Sari was drifting. As they came closer, O-aa saw
that there were many warriors.

O-aa had never seen a city before, and these people had never seen a
ship. The Sari was drifting in slowly, and O-aa was standing on the stump
of the bowsprit, a brave figure in her red and yellow feather loincloth
and the three feathers in her hair.

The Sari was quite close to shore now and the people could see O-aa
plainly. Suddenly they fell upon their knees and covered their eyes with
their hands, crying, "Welcome, our Noada! The true Noada has come to
Tanga-tanga!"

Just then the Sari ran aground and O-aa was pitched head-foremost into
the water. O-aa had learned to swim in a lake above Kali, where there
were no reptiles; but she knew that these waters were full of them; she
had seen them often; so when she came to the surface she began swimming
for shore as though all the saurians in the world were at heels. Esther
Williams would not have been ashamed of the time in which the little cave
girl of Kali made the 100 meters to shore.

As she scrambled ashore, the awe-struck warriors of Tanga-tanga knelt
again and covered their eyes with their hands. O-aa glanced down to see
if she had lost her loin cloth, and was relieved to find that she had not.

XII

O-AA LOOKED AT the kneeling warriors in amazement; the situation was
becoming embarrassing. "What are you doing that for," she demanded. "Why
don't you get up?"

"May we stand in your presence?" asked a warrior.

O-aa thought quickly; perhaps this was a case of mistaken identity, but
she might as well make the best of it. If they were afraid of her, it
might be well to keep them that way.

"I'll think it over," she said.

Glancing around, she saw some of the warriors peeking at her; but the
moment she looked at them they lowered their heads. Even after they had
looked at her, O-aa discovered, they still didn't realize their mistake.
She saw that they were yellow men, with painted leather aprons, and
strange weapons, they wore helmets that O-aa thought were very becoming.

After she had taken her time looking them over, she said, "Now you may
stand;" and they all arose.

Several of the warriors approached her. "Our Noada," one of them said,
"we have been waiting for you for a long time--ever since the first Xexot
learned that only with your help can we hope to reach Karana after we
die; perhaps that was a million sleeps ago. Our priests told us that some
time you would come. Not so many sleeps ago one came out of the air whom
we thought was our Noada, but now we know that she was a false Noada.
Come with us to Tanga-tanga, where your priests will take you into your
temple."

O-aa was puzzled. Much that the man had said to her was as Greek to a
Hottentot; but little O-aa was smart enough to realize that she seemed to
be sitting pretty, and she wasn't going to upset the apple cart by asking
questions. Her greatest fear was that they might start asking her
questions.

XIII

DIAN THE BEAUTIFUL had learned many things since she had come to the city
of Lolo-lolo; and she had learned them without asking too many questions,
for one of the first things she had learned was that she was supposed to
know everything--even what people were thinking.

She had learned that this race of yellow men called themselves Xexots;
and that she had come direct from a place called Karana, which was up in
the sky somewhere, and that if they were good, she would see that they
were sent there when they died; but if they were bad, she could send them
to the Molop Az, the flaming sea upon which Pellucidar floats.

She already knew about the Molop Az, as what Pellucidarian does not? The
dead who are buried in the ground go there; they are carried down, piece
by piece, to the Molop Az by the wicked little men who dwell there.
Everyone knows this, because when graves are opened it is always
discovered that the bodies have been partially or entirely borne off.
That is why many of the peoples of Pellucidar place their dead in trees
where the birds may find them and carry them bit by bit to the Dead World
that hangs above the Land of Awful Shadow. When people killed an enemy,
they always buried his body in the ground; so that it would be sure to go
to Molop Az.

She also discovered that being a Noada, was even more important than
being an empress. Here in Lolo-lolo, even the king knelt down and covered
his eyes when he approached her; nor did he arise again until she had
given him permission.

It all puzzled Dian a great deal, but she was learning. People brought
her presents of food and ornaments and leather and many, many little
pieces of metal, thin and flat and with eight sides. These the priests,
who eventually took most of the presents, seemed to value more than
anything else; and if there were not a goodly supply left in the temple
every day, they became very angry and scolded the people. But no matter
how puzzled she was, Dian dared not ask questions; for she was
intuitively aware that if they came to doubt that she was all wise, they
would doubt that she was really a Noada; and then it would go hard with
her. After they had worshipped her so devoutly, they might tear her to
pieces if they discovered that she was an imposter.

The king of Lolo-lolo was called a go-sha; his name was Gamba. He came
often to worship at the shrine of the Noada. The high priest, Hor, said
that he had never come to the temple before except on feast days; when he
could get plenty to eat and drink and watch the dancing.

"You are very beautiful, my Noada," said Hor; "perhaps that is why the
go-sha comes more often now."

"Perhaps he wants to go to Karana when he dies," suggested Dian.

"I hope that that is all he wants," said Hor. "He has been a very wicked
man, failing to pay due respect to the priesthood and even deriding
them. It is said that he does not believe in Karana or Molop Az or the
teachings of Pu and that he used to say that no Noada would ever come to
Lolo-lolo because there was no such thing as a Noada."

"Now he knows better," said Dian.

Shortly after this conversation, Gamba came to the temple while Hor was
asleep; he knelt before Dian and covered his eyes with his hands.

"Arise, Gamba," said Dian.

She was seated on a little platform upon a carved stool covered with
painted leather and studded with bronze; she wore a soft leather robe
fastened at the waist with a girdle. The robe was caught over one
shoulder, leaving the other bare, and on one side it was slit to her hip
and fastened there with a bronze disc. Around her neck were eight strands
of carved ivory beads, each strand of a different length, the longest
reaching below her waist. Bronze bracelets and anklets adorned her limbs,
while surmounting this barbaric splendor was a headdress of feathers.

Dian the Beautiful, who had never before worn more than a sketchy loin
cloth, was most uncomfortable in all this finery, not being sufficiently
advanced in civilization to appreciate the necessity for loading the
feminine form with a lot of useless and silly gew-gaws. She knew that
Nature had created her beautiful and that no outward adornment could
enhance her charms.

Gamba appeared to be in hearty accord with this view, as his eyes seemed
to ignore the robe. Dian did not like the look in them.

"Did the go-sha come to worship?" inquired Dian the Goddess.

Gamba smiled. Was there a suggestion of irony in that smile? Dian thought
so.

"I came to visit," replied Gamba. "I do not have to come here to worship
you--that I do always."

"It is well that you worship your Noada," said Dian; "Pu will be pleased."

"It is not the Noada I worship," said Gamba, boldly; "it is the woman."

"The Noada is not pleased," said Dian, icily; "nor is Pu; nor will Hor,
the high priest, be pleased."

Gamba laughed. "Hor may fool the rest of them; but he doesn't fool me,
and I don't believe that he fools you. I don't know what accident brought
you here, nor what that thing was you came in; but I do know you are just
a woman, for there is no such thing as a Noada; and there are a lot of my
nobles and warriors who think just as I do."

"The Noada is not interested," said Dian, "the go-sha may leave."

Gamba settled himself comfortably on the edge of the dais. "I am the
go-sha," he said. "I come and go as I please. I please to remain."

"Then I shall leave," said Dian, rising.

"Wait," said Gamba. "If you are as wise as I think you are, you will see
that it is better to have Gamba for a friend than an enemy. The people
are dissatisfied; Hor bleeds them for all he can get out of them; and
since he has had you with whom to frighten them, he has bled them worse.
His priests threaten them with your anger if they do not bring more
gifts, especially pieces of bronze; and Hor is getting richer, and the
people are getting poorer. They say now that they have nothing left with
which to pay taxes; soon the go-sha will not have the leather to cover
his nakedness."

"Of these things, you should speak to Hor," said Dian.

"By that speech you convict yourself," exclaimed Gamba, triumphantly,
"but yours is a difficult role; I am surprised that you have not tripped
before."

"I do not know what you mean," said Dian.

"The Noada is the representative of Pu in Pellucidar, according to Hor;
she is omnipotent; she decides; she commands--not Hor. When you tell me to
speak to Hor of the things of which the people complain, you admit that
it is Hor who commands--not you."

"The Noada does command," snapped Dian; "she commands you to take your
complaints to Hor; just as the common people take their complaints to the
lesser priests--they do not burden their Noada with them, nor should you.
If they warrant it, Hor will lay them before me."

Gamba slapped his thigh. "By Pu!" he exclaimed, "but you are a bright
girl. You slipped out of that one very cleverly. Come! let us be friends.
We could go a long way together in Lolo-lolo. Being the wife of the
go-sha would not be so bad, and a lot more fun than being a Noada cooped
up in a temple like a prisoner--which you are. Yes, you are a prisoner;
and Hor is your jailer. Think it over, Noada; think it over."

"Think what over?" demanded a voice from the side of the room.

They both turned. It was Hor. He came and knelt before Dian, covering his
eyes with his hands; then he rose and glared at Gamba, but he spoke to
Dian. "You permit this man to sit upon this holy spot?" he demanded.

Gamba eyed Dian intently, waiting for her reply. It came: "If it pleases
him," she said, haughtily.

"It is against the laws that govern the temple," said Hor.

"I make the laws which govern the temple," said Dian; "and I make the
laws which govern the people of Lolo-lolo," and she looked at Gamba.

Hor looked very uncomfortable. Gamba was grinning.

Dian rose. "You are both excused," she said, and it sounded like a
command--it was a command. Then Dian stepped down from the dais and walked
toward the door of the temple.

"Where are you going?" demanded Hor.

"I am going to walk in the streets of Lolo-lolo and speak with my people."

"But you can't," cried Hor. "It is against the rules of the temple."

"Didn't you just hear your Noada say that she makes the temple laws?"
asked Gamba, still grinning.

"Wait, then," cried Hor, "until I summon the priests and the drums."

"I wish no priests and no drums," said Dian. "I wish to walk alone."

"I will go with you." Gamba and Hor spoke in unison, as though the line
had been rehearsed.

"I said that I wished to go alone," said Dian; and with that, she passed
through the great doorway of the temple out into the eternal sunlight of
the square.

"Well," said Gamba to Hor, "you got yourself a Noada, didn't you?" and he
laughed ironically as he said it.

"I shall pray Pu to guide her," said Hor, but his expression was more
that of an executioner than a suppliant.

"She'll probably guide Pu," said Gamba.

As the people saw their Noada walking alone in the square, they were
filled with consternation; they fell upon their knees at her approach and
covered their eyes with their hands until she bade them arise. She
stopped before a man and asked him what he did.

"I work in bronze," said the man. "I made those bracelets that you are
wearing, Noada."

"You make many pieces for your work?" Dian had never known a money system
before she came to Lolo-lolo; but here she had learned that one could get
food and other things in exchange for pieces of bronze, often called
"pieces" for short. They were brought in quantities to the temple and
given to her, but Hor took them.

"I get many pieces for my work," replied the man, "but--" He hung his head
and was silent.

"But what?" asked Dian.

"I am afraid to say," said the man; "I should not have spoken."

"I command you to speak," said Dian.

"The priests demand most of what I make, and the go-sha wants the rest. I
have barely enough left to buy food."

"How much were you paid for these bracelets that I am wearing?" demanded
Dian.

"Nothing."

"Why nothing?"

"The priests said that I should make them and give them as an offering to
the Noada, who would forgive my sins and see that I got into Karana when
I died."

"How much are they worth?"

"They are worth at least two hundred pieces," said the man; "they are the
most beautiful bracelets in Lolo-lolo."

"Come with me," said Dian, and she continued across the square.

On the opposite side of the square from the temple was the house of the
go-sha. Before the entrance stood a number of warriors on guard duty.
They knelt and covered their eyes as Noada approached, but when they
arose and Dian saw their faces she saw no reverence there--only fear and
hate.

"You are fighting men," said Dian. "Are you treated well?"

"We are treated as well as the slaves," said one, bitterly.

"We are given the leavings from the tables of the go-sha and the nobles,
and we have no pieces with which to buy more," said another.

"Why have you no pieces? Do you fight for nothing?"

"We are supposed to get five pieces every time go-sha sleeps, but we have
not been paid for many sleeps."

"Why?"

"The go-sha says that it is because the priests take all the pieces for
you," said the first warrior, boldly.

"Come with me," said Dian.

"We are on guard here, and we cannot leave."

"I, your Noada, command it; come!" said Dian, imperiously.

"If we do as the Noada commands us," said one, "She will protect us."

"But Gamba will have us beaten," said another.

"Gamba will not have you beaten if you always obey me. It is Gamba who
will be beaten if he harms you for obeying me."

The warriors followed her as she stopped and talked with men and women,
each of which had a grievance against either the priests or the go-sha.
Each one she commanded to follow her; and finally, with quite a goodly
procession following her, she returned to the temple.

Gamba and Hor had been standing in the entrance watching her; now they
followed her into the temple. She mounted the dais and faced them.

"Gamba and Hor," she said, "you did not kneel as your Noada passed you at
the temple door. You may kneel now."

The men hesitated. They were being humiliated before common citizens and
soldiers. Hor was the first to weaken; he dropped to his knees and
covered his eyes. Gamba looked up defiantly at Dian. Just the shadow of a
smile, tinged by irony, played upon her lips. She turned her eyes upon
the soldiers standing beside Gamba.

"Warriors," she said, "take this--" She did not have to say more, for
Gamba had dropped to his knees; he had guessed what was in her mind and
trembling on her lips.

After she had allowed the two to rise, she spoke to Hor. "Have many
pieces of bronze brought," she said.

"What for?" asked Hor.

"The Noada does not have to explain what she wishes to do with her own,"
said Dian.

"But Noada," sputtered Hor; "the pieces belong to the temple."

"The pieces and the temple, too, belong to me; the temple was built for
me, the pieces were brought as gifts for me. Send for them."

"How many?" asked Hor.

"All that six priests can carry. If I need more, I can send them back."

With six priests trailing him, Hor left the apartment, trembling with
rage; but he got many pieces of bronze, and he had them brought into the
throne room of the temple.

"To that man," said Dian, pointing at the worker in bronze, "give two
hundred pieces in payment for these bracelets for which he was never
paid."

"But, Noada," expostulated Hor, "the bracelets were gift offerings."

"They were forced offerings--give the man the pieces." She turned to
Gamba. "How many times have you slept since your warriors were last paid?"

Gamba flushed under his yellow skin. "I do not know," he said, surlily.

"How many?" she asked the warriors.

"Twenty-one times," said one of them.

"Give each of these men five pieces for each of the twenty-one sleeps,"
directed Dian, "and have all the warriors come immediately to get
theirs"; then she directed the payment of various sums to each of the
others who had accompanied her to the temple.

Hor was furious; but Gamba, as he came to realize what this meant, was
enjoying it, especially Hor's discomfiture; and Dian became infinitely
more desirable to him than she had been before. What a mate she would be
for a go-sha!

"Now," said Dian, when all had received their pieces, "hereafter, all
offerings to your Noada will be only what you can afford to give--perhaps
one piece out of every ten or twenty; and to your go-sha, the same.
Between sleeps I shall sit here, and Hor will pay to everyone who comes
the number of pieces each has been forced to give. Those who think one
piece in ten is fair, may return that amount to Hor. If you have any
other grievances, bring them to your Noada; and they will be corrected.
You may depart now."

They looked at her in wonder and adoration, the citizens and the warriors
whose eyes had first been filled with fear and hatred of her; and after
they had knelt, they paid to Hor one piece out of every ten they had
received. Laughing and jubilant, they left the temple to spread the glad
tidings through the city.

"Pu will be angry," said Hor; "the pieces were Pu's."

"You are a fool," said Dian, "and if you don't mend your ways I shall
appoint a new high priest."

"You can't do that," Hor almost screamed, "and you can't have any more of
my pieces of bronze!"

"You see," said Gamba to Dian, "that what I told you is true--Hor collects
all the pieces for himself."

"I spoke with many people in the square before the temple," said Dian,
"and I learned many things from them--one of them is that they hate you
and they hate me. That is why I called you a fool, Hor; because you do
not know that these people are about ready to rise up and kill us all--the
robbed citizens and the unpaid warriors. After I return their pieces that
have been stolen from them, they will still hate you two; but they will
not hate me; therefore, if you are wise, you will always do what I tell
you to do--and don't forget that I am your Noada."


XIV

DIAN SLEPT. Her sleeping apartment was darkened against the eternal
noonday sun. She lay on a leather couch--a tanned hide stretched over a
crude wooden frame. She wore only a tiny loin cloth, for the apartment
was warm; She dreamed of David.

A man crept into her apartment on bare feet, and moved silently toward
the couch. Dian stirred restlessly; and the man stopped, waiting. Dian
dreamed that a tarag was creeping upon David; and she leaped up, awake,
to warn him; so that she stood face to face with one of the lesser
priests who carried a slim bronze dagger in one hand.

Face to face with Death in that darkened chamber, Dian thought fast. She
saw that the man was trembling, as he raised the dagger to the height of
his shoulder--in a moment, he would leap forward and strike.

Dian stamped her foot upon the floor. "Kneel!" she commanded, imperiously.

The man hesitated; his dagger hand dropped to his side, and he fell to
his knees.

"Drop the dagger," said Dian. The man dropped it, and Dian snatched it
from the floor.

"Confess!" directed the girl. "Who sent you here? but do I need ask? It
was Hor?"

The priest nodded. "May Pu forgive me, for I did not wish to come. Hor
threatened me; he said he would have me killed if I did not do this
thing."

"You may go now," said Dian, "and do not come again."

"You will never see me again, my Noada," said the priest. "Hor lied; he
said you were not the true Noada, but now I know that you are--Pu watches
over and protects you."

After the priest had left the apartment, Dian dressed slowly and went to
the temple throne room. As usual, she was ushered in by priests to the
accompaniment of drums and chants. The priests, she noticed, were
nervous; they kept glancing at her apprehensively. She wondered if they,
too, had been commissioned to kill her.

The room was filled with people--priests, citizens, warriors. Gamba was
there and Hor. The latter dropped to his knees and covered his eyes long
before she was near him. There seemed to be considerable excitement.

By the time she took her place upon the dais everyone in the room was
kneeling. After she had bidden them arise, they pressed forward to lay
their grievances at her feet. She saw the priests whispering excitedly
among themselves.

"What has happened, Hor?" she asked. "Why is everyone so excited?"

Hor cleared his throat. "It was nothing," he said; "I would not annoy my
Noada with it."

"Answer my question," snapped Dian.

"One of the lesser priests was found hanging by his neck in his room,"
explained Hor. "He was dead."

"I know," said Dian; "it was the priest called Saj."

"Our Noada knows all," whispered one citizen to another.

After the people had aired their grievances and those who felt that they
had been robbed were reimbursed, Dian spoke to all those assembled in the
temple.

"Here are the new laws," she said: "Of all the pieces of bronze which you
receive, give one out of ten to the go-sha. These pieces will be used to
keep the city clean and in repair and to pay the warriors who defend
Lolo-lolo. Give the same number of pieces for the support of my temple.
Out of these pieces the temple will be kept in repair, the priests fed
and paid, and some will be given to the go-sha for the pay of his
warriors, if he does not have enough, for the warriors defend the temple.
You will make these payments after each twenty sleeps. Later, I will
select an honest citizen to look after the temple pieces.

"Now, one thing more. I want fifty warriors to watch over me at all
times. They will be the Noada's Guard. After every sleep that your Noada
sleeps, each warrior will receive ten pieces. Are there fifty among you
who would like to serve on the Noada's guard?"

Every warrior in the temple stepped forward, and from them Dian selected
the fifty largest and strongest.

"I shall sleep better hereafter," she said to Hor. Hor said nothing.

But if Hor said nothing, he was doing a great deal of thinking; for he
knew that if he were ever to regain his power and his riches, he must rid
himself of the new Noada.

While the temple was still jammed with citizens and warriors, alarm
drums, sounded outside in the city; and as the warriors were streaming
into the square, a messenger came running from the city gates.

"The Tanga-tangas have come!" he cried; "they have forced the gates and
they are in the city!"

Instantly all was confusion; the citizens ran in one direction--away from
the gates--and the warriors ran in the other to meet the raiding
Tanga-tangas. Gamba ran out with his warriors, just an undisciplined mob
with bronze swords. A few had spears, but the bows and arrows of all of
them were in their barracks.

The fifty warriors whom Dian had chosen remained to guard her and the
temple. The lesser priests fell to praying, repeating over and over, "Our
Noada will give us victory! Our Noada will save us!" But Hor was more
practical; he stopped their praying long enough to have them close the
massive temple doors and bar them securely; then he turned to Dian.

"Turn back the enemy," he said; "strike them dead with the swords of our
warriors, drive them from the city, and let them take no prisoners back
into slavery. Only you can save us!"

Dian noticed an exultant note in Hor's voice, but she guessed that he was
not exulting in her power to give victory to the Lolo-lolos. She was on a
spot, and she knew it.

They heard the shouting of fighting men and the clash of weapons, the
screams of the wounded and the dying. They heard the battle sweep into
the square before the temple; there was clamoring before the temple doors
and the sound of swords beating upon them.

Hor was watching Dian. "Destroy them, Noada!" he cried with thinly veiled
contempt in his voice.

The massive doors withstood the attack, and the battle moved on beyond
the temple. Later it swept back, and Dian could hear the victory cries of
the Tanga-tangas. After a while the sounds died away in the direction of
the city gates; and the warriors opened the temple doors, for they knew
that the enemy had departed.

In the square lay the bodies of many dead; they were thick before the
temple doors--mute evidence of the valor with which the warriors of
Lolo-lolo had defended their Noada.

When the results of the raid were finally known, it was discovered that
over a hundred of Gamba's warriors had been killed and twice that number
wounded; that all the Tanga-tangan slaves in the city had been liberated
and that over a hundred men and women of Lolo-lolo had been taken away
into slavery; while the Lolo-loloans had taken but a single prisoner.

This prisoner was brought to the temple and questioned in the presence of
Dian and Gamba and Hor. He was very truculent and cocky.

"We won the great victory," he said; "and if you do not liberate me the
warriors of our Noada will come again, and this time they will leave not
a single Lolo-loloan alive that they do not take back into slavery."

"You have no Noada," said Gamba. "There is one Noada, and she is here."

The prisoner laughed derisively. "How then did we win such a glorious
victory?" he demanded. "It was with the help of our Noada, the true
Noada--this one here is a false Noada; our victory proves it."

"There is only one Noada," said Hor, but he didn't say which one.

"You are right," agreed the prisoner; "there is only one Noada, and she
is in Tanga-tanga. She came in a great temple that floated upon the
water, and she leaped into the sea and swam to the shore where we were
waiting to receive her. She swam through the waters that are infested
with terrible monsters, but she was unharmed; only Pu or a Noada could do
that--and now she has given us this great victory."

The people of Lolo-lolo were crushed; scarcely a family but had had a
member killed, wounded, or taken into slavery. They had no heart for
anything; they left the dead lying in the square and in the streets until
the stench became unbearable, and all the time the lesser priests, at the
instigation of Hor, went among them, whispering that their Noada was a
false Noada, or otherwise this catastrophe would never have befallen them.

Only a few came to the temple now to worship, and few were the offerings
brought. One, bolder than another, asked Dian why she had let this
disaster overwhelm them. Dian knew that she must do something to
counteract the effects of the gossip that the lesser priests were
spreading, or her life would not be worth a single piece of bronze. She
knew of the work of Hor and the priests, for one of the warriors who
guarded her had told her.

"It was not I who brought this disaster upon you," she answered the man;
"it was Pu. He was punishing Lolo-lolo because of the wickedness of those
who robbed and cheated the people of Lolo-lolo."

It was not very logical; but then the worshippers of Pu were not very
logical, or they would not have worshipped him; and those who heard her
words, spread them through the city; and there arose a faction with which
Hor and the lesser priests were not very popular.

Dian sent for Gamba and commanded him to have the dead removed from the
city and disposed of, for the stench was so terrible that one could
scarcely breathe.

"How can I have them removed?" he asked; "no longer have we any slaves to
do such work."

"The men of Lolo-lolo can do it, then," said Dian.

"They will not," Gamba told her.

"Then take warriors and compel them to do it," snapped the Noada.

"I am your friend," said Gamba, "but I cannot do that for you the people
would tear me to pieces."

"Then I shall do it," said Dian, and she summoned her warrior guard and
told them to collect enough citizens to remove the dead from the city;
"and you can take Hor and all the other priests with you, too," she added.

Hor was furious. "I will not go," he said.

"Take him!" snapped Dian, and a warrior prodded him in the small of the
back with his spear and forced him out into the square.

Gamba looked at her with admiration. "Noada or not," he said, "you are a
very brave woman. With you as my mate, I could defy all my enemies and
conquer Tanga-tanga into the bargain."

"I am not for you," said Dian.

The city was cleaned up, but too late--an epidemic broke out. Men and
women died; and the living were afraid to touch them, nor would Dian's
guard again force the citizens to do this work. Once more the lesser
priests went among the people spreading the word that the disasters which
had befallen them were all due to the false Noada.

"Pu," they said, "is punishing us because we have received her."

Thus things went from bad to worse for Dian the Beautiful; until, at
last, it got so bad that crowds gathered in the square before the temple,
cursing and reviling her; and then those who still believed in her,
incited by the agents of Gamba, fell upon them; and there was rioting and
bloodshed.

Hor took advantage of this situation to spread the rumor that Gamba and
the false Noada were planning to destroy the temple and rule the city,
defying Pu and the priests; and that when this happened, Pu would lay
waste the city and hurl all the people into the Molop Az. This was just
the sort of propaganda of terror that would influence an ignorant and
superstitious people. Remember, they were just simple people of the
Bronze Age. They had not yet reached that stage of civilization where
they might send children on holy crusades to die by thousands; they were
not far enough advanced to torture unbelievers with rack and red-hot
irons, or burn heretics at the stake; so they believed this folderol that
more civilized people would have spurned with laughter while killing all
Jews.

At last Gamba came to Dian. "My own warriors are turning against me," he
told her. "They believe the stories that Hor is spreading; so do most of
the citizens. There are some who believe in you yet and some who are
loyal to me; but the majority have been terrified into believing that Hor
speaks the truth and that if they do not destroy us, Pu will destroy
them."

"What are we to do?" asked Dian.

"The only chance we have to live, is to escape from the city," replied
Gamba, "and even that may be impossible. We are too well-known to escape
detection--your white skin would betray you, and every man, woman, and
child in Lolo-lolo knows his go-sha."

"We might fight our way out," suggested Dian. "I am sure that my warriors
are still loyal to me."

Gamba shook his head. "They are not," he said. "Some of my own warriors
have told me that they are no longer your protectors, but your jailers.
Hor has won them."

Dian thought a moment, and then she said, "I have a plan--listen." She
whispered for a few minutes to Gamba, and when she had finished, Gamba
left the temple; and Dian went to her sleeping apartment--but she did not
sleep. Instead, she stripped off her robe of office and donned her own
single garment that she had worn when she first came to Lolo-lolo; then
she put the long leather robe on over it.

By a back corridor she came to a room that she knew would be used only
before and after ceremonies; in it were a number of large chests. Dian
sat down on one of them and waited.

A man came into the temple with his head so bandaged that only one eye
was visible; he had come, as so many came, to be healed by his Noada.
Unless they died, they were always healed eventually.

The temple was almost deserted; only the members of the Noada's Guard
loitered there near the entrance. They were there on Hor's orders to see
that the Noada not escape, Hor having told them that she was planning to
join Gamba in his house across the square, from which they were arranging
to launch their attack against the temple.

The man wore the weapons of a common warrior, and he appeared very tired
and weak, probably from loss of blood. He said nothing; he just went and
waited before the throne, waited for his Noada to come--the Noada that
would never come again. After a while he commenced to move about the
throne room, looking at different objects. Occasionally he glanced toward
the warriors loitering near the door. They paid no attention to him. In
fact they had just about forgotten him when he slipped through a doorway
at the opposite side of the room.

The temple was very quiet, and there were only a few people in the square
outside. The noonday sun beat down; and, as always, only those who had
business outside were in the streets. Lolo-lolo was lethargic; but it was
the calm before the storm. The lesser priests and the other enemies of
Gamba and the Noada were organizing the mob that was about to fall upon
them and destroy them. In many houses were groups of citizens and
warriors waiting for the signal.

Two priests came into the throne room of the temple; they wore their
long, leather robes of office and their hideous masks; they passed out of
the temple through the group of warriors loitering by the door. Once out
in the square, they commenced to cry, "Come, all true followers of Pu!
Death to the false Noada! Death to Gamba!" It was the signal!

Warriors and citizens poured from houses surrounding the square. Some of
them ran toward the house of the go-sha, and some ran for the temple; and
they were all shouting, "Death! Death to Gamba! Death to the false Noada!"

The two priests crossed the square and followed one of the winding
streets beyond, chanting their hymn of death; and as they passed, more
citizens and warriors ran screaming toward the square, thirsting for the
blood of their quarry.


XV

THE SURVIVORS OF THE Amoz had finally brought the ship into the harbor
beneath the cliffs of Amoz. David and Hodon and Ghak the Hairy One and
the little old man whose name was not Dolly Dorcas had at last completed
the long trek from Amoz and come again to Sari.

David found the people saddened and Perry in tears. "What is the matter?"
he demanded. "What is wrong? Where is Dian that she has not come to meet
me?"

Perry was sobbing so, that he could not answer. The headman, who had been
in charge during their absence, spoke: "Dian the Beautiful is lost to
us," he said.

"Lost! What do you mean?" demanded David; then they told him, and David
Innes's world crumbled from beneath him. He looked long at Perry, and
then he went and placed a hand upon his shoulder. "You loved her, too,"
he said; "you would not have harmed her. Tears will do no good. Build me
another balloon, and perhaps it will drift to the same spot to which she
was carried."

They both worked on the new balloon; in fact everyone in Sari worked on
it, and the work gave them relief from sorrowing. Many hunters went out,
and the dinosaurs which were to furnish the peritonea for the envelope of
the gas bag were soon killed. While they were out hunting, the women wove
the basket and braided the many feet of rope; and while this was going
on, the runner returned from Thuria.

David was in Sari when he came, and the man came at once to him. "I have
news of Dian the Beautiful," he said. "A man of Thuria, saw the balloon
floating across the nameless strait at the end of the world, high in the
air.

"Could he see if Dian was still in it?" asked David.

"No," replied the runner, "it was too high in the air."

"At least we know where to look," said David, but his heart was heavy;
because he know that there was little chance that Dian could have
survived the cold, the hunger, and the thirst.

Before the second balloon was finished the survivors of the Sari returned
to the village; and they told Hodon all that they knew of O-aa. "She told
us to tell you," said one, "that she was adrift in the Sari on the Lural
Az. She said that when you knew that, you would come and get her."

Hodon turned to David. "May I have men and a ship with which to go in
search of O-aa?" he asked.

"You may have the ship and as many men as you need," replied David.


XVI

CHANTING THEIR horrid song of death, the two priests walked through the
narrow streets of Lolo-lolo all the way to the gates of the city. "Go to
the great square," they shouted to the guard. "Hor has sent us to summon
you. Every fighting man is needed to overcome those who would defend the
false Noada and Gamba. Hurry! We will watch the gates."

The warriors hesitated. "It is Hor's command," said one of the priests;
"and with Gamba and the Noada dead, Hor will rule the city; so you had
better obey him, if you know what's good for you."

The warriors thought so, too; and they hurried off toward the square.
When they had gone, the two priests opened the gates and passed out of
the city. Turning to the right, they crossed to a forest into which they
disappeared; and as soon as they were out of sight of the city, they
removed their masks and their robes of office.

"You are not only a very brave girl," said Gamba, "but you are a very
smart one."

"I am afraid that I shall have to be a whole lot smarter," replied Dian,
"if I am ever to get back to Sari."

"What is Sari?" asked Gamba.

"It is the country from which I came."

"I thought you came from Karana," said Gamba.

"Oh, no you didn't," said Dian, and they both laughed.

"Where is Sari?" asked Gamba.

"It is across the nameless strait," replied Dian. "Do you know where we
might find a canoe?"

"What is a canoe?" asked Gamba.

Dian was surprised. Was it possible that this man did not know what a
canoe was? "It is what men use to cross the water in," she replied.

"But no one ever crosses the water," protested Gamba. "No one could live
on the nameless strait. It is full of terrible creatures; and when the
wind blows, the water stands up on end."

"We shall have to build a canoe," said Dian.

"If my Noada says so, we shall have to build a canoe," said Gamba, with
mock reverence.

"My name is Dian," said the girl; so the man who had been a king and the
woman who had been a goddess went down through the forest toward the
shore of the nameless strait.

Beneath the long robes of the priests, they had brought what weapons they
could conceal. They each had a sword and a dagger, and Gamba had a bow
and many arrows.

On the way to the shore. Dian looked for trees suitable for the building
of a canoe. She knew that it would be a long and laborious job; but if
the Mezops could do it with stone tools, it should be much easier with
the daggers and swords of bronze; and then, of course there was always
fire with which to hollow out the inside.

When they came to the shore of the nameless strait, they followed it
until Gamba was sure there would be no danger of their being discovered
by the people of Lolo-lolo or the people of Tanga-tanga.

"They do not come in this direction much," he said, "nor often so far
from the cities. The hunters go more in the other direction or inland.
There are supposed to be dangerous animals here, and there is said to be
a tribe of wild savages who come up from below to hunt here."

"We should have an interesting time building the canoe," commented Dian.


AT LAST THE SECOND balloon was completed. It was just like the first,
except that it had a rip cord and was stocked with food and water,
David's extra weight and the weight of the food and water being
compensated for by the absence of the heavy rope which had been attached
to the first balloon.

When the time came to liberate the great bag, the people of Sari stood in
silence. They expected that they would never see David Innes again, and
David shared their belief.

"Dod-burn it!" exclaimed the little old man whose name was not Dolly
Dorcas, "there goes a man, as the feller said."


XVII

OPE, THE HIGH PRIEST of the temple at Tanga-tanga, had acquired a Noada;
but she was not at all what he had imagined Noada should be. At first she
had been docile and tractable, amenable to suggestion; that was while
O-aa was learning the ropes, before she learned that she was supposed to
be all-wise and all-powerful, deriving her omniscience and omnipotence
from some one they called Pu who dwelt in a place called Karana.

Later on, she became somewhat of a trial to Ope. In the first place, she
had no sense of the value of pieces of bronze. When they were brought as
offerings to her, she would wait until she had a goodly collection in a
large bowl which stood beside her throne; then, when the temple was
filled with people, she would scoop handfuls of the pieces from the bowl
and throw them to the crowd, laughing as she watched them scramble for
them.

This made O-aa very popular with the people, but it made Ope sad. He had
never had such large congregations in the temple before, but the net
profits had never been so small. Ope spoke to the Noada about
this--timidly, because, unlike Hor of Lolo-lolo, he was a simple soul and
guileless; he believed in the divinity of the Noada.

Furp, the go-sha of Tanga-tanga, was not quite so simple; but, like many
an agnostic, he believed in playing safe. However, he talked this matter
over with Ope, because it had long been the custom for Ope to split the
temple take with him, and now his share was approaching the vanishing
point, so he suggested to Ope that it might be well to suggest to the
Noada that, while charity was a sweet thing, it really should begin at
home. So Ope spoke to the Noada, and Furp listened.

"Why," he asked, "does the Noada throw away the offerings that are
brought to the temple?"

"Because the people like them," replied O-aa. "Haven't you noticed how
they scramble for them?"

"They belong to the temple."

"They are brought to me," contradicted O-aa. "Anyway, I don't see why you
should make a fuss over some little pieces of metal. I do not want them.
What good are they?"

"Without them we could not pay the priests, or buy food, or keep the
temple in repair," explained Ope.

"Bosh!" exclaimed O-aa, or an expletive with the same general
connotation. "The people bring food, which we can eat; and the priests
could keep the temple in repair in payment for their food; they are a
lazy lot, anyway. I have tried to find out what they do besides going
around frightening people into bringing gifts, and wearing silly masks,
and dancing. Where I come from, they would either hunt or work."

Ope was aghast. "But you come from Karana, Noada!" he exclaimed. "No one
works in Karana."

O-aa realized that she had pulled a boner, and that she would have to do
a little quick thinking. She did.

"How do you know?" she demanded. "Were you ever in Karana?"

"No, Noada," admitted Ope.

Furp was becoming more and more confused, but he was sure of one point,
and he brought it out. "Pu would be angry," he said, "if he knew that you
were throwing away the offerings that the people brought to his temple,
and Pu can punish even a Noada."

"Pu had better not interfere," said O-aa; "my father is a king, and my
eleven brothers are very strong men."

"What?" screamed Ope. "Do you know what you are saying? Pu is
all-powerful, and anyway a Noada has no father and no brothers."

"Were you ever a Noada?" asked O-aa. "No, of course you never were. It is
time you learned something about Noadas. Noadas have a lot of everything.
I have not one father only, but three, and besides my eleven brothers, I
have four sisters, and they are all Noadas. Pu is my son, he does what I
tell him to. Is there anything more you would like to know about Noadas?"

Ope and Furp discussed this conversation in private later on. "I never
before knew all those things about Noadas," said Ope.

"Our Noada seems to know what she's talking about," observed Furp.

"She is evidently more powerful than Pu," argued Ope, "as otherwise he
would have struck her dead for the things she said about him."

"Perhaps we had better worship our Noada instead of Pu," suggested Furp.

"You took the words out of my mouth," said Ope.

Thus, O-aa was sitting pretty in Tanga-tanga, as Hodon the Fleet One set
sail from Amoz on his hopeless quest and David Innes drifted toward the
end of the world in the Dinosaur II, as Perry christened his second
balloon.



PART III: TIGER GIRL


I

"You say there is another shore," said Gamba to Dian; "perhaps there is,
but we shall never reach it."

"We can try," replied the girl. "Had we remained in your land we should
surely have been killed, either by the savages of which you told me, by
the wild beasts, or by your own people. If we must die, it is better to
die trying to reach safety than to have remained where there never could
be safety for us."

"I sometimes wish," said Gamba, "that you had never come to Lolo-lolo."

"You don't wish it any more than I," replied the girl.

"We were getting along very well without a Noada," continued the man,
"and then you had to come and upset everything."

"Things should have been upset," said Dian "You and Hor were robbing the
people. Pretty soon they would have risen and killed you both, which
would have been a good thing for Lolo-lolo."

"I might not have gotten into all this trouble," said Gamba, "if I hadn't
fallen in love with you. Hor knew it; and he made that an excuse to turn
the people against me."

"You had no business falling in love with me. I already have a mate."

"He is a long way off," said Gamba, "and you will never see him again. If
you had come to my house and been my wife before all this happened, you
and I could have ruled Lolo-lolo as long as we lived. For a bright girl
it seems to me that you are very stupid."

"You were stupid to fall in love with me," said Dian, "but in a moment it
may not make any difference one way or another--look what is coming," and
she pointed.

"Pu be merciful!" cried the man. "This is the end. I told you that we
should not come out upon this water which stands on end and is filled
with death."

A great head upon a slender neck rose ten feet above the surface of the
sea. Cold, reptilian eyes glared at them, and jaws armed with countless
teeth gaped to seize them. The creature moved slowly towards them as
though knowing that they could not escape, the water rippling along its
glossy sides.

"Your bow and arrow!" cried Dian. "Put an arrow into its body at the
waterline, and bend your bow as you have never bent it before. When it
comes closer we will use our swords."

Gamba stood up in the canoe and drew a three-foot arrow back to its very
tip; and when he released it, it drove true to its mark; burying
two-thirds of its length into the saurian's body at the waterline.
Screaming with pain and hissing with rage, the creature seized the end of
the shaft and jerked it from the wound; and with it came a stream of
blood spurting out and crimsoning the surface of the water. Then, still
hissing and screaming, it bore down upon the two relatively puny humans
in the frail canoe. Dian was standing now, her bronze sword
grasped tightly in one hand, her bronze knife in the other. Gamba drove
another arrow into the reptile's breast; and then dropped his bow into
the bottom of the canoe and seized his sword.

Now, as though by magic, hundreds of small fishes, about a foot long,
attracted by the blood of the saurian, were attacking the maddened
creature, which paused to wrench the second shaft from its breast.
Ignoring the voracious, sharp-fanged fishes which were tearing it to
pieces, it came on again to attack the authors of its first hurts. With
arched neck it bore down upon them; and as it struck to seize Dian, she
met it with her bronze sword; striking at the long neck and inflicting a
terrible wound, which caused the creature to recoil. But it came on
again, raising a flipper with which it could easily have overturned or
swamped the frail craft.

Gamba, realizing the danger, struck a terrific blow at the flipper while
it was still poised above the gunwale of the canoe; and so much strength
did he put into it that he severed the member entirely; and
simultaneously Dian struck again at the neck. The great head flopped
sideways, and with a final convulsive struggle the saurian rolled over on
its side.

"You see," said Dian, "that there is still hope that we may reach the
other shore. There are few creatures in any sea more terrible than the
one which we have killed."

"I wouldn't have given one piece of bronze for our chances," said Gamba.

"They didn't look very bright," admitted Dian, "but I have been in much
worse dangers than that before; and I have always come through all right.
You see, I did not live in a walled city as you have all your life; and
my people were always open to the attacks of wild beasts, and the men of
enemy tribes."

They had taken up their paddles again, but now they were out where the
full strength of the current gripped them; and they were moving far more
rapidly down the strait than they were across it. Because of the current
it was hard to keep the bow of the canoe pointed in the right direction.
It was a constant and exhausting struggle. They were still in sight of
the shoreline they had left, though the distant shore was not yet visible.

"We're not making very much progress in the right direction," said Dian.

"I am very tired," said Gamba. "I do not believe that I can paddle much
longer."

"I am about exhausted myself," said the girl. "Perhaps we had better let
the current carry us along. There is only one place that it can take us
and that is into the Korsar Az. There, there will be no strong current
and we can come to shore. As a matter of fact, I believe that we can get
much closer to Sari along that coast than we would have been if we had
been able to paddle directly across the strait." So Dian the Beautiful
and Gamba the Xexot drifted along the nameless strait toward the Korsar
Az.


BORNE ALONG BY A gentle wind, David Innes drifted down across the Land of
Awful Shadow toward the end of the world and the nameless strait, in the
balloon which Abner Perry had named the Dinosaur II. He knew that his was
an almost hopeless venture, with the chances of his balloon coming down
near the exact spot where Dian had landed almost nil; and even if it did,
where was he to look for her?

Where would she be, in a strange land, entirely unknown to her, provided
that she was still alive, which seemed beyond reason; for, supplied with
warm coverings as he was, and provided with food and water, he had
already suffered considerably from the cold; and he knew that Dian had
been without food, or water, or covering of any kind, other than her
scant loin cloth, at the time that her balloon had broken away.

Yet somehow he thought that she was not dead. It did not seem possible to
him that that beautiful creature, so full of life and vigor, could be
lying somewhere cold and still, or that her body had been devoured by
wild beasts. And so he clung to hope with an almost fanatic zeal.

At last he came to the nameless strait, across which he had never been.
He saw the waters of it below him, and far to his right two figures in a
canoe. He wondered idly who they might be and where they might be going
upon those lonely, danger-ridden waters; and then he forgot them and
strained his eyes ahead in search of the farther shore, where, if at all,
he felt sure that he might find his mate.

His balloon was floating at an altitude of only about a thousand feet
when he approached the opposite side of the strait. His attention was
attracted by two things. On the beach below him lay the wreck of a
dismasted ship, which he recognized immediately; for he and Perry had
designed her and superintended her building. He recognized her, and he
knew that she was the Sari.

The other thing that had attracted his attention was a walled city, not
far from the shore of the nameless strait. He knew that O-aa had been
aboard the Sari when she had been abandoned by her crew; and he realized
that perhaps O-aa had been captured by the people who lived in that city.

The presence of a walled city in Pellucidar was sufficiently amazing to
arouse many conjectures in his mind. In a walled city there might live a
semi-civilized people who would have befriended O-aa; and if Dian had
landed near it, she might be in the city, too; or the people might have
heard something about her, for a balloon would certainly have aroused
their interest and their curiosity.

Now he saw that his balloon had accomplished that very thing; for people
were running from the city gates, staring up at him, and calling to him.
They might be cursing and threatening him, for all he knew; but he
decided to come down, for here were people, and where there would be
rumors; and even the faintest rumor might lead him upon the right track.
So he pulled the rip cord, and the Dinosaur II settled slowly towards
Tanga-tanga.

As the basket of the balloon touched the ground David Innes found himself
surrounded by yellow-skinned warriors, wearing leather aprons painted
with gay designs, that fell from their waists both before and behind. On
their heads were leather helmets; and they carried swords and knives of
bronze, as well as bows and arrows.

Some of the warriors shouted, "It is Pu. He has come to visit our Noada."

"It is not Pu," cried others. "He comes in the same thing that brought
the false Noada of Lolo-lolo."

David Innes understood the words, but not the purport of them; only that
the reference to the false Noada who had come in a balloon convinced him
that Dian the Beautiful had been here. He did not know who Pu might be,
but he saw that they were divided among themselves as to his identity;
and he also saw that no weapon was drawn against him.

"I have come down out of the sky," he said, "to visit your chief. Take me
to him."

To many of the men of Tanga-tanga this sounded as though Pu spoke; and
many who had said that it was not Pu wavered in their convictions.

"Go to the house of Furp, the go-sha," said one who was evidently an
officer to a warrior, "and tell him that we are bringing a stranger to
the temple to visit him and our Noada. If he is indeed Pu, our Noada will
recognize him."

The gas bag, partially deflated, still billowed limply above the basket;
and when David Innes stepped out and relieved it of his weight the
balloon rose slowly and majestically into the air and floated away inland
across the city of Tanga-tanga.

When David stood among them, those who thought that he was Pu, the god,
fell upon their knees and covered their eyes with their hands. David
looked at them in astonishment for a moment and then he quite suddenly
realized that they must believe him a deity coming down from heaven; and
that the name of this deity was Pu; and he thought to himself, what would
a god do under like circumstances? He hazarded a guess, and he guessed
right.

"Arise," he said. "Now escort me to the temple," for he recalled that the
officer had said that that was where they were taking him. The officer's
reference to "our Noada" and to "Furp, the go-sha," meant little or
nothing to him; but he decided to maintain a godly silence on the subject
until he did know.

They led him through the city gate and along narrow, crooked streets
flanked by mean little houses of clay. Here he saw women and children,
the women wearing painted leather aprons like the men and having
headdresses of feathers, while the children were naked. He noted with
some measure of astonishment the bronze weapons and ornaments, and
realized that these people had advanced into the Age of Bronze. Their
walled city, their painted aprons, craftsmanship displayed in their
weapons and ornaments, suggested that if the inner world were closely
following the stages of human development upon the outer crust, these
people might soon be entering the Iron Age.

To David Innes, if his mind had not been solely devoted to the finding of
his mate, these people might have presented an interesting study in
anthropology; but he thought of them now only as a means to an end.

They had seen Dian's balloon. Had they seen her? Did they know what had
become of her?


II

IN THE CENTER of the city was an open plaza, on one side of which was a
large, domed building, a replica of the temple where Dian the Beautiful
had ruled for a short time in the city of Lolo-lolo. To this building
David Innes was conducted.

Within it were many people. Some of them fell upon their knees and
covered their eyes as he entered. These were the ones who were not taking
any chances; but the majority stood and waited. Upon a dais at the far
end of the room sat a girl in a long leather robe, gorgeously painted in
many colors with strange designs. Upon her head was a massive feather
headdress. Upon her arms were many bronze bracelets and armlets, and
around her neck were strands of ivory beads.

As David Innes came toward the throne, O-aa recognized him. They had
brought her word that one who might be Pu had come to visit Furp the
go-sha; and now, nimble-witted as ever, she realized that she must
perpetuate this erroneous belief as the most certain way in which to
insure David's safety.

She rose and looked angrily upon those who had remained standing.

"Kneel!" she commanded imperiously. "Who dares stand in the presence of
Pu?"

David Innes was close enough now to recognize her; and as she saw
recognition in his eyes, she forestalled anything he might be about to
say: "The Noada welcomes you, Pu, to your temple in the city of
Tanga-tanga"; and she held out her hands to him and indicated that he was
to step to the dais beside her. When he had done so, she whispered, "Tell
them to rise."

"Arise!" said David Innes in a commanding voice. It was a sudden
transition from mortality to godhood, but David rose to the occasion,
following the lead of little O-aa, daughter of Oose, king of Kali.

"What are your wishes, Pu?" asked O-aa. "Would you like to speak with
your Noada alone?"

"I wish to speak with my Noada alone," said David Innes with great and
godly dignity; "and then I will speak with Furp the go-sha," he added.

O-aa turned to Ope the high priest. "Clear the temple," she said, "but
tell the people to be prepared to return later with offerings for Pu.
Then they shall know why Pu has come and whether he is pleased with the
people of Tanga-tanga, or angry at them. And, Ope, have the lesser
priests fetch a lesser bench for me, as Pu will sit upon my throne while
he is here."

After the temple was cleared and the bench was brought and they were
alone O-aa looked into David's eyes and grinned.

"Tell me what you are doing here, and how you got here," she said.

"First tell me if you have heard anything of Dian the Beautiful,"
insisted David.

"No," replied O-aa, "what has happened to her? I supposed, of course,
that she was in Sari."

"No," replied David, "she is not in Sari. Abner Perry built a balloon and
it got away, carrying Dian the Beautiful with it."

"What is a balloon?" asked O-aa; and then she said, "Oh, is it a great,
round ball with a basket fastened to it in which a person may ride
through the air?"

"Yes," said David, "that is it."

"Then it was Dian who came before I did. They have told me about this
thing that happened. The what-you-call-it, balloon, came down low over
Tanga-tanga; and they thought that the woman in it was their Noada come
from Karana; and they went out and fought with the men of Lo lo-lolo for
her. But the men of Lolo-lolo got her and she was Noada there until maybe
thirty sleeps ago, maybe more. Then the people turned against her; and
she disappeared with Gamba, the go-sha of Lolo-lolo, whom the people also
wished to kill. What became of them no man knows; but the woman must have
been Dian the Beautiful, for she came in that thing that floated through
the air. But how did you get here, David Innes?"

"I also came in a balloon," replied David. "I had Abner Perry build one,
thinking that it might float in the same direction as had that which bore
Dian away; for at this time of year the direction of the wind seldom
varies, and a balloon is borne along by the wind."

"They told me that this visitor, who some of them thought might be Pu,
had come down from Karana. Now I understand what they meant."

"What is Karana?" asked David.

"It is where Pu lives," explained O-aa. "It is where I live when I am not
on earth. It is where those who worship Pu go when they die. It is a
mighty good thing for me that Pu came from Karana when he did," she added.

"Why?" asked David. "What do you mean?"

"Ope, the high priest, and Furp, the go-sha, don't like me," replied
O-aa. "They liked me at first, but now they don't like me any more. They
don't like me at all. The people bring offerings to me, and many of these
offerings are little pieces of metal, like the metal in my bracelets."

"It is bronze," said David Innes.

"Whatever it is, Ope the high priest and Furp the go-sha are very anxious
to get hold of as much of it as they can; but I throw much of it back to
the people because it is a lot of fun watching them fight for it; and
that is why Ope and Furp do not like me. But it has made me very popular
with the people of Tanga-tanga; and so, not only do Ope and Furp dislike
me, but they fear me, also. I cannot understand why Ope and Furp and the
people are so anxious to have these silly little pieces of metal."

David Innes smiled. He was thinking of how typical it was of woman that
even this little cave girl had no sense of the value of money, before she
even knew what money was, or what it was for. "You had better let Ope and
Furp have their silly little pieces of metal," he said. "I think you will
live longer if you do; for these little pieces of metal men will commit
murder."

"It is all very strange," said O-aa. "I do not understand it, but I do
not dare ask questions because a Noada is supposed to know everything."

"And I suppose that Pu is supposed to know more than a Noada," remarked
David, with a wry smile.

"Of course," said O-aa. "As I know everything that there is to be known,
you must know everything that there is to be known, and a great deal that
there isn't to be known."

"There is one thing that I don't know, but that I would like to know very
much," he said; "and that is where Dian is, and whether she is still
alive. After that I would like to know how we are going to get out of
here and get back to Sari. You would like to get back, wouldn't you,
O-aa?"

"It makes no difference to me now," she said, sadly. "Since Hodon the
Fleet One was killed by Blug I do not care where I am."

"But Hodon was not killed by Blug," said David. "It was Blug who was
killed."

"And I ran away thinking that Hodon was dead and that I would have to
mate with Blug," exclaimed O-aa. "Oh, why didn't I wait and see! Tell me,
where is Hodon?"

"Before I left Sari he asked for a ship and some men that he might go out
upon the Lural Az and search for you; for he received the message that
you sent to him in the event that he was not dead."

"And he will never find me," said O-aa, "and he will be lost on that
terrible ocean."

After a while the people came back and brought offerings for Pu. David
Innes saw the little pieces of metal and he smiled--crude little coins,
crudely minted. For these the high priest and the king would drag the
goddess from her pedestal; and doubtless kill her into the bargain.
Unquestionably, these men of the Bronze Age were advancing toward a
higher civilization.

O-aa took a handful of the coins and threw them to the people, who
scrambled, screaming, upon the floor of the temple, fighting for them.
Ope the high priest and Furp the go-sha looked on with sullen scowls, but
O-aa felt safer now because she had Pu right there at her side.

After the people had left the temple Ope and Furp remained; and Ope,
suddenly emboldened by his anger at the loss of so many pieces of metal,
said to David, "How is it that you are so much older than the Noada?"
O-aa was momentarily horrified, for she recalled that, she had once told
Ope and Furp that she was the mother of Pu. She had also told them that
Pu did everything she told him to do. To be a successful liar one must be
quick to cover up; so, before David could answer, O-aa answered for him.

"You should know, Ope, being my high priest, that a Noada may look any
age she wishes. It pleases me not to look older than my son."

David Innes was astounded by the effrontery of the girl. Metaphorically,
he took his hat off to her. These people, he thought, would look far
before they could find a better goddess than O-aa.

Ope, the high priest, tried another tack. "Will Pu, who knows all, be
kind enough to tell our Noada that she should not throw away the pieces
of bronze that the people bring here as offerings?"

David thought that since he was supposed to know all, it would be best to
pretend that he did.

"The Noada was quite right," said David. "She has done this to teach you
not to exact so much from the people. I have known for a long time that
your priests were demanding more from them than they could afford to
give; and that is one reason why I came from Karana to talk with you; and
with Furp, who also exacts more in taxes than he should."

Ope and Furp looked most unhappy; but Furp spoke up and said, "I must pay
my warriors and keep the city in repair; and Ope must pay the priests and
keep up the temple."

"You are telling Pu the things that he already knows," said David.
"Hereafter you will exact less taxes and fewer offerings; demanding only
what you require for the proper maintenance of the city and the temple."

Ope was a simple fellow, who believed against his will that this was
indeed Pu the god; and he was afraid; but Furp was a skeptic, as well as
something of an atheist; at least, he bordered on atheism. But, with Ope,
he bowed to the will of Pu; at least temporarily, and with mental
reservation.

"There are many things that trouble my mind," said Ope to David, "Perhaps
you will explain them to me. We have always been taught that there was
Pu; and that he had one daughter, who was our Noada. But now I am not
only told that Pu is the son of our Noada, but that she had three
fathers, eleven brothers, and four sisters, all of the latter being
Noadas."

Even O-aa flushed at the recital of this bare-faced lie which she had
told Ope in order to impress him with her knowledge of conditions in
Karana. For a moment she was lost, and could think of nothing to say. She
only wondered what reply David Innes would make.

"It is all very simple," he said, "when you understand it. As my high
priest, Ope, you must know that Pu is all-powerful."

Ope nodded. "Yes, of course, I know that," he said importantly.

"Then you will understand why it is that Pu can be either the son or the
father of your Noada. We can change about as we wish; and the Noada can,
have as many brothers, or as many sisters, or as many fathers, as I wish
her to have. Is that clear to you?"

"Perfectly clear," said Ope. But it was not clear to Furp; and when he
left the temple he started to implant in the minds of many a suspicion
that the man who had come down out of the skies was not Pu at all, nor
was the woman a true Noada. Furp planted the seed and was willing to wait
and let it germinate, as he knew it would.


III

IT HAPPENED that when Hodon the Fleet One reached the coast of Amoz, to
set sail upon the Lural Az in search of O-aa, that Raj, the Mezop who had
commanded the Sari, was there; and Hodon asked Raj to come with him and
take command of the little ship in which he and his warriors were about
to embark.

The Mezops were a seafaring people, and Hodon was fortunate in obtaining
the services of one to command his ship; and it was also additionally
fortunate that it was Raj, because Raj knew exactly where the Sari had
been abandoned; and he also knew the winds and the ocean currents.
Knowing these, and where they would ordinarily have carried the Sari, Raj
set his course for the mouth of the nameless strait. After many sleeps
they reached it; but they had to stand off for several more sleeps
because of a terrific storm, which because of the seamanship of Raj, they
weathered.

When the storm, abated the wind and the currents swept the little ship
into the mouth of the nameless strait, swept it close past the coast of
the Xexot country, and the spot where the wreck of the Sari had lain
until the storm they had just weathered had broken her up and removed all
vestiges of the clue of the whereabouts of O-aa that it had previously
constituted, and which would have led them immediately to the city of
Tanga-tanga.

David Innes and O-aa sat upon the dais in the temple of Pu, ignorant of
the fact that their friends were passing so near them.


IV

DIAN THE BEAUTIFUL and Gamba, paddling through the nameless strait toward
the Korsar Az, did not see the great balloon that passed in the air high
behind them. Only a few thousand yards separated Dian the Beautiful and
David at that moment; and it was a cruel fate that had prevented them
from knowing how close they had been to a reunion; for David could have
brought the balloon down on the shore, and Dian could have returned to it.

Dian had seen to it that the canoe was stocked with food and water before
they embarked upon their perilous journey. They took turns sleeping as
they let the current carry them along. Time and again they were attacked
by fearful creatures of the deep, for this strange thing upon the surface
of the water attracted many to them. Some were motivated only by
curiosity, but voracious appetites actuated the majority of them; and it
was a constant source of surprise to Gamba that they emerged from each
encounter victorious.

"I didn't think that we would live to sleep once after we set out from
shore," he said.

"I was not so sure myself," replied Dian, "but now I think that we shall
get through to the Korsar Az, and then go up the coast to a point
opposite Amoz. We can cut across country there; but I believe that
greater dangers lie ahead of us on land than on the sea."

"Is it a savage country?" asked Gamba.

"For a long way back from the shores of the Korsar Az it is a very savage
country," replied Dian. "I have never been there, but our men who have
ventured into it to hunt say that it is infested with savage beasts, and
even more savage men."

"I wish," said Gamba, "that I had never seen you. If you had not come to
Lolo-lolo, I should still be go-sha and safe behind the walls of my city."

"I wish you would stop harping on that," said Dian, "but I may say that
if you had been a better go-sha you would still have been there; and if
you want to go back, we can paddle to shore, and I will let you out."

After many sleeps they reached the end of the nameless strait, which
narrowed right at the entrance to the Korsar Az; so that the waters
rushed through with terrific velocity, and the little canoe was almost
swamped many times before it floated out on the comparatively smooth
surface of the Korsar Az. Now they turned in a northeasterly direction
hugging the coast; and it was then that the storm that had held Hodon off
the mouth of the nameless strait in the Sojar Az, struck them and carried
them far from shore.

Driving rain blinded them, and great seas constantly threatened to swamp
them; so that while one paddled in an effort to keep the canoe from
turning broadside into the trough of the seas, the other bailed with one
of the gourds that Dian had thoughtfully brought along for that purpose.

They were both exhausted when a shoreline suddenly rose before them,
dimly visible through the rain, Now Dian could see a wide, white beach up
which enormous rollers raced, to break thunderously upon the shore; and
toward this the storm was carrying them, nor could any puny efforts which
they might put forth avert the inevitable end.

It did not seem possible to the girl that they could live that terrific
surf; but she determined to try to ride it in, and so she told Gamba to
paddle with all his strength; and she did likewise.

On and on the little canoe raced; and then, riding just below the crest
of an enormous roller, it shot with terrific speed towards the shore;
and, like a surfboard, it was carried far up on the beach.

Surprised that they still lived, they leaped out and held it as the water
receded; then they dragged it farther up on the shore, out of reach of
the breakers.

"I think," said Gamba, "that you must really be a Noada; for no mortal
being could come through what we have come through, and live."

Dian smiled. "I have never said that I wasn't," she replied.

Gamba thought this over, but he made no comment. Instead, he said
presently, "As soon as the storm is over we can start for Amoz. It is
good to be on land again and to know that we shall not have to face the
dangers of the sea any more."

"We have a lot more sea to cross," said Dian, "before we reach Amoz."

"What do you mean?" demanded Gamba. "Have we not been driven ashore; are
we not on land?"

"Yes, we are on land," replied Dian, "but that storm blew us away from
that land where Amoz lies; and as it certainly did not blow us all the
way across the enormous Korsar Az, it must have blown us onto an island."

Gamba appeared stunned. "Now there is no hope for us," he said. "This is
indeed the end. You are no true Noada, or you would not have permitted
this to happen."

Dian laughed. "You give up too easily," she said. "You must have been a
very poor go-sha indeed."

"I was a good go-sha until you came along," snapped Gamba, "but now,
great Noada," he said sarcastically, "what do we do next?"

"As soon as the storm dies down," replied Dian, "we launch the canoe and
set out for shore."

"I do not want to go on the water again," said Gamba.

"Very well, then," replied Dian, "you may remain here; but I am going."

Beyond the beach rose cliffs to the height of a hundred feet or more,
topping them Dian could see green, jungle-like verdure; and not far away
a waterfall leaped over the cliff into the sea, which lashed the face of
the cliff itself at this point, throwing spray so high into the air that
at these times the waterfall was hidden. In the other direction the sea
again broke against the face of the cliff. They stood upon a narrow,
crescent-shaped bit of land that the sea had never as yet claimed. To
Gamba, as to you and me, the cliffs looked unscalable; but to Dian the
cave girl they appeared merely difficult. However, as she had no
intention of scaling them, it made no difference.

They were very uncomfortable for a long while, as they sat drenched by
the heavy downpour. There was no cave into which they could crawl, and
sleep was out of the question. They just sat and endured; Dian stoically,
Gamba grumblingly.

At last, however, they saw the sun shining far out upon the sea, and they
knew that the storm was passing over them and that it would soon be gone.
Often it is a relief to have that eternal noonday sun hidden by a cloud;
but now when the cloud passed they were glad of the sun's warmth again.

"Let us sleep," said Dian, "and if the sea has gone down when we awaken I
shall set out again in search of the big land. I think you would be wise
if you came with me, but do as you please. It makes no difference to me."

"You have a heart of stone," said the man. "How can you talk like that to
a man who loves you?"

"I am going to sleep now," said Dian, "and you had better do likewise;"
and she curled up in the wet grass with the hot sun beating down upon her
beautiful body.

Dian dreamed that she was back in Sari, and that her people were gathered
around her; and that David was there and she was very happy, happier than
she had been for a long time.

Presently one of the people standing around her kicked her lightly in the
ribs, and Dian awakened. She opened her eyes to see that there really
were people surrounding her, but they were not the people of Sari. They
were big men, who carried long, heavy spears and great bows; and their
loin cloths were made of the skins of tarags, and the heads of tarags had
been cleverly fashioned to form helmets that covered their heads, with
the great tusks pointing downward on either side of their heads at an
angle of forty-five degrees, and the quivers which held their arrows at
their backs were of the skin of the great carnivores--of the black and
yellow hide of the tarag, the huge, sabertooth tiger that has been so
long extinct upon the outer crust.

"Get up," said one of the men; and Dian and Gamba both came to their feet.

"What do you want of us?" demanded Dian. "We were leaving as soon as the
sea went down."

"What were you doing here?" asked the man.

"The storm drove us onto this shore," replied Dian. "We were trying to
reach the mainland."

"Who are you?"

"I am Dian, the mate of David Innes, the Emperor of Pellucidar."

"We never heard of you, or him, and I do not know what an emperor is."

"He is what you might call the chief of chiefs," explained Dian. "He has
an army and a navy and many guns. He would be your friend if you would
protect me and this man."

"What is a navy? What are guns?" demanded the man. "And why should we be
kind to you? We are not afraid of this David Innes; we are not afraid of
anyone in Pellucidar. We are the men of Tandar."

"What is Tandar?" demanded Dian.

"You mean to say you have never heard of Tandar?" exclaimed the warrior.

"Never," said Dian.

"Neither have I," said Gamba.

The warrior looked at them disgustedly. "This is the Island of Tandar
that you are on," he said; "and I am Hamlar, the chief."

"The sea is going down," said Dian, "and we shall soon be leaving."

Hamlar laughed; it was a nasty sort of a laugh. "You mill never leave
Tandar," he said; "no one who comes here ever does."

Dian shrugged. She knew her world, and she knew that the man meant what
he said.

"Come," said Hamlar; and there was nothing to do but follow him.

Warriors surrounded them as Hamlar led the way toward the waterfall. Dian
was barefooted, as she had left her sandals on the thwart of the canoe to
dry. She would not ask Hamlar if she might get them, for she was too
proud to ask favors of an enemy. She kept looking up at the face of the
cliff to see where these men had come down, but she saw no sign of a
place here that even she could scale; and then Hamlar reached the
waterfall and disappeared beneath it, and a moment later Dian found
herself on a narrow ledge that ran beneath the falls; and then she
followed the warrior ahead of her into the mouth of a cavern that was as
dark as pitch and damp with dripping water.

She climbed through the darkness, feeling her way, until presently she
saw a little light ahead. The light came from above down a shaft that
inclined slightly from the vertical, and leaning against its wall was a
crude ladder. Dian had delayed those behind her in the darkness of the
cavern, but now she clambered up the ladder like a monkey, soon
overtaking those ahead of her. She could hear the warriors behind her
growling at Gamba for climbing so slowly; and she could hear his grunts
and cries as they prodded him with their spears.

From the top of the shaft a winding trail led through the jungle.
Occasionally Dian caught glimpses of large animals slinking along other
paths that paralleled or crossed the one they were on; and she saw the
yellow and black of the tarag's hide.

A mile inland from the coast they came to a clearing at the foot of a
towering cliff, in the sandstone face of which caves and ledges had been
laboriously excavated and cut. She looked with amazement upon these cliff
dwellings, which must have required many generations to construct. At the
foot of the cliff, warriors lolled in the shade of the trees, while women
worked and children played.

At least a score of great tarags slept, or wandered about among the
people. She saw a child pull the tail of one, and the great carnivore
turned upon it with an ugly snarl. The child jumped back, and the tarag
continued its prowling. Aside from that one child, no one seemed to pay
any attention to the brutes at all.

Attracted by the sight of Dian and Gamba, warriors, women, and children
clustered about; and it was evident from their remarks that they seldom
saw strangers upon their island. The women wore loin cloths and sandals of
the skins of tarags. Like the men, the women were rather handsome, with
well-shaped heads, and intelligent eyes.

Hamlar motioned to one of the women. "Manai," he said, "this one is
yours," and he pointed to Dian. "Does anyone want the man?" he asked,
looking around. "If not, we will kill him and feed him to the tarags."

Gamba looked around then, too, hopefully; but at first no one indicated
any desire to possess him, Finally, however, a woman spoke up and said,
"I will take him. He can fetch wood and water for me and beat the skins
of the tarags to soften them"; and Gamba breathed a sigh of relief.

"Come," said Manai to Dian, and led the way up a series of ladders to a
cave far up in the face of the cliff.

"This," she said, stopping upon a ledge before sit opening, "is the cave
of Hamlar, the chief, who is my mate." Then she went in and came back
with a bundle of twigs tied tightly together with strips of rawhide.
"Clean out the cave of Hamlar and Manai," she said, "and see that none of
the dirt falls over the edge of the cliff. You will find a big gourd in
the cave. Put the dirt into it and carry it down to the foot of the cliff
and dump it in the stream."

So Dian the Beautiful, Empress of Pellucidar, went to work as a slave for
Manai, the mate of Hamlar, chief of Tandar; and she thought that she was
fortunate not to have been killed. After she had cleaned the cave and
carried the dirt down and dumped it in the stream, Manai, who had
returned to the women at the foot of the cliff, called to her. "'What is
your name?" she asked.

"Dian," replied the girl.

"There is meat in the cave," said Manai. "Go and get it and bring it down
here and make a fire and cook it for Hamlar and Manai, and for Bovar,
their son."

While Dian was broiling the meat she saw Gamba pounding a tarag skin with
two big sticks; and she smiled when she thought that not many sleeps ago
he had been a king, with slaves to wait upon him.

Hamlar came and sat down beside Manai. "Does your slave work, or is she
lazy?" he asked.

"She works," said Manai.

"She had better," said Hamlar, "for if she doesn't work, we will have to
kill her and feed her to the tarags. We cannot afford to feed a lazy
slave. Where is Bovar?"

"He is asleep in his cave," replied Manai. "He told me to awaken him when
we ate."

"Send the slave for him," said Hamlar. "The meat is almost ready."

"Bovar's cave is next to ours, just to the right of it," Manai told Dian.
"Go there and awaken him."

So again Dian the Beautiful clambered up the long series of ladders to
the ledge far up on the face of the cliff; and she went to the opening
next to that of Hamlar's cave and called Bovar by name. She called
several times before a sleepy voice answered.

"What do you want?" it demanded.

"Manai, your mother, has sent me to tell you that the meat is ready and
that they are about to eat."

A tall young warrior crawled out of the cave and stood erect. "Who are
you?" he demanded.

"I am Manai's new slave," replied Dian.

"What is your name?" asked Bovar.

"Dian," replied the girl.

"That is a pretty name," he said; "and you are a pretty girl. I think you
are the prettiest girl I ever saw. Where do you come from?"

"I come from Amoz, which lies beside the Darel Az," replied Dian.

"I never heard of either one of them," said Bovar; "but no matter where
you come from, you are certainly the prettiest girl I ever saw," repeated
Bovar.

"Come down to your meat," said Dian as she turned to the ladder and
started to descend.

Bovar followed her, and they joined Hamlar and Manai beside the leg of
meat that was roasting over the fire on a pointed stick that Dian had
driven through it, which was supported by forked sticks at either end.

"The meat is cooked," said Manai who had been turning it during Dian's
absence. Dian took it from the fire then and laid it upon some leaves
that were spread upon the ground, and Hamlar took his knife of stone and
cut off a large piece and held it on a pointed stick to cool a little;
and then Manai cut off a piece, and then Bovar.

"May I eat?" asked Dian.

"Eat," said Hamlar.

Dian drew her bronze knife from its sheath and cut off a piece of meat.
The knife cut slickly and smoothly, not like the crude stone weapons of
the Tandars.

"Let me see that," said Bovar; and Dian handed him the knife.

"No one ever saw anything like this," said Bovar; and handed it to his
father. Both Hamlar and Manai examined it closely.

"What is it?" demanded Hamlar.

"It is a knife," said Dian.

"I don't mean that," said Hamlar. "I mean, what is it made of?"

"It is a metal which the Xexots call 'androde,’” replied the girl.

Bovar held out his hand for the knife and Manai gave it to him.

"Who are the Xexots?" said Hamlar.

"They are people who live a long way from here at the other end of the
nameless strait."

"Do these people all have knives made of this metal?' asked Hamlar.

"Knives and swords, too." She did not tell him that her sword and Gamba's
were in the canoe; for she hoped some day to be able to run away and put
to sea again.

Dian held her hand out towards Bovar for the knife. "I shall keep it," he
said. "I like it."

"Give it back to her," said Manai. "It is hers. We are not thieves." So
Bovar handed the knife back to Dian; but he made up his mind then and
there to possess it, and he knew just how to go about it. All that he
would have to do would be to push Dian off the ledge that ran in front of
this cave; and he was sure that Manai would let him have the knife;
provided, of course, that no one saw him push Dian.


V

MANY SLEEPS had passed since Pu came to Tanga-tanga, but neither David
Innes nor O-aa had been able to concoct any scheme whereby they might
escape. The temple guard was composed entirely of warriors handpicked by
Furp; and as far as David Innes and O-aa were concerned, these guardsmen
were their jailers.

Furp was convinced that they were just ordinary mortals who had come to
Tanga-tanga by accident; but he knew that most of the people believed in
them, and so he did not dare to act against them too openly. He would
gladly have had them killed; for now he was not receiving from Ope, the
high priest, even a quarter as many pieces of bronze as he had before the
advent of the Noada.

It was a little better since Pu had come, but the avaricious Furp wanted
much more. Ope, the high priest, was secretly their enemy, and for the
same reason that Furp was; but being a simple and superstitious fool, he
had convinced himself that it was really a true god and goddess who sat
upon the dais of the temple.

Though their enemies were powerful, those who believed in Pu and the
Noada were many; and they were loved by these because the amount of their
taxes and offerings had been greatly reduced, and now they had pieces of
bronze with which to buy more food, and such other things as they
required.

Both David and O-aa felt the undercurrent of intrigue against them, and
they also felt that many of the common people were their friends; but
these were never allowed to speak with them alone, as they were always
surrounded by the priests of the temple, or the temple guards.

"I wish I might talk with some of these people alone," said David upon
one of the few occasions where he had an opportunity to speak even to
O-aa without being overheard by a priest or a warrior. "I think they are
our friends, and if anyone were plotting against us, they would tell us
if they had the opportunity."

"I am sure of it," said O-aa. "They have always liked me; and now they
like you, too; for between us we have saved them a great many pieces of
metal."

Suddenly David snapped his fingers, "I have it!" he exclaimed. "In the
world from which I come there is a great and old religious faith whose
communicants may come and confess theirs sins and be forgiven. They come
alone and whisper to the priest, telling him what is troubling their
hearts; and no one but the priest may hear them. Pu is going to ordain
that the people of Tanga-tanga have this privilege, with one great
advantage over confessors in that other world, in that they may confess
their sins directly to the ear of their god."

"Ope won't let you do it," said O-aa.

"There is a good, old American expression, which you would not
understand, that explains succinctly just how I purpose winning Ope over."

"What are you going to do, then?" inquired O-aa.

"I am going to scare the pants off him," said David.

"What are pants?" asked O-aa.

"That is neither here nor there," replied David.

"Here comes Ope now," said O-aa. "I shall watch while you scare his pants
off."

Ope, the high priest, came sinuously towards them; his gait reminding
David of the silent approach of a snake.

David glared at the high priest sternly. "Ope," he said in a terrible
voice, "I know what you have been thinking."

"I-I-I-I don't know what you mean," stammered the high priest.

"Oh, yes you do," said David, "Don't you know that you could be struck
dead for thinking such thoughts?"

"No, most gracious Pu; honestly, I have not thought a bad thought about
you. I have not thought of harming you--" and then he stopped suddenly;
realizing, perhaps, that he had given himself away.

"I even know what you are thinking this instant," cried David; and Ope's
knees smote together. "See that there is no more of it," continued David;
"and be sure that you obey my slightest wish, or that of your Noada."

Ope dropped to his knees and covered his eyes with his palms. "Most
glorious Pu," he said, "you shall never have reason to upbraid me again."

"And you'd better tell Furp to be careful what he thinks," said O-aa.

"I shall tell him," said Ope, "but Furp is a wicked man, and he may not
believe me."

"In spite of the wickedness of Tanga-tanga, I am going to bring a great
blessing to its people," said David. "Have built for me immediately
against the wall beside the dais a room two paces square, with a door,
and place two benches within it. The room should be two and a half paces
high, and have no ceiling."

"It shall be done at once, most glorious Pu," said Ope, the high priest.

"See that it is," said David, "and when it is done, summon the people to
the temple; for I would speak to them and explain this wonderful blessing
that I am bringing them."

Ope, the high priest, was dying to know what the blessing was, but he did
not dare ask; and he was still worrying and cudgeling his brain as he
went away to arrange to have artisans build a clay room such as David had
demanded.

I am sure that he is really Pu, thought Ope, the high priest. I am
thinking good thoughts of him and of our Noada; and I always must. I must
keep thinking good thoughts of them, good thoughts; and I must not let
Furp put any bad thoughts into my head. He thought this last thought in
the hope that Pu was listening to it and would place all the blame upon
Furp for the bad thoughts which Ope knew only too well he had been
entertaining.

When the little room beside the dais was completed David directed that
the people be summoned to the temple; and the lesser priests went out in
their hideous masks and beat upon drums and summoned the people to come
to the temple of Pu; and the temple was so crowded with people that no
more could get in, and those who could not get into the temple filled the
plaza.

It was O-aa who addressed them: "Pu has decided to confer upon the people
of Tanga-tanga a great blessing," she said. "Many of you have sinned; and
if you have sinned much and have not been forgiven by Pu, it will be
difficult for you to get into Karana after you die. Therefore, Pu has had
constructed this little room here, where you may go, one at a time, and
sit with Pu and confess your sins, that Pu may grant you forgiveness. You
cannot all come at once, but between sleeps Pu will listen to the sins of
twenty. Go forth into the plaza now and explain this to the others who
are there; and then let twenty return to the temple to confess."

The people rushed out into the plaza then, and explained this marvelous
thing to those who had not heard O-aa's words; and there was almost a
riot before twenty had been selected to lay their sins before Pu prior to
the next sleep.

David went into the little room, and the first of those who were to
confess came and knelt before him, covering his eyes with his hands.
David told him to raise and sit on the other bench; and then he said,
"You may now confess your sins, and be forgiven."

"Many sleeps ago," said the man, "before you and our Noada came, I stole
pieces of metal from a neighbor who had money; because the priests and
the go-sha had taken so many of mine from me that I did not have any to
buy food for my family."

"When you are able to do so, you may return the pieces to the man from
whom you took them," said David, "and you shall be forgiven. Did you
know," continued David, "that if you have heard words spoken against Pu
or the Noada, and have not come and told them, that that is a sin?"

"I did not know that," said the man, "but I have heard words spoken
against you and the Noada. The warriors of Furp go among the people,
telling them that you and the Noada are not from Karana; are from Molop
Az, and that some day soon you will destroy Tanga-tanga and take all its
people to the Molop Az for the Little Men to devour. I did not believe
that, and there are a good many others who do not believe it, but there
are some who do; and these warriors are trying to incite them to murder
you and the Noada."

"What is your name?" asked David; and when the man had told him David
scratched the name with the point of his dagger in the clay of the wall
of the little room. The man watched this process almost fearfully, for he
knew nothing of the alphabets, or of writing. "This," said David, "is the
sign of your forgiveness. It will stand as long as the temple stands, and
Pu and the Noada remain here in safety. Now go on about your business,
whatever it may be, and as you work learn the names of as many as
possible who are loyal to Pu and the Noada; so that if we are ever in
trouble you may summon them to the temple to defend us."

The man left the temple, and it did not occur to him that it was strange
that god and a Noada who were all powerful should require the help of
mortals to defend them.

After many sleeps David had spoken with many of the citizens; and he had
scratched upon the walls of the little room the names of those that he
thought could be depended upon to be loyal to him and to O-aa. Nor was
Furp idle during this time, for he had determined to rid himself of these
two who were constantly increasing their hold upon the people; and
depriving him of the pieces of bronze which he had been accustomed to
collect from the temple and from the people.

Both Furp and Ope were quite concerned about this new confessional which
permitted Pu to speak secretly with the people; but they would have been
more concerned had they known that Pu, who now controlled the finances of
the temple, was giving pieces of bronze to those who were loyal to him,
in the privacy of the confessional, with which to purchase swords, and
bows and arrows.


AH-GILAK, THE LITTLE old man from Cape Cod, was much concerned over the
fate of David Innes, whom he greatly admired, not only because of his
ability and courage, but because David was from Hartford, Connecticut;
and he felt that in this outlandish world at the center of the earth New
Englanders were bound together by a common tie.

"Dod-burn it," he said to Abner Perry, shortly after David had departed,
"how is this ding-busted idiot goin' to get back if that contraption
carries him across the nameless strait that everyone says is at the end
of the world?"

"I don't know," said Abner Perry sadly; "and to think that it is all my
fault, all my fault. Because I am a careless absentminded old fool, I
have sent the two I loved best to death."

"Well, settin' around cryin' over split milk ain't goin' to butter no
parsnips, as the feller said," rejoined Ah-gilak. "What we ought to do is
do sump'n about it."

"What can we do?" asked Abner Perry. "There is nothing that I would not
do. I have been seriously considering building another balloon with which
to follow them."

"Humph!" ejaculated Ah-gilak. "You sure are the dod-burndest old fool
I've ever heard tell of. What good could you do if you did float over the
nameless strait in one of them contraptions? We'd only have three of you
to look for, instead of two. But I got a idea that I've been thinking
about ever since David left."

"What is it?" asked Perry.

"Well, you see," explained the little old man, "afore the Dolly Dorcas
was wrecked in the Arctic Ocean in 1845, I'd been a-plannin' that when I
got back to Cape Cod I'd build me a clipper ship, the finest, fastest
clipper ship that ever cut salt water. But then, of course the Dolly
Dorcas she did get wrecked, and I drifted down here into this dod-burned
hole in the ground; and I ain't never had no chance to build no clipper
ship; but now, if I had the men and the tools, I could build one; and we
could go down and cross this here nameless strait, and maybe we could
find David and this here Dian the Beautiful."

Abner Perry brightened immediately at the suggestion. "Do you think you
could do it, Ah-gilak?" he asked. "For if you can, I can furnish you the
men and the tools. We haven't got a ship left seaworthy enough to
navigate the nameless strait in safety; and if you can build one and sail
it, I can furnish the men to build it, and the men to man it."

"Let's start, then," said Ah-gilak. "Procrastination is the mother of
invention, as the feller said."

With this hope held out to him, Abner Perry was a new man. He sent for
Ghak the Hairy One, who was king of Sari; and who theoretically ruled the
loose federation of the Empire of Pellucidar while David was absent.
Perry explained to Ghak what Ah-gilak had proposed, and Ghak was as
enthusiastic as either of them. Thus it was that the entire tribe of
Sarians, men, women, and children, trekked to Amoz, which is on the Darel
Az, a shallow sea that is really only a bay on the coast of the Lural Az.

They took with them arms and ammunition and tools--axes with hammers and
chisels and mattocks, all the tools that Perry had taught them to make,
after he himself had achieved steel following his discovery and smelting
of iron ore, and the happy presence of carbon in the foothills near Sari.

Ghak sent runners to Thuria, Suvi, and Kali; and eventually a thousand
men were gathered at Amoz, felling trees and shaping the timbers; and
hunters went forth and killed dinosaurs for the peritonea which were to
form the sails.

Ah-gilak did not design the huge clipper ship he had planned to build at
Cape Cod, but a smaller one that might be equally fast, and just as
seaworthy.

Ja, the Mezop, came from the Anoroc Islands with a hundred men who were
to help with the building of the ship and man it after it was launched;
for the Mezops are the seafaring men of the Empire of Pellucidar.

The women fabricated the shrouds and the rigging from the fibers of an
abacalike plant; and even the children worked, fetching and carrying.

No man may know how long it took to build that clipper ship, in a world
where it is always noon and there are no moving celestial bodies to mark
the passage of time; a fact which always annoyed Ah-gilak.

"Dod-burn that dod-blasted sun!" he exclaimed. "Why don't it rise and set
like a sun oughta? How's a feller goin' to know when to quit work? Gad
and Gabriel! It ain't decent."

But the Pellucidarians knew when to quit work. When they were hungry they
stopped and ate; when they were sleepy they crawled into the darkest
place they could find and went to sleep. Then the little old man from
Cape Cod would dance around in a frenzy of rage and profanity, if their
sleeping or their eating interfered with the building of the clipper.
However, the work progressed, and eventually the clipper was ready to
launch. The ways were greased, and every preparation had been made. A
hundred men stood by the blocks, ready to pull them away.

"Dod-burn it!" exclaimed Ah-gilak. "We got to christen 'er, and we plumb
forgot to find a name for her."

"You designed her and you built her," said Abner Perry; "and so I think
that you are the one who should have the privilege of naming her."

"That's fair enough," said Ah-gilak, "and I'm going to call her the John
Tyler, because I voted for him for president at the last election; that
is, I voted for him and William Henry Harrison; but when Harrison died."

"Why, that was a hundred and eighteen years ago, man!" exclaimed Abner
Perry.

"I don't give a dod-blasted whoop if it was a thousand and eighteen years
ago," said Ah-gilak. "I voted for Harrison and Tyler at the last
election."

"Do you know what year it is now?" asked Abner Perry.

"David Innes tried to tell me that I was a hundred and fifty-three years
old," said Ah-gilak; "but he has lived down here in this dod-burned hole
in the ground so long he's crazy. They don't none of you know what year
this is. They ain't no years here; they ain't no months! they ain't no
weeks; they ain't no days; they ain't nothin' but noon. How you going to
count time when it's always noon? Anyhow I'm going to name her the John
Tyler."

"I think that's an excellent name," said Abner Perry.

"Now we ought to have a bottle of something to bust on her bow while I
christen her," said Ah-gilak. "If a thing's worth doin' at all, don't put
it off till tomorrow, as the feller said."

The best substitute for a bottle of champagne which they could find was a
clay jug filled with water. Ah-gilak held it in his hand and stood by the
bow of the clipper. Suddenly he turned to Abner Perry. "This ain't
right," he said. "Who ever heard of a man christening a ship?"

"Stellara, the mate of Tartar, the son of Ghak is here," said Abner
Perry. "Let her christen the John Tyler;" and so Stellara came, and
Ah-gilak told her what to do; and at his signal the men pulled the blocks
away immediately after Stellara had broken the jug of water on the bow of
the clipper and said, "I christen thee the John Tyler."

The ship slipped down the ways into the Darel Az; and the people of
Thuria and Sari and Amoz and Suvi and Kali, screamed with delight.

The cannon had been put aboard her before they launched her; and now they
set about rigging her, and this work Ah-gilak insisted must be done by
the Mezops, who were to be the sailors that manned the ship; so that they
would know every rope and spar. It was all a tremendous undertaking for
people of the Stone Age, for they had so much to learn and when the ship
was rigged the Mezops had to be drilled in making sail and taking it in
quickly. Fortunately they were not only seafaring men, but semi-arboreal,
as they lived in trees on their native islands. They ran up the shrouds
like monkeys, and out upon the yardarms as though they had been born upon
them.

"They may be red Injuns," said Ah-gilak to Perry, "but they're goin' to
make fine sailormen."

Vast quantities of water in bamboo containers was stored aboard, as was
the salt meat, vegetables, nuts, and quantities of the rough flour that
Abner Perry had taught the Pellucidarians to make.

At last the Mezops were well drilled, and the John Tyler prepared to
sail. Ah-gilak was skipper, Ja was the first mate and navigator. The
second and third mates were Jav and Ko, while Ghak the Hairy One
commanded two hundred picked warriors; for, being cavemen, they
anticipated having to do battle after they had landed in the terra
incognita beyond the nameless strait.

They had neither compass, nor sextant, nor any chronometer; but they had
a man from Thuria aboard who could point the general direction; and Ja
knew the great ocean currents that flowed directly along their course.

With all sails set to a fair wind, the John Tyler tossed the white water
from her bow as she sailed gallantly out into the Lural Az in her quest
for David Innes and Dian the Beautiful; and, for the first time since
Dian had floated away toward the Land of Awful Shadow, Abner Perry felt
hope budding in his breast; and for the first time in one hundred
thirteen years the little old man from Cape Cod was really happy.


VI

"I AM TIRED Of being a slave," said Gamba to Dian, as they met beside the
stream where Dian was filling a large gourd with water and Gamba was
washing the loin cloths of his mistress. "That woman nearly works me to
death."

"It is better than being killed and fed to the tarags," said Dian.

"I am afraid of the tarags," said Gamba. "I don't see why they let the
terrible things hang around the way they do."

"They are tame," said Dian. "Manai told me that they catch them when they
are cubs and tame them for hunting and for battle. There is a tribe on
the other side of the island, two or three long marches away, with which
Hamlar's tribe is always at war. The name of this tribe is Manat; and as
the Tandars have tamed and trained tarags, so the Menats have tamed and
trained tahos."

"What a terrible place," grumbled Gamba. "Why did we have to be cast
ashore here?"

"You do not know when you are well off," said Dian. "If you had stayed in
Lolo-lolo, you would have been killed; and if that woman had not taken
you to be her slave, you would have been fed to the tarags. Are you never
satisfied? Bovar said that you were very lucky to find a master at all,
because nobody likes your yellow skin."

"And I do not like Bovar," snapped Gamba.

"Why?" asked Dian.

"Because he is in love with you."

"Nonsense!" said Dian.

"It is true," said Gamba. "He is always following you around with his
eyes when he is not following you around with his feet."

"He does not want me," said Dian; "he wants my bronze knife"; she called
the metal androde.

"In the name of Pu!" exclaimed Gamba. "Look what's coming!"

Dian turned to see three great tarags slinking toward them. She and Gamba
were some little distance from the cliff, and the tarags were between the
cliff and them, Gamba was terrified, but Dian was not. The great beasts
came and rubbed against the girl and nuzzled her hands, while Gamba sat
frozen with terror.

"They will not hurt us," said Dian. "They are my friends. Every time,
that I can, I bring them pieces of meat."

One of the beasts came and smelled of Gamba; and then it bared its
terrible fangs and growled, and the man shook as with palsy. Dian came
and pushed against the beast's shoulder to turn it away, at the same time
scratching it around one of its ears; then she walked away with her gourd
of water, and the three beasts followed her.

For a long time Gamba sat there, wholly unnerved and unable to resume his
work. But presently a woman came and spoke to him. "Get to work," she
said, "you lazy ja-lok. What do you suppose I am feeding you for, to sit
around and do nothing? Much more of this and you will be tarag meat."

"I am sick," said Gamba.

"Well, you had better get well," said the woman, "for I won't feed any
sick slave." So Gamba, who had been a king, resumed his washing; and when
it was done, he wrung the water out of the loin cloths and took them and
stretched them on a flat rock, where he rubbed them and rubbed them with
a smooth stone to squeeze every remaining drop of water from them and to
keep them soft as they dried in the hot sun. While he was doing this, his
mistress came by again.

"You have not cleaned the cave since my last sleep," she said irritably.

"I have been doing the washing," said Gamba. "When that is done, I
intended to clean the cave."

"You could have done both twice over if you hadn't been loafing," said
the woman. "I don't know what to do. It is almost impossible to get a
decent slave lately. I have had to feed the last three to the tarags, and
it looks as though you would go the same way."

"I will try to do better," said Gamba. "I will work very hard."

"See that you do," said the woman, whose name was Shrud.

Dian shared a cave with some other slaves on the very lowest level. Such,
of course, in a cave village, may be the least desirable, as the lower
level is close to the ground and more easily accessible to wild beasts
and enemies. She could go into it and sleep when her work was done; but
it always seemed that she had no more than closed her eyes before Manai,
or Hamlar, or Bovar, called her.

It was Bovar who called her most often, and usually for no other reason
than that he wished to talk with her. He had long since given up all
thoughts of killing her in order to obtain her bronze dagger, for he had
become infatuated with her; but according to the customs of his tribe, he
could not take a slave as a mate. However, this fact did not wholly
discourage Bovar, for he knew of a cave hidden deep in the jungle; and he
toyed with the thought of stealing Dian and taking her there.

Once, after a fitful sleep, Bovar awoke cross and irritable. As he came
out on the ledge before his cave he saw Dian walking toward the jungle.
Two great tarags paced beside her. Dian was having ideas. She was going
to run away, find the beach where her canoe lay, and paddle out upon the
Korsar Az in an effort to reach the mainland. She had asked Gamba to go
with her, but he had said that they would only be caught and fed to the
tarags; so she had decided to go alone.888

As Bovar reached the foot of the lowest ladder, one of the great tigers
lay stretched in sleep across his path. He gave it a vicious kick in the
ribs to make it get out of his way; and the beast sprang up with bared
fangs, growling hideously. Bovar prodded it with his long, heavy spear;
and it screamed and stepped back; then it slunk away, still growling.
Paying no more attention to the tarag, Bovar looked around at the men and
women of his tribe, who were down at the foot of the cliff. No one was
paying any attention to him. The men were lying around in the shade of
trees, half asleep; and the women were working. Bovar walked nonchalantly
towards the jungle into which Dian had disappeared. He did not look back;
if he had, he would have seen a tarag slinking after him.

Gamba was scrubbing the floor of his mistress' cave. He had carried up a
gourd of water and a smooth flat stone and a bundle of grasses. His knees
were raw and bleeding from contact with the sandstone floor. As Shrud
passed him on her way out of the cave, she kicked him in the side.

"Work fast, you lazy slave," she said.

This was more than Gamba could endure; it was the last straw, that he, a
king, should be so abused and humiliated. He decided that death were
better, but that he would have his revenge before he died, so he reached
out and seized Shrud by an ankle, and as she fell forward he dragged her
back into the cave. She clawed and struck at him, but he leaped upon her
and drove his bronze dagger into her heart again and again.

When he realized what he had done, Gamba was terrified. Now he wished
that he had gone with Dian, but perhaps she had not gone yet. He washed
the blood from his dagger; and dragged Shrud's body to the very farthest
end of the cave, where it was darkest; then he came out onto the ledge.
Dian was nowhere in sight.

Gamba hastened down the ladders to the lowest level; and going to Dian's
cave, he called her name; but there was no response. He started to cross
the clearing toward the jungle in the direction that he thought Dian
would take to reach the cove where their canoe lay; but he had gone only
a short distance when Shrud's mate called to him.

"Where are you going, slave?" he demanded.

"Shrud has sent me into the jungle for fruit," replied Gamba.

"Well, hurry up about it," said the man. "I have work for you to do."

A moment later a runaway slave disappeared into the jungle.

It was noon in the city of Tanga-tanga and in all directions the world
curved upward to be lost in the midst of the distance that merged with
the blue vault of heaven to form a dome, in the center of which blazed
the fiery sun that hung always at zenith.

In the temple a frightened man sat on a bench in the little room, facing
his god.

"It will be soon, most gracious Pu," he said; "and if they find that I
have been here, they will kill me, for there are those who know that I
know."

"How will it come?" asked David.

"A great crowd will come to the temple with offerings. There will be
warriors among them, and they will press close to the dais; and when one
gives the word, they will fall upon you and our Noada and kill you. Furp
will not be here, so that no blame may be attached to him by the people;
but it is Furp who is directing it."

David read aloud to the man the names that he had scratched upon the wall
of the little room, the names of those who were loyal to him and to O-aa.
He read them twice, and then the third time. "Can you remember those
names?" he asked.

"Yes," replied the man; "I know them all well."

"Go to them, then, and tell them that Pu says that the time has come.
They will know what you mean."

"As I do," said the man; and he knelt, covering his eyes with his hands;
and then he arose and left the temple.

David returned to the dais and sat upon his throne; and presently O-aa
entered from her apartments, with the lesser priests in their hideous
masks and the drums, according to the custom of the temple. She had come
to the dais and seated herself beside David Innes.

"The time has come," he whispered to her.

"I have a sword and a dagger under my robe," she said.

Ope the high priest had never been able to persuade David to wear any
robes of office, nor had David discarded his weapons. He had told Ope
that Pu always dressed thus, and that it was only those who served Pu who
wore the robes of office.

Time dragged heavily for these two, who might be waiting for death, but
presently men commenced to struggle into the temple. David recognized
some among these as those who were loyal to him. He held the first two
fingers of his right hand across his breast. It was the sign that had
been decided upon to recognize friend from foe; and all the men who had
come in, even those whom he had not recognized, answered his sign.

They came and knelt before the dais and covered their eyes; and after
they had been bidden to arise, they still stayed close to the dais; and
so that it might seem reasonable that they should remain there, David
preached to them as he imagined a god might preach to his people. He
spoke to them of loyalty and the rewards of loyalty, and the terrible
fate of those who were untrue to their faith. He spoke slowly, that he
might consume time.

More and more men were entering the temple. There were no women, which
was unusual; and as each entered David made the sign; and some of them
answered and some did not, but those who answered pressed close around
the dais until they entirely surrounded the three sides of it, the fourth
side being against the wall of the temple.

David continued to talk to them in quiet tones that gave no indication
that he anticipated anything unusual, but he watched them carefully; and
he noticed that many of those who had not answered this sign were
nervous, and now some of them tried to push through closer to the dais;
but the loyal ones stood shoulder to shoulder and would not let them
pass; and everyone in the temple waited for the signal.

At last it came. A warrior screamed. "Death!" Just the one word he spoke,
but it turned the quiet temple into a bedlam of cursing, battling men.

Instantly the signal was given, the loyal ones had wheeled about with
drawn swords to face the enemies of their gods; and David had arisen and
drawn his sword, too.

The fighting men surged back and forth before the dais. One of Furp's men
broke through and struck at O-aa; and David parried the blow and struck
the man down; then he leaped to the floor of the temple and joined his
supporters; and his presence beside them gave them courage and strength
beyond anything that they had ever dreamed of possessing, and it put the
fear of God into the hearts of the enemy.

Twenty of Furp's men lay bleeding on the floor and the others turned to
flee the wrath of Pu, only to find that retreat was cut off; for,
according to David's plan, a solid phalanx of his supporters, armed with
bow and arrow, sword, and dagger, barred the way.

"Throw down your arms!" cried David. "Throw down your arms, or die!"

After they had divested themselves of swords and daggers, he told his
people to let them go; but he warned them never again to raise their
hands against Pu or their Noada.

"And now," he said, "go back to him who sent you; and tell him that Pu
has known all his wicked thoughts and has been prepared for him; and
because of what he has done he will be turned over to the people to do
with as they see fit; and when you go, take your dead and wounded with
you."

The vanquished warriors passed out of the temple with their dead and
wounded, and David noted with a smile that they crossed directly to the
house of the go-sha.

"It was easy to defeat the warriors of Furp when Pu was on our side,"
said one of David's supporters. "Now that will be the last of Furp, and
Pu and his Noada will rule Tanga-tanga."

"Don't be too sure of that," said David. "Furp sent only a handful of men
to the temple, for he did not anticipate any resistance. There will be
more fighting before this is settled; and if you know of any more loyal
men in the city, see that they are armed and ready to come at any moment.
Let one hundred remain here constantly, for I am sure that Furp will
attack. He will not give up his power so easily."

"Nor a chance to get all of our pieces of bronze as he once did," said
one of the men bitterly.

The one hundred men remained and the others left and went through the
city searching for new recruits.

David looked at O-aa and smiled and she smiled back. "I wish my eleven
brothers had been here," she said.

VII

WHEN GAMBA entered the jungle, he commenced to run, hoping to overtake
Dian; but the jungle was such a maze of trails that he soon realized that
he was lost; and then he caught a glimpse of a large, yellow-striped
creature slinking through the underbrush. Gamba was most unhappy. He
wished that he had not killed Shrud, for then he would not have had to
run away. He cursed the moment when Dian had come to Lolo-lolo; he cursed
Dian; he cursed everybody but himself, who alone was responsible for his
predicament; and, still cursing, he climbed a tree.

The tarag that had been stalking him came and stood under the tree and
looked up and growled. "Go away," said Gamba, and picked a fruit that
grew upon the tree and threw it at the tarag. The great beast snarled and
then lay down under the tree.

As soon as Dian had entered the jungle she accelerated her pace; and the
two great beasts which accompanied her strode upon either side, for here
the trail was wide. Dian was glad of their presence, for they suggested
protection, even though she did not know whether or not they would
protect her in an emergency.

Presently she came to a natural clearing in the jungle; and when she was
half-way across it she heard her name called. Surprised, she turn about
to see Bovar.

"Where are you going?" he demanded.

"To the village," she said.

"You are going in the wrong direction, then. The village is back this
way."

"These trails are confusing," said Dian. "I thought I was going in the
right direction." She realized now that there was nothing to do but go
back to the village and wait for another opportunity to escape. She was
terribly disappointed, but not wholly disheartened; because, if it had
been so easy to go into the jungle this time without arousing suspicion,
there would be other times when it would be just as easy.

As Bovar came toward her she saw a tarag slink into the clearing behind
him; and she recognized it immediately as the third member of the
terrible trinity the affections of which she had won.

"You won't have to go back to the village now," said Bovar. "You can keep
on going in the direction that you were."

"What do you mean?" demanded Dian.

"I mean that I think you were trying to escape, and I am going to help
you. I know a cave deep in the jungle where no one will ever find us and
where, when I am not with you, you will be safe from man and beast."

"I shall go back to the village," said Dian; "and if you will promise not
to annoy me, I will not tell Hamlar nor Manai what you would have done."

"You shall not go back to the village," said Bovar. "You are going with
me. If you do not go willingly, I will drag you through the jungle by the
hair."

Dian drew her bronze knife. "Come and try it," she said.

"Don't be a fool," said Bovar. "In the village you are a slave. You have
to clean three caves and prepare the food for four people and wash
loincloths and fetch carry all day. In the jungle you would have but one
cave to clean and but two people to cook for; and if you behaved yourself
I would never beat you."

"You will never beat me whether I behave myself or not," replied Dian.

"Throw down that knife," added Bovar. Dian laughed at him and that made
Bovar furious. "Drop it and come with me, or I will kill you," he said.
"You shall never go back to the village now to spread stories about me.
Take your choice, slave. Come with me or die."

Two of the tarags stood close beside Dian, imparting to her a sense of
security-whether false or not she did not know, but at least their
presence encouraged her to hope. The third tarag lay on its belly a few
yards behind Bovar, the tip of its tail constantly moving. Dian knew
what that sign often portended, and she wondered.

Bovar did not know that the tarag had followed him, nor that it lay there
behind him, watching his every move. What was in the great beast's mind,
no one may know. Since cubhood it had been taught to fear these
men-things and their long, sharp spears.

Bovar took a few steps toward Dian, his spear poised to thrust. Dian had
not thought that he would carry out his threat; but now, looking into his
eyes, she saw determination there. She saw the tarag behind Bovar rise
with barred fangs and then she had an inspiration. This cave girl knew
what an unfailing invitation to any dangerous animal to attack is flight;
and so she turned suddenly and ran across the clearing, banking her
safety on the affections of these savage beasts.

Bovar sprang after her, his spear poised for the cast; and then the great
beast behind him charged and sprang, and the two which had stood beside
Dian leaped upon him with thunderous roars.

Dian heard one piercing scream and turned to see Bovar go down with all
those terrible fangs buried in his body. That one piercing scream marked
the end of Bovar, son of Hamlar the chief; and Dian watched while the
great beasts tore the chiefs son to pieces and devoured him. Inured to
savagery in a savage world, the scene that she witnessed did not horrify
her. Her principle reactions to the event were induced by the knowledge
that she had been relieved from an annoying enemy, that she now would not
have to return to the village, and that she had acquired a long, heavy
spear.

Dian went and sat down in the shade of a tree and waited for the three
beasts to finish their grisly meal. She was glad to wait for them, for
she wanted their company and protection as far as the entrance to the
shaft which led down to the beach where her canoe lay; and while she was
waiting she fell asleep.

Dian was awakened by something rubbing against her shoulder and opened
her eyes to see one of the tarags nuzzling her. The other two had slumped
down near her, but when she awoke they stood up; and then the three of
them strode off into the jungle and Dian went with them. She knew that
they were going for water and when they had drunk they would sleep; nor
was she wrong, for when they had had their fill of water they threw
themselves down in the shade near the stream; and Dian laid down with
them and they all slept.

Gamba, in his tree a quarter of a mile away from the clearing where Bovar
had died, had heard a human scream mingling with the horrid roars and
snarls of attacking beasts, and he had thought that Dian had been
attacked and was dead; and Gamba, who had been king of Lolo-lolo, felt
very much alone in the world and extremely sorry for himself.

IN TANGA-TANGA, Ope the high priest was in a quandary and very unhappy.
He and the lesser priests had all been absent from the temple throne room
at the time that the followers of Furp had attacked Pu and the Noada; and
now he was trying to explain his absence to his god. His quandary was
occasioned by the fact that he did not know which side was going to win
in the impending battle, of the imminence of which he was fully cognizant.

"It might have seemed a coincidence to some," David was saying, "that you
and all of the lesser priests were absent at the time that Furp's men
attacked us, but Pu knows that it was no coincidence. You absented
yourselves when you knew that we were in danger so that the people might
have no grounds upon which to reproach you, no matter what the outcome of
the attempt might be. You must now determine once and for all whether you
will support us or the go-sha."

The lesser priests were gathered around Ope at the foot of the dais and
they looked to him for leadership. He could feel their eyes upon him. He
knew the great numerical strength of the go-sha's retainers, but he did
not know that Pu, also, had a great number, nor did he know that they
were armed. He thought that warriors would be met, if at all, by an
unarmed mob which they could easily mow down with arrow, spear and sword.

"I am waiting for your answer," said David.

Ope decided to play safe; he could explain his reasons to Furp later. "We
shall be loyal to Pu and our Noada in the future as in the past," he said.

"Very well, then," said David. "Send the lesser priests out into the city
to spread the word among the people that they must arm themselves and be
prepared to defend the temple."

Ope had not expected anything of this sort and he was chagrined, for at
the bottom of his heart he hoped that Furp would succeed in destroying
these two, that he might again enjoy to the fullest extent the
prequisites?? and graft of his office; but he realized that he must at
least appear to comply with Pu's instructions.

"It shall be done at once," he said. "I shall take the lesser priests
into my private chambers and explain their duties to them."

"You will do nothing of the sort," said David. "The lesser priests have
heard the instructions that Pu has given. They will go out into the city
at once and with each one of them I will send one of these loyal citizens
to see that my instructions are carried out honestly."

"But-" commenced Ope.

"But nothing!" snapped David, and he looked at the lesser priests. "You
will leave at once, and you will each be accompanied by one of these
men," and as he detailed those who were to accompany the lesser priests,
he told them that they had his permission, the permission of their god,
to destroy any priest who failed to exhort the people enthusiastically to
defend the temple of Pu.

It was not long thereafter that men commenced to congregate in the plaza
before the temple. Through the great temple doorway David could see the
house of the go-sha; and soon he saw warriors emerging from it, and
others coming into the plaza from other directions. They marched straight
toward the temple, before which stood the temple guards and the loyal
citizens who had armed themselves to protect Pu and their Noada.

Furp's men tried to shoulder their way through to the temple, but they
were immediately set upon, and the battle began. Soon the plaza was
filled with the clash of swords, the shouts and curses of men, and the
screams and groans of the wounded and dying.

From every narrow, crooked street loyal citizens swarmed to the defense
of the temple; so that not one of Furp's men ever reached the great
doorway.

Who may know how long that battle lasted, for it was noon when it
commenced and noon when it ended; but to David and O-aa it seemed like an
eternity. When the last of Furp's retainers who were not dead or wounded
were driven from the plaza, the dead lay thick upon every hand; and David
Innes was the master of Tanga-tanga.

Furp and a couple of hundred of his retainers had fled the city; and it
was later discovered that they had gone to Lolo-lolo and enlisted in the
service of the new go-sha there, who was glad to acquire so many trained
fighting men.

David sent word to the people that as long as he remained he would rule
Tanga-tanga; and that when he left he would appoint a new go-sha, one who
would not rob them; and then he sent for Ope the high priest.

"Ope," he said, "in your heart you have always been, disloyal to your
Noada and to Pu; therefore, you are dismissed from the priesthood and
banished from Tanga-tanga. You may go to Lolo-lolo and join Furp, and you
may thank Pu that he has not destroyed you as you deserve."

Ope was aghast. He was not prepared for this, as he had felt that he had
played safe.

"B-but, Pu," he cried. "The people-the people, what of them? They will
not be pleased. They might even turn against you in their wrath. I have
been their high priest for many thousand sleeps."

"If you prefer to leave the issue to the people," said David "I will
summon them and tell them how disloyal you have been, and turn you over
to them."

At that suggestion Ope trembled, for he knew that he was most unpopular
among the people. "I shall abide by the will of Pu," he said, "and leave
Tanga-tanga immediately; but it pains me to think that I must abandon my
people and leave them without a high priest to whom they may bring their
grievances."

"And their pieces of metal," said O-aa.

"The people shall not be without a high priest," said David; "for I now
ordain Kanje as the high priest of the temple of Pu." Kanje was one of
the lesser priests whom David knew to be loyal.

Ope was conducted to the gates of the city by members of the temple
guard, who had orders to see that he spoke to no one; and so the last of
David's active and powerful enemies was disposed of, and he could devote
his time to plans for returning to Sari, after prosecuting a further
search for Dian, who, in his heart of hearts, he believed to be lost to
him forever.

He sent men out to fell a certain type of tree in a near-by forest, and
to bring them into the city; and he sent hunters out to kill several
boses, which on the outer crust were the prehistoric progenitors of our
modern cattle. These hunters were instructed to bring the meat in and
give it to the people; and to bring hides to the women to be cleaned and
cured.

When the trees were brought in he had them cut into planks and strips,
and in person he supervised the building of a large canoe with mast and
sails and water-tight compartments forward and aft.

The people wondered at the purpose for which this strange thing was being
built, for they were not a sea-faring people; and in all their lives had
seen only one craft that floated on the water-that in which their Noada
had come to them.

When the canoe was completed, he summoned the people to the plaza and
told them that he and the Noada were going to visit some of their other
temples in a far land, and that while they were gone the people must
remain loyal to Kanje and the new go-sha whom David appointed; and he
warned Kanje and the new go-sha to be kind to the people and not to rob
them.

"For, wherever I am, I shall be watching you," he said.

He had the people carry the canoe down to the nameless strait, and stock
it with provisions and with water, and with many weapons-spears, and bows
and arrows, and bronze swords; for he knew that the crossing would be
perilous.

The entire population of Tanga-tanga, with the exception of the warriors
at the gates, had come down to the shore to bid Pu and the Noada
farewell; and to see this strange thing set out upon the terrible waters.
O-aa had come down with the people, but David had remained at the temple
to listen to a report from some of the warriors he had sent out in search
of a clue to the whereabouts of Dian. These men reported that they had
captured a Lolo-lolo hunter, who claimed to have seen Gamba and Dian as
they set forth upon the waters of the nameless strait in their little
canoe. So David knew that if Dian were not already dead, she might have
returned to Sari.

As he started for the gate of the city he heard sounds of fighting; and
when he reached the gate he saw that his people by the shore had been
attacked by a horde of warriors from Lolo-lolo and were falling back
toward the city.

O-aa had been in the canoe, waiting for David, when the attack came; and
in order to escape capture, she had paddled out upon the nameless strait,
intending to hold the craft there until the attackers had been dispersed
and David could come down to the shore; but the current seized the canoe
and carried it out into the strait, and though she paddled valiantly she
could do nothing to alter its course.

VIII

THE SHIP in which Hodon sailed in search of the Sari and O-aa was named
Lo-har, in honor of Laja who had come among the Sarians from the country
called Lo-har. It was a little ship, but staunch; and Raj the Mezop
brought it through that nameless strait, and out upon the broad bosom of
the Korsar Az in safety; and there they were becalmed and the current
carried them where it would. Their fresh water was almost exhausted and
they looked in vain for rain; and then in the distance they sighted land,
toward which the current was carrying them. When they were scarcely a
mile off shore, the current changed and Hodon saw that they were going to
be carried past the end of what he now saw to be an island; so he filled
the canoe with empty water containers, and with twenty strong paddlers he
set forth for the shore; and as he neared it he saw a waterfall tumbling
into the sea over the edge of a cliff.

As the canoe was being drawn up on a narrow beach in a little cove at the
far end of which was the Waterfall, Hodon saw another canoe that had been
dragged up on the shore; and while his men carried the containers to the
waterfall to fill them, he investigated.

In the bottom of the canoe were strange weapons such as he had never seen
before, for the swords he found there were of a metal he had never seen
before, and the spears and arrows were tipped with it, Upon a thwart
rested two tiny sandals. Hodon picked one of them up and examined it, and
instantly he recognized it as the work of a Sarian woman; for the women
of each tribe have a distinctive way of making their sandals, so that
they are easily recognized, as are the imprints they make upon soft earth
or sand.

What Sarian woman other than Dian the Beautiful could these tiny sandals
belong to? She alone was missing from Sari. Hodon was excited, and he
hastened to the waterfall to tell his warriors; and they were excited,
too, when they heard that Dian might be on this island.

As the men filled the remaining bamboo containers Hodon discovered the
little ledge behind the falls and, in investigating, found the opening
into the cavern. He felt his way into it until he came at last to the
bottom of the shaft where rested the crude ladder up which Dian's captors
had taken her. Hodon returned to his men and they carried the fresh water
back to the canoe; and as they looked out toward the Lo-har they saw that
a breeze had sprung up and that the little ship was standing in toward
shore.

IX

AFTER THE TARAG, TIRED of waiting beneath the tree, arose and slunk off
into the jungle, Gamba came down onto the ground and continued his
flight. He walked quite a distance this time before he was treed again by
sounds which he could not clearly interpret, but which resembled the
growls of beasts mingled with the conversation of men; and presently
there passed beneath him a dozen warriors, each one of which was
accompanied by a ta-ho on a leash. Gamba recognized them instantly as
Manats from the other side of the island; for, although he had never seen
one of them before, he had heard them and their fierce fighting beasts
described many times by the Tandars.

Gamba remained very quiet in his tree, for these Manats looked like
fierce and terrible men, almost as fierce and terrible as their grim
beasts.

And while Gamba watched them pass beneath him and disappear along the
winding trail beyond him, Dian and her three beasts slept beside the
little stream where they had quenched their thirst.

Dian was awakened when one of her beasts sprang to its feet with a
hideous roar. Approaching were the twelve warriors of Manat with their
fighting tahos. The three tarags, roaring and growling, stood between
Dian and the approaching Manats.

With cries of encouragement, the Manats turned their twelve beasts loose;
and Dian, seeing how greatly her defenders were outnumbered, turned and
fled and while the tarags were battling for their lives, a Manat warrior
pursued her.

Dian ran like a deer, far outdistancing the Manat. She had no idea in
what direction she was running. She followed jungle trails which turned
and twisted, and which eventually brought her back to the very clearing
in which Bovar, had been killed, and there she saw the Manats and their
fighting beasts, but there were only seven of the latter now. Before they
had died, her tarags had destroyed five of them.

The warriors did not see Dian, and for that she breathed a sigh of relief
as she turned and hurried back along the trail she had come-hurried
straight into the arms of the warrior who had been following her. They
met at a sharp turn in the trail and he seized her before she could
escape. Dian reached for her dagger, but the man caught her wrist; and
then he disarmed her.

"You came back to me," he said, in a gruff voice, "but for making me run
so far I shall beat you when I get you back to the village of Manat."

Dian said nothing, for she knew that nothing she might say could avail
her.

Gamba, sitting disconsolate and terrified in his tree, saw the twelve
terrible men of Manat return. There were only seven tahos with them now,
but this time there was a woman. Gamba recognized her immediately and his
sorrow almost overcame him-sorrow for himself and not for Dian; for now
he knew that she could never lead him to the cove where the canoe lay and
that if he found it himself, he would have to embark on those terrible
waters alone. It is wholly impossible that anyone could have been more
unhappy than Gamba. He dared not return to the village; he did not know
in which direction the cove lay; and he was alone in a jungle haunted by
hungry man-eaters, he who had always lived in the safety of a walled
city. From wishing that he had never seen Dian, he commenced to wish that
he had never been born. Finally he decided to find a stream near which
grew trees bearing edible fruits and nuts; and to live up in these trees
all the rest of his life, coming down only for water.

While Gamba was bemoaning his fate, Dian, the leash of one of the dead
tahos around her neck, was being led across the Island of Tandar toward
the country of the Manats; but she was not bemoaning anything, nor being
sorry for herself. She could not clutter her mind with useless thoughts
while every moment it must be devoted to thoughts of escape. There was
never any telling at what instant an emergency might arise, which would
offer her an opportunity; yet, deep in the bottom of her heart, her fate
must have seemed utterly hopeless.

The warrior who had captured Dian was an ill-natured brute, and the fact
that he had lost his ta-ho in the fight with the tarags had not tended to
improve his disposition. He jerked at the rope around Dian's neck roughly
and unnecessarily; and occasionally on no pretext at all, he cuffed her;
and every time he did one of these things he was strengthening the girl's
resolve to kill him. She would almost have abandoned an opportunity to
escape for the pleasure of driving a dagger into his heart.

WITH ALL SAILS SET, the John Tyler rode the water of the nameless strait.
Ja and Abner Perry and Ah-gilak stood upon the quarterdeck.

"I think," said Abner Perry, "that we should disembark a searching party
as soon as possible. We may have a long shoreline to search and a big
country, which we must comb until we find some clew to the whereabouts of
Dian"; and the others agreed with him.

As they approached the shore the lookout shouted, "Canoe dead ahead."

As they bore down upon the little craft the bow was filled with warriors
and Mezops, watching the canoe and its single occupant. They saw a figure
in a long cloak and an enormous feather headdress; and when they got
closer they saw that it was a woman.

O-aa had never seen a ship built or rigged like this one, which had
evidently discovered her and was headed for her; but as far as she knew,
only the men of the Empire of Pellucidar built any sort of ships, and so
she hoped against hope that these might be men of the federation.

As the ship came about and lay to near her, she paddled to its side. A
rope was thrown to her and she was hauled to the deck.

"Dod-burn it!" exclaimed Ah-gilak. "Gad and Gabriel! If it isn't O-aa!
What in the name of all that's dod-blasted are you doing in that get-up,
girl; and out here alone in a canoe?"

"Don't talk so much, old man," retorted O-aa, who could never forget that
Ah-gilak had once planned on killing and eating her that time that they
were being besieged in the cave by the sabre-toothed men. "Instead of
talking," she continued, "get to shore and rescue David Innes."

"David Innes!" exclaimed Abner Perry. "Is David Innes there?"

"He is in that city you can see," replied O-aa, "and if the warriors from
Lolo-lolo get in there, they will kill him."

The ship was under way again and Ah-gilak brought it as close into shore
as he dared, and dropped anchor. Then Ghak and his two hundred warriors,
and all but about twenty-five of the Mezops, took to the boats and made
for shore. Nearly three hundred veterans they were and they were armed
with muskets; crude things, but effective against men of the Stone Age,
or of the bronze age either; for, besides making a good deal of noise,
they emitted volumes of black smoke; and those whom they didn't kill,
they nearly frightened to death.

In a long thin line, as David had taught them, they approached the city
where the warriors of Lolo-lolo were attempting to force the gates.

When they were discovered, the Lolo-loloans turned to repel them, looking
with contempt upon that long, thin line of a few hundred men who had the
temerity to threaten a thousand bowmen. But the thunder of the first
ragged volley and the black smoke belching at them, as twenty or thirty
of their comrades fell screaming to the ground, gave them pause; but they
advanced bravely in the face of a second volley. However, with the third
volley, those who had not been killed or wounded turned and fled, and
Ghak the Hairy One led his troop to the walls of Tanga-tanga.

"Who are you?" demanded a warrior standing upon the top of the wall.

"We are friends, and we have come for Pu," replied Ghak, who had been
coached by O-aa.

Almost immediately the gates were thrown open and David Innes emerged.
From the temple he had heard the firing and he was sure that could have
come only from the muskets of the empire.

Tears were streaming down Abner Perry's cheeks as he welcomed David
aboard the John Tyler.

David listened while they told him of their plans to search for Dian, but
he shook his head and told them that it was useless; that Dian had set
out upon the nameless strait in a canoe with a single companion and that
if she were not already back in Sari, she must be dead.

O-aa had inquired about Hodon, and when she had been told that he had
come this way in search of her, she begged David Innes to continue on
through the nameless strait into the Korsar Az in search of him; as he
must have gone there if he had not already been wrecked.

WHILE GAMBA WAS SEARCHING for a stream where there were trees bearing
nuts and fruits he was suddenly confronted by a band of strange warriors
bearing weapons such as he had never seen before. He tried to escape
them, but they overtook and captured him.

"Who are you?" demanded Hodon.

"I am Gamba, the go-sha of Lolo-lolo," replied the frightened man.

"I think we should kill him," said a Mezop. "I do not like the color of
his skin."

"Where is Lolo-lolo," asked Hodon.

"It is on the other side of the nameless strait," replied Gamba, "where
the country of the Xexots lies."

"You came from the other side of the nameless strait?"

"Yes; I came in a thing called a 'canoe'"

"Did you come alone?" asked Hodon.

"No; I came with a woman who said that she came from a country called
Sari, and that her name was Dian the Beautiful."

"Where is she?" demanded Hodon.

"She was captured by the Manats, who live on the other side of this
island."

"Can you lead us there?"

"No," replied Gamba; "I am lost. I do not even know the way to the coast
where our canoe lies. If I were you, I would not go to the country of the
Manats. They are terrible men and they lead tahos, who can kill and
devour you. There were twelve Manats who captured Dian, and they had
seven tahos with them."

"Can you show us where she was captured?"

"I can show you where I last saw her," replied Gamba; and this he did.
There the trail of men and beasts was plain and to these men of the stone
age the following of that trail was simple. They marched rapidly and
almost without rest; and though ordinarily it was three long marches to
the village of the Manats, Hodon and his hundred warriors reached it
shortly after the first sleep.

The men who had captured Dian had only just arrived and her captor had
taken her to his cave.

"Now," he said, "I am going to give you the beating I promised you. It
will teach you to behave." He seized her by the hair and, stooping,
picked up a short stick; and as he stooped Dian snatched her bronze
dagger that the man had taken from her from the sheath at his side, and
as he raised the stick she plunged it into his heart. With a scream he
clutched at his breast; and then Dian gave him a push that sent him out
of the cave to topple over the ledge and fall to the ground below.

A moment later she heard shouts and war-cries; and she thought that they
were caused by the anger of the Manats because of the killing of one of
their fellows; and she stood in the shadow of the cave's entrance with
the dagger in her hand, determined to sell her life dearly and take a
heavy toll of her enemies.

From below rose the shouts of the warriors and the roars and growls of
the tahos; and then, like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky, came the roar
of musketry.

Dian could not believe her ears. What other people in all Pellucidar,
other than the men of the empire and the inhabitants of far Korsar, had
firearms? It was too good to hope that these might be Sarians; and if
they were from Korsar, she was as well off here among the Manats as to be
captured by the Korsarians.

She stepped to the mouth of the cave and looked out. The fighting was
going on almost directly beneath her. The tahos were doing the most
damage among the attackers, but one by one they were being shot down; for
the Manat warriors, confused by the noise and the smoke, made only an
occasional sally, only to be driven back with heavy losses; and at last
the remnants of them turned and fled, as the last of the tahos was killed.

Dian had long since seen that these men were no Korsars. She recognized
the copper skins of the Mezops and knew that she had been saved.

She stood upon the ledge and called down to them, and the men looked up
and cheered. Then she went down and greeted Hodon and the others; and the
first question that she asked was of David. "Why is he not with you?" she
asked. "Has anything happened to him?"

"He left Sari in a balloon such as carried you away," explained Hodon,
"in the hope that it would take him to the same spot where yours landed.
We do not know what became of him."

"Why are you here?" asked Dian.

"We were looking for O-aa, who, when last seen, was adrift on the Sari."

"How did you happen to come here and find me?" asked Dian.

"We landed on the island for water and I saw your sandals on the thwart
of your canoe; then we came inland in search of you and we found a man
who had seen you captured by these Manats. After that it was easy enough
to follow their trail."

They started immediately on the long trek back to the other side of the
island; and when they entered the jungle Gamba came down out of a tree
where he had been hiding during the fighting.

"This man said that he came here in a canoe with you," said Hodon. "Did
he offer to harm you in any way?"

"No," said Dian.

"Then we shall let him live," said Hodon.


PART IV: SAVAGE PELLUCIDAR


I

AS THE JOHN TYLER sailed through the nameless strait toward the Korsar Az
in what seemed to David a fruitless search for the ship Lo-har and Hodon
the Fleet One, a forgotten incident flashed into David's mind. As he had
drifted across the strait in the balloon that Abner Perry had built for
him that he might prosecute his search for Dian the Beautiful, he had
seen, far below, a canoe with two occupants moving with the current
toward the Korsar Az. And now, recalling what one of the Xexots had told
him of seeing Dian and Gamba, the former king of Lolo-lolo, escaping in a
canoe, he was certain that it must have been Dian and Gamba whom he had
seen. So now he was anxious as O-aa to sail on into the Korsar Az.

Ah-gilak, the little old man from Cape Cod who could not recall his name
but knew that it was not Dolly Dorcas, didn't care where he sailed the
ship he had designed and now skippered. He was just content to sail it, a
small version of the great clipper ship he had dreamed of building nearly
a hundred years before as soon as he got back to Cape Cod.

Of course Abner Perry was more than anxious to prosecute the search for
Dian, since it had been through his carelessness that the balloon had
escaped and borne her away. Ja and Jav and Ko and the other Mezops of the
crew, being borne to the sea, were happy in this, to them, wonderful
ship. Ghak the Hairy One, king of Sari, who commanded the two hundred
warriors aboard, would have gone to the fiery sea of Molop Az for either
David or Dian. The two hundred warriors, while loyal and valiant, were
mostly unhappy. They are hill people, the sea is not their element, and
most of them were often sick.

On the Lo-har, Hodon and Dian decided to cruise about the Korsar Az for a
while before giving up the search for O-aa, whom they had about given up
for lost. Then they would return to Sari.

The Korsar Az is a great ocean extending, roughly, two thousand miles
from north to south. It is an unchartered wilderness of unknown waters,
and all but a short distance of its enormous shoreline a terra incognita
to the crews of the Lo-har and the John Tyler, most of whom thought that
its waters extended to the ends of the world and were bordered by lands
inhabited by fierce enemies and roved by terrifying beasts, in all but
the first of which conceits they were eminently correct.

Leaving Tandar, the island upon which he had found Dian, Hodon cruised to
the south, while the John Tyler, entering the great sea from the nameless
strait, turned her prow toward the north. Thus, fate separated them
farther and farther.

Usually within sight of land, the John Tyler cruised in a north-easterly
direction along the great peninsula upon the opposite side of which lie
most of the kingdoms of the Empire of Pellucidar. For thirteen or
fourteen hundred miles the ship held this course, while Ghak's two
hundred sturdy warriors, sick and hating the sea, became more and more
unhappy and discontented until they were close upon the verge of mutiny.

They were at heart loyal to Ghak and David; but they were men of the
Stone Age, rugged individualists unaccustomed to discipline. Finally they
came to Ghak in a body and demanded that the ship turn back and head for
home.

Ghak and David listened to them, Ghak with deep sympathy, for he, too,
was sick of the sea and longed to feel the solid earth beneath his feet
once more. And David listened with understanding and a plan. He spread a
crude map before them.

"We are here," he said, pointing, "opposite the narrowest part of the
peninsula." He moved his finger in a southeasterly direction. "Here is
Sari. Between us and Sari lie seven hundred miles of probably rugged
country inhabited by savage tribes and overrun by fierce beasts. You
would have to fight your way for all the seven hundred miles." He ran his
finger back along the coast and through the nameless strait and then up
along the opposite shore of the peninsula to Sari. "The John Tyler is a
safe and seaworthy ship," he said. "If you remain aboard her, you may be
sick and uncomfortable at times, but you will reach Sari in safety. If
you wish, we will land you here; or you may remain aboard. If you stay
with the ship, there must be no more grumbling, and you must obey orders.
Which do you wish to do?"

"How far is it back to Sari by sea?" asked one of the warriors.

"This is, of course, a crude map," said David, "and we may only
approximate correct distances; but I should say that by sea the distance
to Sari is around five thousand miles."

"And only seven hundred miles by land," said the man.

"About that. It may be more, it may be less."

"If it were seven hundred miles by sea and five thousand by land," spoke
up another warrior, "and I had to fight for every mile, I'd choose to go
by land."

As one man, the two hundred cheered and that settled the matter.

"Well, dod-burn my hide!" grumbled Ah-gilak. "Of all the gol-durned
idjits I almost nearly ever seen! 'Druther hoof it fer seven hundred
miles than ride home in style an' comfort on the sweetest ship ever
sailed these do blasted seas. Ain't got no more sense 'n a white pine dog
with a poplar tail. Howsumever, good riddance says I. There'll be more
victuals for the rest of us, an' plenty water."

"Then everybody's happy," said David, smiling.

At the point they chose to land the Sarian warriors, there was a narrow
beach at the foot of cliffs which extended in both directions as far as
they could see. The lead showed no bottom at sixteen fathoms four hundred
yards off shore. Closer than that Ah-gilak would not take his ship.

"Too gol-durned close now," he said, "but what wind there is is right."

Standing on and off a light breeze and a calm sea, the boats were lowered
and the first contingent was put ashore. David, Abner Perry, Ghak, and
O-aa were standing together watching the warriors disembark.

"You will accompany them, Ghak?" asked David.

"I will do whatever you wish," replied the king of Sari.

"Your place is with them," said David; "and if you go with them, you'll
be back in Sari much sooner than we shall by sea."

"Why don't we all go with them, then?" suggested Perry.

"I have been thinking the same thing," said David, "but for myself. Not
you. It would be too tough a trek for you, Abner. Don't forget that you
must be well over ninety by this time."

Perry bridled. "Stuff and nonsense!" he exclaimed. "I can keep up with
the best of you. And don't you forget, David, that if I am over ninety,
you are over fifty. I'm going along, and that settles it. I must get back
to Sari. I have important things to do."

"You will be much more comfortable aboard the John Tyler," coaxed David.
"And what have you so important to do, that can't wait in a world where
time stands eternally still?"

"I have in mind to invent a steam locomotive and build a railway," said
Perry. "I also wish to invent a camera. There is much to be done, David."

"Why a camera?" asked David. "You can't kill anyone with a camera."

Perry looked hurt. The man who had brought gunpowder, muskets, cannon,
and steel for swords and spears and knives to this Stone Age world was
inherently the sweetest and kindest of men. But he just couldn't help
"inventing."

"Be that as it may, David," he said with dignity, "I am going with Ghak,"
and David knew that that was that.

"How about you, O-aa?" asked David. "With two hundred warriors fully
armed with Perry's appurtenances of civilization, I am sure that we can
make the journey with safety; and you can be back in Kali with your own
people far sooner than by making the long trip by sea."

"Hodon is somewhere on the Korsar Az searching for me, I am sure,"
replied O-aa; "so I shall stay with the John Tyler. I should much rather
go with you than remain with the little old man whose name is not Dolly
Dorcas and whom I do not like, but by so doing I might miss Hodon."

"Why do you call him the little man whose name is not Dolly Dorcas, and
why do you dislike him?" asked Perry.

"He has forgotten his own name. He had none. So I called him Dolly
Dorcas. I thought that was his name, but it was the name of the ship he
was on that was wrecked. So he was always saying, 'my name is not Dolly
Dorcas', until we gave him the name Ah-gilak. And I do not like him,
because he eats people. He wanted to eat me. He ate the men who were
ship-wrecked with him. He was even going to start eating himself. He has
told us these things. He is an evil old man. But I shall go with him,
because I wish to find my Hodon."

"Gracious me!" exclaimed Perry. "I had no idea Ah-gilak was such a
terrible person."

"He is," said O-aa, "but he had better leave me alone, or my thirteen
brothers will kill him."

II

AS THE JOHN TYLER drew away from shore, little O-aa leaned on the rail
and watched the last of the Sari warriors clamber up the cliff and
disappear in the junglelike growth which surmounted it. A moment later
she heard savage cries floating out over the water, and then the loud
reports of muskets and the screams of wounded men.

"Men do not have to wait long for trouble on land," said Ko, the Mezop
Third Mate, who leaned against the rail at her side. "It is well that you
decided to return by sea, little one."

O-aa shot a quick glance at him. She did not like the tone of his voice
when he called her little one. "My people can take care of themselves,"
she said. "If necessary they will kill all the men between here and Sari.
And I can take care of myself, too," she added.

"You will not have to take care of yourself," said Ko. "I will take care
of you."

"You will mind your own business," snapped O-aa.

Ko grinned. Like nearly all the red Mezops he was handsome, and like all
handsome men he thought that he had a way with the women and was
irresistible. "It is a long way to Sari," he said, "and we shall be much
together; so let us be friends, little one."

"We shall not be much together, we shall not be friends, and don't call
me little one. I do not like you, red man." Little O-aa's eyes snapped.

Ko continued to grin. "You will learn to like me-little one," he said.
O-aa slapped him full in the face. Ko's grin vanished, to be replaced by
an ugly snarl. "I'll teach you," he growled, reaching for her.

O-aa drew the long, slim steel dagger David had given her after she came
aboard the John Tyler; and then a thin, cracked voice cried, "Avast
there, you swabs! What goes on?" It was Ah-gilak the skipper.

"This she-tarag was going to knife me," said Ko.

"That's only part of it," said O-aa. "If he ever lays a hand on me I'll
carve his heart out."

Ja, attracted by the controversy, crossed the deck to them in time to
hear Ah-gilak say, "She is a bad one. She needs a lesson."

"You had better not try to give me a lesson, eater of men," snapped O-aa,
"unless you want your old belly ripped open."

"What is this all about, O-aa?" asked Ja.

"This," said O-aa, pointing at Ko, "spoke to me as no one but Hodon may
speak to me. And he called me little one-me, the daughter of Oose, King
of Kali. And when I slapped him, he would have seized me-had I not had my
knife."

Ja turned on Ko. "You will leave the girl alone," he said. Ko scowled but
said nothing, for Ja is king of the Mezops of Anoroc Island, one whom it
is well to obey. Ko turned and walked away.

"Dod-burn it!" exclaimed Ah-gilak. "They's always trouble when you got a
woman aboard. I never did like shippin' a woman. I got me a good mind to
set her ashore."

"You'll do nothing of the sort," said Ja.

"I'm skipper of this here ship," retorted Ah-gilak. "I can put her ashore
if I've a mind to."

"You talk too much, old man," said Ja, and, walked away.

"You gol-durned red Indian," grumbled Ah-gilak. "That's insubordination.
Tarnation! It's mutiny, by gum. I'll clap you in irons the fust thing you
know," but he was careful to see that Ja was out of earshot before he
voiced his anger and made his threats, for now, except for himself, all
the officers and crew of the John Tyler were Mezops and Ja was their king.

The John Tyler beat back along the coast toward the nameless strait; and
every waking moment O-aa scanned the surface of the great sea that curved
upward, horizonless, to merge in the distant haze with the vault of the
heavens. But no sign of another ship rewarded her ceaseless vigil. There
was life, the terrible marine life of this young world; but no ship
bearing Hodon.

O-aa was very lonely. The Mezops, with the exception of Ko, were not
unfriendly; but they are a taciturn people. And, further, she had little
in common with them that might have promoted conversation. And she hated
the sea, and she was afraid of it. She might cope with enemies among men,
but she could not cope with the sea. She had begun to regret that she had
not gone overland to Sari with David Innes and his party.

Time dragged heavily. The ship seemed to stand still. There were adverse
winds; and once, when she came on deck after sleeping, they were becalmed
and a dense fog lay upon the water. O-aa could not see the length of the
ship. She could see no ocean. There was only the lapping of little waves
against the hull and the gentle movement of the ship to indicate that she
was not floating off into space in this new element. It was a little
frightening.

Every sail was set and flapping idly. A figure materialized out of the
fog. O-aa saw that it was the little old man, and the little old man saw
that the figure by the rail was O-aa. He glanced around. There was no one
else in sight. He came closer.

"You are a hoo-doo," he said. "You brought bad winds. Now you have
brought calm and fog. As long as you are aboard we'll have bad luck." He
edged closer. O-aa guessed what was in his mind. She whipped out her
dagger.

"Go away, eater of men," she said. "You are just one step from death."

Ah-gilak stopped. "Gol-durn it, girl," he protested, "I ain't goin' to
hurt you."

"At least for once you have spoken the truth, evil old man," said O-aa.
"You are not going to hurt me. Not while I have my knife. All that you
intended to do was to throw me overboard."

"Of all the dod-gasted foolishness I ever heard, that there takes the
cake, as the feller said."

"Of all the dod-gasted liars," O-aa mimicked, "you take the cake, as the
feller said. Now go away and leave me alone." O-aa made a mental note to
ask some one what the cake was. There is no cake in the Stone Age and no
word for it.

Ah-gilak walked forward and was lost in the fog. O-aa stood now with her
back against the rail, that no one might sneak up on her from behind. She
knew that she had two enemies aboard-Ko and Ah-gilak. She must be always
on the alert. The outlook was not pleasant. The voyage would be very
long, and during it there would be many opportunities for one or the
other of them to harm her.

Again she berated herself for not having accompanied David and his party.
The sea was not her element. She longed for the feel of solid ground
beneath her feet. Even the countless dangers of that savage world seemed
less menacing than this vile old man who bragged of his cannibalism. She
had seen men look at her with hunger in their eyes, but the hunger look
in the watery old eyes of Ah-gilak was different. It connoted hunger for
food; and it frightened her more even than would have the blazing eyes of
some terrible carnivore, for it was unclean, repulsive.

A little breeze bellied the sails of the John Tyler. It sent the fog
swirling about the deck. Now the ship moved again. Looking across the
deck, O-aa saw something looming close alongside the John Tyler. It was a
land-a great, green clad cliff half hid by the swirling fog. She heard
Ah-gilak screaming orders. She heard the deep voice of Ja directing the
work of the sailors-a calm, unruffled voice.

O-aa ran across the deck to the opposite rail. The great cliff towered
high above, lost in the fog. It was scarcely a hundred feet away. At the
waterline was a narrow beach that could scarcely be dignified by the name
of beach. It was little more than a foothold at the base of this vertical
escarpment.

Here was land-beloved land! Its call was irresistible. O-aa stepped to
the top of the rail and dived into the sea. She struck out strongly for
the little ledge. A kind Providence protected her. No voracious denizen
of this swarming sea attacked her, and she reached her goal safely.

As she drew herself up onto the ledge the fog closed in again, and the
John Tyler disappeared from view. But she could still hear the voices of
Ah-gilak and Ja.

O-aa took stock of her situation. If the tide was out, then the ledge
would be sub-merged at high tide. She examined the face of the cliff in
her immediate vicinity, and concluded that the tide was out, for she
could see the marks of high tides far above her head.

Because of the fog, she could not see far either to the right or to the
left above her. To most, such a situation would have been appalling; but
the people of Kali are cliff dwellers. And O-aa, being a Kalian, had
spent all of her life scaling cliffs. She had found that there are few
cliffs that offer no footholds. This is especially true of cliffs the
faces of which support vegetation, and this cliff was clothed in green.

O-aa wished that the fog would go away before the tide came in. She would
have liked to examine the cliff more carefully before starting the
ascent. She could no longer hear voices aboard the John Tyler. O-aa was
alone in a strange world that contained no other living thing. A tiny
little world encompassed by fog.

A wave rolled in and lapped her ankles. O-aa looked down. The tide was
coming in. Something else was coming in, also. A huge reptile with
formidable jaws was swimming toward her, and it was eyeing her quite as
hungrily as had Ah-gilak. It was a nameless thing to O-aa, this forty
foot monster. I would have advantaged little O-aa nothing to have known
that this creature that was intent on reaching up and dragging her down
into the sea was Tylosaurus, one of the rulers of the Cretaceous seas of
the outer crust, eons ago.

III

AH-GILAK HAD SEEN the green cliff loom close alongside the John Tyler at
the same moment as had O-aa, but it connoted something very different to
the ancient skipper than to O-aa. To the one it meant disaster, to the
other escape. And each reacted in his own way. Ah-gilak screamed orders
and O-aa dived overboard.

With the lightly freshening breeze, the ship hauled away from danger, at
least from the imminent threat of that particular cliff. But who knew
what lay just ahead in the fog?

Again the wind died, the sails hung limp, the fog closed in tighter than
before. The tide and a strong current bore the helpless ship on. But
where? Abner Perry's crude compass did 180s and 360s, as the current and
the tide turned the John Tyler slowly this way and that.

"She ain't nuthin' but a dod-burned derelict," groaned Ah-gilak, "jest
driftin' around. It all comes from shippin' a woman, durn 'em. If we're
driftin' to sea, we're all right. If we're driftin' t'other way, she'll
go ashore. Gad an' Gabriel! I'd ruther pitch a whole slew o' women
overboard than lose a sweet ship like the John Tyler."

"Shut up!" said Ja. "You talk too much. Listen!"

With a palm, Ah-gilak cupped an ear. "I don't hear nuthin'," he said.

"You're deaf, old man," said Ja.

"I can hear as good as the next feller, as the feller said," remonstrated
Ah-gilak.

"Then you can hear the surf that I hear," said Ja.

"Surf?" screamed Ah-gilak. "Where? How far?"

"There," said Ja, pointing. "And close."

The Lo-har was fogbound. She had been cruising northeast after a futile
search in the other direction. Hodon was loath to give up and admit that
O-aa was hopelessly lost to him. Dian the Beautiful was apathetic. She
knew that David might have been borne almost anywhere by the balloon that
had carried him in search of her, and that she stood as good a chance of
finding him while searching for O-aa as in any other way. But she was
resigned to the fact that she would never see him again; so she
encouraged Hodon to search for his O-aa.

Raj and the other Mezops were content just to sail. They loved the sea.
Gamba, the Xexot, who had been a king, did not love the sea. It
frightened him, but then Gamba was afraid of many things. He was not of
the stuff of which kings are supposed to be made. And he was always
whining and finding fault. Hodon would long since have pitched him
overboard had not Dian interceded in his behalf.

"How many more sleeps before we reach your country?" he asked Dian.

"Many," she replied.

"I have already lost count of the number of times I have slept since I
came aboard this thing you call a ship. We should be close to your
country by now. The world is not so large that one can travel for so many
sleeps without seeing it all."

"Pellucidar is very large," said Dian. "You might travel many thousands
of sleeps and yet see but little of it. Furthermore, we have not been
traveling toward Sari."

"What?" shrieked Gamba. "Not travelling toward your country?"

"Hodon has been searching for his mate."

"He did not find her," said Gamba, "so I suppose that we are not
travelling toward Sari."

"No," said Dian. "We are getting farther and farther from Sari, at least
by water."

"Make him turn around, and sail toward Sari," demanded Gamba. "I, Gamba
the King do not like the ocean nor the ship."

Dian smiled. "King of what?" she asked.

"I shall probably be king of Sari when we get there," said Gamba.

"Well, take my advice and don't tell Ghak the Hairy One," said Dian.

"Why not? Who is this Ghak the Hairy One?"

"He is king of Sari," explained Dian, "and he is a very large person and
very fierce when he is crossed."

"I am not afraid of him," said Gamba.

Again Dian smiled.

IV

O-AA DID NOT SCREAM as the great jaws of the reptile opened wide to seize
her, nor did she faint. Had our foremothers of the Stone Age wasted time
screaming and fainting, when danger threatened, the human race would have
died a-borning. And perhaps the world would have been a better, kinder
place to live for all the other animals who do not constantly make war
upon one another as do men.

Like a human fly, O-aa scrambled up the face of the cliff a few feet;
then she looked back and made a face at Tylosaurus, after which she
considered carefully her new position. Because of the fog, she could see
but a few yards in any direction. How high the cliff she could not know,
The greenery which covered it consisted of lichen and stout liana-like
vines which depended from above. As there was no earth on this vertical
rock in which plant life might take root, it was obvious to O-aa that the
lianas were rooted in earth at the top of the cliff. She examined them
carefully. Not only were they, in themselves, tough and sturdy; but the
aerial tendrils with which the vines clung to the face of the cliff added
still greater strength and permanency. Making use of this natural ladder,
O-aa ascended.

Some fifty feet above the surface of the sea she came to the mouth of a
large cave from which emanated a foul stench-the stink of putrid
carrion-and as she drew herself up and peered over the sill of the
opening, three hissing, screaming little horrors rushed forward to attack
her. O-aa recognized them as the young of the thipdar. Paleontologists
would have classified them as pterodactyls of the Lias, but they would
have been surprised at the enormous size to which these flying reptiles
grow in the Inner World. A wing span of twenty feet is only average. They
are one of the most dreaded of Pellucidar's many voracious carnivores.

The three that attacked O-aa were about the size of turkeys, and they
came for her with distended jaws. Clinging to her support with one hand,
O-aa whipped out her knife, and beheaded the leader of the attack. But
the others came on, their little brains, reacting only to the urge of
hunger, had no room for fear.

The girl would gladly have retreated, but the insensate little terrors
gave her no respite. Squawking and hissing, they hurled themselves upon
her. She struck a terrific blow at one of them, and missed. The momentum
of the blow carried her blade against the vine to which she clung,
severing it just above her left hand; and O-aa toppled backward.

Fifty feet below her lay the ocean and, perhaps, Tylosaurus and Death.
We, whose reactions have been slowed down by, generations of civilization
and soft, protected living, would doubtless have fallen to the ocean and,
perhaps, Tylosaurus and Death. But not O-aa. Simultaneously, she
transferred the knife to her mouth, dropped the severed vine and grabbed
for new support with both hands. She found it and held. "Whe-e-oo!"
breathed O-aa.

It had been a close call. She started up again, but this time she
detoured around the cave of the thipdars. She had much to be thankful
for, including the fog. No adult thipdar had been in the cave, nor need
she fear the return of one as long as the fog held.

A hundred feet above the sea she found the summit of the vertical cliff.
From here, the mountain sloped upward at an angle of about forty-five
degrees. Easy going for O-aa this. Practically level ground. There were
trees. They kept looming up out of the fog as she advanced. Trees are
beloved of Pellucidarians. Beneath their branches, sanctuary from the
great earth bound carnivores.

Now that she had found trees, O-aa had no further need of fog. She wished
that it would lift. She was getting as sick of the fog as she had been of
the sea. But she knew that the fog was better than the sea. It would go
away some time. The sea, never.

She climbed upward, alert, listening, sniffing the air. And presently she
emerged from the fog into the bright sunlight of Pellucidar's eternal
noon. The scene was beautiful, And if you think that primitive peoples do
not appreciate beauty you are crazy. In any event, O-aa did. The mountain
continued to rise gently toward its peak. Splendid trees dotted its
slope. Green grass grew lush, starred with many flowers; and below her,
shining bright in the sun, the fog rolled, a silent, silver sea.

By the time she reached the summit, the fog had disappeared as
miraculously as it had come. O-aa looked in all directions, and her heart
sank. In all directions she saw water. This single mountain rose from the
depths of the ocean to form a small island. A mile away, she could see
the mainland. But that mile of water seemed to the little cave girl of
the mountains as effectual a barrier to escape as would a hundred miles
of turbulent sea.

And then O-aa saw something else-something that sent her heart into a
real nose dive. Sneaking toward her was a jalok, the fierce dog of
Pellucidar. And there was no tree nearby.

V

THE JOHN TYLER went ashore and the surf pounded her against the rocks.
Ah-gilak burst into tears as he envisioned the breaking up of his beloved
clipper ship. The he cursed fate and the fog and the calm, but especially
he cursed O-aa. "Shut up, old man!" commanded Ja. He gave orders that the
boats be lowered on the off-shore side of the ship. The powerful Mezops
manned them and held them from the ship's side with their spears as the
rollers came in.

Ja and Jav and Ko checked off the men to see that all were present.
"Where is the girl?" asked Ja. No one had seen her, and Ja sent men to
search the ship for her. They returned to report that she was not on
board, and Ja turned fierce eyes on Ah-gilak.

"What did you do with her, old man?" demanded Ja.

"I did nothing to her."

"You wanted to put her ashore. I think you threw her overboard."

"We do not need him any more," said Jav. "I think we should kill him."

"No! No!" screamed Ah-gilak. "I did not throw the girl overboard. I do
not know what became of her. Do not kill me, I am just a poor old man who
would not harm any one."

"We all know that you are a liar," said Ja, "so nothing you may say makes
any difference. However, as no one saw you throw the girl overboard I
shall give you the benefit of the doubt and not kill you. Instead, I
shall leave you aboard the ship."

"But it will break up and I shall be drowned," pleaded Ah-gilak.

"That is your affair, not mine," said Ja. So the Mezops abandoned the
wreck of the John Tyler, leaving Ah-gilak behind.

The Mezops reached the shore in safety and shortly after, the fog lifted.
A strong wind sprang up, blowing from the land toward the sea. The Mezops
saw the sails of the John Tyler fill.

"The old man is in bad way," said Jav.

"Look!" cried Ko. "The ship is moving out to sea."

"The tide came in and floated her," said Ja. "Maybe we should not have
abandoned her so soon. I do not like the land."

"Perhaps we could overhaul her in the boats," suggested one.

So they manned the boats and paddled after the John Tyler. Ah-gilak saw
them coming and guessed their intention. Impelled by the urges-fear of
the Mezops and a desire for revenge-he took the wheel and steered a
course that took full advantage of the wind; and the John Tyler picked up
speed and showed a pretty pair of heels to the sweating Mezops, who soon
gave up the chase and started back toward shore.

"The old son of a sithic!" exclaimed Jav. The sithic is a toadlike
reptile.

The jalok is a big, shaggy hyaenodon, with a body as large as a leopard's
but with longer legs. Jaloks usually hunt in packs, and not even the
largest and fiercest of animals is safe from attack. They are without
fear, and they are always hungry. O-aa knew all about jaloks, and she
wished that she was up a tree-literally. She certainly was, figuratively.
She was also behind the eight ball, but O-aa, knew nothing of eight
balls. To be behind the eight ball and up a tree at the same time is very
bad business.

O-aa drew her knife and waited. The jalok lay down and cradled his
powerful jaws on his outstretched front legs, and eyed O-aa. This
surprised the girl. She had expected the beast to rush her. The animal
looked like a big, shaggy dog; but O-aa was not deceived by appearances.
She knew that sometimes jaloks were tamed, but they were never
domesticated. This one was probably not hungry, and was waiting until he
was.

I can't stay here forever, just waiting to be eaten, thought O-aa; so she
started along slowly in the direction she had been going. The jalok got
up and followed her.

Below her stretched a gentle declivity down to a narrow coastal plain. A
little stream, starting from some place at her left, wound down the
mountainside. It was joined by other little streams to form a little
river that meandered across the plain down to the sea. It was all a scene
of exquisite beauty-a little gem set in an azure sea. But for the moment
it was all lost on O-aa as she glanced behind and saw the jalok following
her.

If I climb a tree, thought O-aa, the jalok will lie down beneath it until
I come down or fall out. O-aa knew her jaloks; so she kept on walking.

She had descended about a half mile when she heard a savage growl ahead
and to her left. As she looked, a codon broke from the cover of some tall
grass, and charged her. O-aa knew that she was lost, but she held her
knife in readiness and waited her end. Then something flashed by her. It
was the jalok. He met the codon, a huge timber wolf, long extinct upon
the outer crust, at the moment that it leaped for O-aa.

Then followed what bade fair to be a battle royal between these two
savage, powerful beasts; and O-aa took advantage of their preoccupation
to make good her escape. As she ran down the mountainside, the roars and
growls of the battling beasts filled her ears. But not for long. Suddenly
they stopped. O-aa glanced back, and again her heart sank. The jalok was
coming toward her at a run. Behind him, she could see the still form of
the codon lying where it had died.

O-aa stood still. The end was inevitable. She might as well face it now.
The jalok stopped a few yards from her; then it moved toward her again
wagging its tail! That has meant the same thing in the dog family from
the Cretaceous age to the present day, on the outer crust or in the Inner
World at the earth's core.

O-aa sheathed her knife and waited. The jalok came close and looked up
into her face, and O-aa placed a hand upon its head and scratched it
behind an ear. The great beast licked her hand, and when O-aa started
down toward the sea again, it walked at her side, brushing against her.
Not since she had lost Hodon had O-aa felt so safe. She tangled her
fingers in the shaggy collar that zinged the jalok's neck, as though she
would never let him go again.

Until this moment she had not realized how friendless and alone she had
been since she had said goodby to David and Abner Perry and Ghak. But now
she had both a friend and a protector. O-aa was almost happy.

As they neared the beach, the jalok moved toward the right; and O-aa
followed him. He led her to a little cove. Here she saw an outrigger
canoe drawn up on the beach above high water. The jalok stopped beside it
and looked up at her. In the canoe were the weapons and the loincloth of
a man. And in these things, O-aa read a story. She could see by the
general appearance of the articles in the canoe that they had lain
untouched for some time. She knew that a man did not go naked and unarmed
far from his weapons. And thus she reconstructed the story: A warrior had
paddled from the mainland with his jalok to hunt, perhaps. He had gone
into the sea to bathe, and had been seized and devoured by one of the
innumerable voracious creatures which swarm in the waters of the Korsar
Az. Or perhaps a thipdar had swooped down and seized him. At any rate,
she was confident that he had gone never to return and, she had fallen
heir to his weapons, his canoe, and his jalok. But there remained a mile
of terrifying water between herself and the mainland!

She looked across to the farther shore just in time to see the John Tyler
put to sea. She could not know that the ship bore only Ah-gilak. The
others, far down the coast, were too far away for her to see them. She
looked at the canoe and out again across the water. The jalok lay at her
feet. She ruffled his shaggy mane with a sandalled foot, and he looked up
at her and bared his fangs in a canine grin-terrible fangs set in mighty
jaws that could tear her to pieces in a moment.

O-aa sat down on the ground beside the jalok and tried to plan for the
future. What she was really trying to do was raise her courage to a point
that would permit her to launch the canoe and paddle across that fearsome
mile. Every time it reached the sticking point she would look out and see
a terrible head or a dorsal fin break the surface of the sea. Then her
courage would do a nose dive. And when she realized that the wind was
against her, she breathed a sigh of relief for so excellent an excuse to
delay her departure.

She examined the contents of the canoe more closely. She saw a stone
knife, a stone tipped spear, a tomahawk with a well shaped stone head and
a wooden haft, a bow, a quiver of arrows, two paddles, a pole six or
seven feet long, a woven fibre mat, and some cordage of braided grasses.
These articles suggested something to O-aa that would never have entered
her head before she began her adventures on that unfamiliar medium which
rolled and tossed in illimitable vastness to form the Sojar Az and Korsar
Az. O-aa had learned much that was no part of the education of a cave
girl from Kali.

She examined further and found a hole in a thwart and beneath it a
corresponding receptacle in the bottom of the canoe. Now she knew what
the pole was for and the fibre mat and the cordage. All she had to do,
she decided, was wait for a favorable wind. That would be much better
than paddling; and as she intended to wait for a strong wind, it would
result in a much shorter passage, which would cut down the odds that were
always against the survival of any who put to sea in Pellucidar.

Her doom postponed until the wind changed, O-aa realized that she was
hungry. She took the spear, the quiver of arrows, and the bow and set
forth to hunt. The jalok accompanied her.

VI

AH-GILAK LAMED the wheel and went below to ascertain the damage that had
resulted from the ship's pounding on the rocks. He found her sound as a
roach, for the Sarians had selected their lumber well and built well.

Returning to the wheel, he took stock of his situation. It did not appear
too rosy. Twenty or thirty men were required to man the John Tyler.
Obviously, one little old man could not. With the wind he had now, he
could hold on as long as there was ocean ahead. He might even maneuver
the ship a little, for Ah-gilak had spent a lifetime under sail. But a
storm would be his undoing.

Without stars or moon, with a stationary sun, he could not navigate even
had he had the necessary instruments and a dependable chart, none of
which he had. Nor could he have navigated the nameless strait could he
have found it. Ah-gilak was in a bad way, and he knew it; so he decided
to beach John Tyler at the earliest opportunity and take his chances on
land.

O-aa followed the little river. She moved warily, taking advantage of
cover-trees, tall grasses, underbrush. She moved silently, as silently as
the great beast at her side. Her left hand grasped her bow and several
arrows, another arrow was fitted to the bow and drawn part way back,
presenting an analogy to a loaded .45 with a full clip in the magazine
and the safety off.

Suddenly three horses broke from nearby underbrush, and in quick
succession two arrows brought two of them down. O-aa rushed in and
finished them with her knife, while the jalok pursued and dragged down
the third.

O-aa picked up the two horses she had shot and waited while the jalok
devoured his kill; then they started back toward the canoe. The girl knew
her prey as orthopi; but you would have recognized them as Hyracotherii
of the Lower Eocene, the early ancestors of Seabiscuit and Whirlaway,
little creatures about the size of foxes.

The girl gave one of the orthopi to the jalok; then she made fire and
cooked much of the other for herself. Her hunger satisfied, she lay down
beneath a tree and slept.

When she awoke, she looked around for the jalok; but he was nowhere to be
seen. O-aa was swept by a wave of loneliness. She had been heartened by
the promise of companionship and protection which the savage beast had
offered. Suddenly the future looked very black. In her fit of
despondency, the shore of the mainland seemed to have receded; and she
peopled the world with terrifying menaces, which was wholly superfluous,
as Nature had already attended to that.

She gave herself up to self-pity for only a short time; then she lifted
her chin and braced her shoulders and was the self-sufficient cave girl
of Kali once more. She looked out across the water, and realized that the
wind had changed while she slept and was blowing strongly toward the
mainland.

Going to the canoe, she stepped the mast and rigged the sail to the best
of her ability, which was not mean; for O-aa was a highly intelligent
young person, observant and with a retentive memory. She tugged on the
canoe and found that she could move it, but before she dragged it into
the sea she decided to look around once more for the jalok.

She was glad that she had, for she saw him coming down toward her
carrying something on his back. When he was closer, she saw that it was
the carcass of small deer which he had thrown across his shoulders, still
holding to it with his jaws-carrying it as the African lion has been
known to carry its prey.

He came up to her, wagging his tail, and laid his kill at her feet. O-aa
was so glad to see him that she dropped to her knees and put both arms
around his shaggy collar and hugged him. Doubtless, this was something
new in the jalok's life; but he seemed to understand and like it, for he
bared his fangs in a grin and licked the girl's face.

Now O-aa was faced with a problem. If she waited to cook some of the deer
and eat, the wind might change. On the other hand she couldn't bear to
abandon so much good meat. The alternative was to take it with her, but
would the jalok let her take the carcass away from him? She determined to
experiment. Seizing the deer, she started to drag it down toward the
water's edge. The jalok watched her; then, apparently getting the idea,
he took hold of it and helped her. O-aa realized what she had become
almost convinced of, that here was a well trained hunting animal that had
worked with and for his dead master.

Having deposited the deer on the beach, O-aa dragged the canoe down to
the water. It taxed her strength, but at last she was rewarded by seeing
it afloat. Then she carried the deer to it.

She had no name for the jalok, and did not know how to call him to get
into the canoe. She did not need to know. As she climbed over the
gunwale, he leaped aboard and took his station in the bow.

The stern of the canoe was still resting on the sandy, bottom, but the
sail had filled and was tugging to free it. A few vigorous shoves with a
paddle freed the little craft, and O-aa was on her way across the
frightful water.

Steering with a paddle, O-aa kept the nose of her craft pointed at a spot
on the opposite shore and the wind always directly astern. As the wind
freshened, the canoe fairly raced through the water. This was much better
than paddling and much faster. O-aa could imagine that this would be a
delightful way to travel were it not for the innumerable horrors that
infested the ocean and the terrific storms which occasionally whipped it
into fury.

Constantly searching the surface of the sea for signs of danger, the girl
glanced back and saw the long neck and small head of a tandoraz, which,
in Pellucidarian, means mammoth of the sea. The reptile was following the
canoe and gaining on it slowly. O-aa well knew what was in that tiny
brain. She also knew that the best she could do with any of her weapons
was to infuriate it.

Had she known a god, she would have prayed to him for more wind; but,
knowing no god, she had to depend entirely on her own resources. Suddenly
her eye's fell upon the deer. If she couldn't destroy the tandoraz,
perhaps she might escape it if she could but delay it.

The shore was not far away now, and the canoe was racing through the
water almost as fast as the reptile was swimming; although O-aa was none
too sure that the creature was exerting itself anywhere near to the limit
of its powers. Nor was it.

With a steel knife that David had given her she ripped open the belly of
the carcass and eviscerated it. Glancing back, she saw that the tandoraz
was almost upon her. The cold, reptilian eyes glared down upon her. The
snake-like jaws gaped wide.

Dragging the viscera to the stern of the canoe, she dropped it overboard
directly in front of the hissing creature. The next couple of seconds
were an eternity. Would the thing take the bait? Would the stupid mind in
its tiny brain be thus easily diverted from the fixed idea that it had
been following?

The odor of fresh animal matter and blood turned the scale in O-aa's
favor. The neck arched and the head struck viciously at the viscera. As
the tandoraz stopped, to tear at this luscious tid-bit, the canoe drew
away. The distance widened. The shore was quite close now, but there was
a heavy surf pounding on a sandy beach.

O-aa had resumed the paddle and was steering once more. Her heart was
filled with rejoicing. Her escape from death had been all too close, and
by comparison the menace of the heavy surf seemed trivial. She looked
back at the tandoraz, and her heart missed a beat. Evidently sensing that
its prey was escaping, it was coming through the water at terrific speed
in pursuit.

O-aa glanced forward again. She was confident that the canoe would reach
the surf before the tandoraz could overhaul it. But what then? She didn't
believe that the canoe could live in what seemed to her the mountainous
waves that broke upon the shore and rolled far up the beach. The reptile
would be upon them as they were thrown into the water. It could not get
them all. She could only hope that the thing would seize the carcass of
the deer rather than upon her or the jalok which still sat in the bow of
the canoe all unconscious of the tragedy of the past few minutes.

Again the "mammoth of the sea" loomed above her. The canoe was caught by
a great roller and lifted high. O-aa felt a sudden surging rush as though
the canoe, sentient of impending danger, sought to escape in a burst of
speed.

Riding high now, just over the crest of the roller, the outrigger raced
toward the beach like a frightened deer; and in a swirl of foamy water
came to rest on the sand well out of reach of the tandoraz. O-aa leaped
out and held it from being drawn out again by the receding waves, and
with the next she dragged it well up to safety. Then she threw herself
down on the sand, exhausted.

The jalok came and sat down beside her. She stroked its shaggy coat. "We
made it," she said. "I didn't think we should." The jalok said nothing.
At least not in words. He put a great paw on her and licked her ear.

"I shall have to give you a name," said O-aa. "Let me see. Ah, I have it!
Rahna. That is a good name for you, Rahna."

Rahna means killer.

VII

O-AA SAT up and took stock of her situation. Beyond the sandy beach the
ground rose slowly to a low ridge four or five hundred yards inland.
Beyond the ridge were rolling hills, upcurving in this horizonless world
to blend with distant mountains which, in turn, blended into the haze of
distance.

The ground between O-aa and the ridge was carpeted with Bermuda grass and
stunted shrubs, with here and there a windblown tree. The trees reminded
O-aa that she was courting death to lie here thus in the open, an
invitation to the first winged reptile that might discover her.

She arose and returned to the canoe, where she threw the carcass of the
deer across one shoulder and gathered up her weapons. Then she looked
down at the jalok and said, "Come, Rahna!" and walked to the nearest tree.

A man coming down out of the rolling hills paused at the edge of the low
ridge which O-aa had seen a few hundred yards inland. At the man's side
was a jalok. The man was naked but for a G-string. He carried a stone
tipped spear, a stone knife, a bow and arrows. When he saw the girl, he
dropped to the ground, where he was hidden by low bushes. He spoke to the
jalok, and it lay down beside him.

The man noted the canoe pulled up on the beach. He noted the jalok which
accompanied the girl. He saw the carcass of the deer. At first he had
thought the girl a man, but closer inspection revealed that he had been
mistaken. He was also mystified, for he knew that here there should be no
girl with a jalok and a canoe. This was the man's country, and the men of
the Stone Age knew all that went on in their own little neck-of-the-woods.

O-aa cut a generous hindquarter from the carcass and gave it to Rahna.
She used the tomahawk and her steel knife. Then she gathered dry grasses
and bits of dead wood, made fire, and cooked her own meal. O-aa, a
slender little blonde, tore at the meat with firm, white teeth; and
devoured enough for a couple of farm hands. Pellucidarians store up
energy through food, for oftentimes they may have to go for long periods
without food. Similarly, they store up rest by long sleeps.

Having stored up all the energy she could hold, O-aa lay down to store up
rest. She was awakened by the growling of Rahna. He was standing beside
her, his hair bristling along his spine.

O-aa saw a man approaching. A jalok paced at his side. The girl seized
her bow and arrows and stood up. Both jaloks were growling now. O-aa
fitted an arrow to her bow. "Go away!" she said.

"I am not going to hurt you," said the man, who had seen that O-aa was
very lovely and very desirable.

"I could have told you that myself," replied the girl. "If you tried to,
I could kill you. Rahna could kill you. My mate, my father, or my seven
brothers could kill you." It had occurred to O-aa that possibly thirteen
brothers were too many to sound plausible.

The man grinned and sat down. "Who are you?" he asked.

"I am O-aa, daughter of Oose, King of Kali. My mate is Hodon the Fleet
One. My seven brothers are very large, fierce men. My three sisters are
the most beautiful women in Pellucidar, and I am more beautiful than
they."

The man continued to grin. "I never heard of Kali," he said. "Where is
it?"

"There," said O-aa, pointing. "You must be a very ignorant person," she
added, "for Kali is the largest country in the world. It requires the
caves of a whole mountain range to house her warriors who are as many as
the grasses that you can see as far as you can see."

"You are very beautiful," said the man, "but you are a great liar. If you
were not so beautiful, I would beat you for lying so much. Maybe I shall
anyway."

"Try it," challenged O-aa. "I have not killed anyone since I last slept."

"Ah," said the man, "so that is it? You killed my brother."

"I did not kill your brother. I never saw your brother."

"Then how did you get his canoe, his jalok, and his weapons? I recognize
them all."

It was then that O-aa realized that she had lied a little too much for
her own health; so she decided to tell the truth. "I will tell you," she
said.

"And see that you tell the truth," said the man.

"You see that mountain that sticks up out of the sea?" she asked,
pointing at the island. The man nodded. "I leaped into the sea,"
continued O-aa, "on the other side of that mountain from a big canoe to
escape an old man whose name is not Dolly Dorcas. Then I crossed to this
side of the mountain where I saw Rahna."

"His name is not Rahna," said the man.

"Maybe it wasn't but it is now. And don't interrupt me any more. Rahna
saved me from a codon, and we became friends. We came down to the edge of
the water and found a canoe with these weapons and a man's loincloth in
it. If it was your brother's canoe, I think he must have gone in the
water and been eaten by a tandoraz, or possibly a thipdar flew down and
got him. I did not kill your brother. How could I have killed a warrior
when I was armed only with a knife? As you can see, all my other weapons
are those I found in the canoe."

The man thought this over. "I believe that you are telling the truth at
last," he said; "because had you killed my brother, his jalok would have
killed you."

"Now will you go away and leave me alone?" demanded O-aa.

"Then what will you do?"

"I shall return to Kali."

"Do you know how far it is to Kali?"

"No. Kali is not far from the shore of the Lural Az. Do you know how far
it is to the Lural Az?"

"I never heard of the Lural Az," said the man.

"You are a very ignorant person," said O-aa.

"Not as ignorant as you, if you think you can reach Kali by going in the
direction you pointed. In that direction there is a range of mountains
that you cannot cross."

"I can go around it," said O-aa.

"You are a very brave girl," said the man. "Let us be friends. Come with
me to my village. Perhaps we can help you on your way to Kali. At least,
warriors can go with you as far as the mountains, beyond which none of
our people have ever gone."

"How do I know that you will not harm me?" asked O-aa.

The man threw down all his weapons and came toward her with his hands
raised. Then she knew that he would not harm her. "We will be friends,"
she said. "What is your name?"

"I am Utan of the tribe of Zurts." He turned and spoke to his jalok,
saying, "Padang."

"Tell your jalok that we are friends," he said to O-aa.

"Padang, Rahna," said O-aa. Padang is Pellucidarian for friend or friends.

The two jaloks approached one another a little stiff-legged; but when
they had sniffed about each other, they relaxed and wagged their tails,
for they had been raised together in the village of Zurts. But there was
no playful bouncing, as there might have been between domesticated beasts
dogs. These were savage wild beasts with all the majesty and dignity that
is inherent in their kind. Adult wild beasts have far more dignity than
man. When people say in disgust that a person acts like a beast, they
really mean that he acts like a man.

"You can handle a paddle?" Utan asked O-aa.

"I have paddled all over the seas of Pellucidar," said O-aa.

"There you go again! Well, I suppose that I shall have to get used to it.
Anyway, you can help me paddle my brother's canoe to a safe place."

"It is my canoe," said O-aa.

Utan grinned. "And I suppose that you are going to paddle it across the
mountains to Kali?"

"I could if I wanted to," said O-aa.

"The better I know you," said Utan, "the less I doubt it. If there are
other girls like you in Kali, I think I shall go with you and take one of
them for my mate."

"They wouldn't have you," said O-aa. "You are too short. You can't be
much more than six feet tall. All our men are seven feet-except those who
are eight feet."

"Come on, little liar," said Utan, "and we will get the canoe."

Together they dragged the outrigger into the water. O-aa climbed into the
bow, the two jaloks leaped in, and just at the right moment Utan gave the
craft a shove and jumped in himself.

"Paddle now!" he said. "And paddle hard."

The canoe rose to the crest of a roller and slid down the other side. The
two paddled furiously until, they were beyond the heavy rollers; then
they paralleled the shore until they came to the mouth of a small river,
up which Utan turned.

It was a pretty little river overhung by trees and full of crocodiles.
They paddled up it for about a mile until they came to rapids. Here, Utan
turned in to the bank on their right; and together, they dragged the
canoe up among the lush verdure, where it was well hidden.

"Your canoe will be quite safe here," said Utan, "until you are ready to
paddle it over the mountains to Kali. Now we will go to my village."

VIII

HODON, RAJ, DIAN, AND GAMBA were standing on the quarterdeck of the
Lo-har; and, as always, Hodon was searching the surface of the sea for
the little speck that, in his heart of hearts, he knew he would never
see-the little speck that would be the Sari in which O-aa had been
carried away by winds and currents on the Sojar AZ and, doubtless,
through the nameless strait into the Korsar Az. The little lateen rigged
Lo-har had been beset by fog and calm, but now the weather had cleared
and a fair wind filled the single sail.

Hodon shook his head sadly. "I am afraid it is hopeless, Dian," he said.
Dian the Beautiful nodded in acquiescence.

"My men are becoming restless," said Raj. "They have been away from home
for many, many sleeps. They want to get back to their women."

"All right," said Hodon. "Turn back for Sari."

As the little ship came about, Gamba pointed. "What is that?" he asked.

They all looked. In the haze of the distance there was a white speck on
the surface of the sea. "It is a sail," said Raj.

"O-aa!" exclaimed Hodon.

The wind was blowing directly from the direction in which the sail lay;
so the Lo-har had to tack first one way and then another. But it was soon
apparent that the strange ship was sailing before the wind directly
toward them, and so the distance between was constantly growing shorter.

"That is not the Sari," said Raj. "That is a big ship with more sail than
I have ever seen before."

"It must be a Korsar," said Dian. "If it is, we are lost."

"We have cannon," said Hodon, "and men to fight them."

"Turn around," said Gamba, "and go the other way. Maybe they have not
seen us."

"You always want to run away," said Dian, contemptuously. "We shall hold
our course and fight them."

"Turn around!" screamed Gamba. "It is a command! I am king!"

"Shut up!" said Raj. "Mezops do not run away."

"Nor Sarians," said Dian.

THE VILLAGE OF THE Zurts, to which Utan led O-aa, lay in a lovely valley
through which a little river wandered. It was not a village of caves such
as O-aa was accustomed to in Kali. The houses here were of bamboo
thatched with grass, and they stood on posts some ten feet above the
ground. Crude ladders led up to their doorways.

There were many of these houses; and in the doorways, or on the ground
below them, were many warriors and women and children and almost as many
jaloks as there were people.

As Utan and O-aa approached, the jaloks of the village froze into
immobility, the hair along their backbones erect. Utan shouted, "Padang!"
And when they recognized him, some of the warriors shouted, "Padang!"
Then the jaloks relaxed and Utan and O-aa entered the village in safety;
but there had to be much sniffing and smelling on the part of the jaloks
before an entente cordiale was established.

Warriors and women gathered around Utan and O-aa, asking many questions.
O-aa was a curiosity here, for she was very blonde, while the Zurts had
hair of raven black. They had never seen a blonde before.

Utan told them all that he knew about O-aa, and asked Jalu the chief if
she might remain in the village. "She is from a country called Kali which
lies the other side of the Terrible Mountains. She is going to try to
cross them, and from what I have seen of her she will cross them if any
one can."

"No one can," said Jalu, "and she may remain-for thirty sleeps," he
added. "If one of our warriors has taken her for a mate in the meantime,
she may remain always."

"None of your warriors will take me for a mate," said O-aa, "and I will
leave long before I have slept thirty times."

"What makes you think none of my warriors will take you for a mate?"
demanded Jalu.

"Because I wouldn't have one of them."

Jalu laughed. "If a warrior wanted you he would not ask you, He would
take you."

It was O-aa's turn to laugh. "He would get a knife in his belly," she
said. "I have killed many men. Furthermore, I have a mate. If I am
harmed, he would come and my eleven brothers and my father, the king; and
they would kill you all. They are very fierce men. They are nine feet
tall. My mate is Hodon the Fleet One. He is a Sarian. The Sarians are
very fierce people. But if you are kind to me, no harm will befall you.
While I am here, Rahna and I will hunt for you. I am a wonderful hunter.
I am probably the best hunter in all Pellucidar."

"I think you are probably the best liar," said Jalu. "Who is Rahna?"

"My jalok," said O-aa, laying her hand on the head of the beast standing
beside her.

"Women do not hunt, nor do they have jaloks," said Jalu.

"I do," said O-aa.

A half smile curved the lip of Jalu. He found himself admiring this
yellow haired stranger, girl. She had courage, and that was a quality
that Jalu the chief understood and admired. He had never seen so much of
it in a woman before.

A warrior stepped forward. "I will take her as my mate," he said, "and
teach her a woman's place. What she needs is a beating."

O-aa's lip curved in scorn. "Try it, bowlegs," she said.

The warrior flushed, for he was very bowlegged and was sensitive about
it. He took another step toward O-aa, threateningly.

"Stop, Zurk!" commanded Jalu. "The girl may remain here for thirty sleeps
without mating. If she stays longer, you may take her-if you can. But I
think she will kill you."

Zurk stood glaring at O-aa. "When you are mine," he snarled, "the first
thing I will do is beat you to death."

Jalu turned to one of the women. "Hala," he directed, "show this woman a
house in which she may sleep."

"Come," said Hala to O-aa.

She took her to a house at the far end of the village. "No one lives here
now," she said. "The man and the woman who lived here were killed by a
tarag not long ago."

O-aa looked at the ladder and up at the doorway. "How can my jalok get up
there?" she asked.

Hala looked at her in surprise. "Jaloks do not come into the houses," she
explained. "They lie at the foot of the ladders to warn their owners of
danger and to protect them. Did you not know this?"

"We do not have tame jaloks in my country," said O-aa.

"You are lucky that you have one here, now that you have made an enemy of
Zurk. He is a bad man; not at all like Jalu, his father."

So, thought O-aa, I have made an enemy of the chief's son. She shrugged
her square little shoulders.

Ah-gilak had bowled along in a southwesterly direction for some time
before a good wind. Then the wind died. Ah-gilak cursed. He cursed many
things, but principally he cursed O-aa, who had brought all his
misfortunes upon him, according to his superstition.

When the wind sprang up again, it blew in the opposite direction from
that in which it had been blowing before the calm. Ah-gilak danced up and
down in rage. But he could do nothing about it. He could sail in only one
way, and that was with the wind. So he sailed back in a north-easterly
direction. He lashed the wheel and went below to eat and sleep.

IX

AS THE LO-HAR and John Tyler approached one another, the former made no
effort to avoid the larger ship. Her guns were loaded and manned, and she
was prepared to fight.

It was Raj who first noticed something peculiar about the strange ship.
"There is no one on deck," he said. "There is no one at the wheel. She is
a fine ship," he added half to himself. Then an idea popped into his
head. "Let's capture her," he said.

"No! No!" cried Gamba. "They haven't seen us. Sail away as fast as, you
can."

"Can you bring the Lo-har alongside her?" asked Dian.

"Yes," said Jav. He summoned his men from below and gave them their
orders.

The Lo-har came about ahead of the John Tyler which was making far better
headway than the smaller vessel. As the John Tyler overhauled her, Jav
drew in closer to the other ship. As their sides touched, the agile
Mezops swarmed aboard the John Tyler with lines and made the Lo-har fast
to her.

The impact of the two ships as they came together awoke Ah-gilak.
"Dod-burn it! what now?" he cried, as he scrambled up the ladder to the
main deck. "Tarnation!" he exclaimed as he saw the score of Mezops facing
him. "I've gone plumb looney after all." He shut his eyes and turned his
head away. Then he peeked from a corner of one eye. The copper colored
men were still there.

"It's the little Ah-gilak," said one of the Mezops. "He eats people."

Now Ah-gilak saw more people coming over the side of his ship, and saw
the sail of the little Lo-har. He saw Raj and Hodon, and a beautiful girl
whom he had never seen before. With them was a yellow man. But now
Ah-gilak realized what had happened and the great good luck that had
overtaken him at the very moment when there seemed not a ray of hope in
all the future.

"Gad and Gabriel!" he exclaimed. "It never rains but they's a silver
lining, as the feller said. Now I got a crew. Now we can get the hell out
o' this here Korsar Az an' back to Sari."

"Who else is aboard?" asked Hodon.

"Not a livin' soul but me." He thought quickly and decided that perhaps
he had better not tell all the truth. "You see we had a little bad
luck-run ashore in a storm. When the crew abandoned ship, I guess they
plumb forgot me; and before I could get ashore, the wind changed and the
tide came in an', by all tarnation, the first thing I knew I was a-sailed
off all by myself."

"Who else was aboard?" insisted Hodon.

"Well, they was Ja, and Jav, and Ko, an' a bunch of other Mezops. They
was the ones that abandoned ship. But before that O-aa got a yen to go
ashore-"

"O-aa?" cried Hodon. "She was aboard this ship? Where is she?"

"I was just a'tellin you. She got a yen to go ashore, and jumped
overboard."

"Jumped overboard?" Hodon's voice rang with incredulity. "I think you are
lying, old man," he said.

"Cross my heart, hope to die," said Ah-gilak.

"How did she get aboard this ship?" continued Hodon.

"Why, we picked her up out of a canoe in the nameless strait; and she
told us where David was, an' we went back an' rescued him."

"David?" exclaimed Dian. "Where is he?"

"Well, before the John Tyler went ashore, David an' Abner Perry an' Ghak
an' all his Sarian warriors decided they could get back to Sari quicker
across country than they could by sailin' back. Course they was plumb
looney, but-"

"Where did they go ashore?" asked Dian.

"Gad an' Gabriel! How'd I know? They ain't no charts, they ain't no moon,
they ain't no stars, and the dang sun don't never move; so they ain't no
time. They might o' went ashore twenty years ago, for all a body can
tell."

"Would you recognize the coast where they landed?" persisted Dian.

"I might an' I might not. Reckon as how I could though."

"Could you recognize the spot where O-aa jumped overboard?" asked Hodon.

"Reckon not. Never seed it. She jumped over in a fog."

"Haven't you any idea?"

"Well, now maybe." Ah-gilak being certain that O-aa had drowned or been
eaten by one of the reptiles that swarm the Korsar Az, felt that it would
he safe to give what information he could. "As a matter of fact," he
continued, "'t warn't far from where the John Tyler went ashore."

"And you would recognize that spot?"

"I might an' I might not. If I recalls correctly they was an island 'bout
a mile off shore near where the John Tyler hit."

"Well, let's get going," said Hodon.

"Where?" demanded Ah-gilak.

"Back along the coast to where O-aa 'Jumped overboard' and to where David
Innes went ashore."

"Now wait, young feller," remonstrated Ah-gilak. "Don't you go forgettin'
that I'm skipper o' this ship. It's me as'll give orders aboard this
hooker."

Hodon turned to Raj. "Have your men bring all the water, provisions,
ammunition, and personal belongings from the Lo-har; then set her adrift."

Ah-gilak pointed a finger at Hodon. "Hold on young feller-"

"Shut up!" snapped Hodon, and then to Raj. "You will captain the John
Tyler, Raj."

"Gad and Gabriel!" screamed Ah-gilak. "I designed her, I named her, an' I
been skipper of her ever since she was launched. You can't do this to me."

"I can, I have, and I'll do more if you give me any trouble," said Hodon.
"I'll throw you overboard, you old scoundrel."

Ah-gilak subsided and went away and sulked. He knew that Hodon's was no
idle threat. These men of the Stone Age held life lightly. He set his
mind to the task of evolving a plan by which he could be revenged without
incriminating himself. Ah-gilak had a shrewd Yankee mind unfettered by
any moral principles or conscience.

He leaned against the rail and glared at Hodon. Then his eyes wandered to
Dian, and he glared at her. Another woman! Bad luck! And with this
thought the beginnings of a plan commenced to take shape. It was not a
wholly satisfactory and devastating plan, but it was better than nothing.
And presently he was aided by a contingency which Hodon had not
considered.

With the useful cargo of the Lo-har transferred to the John Tyler and the
former set adrift, Raj came to Hodon, a worried expression on his fine
face.

"This," he said, with a wave of a hand which embraced the John Tyler, "is
such a ship as I and my men have never seen before. She is a mass of
sails and ropes and spars, all unfamiliar to us. We cannot sail her."

For a moment Hodon was stunned. Being a landsman, such a possibility had
never occurred to him. He looked astern at the little Lo-har, from which
the larger ship was rapidly drawing away. Hodon realized that he had been
a trifle precipitate. While there was yet time, perhaps it would be well
to lower the boats and return to the Lo-har. The idea was mortifying.

Then Raj made a suggestion. "The old man could teach us," he said. "If he
will," he added with a note of doubt in his voice.

"He will," snapped Hodon, and strode over to Ah-gilak. Raj accompanied
him.

"Ah-gilak," he said to the old man, "you will sail the ship, but Raj will
still be captain. You will teach him and his men all that is necessary."

"So you are not going to throw me overboard?" said Ah-gilak with a sneer.

"Not yet," said Hodon, "but if you do not do as I have said and do it
well, I will."

"You got your nerve, young feller, askin' me, a Yankee skipper to serve
as sailin' master under this here gol-durned red Indian."

Neither Hodon nor Raj had the slightest idea what a red Indian was, but
from Ah-gilak's tone of voice they were both sure that the copper colored
Mezop had been insulted.

"I'll sail her fer ye," continued Ah-gilak, "but as skipper."

"Come!" said Hodon to Raj. "We will throw him overboard."

As the two men seized him, Ah-gilak commenced to scream. "Don't do it,"
he cried. "I'll navigate her under Raj. I was only foolin'. Can't you
take a joke?"

So the work of training Raj and his Mezops commenced at once. They were
quick to learn, and Ah-gilak did a good job of training them; because his
vanity made it a pleasure to show off his superior knowledge. But he
still nursed his plan for revenge. His idea was to cause dissension,
turning the copper colored Mezops against the white Hodon and Dian. Of
course Ah-gilak had never heard of Communists, but he was nonetheless
familiar with one of their techniques. As he worked with the Mezops, he
sought to work on what he considered their ignorance and superstition to
implant the idea that a woman on shipboard would be certain to bring bad
luck and that Dian was only there because of Hodon. He also suggested to
them that the latter felt superior to the Mezops because of his color,
that he looked down on them as inferior, and that it was not right that
he should give orders to Raj. He nursed the idea that it would be well
for them all should Dian and Hodon accidentally fall overboard.

The Mezops were neither ignorant nor superstitious, nor had they ever
heard of race consciousness or racial discrimination. They listened, but
they were not impressed. They were only bored. Finally, one of them said
to Ah-gilak, "Old man, you talk too much about matters which have nothing
to do with sailing this ship. We will not throw Hodon the Fleet One
overboard, neither will we throw Dian the Beautiful overboard. If we
throw anyone overboard it will be you."

Ah-gilak subsided.

X

AFTER O-AA HAD SLEPT, she came to the doorway of her house and looked
around. The village seemed very quiet. There were only a few people in
sight and they were at the far end of the village. She descended the
ladder. Rahna, who had been lying at the foot of it, stood up and wagged
his tail. O-aa scratched him between his ears.

"I am hungry," she said; "so you must be, too. We will hunt."

She had brought her weapons. Those of the Stone Age who would survive
have their weapons always at hand.

"Come, Rahna!" she said, and started up the valley away from the village.

A man, standing in the doorway of a hut farther down the village street,
saw them leave. It was Zurk, the son of Jalu the chief. When a turn in
the little valley hid them from his sight, he started after them with his
jalok. He was a heavy barreled man, short on his bowed legs; and he
lurched from side to side a little as though one leg were shorter than
the other. His face was coarse and brutal, with beetling brows
overhanging close-set eyes.

O-aa and Rahna moved silently up the valley, searching for game. There
was a high wind blowing from the direction of the sea, and presently the
sun was obscured by black clouds. There was a flash of lightning followed
by the deep roar of thunder. The wind rose to violence and rain commenced
to fall. But none of these things appeased O-aa's hunger; so she
continued to hunt.

The valley turned suddenly to the right, paralleling the coast; and it
became narrower. Its walls were neither high nor steep at this point; so
O-aa ascended the right hand wall and came out upon a tree dotted mesa.
Here there were tall grasses in which the smaller game might hide.

And Zurk followed with his jalok. O-aa's spoor in the light mud of the
new fallen rain was easy to follow. When Zurk came out upon the mesa,
O-aa, who had been advancing slowly, was not far ahead. So intent was she
on her search for game that Zurk closed rapidly on her without attracting
her attention or that of Rahna. The wind and the rain and the rumbling
thunder were all on the side of Zurk.

Zurk's plan was made. He would shoot the girl's jalok; then she would be
at his mercy. He closed up the distance between them to make sure that he
would not miss. He fitted an arrow to his bow. He made no sound, but
something made O-aa look behind her at that very moment.

Her own bow was ready for the kill, for any game that she or Rahna might
flush. Recognizing Zurk, seeing his bow drawn, she wheeled and loosed an
arrow. Zurk's bow string twanged simultaneously with hers, but the arrow
was aimed at O-aa and not at Rahna.

Zurk missed, but O-aa's arrow drove through the man's shoulder. Then O-aa
turned and fled. Zurk knew that on his short bowed legs he could not
overtake her. He spoke sharply to his jalok and pointed at the fleeing
girl. "Rah!" he snapped. Rah means kill.

The powerful, savage brute bounded in pursuit.

XI

THE SEAS FLED BEFORE the wind, mounting as the wind mounted. The John
Tyler carried but a rag of sail. She handled well, she was seaworthy.
Ah-gilak was proud of her. Even when the storm reached almost tornado
proportions he did not fear for her.

Gamba the king, cowering below, was terrified, reduced almost to
gibbering idiocy by fear. Dian watched him with disgust. And this thing
had dared to speak to her of love! Hodon was nervous below deck. Like all
mountain men, he wanted to be out in the open. He wanted to face the
storm and the danger where he could see them. Below, he was like a caged
beast. The ship was pitching wildly, but Hodon managed to fight his way
to a ladder and then to the deck above.

Both the wind and the current had combined with malevolent fury in an
attempt to hurl the John Tyler on, the all too near shore. Dead ahead
loomed the green island upon which O-aa had been cast when she leaped
overboard in the fog. Ah-gilak realized that he could make no offing
there, that he would have to pass between the island and the shore, only
a bare mile away. And through unchartered waters, below the tumbling
surface of which might he reefs and rocks. Ah-gilak was not happy.

Hodon saw the mountainous waves and wondered that any ship could live in
such a sea. Being a landsman, he saw the high seas as the only menace.
Ah-gilak feared for the things he could not see-the reefs and the rocks
and the current that he and the ship fought. It was a titanic battle.

Hodon, clinging to a stanchion to keep from falling, was quite
unconscious of a real danger that confronted him on the deck of the John
Tyler. The ship rose to meet the great seas and then drove deep into the
troughs, but so far she had shipped but little green water.

Ah-gilak saw the man, and his toothless mouth grimaced. The wind and the
blinding rain beat about him. The tornado whipped his long white beard.
There won't be no call to throw the dod-burned idjit overboard, he
thought. Raj saw Hodon and called a warning to him, but the wind drove
his voice down his throat.

Just before the ship reached the shelter of the island's lee, a monstrous
sea loomed above her. It broke, tons of it, over her, submerging her. The
John Tyler staggered to the terrific impact, then slowly she rose,
shaking the water from her.

Ah-gilak looked and grinned. Hodon was no longer by the stanchion. In the
shelter of the island, Ah-gilak hove to and dropped anchor. The John
Tyler had weathered the storm and was safe.

Raj's eyes searched the tumbling waters, but they were rewarded by no
sight of Hodon. The Mezop shook his head sadly. He had liked the Sarian.
Later, when Dian came on deck, he told her; and she, too, was sad. But
death comes quickly and often in the Stone Age.

"Perhaps it is just as well," said Dian. "They are both gone now, and
neither is left to grieve." She was thinking of how often she had wished
for death when she had thought David was dead.

Ah-gilak shed crocodile tears, but he did not fool the Mezops. Had they
not known that it would have been impossible, they would have thought
that he had been instrumental in throwing Hodon overboard; and Ah-gilak
would have gone over, too.

A great comber threw Hodon far up the beach, and left him exhausted and
half dead. The enormous sea had buffetted him. His head had been beneath
the surface more often than it had been above. But the tide and the wind
and the current had been with him. As had a kindly Providence, for no
terrible creature of the deep had seized him. Perhaps the very turbulence
of the water had saved him, keeping the great reptiles down in the
relative quiet far below the surface.

Hodon lay for a long time where the sea had spewed him. Occasionally a
wave would roll up and surge around him, but none had the depth or volume
to drag him back into the sea.

At last he got slowly to his feet. He looked back and saw the John Tyler
riding at anchor behind the island. Because of the torrential rain he
could but barely discern her; so he knew that those on board could not
see him at all. He thought of building a fire in the hope that its smoke
might carry a message to them, but there was nothing with which to make
fire.

Before the storm struck them, Ah-gilak had said that he thought the ship
was approaching the spot at which the Mezops had abandoned her. If that
were the case, then the island was close to the place at which O-aa was
supposed to have leaped overboard. If she had survived which he doubted,
she would be making her way right now toward Kali, hundreds of miles
away. Perhaps, somewhere in this unknown land of terrors, she was even
now pursuing her hopeless journey.

That he might ever find her in all this vast expanse of plain and hill
and mountain he knew to be wholly unlikely, even were she there. But
there was the chance. And there was his great love for her. Without a
backward glance, Hodon the Fleet One turned his face and his steps
northeast toward Kali.

XII

O-AA RAN LIKE the wind. She did not know that Zurk had set his jalok on
her. She thought only of escaping the man, and she knew that on his bowed
legs he could never overtake her.

Zurk pulled upon the arrow embedded in his shoulder. It had just missed
his heart. The rough stone tip tore at the tender wound. Blood ran down
the man's body. His features were contorted with pain. He swore. He was
very careful as he withdrew the shaft lest the point should be deflected
and touch his heart. The girl and the jalok were out of sight, having
passed through bushes into a slight depression.

Rahna had followed his mistress, loping easily along a few yards behind
her. Suddenly another jalok flashed past him, straight for the fleeing
girl.

HODON THE FLEET ONE turned his face and his steps northeast toward Kali.
Hodon knew nothing about the points of the compass, but his homing
instinct told him the direction to Sari; and, knowing where Kali lay in
relation, to Sari, his homeland, he knew the direction he must take.

He had been walking for some time, when, emerging from a clump of bushes,
he came upon a man sitting with his back against the bole of a tree.
Hodon was armed only with a knife, which was not well in a world where
the usual greeting between strangers is, "I kill."

He was very close to the man before he saw him, and in the instant that
he saw him, he saw that his body was smeared with blood and a little
stream of blood ran down his chest from a wound in his breast close to
his left shoulder.

Now the Sarians, because of the influence of David Innes and Abner Perry,
are less savage and brutal than the majority of Pellucidarians. Although
Perry had taught them how to slaughter their fellow men scientifically
with muskets, cannon, and gunpowder, he had also preached to them the
doctrine of the brotherhood of man; so that their policy now was based on
the admonition of a man they had never heard of who had lived in a world
they would never see, to "speak softly and carry a big stick," for Abner
Perry had been a worshipper of Teddy Roosevelt.

The man's head was bowed, his chin lay upon his breast. He was barely
breathing. But when he realized that some one had approached him he
looked up and snarled. He expected to be killed, but he could do nothing
about it.

Hodon turned back to the bushes through which he had just passed and
gathered some leaves. He made a little ball of the most tender of them
and came back to the man. He knelt beside him and plugged the hole in his
chest with a little ball of leaves, stopping the flow of blood.

There was questioning in Zurk's dull eyes as he looked into those of the
stranger. "Aren't you going to kill me?" he whispered.

Hodon ignored the question. "Where is your village?" he asked. "Is it far?"

"Not far," said Zurk.

"I will help you back to it," said Hodon, "if you promise me that the
warriors will not kill me."

"They will not kill you," said Zurk. "I am the chief's son. But why do
you do this for a stranger?"

"Because I am a Sarian," said Hodon proudly.

Hodon helped Zurk to his feet, but the man, could scarcely stand. Hodon
realized that he could not walk; so he carried him pickaback, Zurk
directing him toward the village.

The wind blew and rain fell, but the storm was abating as Hodon carried
the chief's son into the village. Warriors came from their houses, with
ready weapons, for Hodon was a stranger to be killed on sight. Then they
saw Zurk, who was unconscious now, and hesitated.

Hodon faced them. "Instead of standing there scowling at me," he said,
"come and take your chief's son and carry him to his house where the
women can care for him."

When they had lifted Zurk from his back, Hodon saw that the man was
unconscious and that he might be killed after all. "Where is the chief?"
he asked.

Jalu was coming toward them from his house. "I am the chief," he said.
"You are either a very brave man or a fool to have wounded my son and
then brought him to me."

"I did not wound him," said Hodon. "I found him wounded and brought him
here, else he would have died. He told me that if I did this the warriors
would not kill me."

"If you have spoken the truth the warriors will not kill you," said Jalu.

"If the man dies before he regains consciousness, how will you know that
I have spoken the truth?" asked Hodon.

"We will not know," said Jalu. He turned to one of his warriors. "Have
him treated well, but see that he does not escape."

"The brotherhood of man is all right," said Hodon, "if the other fellow
knows about it." They did not know what he was talking about. "I was a
fool not to let him die," he added.

"I think you were," agreed Jalu.

Hodon was taken to a house and a woman was sent to take him food. Two
warriors stood guard at the foot of the ladder. The woman came with food.
It was Hala. She looked at the handsome prisoner with questioning eyes.
He did not look stupid, but then one could not always tell just by looks.

"Why did you bring Zurk back when you know that you might be killed? What
was he to you?" she asked.

"He was a fellow man, and I am a Sarian," was Hodon's simple explanation.

"You, a Sarian?" demanded Hala.

"Yes. Why?"

"There is a Sarian with us, or there was. She went away, I think to hunt;
and she has not returned."

Hodon paled. "What was her name?" he asked.

"Oh, I was wrong," said Hala. "She is not a Sarian. It is her mate that
is a Sarian. She comes from another country where the men are nine feet
tall. She has eleven brothers and her father is a king."

"And her name is O-aa," said Hodon.

"How do you know?" demanded Hala.

"There is only one O-aa," said Hodon, enigmatically. "Which way did she
go?"

"Up the valley," said Hala. "Zurk followed her. Zurk is a bad man. It
must have been O-aa who wounded him."

"And I have saved him!" exclaimed Hodon. "Hereafter I shall leave the
brotherhood of man to others."

"What do you mean by that?"

"It is meaningless," said Hodon. "I must get out of here and follow her."

"You cannot get out," said Hala. Suddenly her eyes went wide in
understanding. "You are Hodon the Fleet One," she said.

"How did you know that?"

"That is the name of O-aa's mate. She said so, and that he is a Sarian."

"I must get out," said Hodon.

"I would help you if I could," said Hala. "I liked O-aa and I like you,
but you will only get out of this village alive if Zurk regains
consciousness and says that he promised that you would not be killed."

"Will you go then and find out if he has regained consciousness?" he
asked her.

O-AA HEARD A SAVAGE growl close behind her. She turned to see a strange
jalok reared on its hind feet to seize her and drag her down. As she
leaped, quick as a chamois, to one side, she saw something else. She saw
Rahna spring upon the strange jalok and hurl it to the ground. The fight
that ensued was bloody and terrifying. The two savage beasts fought
almost in silence. There were only snarls of rage. As they tore at one
another, O-aa circled them, spear in hand, seeking an opportunity to
impale Rahna's antagonist. But they moved so quickly that she dared not
thrust for fear of wounding Rahna instead of the other.

Rahna needed no help. At last he got the hold for which he had been
fighting-a full hold of the other jalok's throat. The mighty jaws closed,
and Rahna shook the other as a terrier shakes a rat. It was soon over.
Rahna dropped the carcass and looked up into O-aa's eyes. He wagged his
tail, and O-aa went down on her knees and hugged him, all bloody as he
was.

She found the leaves she needed, and a little stream, and there she
washed Rahna's wounds and rubbed the juices of the leaves into them.
After that, she flushed a couple of hares and some strange birds that
have not been on earth for a million years. She fed Rahna and she ate her
own meat raw, for there was nothing dry with which to make fire.

She did not dare go back to the village, both because she feared that she
might have killed Zurk and feared that she hadn't. In one event, Jalu
would kill her if her deed were discovered; in the other, Zurk would kill
her. She would go on toward Kali, but first she would sleep. Beneath a
great tree she lay down, and the fierce hyaenodon lay down beside her.

XIII

THE GREAT STORM passed on. Again the sun shone. The seas subsided.
Saddened, Dian suggested that they turn back toward Sari. "What is the
use of going on?" she demanded. "They are all dead."

"Perhaps not," said Raj. "Perhaps not all. David, Abner, Ghak, and over
two hundred warriors can make their way anywhere in Pellucidar. They may
be waiting for us in Sari when we return."

"Then let's return as soon as possible," said Dian.

"And even for O-aa and Hodon there may be hope."

Dian shook her head. "Had they been together, possibly; but alone, no.
And then, even if Hodon reached shore, he was armed with only a knife."

So they weighed anchor, put about, and laid a course for the nameless
strait.

XIV

AT THE SAME TIME, David, Perry, and Ghak, were holding a council of war,
so to speak. There was no war except with the terrain. With the two
hundred fierce Sarians, armed with muskets and well supplied with
ammunition, the party had moved through the savage world with not a
single casualty.

They lived off a country rich in game, fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts.
But the terrain had almost beaten them. The backbone of the great
peninsula they were attempting to cross is a mountain range as formidable
as the Himalayas and practically insurmountable for men clothed only in
G-strings. Its upper reaches ice-locked and snowbound presented an
insurmountable barrier to these almost naked men of the Stone Age.

When they reached the mountains, they had moved in a northerly direction
searching for a pass. Many sleeps had passed, but still the unbroken
facade of the Terrible Mountains barred the way to Sari. Time and again
they had followed deep canyons, hoping that here at last was a gap
through which they could pass. And time and again they had had to retrace
their steps. Now, as far as the eye could reach until vision was lost in
the haze, the Terrible Mountains stretched on seemingly into infinity.

"There is no use going on in this direction," said David Innes.

"Well, where in the world shall we go?" demanded Abner Perry.

"Back," said David. "There are no mountains on the Lidi Plains nor in the
Land of Awful Shadow. We can cross there to the east coast and follow it
up to Sari."

So they turned back toward the southwest, and started anew the long, long
trek for home.

Later, many sleeps later, the three man point, which David always kept
well ahead of his main body, sighted warriors approaching. One of the
warriors of the point ran back to notify David, and presently the Sarians
advanced in a long thin skirmish line. Their orders were not to fire
until fired upon, and then to fire one volley over the heads of the
enemy. David had found that this was usually enough. At the roar and the
smoke, the enemy ordinarily fled.

To David's astonishment, the strange warriors also formed a line of
skirmishers. This was a tactful innovation, brought to Pellucidar by
David. He had thought that; only warriors trained under the system of the
Army of the Empire used it. The two lines moved slowly toward another.

"They look like Mezops," said David to Ghak. "They are copper colored."

"'How could there be Mezops here?" demanded Ghak

David shrugged. "I do not know."

Suddenly the advancing line of copper colored warriors halted. All but
one. He advanced, making the sign of peace. And presently David
recognized him.

"First I saw the muskets," said Ja, "and then I recognized you."

Ja told of the loss of O-aa and the abandonment of the John Tyler and how
it had sailed out to sea with only Ah-gilak.

"So they are both lost," said David sadly.

"Ah-gilak is no loss," said Ja; "but the girl-yes."

And so Ja and Kay and Ko and the other Mezops joined the Sarians, and the
march was resumed toward the Lidi Plains and the Land of the Awful Shadow.

A WARRIOR CAME TO the foot of the ladder leading to the house where Hodon
was confined. He spoke to the guards, and one of them called to Hodon.
"Sarian, come down. Jalu has sent for you."

Jalu sat on a stool in front of the house where Zurk lay. He was
scowling, and Hodon thought that Zurk had died. "Zurk has spoken," said
Jalu. "He said that you had told the truth. He said more. It was O-aa who
loosed the arrow that wounded him. Zurk said that she was right to do it.
He had followed her to kill her. Now he is sorry. I will send warriors
with you to search for her. If you find her, or if you do not, the
warriors will either bring you back here or accompany you to the foot of
the Terrible Mountains, which is where O-aa wished to go. I do this
because of what you did for Zurk when you might have killed him. Zurk has
asked me to do this. When do you wish to start?"

"Now," said Hodon.

With twenty warriors and their jaloks, he set out in search of O-aa.

XV

O-AA SLEPT FOR A long time or for but a second. Who may know in the
timeless world of Pellucidar? But it must have been for some considerable
outer crust time; because things happened while she slept that could not
have happened in a second.

She was awakened by Rahna's growls. She awoke quickly and completely, in
full possession of all her faculties. When one is thus awakened in a
Stone Age world, one does not lie with closed eyes and stretch
luxuriously and then cuddle down for an extra cat nap. One snaps out of
sleep and lays hold of one's weapons.

Thus, did O-aa; and looked quickly around. Rahna was standing with his
back toward her, all the hairs along his spine standing on end. Beyond
him, creeping toward them, was a tarag, the huge tiger of the Inner
World. A jalok is no match for a tarag; but Rahna stood his ground, ready
to die in protection of his mistress.

O-aa took in the scene instantly and all its implications. There was but
one course to pursue were she to save both Rahna and herself. She pursued
it. She swarmed up the tree beneath which she had been sleeping, taking
her bow and arrows with her.

"Rahna!" she called, and the jalok looked up and saw her. Then the tarag
charged. Freed from the necessity of sacrificing his life to save the
girl's, Rahna bounded out of harm's way. The tarag pursued him, but Rahna
was too quick for him.

Thus thwarted, the savage beast screamed in rage; then he leaped upward
and tried to scramble into the tree after O-aa; but the limb he seized
was too small to support his great weight, and he fell to the ground upon
his back. Rahna rushed in and bit him, and then leaped away. Once more
the great cat sprang after the jalok, but Rahna could run much faster.
O-aa laughed and described the tarag and its ancestors with such
scurrilous, vituperation as she could command and in a loud tone of voice.

The tarag is probably not noted for its patience; but this tarag was very
hungry, and when one is hungry one will exercise a little patience to
obtain food. The tarag came and lay down under the tree. It glared up at
O-aa. It should have been watching Rahna. The jalok crept stealthily
behind it; then rushed in and bit it savagely, in the rear, bounding away
again instantly. Again the futile pursuit.

And again it came and lay down beneath the tree, but this time it kept
its eyes on Rahna. O-aa fitted an arrow to her bow and drove it into the
tarag's back. With a scream of pain and rage, the cat leaped into the
air. But it would take more than one puny arrow to do more than infuriate
it.

Another arrow. This time the tarag saw from whence it came, and very
slowly and methodically it began to climb the bole of the tree. O-aa
retreated into the higher branches. Rahna ran in and tore at the tarag's
rump, but the beast continued its upward climb.

O-aa no longer felt like laughing. She guessed what the end would be. The
mighty cat would climb after her until their combined weight snapped the
tapering stem and carried them both to the ground.

It was upon this scene that Hodon and Utan and the other warriors broke.
Utan recognized Rahna and knew that O-aa must be in the tree. Rahna
turned on this new menace, and Utan shouted to O-aa to call him off. He
did not want to have to kill the courageous animal.

With relief, O-aa heard the voices of men. Any man would have been
welcome at that moment, and she shouted the single word, "Padang" to
Rahna. Jalu had armed Hodon, and now twenty-one bow strings twanged and
twenty-one arrows pierced the body of the tarag. But even these did not
kill him. They did bring him down out of the tree and set him upon these
enemies.

The men scattered, but they kept pouring arrows into the beast, and each
time he charged one of them, jaloks leaped in and tore at him. But at
last he died. An arrow reached his savage heart.

O-aa came down from the tree. She just stood and looked at Hodon in wide
eyed silence. Then two tears ran down her cheeks, and in front of all the
warriors Hodon the Fleet One took her in his arms.

XVI

JALU'S TWENTY warriors accompanied O-aa and Hodon, to the Terrible
Mountains. "You can never cross them," said Utan. "You had better come
back and join our tribe. Jalu said that he would accept you."

Hodon shook his head. "We belong in Sari, my mate and I. We may never
reach Sari, but we must try."

"We will reach Sari," said O-aa. "You and I and Rahna can go anywhere.
There is nothing we Sarians cannot do."

"I thought that you were from Kali where the men are nine feet tall,"
said Utan.

"I am from where my mate is from," said O-aa. "I am a Sarian."

"If I thought that there was another girl like you in Kali, I would go
there," said Utan.

"There is no other girl like O-aa in all Pellucidar," said Hodon the
Fleet One.

"I believe you," said Utan.

Jalu's warriors ate and slept, and then they started back for their
village; and Hodon and O-aa took the long trail-in the wrong direction.
They moved toward the northeast. But after all it proved to be the right
direction, for before they had slept again they met David and his party.
For all of them it was like meeting old friends who had returned from
death.

Who may say how long it took them to make the incredible march of nearly
two thousand five hundred miles down to the Lidi Plains and the Land of
Awful Shadow and across to the east coast and back up to Sari? But at
last they came to the village, the village that most of them had never
expected to see again; and among the first to welcome them was Dian the
Beautiful. The John Tyler had made the long trip in safety.

Everyone was happy except Ah-gilak and Gamba. Ah-gilak had been happy
until he saw O-aa. Gamba was never happy. Abner Perry was so happy that
he cried, for those whom he thought his carelessness had condemned to
death were safe and at home again. Already, mentally, he was inventing a
submarine.



THE END




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