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The Moon Pool

Chapter 13. Yolara, Priestess Of The Shining One
"YOU'D better have this handy, Doc." O'Keefe paused at the head of the stairway and
handed me one of the automatics he had taken from Marakinoff.
"Shall I not have one also?" rather anxiously asked the latter.
"When you need it you'll get it," answered O'Keefe. "I'll tell you frankly, though,
Professor, that you'll have to show me before I trust you with a gun. You shoot too
straight-from cover."
The flash of anger in the Russian's eyes turned to a cold consideration.
"You say always just what is in your mind, Lieutenant O'Keefe," he mused. "Da--that I
shall remember!" Later I was to recall this odd observation--and Marakinoff was to
remember indeed.
In single file, O'Keefe at the head and Olaf bringing up the rear, we passed through the
portal. Before us dropped a circular shaft, into which the light from the chamber of the
oval streamed liquidly; set in its sides the steps spiralled, and down them we went,
cautiously. The stairway ended in a circular well; silent--with no trace of exit! The
rounded stones joined each other evenly--hermetically. Carved on one of the slabs was
one of the five flowered vines. I pressed my fingers upon the calyxes, even as Larry had
within the Moon Chamber.
A crack--horizontal, four feet wide--appeared on the wall; widened, and as the sinking
slab that made it dropped to the level of our eyes, we looked through a hundred-feetlong
rift in the living rock! The stone fell steadily--and we saw that it was a Cyclopean wedge
set within the slit of the passageway. It reached the level of our feet and stopped. At the
far end of this tunnel, whose floor was the polished rock that had, a moment before, fitted
hermetically into its roof, was a low, narrow triangular opening through which light
streamed.
"Nowhere to go but out!" grinned Larry. "And I'll bet Golden Eyes is waiting for us with
a taxi!" He stepped forward. We followed, slipping, sliding along the glassy surface; and
I, for one, had a lively apprehension of what our fate would be should that enormous
mass rise before we had emerged! We reached the end; crept out of the narrow triangle
that was its exit.
We stood upon a wide ledge carpeted with a thick yellow moss. I looked behind--and
clutched O'Keefe's arm. The door through which we had come had vanished! There was
only a precipice of pale rock, on whose surfaces great patches of the amber moss hung;
around whose base our ledge ran, and whose summits, if summits it had, were hidden,
like the luminous cliffs, in the radiance above us.
 
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