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|Chapter 307: The Land of the Dead||Chapter 309: The Pool of Peril|
As Flash and his friends fight against the Rock Men, Captain Torch's time bomb suddenly goes off. There is a huge explosion, triggering a minor earthquake felt as far as the rocket ship where Barin and Ronal wait, and the throne room of the Rock King where a terrified Sonja screams.
Finally all is still once more. The Rock Men holding Torch's men prisoner gather up the inert bodies of Flash and his friends and take them to a nearby source of gas which revives them all. The Rock Men want to know who they are. Zarkov alone can understand their strange tongue, which he recognizes as having belonged to the ancient lost tribes which once inhabited the Gobi desert on Earth. Holding all the strangers equally responsible for the explosion, the Rock Men take them into the caves to face their king.
En route they encounter more giant Iguanthions. Zarkov learns that the reason the men dress like rocks is to camouflage themselves so that the deadly dragons will not see them.
The Rock King blames Flash and his friends for the disappearance of his son, who has not been seen since the earthquake. Zarkov tries to explain that the explosion was Torch's doing, but the King orders them all to be taken to the cells. When Dale is roughly handled Flash leaps to her defense but is immediately clubbed unconscious.
Flash awakes a little later to find himself being held in a cell with Zarkov and Roka. Zarkov explains that they're all to be held under guard until the search for the Rock King's missing son is over. Zarkov believes the Rock Men to be descendents of the original race which thousands of years ago inhabited numerous planets in the Solar System.
Dale is being held in a separate cell along with Sonja. Believing Sonja to be asleep, Dale calls Karm for help using her radio. Karm, still a prisoner in Ming's palace, gets her message but says that it is too risky for him to talk now as Ming is on his way to see him.
Having overheard all this, Sonja demands Dale surrender the radio to her. Dale refuses and the 2 women fight. Their Rock Men guards quickly intervene and move Sonja to another cell, but she now has Dale's radio. She uses it to call Karm, pretending to be Dale.
Ming, by now in the lab, hears the message coming from the radio and realizes that Karm has been betraying him. The scientist is taken away to be locked up in a cell.
Meanwhile, Roka feigns illness to create a distraction which allows Flash and Zarkov to slip past their guards and escape the cave dwellings of the Rock Men. They set off in search on Barin and Ronal but on their way they begin to feel a strange gravitational force pulling them like a magnet in a certain direction. The closer they draw to the source, the more powerful the strange attraction becomes. It turns out that a giant lodestone, one of the many highly-magnetized rocks in this part of Mongo, must have been uncovered by the earthquake. Now that it is exposed, it is pulling everything down into a deep chasm where it lies. High above the lodestone, a group of Rock Men are desperately clinging on to a ledge, using every scrap of their fading strength to stop themselves being pulled into a fatal fall down towards the magnetic rock. Flash and Zarkov, a safer distance away, recognize one of these Rock Men as the missing Prince. Flash tells Zarkov to go back and tell the Rock King that they've located his son, while he stays behind to attempt a rescue.
But time is fast running out. Having lost patience, the Rock King has now ordered his prisoners to be sacrificed one by one by means of throwing them into a fiery pit. One of Torch's men is the first to die.
Hurrying back to the caves, Zarkov has to stop and hide when he encounters an Iguanthion.
As Flash slowly climbs up to the ledge above the lodestone, another of the Rock Men's strength finally gives out and the unfortunate man plummets to his doom. Only the Prince is left, screaming for help. Flash is having difficulty climbing high enough to reach him as he too is being pulled downwards by the magnetic force.
Back in the caves, Dale is the next victim to be grabbed by the guards. Roka tries to intervene but he is held back. Screaming, Dale is dragged closer and closer to the deadly pit.
THE Land Of The Dead, inhabited by Rock Men, becomes the battle-ground of a scientific war against Ming.
FLASH and his party are captured by the Rock Men, who also capture Ming's soldiers.
THE Rock King condemns all to death, blaming them for the disappearance of his son.
FLASH and Zarkov escape by a clever ruse and discover the Rock Prince helpless in the grip of a powerful lodestone.
FLASH attempts his rescue while Zarkov hurries to the Rock King but....
- The Recap text at the start of this chapter calls the area Flash lands in as "the Devil's Dome", but the previous chapter called it "the Giant's Dome".
- When the bomb exploded, Flash and his friends were busy fighting a group of Rock Men. What happened to these Rock Men? None of them is seen lying unconscious after the explosion.
- It is a little unclear what is happening when the Rock Men take the unconscious Earth people to a spot where they expose them to some gas. Is this a healing gas, or is it as Torch's men claim, merely a means to tell if the Earth people are still alive?
- When taken before the King, Dale and Sonja give each other decidedly hostile looks, yet there is no real reason at this point to suppose that Dale knows who Sonja actually is. For this scene to make sense, it must be assumed that Dale had some interaction off-screen during her time in Arboria during the earlier chapters of this serial, so that she knew exactly who Sonja was when later told about the manner of Princess Aura's abduction.