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Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part 2 out of 4

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"They are black," explained Tarzan. "It was a black who killed
Kala. They are the enemies of the Manganis."

Werper did not relish the idea of engaging in a battle with Basuli
and his fierce fighting men. And, again, he had welcomed the sight
of them returning toward the Greystoke bungalow, for he had begun
to have doubts as to his ability to retrace his steps to the Waziri
country. Tarzan, he knew, had not the remotest idea of whither
they were going. By keeping at a safe distance behind the laden
warriors, they would have no difficulty in following them home.
Once at the bungalow, Werper knew the way to the camp of Achmet Zek.
There was still another reason why he did not wish to interfere
with the Waziri--they were bearing the great burden of treasure in
the direction he wished it borne. The farther they took it, the
less the distance that he and Achmet Zek would have to transport
it.

He argued with the ape-man therefore, against the latter's desire
to exterminate the blacks, and at last he prevailed upon Tarzan to
follow them in peace, saying that he was sure they would lead them
out of the forest into a rich country, teeming with game.

It was many marches from Opar to the Waziri country; but at last
came the hour when Tarzan and the Belgian, following the trail of
the warriors, topped the last rise, and saw before them the broad
Waziri plain, the winding river, and the distant forests to the
north and west.

A mile or more ahead of them, the line of warriors was creeping
like a giant caterpillar through the tall grasses of the plain.
Beyond, grazing herds of zebra, hartebeest, and topi dotted the level
landscape, while closer to the river a bull buffalo, his head and
shoulders protruding from the reeds watched the advancing blacks
for a moment, only to turn at last and disappear into the safety
of his dank and gloomy retreat.

Tarzan looked out across the familiar vista with no faintest gleam
of recognition in his eyes. He saw the game animals, and his mouth
watered; but he did not look in the direction of his bungalow.
Werper, however, did. A puzzled expression entered the Belgian's
eyes. He shaded them with his palms and gazed long and earnestly
toward the spot where the bungalow had stood. He could not credit
the testimony of his eyes--there was no bungalow--no barns--no
out-houses. The corrals, the hay stacks--all were gone. What
could it mean?

And then, slowly there filtered into Werper's consciousness an
explanation of the havoc that had been wrought in that peaceful
valley since last his eyes had rested upon it--Achmet Zek had been
there!

Basuli and his warriors had noted the devastation the moment they
had come in sight of the farm. Now they hastened on toward it
talking excitedly among themselves in animated speculation upon
the cause and meaning of the catastrophe.

When, at last they crossed the trampled garden and stood before
the charred ruins of their master's bungalow, their greatest fears
became convictions in the light of the evidence about them.

Remnants of human dead, half devoured by prowling hyenas and others
of the carnivora which infested the region, lay rotting upon the
ground, and among the corpses remained sufficient remnants of their
clothing and ornaments to make clear to Basuli the frightful story
of the disaster that had befallen his master's house.

"The Arabs," he said, as his men clustered about him.

The Waziri gazed about in mute rage for several minutes. Everywhere
they encountered only further evidence of the ruthlessness of the
cruel enemy that had come during the Great Bwana's absence and laid
waste his property.

"What did they with 'Lady'?" asked one of the blacks.

They had always called Lady Greystoke thus.

"The women they would have taken with them," said Basuli. "Our
women and his."

A giant black raised his spear above his head, and gave voice to
a savage cry of rage and hate. The others followed his example.
Basuli silenced them with a gesture.

"This is no time for useless noises of the mouth," he said. "The
Great Bwana has taught us that it is acts by which things are done,
not words. Let us save our breath--we shall need it all to follow
up the Arabs and slay them. If 'Lady' and our women live the
greater the need of haste, and warriors cannot travel fast upon
empty lungs."

From the shelter of the reeds along the river, Werper and Tarzan
watched the blacks. They saw them dig a trench with their knives
and fingers. They saw them lay their yellow burdens in it and
scoop the overturned earth back over the tops of the ingots.

Tarzan seemed little interested, after Werper had assured him that
that which they buried was not good to eat; but Werper was intensely
interested. He would have given much had he had his own followers
with him, that he might take away the treasure as soon as the
blacks left, for he was sure that they would leave this scene of
desolation and death as soon as possible.

The treasure buried, the blacks removed themselves a short distance
up wind from the fetid corpses, where they made camp, that they
might rest before setting out in pursuit of the Arabs. It was
already dusk. Werper and Tarzan sat devouring some pieces of meat
they had brought from their last camp. The Belgian was occupied
with his plans for the immediate future. He was positive that
the Waziri would pursue Achmet Zek, for he knew enough of savage
warfare, and of the characteristics of the Arabs and their degraded
followers to guess that they had carried the Waziri women off into
slavery. This alone would assure immediate pursuit by so warlike
a people as the Waziri.

Werper felt that he should find the means and the opportunity to
push on ahead, that he might warn Achmet Zek of the coming of Basuli,
and also of the location of the buried treasure. What the Arab
would now do with Lady Greystoke, in view of the mental affliction
of her husband, Werper neither knew nor cared. It was enough that
the golden treasure buried upon the site of the burned bungalow was
infinitely more valuable than any ransom that would have occurred
even to the avaricious mind of the Arab, and if Werper could persuade
the raider to share even a portion of it with him he would be well
satisfied.

But by far the most important consideration, to Werper, at least,
was the incalculably valuable treasure in the little leathern pouch
at Tarzan's side. If he could but obtain possession of this! He
must! He would!

His eyes wandered to the object of his greed. They measured Tarzan's
giant frame, and rested upon the rounded muscles of his arms. It
was hopeless. What could he, Werper, hope to accomplish, other than
his own death, by an attempt to wrest the gems from their savage
owner?

Disconsolate, Werper threw himself upon his side. His head was
pillowed on one arm, the other rested across his face in such a
way that his eyes were hidden from the ape-man, though one of them
was fastened upon him from beneath the shadow of the Belgian's forearm.
For a time he lay thus, glowering at Tarzan, and originating schemes
for plundering him of his treasure--schemes that were discarded as
futile as rapidly as they were born.

Tarzan presently let his own eyes rest upon Werper. The Belgian
saw that he was being watched, and lay very still. After a few
moments he simulated the regular breathing of deep slumber.

Tarzan had been thinking. He had seen the Waziri bury their
belongings. Werper had told him that they were hiding them lest
some one find them and take them away. This seemed to Tarzan
a splendid plan for safeguarding valuables. Since Werper had
evinced a desire to possess his glittering pebbles, Tarzan, with
the suspicions of a savage, had guarded the baubles, of whose worth
he was entirely ignorant, as zealously as though they spelled life
or death to him.

For a long time the ape-man sat watching his companion. At last,
convinced that he slept, Tarzan withdrew his hunting knife and
commenced to dig a hole in the ground before him. With the blade
he loosened up the earth, and with his hands he scooped it out
until he had excavated a little cavity a few inches in diameter,
and five or six inches in depth. Into this he placed the pouch
of jewels. Werper almost forgot to breathe after the fashion of a
sleeper as he saw what the ape-man was doing--he scarce repressed
an ejaculation of satisfaction.

Tarzan become suddenly rigid as his keen ears noted the cessation
of the regular inspirations and expirations of his companion. His
narrowed eyes bored straight down upon the Belgian. Werper felt
that he was lost--he must risk all on his ability to carry on the
deception. He sighed, threw both arms outward, and turned over on
his back mumbling as though in the throes of a bad dream. A moment
later he resumed the regular breathing.

Now he could not watch Tarzan, but he was sure that the man sat
for a long time looking at him. Then, faintly, Werper heard the
other's hands scraping dirt, and later patting it down. He knew
then that the jewels were buried.

It was an hour before Werper moved again, then he rolled over facing
Tarzan and opened his eyes. The ape-man slept. By reaching out
his hand Werper could touch the spot where the pouch was buried.

For a long time he lay watching and listening. He moved about,
making more noise than necessary, yet Tarzan did not awaken. He
drew the sacrificial knife from his belt, and plunged it into the
ground. Tarzan did not move. Cautiously the Belgian pushed the
blade downward through the loose earth above the pouch. He felt
the point touch the soft, tough fabric of the leather. Then he
pried down upon the handle. Slowly the little mound of loose earth
rose and parted. An instant later a corner of the pouch came into
view. Werper pulled it from its hiding place, and tucked it in his
shirt. Then he refilled the hole and pressed the dirt carefully
down as it had been before.

Greed had prompted him to an act, the discovery of which by his
companion could lead only to the most frightful consequences for
Werper. Already he could almost feel those strong, white fangs
burying themselves in his neck. He shuddered. Far out across the
plain a leopard screamed, and in the dense reeds behind him some
great beast moved on padded feet.

Werper feared these prowlers of the night; but infinitely more
he feared the just wrath of the human beast sleeping at his side.
With utmost caution the Belgian arose. Tarzan did not move. Werper
took a few steps toward the plain and the distant forest to the
northwest, then he paused and fingered the hilt of the long knife
in his belt. He turned and looked down upon the sleeper.

"Why not?" he mused. "Then I should be safe."

He returned and bent above the ape-man. Clutched tightly in his
hand was the sacrificial knife of the High Priestess of the Flaming
God!

10

Achmet Zek Sees the Jewels

Mugambi, weak and suffering, had dragged his painful way along the
trail of the retreating raiders. He could move but slowly, resting
often; but savage hatred and an equally savage desire for vengeance
kept him to his task. As the days passed his wounds healed and
his strength returned, until at last his giant frame had regained
all of its former mighty powers. Now he went more rapidly; but
the mounted Arabs had covered a great distance while the wounded
black had been painfully crawling after them.

They had reached their fortified camp, and there Achmet Zek awaited
the return of his lieutenant, Albert Werper. During the long,
rough journey, Jane Clayton had suffered more in anticipation of
her impending fate than from the hardships of the road.

Achmet Zek had not deigned to acquaint her with his intentions
regarding her future. She prayed that she had been captured in the
hope of ransom, for if such should prove the case, no great harm
would befall her at the hands of the Arabs; but there was the
chance, the horrid chance, that another fate awaited her. She had
heard of many women, among whom were white women, who had been sold
by outlaws such as Achmet Zek into the slavery of black harems, or
taken farther north into the almost equally hideous existence of
some Turkish seraglio.

Jane Clayton was of sterner stuff than that which bends in spineless
terror before danger. Until hope proved futile she would not give
it up; nor did she entertain thoughts of self-destruction only as
a final escape from dishonor. So long as Tarzan lived there was
every reason to expect succor. No man nor beast who roamed the
savage continent could boast the cunning and the powers of her
lord and master. To her, he was little short of omnipotent in his
native world--this world of savage beasts and savage men. Tarzan
would come, and she would be rescued and avenged, of that she was
certain. She counted the days that must elapse before he would
return from Opar and discover what had transpired during his absence.
After that it would be but a short time before he had surrounded
the Arab stronghold and punished the motley crew of wrongdoers who
inhabited it.

That he could find her she had no slightest doubt. No spoor, however
faint, could elude the keen vigilance of his senses. To him, the
trail of the raiders would be as plain as the printed page of an
open book to her.

And while she hoped, there came through the dark jungle another.
Terrified by night and by day, came Albert Werper. A dozen times
he had escaped the claws and fangs of the giant carnivora only by
what seemed a miracle to him. Armed with nothing more than the knife
he had brought with him from Opar, he had made his way through as
savage a country as yet exists upon the face of the globe.

By night he had slept in trees. By day he had stumbled fearfully
on, often taking refuge among the branches when sight or sound of
some great cat warned him from danger. But at last he had come
within sight of the palisade behind which were his fierce companions.

At almost the same time Mugambi came out of the jungle before
the walled village. As he stood in the shadow of a great tree,
reconnoitering, he saw a man, ragged and disheveled, emerge from the
jungle almost at his elbow. Instantly he recognized the newcomer
as he who had been a guest of his master before the latter had
departed for Opar.

The black was upon the point of hailing the Belgian when something
stayed him. He saw the white man walking confidently across the
clearing toward the village gate. No sane man thus approached
a village in this part of Africa unless he was sure of a friendly
welcome. Mugambi waited. His suspicions were aroused.

He heard Werper halloo; he saw the gates swing open, and he witnessed
the surprised and friendly welcome that was accorded the erstwhile
guest of Lord and Lady Greystoke. A light broke upon the understanding
of Mugambi. This white man had been a traitor and a spy. It was
to him they owed the raid during the absence of the Great Bwana.
To his hate for the Arabs, Mugambi added a still greater hate for
the white spy.

Within the village Werper passed hurriedly toward the silken tent
of Achmet Zek. The Arab arose as his lieutenant entered. His face
showed surprise as he viewed the tattered apparel of the Belgian.

"What has happened?" he asked.

Werper narrated all, save the little matter of the pouch of gems
which were now tightly strapped about his waist, beneath his clothing.
The Arab's eyes narrowed greedily as his henchman described the
treasure that the Waziri had buried beside the ruins of the Greystoke
bungalow.

"It will be a simple matter now to return and get it," said Achmet
Zek. "First we will await the coming of the rash Waziri, and after
we have slain them we may take our time to the treasure--none will
disturb it where it lies, for we shall leave none alive who knows
of its existence.

"And the woman?" asked Werper.

"I shall sell her in the north," replied the raider. "It is the
only way, now. She should bring a good price."

The Belgian nodded. He was thinking rapidly. If he could persuade
Achmet Zek to send him in command of the party which took Lady
Greystoke north it would give him the opportunity he craved to make
his escape from his chief. He would forego a share of the gold,
if he could but get away unscathed with the jewels.

He knew Achmet Zek well enough by this time to know that no member of
his band ever was voluntarily released from the service of Achmet
Zek. Most of the few who deserted were recaptured. More than once
had Werper listened to their agonized screams as they were tortured
before being put to death. The Belgian had no wish to take the
slightest chance of recapture.

"Who will go north with the woman," he asked, "while we are returning
for the gold that the Waziri buried by the bungalow of the Englishman?"

Achmet Zek thought for a moment. The buried gold was of much greater
value than the price the woman would bring. It was necessary to
rid himself of her as quickly as possible and it was also well to
obtain the gold with the least possible delay. Of all his followers,
the Belgian was the most logical lieutenant to intrust with the
command of one of the parties. An Arab, as familiar with the trails
and tribes as Achmet Zek himself, might collect the woman's price
and make good his escape into the far north. Werper, on the other
hand, could scarce make his escape alone through a country hostile
to Europeans while the men he would send with the Belgian could be
carefully selected with a view to preventing Werper from persuading
any considerable portion of his command to accompany him should he
contemplate desertion of his chief.

At last the Arab spoke: "It is not necessary that we both return
for the gold. You shall go north with the woman, carrying a letter
to a friend of mine who is always in touch with the best markets
for such merchandise, while I return for the gold. We can meet
again here when our business is concluded."

Werper could scarce disguise the joy with which he received this
welcome decision. And that he did entirely disguise it from the
keen and suspicious eyes of Achmet Zek is open to question. However,
the decision reached, the Arab and his lieutenant discussed the
details of their forthcoming ventures for a short time further,
when Werper made his excuses and returned to his own tent for the
comforts and luxury of a long-desired bath and shave.

Having bathed, the Belgian tied a small hand mirror to a cord sewn
to the rear wall of his tent, placed a rude chair beside an equally
rude table that stood beside the glass, and proceeded to remove
the rough stubble from his face.

In the catalog of masculine pleasures there is scarce one which
imparts a feeling of greater comfort and refreshment than follows
a clean shave, and now, with weariness temporarily banished, Albert
Werper sprawled in his rickety chair to enjoy a final cigaret before
retiring. His thumbs, tucked in his belt in lazy support of the
weight of his arms, touched the belt which held the jewel pouch
about his waist. He tingled with excitement as he let his mind
dwell upon the value of the treasure, which, unknown to all save
himself, lay hidden beneath his clothing.

What would Achmet Zek say, if he knew? Werper grinned. How the
old rascal's eyes would pop could he but have a glimpse of those
scintillating beauties! Werper had never yet had an opportunity
to feast his eyes for any great length of time upon them. He had
not even counted them--only roughly had he guessed at their value.

He unfastened the belt and drew the pouch from its hiding place.
He was alone. The balance of the camp, save the sentries, had
retired--none would enter the Belgian's tent. He fingered the
pouch, feeling out the shapes and sizes of the precious, little
nodules within. He hefted the bag, first in one palm, then in the
other, and at last he wheeled his chair slowly around before the
table, and in the rays of his small lamp let the glittering gems
roll out upon the rough wood.

The refulgent rays transformed the interior of the soiled and squalid
canvas to the splendor of a palace in the eyes of the dreaming man.
He saw the gilded halls of pleasure that would open their portals
to the possessor of the wealth which lay scattered upon this stained
and dented table top. He dreamed of joys and luxuries and power
which always had been beyond his grasp, and as he dreamed his gaze
lifted from the table, as the gaze of a dreamer will, to a far
distant goal above the mean horizon of terrestrial commonplaceness.

Unseeing, his eyes rested upon the shaving mirror which still hung
upon the tent wall above the table; but his sight was focused far
beyond. And then a reflection moved within the polished surface
of the tiny glass, the man's eyes shot back out of space to the
mirror's face, and in it he saw reflected the grim visage of Achmet
Zek, framed in the flaps of the tent doorway behind him.

Werper stifled a gasp of dismay. With rare self-possession he let
his gaze drop, without appearing to have halted upon the mirror
until it rested again upon the gems. Without haste, he replaced
them in the pouch, tucked the latter into his shirt, selected a
cigaret from his case, lighted it and rose. Yawning, and stretching
his arms above his head, he turned slowly toward the opposite end of
the tent. The face of Achmet Zek had disappeared from the opening.

To say that Albert Werper was terrified would be putting it mildly.
He realized that he not only had sacrificed his treasure; but his
life as well. Achmet Zek would never permit the wealth that he
had discovered to slip through his fingers, nor would he forgive
the duplicity of a lieutenant who had gained possession of such a
treasure without offering to share it with his chief.

Slowly the Belgian prepared for bed. If he were being watched,
he could not know; but if so the watcher saw no indication of the
nervous excitement which the European strove to conceal. When
ready for his blankets, the man crossed to the little table and
extinguished the light.

It was two hours later that the flaps at the front of the tent
separated silently and gave entrance to a dark-robed figure, which
passed noiselessly from the darkness without to the darkness within.
Cautiously the prowler crossed the interior. In one hand was a
long knife. He came at last to the pile of blankets spread upon
several rugs close to one of the tent walls.

Lightly, his fingers sought and found the bulk beneath the
blankets--the bulk that should be Albert Werper. They traced out
the figure of a man, and then an arm shot upward, poised for an
instant and descended. Again and again it rose and fell, and each
time the long blade of the knife buried itself in the thing beneath
the blankets. But there was an initial lifelessness in the silent
bulk that gave the assassin momentary wonder. Feverishly he threw
back the coverlets, and searched with nervous hands for the pouch
of jewels which he expected to find concealed upon his victim's
body.

An instant later he rose with a curse upon his lips. It was Achmet
Zek, and he cursed because he had discovered beneath the blankets
of his lieutenant only a pile of discarded clothing arranged in
the form and semblance of a sleeping man--Albert Werper had fled.

Out into the village ran the chief, calling in angry tones to the
sleepy Arabs, who tumbled from their tents in answer to his voice.
But though they searched the village again and again they found no
trace of the Belgian. Foaming with anger, Achmet Zek called his
followers to horse, and though the night was pitchy black they set
out to scour the adjoining forest for their quarry.

As they galloped from the open gates, Mugambi, hiding in a nearby
bush, slipped, unseen, within the palisade. A score of blacks
crowded about the entrance to watch the searchers depart, and as
the last of them passed out of the village the blacks seized the
portals and drew them to, and Mugambi lent a hand in the work as
though the best of his life had been spent among the raiders.

In the darkness he passed, unchallenged, as one of their number,
and as they returned from the gates to their respective tents and
huts, Mugambi melted into the shadows and disappeared.

For an hour he crept about in the rear of the various huts and
tents in an effort to locate that in which his master's mate was
imprisoned. One there was which he was reasonably assured contained
her, for it was the only hut before the door of which a sentry had
been posted. Mugambi was crouching in the shadow of this structure,
just around the corner from the unsuspecting guard, when another
approached to relieve his comrade.

"The prisoner is safe within?" asked the newcomer.

"She is," replied the other, "for none has passed this doorway
since I came."

The new sentry squatted beside the door, while he whom he had
relieved made his way to his own hut. Mugambi slunk closer to the
corner of the building. In one powerful hand he gripped a heavy
knob-stick. No sign of elation disturbed his phlegmatic calm, yet
inwardly he was aroused to joy by the proof he had just heard that
"Lady" really was within.

The sentry's back was toward the corner of the hut which hid the
giant black. The fellow did not see the huge form which silently
loomed behind him. The knob-stick swung upward in a curve, and
downward again. There was the sound of a dull thud, the crushing
of heavy bone, and the sentry slumped into a silent, inanimate lump
of clay.

A moment later Mugambi was searching the interior of the hut. At
first slowly, calling, "Lady!" in a low whisper, and finally with
almost frantic haste, until the truth presently dawned upon him--the
hut was empty!

11

Tarzan Becomes a Beast Again

For a moment Werper had stood above the sleeping ape-man, his
murderous knife poised for the fatal thrust; but fear stayed his
hand. What if the first blow should fail to drive the point to his
victim's heart? Werper shuddered in contemplation of the disastrous
consequences to himself. Awakened, and even with a few moments
of life remaining, the giant could literally tear his assailant
to pieces should he choose, and the Belgian had no doubt but that
Tarzan would so choose.

Again came the soft sound of padded footsteps in the reeds--closer
this time. Werper abandoned his design. Before him stretched the
wide plain and escape. The jewels were in his possession. To
remain longer was to risk death at the hands of Tarzan, or the
jaws of the hunter creeping ever nearer. Turning, he slunk away
through the night, toward the distant forest.

Tarzan slept on. Where were those uncanny, guardian powers that had
formerly rendered him immune from the dangers of surprise? Could
this dull sleeper be the alert, sensitive Tarzan of old?

Perhaps the blow upon his head had numbed his senses, temporarily--who
may say? Closer crept the stealthy creature through the reeds.
The rustling curtain of vegetation parted a few paces from where
the sleeper lay, and the massive head of a lion appeared. The beast
surveyed the ape-man intently for a moment, then he crouched, his
hind feet drawn well beneath him, his tail lashing from side to
side.

It was the beating of the beast's tail against the reeds which
awakened Tarzan. Jungle folk do not awaken slowly--instantly, full
consciousness and full command of their every faculty returns to
them from the depth of profound slumber.

Even as Tarzan opened his eyes he was upon his feet, his spear
grasped firmly in his hand and ready for attack. Again was he
Tarzan of the Apes, sentient, vigilant, ready.

No two lions have identical characteristics, nor does the same lion
invariably act similarly under like circumstances. Whether it was
surprise, fear or caution which prompted the lion crouching ready
to spring upon the man, is immaterial--the fact remains that he did
not carry out his original design, he did not spring at the man at
all, but, instead, wheeled and sprang back into the reeds as Tarzan
arose and confronted him.

The ape-man shrugged his broad shoulders and looked about for his
companion. Werper was nowhere to be seen. At first Tarzan suspected
that the man had been seized and dragged off by another lion, but
upon examination of the ground he soon discovered that the Belgian
had gone away alone out into the plain.

For a moment he was puzzled; but presently came to the conclusion
that Werper had been frightened by the approach of the lion,
and had sneaked off in terror. A sneer touched Tarzan's lips as
he pondered the man's act--the desertion of a comrade in time of
danger, and without warning. Well, if that was the sort of creature
Werper was, Tarzan wished nothing more of him. He had gone, and
for all the ape-man cared, he might remain away--Tarzan would not
search for him.

A hundred yards from where he stood grew a large tree, alone upon
the edge of the reedy jungle. Tarzan made his way to it, clambered
into it, and finding a comfortable crotch among its branches,
reposed himself for uninterrupted sleep until morning.

And when morning came Tarzan slept on long after the sun had
risen. His mind, reverted to the primitive, was untroubled by any
more serious obligations than those of providing sustenance, and
safeguarding his life. Therefore, there was nothing to awaken for
until danger threatened, or the pangs of hunger assailed. It was
the latter which eventually aroused him.

Opening his eyes, he stretched his giant thews, yawned, rose and
gazed about him through the leafy foliage of his retreat. Across
the wasted meadowlands and fields of John Clayton, Lord Greystoke,
Tarzan of the Apes looked, as a stranger, upon the moving figures
of Basuli and his braves as they prepared their morning meal and
made ready to set out upon the expedition which Basuli had planned
after discovering the havoc and disaster which had befallen the
estate of his dead master.

The ape-man eyed the blacks with curiosity. In the back of his
brain loitered a fleeting sense of familiarity with all that he
saw, yet he could not connect any of the various forms of life,
animate and inanimate, which had fallen within the range of his
vision since he had emerged from the darkness of the pits of Opar,
with any particular event of the past.

Hazily he recalled a grim and hideous form, hairy, ferocious. A
vague tenderness dominated his savage sentiments as this phantom
memory struggled for recognition. His mind had reverted to his
childhood days--it was the figure of the giant she-ape, Kala, that
he saw; but only half recognized. He saw, too, other grotesque,
manlike forms. They were of Terkoz, Tublat, Kerchak, and a smaller,
less ferocious figure, that was Neeta, the little playmate of his
boyhood.

Slowly, very slowly, as these visions of the past animated his
lethargic memory, he came to recognize them. They took definite
shape and form, adjusting themselves nicely to the various incidents
of his life with which they had been intimately connected. His
boyhood among the apes spread itself in a slow panorama before him,
and as it unfolded it induced within him a mighty longing for the
companionship of the shaggy, low-browed brutes of his past.

He watched the blacks scatter their cook fire and depart; but though
the face of each of them had but recently been as familiar to him
as his own, they awakened within him no recollections whatsoever.

When they had gone, he descended from the tree and sought food. Out
upon the plain grazed numerous herds of wild ruminants. Toward a
sleek, fat bunch of zebra he wormed his stealthy way. No intricate
process of reasoning caused him to circle widely until he was down
wind from his prey--he acted instinctively. He took advantage of
every form of cover as he crawled upon all fours and often flat
upon his stomach toward them.

A plump young mare and a fat stallion grazed nearest to him as he
neared the herd. Again it was instinct which selected the former
for his meat. A low bush grew but a few yards from the unsuspecting
two. The ape-man reached its shelter. He gathered his spear
firmly in his grasp. Cautiously he drew his feet beneath him. In
a single swift move he rose and cast his heavy weapon at the mare's
side. Nor did he wait to note the effect of his assault, but leaped
cat-like after his spear, his hunting knife in his hand.

For an instant the two animals stood motionless. The tearing of
the cruel barb into her side brought a sudden scream of pain and
fright from the mare, and then they both wheeled and broke for
safety; but Tarzan of the Apes, for a distance of a few yards,
could equal the speed of even these, and the first stride of the
mare found her overhauled, with a savage beast at her shoulder. She
turned, biting and kicking at her foe. Her mate hesitated for an
instant, as though about to rush to her assistance; but a backward
glance revealed to him the flying heels of the balance of the herd,
and with a snort and a shake of his head he wheeled and dashed
away.

Clinging with one hand to the short mane of his quarry, Tarzan
struck again and again with his knife at the unprotected heart.
The result had, from the first, been inevitable. The mare fought
bravely, but hopelessly, and presently sank to the earth, her heart
pierced. The ape-man placed a foot upon her carcass and raised his
voice in the victory call of the Mangani. In the distance, Basuli
halted as the faint notes of the hideous scream broke upon his
ears.

"The great apes," he said to his companion. "It has been long
since I have heard them in the country of the Waziri. What could
have brought them back?"

Tarzan grasped his kill and dragged it to the partial seclusion
of the bush which had hidden his own near approach, and there
he squatted upon it, cut a huge hunk of flesh from the loin and
proceeded to satisfy his hunger with the warm and dripping meat.

Attracted by the shrill screams of the mare, a pair of hyenas slunk
presently into view. They trotted to a point a few yards from the
gorging ape-man, and halted. Tarzan looked up, bared his fighting
fangs and growled. The hyenas returned the compliment, and withdrew
a couple of paces. They made no move to attack; but continued to
sit at a respectful distance until Tarzan had concluded his meal.
After the ape-man had cut a few strips from the carcass to carry
with him, he walked slowly off in the direction of the river to
quench his thirst. His way lay directly toward the hyenas, nor
did he alter his course because of them.

With all the lordly majesty of Numa, the lion, he strode straight
toward the growling beasts. For a moment they held their ground,
bristling and defiant; but only for a moment, and then slunk away
to one side while the indifferent ape-man passed them on his lordly
way. A moment later they were tearing at the remains of the zebra.

Back to the reeds went Tarzan, and through them toward the river.
A herd of buffalo, startled by his approach, rose ready to charge
or to fly. A great bull pawed the ground and bellowed as his bloodshot
eyes discovered the intruder; but the ape-man passed across their
front as though ignorant of their existence. The bull's bellowing
lessened to a low rumbling, he turned and scraped a horde of flies
from his side with his muzzle, cast a final glance at the ape-man
and resumed his feeding. His numerous family either followed his
example or stood gazing after Tarzan in mild-eyed curiosity, until
the opposite reeds swallowed him from view.

At the river, Tarzan drank his fill and bathed. During the heat
of the day he lay up under the shade of a tree near the ruins of
his burned barns. His eyes wandered out across the plain toward
the forest, and a longing for the pleasures of its mysterious
depths possessed his thoughts for a considerable time. With the
next sun he would cross the open and enter the forest! There was
no hurry--there lay before him an endless vista of tomorrows with
naught to fill them but the satisfying of the appetites and caprices
of the moment.

The ape-man's mind was untroubled by regret for the past, or
aspiration for the future. He could lie at full length along a
swaying branch, stretching his giant limbs, and luxuriating in the
blessed peace of utter thoughtlessness, without an apprehension
or a worry to sap his nervous energy and rob him of his peace of
mind. Recalling only dimly any other existence, the ape-man was
happy. Lord Greystoke had ceased to exist.

For several hours Tarzan lolled upon his swaying, leafy couch until
once again hunger and thirst suggested an excursion. Stretching
lazily he dropped to the ground and moved slowly toward the river.
The game trail down which he walked had become by ages of use a
deep, narrow trench, its walls topped on either side by impenetrable
thicket and dense-growing trees closely interwoven with thick-stemmed
creepers and lesser vines inextricably matted into two solid
ramparts of vegetation. Tarzan had almost reached the point where
the trail debouched upon the open river bottom when he saw a family
of lions approaching along the path from the direction of the river.
The ape-man counted seven--a male and two lionesses, full grown,
and four young lions as large and quite as formidable as their
parents. Tarzan halted, growling, and the lions paused, the great
male in the lead baring his fangs and rumbling forth a warning
roar. In his hand the ape-man held his heavy spear; but he had no
intention of pitting his puny weapon against seven lions; yet he
stood there growling and roaring and the lions did likewise. It was
purely an exhibition of jungle bluff. Each was trying to frighten
off the other. Neither wished to turn back and give way, nor did
either at first desire to precipitate an encounter. The lions were
fed sufficiently so as not to be goaded by pangs of hunger and as
for Tarzan he seldom ate the meat of the carnivores; but a point
of ethics was at stake and neither side wished to back down. So
they stood there facing one another, making all sorts of hideous
noises the while they hurled jungle invective back and forth. How
long this bloodless duel would have persisted it is difficult to
say, though eventually Tarzan would have been forced to yield to
superior numbers.

There came, however, an interruption which put an end to the deadlock
and it came from Tarzan's rear. He and the lions had been making
so much noise that neither could hear anything above their concerted
bedlam, and so it was that Tarzan did not hear the great bulk bearing
down upon him from behind until an instant before it was upon him,
and then he turned to see Buto, the rhinoceros, his little, pig
eyes blazing, charging madly toward him and already so close that
escape seemed impossible; yet so perfectly were mind and muscles
coordinated in this unspoiled, primitive man that almost simultaneously
with the sense perception of the threatened danger he wheeled and
hurled his spear at Buto's chest. It was a heavy spear shod with
iron, and behind it were the giant muscles of the ape-man, while
coming to meet it was the enormous weight of Buto and the momentum
of his rapid rush. All that happened in the instant that Tarzan
turned to meet the charge of the irascible rhinoceros might take
long to tell, and yet would have taxed the swiftest lens to record.
As his spear left his hand the ape-man was looking down upon the
mighty horn lowered to toss him, so close was Buto to him. The
spear entered the rhinoceros' neck at its junction with the left
shoulder and passed almost entirely through the beast's body, and
at the instant that he launched it, Tarzan leaped straight into
the air alighting upon Buto's back but escaping the mighty horn.

Then Buto espied the lions and bore madly down upon them while
Tarzan of the Apes leaped nimbly into the tangled creepers at one
side of the trail. The first lion met Buto's charge and was tossed
high over the back of the maddened brute, torn and dying, and then
the six remaining lions were upon the rhinoceros, rending and tearing
the while they were being gored or trampled. From the safety of
his perch Tarzan watched the royal battle with the keenest interest,
for the more intelligent of the jungle folk are interested in such
encounters. They are to them what the racetrack and the prize
ring, the theater and the movies are to us. They see them often;
but always they enjoy them for no two are precisely alike.

For a time it seemed to Tarzan that Buto, the rhinoceros, would
prove victor in the gory battle. Already had he accounted for four
of the seven lions and badly wounded the three remaining when in
a momentary lull in the encounter he sank limply to his knees and
rolled over upon his side. Tarzan's spear had done its work. It
was the man-made weapon which killed the great beast that might
easily have survived the assault of seven mighty lions, for Tarzan's
spear had pierced the great lungs, and Buto, with victory almost
in sight, succumbed to internal hemorrhage.

Then Tarzan came down from his sanctuary and as the wounded lions,
growling, dragged themselves away, the ape-man cut his spear from
the body of Buto, hacked off a steak and vanished into the jungle.
The episode was over. It had been all in the day's work--something
which you and I might talk about for a lifetime Tarzan dismissed
from his mind the moment that the scene passed from his sight.

12

La Seeks Vengeance

Swinging back through the jungle in a wide circle the ape-man came
to the river at another point, drank and took to the trees again
and while he hunted, all oblivious of his past and careless of his
future, there came through the dark jungles and the open, parklike
places and across the wide meadows, where grazed the countless
herbivora of the mysterious continent, a weird and terrible caravan in
search of him. There were fifty frightful men with hairy bodies
and gnarled and crooked legs. They were armed with knives and
great bludgeons and at their head marched an almost naked woman,
beautiful beyond compare. It was La of Opar, High Priestess of
the Flaming God, and fifty of her horrid priests searching for the
purloiner of the sacred sacrificial knife.

Never before had La passed beyond the crumbling outer walls of Opar;
but never before had need been so insistent. The sacred knife was
gone! Handed down through countless ages it had come to her as a
heritage and an insignia of her religious office and regal authority
from some long-dead progenitor of lost and forgotten Atlantis. The
loss of the crown jewels or the Great Seal of England could have
brought no greater consternation to a British king than did the
pilfering of the sacred knife bring to La, the Oparian, Queen and
High Priestess of the degraded remnants of the oldest civilization
upon earth. When Atlantis, with all her mighty cities and her
cultivated fields and her great commerce and culture and riches sank
into the sea long ages since, she took with her all but a handful
of her colonists working the vast gold mines of Central Africa.
From these and their degraded slaves and a later intermixture of
the blood of the anthropoids sprung the gnarled men of Opar; but
by some queer freak of fate, aided by natural selection, the old
Atlantean strain had remained pure and undegraded in the females
descended from a single princess of the royal house of Atlantis
who had been in Opar at the time of the great catastrophe. Such
was La.

Burning with white-hot anger was the High Priestess, her heart a
seething, molten mass of hatred for Tarzan of the Apes. The zeal
of the religious fanatic whose altar has been desecrated was triply
enhanced by the rage of a woman scorned. Twice had she thrown her
heart at the feet of the godlike ape-man and twice had she been
repulsed. La knew that she was beautiful--and she was beautiful,
not by the standards of prehistoric Atlantis alone, but by those
of modern times was La physically a creature of perfection. Before
Tarzan came that first time to Opar, La had never seen a human male
other than the grotesque and knotted men of her clan. With one of
these she must mate sooner or later that the direct line of high
priestesses might not be broken, unless Fate should bring other men
to Opar. Before Tarzan came upon his first visit, La had had no
thought that such men as he existed, for she knew only her hideous
little priests and the bulls of the tribe of great anthropoids
that had dwelt from time immemorial in and about Opar, until they
had come to be looked upon almost as equals by the Oparians. Among
the legends of Opar were tales of godlike men of the olden time
and of black men who had come more recently; but these latter had
been enemies who killed and robbed. And, too, these legends always
held forth the hope that some day that nameless continent from
which their race had sprung, would rise once more out of the sea and
with slaves at the long sweeps would send her carven, gold-picked
galleys forth to succor the long-exiled colonists.

The coming of Tarzan had aroused within La's breast the wild hope
that at last the fulfillment of this ancient prophecy was at hand;
but more strongly still had it aroused the hot fires of love in
a heart that never otherwise would have known the meaning of that
all-consuming passion, for such a wondrous creature as La could never
have felt love for any of the repulsive priests of Opar. Custom,
duty and religious zeal might have commanded the union; but there
could have been no love on La's part. She had grown to young
womanhood a cold and heartless creature, daughter of a thousand
other cold, heartless, beautiful women who had never known love.
And so when love came to her it liberated all the pent passions of
a thousand generations, transforming La into a pulsing, throbbing
volcano of desire, and with desire thwarted this great force of
love and gentleness and sacrifice was transmuted by its own fires
into one of hatred and revenge.

It was in a state of mind superinduced by these conditions that La
led forth her jabbering company to retrieve the sacred emblem of
her high office and wreak vengeance upon the author of her wrongs.
To Werper she gave little thought. The fact that the knife had
been in his hand when it departed from Opar brought down no thoughts
of vengeance upon his head. Of course, he should be slain when
captured; but his death would give La no pleasure--she looked for
that in the contemplated death agonies of Tarzan. He should be
tortured. His should be a slow and frightful death. His punishment
should be adequate to the immensity of his crime. He had wrested
the sacred knife from La; he had lain sacreligious hands upon the
High Priestess of the Flaming God; he had desecrated the altar and
the temple. For these things he should die; but he had scorned
the love of La, the woman, and for this he should die horribly with
great anguish.

The march of La and her priests was not without its adventures.
Unused were these to the ways of the jungle, since seldom did any
venture forth from behind Opar's crumbling walls, yet their very
numbers protected them and so they came without fatalities far along
the trail of Tarzan and Werper. Three great apes accompanied them
and to these was delegated the business of tracking the quarry, a
feat beyond the senses of the Oparians. La commanded. She arranged
the order of march, she selected the camps, she set the hour for
halting and the hour for resuming and though she was inexperienced
in such matters, her native intelligence was so far above that of
the men or the apes that she did better than they could have done.
She was a hard taskmaster, too, for she looked down with loathing
and contempt upon the misshapen creatures amongst which cruel Fate
had thrown her and to some extent vented upon them her dissatisfaction
and her thwarted love. She made them build her a strong protection
and shelter each night and keep a great fire burning before it
from dusk to dawn. When she tired of walking they were forced to
carry her upon an improvised litter, nor did one dare to question
her authority or her right to such services. In fact they did not
question either. To them she was a goddess and each loved her and
each hoped that he would be chosen as her mate, so they slaved for
her and bore the stinging lash of her displeasure and the habitually
haughty disdain of her manner without a murmur.

For many days they marched, the apes following the trail easily
and going a little distance ahead of the body of the caravan that
they might warn the others of impending danger. It was during a
noonday halt while all were lying resting after a tiresome march
that one of the apes rose suddenly and sniffed the breeze. In a
low guttural he cautioned the others to silence and a moment later
was swinging quietly up wind into the jungle. La and the priests
gathered silently together, the hideous little men fingering their
knives and bludgeons, and awaited the return of the shaggy anthropoid.

Nor had they long to wait before they saw him emerge from a leafy
thicket and approach them. Straight to La he came and in the
language of the great apes which was also the language of decadent
Opar he addressed her.

"The great Tarmangani lies asleep there," he said, pointing in the
direction from which he had just come. "Come and we can kill him."

"Do not kill him," commanded La in cold tones. "Bring the great
Tarmangani to me alive and unhurt. The vengeance is La's. Go; but
make no sound!" and she waved her hands to include all her followers.

Cautiously the weird party crept through the jungle in the wake of
the great ape until at last he halted them with a raised hand and
pointed upward and a little ahead. There they saw the giant form
of the ape-man stretched along a low bough and even in sleep one
hand grasped a stout limb and one strong, brown leg reached out
and overlapped another. At ease lay Tarzan of the Apes, sleeping
heavily upon a full stomach and dreaming of Numa, the lion, and
Horta, the boar, and other creatures of the jungle. No intimation
of danger assailed the dormant faculties of the ape-man--he saw no
crouching hairy figures upon the ground beneath him nor the three
apes that swung quietly into the tree beside him.

The first intimation of danger that came to Tarzan was the impact
of three bodies as the three apes leaped upon him and hurled him to
the ground, where he alighted half stunned beneath their combined
weight and was immediately set upon by the fifty hairy men or as
many of them as could swarm upon his person. Instantly the ape-man
became the center of a whirling, striking, biting maelstrom of
horror. He fought nobly but the odds against him were too great.
Slowly they overcame him though there was scarce one of them that
did not feel the weight of his mighty fist or the rending of his
fangs.

13

Condemned To Torture and Death

La had followed her company and when she saw them clawing and
biting at Tarzan, she raised her voice and cautioned them not to
kill him. She saw that he was weakening and that soon the greater
numbers would prevail over him, nor had she long to wait before
the mighty jungle creature lay helpless and bound at her feet.

"Bring him to the place at which we stopped," she commanded and
they carried Tarzan back to the little clearing and threw him down
beneath a tree.

"Build me a shelter!" ordered La. "We shall stop here tonight
and tomorrow in the face of the Flaming God, La will offer up the
heart of this defiler of the temple. Where is the sacred knife?
Who took it from him?"

But no one had seen it and each was positive in his assurance
that the sacrificial weapon had not been upon Tarzan's person when
they captured him. The ape-man looked upon the menacing creatures
which surrounded him and snarled his defiance. He looked upon La
and smiled. In the face of death he was unafraid.

"Where is the knife?" La asked him.

"I do not know," replied Tarzan. "The man took it with him when
he slipped away during the night. Since you are so desirous for
its return I would look for him and get it back for you, did you
not hold me prisoner; but now that I am to die I cannot get it
back. Of what good was your knife, anyway? You can make another.
Did you follow us all this way for nothing more than a knife? Let
me go and find him and I will bring it back to you."

La laughed a bitter laugh, for in her heart she knew that Tarzan's
sin was greater than the purloining of the sacrificial knife of
Opar; yet as she looked at him lying bound and helpless before her,
tears rose to her eyes so that she had to turn away to hide them;
but she remained inflexible in her determination to make him pay
in frightful suffering and in eventual death for daring to spurn
the love of La.

When the shelter was completed La had Tarzan transferred to it.
"All night I shall torture him," she muttered to her priests, "and
at the first streak of dawn you may prepare the flaming altar upon
which his heart shall be offered up to the Flaming God. Gather
wood well filled with pitch, lay it in the form and size of the
altar at Opar in the center of the clearing that the Flaming God
may look down upon our handiwork and be pleased."

During the balance of the day the priests of Opar were busy erecting
an altar in the center of the clearing, and while they worked they
chanted weird hymns in the ancient tongue of that lost continent
that lies at the bottom of the Atlantic. They knew not the meanings
of the words they mouthed; they but repeated the ritual that had
been handed down from preceptor to neophyte since that long-gone
day when the ancestors of the Piltdown man still swung by their
tails in the humid jungles that are England now.

And in the shelter of the hut, La paced to and fro beside the
stoic ape-man. Resigned to his fate was Tarzan. No hope of succor
gleamed through the dead black of the death sentence hanging over
him. He knew that his giant muscles could not part the many strands
that bound his wrists and ankles, for he had strained often, but
ineffectually for release. He had no hope of outside help and
only enemies surrounded him within the camp, and yet he smiled at
La as she paced nervously back and forth the length of the shelter.

And La? She fingered her knife and looked down upon her captive.
She glared and muttered but she did not strike. "Tonight!" she
thought. "Tonight, when it is dark I will torture him." She looked
upon his perfect, godlike figure and upon his handsome, smiling
face and then she steeled her heart again by thoughts of her love
spurned; by religious thoughts that damned the infidel who had
desecrated the holy of holies; who had taken from the blood-stained
altar of Opar the offering to the Flaming God--and not once but
thrice. Three times had Tarzan cheated the god of her fathers.
At the thought La paused and knelt at his side. In her hand was a
sharp knife. She placed its point against the ape-man's side and
pressed upon the hilt; but Tarzan only smiled and shrugged his
shoulders.

How beautiful he was! La bent low over him, looking into his
eyes. How perfect was his figure. She compared it with those of
the knurled and knotted men from whom she must choose a mate, and
La shuddered at the thought. Dusk came and after dusk came night.
A great fire blazed within the little thorn boma about the camp.
The flames played upon the new altar erected in the center of the
clearing, arousing in the mind of the High Priestess of the Flaming
God a picture of the event of the coming dawn. She saw this giant
and perfect form writhing amid the flames of the burning pyre. She
saw those smiling lips, burned and blackened, falling away from
the strong, white teeth. She saw the shock of black hair tousled
upon Tarzan's well-shaped head disappear in a spurt of flame.
She saw these and many other frightful pictures as she stood with
closed eyes and clenched fists above the object of her hate--ah!
was it hate that La of Opar felt?

The darkness of the jungle night had settled down upon the camp,
relieved only by the fitful flarings of the fire that was kept up
to warn off the man-eaters. Tarzan lay quietly in his bonds. He
suffered from thirst and from the cutting of the tight strands
about his wrists and ankles; but he made no complaint. A jungle
beast was Tarzan with the stoicism of the beast and the intelligence
of man. He knew that his doom was sealed--that no supplications
would avail to temper the severity of his end and so he wasted no
breath in pleadings; but waited patiently in the firm conviction
that his sufferings could not endure forever.

In the darkness La stooped above him. In her hand was a sharp knife
and in her mind the determination to initiate his torture without
further delay. The knife was pressed against his side and La's face
was close to his when a sudden burst of flame from new branches
thrown upon the fire without, lighted up the interior of the shelter.
Close beneath her lips La saw the perfect features of the forest
god and into her woman's heart welled all the great love she had
felt for Tarzan since first she had seen him, and all the accumulated
passion of the years that she had dreamed of him.

Dagger in hand, La, the High Priestess, towered above the helpless
creature that had dared to violate the sanctuary of her deity.
There should be no torture--there should be instant death. No
longer should the defiler of the temple pollute the sight of the
lord god almighty. A single stroke of the heavy blade and then
the corpse to the flaming pyre without. The knife arm stiffened
ready for the downward plunge, and then La, the woman, collapsed
weakly upon the body of the man she loved.

She ran her hands in mute caress over his naked flesh; she covered
his forehead, his eyes, his lips with hot kisses; she covered him
with her body as though to protect him from the hideous fate she
had ordained for him, and in trembling, piteous tones she begged
him for his love. For hours the frenzy of her passion possessed
the burning hand-maiden of the Flaming God, until at last sleep
overpowered her and she lapsed into unconsciousness beside the man
she had sworn to torture and to slay. And Tarzan, untroubled by
thoughts of the future, slept peacefully in La's embrace.

At the first hint of dawn the chanting of the priests of Opar
brought Tarzan to wakefulness. Initiated in low and subdued tones,
the sound soon rose in volume to the open diapason of barbaric
blood lust. La stirred. Her perfect arm pressed Tarzan closer
to her--a smile parted her lips and then she awoke, and slowly the
smile faded and her eyes went wide in horror as the significance
of the death chant impinged upon her understanding.

"Love me, Tarzan!" she cried. "Love me, and you shall be saved."

Tarzan's bonds hurt him. He was suffering the tortures of
long-restricted circulation. With an angry growl he rolled over
with his back toward La. That was her answer! The High Priestess
leaped to her feet. A hot flush of shame mantled her cheek and
then she went dead white and stepped to the shelter's entrance.

"Come, Priests of the Flaming God!" she cried, "and make ready the
sacrifice."

The warped things advanced and entered the shelter. They laid hands
upon Tarzan and bore him forth, and as they chanted they kept time
with their crooked bodies, swaying to and fro to the rhythm of
their song of blood and death. Behind them came La, swaying too;
but not in unison with the chanted cadence. White and drawn was
the face of the High Priestess--white and drawn with unrequited
love and hideous terror of the moments to come. Yet stern in
her resolve was La. The infidel should die! The scorner of her
love should pay the price upon the fiery altar. She saw them lay
the perfect body there upon the rough branches. She saw the High
Priest, he to whom custom would unite her--bent, crooked, gnarled,
stunted, hideous--advance with the flaming torch and stand awaiting
her command to apply it to the faggots surrounding the sacrificial
pyre. His hairy, bestial face was distorted in a yellow-fanged
grin of anticipatory enjoyment. His hands were cupped to receive
the life blood of the victim--the red nectar that at Opar would
have filled the golden sacrificial goblets.

La approached with upraised knife, her face turned toward the
rising sun and upon her lips a prayer to the burning deity of her
people. The High Priest looked questioningly toward her--the brand
was burning close to his hand and the faggots lay temptingly near.
Tarzan closed his eyes and awaited the end. He knew that he would
suffer, for he recalled the faint memories of past burns. He knew
that he would suffer and die; but he did not flinch. Death is no
great adventure to the jungle bred who walk hand-in-hand with the
grim specter by day and lie down at his side by night through all
the years of their lives. It is doubtful that the ape-man even
speculated upon what came after death. As a matter of fact as his
end approached, his mind was occupied by thoughts of the pretty
pebbles he had lost, yet his every faculty still was open to what
passed around him.

He felt La lean over him and he opened his eyes. He saw her white,
drawn face and he saw tears blinding her eyes. "Tarzan, my Tarzan!"
she moaned, "tell me that you love me--that you will return to Opar
with me--and you shall live. Even in the face of the anger of my
people I will save you. This last chance I give you. What is your
answer?"

At the last moment the woman in La had triumphed over the High
Priestess of a cruel cult. She saw upon the altar the only creature
that ever had aroused the fires of love within her virgin breast;
she saw the beast-faced fanatic who would one day be her mate,
unless she found another less repulsive, standing with the burning
torch ready to ignite the pyre; yet with all her mad passion for
the ape-man she would give the word to apply the flame if Tarzan's
final answer was unsatisfactory. With heaving bosom she leaned
close above him. "Yes or no?" she whispered.

Through the jungle, out of the distance, came faintly a sound that
brought a sudden light of hope to Tarzan's eyes. He raised his
voice in a weird scream that sent La back from him a step or two.
The impatient priest grumbled and switched the torch from one hand
to the other at the same time holding it closer to the tinder at
the base of the pyre.

"Your answer!" insisted La. "What is your answer to the love of
La of Opar?"

Closer came the sound that had attracted Tarzan's attention and now
the others heard it--the shrill trumpeting of an elephant. As La
looked wide-eyed into Tarzan's face, there to read her fate for
happiness or heartbreak, she saw an expression of concern shadow
his features. Now, for the first time, she guessed the meaning of
Tarzan's shrill scream--he had summoned Tantor, the elephant, to
his rescue! La's brows contracted in a savage scowl. "You refuse
La!" she cried. "Then die! The torch!" she commanded, turning
toward the priest.

Tarzan looked up into her face. "Tantor is coming," he said. "I
thought that he would rescue me; but I know now from his voice that
he will slay me and you and all that fall in his path, searching
out with the cunning of Sheeta, the panther, those who would hide
from him, for Tantor is mad with the madness of love."

La knew only too well the insane ferocity of a bull elephant in
MUST. She knew that Tarzan had not exaggerated. She knew that the
devil in the cunning, cruel brain of the great beast might send it
hither and thither hunting through the forest for those who escaped
its first charge, or the beast might pass on without returning--no
one might guess which.

"I cannot love you, La," said Tarzan in a low voice. "I do not know
why, for you are very beautiful. I could not go back and live in
Opar--I who have the whole broad jungle for my range. No, I cannot
love you but I cannot see you die beneath the goring tusks of mad
Tantor. Cut my bonds before it is too late. Already he is almost
upon us. Cut them and I may yet save you."

A little spiral of curling smoke rose from one corner of the
pyre--the flames licked upward, crackling. La stood there like a
beautiful statue of despair gazing at Tarzan and at the spreading
flames. In a moment they would reach out and grasp him. From
the tangled forest came the sound of cracking limbs and crashing
trunks--Tantor was coming down upon them, a huge Juggernaut of the
jungle. The priests were becoming uneasy. They cast apprehensive
glances in the direction of the approaching elephant and then back
at La.

"Fly!" she commanded them and then she stooped and cut the bonds
securing her prisoner's feet and hands. In an instant Tarzan
was upon the ground. The priests screamed out their rage and
disappointment. He with the torch took a menacing step toward La
and the ape-man. "Traitor!" He shrieked at the woman. "For this
you too shall die!" Raising his bludgeon he rushed upon the High
Priestess; but Tarzan was there before her. Leaping in to close
quarters the ape-man seized the upraised weapon and wrenched it
from the hands of the frenzied fanatic and then the priest closed
upon him with tooth and nail. Seizing the stocky, stunted body in
his mighty hands Tarzan raised the creature high above his head,
hurling him at his fellows who were now gathered ready to bear down
upon their erstwhile captive. La stood proudly with ready knife
behind the ape-man. No faint sign of fear marked her perfect
brow--only haughty disdain for her priests and admiration for the
man she loved so hopelessly filled her thoughts.

Suddenly upon this scene burst the mad bull--a huge tusker, his little
eyes inflamed with insane rage. The priests stood for an instant
paralyzed with terror; but Tarzan turned and gathering La in his arms
raced for the nearest tree. Tantor bore down upon him trumpeting
shrilly. La clung with both white arms about the ape-man's neck.
She felt him leap into the air and marveled at his strength and
his ability as, burdened with her weight, he swung nimbly into the
lower branches of a large tree and quickly bore her upward beyond
reach of the sinuous trunk of the pachyderm.

Momentarily baffled here, the huge elephant wheeled and bore down
upon the hapless priests who had now scattered, terror-stricken,
in every direction. The nearest he gored and threw high among
the branches of a tree. One he seized in the coils of his trunk
and broke upon a huge bole, dropping the mangled pulp to charge,
trumpeting, after another. Two he trampled beneath his huge feet
and by then the others had disappeared into the jungle. Now Tantor
turned his attention once more to Tarzan for one of the symptoms
of madness is a revulsion of affection--objects of sane love become
the objects of insane hatred. Peculiar in the unwritten annals
of the jungle was the proverbial love that had existed between the
ape-man and the tribe of Tantor. No elephant in all the jungle
would harm the Tarmangani--the white-ape; but with the madness
of MUST upon him the great bull sought to destroy his long-time
play-fellow.

Back to the tree where La and Tarzan perched came Tantor, the elephant.
He reared up with his forefeet against the bole and reached high
toward them with his long trunk; but Tarzan had foreseen this and
clambered beyond the bull's longest reach. Failure but tended to
further enrage the mad creature. He bellowed and trumpeted and
screamed until the earth shook to the mighty volume of his noise.
He put his head against the tree and pushed and the tree bent before
his mighty strength; yet still it held.

The actions of Tarzan were peculiar in the extreme. Had Numa, or
Sabor, or Sheeta, or any other beast of the jungle been seeking to
destroy him, the ape-man would have danced about hurling missiles
and invectives at his assailant. He would have insulted and taunted
them, reviling in the jungle Billingsgate he knew so well; but now
he sat silent out of Tantor's reach and upon his handsome face was
an expression of deep sorrow and pity, for of all the jungle folk
Tarzan loved Tantor the best. Could he have slain him he would
not have thought of doing so. His one idea was to escape, for he
knew that with the passing of the MUST Tantor would be sane again
and that once more he might stretch at full length upon that mighty
back and make foolish speech into those great, flapping ears.

Finding that the tree would not fall to his pushing, Tantor was
but enraged the more. He looked up at the two perched high above
him, his red-rimmed eyes blazing with insane hatred, and then he
wound his trunk about the bole of the tree, spread his giant feet
wide apart and tugged to uproot the jungle giant. A huge creature
was Tantor, an enormous bull in the full prime of all his stupendous
strength. Mightily he strove until presently, to Tarzan's
consternation, the great tree gave slowly at the roots. The ground
rose in little mounds and ridges about the base of the bole, the
tree tilted--in another moment it would be uprooted and fall.

The ape-man whirled La to his back and just as the tree inclined
slowly in its first movement out of the perpendicular, before the
sudden rush of its final collapse, he swung to the branches of a
lesser neighbor. It was a long and perilous leap. La closed her
eyes and shuddered; but when she opened them again she found herself
safe and Tarzan whirling onward through the forest. Behind them
the uprooted tree crashed heavily to the ground, carrying with it
the lesser trees in its path and then Tantor, realizing that his
prey had escaped him, set up once more his hideous trumpeting and
followed at a rapid charge upon their trail.

14

A Priestess But Yet a Woman

At first La closed her eyes and clung to Tarzan in terror, though
she made no outcry; but presently she gained sufficient courage
to look about her, to look down at the ground beneath and even to
keep her eyes open during the wide, perilous swings from tree to
tree, and then there came over her a sense of safety because of
her confidence in the perfect physical creature in whose strength
and nerve and agility her fate lay. Once she raised her eyes to
the burning sun and murmured a prayer of thanks to her pagan god
that she had not been permitted to destroy this godlike man, and
her long lashes were wet with tears. A strange anomaly was La of
Opar--a creature of circumstance torn by conflicting emotions. Now
the cruel and bloodthirsty creature of a heartless god and again
a melting woman filled with compassion and tenderness. Sometimes
the incarnation of jealousy and revenge and sometimes a sobbing
maiden, generous and forgiving; at once a virgin and a wanton; but
always--a woman. Such was La.

She pressed her cheek close to Tarzan's shoulder. Slowly she turned
her head until her hot lips were pressed against his flesh. She
loved him and would gladly have died for him; yet within an hour
she had been ready to plunge a knife into his heart and might again
within the coming hour.

A hapless priest seeking shelter in the jungle chanced to show
himself to enraged Tantor. The great beast turned to one side,
bore down upon the crooked, little man, snuffed him out and then,
diverted from his course, blundered away toward the south. In a few
minutes even the noise of his trumpeting was lost in the distance.

Tarzan dropped to the ground and La slipped to her feet from his
back. "Call your people together," said Tarzan.

"They will kill me," replied La.

"They will not kill you," contradicted the ape-man. "No one will
kill you while Tarzan of the Apes is here. Call them and we will
talk with them."

La raised her voice in a weird, flutelike call that carried far
into the jungle on every side. From near and far came answering
shouts in the barking tones of the Oparian priests: "We come! We
come!" Again and again, La repeated her summons until singly and
in pairs the greater portion of her following approached and halted
a short distance away from the High Priestess and her savior. They
came with scowling brows and threatening mien. When all had come
Tarzan addressed them.

"Your La is safe," said the ape-man. "Had she slain me she would
now herself be dead and many more of you; but she spared me that
I might save her. Go your way with her back to Opar, and Tarzan
will go his way into the jungle. Let there be peace always between
Tarzan and La. What is your answer?"

The priests grumbled and shook their heads. They spoke together
and La and Tarzan could see that they were not favorably inclined
toward the proposition. They did not wish to take La back and they
did wish to complete the sacrifice of Tarzan to the Flaming God.
At last the ape-man became impatient.

"You will obey the commands of your queen," he said, "and go back
to Opar with her or Tarzan of the Apes will call together the
other creatures of the jungle and slay you all. La saved me that
I might save you and her. I have served you better alive than I
could have dead. If you are not all fools you will let me go my
way in peace and you will return to Opar with La. I know not where
the sacred knife is; but you can fashion another. Had I not taken
it from La you would have slain me and now your god must be glad
that I took it since I have saved his priestess from love-mad
Tantor. Will you go back to Opar with La, promising that no harm
shall befall her?"

The priests gathered together in a little knot arguing and discussing.
They pounded upon their breasts with their fists; they raised their
hands and eyes to their fiery god; they growled and barked among
themselves until it became evident to Tarzan that one of their number
was preventing the acceptance of his proposal. This was the High
Priest whose heart was filled with jealous rage because La openly
acknowledged her love for the stranger, when by the worldly customs
of their cult she should have belonged to him. Seemingly there
was to be no solution of the problem until another priest stepped
forth and, raising his hand, addressed La.

"Cadj, the High Priest," he announced, "would sacrifice you both
to the Flaming God; but all of us except Cadj would gladly return
to Opar with our queen."

"You are many against one," spoke up Tarzan. "Why should you not
have your will? Go your way with La to Opar and if Cadj interferes
slay him."

The priests of Opar welcomed this suggestion with loud cries of
approval. To them it appeared nothing short of divine inspiration.
The influence of ages of unquestioning obedience to high priests
had made it seem impossible to them to question his authority; but
when they realized that they could force him to their will they
were as happy as children with new toys.

They rushed forward and seized Cadj. They talked in loud menacing
tones into his ear. They threatened him with bludgeon and knife
until at last he acquiesced in their demands, though sullenly, and
then Tarzan stepped close before Cadj.

"Priest," he said, "La goes back to her temple under the protection
of her priests and the threat of Tarzan of the Apes that whoever
harms her shall die. Tarzan will go again to Opar before the next
rains and if harm has befallen La, woe betide Cadj, the High Priest."

Sullenly Cadj promised not to harm his queen.

"Protect her," cried Tarzan to the other Oparians. "Protect her so
that when Tarzan comes again he will find La there to greet him."

"La will be there to greet thee," exclaimed the High Priestess,
"and La will wait, longing, always longing, until you come again.
Oh, tell me that you will come!"

"Who knows?" asked the ape-man as he swung quickly into the trees
and raced off toward the east.

For a moment La stood looking after him, then her head drooped, a
sigh escaped her lips and like an old woman she took up the march
toward distant Opar.

Through the trees raced Tarzan of the Apes until the darkness of
night had settled upon the jungle, then he lay down and slept, with
no thought beyond the morrow and with even La but the shadow of a
memory within his consciousness.

But a few marches to the north Lady Greystoke looked forward to
the day when her mighty lord and master should discover the crime
of Achmet Zek, and be speeding to rescue and avenge, and even as
she pictured the coming of John Clayton, the object of her thoughts
squatted almost naked, beside a fallen log, beneath which he was
searching with grimy fingers for a chance beetle or a luscious
grub.

Two days elapsed following the theft of the jewels before Tarzan
gave them a thought. Then, as they chanced to enter his mind, he
conceived a desire to play with them again, and, having nothing
better to do than satisfy the first whim which possessed him, he
rose and started across the plain from the forest in which he had
spent the preceding day.

Though no mark showed where the gems had been buried, and though
the spot resembled the balance of an unbroken stretch several miles
in length, where the reeds terminated at the edge of the meadowland,
yet the ape-man moved with unerring precision directly to the place
where he had hid his treasure.

With his hunting knife he upturned the loose earth, beneath which
the pouch should be; but, though he excavated to a greater distance
than the depth of the original hole there was no sign of pouch or
jewels. Tarzan's brow clouded as he discovered that he had been
despoiled. Little or no reasoning was required to convince him of
the identity of the guilty party, and with the same celerity that
had marked his decision to unearth the jewels, he set out upon the
trail of the thief.

Though the spoor was two days old, and practically obliterated in
many places, Tarzan followed it with comparative ease. A white man
could not have followed it twenty paces twelve hours after it had
been made, a black man would have lost it within the first mile; but
Tarzan of the Apes had been forced in childhood to develop senses
that an ordinary mortal scarce ever uses.

We may note the garlic and whisky on the breath of a fellow strap
hanger, or the cheap perfume emanating from the person of the
wondrous lady sitting in front of us, and deplore the fact of our
sensitive noses; but, as a matter of fact, we cannot smell at all,
our olfactory organs are practically atrophied, by comparison with
the development of the sense among the beasts of the wild.

Where a foot is placed an effluvium remains for a considerable time.
It is beyond the range of our sensibilities; but to a creature
of the lower orders, especially to the hunters and the hunted, as
interesting and ofttimes more lucid than is the printed page to
us.

Nor was Tarzan dependent alone upon his sense of smell. Vision
and hearing had been brought to a marvelous state of development by
the necessities of his early life, where survival itself depended
almost daily upon the exercise of the keenest vigilance and the
constant use of all his faculties.

And so he followed the old trail of the Belgian through the forest
and toward the north; but because of the age of the trail he was
constrained to a far from rapid progress. The man he followed was
two days ahead of him when Tarzan took up the pursuit, and each
day he gained upon the ape-man. The latter, however, felt not
the slightest doubt as to the outcome. Some day he would overhaul
his quarry--he could bide his time in peace until that day dawned.
Doggedly he followed the faint spoor, pausing by day only to kill
and eat, and at night only to sleep and refresh himself.

Occasionally he passed parties of savage warriors; but these he
gave a wide berth, for he was hunting with a purpose that was not
to be distracted by the minor accidents of the trail.

These parties were of the collecting hordes of the Waziri and
their allies which Basuli had scattered his messengers broadcast to
summon. They were marching to a common rendezvous in preparation
for an assault upon the stronghold of Achmet Zek; but to Tarzan
they were enemies--he retained no conscious memory of any friendship
for the black men.

It was night when he halted outside the palisaded village of the
Arab raider. Perched in the branches of a great tree he gazed
down upon the life within the enclosure. To this place had the
spoor led him. His quarry must be within; but how was he to find
him among so many huts? Tarzan, although cognizant of his mighty
powers, realized also his limitations. He knew that he could not
successfully cope with great numbers in open battle. He must resort
to the stealth and trickery of the wild beast, if he were to succeed.

Sitting in the safety of his tree, munching upon the leg bone of
Horta, the boar, Tarzan waited a favorable opportunity to enter
the village. For awhile he gnawed at the bulging, round ends of
the large bone, splintering off small pieces between his strong
jaws, and sucking at the delicious marrow within; but all the time
he cast repeated glances into the village. He saw white-robed
figures, and half-naked blacks; but not once did he see one who
resembled the stealer of the gems.

Patiently he waited until the streets were deserted by all save
the sentries at the gates, then he dropped lightly to the ground,
circled to the opposite side of the village and approached the
palisade.

At his side hung a long, rawhide rope--a natural and more dependable
evolution from the grass rope of his childhood. Loosening this,
he spread the noose upon the ground behind him, and with a quick
movement of his wrist tossed the coils over one of the sharpened
projections of the summit of the palisade.

Drawing the noose taut, he tested the solidity of its hold. Satisfied,
the ape-man ran nimbly up the vertical wall, aided by the rope
which he clutched in both hands. Once at the top it required but
a moment to gather the dangling rope once more into its coils, make
it fast again at his waist, take a quick glance downward within
the palisade, and, assured that no one lurked directly beneath him,
drop softly to the ground.

Now he was within the village. Before him stretched a series
of tents and native huts. The business of exploring each of them
would be fraught with danger; but danger was only a natural factor
of each day's life--it never appalled Tarzan. The chances appealed
to him--the chances of life and death, with his prowess and his
faculties pitted against those of a worthy antagonist.

It was not necessary that he enter each habitation--through a
door, a window or an open chink, his nose told him whether or not
his prey lay within. For some time he found one disappointment
following upon the heels of another in quick succession. No spoor
of the Belgian was discernible. But at last he came to a tent where
the smell of the thief was strong. Tarzan listened, his ear close
to the canvas at the rear, but no sound came from within.

At last he cut one of the pin ropes, raised the bottom of the
canvas, and intruded his head within the interior. All was quiet
and dark. Tarzan crawled cautiously within--the scent of the
Belgian was strong; but it was not live scent. Even before he had
examined the interior minutely, Tarzan knew that no one was within
it.

In one corner he found a pile of blankets and clothing scattered
about; but no pouch of pretty pebbles. A careful examination of
the balance of the tent revealed nothing more, at least nothing
to indicate the presence of the jewels; but at the side where the
blankets and clothing lay, the ape-man discovered that the tent
wall had been loosened at the bottom, and presently he sensed that
the Belgian had recently passed out of the tent by this avenue.

Tarzan was not long in following the way that his prey had fled.
The spoor led always in the shadow and at the rear of the huts
and tents of the village--it was quite evident to Tarzan that the
Belgian had gone alone and secretly upon his mission. Evidently
he feared the inhabitants of the village, or at least his work had
been of such a nature that he dared not risk detection.

At the back of a native hut the spoor led through a small hole
recently cut in the brush wall and into the dark interior beyond.
Fearlessly, Tarzan followed the trail. On hands and knees, he
crawled through the small aperture. Within the hut his nostrils
were assailed by many odors; but clear and distinct among them
was one that half aroused a latent memory of the past--it was the
faint and delicate odor of a woman. With the cognizance of it
there rose in the breast of the ape-man a strange uneasiness--the
result of an irresistible force which he was destined to become
acquainted with anew--the instinct which draws the male to his
mate.

In the same hut was the scent spoor of the Belgian, too, and as
both these assailed the nostrils of the ape-man, mingling one with
the other, a jealous rage leaped and burned within him, though his
memory held before the mirror of recollection no image of the she
to which he had attached his desire.

Like the tent he had investigated, the hut, too, was empty, and
after satisfying himself that his stolen pouch was secreted nowhere
within, he left, as he had entered, by the hole in the rear wall.

Here he took up the spoor of the Belgian, followed it across the
clearing, over the palisade, and out into the dark jungle beyond.

15

The Flight of Werper

After Werper had arranged the dummy in his bed, and sneaked out into
the darkness of the village beneath the rear wall of his tent, he
had gone directly to the hut in which Jane Clayton was held captive.

Before the doorway squatted a black sentry. Werper approached
him boldly, spoke a few words in his ear, handed him a package of
tobacco, and passed into the hut. The black grinned and winked as
the European disappeared within the darkness of the interior.

The Belgian, being one of Achmet Zek's principal lieutenants, might
naturally go where he wished within or without the village, and so
the sentry had not questioned his right to enter the hut with the
white, woman prisoner.

Within, Werper called in French and in a low whisper: "Lady Greystoke!
It is I, M. Frecoult. Where are you?" But there was no response.
Hastily the man felt around the interior, groping blindly through
the darkness with outstretched hands. There was no one within!

Werper's astonishment surpassed words. He was on the point of
stepping without to question the sentry, when his eyes, becoming
accustomed to the dark, discovered a blotch of lesser blackness
near the base of the rear wall of the hut. Examination revealed
the fact that the blotch was an opening cut in the wall. It was
large enough to permit the passage of his body, and assured as he
was that Lady Greystoke had passed out through the aperture in an
attempt to escape the village, he lost no time in availing himself
of the same avenue; but neither did he lose time in a fruitless
search for Jane Clayton.

His own life depended upon the chance of his eluding, or outdistancing
Achmet Zek, when that worthy should have discovered that he had
escaped. His original plan had contemplated connivance in the
escape of Lady Greystoke for two very good and sufficient reasons.
The first was that by saving her he would win the gratitude of the
English, and thus lessen the chance of his extradition should his
identity and his crime against his superior officer be charged
against him.

The second reason was based upon the fact that only one direction
of escape was safely open to him. He could not travel to the west
because of the Belgian possessions which lay between him and the
Atlantic. The south was closed to him by the feared presence of
the savage ape-man he had robbed. To the north lay the friends and
allies of Achmet Zek. Only toward the east, through British East
Africa, lay reasonable assurance of freedom.

Accompanied by a titled Englishwoman whom he had rescued from a
frightful fate, and his identity vouched for by her as that of a
Frenchman by the name of Frecoult, he had looked forward, and not
without reason, to the active assistance of the British from the
moment that he came in contact with their first outpost.

But now that Lady Greystoke had disappeared, though he still looked
toward the east for hope, his chances were lessened, and another,
subsidiary design completely dashed. From the moment that he had
first laid eyes upon Jane Clayton he had nursed within his breast
a secret passion for the beautiful American wife of the English
lord, and when Achmet Zek's discovery of the jewels had necessitated
flight, the Belgian had dreamed, in his planning, of a future in
which he might convince Lady Greystoke that her husband was dead,
and by playing upon her gratitude win her for himself.

At that part of the village farthest from the gates, Werper
discovered that two or three long poles, taken from a nearby pile
which had been collected for the construction of huts, had been
leaned against the top of the palisade, forming a precarious, though
not impossible avenue of escape.

Rightly, he inferred that thus had Lady Greystoke found the means
to scale the wall, nor did he lose even a moment in following her
lead. Once in the jungle he struck out directly eastward.

A few miles south of him, Jane Clayton lay panting among the branches
of a tree in which she had taken refuge from a prowling and hungry
lioness.

Her escape from the village had been much easier than she had
anticipated. The knife which she had used to cut her way through
the brush wall of the hut to freedom she had found sticking in the
wall of her prison, doubtless left there by accident when a former
tenant had vacated the premises.

To cross the rear of the village, keeping always in the densest shadows,
had required but a few moments, and the fortunate circumstance of
the discovery of the hut poles lying so near the palisade had solved
for her the problem of the passage of the high wall.

For an hour she had followed the old game trail toward the south,
until there fell upon her trained hearing the stealthy padding of
a stalking beast behind her. The nearest tree gave her instant
sanctuary, for she was too wise in the ways of the jungle to chance
her safety for a moment after discovering that she was being hunted.

Werper, with better success, traveled slowly onward until dawn,
when, to his chagrin, he discovered a mounted Arab upon his trail.
It was one of Achmet Zek's minions, many of whom were scattered
in all directions through the forest, searching for the fugitive
Belgian.

Jane Clayton's escape had not yet been discovered when Achmet Zek
and his searchers set forth to overhaul Werper. The only man who
had seen the Belgian after his departure from his tent was the black
sentry before the doorway of Lady Greystoke's prison hut, and he
had been silenced by the discovery of the dead body of the man who
had relieved him, the sentry that Mugambi had dispatched.

The bribe taker naturally inferred that Werper had slain his fellow
and dared not admit that he had permitted him to enter the hut,
fearing as he did, the anger of Achmet Zek. So, as chance directed
that he should be the one to discover the body of the sentry when
the first alarm had been given following Achmet Zek's discovery
that Werper had outwitted him, the crafty black had dragged the
dead body to the interior of a nearby tent, and himself resumed his
station before the doorway of the hut in which he still believed
the woman to be.

With the discovery of the Arab close behind him, the Belgian hid
in the foliage of a leafy bush. Here the trail ran straight for
a considerable distance, and down the shady forest aisle, beneath
the overarching branches of the trees, rode the white-robed figure
of the pursuer.

Nearer and nearer he came. Werper crouched closer to the ground
behind the leaves of his hiding place. Across the trail a vine
moved. Werper's eyes instantly centered upon the spot. There was
no wind to stir the foliage in the depths of the jungle. Again
the vine moved. In the mind of the Belgian only the presence of
a sinister and malevolent force could account for the phenomenon.

The man's eyes bored steadily into the screen of leaves upon the
opposite side of the trail. Gradually a form took shape beyond
them--a tawny form, grim and terrible, with yellow-green eyes
glaring fearsomely across the narrow trail straight into his.

Werper could have screamed in fright, but up the trail was coming
the messenger of another death, equally sure and no less terrible.
He remained silent, almost paralyzed by fear. The Arab approached.
Across the trail from Werper the lion crouched for the spring, when
suddenly his attention was attracted toward the horseman.

The Belgian saw the massive head turn in the direction of the raider
and his heart all but ceased its beating as he awaited the result
of this interruption. At a walk the horseman approached. Would
the nervous animal he rode take fright at the odor of the carnivore,
and, bolting, leave Werper still to the mercies of the king of
beasts?

But he seemed unmindful of the near presence of the great cat. On
he came, his neck arched, champing at the bit between his teeth.
The Belgian turned his eyes again toward the lion. The beast's
whole attention now seemed riveted upon the horseman. They were
abreast the lion now, and still the brute did not spring. Could
he be but waiting for them to pass before returning his attention
to the original prey? Werper shuddered and half rose. At the same
instant the lion sprang from his place of concealment, full upon
the mounted man. The horse, with a shrill neigh of terror, shrank
sideways almost upon the Belgian, the lion dragged the helpless
Arab from his saddle, and the horse leaped back into the trail and
fled away toward the west.

But he did not flee alone. As the frightened beast had pressed
in upon him, Werper had not been slow to note the quickly emptied
saddle and the opportunity it presented. Scarcely had the lion
dragged the Arab down from one side, than the Belgian, seizing the
pommel of the saddle and the horse's mane, leaped upon the horse's
back from the other.

A half hour later a naked giant, swinging easily through the lower
branches of the trees, paused, and with raised head, and dilating
nostrils sniffed the morning air. The smell of blood fell strong
upon his senses, and mingled with it was the scent of Numa, the
lion. The giant cocked his head upon one side and listened.

From a short distance up the trail came the unmistakable noises of
the greedy feeding of a lion. The crunching of bones, the gulping
of great pieces, the contented growling, all attested the nearness
of the king at table.

Tarzan approached the spot, still keeping to the branches of the
trees. He made no effort to conceal his approach, and presently
he had evidence that Numa had heard him, from the ominous, rumbling
warning that broke from a thicket beside the trail.

Halting upon a low branch just above the lion Tarzan looked down
upon the grisly scene. Could this unrecognizable thing be the man
he had been trailing? The ape-man wondered. From time to time he
had descended to the trail and verified his judgment by the evidence
of his scent that the Belgian had followed this game trail toward
the east.

Now he proceeded beyond the lion and his feast, again descended and
examined the ground with his nose. There was no scent spoor here
of the man he had been trailing. Tarzan returned to the tree. With
keen eyes he searched the ground about the mutilated corpse for a
sign of the missing pouch of pretty pebbles; but naught could he
see of it.

He scolded Numa and tried to drive the great beast away; but only
angry growls rewarded his efforts. He tore small branches from a
nearby limb and hurled them at his ancient enemy. Numa looked up
with bared fangs, grinning hideously, but he did not rise from his
kill.

Then Tarzan fitted an arrow to his bow, and drawing the slim shaft
far back let drive with all the force of the tough wood that only
he could bend. As the arrow sank deeply into his side, Numa leaped
to his feet with a roar of mingled rage and pain. He leaped futilely
at the grinning ape-man, tore at the protruding end of the shaft,
and then, springing into the trail, paced back and forth beneath
his tormentor. Again Tarzan loosed a swift bolt. This time the
missile, aimed with care, lodged in the lion's spine. The great
creature halted in its tracks, and lurched awkwardly forward upon
its face, paralyzed.

Tarzan dropped to the trail, ran quickly to the beast's side, and
drove his spear deep into the fierce heart, then after recovering
his arrows turned his attention to the mutilated remains of the
animal's prey in the nearby thicket.

The face was gone. The Arab garments aroused no doubt as to the
man's identity, since he had trailed him into the Arab camp and out
again, where he might easily have acquired the apparel. So sure
was Tarzan that the body was that of he who had robbed him that
he made no effort to verify his deductions by scent among the
conglomerate odors of the great carnivore and the fresh blood of
the victim.

He confined his attentions to a careful search for the pouch, but
nowhere upon or about the corpse was any sign of the missing article
or its contents. The ape-man was disappointed--possibly not so
much because of the loss of the colored pebbles as with Numa for
robbing him of the pleasures of revenge.

Wondering what could have become of his possessions, the ape-man
turned slowly back along the trail in the direction from which he
had come. In his mind he revolved a plan to enter and search the
Arab camp, after darkness had again fallen. Taking to the trees,
he moved directly south in search of prey, that he might satisfy
his hunger before midday, and then lie up for the afternoon in
some spot far from the camp, where he might sleep without fear of
discovery until it came time to prosecute his design.

Scarcely had he quitted the trail when a tall, black warrior,
moving at a dogged trot, passed toward the east. It was Mugambi,
searching for his mistress. He continued along the trail, halting
to examine the body of the dead lion. An expression of puzzlement
crossed his features as he bent to search for the wounds which
had caused the death of the jungle lord. Tarzan had removed his
arrows, but to Mugambi the proof of death was as strong as though
both the lighter missiles and the spear still protruded from the
carcass.

The black looked furtively about him. The body was still warm,
and from this fact he reasoned that the killer was close at hand,
yet no sign of living man appeared. Mugambi shook his head, and
continued along the trail, but with redoubled caution.

All day he traveled, stopping occasionally to call aloud the single
word, "Lady," in the hope that at last she might hear and respond;
but in the end his loyal devotion brought him to disaster.

From the northeast, for several months, Abdul Mourak, in command of
a detachment of Abyssinian soldiers, had been assiduously searching
for the Arab raider, Achmet Zek, who, six months previously, had
affronted the majesty of Abdul Mourak's emperor by conducting a
slave raid within the boundaries of Menelek's domain.

And now it happened that Abdul Mourak had halted for a short rest
at noon upon this very day and along the same trail that Werper
and Mugambi were following toward the east.

It was shortly after the soldiers had dismounted that the Belgian,
unaware of their presence, rode his tired mount almost into their
midst, before he had discovered them. Instantly he was surrounded,
and a volley of questions hurled at him, as he was pulled from his
horse and led toward the presence of the commander.

Falling back upon his European nationality, Werper assured Abdul
Mourak that he was a Frenchman, hunting in Africa, and that he had
been attacked by strangers, his safari killed or scattered, and
himself escaping only by a miracle.

From a chance remark of the Abyssinian, Werper discovered the
purpose of the expedition, and when he realized that these men were
the enemies of Achmet Zek, he took heart, and immediately blamed
his predicament upon the Arab.

Lest, however, he might again fall into the hands of the raider, he
discouraged Abdul Mourak in the further prosecution of his pursuit,
assuring the Abyssinian that Achmet Zek commanded a large and
dangerous force, and also that he was marching rapidly toward the
south.

Convinced that it would take a long time to overhaul the raider,
and that the chances of engagement made the outcome extremely
questionable, Mourak, none too unwillingly, abandoned his plan and
gave the necessary orders for his command to pitch camp where they
were, preparatory to taking up the return march toward Abyssinia
the following morning.

It was late in the afternoon that the attention of the camp was
attracted toward the west by the sound of a powerful voice calling
a single word, repeated several times: "Lady! Lady! Lady!"

True to their instincts of precaution, a number of Abyssinians,
acting under orders from Abdul Mourak, advanced stealthily through
the jungle toward the author of the call.

A half hour later they returned, dragging Mugambi among them. The
first person the big black's eyes fell upon as he was hustled into
the presence of the Abyssinian officer, was M. Jules Frecoult, the
Frenchman who had been the guest of his master and whom he last had
seen entering the village of Achmet Zek under circumstances which
pointed to his familiarity and friendship for the raiders.

Between the disasters that had befallen his master and his master's
house, and the Frenchman, Mugambi saw a sinister relationship,
which kept him from recalling to Werper's attention the identity
which the latter evidently failed to recognize.

Pleading that he was but a harmless hunter from a tribe farther
south, Mugambi begged to be allowed to go upon his way; but Abdul
Mourak, admiring the warrior's splendid physique, decided to take
him back to Adis Abeba and present him to Menelek. A few moments
later Mugambi and Werper were marched away under guard, and the
Belgian learned for the first time, that he too was a prisoner
rather than a guest. In vain he protested against such treatment,
until a strapping soldier struck him across the mouth and threatened
to shoot him if he did not desist.

Mugambi took the matter less to heart, for he had not the slightest
doubt but that during the course of the journey he would find ample
opportunity to elude the vigilance of his guards and make good his
escape. With this idea always uppermost in his mind, he courted
the good opinion of the Abyssinians, asked them many questions about
their emperor and their country, and evinced a growing desire to
reach their destination, that he might enjoy all the good things
which they assured him the city of Adis Abeba contained. Thus he
disarmed their suspicions, and each day found a slight relaxation
of their watchfulness over him.

By taking advantage of the fact that he and Werper always were
kept together, Mugambi sought to learn what the other knew of

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