Weeks passed and slow starvation settled on the city. Men fought in the streets over a bare bone. Even pharaoh on his throne was without food. Angrily he denounced the high priest. "All the woe of my kingdom," he cried, "is due to your driving Tarzan and the apes back to the jungle."
But the high priest consulted the oracles and then announced: "Only through sacrifice can plenty be restored to the land. The gods demand the blood of Tarzan, but they will accept the blood of his closest friend Von Harben! I command you. . . seize him! He must face THE DEATH!
Once more Tarzan hunted with the tribe. But as the apes hunted food, so were they hunted. Hated tarmangani driven by starvation from the city, stalked the jungle for food. To protect himself and his brother apes, Tarzan retrieved the weapons that he had hidden in the trees. His arrows were ever ready for the hunters who dared stalk even the great apes for food.
While the jungle was filled with slaughter, the starving people in the city rejoiced in the news that a human sacrifice was being prepared to save them from starvation. Erich Von Harben was made ready for THE DEATH! Even the tearful prayers of the Princes Nikotris in Erich's behalf failed to move the pharaoh. "The gods have spoken," he said. Then she besought her brother Prince Tutamken to seek Tarzan in the jungle. "Surely he will return to save his closest friend," she said. After Tutamken departed, Nikotris was allowed to say farewell to Von Harben. When she told him that Tarzan was being summoned, he smiled and said, "Then I cannot die."
Swiftly through the jungle sped Tutamken until he was in sight of the ape horde. Then Tarzan in wait for the hated tarmangani who were menacing him and his apes, saw the distant figure and drew his arrow. So Prince Tutamken fell -- with Tarzan's arrow in his chest.
BEHIND THE VEIL
Great was Tarzan's sorrow when he saw that his arrow had struck a friend. Tearing the arrow from the flesh the ape-man lifted Prince Tutamken and carried him off to care for his wound.
Confident that Tarzan would rescue him and unconscious of the fact that Tutamken was unable to deliver the message, Erich Von Harben was being prepared for THE DEATH. Mobs surged about the temple to witness the human sacrifice. The god to whom sacrifice was to be made was hidden behind a great veil. Except for pharaoh and the priests no living person had ever looked upon that dread countenance. But the hour for unveiling was at hand. A giant Egyptian was about to strike the signal gong. On the roof of the temple, the Princess Nikotris looked in vain across the desert for a sign of Tarzan coming to the rescue. When the gong struck she rushed in panic to her father, the pharaoh.
"Oh father! Let me be sacrificed instead of Erich!" she pleaded. "Silence!" he replied. "The god demands stranger flesh." There was a clash of cymbals and frenzied shrieks filled the temple as Erich, covered by a black robe, was led in. The great veil was drawn back, revealing to the populace the devouring god MOLOCH known to the Egyptians as BAL.
Presently Tutamken regained consciousness. "Your friend Von Harben. . . the temple," he said, and fainted.
Meanwhile, within the temple, Von Harben stood alone under the black robe, facing THE DEATH. The crowds gasped in awe as they saw the god Moloch raise his hands on high. They did not see in back of the god the men who were operating the hands of Moloch by means of chains. Their attention was centered upon the high priest, who pleaded for a voluntary sacrifice before the stranger Von Harben, was given to the god. People came forward and cast into the flames golden vases, pearls, candlesticks -- all their most valued possessions -- but none offered life itself until the Princess Nikotris cried, "Homage to thee O Bal! I shall die for our people." Inspired by her example, ladies of the court cried out, "And we shall die with thee, O daughter of the sun!" But, as the high priest lifted the black robe of death for the princess, she requested an hour's grace to prepare for the end.
On the roof of the temple, she prayed to the sun-god, Ra. Then she saw that for which she prayed! Tarzan and the apes were dashing across the desert toward the temple. But even then the hands of Moloch were reaching out to seize Erich Von Harben who stood under the black robe.
As Tarzan and the apes raced across the desert the sky darkened, thunder roared and red lightning shot across the sky. The Princess Nikotris, who had seen Tarzan coming, hurried from the roof down into the temple. There the burning hands of Moloch were reaching out to seize Erich Von Harben, who stood under the black robe. Suddenly the clouds burst and a deluge of rain swept through the temple.
"Our prayers are answered! Moloch is appeased," cried Nikotris.
"But the stranger must die! said the high priest.
On reaching the temple, Tarzan and the apes scaled the wall, clinging to the deep-cut hieroglyphics. Once on the roof, the ape-man looked down in horror through the open space above Moldoch. There he saw his friend, Erich Von Harben, about to be sacrificed to the god. Then Tarzan hurled his lasso. Amid crashing thunder and flaming lightning, the Egyptians saw Von Harben swing high into the air, as if being transported toward heaven.
Tarzan lassoed Von Harben and pulled him from the clutches of the god Moloch. The friends did not pause to speak. Swiftly they fled with the apes over the temple roof. Tarzan held the lasso while Von Harben climbed down the temple wall. Then the ape-man followed getting a foothold, like the apes, on the carven hieroglyphics. As they made for the desert, a terrific flash of lightning split the sky. Within the temple, the Egyptians fled in panic as the great building was shaken to its foundations. Down through the roof crashed a thunderbolt. The floor was rent asunder. After the explosion pharaoh and his daughter saw buried deep vast stores of grain. "Here are the hidden stores of our ancestors!" cried pharaoh, "Through them Moloch has delivered our people from starvation.
But in the desert as another great thunderbolt crashed from the sky, Von Harben halted the ape-man. "Look!" he cried. "The temple! It is falling"
The temple crashed down about them but Pharaoh and his daughter escaped unharmed. At dawn, they were clinging together alone amid the ruins. When the palace guards arrived, Pharaoh ordered them to guard the stores of grain that were hidden beneath the temple. But when food was not immediately forthcoming, the famished mobs in the market place were urged by their leaders to go and take it. Picking up what weapons they could the mob advanced upon the ruins of the temple.
Fighting fiercely they overcame the pharaoh's guard. And Pharaoh himself fell in the attack. Without seeing the death of her father Nikotris had taken to flight across the desert. Tarzan high in a jungle tree saw her. At the same time she was espied by the revolutionists. They rushed after her, intent upon destroying her. Tarzan raced to save her. The ape-man reached her first and standing in front of her he defied the revolutionists to come on!
As the leader of the revolutionists advanced, Tarzan leaped toward him. Facing the ape-man's dagger, the man quailed and fell to the ground screaming for mercy. The others, frightened, took to their heels. Tarzan signaled their leader to go, and turned to the princess. He understood no word of her thanks, but he knew she was at prayer when she turned to the city and cried out, "Woe is upon our people! The gods have given us plenty and men have desecrated the gift."
Deep into the jungle she followed the ape-man until he brought her to a happy reunion with her brother Prince Tutamken, who lay wounded. Uttering incantations, she made magic potions to ease his pain. Until the rising of Goro the moon the little group sat by the fire. That night Nikotris awoke with a start. It seemed to her that her father, who had died in the temple, stood again before her and cried out, "It is thou who art to avenge me, with the aid of Tarzan and his apes.
To safeguard the sick prince and his sister, the Princess Nikotris, Tarzan and Von Harben built huts for them high in a great tree. On the land they built a fence to protect against attack. In the city, the mob had control and gave way to rioting. Those who ventured out were attacked and robbed. Quiet citizens hid fearfully in their homes. The soldiers retreated to defend the palace from the mob. The priests of Moloch fled to their subterranean retreats. Not until the mob had wearied itself with rioting did the priests come forth from their hiding place. Then the high priest addressed the people.
"The gods have turned against the children of pharaoh because they have joined forces with the stranger Tarzan!" he cried. "Fight not amongst yourselves but join all your forces and hunt out the enemy. A king's treasure will reward the men who bring back Tarzan -- dead or alive!"
And that night while the ape-man slept the rabble crossed the desert to seek him out and destroy him.
When the revolutionists ventured into the jungle to capture Tarzan the monkey Dhiti was on guard. Swiftly Dhiti sped to warn the sleeping ape-man. Tarzan called the sacred apes to join him and set off through the trees. When he came to a place above the vanguard of the rabble, he uttered the blood-chilling victory cry of the bull-ape at the kill. In a frenzy the other bull-apes repeated the cry. Numa, the lion was aroused and his roar was added to the dread cries of the apes. The whole jungle reverberated with the unearthly yells. . . and the rabble were sore afraid.
Shrieking insanely, the terrified Egyptians started to flee in panic. They were stopped by an invisible voice.
"Follow me," it said, "and I will lead you to safety. Otherwise the great beasts will devour you in wrath." It was Tarzan, hidden in the trees, who spoke. He sent Dhiti on to warn the prince and princess. The crowd followed their invisible guide until they came upon the hiding place of Tutamken and Nikotris, just as the sun was rising. And Tarzan leaped before them and cried out, "Behold the children of the Sun-God! Fall ye down and worship them!" And the frightened revolutionists bowed in awe before the son and daughter of the pharaoh they had killed.
Now the high priest sat on pharaoh's throne and through the army restored order to the city. But many of the troops deserted and made their way across the desert. Straggling crowds followed. They went to join Prince Tutamken and Princess Nikotris who held court in the jungle where Tarzan had made a home for them. So many were the desertions that the high priest concluded Tutamken and Nikotris must be destroyed, and he plotted with his advisers to send a messenger to invite them to a great banquet. When the messenger came Tarzan took the prince and princess aside and he warned them that some evil was afoot. But the pharaoh's children would not listen. In triumph they returned to the palace in the royal barge that had been sent for them. At the banquet, held in the royal hall below the river, the high priest entertained only the prince and princess and their closest friends. Suddenly the high priest left his guests.
But Tarzan, suspecting him, followed. He saw the high priest turn a great handle and then rush through the door. The turning of the handle had unloosed the floodgates and the water from the river poured into the room. The great door through which the high priest had vanished afforded the only exit from the room. Tarzan saw that if this door were locked, nobody could escape from the onrushing waters. All would be trapped and drowned. The door was swinging shut. Tarzan leaped toward it.
As Tarzan hurled himself against the door the high priest, on the other side, lunged desperately to close it. He called to his slaves for help, and they heaved their weight to prevent it from opening. As it nearly closed upon him, Tarzan wedged his foot in the jamb. Meanwhile, the water was gushing in from the river and rising higher and higher. The guests scrambled to the landing at the top of the staircase to avoid the swiftly rising tide. If Tarzan failed to hold the door, all would be drowned. At the high priest's command, one of the slaves on the other side of the door, swung his sword to cut off the ape-man's foot. But at that second, Tarzan withdrew his foot to join the others in a fierce lunge against the door. And Tutamken cried out, "In the name of your pharaoh and your queen, I command you, open!"
At the sound of their prince's voice, the slaves hesitated a moment and that was enough. Tarzan forced the door open and dashed toward the high priest. Tutamken advanced and said, "Throw our betrayer into the banquet hall to meet the fate he planned for us." In the flooded hall, the waters had risen high. A crocodile, washed in by the tide, opened his gaping jaws.
Tutamken and Nikotris came jointly to the throne as pharaoh and queen. Through Tarzan they sought to restore the damage to the city. Elephants were brought in to lift up the fallen statue of the ape-god Thoth. Hundreds of men began work on rebuilding the temple. Crops were plentiful and peace descended once more upon the land. Von Harben, exploring the country, came upon a peasant girl, Amnis, whose friendly smile and talk delighted him. Daily he came to visit her. The new queen, Nikotris, had been busy with affairs of state, but now she noticed the absence of Von Harben from court and commanded that he appear before her. He came that night but his indifference stirred her with wrath. When he disappeared from the palace, she set spies to trail him. As he kept his tryst with Amnis, the spies leaped from the shadows.
The next night the girl's brother ventured secretly into Tarzan's room. "Your friend Von Harben and my sister have been seized by the queen's agents!" he cried, "Can you save them?" Tarzan appealed to Nikotris to release his friend. But Nikotris said, "Your friend is no more." She faced the ape-man's rising wrath.
"My friend Erich and I saved you from death. We have brought you to the throne," said Tarzan. "Do you then dare to destroy my friend?"
But the queen made no answer. She turned and fled -- weeping. Tarzan sought out the new pharaoh Tutamken for explanation of his sister's cruelty. "She is a queen and in love," said Tutamken. "A queen permits no rivals."
"And Tarzan does not permit his friends to be destroyed!" said the ape-man, "Where is Erich Von Harben?"
Tutamken summoned his spies, who whispered to him -- fearfully. "There's no time to lose!" cried Tutamken. "Come, Tarzan! There is a chance your friend still lives!" He had his fastest camels made ready and they raced over the desert. Finally they came in sight of great rocky cliffs. Birds of death were circling over a crevice in the foothills. In the crevice Von Harben was chained to a rock and the ferocious birds were attacking him. Just as he collapsed, Tarzan's arrows struck!
As Tarzan freed him from his bonds, Von Harben asked, "And Amnis? Where is she?" Then a silken scarf fluttered toward them from above. "Amnis!" Von Harben cried.
"I'll find her!" said Tarzan, and he started to scale the mountain wall. Up the sheer precipice the ape-man climbed. Presently he heard a small voice from above calling, "Erich!" He came upon Amnis in a cave in the cliff a thousand feet in the air. There she had been left to see her lover destroyed. Far out of her reach dangled a rope.
Tarzan swung his lasso, caught the rope and pulled it to him. To see if the rope were fastened securely enough to stand a great weight, Tarzan tied a huge rock to it and hurled it into the air. Satisfied that the rope would hold, he recaptured it and swung out with Amnis a thousand feet above the ground. But at the top of the precipice an agent of the queen was waiting. He drew his knife to cut the rope.
As he swung his knife to cut the rope, the thug laughed at the prospect of seeing Tarzan and Amnis hurled to the rocks below. In a flash the ape-man drew his knife and hurled it. The Egyptian cried out as the blade struck and his own knife dropped from his hand. Tarzan caught it in full flight. Triumphantly he shouted his ape-cry of victory. The other agents of the queen, surprised by that wild cry, ran toward their wounded companion. At the edge of the precipice they saw Tarzan and Amnis and far below Tutamken and Von Harben witness the ape-man's peril.
From his necklace the young pharaoh tore the royal scarab and fixed it to an arrow. Placing his feet on the grip of Tarzan's great bow he pulled with mighty strength. The arrow shot high above the precipice and landed in the midst of the Egyptians. As they picked it up to examine it. Tarzan vaulted in a flash to the top ledge, and seized one of the thugs. But the ape-man halted in surprise as the thugs suddenly knelt before him in supplication. "The Sun-God has sent us a sign from heaven! By the sign of the scarab we worship you!"
When Tarzan brought Amnis safely down the cliffs the young pharaoh warned him there could be no safety for Amnis or Von Harben if they returned to the city. He ordered the queen's agents back tot he palace. Then he turned to the ape-man. "I will lead your friend and the girl far from the vengeance of the queen," he said. That evening he brought them to a far-off pastoral country and commended them to the protection of a trusted shepherd.
Later, while the young pharaoh was returning with Tarzan across the desert, wild fear was sweeping through the palace. 'The MONSTER has escaped!" the commander of the guard reported to the queen. "You shall die as a bearer of fearful news unless you bring me the monster's head by morning," said Nikotris. But the legend of the monster's dread power had so far filled the country that even the officers of the guard quaked in terror when they were ordered to capture him. Hours later they found the great black who was stationed outside the queen's apartment lying as if dead on the threshold. The queen awoke from a troubled sleep and cried out. The monster was reaching toward her.
The shadow of the monster had first been seen by the guards stationed in the prison yard. Then it appeared to a priest of Thoth within the palace. Panic started when it loomed suddenly in the banquet hall. The commander of the guard had seen it before reporting to Queen Nikotris. When the soldiers rushed into the queen's chamber to defend her, they found the bed empty. The monster flashed before them and disappeared -- the queen in its arms.
Meanwhile Tarzan was returning across the desert with the young pharaoh. Down wind to his keen nostrils came a strange scent. He looked and saw an odd shadow. But it was not until he and Tutamken returned to the palace that they learned the queen had vanished and the monster was loose. Ignoring a wild jumble of rescue plans, Tarzan set off alone to the place where the strange scent had attracted his attention. Searching where he had seen the shadow, he came upon a spoor of human footprints in the sand.
The Egyptian Saga
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