When Tarzan spurred the horse forward to elude the Sultan's soldiers, he found himself plunging over a hidden precipice, into the sea. "Cling fast to me!" he cried to Princess Mihrama.
Then he leaped free of the horse and turned downward in a dive, while the maiden held tightly to him. They dropped safely into the sea, but when Tarzan sought some refuge on the land, he saw he could not climb the sheer rock. They swam around the cliff, but the broad beach was filling with soldiers and a hostile mob. In desperation Tarzan turned toward the open sea.. Approaching the land was a strange vessel. The captain called to them, offering a haven on board. Soon they were aboard, and when Tarzan inquired what manner of ship this was, the captain replied: "We trade in jungle animals for those lands where they are seldom seen."
Princess Mihrama was overjoyed when she learned that the first port of call was to be Talarsan, capital city of her father's kingdom. But she had a foreboding of danger when the captain took her to the hold and proudly exhibited the cages of growling beasts. An hour later, when the vessel was sailing near an island, a sudden wind drove it on the rocky shore. The ship shivered -- and cracked! The crash twisted the timbers of the cages. The doors sprang open -- and the beasts were free to wreak jungle vengeance on their captors! The ship resounded with frenzied roars, and the beasts quickly found their way to the deck, where Tarzan stepped forth to face their raging onslaught!
As the raging leopard rushed from the dark hold, dazzled by the bright light, he leaped blindly at the shadowy Tarzan. The agile ape-man darted to one side and plunged his knife into the snarling beast. Meanwhile Princess Mihrama and the crew in frantic haste were erecting a barricade, nor were they too soon, for now the fierce menagerie streamed from the hold, blinking to accustom their eyes to the brilliant sunlight. Tarzan, ready for battle, took his stand against a mast, seeking to divert the attention of the beasts from his friends. With his back turned, he did not see a giant ape issue from the hold and lumber across the deck on padded feet. Quietly the big beast scaled the barricade, seized Princess Mihrama, then vaulted to the top of the rampart. AS the maiden's screams mingled with the ape's cry of victory. Tarzan whirled. "Kreeg-ah -- Beware!" he cried. "Release the white she."
The ape threw out his chest at the command in his own language. "Who are you?" he demanded.
Tarzan replied, "I am Tarzan of the Apes -- mighty hunter, mighty fighter!"
"I am Bohgdu, mightiest of my tribe," the great ape roared from atop the barricade; and Tarzan recognized the challenge of his voice. But while the ape bellowed defiance from his point of vantage, the beasts on the deck closed in on the lone fighter!"
Tarzan now faced two dangers -- the challenging ape which clutched the princess, and the beasts that were closing in! The ape-man sprang upward to a spar on the mast, then swung himself desperately at the ape Bohgdu. Just before Tarzan struck him, Bohgdu let the girl fall, the better to protect himself. Then the two, ape and ape-man, waged a terrific battle atop the barricade, while the jungle animals on the deck, roaring with excitement, moved toward the rampart.
At first the giant bulk of Bohgdu almost overwhelmed Tarzan, but the ape-man, with lightning swiftness, locked the arms of his opponent, and the ape cried: "Ka-Goda -- I surrender. You are master. You order. I obey." Tarzan uttered a sharp command to his new ally. Then the two leaped over the sharp-clawed animals which were scaling the barricade. The ape-man and Bohgdu let themselves down over the side of the ship, for it was Tarzan's purpose to lead the beasts away from his friends. Across a bridge of rocks they raced toward a ravine, and the animals followed in savage pursuit. But in the canyon ahead of them loomed a great boulder. Behind them echoed the fierce roars of the onrushing beasts! They were trapped!
While the roars of the pursuing beasts echoed through the ravine Tarzan essayed the perilous ascent of the boulder that blocked the passage. When he reached the top he gave a helping hand to the bulky Bohgdu. But a foothold crumbled under the weight of the ape. He fell, and dragged Tarzan with him into the path of the charging animals. The ape-man sprang up and drew his knife. He met the snarling leopard which was in the lead. Soon three of the animals lay dead. But in the narrow canyon Tarzan could not fight long in this fashion without grave danger of defeat. . . and death. He called to Bohgdu to mount the boulder, and the great ape picked his way cautiously upward. Tarzan followed; while the beasts scrambled over the carcasses after their enemies. But now Tarzan and Bohgdu took to the tall trees, and the beasts began to wander away into the forest, seeking easier prey. When the fugitives returned to the ship, they found it breaking up on the rocks. So they transferred the travelers hastily to shore. Then, while Bohgdu kept watch from t he treetops, Tarzan led h is party cautiously toward the unknown interior, to find food and shelter. Suddenly the ape cried out in fear at what he saw in the distance. At the same moment, an arrow whirred past Tarzan's head!
34.10.07: THE UNSEEN ENEMY
When the arrow whirred past Tarzan. He quickly commanded his friends to fall to the ground for protection. "Tarzan fights in the open!" the ape-man cried to his stealthy, unseen enemy. Though his words might not be understood, his gesture was plain. But in the forest the mysterious enemy thrust a brown hand into a quiver of arrows and strung his bow anew. Bohgdu saw; and swung quickly down through the trees to stay the winged shaft of death directed at his master. As the archer took careful aim at the shadowy figure of Tarzan the great ape dived full upon him! The savage bowman cried out in terror. A company of his comrades heard, and hastened to his aid. When they saw Bohgdu, they were taken aback, for never had they beheld a creature so strange and monstrous. But they rushed in to save their comrade, and the ape's defiant cries mingled with the excited shouts of the warriors. Tarzan heard the tumult. Swiftly he swung through the trees -- the quickest rout to the scene of combat. "I come!" he cried to Bohgdu.
But the ape answered: "Stay away! Our enemies are too many. Let me die -- fighting; but save yourself. The lord of the jungle paid no heed. He came to the field of battle and plunged downward to the fray!
When his friend Bohgdu the ape was attacked by the mysterious warriors, Tarzan plunged recklessly to his aid. Quickly he laid hold of two men who had seized Bohgdu. He raised them high, one in each hand and hurled them into the ranks of the enemy. The tribesmen were amazed at this display of superhuman strength. In the sunlight they now saw Tarzan clearly for the first time. Suddenly, with piercing wails, they fell to the ground in fearful worship for they believed that Tarzan was some strange white god. Then the trembling warriors rose and invited Tarzan to follow them. The ape-man turned to Bohgdu and spoke calmly. "I shall go with them and see what lies ahead. You go to the others and watch over them."
Boghdu leaped to a tree and vanished skyward. The ape hurried to Princess Mihrama and the sailors. By signs he conveyed to them that they must stay hidden until Tarzan returned. Tarzan was escorted to the village, the like of which he had not seen before. And the people surged forth to pay him homage as a god. He was led to a great house, and through a golden doorway encrusted with rich and dazzling gems. The ape-man found himself in a dark room. Through a hole in the roof, a ray of light streamed down and illuminated a throne of jeweled ivory. The natives fell reverently to the floor, but Tarzan advanced, and saw that the occupant of the throne was a white man! "Who are you?" the strange man demanded in a snarling voice. From the tone of the challenge, Tarzan knew he was facing a ruthless enemy!
When the surly, mysterious white man demanded "Who are you?"
The ape-man answered boldly: "I am Tarzan. Who are you?"
The man ignored the ape-man's defiant manner and replied with haughty pride: "I was John Drinker, sailor. I am Dester Momlu, god and ruler of the Waioris.!" As he spoke, the savage warriors pressed forward, perplexed by the manifest enmity between the two they thought were gods. The god-king rose suddenly. "I am the first white man to visit Ramalex," he said. "You are the second, the island is not big enough for both of us!"
So saying, Dester Molu drew his revolver. As he fired, Tarzan leaped upon him, and the bullet buried itself in an overhead beam. Dester cried out in the language of the Waioris, and the bewildered tribesmen hastened to aid him who had been their first white god. Tarzan, borne down by force of numbers, fought free of his attackers; but when he arose he found himself encircled by archers and spearmen.
Dester chuckled venomously: "I have told them that you are the evil one, but my magic has lessened your powers and made you vulnerable to human attack. The savages began a wild, stirring chant, and slowly worked themselves into a frenzy. Then suddenly they set upon Tarzan as if to tear him to pieces! Their ruler commanded them to halt, but they heeded him not. Then he fired into their midst. One fell screaming to the floor. The natives drew back in terror, for Dester had spoken with tongue of fire and the voice of death. Now John Drinker addressed Tarzan. "Dester has not spared you. He has merely changed his mind. He shall kill you soon enough... when you have served his special purpose!"
When Dester Molu, white god of the Waioris, pronounced sentence of doom, Tarzan's keen eye darted about him. But he saw no hope of escape. Suddenly his sharp ears caught Bohgdu's guttural tones coming stealthily form the roof high above him. "Master, I am here." Tarzan raised his voice in a chant.
"He sings my praises," Dester told the savages; but in truth the captive thus disguised his orders to the ape. Bohgdu obeyed. He crept to the hole through which the Great Hall was illuminated, and covered it with his giant body. When the Waioris saw the lights so weirdly fading, they were stricken with dismay, for they believed that Tarzan was working some evil magic. In the murky gloom, the ape-man leaped through the ghostly circle of terrified warriors. The one door was closed, so Tarzan raced to the wall with the swiftness of an antelope and mounted the wood framework. As he swung along the rafters of the steep roof, bullets from Dester's gun screamed and thumped around his shadowy form. At last he came to the opening. Bohgdu moved aside and Tarzan raised himself through. Then the ape and ape-man glided dizzily down the precipitous slope toward freedom. When they slid from the eaves, they alighted on sheaves of palm leaves seemingly spread on the ground. But the leaves mysteriously gave away and Tarzan and Bohgdu were plunged into a deep, dark pit!
When they fell into the deep narrow pit, Bohgdu roared angrily, bewilderedly; but Tarzan at once sought a plan of escape. At his master's command Bohgdu crouched, his great paws cupped together before him. Tarzan ran forward, stepped into the ape's paws, and Bohgdu flung him strongly upward. The ape-man reached out desperately to grasp the edge of the pit, but he was far short. He fell back again into Bohgdu's arms. They started then to explore the farther reaches of the trench as Tarzan tested the smooth masonry with his knife. When they came to the end of the moat, a door opened mysteriously. Cautiously Tarzan stepped on to a platform at the threshold. Suddenly the door flew open, the platform tilted violently and Tarzan and Bohgdu were catapulted into a cage-like chamber. As if by magic, Waiori warriors rushed upon them. But when they saw the ape they were stricken with fear of the strange beast. Tarzan seized the opportunity to attack and Bohgdu joined him in the fierce charge. The savages rushed to the door of the cage, but in the confusion they could not open it. Then some of them turned to fight. Tarzan's keen knife accounted for two of them and Bohgdu's strong hands closed about the throat of another. Finally one of the warriors tripped Tarzan. He fell and a spearman rushed upon him from behind.
As the savage thrust his spear at Tarzan, a thunderous voice boomed out. The warrior halted as if turned to stone. Then Dester Molu, the white sailor who had become god-king of the waioris, appeared at the cage and pointed his revolver at the ape-man. Tarzan, believing he was about to fire, seized a warrior as a shield. "Release him," cried Dester, "or I shall kill your ape!"
To save the life of Bohgdu, Tarzan freed the savage. Then at Dester's command, the warriors left the cage and bolted the door. "At a proper time you shall die," said Dester Molu. "Come here! I'll show you why no man shall ever leave this island alive." Tarzan stepped forward. In the opposite wall he saw a series of niches, filled with a fabulous fortune in jewels. "Some day," Dester Chuckled, "I shall return to the world -- the richest of men. But now this isle must guard my secret."
Meanwhile, the news spread that Tarzan had been trapped, and the villagers went mad with joy, for Dester had called him the evil one. Soon a medicine man of the tribe descended to the underground vault. He made obeisance and spoke excitedly to the god-king. Dester Molu turned to Tarzan. "The people ask that you be delivered to them, so they may deal with you as I have taught them to deal with all my enemies."
Tarzan answered coolly: "I am sure you will not deny them the favor."
"No!" cried Dester. "They shall have you -- to torture, and kill!" Above, the savage shouts of the villagers rose to a peak of frenzy. Tarzan heard and knew that his hour of doom was near!
"I shall deliver you to the people to be slain!" Dester Molu repeated as he commanded the guards to seize Tarzan and Bohgdu, the ape. Bohgdu growled fiercely, but Tarzan ordered him to submit for nothing was to be gained by defiance now. Up a dark stairway, ape-man and ape were led from the treasure vault to the waiting throng above. They were thrust into a cage and borne in triumph through the village on the shoulders of many men, while Bohgdu beat his mighty chest and roared. Tarzan was little concerned for himself -- but what of Princess Mihrama and the friends who awaited his promised return? Soon darkness fell. Fires were kindled. The captives were removed from the cage, and the savages began their monstrous dance of death. Presently the Waioris formed into double rows, with a lane between. Men with knotted leather lashes alternated with men-at-arms.
"The gauntlet!" smiled Dester Molu. Then he harangued the people, saying that the one who tortured the captives most would win favor in his eyes.
Tarzan spoke to Bohgdu: "Do as I do!" His plan was to break through the gauntlet line, though there was small chance of success. Suddenly excited cries issued from the forest. Tarzan saw the princess and her companions approaching, captives of a warrior band.
Dester Molu gazed upon the girl with sinister delight, and cried to the people: "Behold, a goddess-queen has come to share my throne!"
34.11.25: SHATTERED HOPES
Smiling evilly at Princess Mihrama, Dester Molu nodded toward the other captives. "They shall die. You shall live."
When he told her that she was to be his queen, the maiden fell upon her knees and implored: "Kill me too!" But Dester merely chuckled.
Now armed warriors mustered the prisoners for the torture of the gauntlet. Tarzan was placed third in line. As the first captive ran down the lane of torture, knotted thongs lashed out and scourged him until at last he fell screaming to the ground. Tarzan thought quickly. Suddenly he threw back his head, and from his throat issued a mighty roar, exactly like that of a lion at the kill. In the forest, the roar was heard by the animals which had escaped from t he menagerie ship, and the hungry beasts raced toward the cry to share in the kill. Soon the second victim was racing through the gauntlet. Tarzan was to follow. Just as he was steeling himself for the ordeal the wild beasts leaped from the jungle -- such fierce creatures as the waioris had never seen on their island before. The cowardly Dester Molu was the first to seek safety in flight, though he was fully armed. The waioris fell into the wild confusion, as Tarzan had intended. Now he and his friends could flee. But the tide of the stampeding savages swept against the captives and engulfed them, so that they were powerless to escape. The surging wave left many trampled to earth . Among them was the princess. As she struggled to rise, a great lion charged toward her!
While the island savages fled in terror, believing the beasts were demons conjured up by Tarzan, a lion charged at Princess Mihrama. The jungle lord, fighting his way out of the engulfing wave of frantic Waioris, heard the maiden's cry and saw her jeopardy. He climbed above the human tide and skipped along the shoulders of the close-pressed horde as he might race through swaying trees. Again on solid earth, he ran like the wind. A wild cry told him that Bohgdu, his faithful ape had escaped too, and Tarzan called to him Tarzan arrived as the lion leaped at the girl. He flung his weight against the beast and plunged his knife through the tawny hide. As the lion lay dead Tarzan commanded the ape to bear the princess away to some high tree and deposit her there for safety. When Bohgdu returned, the two dragged their friends free from the frenzied savages, and Tarzan ordered them southward to the shore. Then the ape-man retrieved the maiden and hurried through the treetops to the waterside rendezvous. Far eastward along the beach, the party came upon a small boat, guarded by two warriors. Tarzan and Bohgdu sprang upon them, disarmed them, and hurled them into the sea. But when the fugitives came to embark, they found that the tiny craft could not contain them all! Two must remain on the island to brave the wrath of Dester Molu! "The ape shall stay," said Tarzan calmly, " and I stay with him!"
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