CHAPTER VI: Mutiny
If Doctor Brooks had remained in the cave where Tarzan had left him, there would be little more story to tell. But, as the sun rose in the sky, the Doctor felt that he should make some effort to rejoin his safari.
Leaving the cave, Doctor Brooks blundered right into one of Eltar's searching parties. Before Tarzan could reach the cave again, the Doctor was bound fast in a dungeon so deep in the temple ruins that even the keen nose of the Ape-man could find no trace of him.
For two long hours Tarzan prowled over the tumbled ruins of the city of Zar, breaking the necks of two sentries as he did so, but the scent of the Doctor was completely lost. Giving up at last, he retraced his steps to the camp and found the little party embroiled in a bitter verbal battle.
Gaines, realizing that little more was to be gained by subterfuge, came squarely out into the open and announced that he and his partner were definitely going to make an attempt to secure the emerald hands of Zar, and that Bob and Mary could join them if they wanted to. More than that, the smile with which Gaines repeated this last remark made Bob's blood run cold and made Mary retire to her little tent to make sure that the tiny revolver she had not yet used was fully loaded.
Just as Mary was about to leave the tent, she remembered that her father had given her a copy of the map. Not knowing that on this next action her very life was to hinge, she turned back to her little traveling bag to see that the map was safe.
It was there, and, looking it over Mary wondered whether it might not have been much better if it had passed along with the old Portugese who had drawn it. Buried in her thoughts, she did not hear footsteps as Gaines approached the tent, nor did she guess his presence till she heard his voice.
"Guess I'll take care of that from now on," he told her.
Mary tried to hide the paper. Gaines was taking it by force when Bob Drake found them. Since Gaines was no match for Drake, the matter would have ended there if Nick Jaimo's revolver, pressed tightly into Drake's ribs, had not thrown the balance the other way.
Even then there was a chance. Storm clouds had been piling up thought out the day and the storm chose this moment to break forth in all its violence.
At the first mighty crack of thunder, Nick relaxed for a moment and Drake grabbed his opportunity. With a quick thrust of his shoulder, Drake sent Jaimo flying into the corner of the tent -- tearing the canvas partly loose from its moorings.
Gaines had regained his feet and closed with Bob as Jaimo scrambled back into the tent.
Superior numbers would probably have turned the day, for there is little doubt that Abdul and his ruffianly gang of Arab porters would have thrown in their lot with Nick and Gaines even if only for the time being.
However, Tarzan felt that there was the time for him to take a hand in the proceedings. He slipped gently down into the clearing and picked up Mary as he attacked Bob -- until Mary made clear that Bob was a friend. Then Tarzan grabbed Nick Jaimo.
In the grip of that mighty arm, Nick did not know what happened as he was lifted from his feet and thrown mightily into the center of the clearing. Meanwhile Bob, freed from the menace in the rear, was making short work of Gaines.
But Tarzan put Mary aside and leaped at Gaines also -- for a moment they grappled, and then it was all over.
Just as Jeff Gaines' body crashed to the ground, a terrific bold of lightning struck the tree under which the tent was pitched. A big bough, torn off the parent tree, crashed down across the tent carrying all three persons to the ground.
When Bob Drake came to enough to open his eyes, he found the huge, semi-naked stranger with Mary's head across his knee gently wiping the mud form her face with the hem of her skirt, now torn so that it but little resembled a skirt.
Instinct seemed to tell Bob that this stranger was threatening his happiness, but, like the good sport he always was, he remembered that it was only the help of this same stranger that enabled them to quell the recent mutiny of their guides. Even so, when Mary opened her eyes and greeted her rescuer with a friendly smile, it was impossible for Bob to conceal the fact that he would much sooner have Tarzan's room than his company.
Tarzan, with that strange capacity for appreciating the inner feelings of people that seems to belong to the animals alone, soon took his leave, making him the tiny snapshot that Doctor Brooks had given him and which he found tucked into Mary's blouse.
Now that Jeff Gaines had regained his senses, he realized the only urgent action could save him. Taking the bull by the horns, he threw the whole blame on Nick Jaimo, who, he admitted, was an escaped convict.
Bob insisted that Jaimo be given a chance to explain. There fore the ex-convict was brought to the tent that had been Doctor Brooks' . Jaimo listened to Bob's recital without apparent emotion. Then, like a striking snake, he reached for the gun holstered on his right hip. Long before Jaimo could clear the weapon, Gaines shot him through the chest, and he was dead before he reached the ground.
Both Bob and Mary had been watching Jaimo. Though they both believed that Gaines had shot his partner in cold blood without giving him a chance, knowing as he did so that Jaimo would probably go for his gun when he heard Bob's story, there was nothing that they could do about it. Hence, for the time being, there was peace in the little safari.
Doctor Brooks waited for a little more than an hour before he left the cave. Common sense told him that he could not have been carried very far from the spot where his little party had rested, and he knew that Tarzan and he had taken a scant hour getting to the cave from the ruins of the huge temple. At first he had fully intended to wait for the reappearance of his deliverer but, on thinking it over, he decided that it was asking a little too much to expect an illiterate savage, who, though white, could not understand any European language that the Doctor had used, to remember the plight of the man he had so recently saved.
Finally, unable to stand the suspense any longer, Doctor Brooks left the tiny cave and started out in the direction in which he thought the camp was situated. Before he was more than a few hundred yards away from the mouth of the cave, and within a scant fifty yards of the jungle's edge, the scouts of Elthar saw him and in a couple of minutes he was their prisoner again.
A few minutes after the Doctor regained his senses in the dungeon far below the great temple, Eltar came to visit him. The High Priest recognized in the famous scientist a greater man than himself and he took a delight in baiting him.
"So you are back with us again?" he taunted.
Doctor Brooks maintained a dignified silence.
"This time you cannot escape," Eltar vowed. "Not only will you die, for you have seen the sacred temple of Zar, but your friends will also die, except possibly the girl. She may join the temple women who serve the priests of Zar. She is beautiful, is she not?"
By a mighty effort the Doctor remained silent. Weary at last of teasing an unresponsive victim, the High Priest left the Doctor alone again.
When Tarzan left the camp he hurried to a tiny glade buried in the midst of the forest. It was here that he had been raised and taken care by the Great Apes and here that he had spent the happiest days of his life.
A strange, new feeling was stealing into his breast, a feeling like the one that comes when the first light rains of spring appear, he wanted to be back in the old haunts.
Once there, Tarzan found that still he was not happy. The memory of the white girl thronged his mind. Suddenly he understood. She was his She.
Just as Numa and Sheeta found their mates, just as Tantor remained true to his mate over the lifetimes of many men, so had Tarzan found his mate and so would he remain true to her always.
The rest was simple.
The white girl was Tarzan's mate and it was Tarzan's duty to protect her. Swinging into the lower branches of the trees, the Ape-man hurried back toward the camp. Long before he came within the range of normal senses, Tarzan knew that something was wrong.
Abdul, seeking to curry favor with the son of the sheik whom Tarzan had slain and who was now the ruler of the tribe, had come to the young Arab with tales of the wondrous beauty of Mary. The new sheik had agreed to take Abdul back into the tribe if the girl lived up to all he had said of her loveliness.
Abdul had made it easy for the raiders.
A particularly large campfire was built that evening, and the Arabs crept upon the camp before the alarm could be given. Then, long before they could use their guns, Gaines and Bob Drake found themselves covered by Abdul's awkward but nevertheless deadly accurate flintlock.
Neither of the men had a chance to even warn the girl, though the terrors of the jungle, her only refugee, were perhaps preferred to Arab captivity. There was only one casualty. The only Negro in the party was the native cook-boy, and an Arab coolly passed his short spear through the luckless darky's body.
Mary was dragged roughly out of the little tent. She was asleep, and the little revolver that lay under her pillow might well have been a thousand miles away. The tall, young Arab who seemed to be the leader of the raiding party gave a curt order and a blanket was wrapped around her shivering figure. Gaines and Bob Drake were tightly bound and left near tot he fire -- to live or die as their luck dictated. The whole raiding party, augmented by the deserting Arabs headed by Abdul, set out toward the north.
The trail was an hour old when Tarzan found the camp. It was the work of a second for the Ape-man to cut the two men free, and Gaines and Drake did not stop to thank their deliverer. All three men loved the lost girl and this time, without need of words, the two men from civilization agreed to drop their jealous rivalry to aid the common cause.
Tarzan paused for a short space to see if he could gain any further information from the actions or conversation of the other two. He recognized that Drake was more ignorant of the ways of the jungle, but somehow trusted him more than his bulkier companion.
There was nothing more to learn and Tarzan had no intention of waiting for them, as their best speed would have been a snail's pace compared to Tarzan's mad flight through the Middle Road among the branches of the forest's giant trees.
Less than two hours after the Arabs left the little camp, Tarzan paused in the crotch of a limb high above them. They were traveling in single file and there seemed to be about thirty-five in the party -- too many even for the mighty muscles of Tarzan to best in open combat.
It is not the jungle way to use force where guile may be employed; so, contenting himself with one shrill battle-call such as the Great Apes fling to the winds in mating time, Tarzan satisfied himself with drifting along over the party, waiting until such time as need for rest and sleep might give him the slight opportunity that was all he needed.
The guards of Eltar had also watched the little camp, and it must have been the concern of Tarzan for the lost girl that kept their scent spoor from his sensitive nostrils. When Tarzan dropped down from the trees into the camp, they were only a little way down wind. They recognized him at once as the giant intruder who had rescued the grey-haired white man from the very altar of Zar.
For a moment they considered capturing him, but the memory of the flashing blade on the altar steps and the twisted thing that was all that the had left of a mighty warrior taught them caution.
They stayed hidden until the bronzed giant swung back into the trees. His capture was a matter for the consideration of Eltar.
Gaines and Drake presented no such problem. They had not taken a hundred steps along the trail down which the Arabs had vanished before the ebony guards of Eltar surrounded them.
Bob's hand leaped to his gun.
"Don't shoot, Drake!" Gaines snapped at him. "We haven't a chance now and if we kill one of them we'll never have a chance to make a getaway later."
Bob saw the wisdom in his advice, and the two men submitted without further struggle. Their captors treated them well enough. The men's hands were bound behind their backs, and folds of smelly cloth were placed over their eyes. All that either of them could remember was a long, long climb up hill, and a short, sharp descent through the corridors where the tread of their heavy shoes echoed and re-echoed.
It was Doctor Brooks who removed the bandages and told them what their fate was to be. Gaines broke down completely, but Drake sat silently on the stone slab that served for a seat.
"Doctor," he said at last, "if this man Tarzan rescued you so easily there seems no reason to believe that he won't be able to help Mary. He also seems to be our only chance -- but I don't care about that very much if he can get Mary safely back to the coast."
Doctor brooks nodded his agreement, and Gaines, forgetting his fear for the time being, looked up at them, apparently wondering whether or not to tell them what he had in his mind.
"Do you know," he said at last "that this man Tarzan is heir to one of the biggest titles and estates in England and that there is an expedition looking for him now?"
Both Brooks and Drake showed their ignorance by their obvious surprise.
"He's the son of Lord and Lady Greystoke," Gaines went on. "Long before his father and mother assumed the title, they were exploring these parts. When the baby was born, he was kidnapped by a great ape who seems to have reared the child. I've seen photographs of his father, and this man is enough like him to make his parentage a certainty. There'd be a big reward for us if we could take him back."
Brooks hardly seemed to have been listening and Bob thought for a moment and wondered whether the great stranger would even be interested in the news. If he were not willing to go, taking him anywhere would be a man-sized job.
The guards reported to Eltar that they had captured the two white men and that the Arabs had taken the girl.
At first the tall priest was furious. Then, when he learned that the Lord of the Jungle was on the trail of her captors, a quiet smile spread over his face. For many years Eltar had nursed a growing hatred for the bronzed barbarian who mocked his God and who was feared by the men of Zar almost as much as Zar himself.
Maybe Tarzan and the girl would follow to try to save her father and these other men, and, if they did, Eltar would be prepared.
For three long hours Tarzan trailed the Arab caravan until it finally paused in a little clearing not more than a mile or so from the forest's edge. Luck was with the Ape-man, for once away from his trees there would have been ten times more chance of his being seen before he could reach the girl. As it was, the Arab leader's tent was pitched almost in the center of the clearing, a full thirty feet away from the nearest bough.
Tarzan watched and saw the Arab leader look with pleasure at the girl. Mary was evidently regarded as a treasure worth having -- and Tarzan was going to rescue her because she was rightfully his.
Dawn was breaking in the sky and Tarzan knew that he must move swiftly. Once more luck smiled on him. The Arabs had traveled far and fast, and no time was wasted in making camp.
Soon all was quiet. A sentry paced slowly round and round the clearing and all else seemed wrapped in sleep.
Tarzan waited as long as he dared.
Then, like a striking python, he swooped out of the green above the guard, who did not have a chance even to moan.
Like a shadow Tarzan slipped into the shade behind the Sheik's tent. His sharp knife slit a tiny hole in the canvas -- and his heart sank almost into his feet. The girl was tied to the pole of the tent in such a way that he would never be able to release her without arousing the Sheik or the other warrior who slept on the other side of her with a cord stretching from their wrists to her ankles.
But life in the jungle sharpened wits, and Tarzan knew that he had a staunch ally who could not be so very far away. Slipping back into the trees, he found the tallest limb and searched the plains in front of them.
There, a few hundred yards away swayed the grey backs of the elephant herd with the black bulk that was Tantor towering a good three feet above the other bulls.
Tarzan's shrill call drifted down the wind and he saw Tantor's huge ears lift.
Slowly the huge bull drifted like a phantom toward the call. Tarzan met him and the huge trunk curled tenderly around him, and he rested on the broad back as he told the big bull his tale. Tantor soon understood, and Tarzan slipped back to his resting place above the camp to wait for the ten tons of fury that he had made his ally.
Tantor thought this was fun. With trunk upraised and his thin battlecry shrilling, the huge bull charged down on the camp, stampeding horses and upsetting tents and sending several Arabs to join their forefathers in the process.
Even as the huge fore-legs of Tantor crashed through the first tent, Tarzan's knife slit the Sheik's tent from top to bottom and almost with the same stroke slid to its sheath in the heart of the aroused Arab. A blow from the Ape-man's huge arm swept the other warrior aside. Wiping his knife on the Sheik's robe, Tarzan severed the ropes that bound Mary, picker her up gently and ran swiftly out.
For a moment they crouched low as the stampeded Arabian horses swept past. Then Tarzan carried Mary back into the shadows of the jungle before Tantor was half through with his fun.
In the crotch of their tree, Tarzan and the girl watched the big black bulk ferreting among the ruins. Tarzan called to him. He was so close that the guns of the Arabs might have harmed him and Tarzan had no wish to see his old friend killed.
Abdul struggling out from under the wreckage of a tent, found the huge beast almost broadside toward him. Pulling his muzzle loading flintlock form beneath the ruins, he prepared to send its charge into Tantor's flank.
At such short range the heavy charge would have stopped even Tantor, but Tarzan's shrill call warned him of his danger. Pivoting like a ballet-dancer, Tantor was on top of Abdul before the fear-crazed Arab could lift his gun, Abdul's sins were all forgotten as he lay, a lifeless form near the edge of the clearing.
Slowly the red mists cleared from the big brute's brain. Weaving slowly - a trick Tantor had when he was pleased with himself -- the big elephant came to rest beneath the tree in which Tarzan and Mary rested, and his exploring trunk gently caressed Tarzan's bare foot.
Mary had seen a sight that few civilized persons can ever hope to see, but, strangely enough, she had not been terribly surprised, nor was she surprised when Tarzan gathered her into his arms again and slipped down onto the swaying back of his friend. Tantor's trunk curled around her for a moment, as though to check up on this new-found friend. Then he started slowly and majestically back toward their camp, pulling a young tree up by the roots now and then to show that he was at peace with the world.
Feeling that Mary's friends might not understand Tantor's presence and wondering a little why they had not met them on the way, Tarzan bade his huge friend goodbye when they were still almost a mile away from the camp. For that remaining mile, he gave Mary the greatest thrill of her life. Showing her by simple gestures that he wished her to place her arms around his neck, he swung up into the highest terrace of the tree tops and from there flashed from vine to bough, from bough to vine, now soaring almost over the tops of the forest giants and then almost sweeping the ground.
After the first awful feeling in her stomach, Mary realized that she was as safe as she would be in any modern elevator, and she had time to remember that she had her arms around the neck of this forest giant and seemed to be enjoying it.
Already the girl was beginning to fall under the simple spell of this childlike man who had the intelligence of a scientist and the charm of a little boy. Even when they found the camp deserted and she saw by the concern on Tarzan's face that something was wrong, a she was not really worried.
It was obvious to Tarzan that Eltar's men had captured the other two. To a civilized man, it might have been a great temptation to leave them to their fate and thus remove his rivals, but there was no problem to Tarzan. This girl was his chosen mate -- so there were no rivals. If she chose him, that ended the matter, and if she didn't -- well, that had not occurred to Tarzan.
Eltar visited his three captives the following morning. From his words and actions all three of them knew that there was little hope. Eltar hoped that this time he was going to be able to rid his followers of their fear of Tarzan.
It was for this reason that Eltar had changed his plans a little. The death of the captives was no longer to be a simple religious affair, but rather it was to be a combination sacrifice and public spectacle. The sacred lions of Zar were to be fed -- in public -- with the living bodies of the captives.
Meanwhile, Tarzan and Mary were still together in one of the Ape-man's jungle "homes."
Tarzan made Mary understand that he knew where her father was. As the shades of evening began to fall, Tarzan started out toward the cave where he had left him after the first rescue. There they waited until the moon was high, for Tarzan preferred to risk discover sooner than endanger the life of the lovely girl he carried.
Mary had now lost all fear in being with the Lord of the Jungle.
The strange pair reached the City of Zar toward morning. Tarzan led the girl on the summit of a partially ruined tower while he searched for traces of the three who were lost. Even the super-acute senses of Tarzan could not guess that they were watched so closely, nor did he know of the secret entrance that came out upon the top of the old tower.
Hardly had Tarzan's stalwart form vanished over the rim of the tower when the guards of Eltar threw a cloth over the girl's head to muffle her. They then carried her swiftly through the little opening in the wall that gave onto one of the innumerable secret corridors of Zar.
Mary, too, was not a prisoner at the mercy of the vindictive Eltar!
Tarzan searched the ruins carefully. He had no real expectations of finding any trace of the white men after the trail took him to the large corridor-opening down which Doctor Brooks had disappeared, nor did he wish to venture down the passage and leave himself without a possible means of retreat.
The Ape-man hurried back to the tower and found to his dismay that Mary had vanished. The scent told him that she had been captured by the guards.
Immediately Tarzan was eager to rescue his She.
Since Tarzan now knew of the existence of the secret door he soon managed to find it and swing it on its simple pivot. As he was stealing silently down the steps that led to one of the main corridors, luck again took a hand in the game.
Some of the guards of Zar were slaves who had been captured in other lands in their youth. A few of them still spoke the language of their childhood. The pair that Eltar had placed at the bottom of these winding stairs had been taken from some Ushanti tribe whose language was nearly enough that of the Waziri to enable Tarzan to catch the meaning of their conversation.
Instead of being sacrificed to Zar, the four captives were to be fed to the sacred lions!
Now Tarzan recalled seeing the scrawny beasts more than once, and he knew the amphitheater in which these occasional orgies of blood were held. Still there were five lions in the lion pit of Zar -- and Tarzan knew that even these many beasts would be too much for him alone.
Suddenly the Lord of the Jungle smiled.
More than once Tarzan had found it necessary to scold his famous companion, the Golden Lion, for disobeying his commands and following the master whom he loved.
What made Tarzan smile was wondering if the majestic Jad-Bel-Jar had followed his master now. Unhampered by the weight of the girl, Tarzan reached the little cave in a third of the time that it had taken to make the trip to the temple. Standing on a huge rock just outside the cave, he lifted his head and roared out the Great Ape's hunting cry.
This was a signal. If the Golden Lion was near he would come hurrying to the call.
For a few moments Tarzan waited.
Then, as the scent came wafted on a vagrant puff of wind, he smiled. The king of all the lions was indeed near-by, in spite of all the Ape-man's scoldings.
Soon the huge brute was rolling about like a playful kitten at his master's feet.
It was not necessary for Tarzan to explain to Jad-Bel-Jar. As soon as Tarzan started toward the city with that tireless lope that could cover so much ground with so little apparent effort, the huge brute trotted after him, falling a little behind when the steep rocks troubled even his mighty strength.
Straight and true as an arrow the two sped toward the amphitheater when, all of a sudden, the scent of men came to them on the wind. Instantly the huge lion vanished into the shadows, while Tarzan, realizing that he was expected, merely put on extra speed.
Hours later, at the temple edge the guards attempted to close in on Tarzan, but the Ape-man ran nimbly up a broken wall and vanished into the shadows of the ruined roof. Picking his way carefully over the crumbling stones, he reached the wall of the temple that fronted on the amphitheater.
The crowd had already gathered and the victims stood together in a tiny huddle waiting for the rays of the rising sun to appear over the temple's edge and strike the blood-rusted sand of the arena.
Against a rusty iron gate at the farther end of the arena, Tarzan could see the dripping jaws of the hungry brutes.
Tarzan earnestly wished that the Golden Lion were here to help. Suddenly -- and in his whole life Tarzan was never more pleased to receive such aid -- the we muzzle of the huge brute touched his leg.
Numa the great Golden Lion, had somehow scrambled after the man he loved, and lying crouched in the shadows surmounting the wall of the arena, he glared at the mangy members of his clan across the arena and growled deep down in his mighty throat.
Eltar stood in front of a kind of altar on the west side of the arena at a spot where the first rays of the sun slanting through from the eastern sky would strike him.
Already the corners of the masonry were tinted with a rosy glow, and Doctor Brooks, guessing the formula the sacrifice was to follow, put his arm around his daughter and was thankful that at any rate she was to be spared the shame of becoming one of the temple women.
Tarzan was watching Eltar and the two guards who held the ropes that would lift the grill and loose the lions on their victims. At last a stray sunbeam streaked down from the ruined roof and played on Eltar's face. His arm fell and the two guards commenced to haul on the ropes.
Just as the firs two brutes came bounding toward their prey, Tarzan leaped down to the arena thirty feet below him. He was followed by the flashing golden form of his faithful lion.
Mary's heart leaped in joy and gladness as she saw Tarzan -- and then she trembled with fear for him.
The oncoming brute in the arena was taken completely by surprise. Before he knew what had happened steel bands clamped around his body and the slim steel of Tarzan's knife sank into this heart. Straddling the fallen brute Tarzan voiced his victory cry and saw that Jad-Bel-Jar, with reddened jaws, stood across the body of the lion that he had killed while the three remaining brutes milled uneasily around the entrance to their cage.
Eltar called to his guards to throw their spears -- but the lion was the sacred beast of Zar and the sight of the Ape-man threw a panic into the mob.
The people streamed in a frantic crowd for the nearest exit.
Soon only Eltar and his two assistant priests remained. Realizing that they were powerless, they watched from the shadows while the Golden Lion herded the three other beasts into a corner of the arena, and Tarzan and the rest made their escape through the lion's cage. Their retreat was guarded by the majestic Jad-Bel-Jar.
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