CHAPTER XII: Treachery
The journey back to the little cave was a silent one. Tarzan could not talk to Mary, her father's heart was too filled with thankfulness to allow for words, and Bob Drake sought to suppress the jealousy that thronged his heart and mind.
Jeff Gaines walked a little in the rear. In his mind a mad scheme was forming.
Later in the day Gaines had his opportunity to test his scheme. Life without Mary seemed to him to be worthless, and, unlike Bob, he did not feel that Tarzan was any real rival.
Instead, Jef Gaines remembered that there was a definite reward for information about Tarzan, whether dead or alive, and Jeff Gaines decided that Tarzan should be returned to his English relatives -- dead.
Bob Drake and the Doctor would have to be killed too, but the man was temporarily insane and did not see that if he followed his plans through, he robbed himself of Mary as surely as if he had killed her also. All day he sat by the cave entrance scheming to get what he wanted.
The Doctor and Bob Drake announced that they would go back to the old camp in hope that some of the valuable papers and records might still be intact.
In this announcement, Gaines saw his opportunity.
Tarzan went with them as guide. Because neither the Doctor nor Drake were equal to the trip through the tree-tops, they fell a ready prey to the Zarian scouting parties who had been sent out by Eltar the moment that their panic died away. The first spear flung from ambush felled the Ape-man, but such was the awe in which they held him that non would venture near him even as he lay there apparently dead.
A soldier stepped forward to finish Tarzan, but a hairy arm was thrust around his neck.
It was the great ape!
While Tarzan lay against the rocks, unconscious, the great gorilla choked one of his enemies to death and routed the others.
The great ape then carried Tarzan to the vicinity of his cave and laid him gently on the ground.
Bob and the Doctor were hurried back along the rocky trail, and this time they expected no rescue.
Tarzan recovered to find a rough cup of water being placed to his lips by his monkey pal.
Staggering to his feet, weakened by loss of blood and still partly stunned, Tarzan managed to stumble in the direction of the cave.
Back in the cave alone with Gaines, Mary realized that she had to deal with a madman. The rest of the party were hardly out of sight before he came to stand in the entrance of the cave, looking at her in such a way that she grew afraid.
"What's the matter?" she asked in sudden fear.
"You're mine," he told her, "nothing in the world can stop you from being mine and I'll kill everyone that stands between us."
With great care he began to arrange rocks in the mouth of the cave so that he could shoot at the returning party without fear of their return fire, even if they dared to shoot at the risk of wounding Mary.
For several hours he lay there waiting.
Once Mary stealthily tried to reach the spear that Tarzan had left standing by the wall, but Gaines read her intentions and tied her arms tightly with a strip he tore roughly from her tattered skirt.
Suddenly she heard him utter a grunt of surprise and lift himself to his knees.
The big lion had joined Tarzan and helped him to the very edge of the forest, but he would not come any nearer to those human beings whom he did not trust.
For a few minutes the beast stood nervously over the body of Tarzan, who had, weak from loss of blood, fainted away again.
Seeing the strange man at the mouth of the cave with the firearm in his hands, Jad-Bel-Jar vanished into the jungle.
Gaines watched the spot where he knew Tarzan was lying. But Gaines could not be sure of the exact spot owing to the long grasses. But as Tarzan began to regain his senses his first feeble movements signaled to the lurking assassin where his body lay.
Aiming carefully, Jeff Gaines sent a bullet speeding into the helpless body of his prey. With a cry of triumph, Gaines leapt to his feet. "His Golden Lion couldn't stop that bullet!"
Mary's heart sank as she heard these words. She knew, for the first time, that her heart belonged to the bronzed barbarian who had made the whole jungle his home and ruled it as his empire.
Tired and heart-broken, Mary felt what little courage she had leave her, and she sank into a little crumpled heap, sobbing quietly.
Not seeing any more movement on the part of Tarzan, Gaines decided to make sure that he had gotten his man.
Carefully, with his rifle trained on Tarzan's heart, he approached the body.
Suddenly, Gaines gave a start and reached hastily for the revolver in his belt.
Long before he could reach it the mighty talons of Jad-Bel-Jar sent him hurtling into the rank undergrowth that bordered the jungle, his back broken, a pitiful object who would take a long time to die.
CHAPTER XIII: Mary's Father
Because the wind was away from the cave, Mary did not hear the coughing roar of Jad-Bel-Jar nor the moans of the dying man. It was her father's hand that finally aroused her, and her joy in seeing him partly assuaged her grief and pain.
Amazed, she listened to the story they had to tell.
Eltar had learned his lesson. His people's fear of Tarzan was so deep-seated that the High Priest knew that if Tarzan wished it the Waziri Impi would wipe his nation from the face of the earth.
So the High Priest of Zar had bargained with Doctor Brooks. In return for their liberty, the Doctor promised that the secret of the Lost Land of Zar should always remain locked in their hearts and that he would tell Tarzan of the pact that they had made.
When the Doctor had given his pledge, Eltar made the party a gift of many rubies and emeralds and guided them back to the tiny path that led to Tarzan's cave.
Then Mary told her story, such as it was, and in the telling Bob knew that he had lost the girl he loved to another and better man. Hiding the ache in his heart, he told her that he would go and look for the man she loved.
Mary, tears springing into her eyes, watched Bob's tall figure go through the doorway of the cave -- and in that going Mary knew that Bob gave them his blessing if Tarzan ever came to her again.
Tears came to Mary's eyes again, and her father was trying to comfort her when Bob's hail told them he had discovered the dying Gaines. Tenderly they carried the renegade to the cave, and as death approached the manhood that had once been his returned.
Eagerly Gaines begged their forgiveness and told them that he did not think that Tarzan was killed. True, he had tried to kill him but the bullet had penetrated high in the chest, or so it had seemed in the moment that he had had to look at him before the onslaught of the Golden Lion injured him fatally, robbing him of his life.
Search as they might, they could find no trace of Tarzan. When, a few hours later, Jeff Gaines died, they placed his body in a little hollow and covered it with rocks. There was nothing more to do and so they started back to the old camp for one night's rest before beginning the long trek to the coast.
When Jad-Bel-Jar sent the broken body of Jeff Gaines hurtling away from the man he loved, the Golden Lion decided that he would carry Tarzan to a safer place where he might guard him. Picking him up in his mighty jaws as tenderly as any lioness ever carried her cub, the lion brought the Ape-man to a mossy clearing miles deep in the heart of the forest. There the lion licked the blood away from the wounds.
There, while he was alone and helpless, and Jad-Bel-Jar was away, the High Priestess of Zar came and found him. She roused him to offer him a ruby, which he refused. Soon she was frightened away by the lion's return. For Tarzan there was only one She -- Mary.
Tarzan realized that hunger was half the cause of his weakness. Having killed and eaten some meat, he climbed a lofty tree and slept.
CHAPTER XIV: The Eclipse
Doctor Brooks, while consoling his daughter, told her that they had met Tarzan the Ape-man during their adventure without her, when he and Bob Drake and Jeff Gaines had been taken prisoner by a savage tribe. Mary had already heard some of the story -- about the terrifying appearance of the African medicine man, in his weird garb which was supposed to impress everyone with his magical powers.
It had happened before Doctor Brooks' disappearance. The savage tribe was unfriendly, and Doctor Brooks had feared for all their lives. In fact, the three white men had been taken prisoner and tied to poles inside one of the native huts, where the chief directed the details of what was undoubtedly to their death by torture.
It was fortunate for the three men indeed, that Doctor Brooks knew just enough of the savage tongue to make himself understood, for it was at just the moment when it was practically certain that their time had come that a great hubbub was set up among the superstitious and ignorant natives.
A cloud was covering the sun and the world was growing dark as night -- at midday!
"It's the eclipse of the sun you were telling us about!" Bob exclaimed excitedly to Doctor Brooks.
"Sure enough, it is!" the Doctor acknowledged. "I had almost forgotten."
"Well, we almost missed seeing it," said Gaines sarcastically. "And I guess it's going to be the last one we'll ever see."
"Few persons ever see more than one," Doctor Brooks murmured.
"Say, I've got an idea!" Bob cried. "Doctor, why don't you tell the savages that you are causing the darkness? That you are going to plunge the world into eternal night as punishment for the way they are treating you and your friends. Then, when they release you, you can bring the sun back with our magic -- and restore light to the earth!"
Doctor Brooks pondered this.
"I'll have to hurry," he said. "There won't be more than six or seven minutes of total darkness. But the chance is worth taking -- it's better than no chance at all."
Quickly the Doctor spoke in the native tongue, summoning the chief to his side.
"I bring this dark night at noon," the Doctor explained to the chief, in the savage's own language. "You don't know my power. I show you. I bring night to your land. The sun will never shine again -- for when you kill us no power alive can bring the sun back."
The chief listened and mumbled something to his medicine man. Afterward the Doctor admitted that the medicine man had said that the white god's power must be greater than his, for he did not know how to bring the sun back. Had the medicine man delayed, and dried some of his own elaborate mumbo-jumbo, they might all have been lost. For the sun would come back anyway within very few minutes! But the savage medicine man himself was almost speechless with terror, and quite ready to agree to the white god's demands.
Thereupon the chief ordered that the three white prisoners be released and led outside into the unnatural darkness of midday.
Doctor Brooks and his tow companions found themselves surrounded by savages on their knees, cowering in shameless fear of what they did not understand. No disaster such as this had ever threatened them before, for it was the first time within their recollection that a total eclipse of had ever been visible from that part of Africa. As Doctor Brooks knew quite well, a total eclipse of the sun may not be repeated in the same locality for centuries.
Keeping an eye on the dark disc that was now the sun, with the bright film of light around it that was the sun's corona flaming out into space. Doctor Brooks raised his arm toward the unnatural-looking sky in a gesture of supplication.
"O Great Sun," he called, in the most impressive tone he could muster. "I call upon you to witness that these people have repented of their acts against us. They have repented O Sun, and are now ready to let us depart in peace."
The Doctor paused. The disk was still solid black He waited a few seconds.
"O Sun, now that these people had seen the error of their ways, let your shadow be removed, and return to shine in all your brilliance upon the earth, and bring the fruits of the forest to harvest, and the joy of life into the hearts of men."
At these words, a tiny peek of light appeared on the left edge of the sun's black disk. The moon was sliding away, and taking its shadow with it. Bob Drake said afterward that he had a hard time keeping a sober face at this hocus-pocus, but Gaines was perfectly awestruck, and too much in dread of losing his life to think that there was anything funny in the proceeding.
Doctor Brooks sighed as the savages set up shouts of delirious joy.
"I hope these black devils don't get it into their heads to make me try to darken the sun again," he whispered to Bob. "That would be too much even for a white god's magic to accomplish."
From that moment the white men were heroes, if not gods. But the savage chief wanted to keep them around, because he thought that their powerful magic might prove useful to him. Doctor Brooks could see that they might have their difficulties in escaping even yet.
"In fact, Mary," Doctor Brooks explained later, "it was your jungle man, Tarzan, that almost ruined our magic. He dropped form the clouds or the trees or wherever he dropped from one day, and something that Gaines did or said must have aroused his anger. We never learned just what happened. But Tarzan sprang at Gaines, and in a moment they were battling. In one thrust of his feet Tarzan knocked Gaines' breath quite out of him."
"But you were the one who possessed the magic power," Mary reminded her father.
"I know, my dear, but I learned then that I could not speak any language that Tarzan understood. One of the savages struck the Ape-man from behind, and knocked him out. Gaines got up, put on his coat and cork helmet, and would have given Tarzan a punch for luck, even while he lay unconscious, if I had not intervened.
"As it happened, when Tarzan came to, he merely glared at Gaines and quite without explanation of any kind, vanished into the jungle. You'll have to ask him, my dear, if you meet him some time in a London drawing room, just what it was that got into him that day."
Doctor Brooks smiled indulgently at his daughter, and all of them returned to the scene of their old camp.
Meanwhile, in the old camp, the three prepared for the long journey to the coast. Mary told them frankly that she loved Tarzan and, answering her father's question, that she was sure Tarzan returned her love.
The fact that Tarzan was Lord Greystoke, heir to a noble peerage did something to persuade the Doctor, but he too felt that the huge barbarian was very much a man and one to whom his daughter's happiness might be entrusted whether in civilization or in the jungle of deepest Africa.
Mary would not believe that Tarzan was dead, but waiting any longer was out of the question. Both Bob and her father promised her that the moment that they reached Durango they would form an expedition to return and find him, and with that Mary had to be content.
Still, toward evening of the same day, Mary begged to visit the little cave again and her father agreed. Together they reached the clearing and, understanding, Doctor Brooks allowed his daughter to go to the cave alone.
Waiting for perhaps half an hour and hearing nothing from her, he decided that he would follow.
He paused in the mouth of the cave.
His daughter's future was assured. Lying on the fern that had formed her bed were Tarzan and his daughter, a half-grown chimpanzee between them. No word of love had been spoken, neither could understand a word the other said -- but they had no need for words. On hand of hers rested across his arm and she smiled up at him, the rest of the world forgotten, as she tried to tell him the word for the little monkey that played between them.
"Chim-pan-zee," Mary told him.
"Galu," said Tarzan, shaking his head -- and they would both laugh.
Soon Tarzan and Mary were playing happily together like two children -- two children that had become sweethearts.
Doctor Brooks sat himself down on a stone to wait, for there was nothing more to worry about.
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