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Chapter 5 Tarzan: The Lost Adventure by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Wilson laid the bundle on the ground in front of Gromvitch and Cannon and removed the oilcloth from the rifles, ammunition, and supplies. There were four rifles, two handguns, a limited supply of ammunition, some basic rations, and a canteen of water.

"We do some hunting, find some water, there's enough ammunition there to get us to the coast," Gromvitch said.

"I'm not going to the coast," Wilson said. "You do what you want. I'm going after this guy that kicked my butt. I don't take kindly to it. I was a heavyweight contender. I figure I can give him a little more for his money next time."

"I don't know," Gromvitch said. "Way I look at it is, what the hell? We got some guns, some food. We didn't desert the Legion post just to hike around in the jungle."

Wilson said, "We were going to check out that story Blomberg told us, remember? Make some dough, pool our resources. That way, when we left Africa, it would be with more than what's left of our uniforms."

"Yeah," Cannon said, "and now we don't got to split nothing with Talent."

Wilson glared at him. "That makes you pretty happy."

"Well, we won't," Cannon said. "I didn't kill him. It's just he's dead and now we get everything. We split three ways. I didn't like him anyway. Way he held his head and stuff, kind of gave me the creeps."

"I say we're splittin' nothing," Gromvitch said. "We haven't got anything to prove Blomberg wasn't nothin' more than wind. That talk sounded pretty good back at the Legion post, but now, with him dead and just having general directions, and us being in the actual jungle, I don't know."

"He got himself killed 'cause he was a fool," Cannon said.

"He got himself killed 'cause Talent killed him," Gromvitch said. "Carved him like a turkey."

"That was unfortunate," Wilson said. "But I still believe Blomberg's story."

And he did. Wilson had listened to Blomberg talk about the lost city at the Legion post. Blomberg claimed to have been there before becoming a Legionnaire. He wanted to desert and go back there, plunder the place, and become rich. He claimed there were people living there, mining gold, and had been for well over a couple hundred years.

Blomberg said he had been on an ivory-hunting safari, and had gotten lost and stumbled upon the city, had been taken captive by the natives who were mining it, but escaped. He had a handful of gold nuggets to prove it.

That's why Wilson had been eager to leave the Legion post. Blomberg was going to lead them there and they were all going to become rich together. But then Talent and Blomberg had gotten into it over a can of beans-a can of beans! And Talent, in a moment of mindless savagery, had cut Blomberg from gut to gill. Their living map had bled out his knowledge on the jungle floor.

"You got to think about it," Gromvitch said. "That story of his. A lost city of gold, mined by natives. How many times you heard that one? How come we got to believe this story? Blomberg, he didn't strike me as a man that got his feelings hurt when he told a lie."

"What about them nuggets?" Cannon said.

"Man can come by gold lots of ways," Gromvitch said.

"I believe him," Wilson said again. "I got nothing outside, or inside Africa 'less I come out of here with some jack. I don't find any city, I can maybe hunt some ivory. Make enough to get to the States, maybe have a little in the kitty when I get there. I go out now, all I got is the rags on my back. I might as well go back to the Legion post."

"Since I figure they'll hang me if I do go back," Gromvitch said, "that's an option I'm rulin' out. But the way I see it, we got nothin'. Don't know there's nothin' out there, and nothin' split four ways or three or two, it's all the same. It comes up nothin'. Nothin' plus nothin' times three, that's nothin'. Right now, we got a little food, and guns to get some more, and I say we head for the coast."

"It's not just the gold," Wilson said. "I want this guy who kicked my face. And I want to kick his face. Maybe stomp it a little."

"No offense," Gromvitch said, "but havin' been there, I'd just as soon we not see that guy again. He tore us apart like paper, and I don't even think he was good and mad."

"I'm with Wilson," Cannon said. "That damn wild man and his lion. Who does he think he is, ordering us out of Africa like he owned it? Besides, I don't like no guy in his underwear beatin' me up. Somehow that ain't decent, you know?"

Wilson took some dried meat from the oilcloth wrapping, passed it around to the others. He said, "What I know is this. All the landmarks Blomberg talked about... Ones I remember. We've come to 'em. And the land's slopin' like he said. It's such a gradual drop, unless you're lookin' for it, you might not notice it right away. It's just like Blomberg said."

"Maybe," Gromvitch said.

"Other night," Wilson said, "before all this bad business, I climbed a tree and looked, and I tell you, the land's slopin'. It's fallin' in the north. That makes me think Blomberg wasn't just tellin' us a windy. And I don't think he'd have stumbled around out here with us all that time if he hadn't been tellin' the truth."
"I don't know," Gromvitch said.

"Here's the deal," Wilson said. "It's not subject to discussion. You want to go your own way, Gromvitch, we give you a rifle, some ammo, but we keep the bulk of the ammo and all the grub. We feed you, you take the rifle and go. And good luck."

Gromvitch considered the suggestion. He wondered if Wilson really meant it. And if he did, he wondered if Cannon would honor it. What if he agreed, and then Cannon got to thinking nothing divided by two was even better than nothing divided by three?

No. Gromvitch figured he ought not chance it. And besides, Wilson was right. What was there for him on the coast-if he made it to the coast by himself? And he wasn't sure he could. Wilson was, if nothing else, a good leader.

"I'll stick," Gromvitch said. Wilson nodded, and so did Cannon, but Gromvitch thought the look on Cannon's face was one of disappointment.

Tarzan and Hanson's party, after a moment of reunion, started to move. They moved briskly, making good time, heading north. Tarzan decided to stay with them until he felt they had left the great apes far behind. Not that he thought they would pursue, not with the smell of guns in the camp, but insurance was a good policy. And he and Jad-bal-ja were good insurance.

After a time, they stopped to rest. Tarzan squatted on the ground and Jean came over to join him. She said: "Where is your lion?"

"He's his own master," Tarzan said. "He's gone off to hunt. One of the great apes, most likely. He had the thought of their flesh on his mind. He likes it. He says it is very tasty."

"Oh," Jean said.

"He comes and goes as he pleases. Sometimes I do not see him for months. This time, he has left because he does not approve of my association with strangers. Jad-bal-ja is something of a snob."

"Probably the result of royal blood," Jean said. Then: "I don't know that I've thanked you properly. Without you, and Jad-bal-ja... Am I saying that right?"

"Close enough," Tarzan said.

"Without you and him ... well, I might be an ape's mate."

Tarzan grinned. "More likely a slave. You'd be gathering grubs for the tribe to eat."


"They are more manlike than apelike. They have many of man's bad habits. Slavery, for example."

"I don't think I'd like gathering and eating grubs," Jean said.

"They are actually quite tasty," said Tarzan. "Filled with protein. But you would not have eaten them anyway. They would have made you give them to the king, and they would have given you leaves. You can live on leaves, some are quite succulent, but you cannot live well. The great apes, they do not understand humans. They sometimes take slaves of humans, and the humans do not last long. They do not understand what is expected of them, they are fed poorly, and if they do not die in a short time from lack of nutrition, one of the apes will become angry and kill them."

"I suppose I should thank you double," Jean said. "Not at all. I have to ask, though. Where are you going? Why are you in this part of the jungle?"

"It's like Dad told you. He's trying to prove the existence of what we now know exists. The man-apes."

"We are going away from them, not to them."

"That's true. But only because Dad is supposed to meet other members of his expedition soon, coming from the other side of Africa, moving to meet us at the place where he believes an ancient city to be. We hope to come back this way, get photos of the great apes-or man-apes. Whatever they might be."

"I know of no city," Tarzan said.

Hanson, chewing on a piece of dried meat, came over and squatted down beside them. Tarzan said, "Jean was just telling me of your plans."

"And what do you think?" Hanson asked.

"I think if you take back proof of the great apes, photographs, that hunters will come in and kill them," Tarzan said. "That is what I think. I would not want that: I would not want to be any part of that."

"We're a scientific expedition," Hanson said.

"It makes no difference," Tarzan said.

Hanson was quiet for a moment. He said: "Jean told you about this lost city? Legends refer to it as Ur. If it exists, it would be a wonderful find."

"I've heard of Ur," Tarzan said, "as a legend. But again, I know of no such city in that part of the jungle."

"I have a colleague, back at the university," Hanson said. "Professor Barrett. During the war he was a navigator on a heavy bomber that flew across this terrain several times. Twice he saw ruins of what appeared to be an ancient city. Later, when he got back to the States, got his degree in archaeology, eventually a doctorate, he could not get the city out of his mind. He began to research the area, found out there were legends of a lost city in that part of Africa. Ur. Supposedly a city of gold. Of course, in the legends, they are always cities of gold, aren't they?"

"There are legends of lost cities all over Africa," Tarzan said. "Some of them are true."

Tarzan was thinking of Opar when he spoke. Of the land of Onthar and the twin cities of Cathne and Athne - one a city of gold, the other of ivory. The Lost Roman Empire he had discovered. This, and others, but he didn't let his face show his thinking.

"All the more reason to explore this one," Hanson said. "My colleague, Professor Barrett, he's too old now to come, but I was his student, and I want to discover the city not only out of my own curiosity, but because I want to validate his life's work. The great apes, that is my own personal passion. I have another expedition coming at the city from the other side. We hope to meet in the middle. It seems like a sure way of at least one of our group reaching the ruins."

"Not with Hunt leading it," Jean said.

"Hunt is a good boy," Hanson said.

"That may be," she said, "but he can't read a subway map, let alone one of the jungle."

"Small is with him," Hanson said.

"Small can read a map," Jean said, "but he doesn't know north from south."

Hanson looked at Tarzan. "Hunt is my professorial assistant back at the University of Texas. Small is a talented student. Both ate good boys. Hunt is a bit infatuated with Jean, I think."

"A bit?" Jean said.

"And she with him."

"Oh, for goodness' sake, Dad. I find Hunt about as interesting as calculus- and you know what kind of grades I made in calculus."

"They've known each other a long time," Hanson said, "and they have this love/hate thing going. Another few months, I think the hate will come out of it. Now that they're both grown, packed with hormones."

"Dad, you're embarrassing me."

"Sorry," Hanson said, but he didn't look like he meant it.

"How will you profit by this expedition?" asked Tarzan. "Do you expect to find gold in the city?"

Hanson smiled. "This may sound hokey to you, but the purpose of this expedition is just what I said. Purely scientific. We'll be poorer when we return to Texas than when we left- poorer in financial resources, but richer in scientific knowledge and experience."

Tarzan was not sympathetic toward people who came from other continents to kill the animals he loved, nor was he sympathetic to those who would plunder the riches of Africa. The Hansons did not seem to fall into either category.

Tarzan said, "You said you had a map?"

"Yes. My old professor, Dr. Barrett, made it years ago, from memory. It could be off a bit, but he believes it's generally correct."

"In Africa," Tarzan said, "a general mistake can make a big difference."

"I'll get the map," Hanson said, and went away.

Suddenly, in the trees there was a loud screaming of monkeys. Jean and Tarzan looked up, and presently a little monkey leapt into sight, fairly flying through the trees, pursued by a larger, very angry monkey.
"Nkima," Tarzan said. "He's gotten himself into trouble. As usual."

Nkima flung himself from a tree, landed on the ape-man's shoulder, shook his arms loosely, began howling belligerently at the monkey pursuing him. The pursuer, upon seeing Tarzan and Jean, halted at the end of a swaying branch and began to chatter viciously upon discovering his quarry had found sanctuary.

After a moment of ferocious cussing, the pursuing monkey turned, leapt away, and was lost in the foliage.

Hanson returned with the map as Nkima jabbered into Tarzan's ear and leapt about on his shoulder. Hanson said, "What have we here?"

"Nkima," Tarzan said. "He tells me that the other monkey was terribly afraid of him, which explains why he ran away. He didn't want to hurt the monkey."

Jean laughed. "He's terribly cute."

"There's not an ounce of truth in him," Tarzan said, stroking Nkima's head. "It is fortunate for the other animals he is not as large as he talks. As tough as he thinks he is ... We were discussing your map."

Hanson squatted on the ground, unfolded the map for Tarzan to see. Tarzan studied it for a moment. He said, "It's not a very good map. I know portions of this area well." Tarzan put his finger on the map. "There is a mountain here. An extinct volcano. I have never been to it, but I have seen it in the distance." Tarzan touched the map again. "The forest depicted here, it is very dense. Almost impenetrable."

"That makes it all the more likely that the city might be there," Jean said. "Sort of tucked away in a pocket of intense foliage."

Tarzan studied Hanson for a long moment. "I wonder if you know what you are getting into. Even if there is not a city, there are certainly wild animals, wilder men. The forest itself, the terrain, can kill you. Neither of you seems well enough prepared."

"I've been to Africa before," Hanson said. "We've just had hard luck, is all."

Tarzan pointed. "You go north, you will have more of it."

Hanson folded up the map. He was very calm and polite, but Tarzan could tell that he was angry. "You're probably correct. But we're moving ahead. We can't disappoint our friends."

Then, abruptly, Hanson went soft. "But you could do me a favor. I've no right to ask. Not after what you've done. And I've no way to pay you. But you could take Jean back to civilization."

"Dad! Don't treat me like a girl. I'm a grown woman."

"You're my daughter."

"That may be, but I'm grown too, and I'll make my own decisions. I'm going. No matter what you say, or Tarzan says. I'm going."

Hanson sighed. He knew it was useless to pursue the matter. Once Jean set her mind to something, she was going to achieve it, come the proverbial hell or high water. As Professor Oliver had said, she had a head like a bull, if the bull's head were made of steel.

"I will go with you," Tarzan said.

"I can't pay," Hanson said.

"I do not hire myself out for money," Tarzan said. "Do not insult me."

"Sorry," Hanson said. "But why the change of heart?"

"I suppose I have been among men too much," Tarzan said. "I am developing a sentimental streak for the stupid and the ill prepared."

Hanson and Jean checked Tarzan's face to see if there was humor there. There didn't seem to be.

"You go north without a guide, you will die," Tarzan said. "You do not strike me as a man intent upon doing something to harm the animals here. You seem to be honestly interested in research. I am not. But I am interested, as I said through fault of association, in decent human beings."

"I suppose," Hanson said, "that is some kind of compliment. To be stupid, but decent."

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