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Chapter 17 Tarzan: The Lost Adventure by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Small realized too late that he had timed incorrectly, and that his vine would reach the ground well in front of Wilson and Cannon. In fact, he swung between Hanson and Billy and one of his legs struck Hanson and knocked him down. Small went twisting, causing him to lose his grip on the vine, and he hit the ground and started to roll.

His roll sent him hurtling against Cannon's legs with enough force to knock him backwards. Cannon hit the ground and lost his grip on the rifle. Small scuttled on top of him and began to use his fist like a hammer, breaking Cannon's nose.

Wilson jumped forward, brought the stock of his rifle down on the back of Small's head knocking him off of Cannon. Billy leapt on Wilson and knocked him backwards. They scuffled for the rifle.

Hanson scrambled to his feet, got hold of Cannon's rifle, wheeled, and yelled, "Stop it!"

Wilson quit struggling with Billy, but they both held on to the rifle.

"Give him the rifle," Hanson said to Wilson. "Give it to him, and no tricks."

Wilson reluctantly let Billy have the rifle.

"All right," Hanson said. "The worm has turned."

"Not completely," Cannon said.

Hanson wheeled to cover Cannon, and his heart sank.

Cannon had scooped up the unconscious Small and was holding him under the chin with one hand, lifting his feet off the ground. With the other he had his knife against Small's throat. Blood ran from Cannon's broken nose and over his lips. His breath rattled out of his chest in locomotive blasts.

"I get any trouble," Cannon said, "I give this one another mouth."

Wilson grinned. "You might as well give up, Hanson," he said. "You two aren't up for it. You're hurt, and you haven't got the guts for it."

"We're not giving up anything," Hanson said. "Let him go, fat man."

"Not likely," Cannon said. "Wilson, you come over here."

Wilson got up confidently, started toward Cannon. Billy brought the stock of the captured rifle around quickly and caught Wilson hard enough in the forehead to knock him down again. Wilson raised up on one elbow and rubbed the goose egg that had already appeared on his forehead.

"You sonofabitch," Wilson said.

"Now, now," Billy said. "No use to talk bad. Lay down now so Billy not have to shoot hole in your head."

Wilson settled back, but his eyes blazed.

Small's eyes blinked open, then went wide when he realized the position he was in.

"Easy," said Cannon to Small, "get nervous, you're likely to get some kind of cut. Hear?"

"I hear," Small said.

"Let him go," Hanson said.

"I let him go, you shoot me," Cannon said.

"You don't, we're going to shoot you," Hanson said. "You let him go, we'll let you live. Tie you up, but let you live."

"I don't think so," Cannon said, and he pressed the knife tight against Small's throat. A necklace of blood appeared on Small's neck, ran onto his bare chest. "I might just cut him anyway. Just for the hell of it. I done had two guys in their underwear give me trouble. The first one, this wild man, Wilson and me, we done him in. This one, he's gonna die too."

"The ape-man is alive," Small said.

"Th' hell he is," Cannon said.

"I was with him earlier today. He is very much alive."

"That cinches it then," Cannon said. "I ain't gonna wait around for him to show up."

With a quick jerk of his wrist, Cannon cut Small's throat, bolted off the trail and into the thickness of the jungle.

Small collapsed as if he were a marionette being gently lowered on strings. He fell to his knees, then backwards, his legs tucked under him as if he were about to be folded and placed in a trunk.

"Small!" Hanson yelled.

Billy fired after Cannon, two quick shots, but the shots were wild and the man darted deeper into the underbrush and out of sight.

Hanson rushed over to Small, dropped the rifle, and tried to hold the cut on Small's throat together with his hands. It was useless. It was too deep. The blood gushed through Hanson's fingers like milk through a sieve.

Small tried to talk, but his voice only gurgled. Hanson lowered his ear to Small's mouth so that he might hear. He thought what he heard Small say was: "Not in my drawers."

Small's body went limp. Hanson lowered him to the ground, gently. Hanson glared at Wilson. He picked up the rifle and pointed it at him. Sweat was popping off Hanson's forehead and his teeth were clenched. He could hardly get the words out. "One word. Just one. And I fertilize the dirt with your brains."

Wilson glared, but held his tongue. He had his eyes on Hanson's trigger finger. It was vibrating.

Billy said, "Watch him, Bwana. I get the other one." Billy went into the jungle after Cannon.

Night dipped down full and complete. The moon rose up like a shiny balloon. Hanson sat beside the. body of Small, his rifle pointed at Wilson.

Out in the jungle, in the dark, Billy stalked Cannon.

Earlier, when Jean first heard the movement in the dungeon, without really thinking, she said, "Who's there?"

There was a long moment of silence, then came "Nyama. I am Nyama and soon I die."

Jean squinted into the darkness. Her eyes were adjusting, and she could see the shape of the speaker. A woman.

"You speak English," Jean said.

"Missionaries," Nyama said. "I can read too. And quote Bible verses. You like to hear them?"

"Not just now," Jean said. "Maybe you can teach them to me later. . . how did you get here? What missionaries? Missionaries to this city?"

"No," Nyama said. "Of course not. I am from the high forest land. One day these people of Ur raided us and I was one of those they stole away. I do not know if any of the others of my people who were brought here are still alive. I think not."

"How long have you been here?"

"I do not know. Long time in the city of Ur. But here, in this place. Not long. Since Kurvandi tired of me."


"He is the King of Ur. One in a long line of Kurvandis. I was brought here to be one of his wives, and he forced me. . . I made him miserable. Finally, he had me brought here. Soon, I die. But, I had it to do again, I would still make him miserable. I prefer this to his bedchambers, not like to be treated like a breeding cow. You are lucky he did not like your looks."

"I don't know if that makes me feel insulted or happy."

"Let me have a look at you," Nyama said.

"That won't be easy in the dark," Jean said.

"I am accustomed to darkness. But here, come." The woman took Jean by the elbow, led her toward the closed door.

Around the edges of the door a bit of light seeped in, and Jean could feel fresh air from the outside. The air not sweet, but it certainly smelled better than the air in the cell. The light and air heartened her a little.

"You are quite pretty," said Nyama, her face close to Jean's."

"And so are you," Jean said. It was an honest evaluation. Nyama was indeed quite beautiful.

"I am surprised he did not want you for one of his women," Nyama said. "Perhaps it's because he views pale skin as inferior."

"Why does he want to have me killed?" Jean said. "I didn't come here of my own free will. I've done nothing the people of Ur. True, I would have come here way. . but why must they kill me? Kill us?"

"He has his reasons," Nyama said. "But without reasons, he would kill us anyway. He eventually kills everything. He is mad. They are all mad. Full of the glory of great city and their gods ... one thing, though. Their god, unlike missionary god, you can see. I have seen it. It is mad like Kurvandi. A horrible god."

"You have seen their god'?"


"Is it a statue . . an oracle?"

Nyama sighed. This was followed by a long silence. Finally, "No. I do not believe any of that. Statues are statues, and oracles are old men and women with their fingers in bird guts. I believe what I see. And I have seen this god."

"A moving, breathing god?"

"Do not patronize me," Nyama said. "That is the word, is it not? Patronize?"

"I'm sorry," Jean said. "I didn't mean to. . ."

"Yes, you did."

"But a moving, breathing god?"

"Missionaries believed in a god I could not see. Wanted me to believe in it. I could not. But Urs, they believe in god you can see. I have seen it. Makes more sense, a god you can see. But still, god or not a god, I do not care for it. It is a god of death and destruction. Very ill-tempered."

"Are you saying it's to this god we will be sacrificed?"

"In one way or another. They kill in honor of the god and his moves, and they give the god offerings that it kills for itself."

"You said in honor of its moves. What does that mean?"

"It moves in all manner of ways," Nyama said. "Every way it moves, the move brings death. It has a dance of death, and when it dances, people die. Very bad deaths. Very bad. Those that are not given to the god, they are sacrificed in its name."

Jean and Nyama moved away from the light and to a stone bench. The smell was not so bad in this corner, and Jean found she needed to sit. She was exhausted. Grief and fear made her exhaustion even more complete.

Jean and Nyama sat beside one another and talked. Nyama's English was very good, and soon Jean had some idea what Ur was all about.

It seemed the Urs were a people descended from a great and glorious culture. Ur had been a great city before Solomon was king. It was a city of wealth am riches, and once all of Africa had been under its rule.
But the royalty of Ur, unwilling to contaminate their blood with that of outsiders, gradually restricted "foreigners," and in time, to keep the blood pure, royalty married royalty. Over generations, this practice resulted in genetic deficiencies. Insanity.

In the last few years, even though the King was mad he realized that for the line to continue, for Ur to regain its glory, he must reach outside of his kingdom, bring in slaves, women for his harem. Women who could bear him children. In this way, he hoped to freshen the blood of his line.

And there was another reason- the god Ebopa, The Stick That Walks. Legend said that Ebopa had come up from the center of the earth through catacombs beneath the city and that the Urs trapped him there for all time. It was the Urs' belief that as long as Ebopa could not return to the center of the earth, his powers would bring the city great fortune. Several times a year, for more years than Nyama knew, there had been sacrifices to the god. And for a time, all had been good.

But in the last thirty years, crops had not yielded as well as before. Game was not as plentiful. Many children were born with defects. Great metal birds were seer flying overhead more and more often. The Urs had seen them now and then over the years, buzzing along, supported on their silver wings, but now there were more and more of them. Bigger birds. Flying higher, leaving trails of smoke. Jean decided Nyama meant planes, but the Urs did not understand this. They thought they were winged messengers from the god Ebopa, and Ebopa's message was not a merry one. It was angry.

Therefore, it was decided Ebopa was mad and must have more glory. There were more sacrifices to the god both direct and indirect. Like the Romans with their bread and circuses, this became standard. And each new Kurvandi had to search more diligently for sacrifices. Jean, Nyama, the safari bearers, the people Jean had seen in the line for beheading, were the most recent.

It was not a question Jean wanted to ask, but she could not help herself. "How are we to die?"

"It could be many ways. One way is beheading, but if they planned to do that, they would have already. That is the common way. Since we have been placed here, I believe we are being saved. We may be prepared for the crocodiles."

"They feed prisoners to crocodiles?"

"Yes. The crocodiles that live in the water around the city. But that is not bad enough. No. They very carefully prepare the sacrifices. They hold them down and take a big war club, and slowly, they break the bones in the arms and legs. Break them up small."

"Oh, God," Jean said. "How horrible."

"That is only the beginning. They are doing that to prepare the meat."

"For the crocodiles!"

"The crocodiles are white, and therefore sacred. They must have prepared meat. Easy to chew. To prepare it, the meat is tenderized by breaking the bones. Then, they bury the sacrifices in a pool of mud and water to the chin. But they do not let the sacrifices die. They leave them until the water softens the flesh. When the sacrifices are near death, they pull them out and tie ropes to their feet, lower them off the drawbridge, just above the water. When the sacred crocodiles come, they drop the sacrifices into the water."

"And they will do this to us?" Jean said.

"Unless Kurvandi is saving us for something special."

"I presume the harem is out at this point?" Jean said.

"To be one of Kurvandi's wives is a fate worse than death," Nyama said.

"I'd prefer to be the judge of that," Jean said. "This harem business is beginning to have an unexpected appeal."

"If it is not the crocodiles," Nyama said, "then it will be the arena, or . .. Ebopa. At least, if it is Ebopa, it is quick."

"Thank Ebopa for small favors," Jean said.

Hunt came to a fork in the tunnel. The tunnel they were traveling ran up against a cavern wall. There were unused torches jutting out of sockets drilled in the rock, and all along the wall were paintings. They were recent paintings of the thing Hunt had seen earlier.

Jad-bal-ja growled softly.

"I know," Hunt said. "I'm nervous too."

Hunt moved toward the tunnel on the left. He stared into the darkness. He went back to the decorated wall and took down a torch and dipped it into one of the blazing gutters and waved it first at the tunnel on the right, then the left.

"Which way?" he said to the lion.

Jad-bal-ja turned his head from side to side.

Hunt said, "Yeah, me too."

Hunt used the torch to poke into the left tunnel. He checked first to see if this tunnel was outfitted with gutters of oil. It was not. The tunnel was wide and Hunt could see that after a few feet there was a drop-off. But there was also some kind of wooden framework lying at the edge of the chasm. Hunt moved forward, and Jad-bal-ja, growling softly, followed.

"Yeah, me too," Hunt said in response to Jad-bal-ja's growl.

Hunt held the torch so that he could examine the wooden framework. He recognized what it was immediately. A pile of narrow sections for a bridge. It was made of a light wood and appeared newly fashioned.

Near the edge of the drop-off there were notches in the dirt. Hunt concluded the supports of the bridge were supposed to fit into it. He held his torch high. The light was not good, but across the way, some forty feet, he could see where the bridge was supposed to fit into two deep grooves.

Examining the bridge closer, Hunt saw the bridge sections were hooked together and that they folded out into one long section with sleeves that fit over the crude hinges and made the bridge solid. He found a place in the rocks to lodge the torch, and working by its light he began to fold out the bridge and slide the sleeves over the pegged hinges. Soon he had a single length of bridge just over forty feet long.

When he was finished, he doubted his ability to pick up the bridge, extend it over the gap, but he soon discovered two long poles. They were over fifty feet long, and if you stuck the tips of these into the far ends of the bridge where leather loops were provided, it was easy to lift the back end of the bridge, and by standing all the way at its front, it could be boosted across and lowered into the slots provided. The slots on this side of the chasm were even easier to fit.

"There," Hunt said. "Damn clever of whoever, don't you think, lion?"

Jad-bal-ja purred. He had watched all of this carefully. He did not know what to make of the ways of men, but of one thing he was certain. Jad-bal-ja did not like where the bridge led.

"I don't know anything to do but cross," Hunt said, talking to the lion as if he were a favored companion. "This doesn't work, we try the other tunnel."

Hunt took a deep breath and stepped onto the thatched flooring of the bridge. It vibrated slightly.

"Don't care for that," Hunt said, but he kept going. When he was halfway across, Jad-bal-ja followed, treading as lightly as a house cat.

When they reached the other side of the bridge, a cool wind drafted through the cavern, and with it came stench, followed by a sound. The same frightening sound Hunt had heard earlier. Once again, he felt a nameless dread that crawled about in his brain like a clutch of spiders.

Jad-bal-ja growled softly.

"I know," Hunt said. For a moment, Hunt considered traveling back across the bridge, pulling it up so that whatever was down here couldn't cross. Hunt determined that was what this bridge business was all about anyway. There was something trapped down here by design, and that something was most unpleasant.

The sound died away. Perhaps, it- whatever it was- was not yet aware of them. Hunt took some comfort in the possibility. With torch and spear held tight, he chose a direction away from the sound, and he and Jad-bal-ja went that way, ever alert to whatever might lurk at their backs.

Tarzan, astride the zebra, came to the rock quarry shortly after nightfall. The jungle broke open wide, like rift in the universe, and gave way to the great quarry. The moon rode over the quarry, full and bright, so massive as to look like a bronze shield frozen to the sky.

The quarry was nothing more than building stone, be there in the moonlight the stones had turned a golden color, and in that instant it was as if the earth had given up all its riches by means of an open wound.

Tarzan rode past the quarry, and in time came within sight of the great city of Ur. Tarzan reined in the zebra and marveled at the city. It was like a fairy world, there in the moonlight. Tall and wide and golden. It lay at the end of this great road like the Emerald City of Oz.

There was a time when the African landscape was riddled with such wonders, but now the ways of the ancients, the jungle magic, were slowly dying. Sometimes, Tarzan felt the world he knew was sneaking away, like an old man grown weak, hoping to find a place to lie down and die.

Tarzan decided he was close enough to the city by road. He wanted to make his entry into Ur to find Jean, unobserved and as silently as possible. He dismounted, led the zebra into the jungle, and without hesitation, pulled his knife and cut its throat. The zebra fell, kicked, the blood pumped. Tarzan placed his face over the geyser of blood, let it spurt into his mouth. The warm liquid energy revived him. He cut a chunk of meat off the zebra's haunch and ate it raw. He skinned the zebra in record time, and plaited the wet skin into a serviceable rope about ten feet long. He tied the rope to a tree, took hold of it, and pulled until he had wrung most of the blood out of the plaiting, then he coiled the rope and hung it over the hilt of his knife and began moving through the jungle. He took to the trees, swinging from branch to branch, vine to vine, more by instinct and feel than by sight.

When he reached the edge of the jungle, he paused in the branches of a tree and studied Ur. There was a great moat around the city, and the drawbridge was up. There were sentinels at the summit of the wall. He could see their spears flashing in the moonlight as they went about their rounds.

Tarzan determined that most likely there would be a few warriors hidden somewhere on the outskirts of the city, stationed to report any incoming danger. Tarzan, also determined that they would be lax in their duties.

That was human nature. Ur, except for the natives in the general area, was relatively unknown. Or was until Hanson and his safari decided to track it down. Ur was also a mighty power, and they would feel there was little to fear from any enemy that might know of its existence. And they would not expect one man to pass its sentries its moat, scale its wall, and enter.

Tarzan felt a moment of anger. It was directed a himself. He should never have suggested that it was okay for the Hansons to continue on their hunt for Ur. He knew, deep down, he had allowed it for his own personal reasons.

He wanted adventure. He had wanted a wild baptism to wash the stench of civilization from his heart and soul. He thought briefly of Jane, his wife, back in England. Comfortable there. He thought of things they had said to one another. He thought of the vast, lost world at the earth's core, perhaps his next refuge. But would Jane come? It was not like the old days. Time changes everything. Time changes people. He and Jane had changed, no matter how hard he tried to deny it.

But he would not think of such things. These were the things of civilization. To survive in the jungle one had to put thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow out of one's mind, had to put aside sentimentality. Here, there was no place for that kind of thinking.

Survival. That was the only thought he should think, That and rescuing Jean, helping Hanson's safari. Hunt and Small. It would be like the old days.

Or should be, but Tarzan was less than pleased with his performance. It was not all his fault, he knew, but he did not like things to happen to those he had sworn to help and protect. It made him feel inept. It made him feel like other humans.

He felt other sensations as well. Twin sensations.


And revenge.

The two burned in Tarzan's breast like the eyes of the devil. Burned so furiously, it was a full moment before the blood haze passed from his mind and he became collected.

Anger and revenge: he had been taught by civilized humans that they were the two basest of instincts, but for now they were his friends. They were the fire in his heart and soul, the fuel for what he must do.

Tarzan dropped from the tree, then to his belly. He crawled out of the line of the jungle and into the high grass, crawled slowly like a stalking lion, toward the city of Ur.

The sentinel post was a small shack of poles with a mud and reed roof. The walls were mostly open so that the two sentinels who occupied it could see in all directions. One guard was supposed to walk a path from the hut to the moat and back again. Then the other guard would take his place. They would rotate time after time.

There were other sentinel huts along the banks of the moat, built into the tall dry grass that looked white in the moonlight. The huts were three hundred feet apart, stationed all the way around the city. In case of attack, or danger, the sentries were supposed to signal to one another by horn. They were the first line of defense.

No one had signaled anyone in a long time. For that matter, the sentries seldom walked from the hut to the moat. In the daylight, when they might be seen, or the king might hear of it, they walked then. But at night they did not. They sat in the hut and played games of chance. Games with clay dice and flat clay cards with dots painted on them.

Tonight in one hut, Gerooma and his partner Meredonleni were playing a game of chance that involved both cards and small black stones. They had played the game for only a few minutes when Gerooma, who was losing, decided he was bored.

"You are not bored," Meredonleni said. "You are mad that you are losing. You already owe me much."

"I am bored," Gerooma said. "Every night. The same thing. Gambling."

"That is right. I like gambling."

"Well, I do not."

"When you are losing you do not," Meredonleni said then snorted.

"Do not do that," Gerooma said.


"That noise. That snorting. I hate it when you do that.

"What is the matter with a snort?"

"It is a kind of laugh."

"No, it is not."

"Yes, it is. You're being derisive. You are pretending that I'm inferior to you for not playing. That I hate to lose."

"You do hate to lose."

"I do not like being laughed at."

"It is not a laugh. It is a snort."

"I will not discuss it further."

Gerooma picked up his pipe of clay and reed am walked outside the hut and down the trail toward the moat He stopped after a few feet and put the pipe in hi mouth and took a dried herb from his pouch and packed the pipe. He removed his flints from his pouch and squatted and knocked a spark into the dry grass. Th grass flamed, Gerooma pulled up a blazing strand, an put the blaze to his pipe.

"You keep doing that, you will set the whole grassland afire."

Gerooma turned and looked at Meredonleni. "I know better than that. I wouldn't let that happen."

"A wind comes up, it matters not what you would not let happen. The wind will carry the fire and you and I will be beheaded for causing it. I will die because you are stupid and careless and I have done nothing."

"Go gamble with yourself," Gerooma said, puffing on his pipe.

"You are not even carrying your spear," Meredonleni said.

"Since when do you care?"

"I have mine. I have it now."

Gerooma glanced back at Meredonleni, puffed his pipe. The blaze in the bowl of the pipe was as red as a cherry.
"It does not surprise me you have your spear, frightened as you always are," Gerooma said.

"Some of us have a sense of duty."

"How would your sense of duty be if I chose to gamble? Would you carry your spear then?"

"I would not gamble with you at all. Not at all."

Gerooma copied the snorting sound Meredonleni had made earlier, then turned his back.

Meredonleni fumed. He faced the jungle, trying to think of something to say. Gerooma was beginning to tire him. He must talk to the chief of sentries. He must find another man to be in his hut. He must...

Meredonleni narrowed his eyes. He thought he had seen something move in the tall grasses. He stepped forward, cocked his spear. A cool wind stirred up and moved the grasses and shook the leaves and limbs of the trees in the jungle.

Meredonleni thought he saw it again.

Something white and sleek, low down to the ground, moving through the waving grass.

A white panther?

There were white crocodiles, so why not white panthers?

He saw it again.


Gerooma turned and looked m Meredonleni's direction. Meredonleni was facing the opposite direction, his spear cocked. Gerooma said, "What?"

"There's something out there."

"Oh, Meredonleni. You cannot stand to be bested. So now you say there is something out there."

"There is."

"Is it an army, crawling through the grass on their bellies?"

Meredonleni did not answer. There was only a hissing sound. Meredonleni took one step backwards, and froze.

In the moonlight, Gerooma saw Meredonleni's bare back give birth to a dark rose shape. Gerooma could not figure it at first, and then Meredonleni swiveled slowly, turned towards him. A long arrow vibrated in his chest. His face had a look of profound disappointment. The moonlight struck his teeth and made the blood on then shine like rich berry juice.

Gerooma's pipe fell from his mouth. He started to run toward Meredonleni; but he had taken but one step when the air whistled again and an arrow caught him in his slightly open mouth and punched out the back of his neck.

He kept running forward, his teeth clenched around the arrow. He ran until he reached the hut. Then he stumbled. He grabbed at a post, held himself upright. He lifted his head, took hold of the arrow in his mouth, tried to pull it loose, but it hurt severely. When he tugged, he felt as if his whole head would come off.

Striding toward him in the moonlight was a giant of man The moonlight made his bronze skin look white. Hi had a bow in one hand, a spear in the other. A quiver of arrows hung on his back. He wore a knife at his waist and a crude rope was draped over its hilt. The man was walking purposefully toward him. He was neither slow nor fast. Just determined. Gerooma knew then, this man was what Meredonleni had seen moving through the grass.

Gerooma tried to say something, to plead for his life. But Tarzan did not understand his language, and besides, the arrow made it impossible for Gerooma to speak clearly.

Besides, it wouldn't have mattered.

Gerooma slid down the pole, his mouth filling with blood. He lifted his head as Tarzan took hold of his hair.

The ape-man had dropped the spear and drawn his knife. With one quick motion of the blade he cut Gerooma's throat.

Finished with this task. Tarzan saw that the grass was starting to blaze, due to Gerooma's dropped pipe. He put his foot on the pipe and crushed it. The calluses on his bare foot were so hard he did not even feel the heat. He could have walked across broken glass on those feet.

Next he stepped on the blaze the pipe had started, then he looked in all directions. He sniffed the air. Listened. It was his conclusion that he had killed both men almost soundlessly.

So far, so good.

Tarzan moved at a crouch through the grasses, onward to the moat.

When he reached the moat, he squatted on his haunches in the high grass, parted it with his hands and looked at the water. It was foul water, he could smell that, but in the moonlight it looked like a silver-paved street.

Tarzan studied the width of the moat, examined the city wall. It was made up of all manner of debris, and was actually quite easy to climb. Not for an ordinary man, but Tarzan knew that for him it would be effortless.

He decided to leave his spear, bow, and arrows. He would carry his knife and rope. He coiled the rope around his waist, crawled on his belly to the moat, and slid into the water, silent as a python.

He had not swum far when he felt movement in the water. He turned his head. Gliding toward him, long and white and deadly in the moonlight, was the largest crocodile he had ever seen.

The croc began swimming faster and Tarzan thought at first he might try to outswim it. But he could see yet another white croc in front of him. Like his cousin, he had also noticed Tarzan.

The first crocodile snapped at Tarzan, but the ape-mar was no longer there. He dove beneath the water and came up under the crocodile's belly and cut a vicious gash in it with his knife.

The crocodile practically leapt from the water, came down with a tremendous splash. It twisted toward Tarzan, and Tarzan pushed his palm against the side of the raging crocodile's head, got out of the way. Tarzan went beneath the reptile again, and used the knife again on the soft underbelly.

The crocodile's stomach and intestines exploded from the wound. The water went thick with blood. The other croc arrived on the scene. Driven wild by the smell of intestines and blood, the crocodile began attacking its wounded cousin with a blind ferocity.

Tarzan swam down and out toward the city. When he came up, he was against the wall. He could hear shouting above him. He pushed himself tight against the stones. The natives were speaking a tongue he could not understand, but he realized quickly from their tone, they were talking about the crocodiles, not him. He had managed to escape before being noticed. Perhaps they were placing bets on which beast would win.

Tarzan watched the water boil. The two crocodiles were locked in a vicious struggle. The wounded crocodile was rapidly losing ground. They rolled and twisted and splashed. The water foamed with blood.

Tarzan watched as the eyes of other crocodiles bobbed out of the water. Two. Three. A half dozen. The crocodiles were swimming toward the fighters, ready to take their share of the loser.

Tarzan returned his knife to its sheath, very carefully took hold of a stone, and, pulling himself from the water, began scaling the wall.

Tarzan's strong fingers held the stones where there was very little to grab. Even an ape would have had trouble scaling the stones, but Tarzan moved up the wall like a lizard.

When he was near its summit, he listened carefully, then slipped over the top of the wall and landed in a crouch on the sentry walkway. He looked to his right.

A sentry was moving away from him.

To his left, two sentries were talking. The shadows were thick here, and Tarzan went unnoticed.

Tarzan dropped from the walkway to the ground. It was a long drop, but his splendid muscles and great skill would have allowed him to take the fall without injury. But, at that moment, an off-duty sentry had stopped to relieve himself against the city wall, and as he finished and stepped from beneath the concealment of the overhead walkway, Tarzan dropped directly onto him.

When Tarzan struck him, the man yelled. Tarzan growled with anger as he sprang to his feet. The sentry clambered to his feet and began to scream for help. He looked at the bronze giant before him, and screamed even louder. The big man looked more like an animal than a man: his teeth were bared and the sounds coming from his throat did not sound as if they were of human origin.

The sentry's screams were cut short as Tarzan sprang, his knife stealing the sentry's voice.

But it was too late.

Tarzan looked up. Sentries had rushed to the edge of the walkway. They yelled at him and began casting spears and firing arrows. Tarzan slapped one of the spears away, dodged an arrow. Others rattled at his feet.

The courtyard filled with warriors. They charged him. Tarzan struck right and left with his knife. Dying men and women fell back from Tarzan's brutal onslaught.

Close as the warriors were to one another, arrows were out of the question, so they charged the ape-man en masse, armed with their blades and spears.

The sounds of Tarzan's knife glancing off spear points and sword blades filled the air. The warriors foamed over him like ants on a carcass. The first to arrive were the first to die. Tarzan's knife wove a web of steel so intricate and fast, that there in the moonlight it looked as if he were a six-armed god wielding a weapon in every hand.

They tried to leap on him all at once, but the entire crowd was pushed back. Tarzan came clear of them snarling like a wild beast, the remains of some unfortunate's throat clutched in his teeth. Tarzan spat out the warrior's flesh, raised his head, and bellowed, "Kreeegah! Tarzan kill!"

The warriors foamed over him again, and once again the ape-man threw them back, flicking them from him the way a dog might shake water from its fur.

But now more warriors were arriving, scores of them, and even Tarzan with all his skill and might could not hold them. They rose over him like a great storm wave, washed him to the ground beneath a rain of fists and feet and weapons.

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