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Chapter 22 Tarzan: The Lost Adventure by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Tarzan used the flagpole like a pole vault. He went high and came down on Ebopa's head even as the beast leaped. The creature floundered forward and landed in the sand of the arena, face first. It rose up with a roar, and shedding Tarzan from its back with a whipping movement of its spine.

It moved into a one-legged posture, its hooks held before it. It changed postures. Danced across the sands, twisted, hissed. Tarzan understood much in that moment. The martial-arts moves he had seen on the stone were the moves of this thing. The common mantis-- perhaps the cousin to this beast- made similar moves. Martial-arts systems in China had been based on these movements, and this accounted for the way the warriors of Ur fought. They were trying to mimic their god; had developed an entire fighting system based on these strange patterns.
Tarzan dropped the pole when he made his leap, and now he yelled to stand back.

"You can't take it alone," Hunt said.

"Wait until it is preoccupied with me," Tarzan yelled. "Then strike."

Tarzan mimicked the creature's moves. He tried to focus only on Ebopa. The intentions of Ebopa were hard to read. Its body English was unlike that of human beings. A slight movement might lead one to realize an attack was coming from one direction in a human being, could be totally misleading against this monster. Its bones, muscles... They did not operate in the same manner.

Ebopa began to hop, posture. Tarzan did the same. The creature struck with a hooked hand, and Tarzan blocked the strike and struck back. Striking the mantis was like striking a brick wall.

Tarzan bounced back, casually uncoiled the chain from around his waist, wrapped it around one of his palms and began to swing it over his head.

Ebopa watched this with considerable curiosity. The movement of the chain was mesmerizing to the creature. When Tarzan felt it was preoccupied, he thrust his right leg forward like a fencer, and whipped the chain out and low, caught Ebopa's foreleg, and twisted the length of the chain around it.

Then Tarzan jerked, causing Ebopa to smash onto its back.

Jean and Nyama and Hunt started to rush forward, but Tarzan yelled them back. The chain had come uncoiled from around Ebopa's leg, and with amazing, almost supernatural speed, Ebopa had regained its footing.

The crowd in the arena had panicked at first, but now they and the warriors watched the spectacle below with bloodthirsty interest. Never, never, never, had they seen Ebopa on its back. Never had they seen a man challenge it with its own movements, or with such bravery.

Jad-bal-ja brought his jaws together against the black lion's throat, shook his foe dramatically, then fell over, the black lion falling on top of him. Jad-bal-ja tried to crawl from beneath the dispatched lion, but his wounds were too great. He could smell the man he loved below, could sense he was in trouble, but he could not help him. The lion began to whimper and painfully inch its way from beneath its fallen adversary.

A little figure scuttled up the steps and moved close to the lion. It was Nkima. The little monkey, searching for Tarzan, had picked up the spoor of the lion and had followed the scent to the arena box.

Jad-bal-ja purred softly, and Nkima stroked the lion's head.

"I would like to eat you," growled the lion.

"You cannot," chattered the monkey, "for I am Nkima and I am much too fast."

Hanson, Billy, and Wilson arrived in sight of the great city of Ur. Even from a distance, they could hear the roar of a massive crowd.

"Sounds like a baseball stadium," Hanson said. "If you think we're gonna just ride up there, get this daughter of yours out, you're a fool," Wilson said.

"Shut up," Hanson said. "Shut up before I shoot you down."

"Easy, Bwana," Billy said. "Jackass is right. They put holes through us many times with arrows, we come ride up. We best unbridle zebras, let them go."

"You let them go," Wilson said. "They'll head home. To Ur. The city might decide to investigate the loss of its warriors. Maybe they're already looking."

"If they were a hunting party," Hanson said. "Maybe not."

"Jackass right," Billy said. "Best kill zebras."

"But they are innocent animals," Hanson said.

"I am innocent animal too," Billy said. "And live one. Would like to stay that way. Like zebras fine. Like self more."

"We'll hobble, them," Hanson said. "They cannot go far bobbled. We'll leave them hobbled until we're finished here. We might need them."

"You're soft, Hanson," said Wilson.

"Good for you," Hanson said. "If I wasn't, you'd be long dead and meat for the worms."

The interior of Ebopa's brain experienced something it had never imagined it possessed. Surprise. This thing! This frail-looking thing was not frail at all! And it was fast. Almost as fast as Ebopa itself. Ebopa could not understand it. Not only was it strong and fast, it hurt him. It struck with a shiny black tail, and when it struck, it hurt.

Tarzan realized what Ebopa realized. It could feel pain. The lion's attack had been against the hard, bony arms and legs of Ebopa, but Tarzan determined the place to attack with his chain was the creature's joints, what passed for its knees, elbows, and neck. There it was weak.

Tarzan let forth with the cry of the bull ape, whipped the chain like a scorpion's tail, and finally Ebopa, relying on its uncanny speed, rushed the ape-man. Tarzan could not move completely out of the way of one of its hooked hands, and the hook tore the flesh on Tarzan's shoulder, yet the ape-man was able to sidestep enough to grab Ebopa's shoulder, pull it back and down, and whip the chain around its neck.

Ebopa stood up, pranced about the arena with Tarzan dangling on its back, the chain tight around its neck. Tarzan dropped all of his weight and yanked back on the chain, striving for a marriage of gravity; if he could plunge all his weight to the center of Ebopa's back, he hoped he might snap its spine.

Ebopa went backwards, but its "knees" bent the opposite way, taking pressure off of Tarzan's attack. Ebopa shook its head and bent forward and sent Tarzan flying.

The jungle man landed, rolled, and scuttled to his feet as the thing hopped toward him.

Tarzan fell on his back before Ebopa's onslaught, brought his foot up, caught Ebopa in the center of its bony chest, pushed up and back with all his might. Ebopa went flying, crashed into the arena wall below Kuvandi's box.

Tarzan whirled to his feet, and saw an amazing sight.

Ebopa was fleeing. It went up the smooth arena wall as easily as if it were running across the ground. It game the box effortlessly, then leapt from the box into the stands of the arena.

Formerly excited patrons now fled before their god. It sprang amongst them, spraying humanity before it like a wild man tossing wet wash. The Urs flopped and flapped and broke and snapped.

Tarzan took the moment to wrap the chain around his waist, then he recovered the flagpole and used it to launch himself into Kurvandi's box. There he found poor Jad-bal-ja and a panicked Nkima. The lion was badly hurt. Tarzan tore strips from Kurvandi's clothes and bound the lion's wounds to the sounds of Ebopa' destruction: yells of tenor, the thudding of feet. Ur was in a panic.

Nkima chattered softly.

"So, my friend," Tarzan said. "In spite of your cowardly nature, you came to try and help."

Nkima told a lie about a brave deed he had performed, but his heart wasn't in it. It was just something for him to say. He made a cooing noise, asked about the lion.

"I cannot say, Nkima," Tarzan said. "Jad-bal-ja is badly injured. But he is strong."

Hanson, Billy, and Wilson were making their way through the woods, and had just reached the grasslands in front of the city moat, when they heard a yell quite unlike that of any before.

"Must be a home run," Wilson said.

Suddenly, the drawbridge dropped, and fearful warriors, servants, the whole of Ur, tried to exit through that doorway. They fell beneath the feet of their friends and family, were knocked into the moat where the crocodiles happily greeted them.

"Drop back," Billy said. "Bad business here."

Hanson jammed a rifle into Wilson's spine, and Wilson, Hanson, and Billy slid back into the jungle, watching this strange spectacle with a kind of awe.

When Jad-bal-ja's wounds were dressed as well as possible, Tarzan extended the pole, and one at a time he pulled his three companions up to the arena box.
Nyama was first. She noted the remains of Kurvandi in one corner, his head smashed like a pottery vase. His beautiful headdress was a bloody ruin.

"So ends the great Kurvandi" she said. "The lion, I suppose?"

"Yes," Tarzan said, extending the pole down to Jean.

"He killed Kurvandi and the black lion. He is very brave. He is my good friend Jad-bal-ja."

"Is he dying?"


Jean held the pole as Tarzan, hand over hand, pulled her up. He lowered it for Hunt and soon they all stood in the box, the injured Jad-bal-ja at their feet.

"The lion is a noble warrior," Hunt said. "He was a boon companion."

"He is that," Tarzan said. "There's a litter here for Kurvandi. I will place the lion on it. He is very heavy, but the three of you, if you use it like a travois, you will be able to take him to safety. I want Nkima to go with you. If you will let him, and he does not become distracted, he can lead you back to safety once you escape Ur."

'What about you?" Jean asked.

"My path lies in another direction," Tarzan said.

"Ebopa?" Nyama said.

"For one," Tarzan said. "Now go, before the crowd reorganizes and decides to elect a new king. Go before you are worse off than before."

Nkima bounced on Tarzan's shoulder and made chittering noises.

"No, Nkima," Tarzan said. "Not this time, old friend. Go with these people and Jad-bal-ja."

Tarzan lifted the lion onto the litter as carefully as he might a kitten. Jad-bal-ja licked his hand. Tarzan spoke to the lion in the language of the jungle. "You will be all right with these tarmangani, old friend. They will take care of you. And if fate and the law of the jungle allow, will see you and Nkima again."

Hunt shook hands with Tarzan. Jean said, "You are something special, Mr. Tarzan."

"Yes, I am," Tarzan said, and smiled.

"And modest as well," Jean said.

"My greatest trait," Tarzan said.

Nyama and Jean took turns bugging him, then with Hunt's assistance they dragged the litter bearing Jad-bal-ja away. Just before they began carefully descending down stairs that led away from the arena, Jad-bal-ja lifted hi bloodied head and looked at the ape-man. His lips curled Tarzan thought: Who says a beast cannot smile?

When Hunt, Jean, and Nyama broke into the main courtyard carrying the litter bearing Jad-bal-ja and Nkima, who had hitched a ride, they were Amazed at the rush of humanity. There wasn't a hint of civilization amongst the roaring, shoving, pushing crowd. Women, children, the elderly fell before the frightened and confused masses and were trampled. Seeing their god frightened by an outsider, having it go amok within their own populace had been too much for the Urs' sensibilities.

In their dash to escape death by their god, they he upset lamps and oils and torches. Ur had begun to burn. The fires spread rapidly, and already flames leapt from windows and a smoke thick as wool and dark as pitch rose up above the city and turned the clear blue sky and the snow-white clouds to soot.

Nyama took command immediately. "This way," she shouted, and they bore the litter away from the mass of teeming humanity, and fled back into the flaming building.

"We'll die!" Hunt yelled.

"No," Nyama said. "I know this place. Through the kitchen."

They were almost bowled over by fleeing Urs, but the bulk of the rush was from the main grounds and the arena. This way, they were able to thread their way through the frightened stragglers, and soon they were moving down a long flight of stairs and into the kitchen of the great palace.

They were almost exhausted by the time they reached the kitchen, raced through it, and rushed out the back door and through a courtyard. Warriors, frothing at the mouth as if infected with rabies, pounded past them; the very foundation on which they based their lives had fallen out from beneath them, and now they were all but insane, their one design to get away, to anywhere.

Nyama led her party across the courtyard, and with absolutely no resistance, they moved into the field beyond the great city, and turned wide around the moat toward the jungle that surrounded Ur.

Hanson, Billy, and Wilson watched in amazement from the concealment of the jungle as the people of Ur rushed out of their city. Many tumbled from the drawbridge or were stomped by the populace, but now, for the Urs, a new problem had entered the playing field.

The moat bridge began to collapse due to the great weight it was bearing. It snapped and the lumber leapt high. The frightened masses were dropped into the water with the crocodiles who were having a field day. The water had turned red and slick with blood and the sounds of the wounded and the dying was terrible.

"If Jean was alive," Hanson said. "And inside.."

"You don't know that," Billy said.

"I think you can bet on it," Wilson said. "I was you, I'd get me a woman, make another daughter, and head to the house."

Hanson turned and slugged Wilson, knocked him to the ground.

Wilson spat out a tooth and glared at Hanson. "Easy to do with my hands tied."

"Cut him loose, Billy," Hanson said.

"Bwana, I don't know you. . ."

"Cut him loose!" Hanson said.

Billy shook his head, drew his knife, and cut Wilson's hands free.

"I don't like it, Bwana," Billy said.

Wilson stood up. "You ain't gonna like it more when you see what I do here to your boss. Get ready, Hanson. I'm gonna turn your face to hamburger."

There was a break in the foliage, about half the size a boxing ring, and the two naturally gravitated toward it. Wilson danced and jabbed and Hanson took the blows to his forearms and elbows. Hanson realized immediately that this guy knew what he was doing. Hanson had boxed enough to know that. But Hanson determined that in spite of that, he in fact had the edge. He thought: Wilson doesn't know I know what I know. He doesn't know I've had boxing experience, and if I don't show it up-front he's going to get overconfident, and when he does. . .

Hanson lowered his guard, purposely. Wilson flashed out a jab, caught Hanson on the forehead. Hanson was able to slip it pretty well, but it was a solid shot. He let Wilson have another. Wilson moved in for the kill.

And then Hanson brought into play what he thought was his best punch. An uppercut. He swung up fast and solid and caught Wilson under the chin, snapping his head back. Wilson wobbled, and Hanson brought in an overhand right, and caught him just above the right eye.

Wilson went down and out.

Breathing heavily, Hanson said, "Tie him up again, Billy."

Billy laughed. "You tough, Bwana. Nobody want to bother you. You tough."

"Right now," Hanson said, "I'm tired."

Tarzan lost sight of Ebopa, but not the scent. The scent was distinct. Carrying the chain, Tarzan tracked Ebopa throughout the arena. He found the beast back in the arena proper, clawing at a wooden door. It looked weak, injured. The wounds he had inflicted on the monster had finally taken their toll. Still, Ebopa clawed so brutally, great sheets of wood peeled off the door and fell around it in strips.

Tarzan was watching from the stands, fifteen feet above the arena. He dropped over the side and into the arena a mere instant after Ebopa managed to shatter the door and enter into the darkness that led deep into the caverns.

Tarzan followed Ebopa into the darkness. The creature was moving rapidly. Tarzan assumed that it had never been hurt in a fight before. No one before had been able to injure it. Tarzan knew it would die, but it would take a long time to die. He must finish it. Even a terrible creature like Ebopa should not be allowed to suffer.

Down, down, down, led only by his sense of smell, went Tarzan. Finally his nostrils picked up the aroma of oil. He stretched out his hands and found that there was a trough that ran along the wall of the tunnel, and it was filled with oil. Tarzan grabbed the chain, one end in each hand, and cracked it together. A spark flew. He did it again. He popped it a half dozen times until the spark hit and ignited the oil. Flames charged down the trough and filled the cavern with light.
The tunnel wound down and around and became precarious. Tarzan was overwhelmed by Ebopa's spoor. He was closing in on the creature. A few minutes later he came to a wide cavern. It was dark in there. Tarzan found a row of dry torches jutting out of the wall, and he took one, lit it, and proceeded.

The torchlight played across the rocks and revealed Ebopa. The god of the Urs lay on the floor by an uprise of stone, and on the stone was a greenish, rubbery-looking egg. Ebopa was breathing heavily. One of its claws rested near the egg, protectively. The ceiling dripped dirt and Tarzan realized this was due not only to the mad rush of humankind above them, but also because part of this cavern was supported by rotten, man-made supports, an the dying Ebopa had fallen against one of them, dislodging it.

Tarzan realized too that Ebopa was not only male, but female. It had impregnated itself. He could see a number of egg-casings lying about, as well as the skeletal remains of adult creatures. Tarzan understood now how Ebopa had lived so long. It had been trapped here many moons ago, but as it aged, it impregnated itself and gave birth to a replacement. There had been many Ebopas.

But there would be no more.

A creature like this, it was not for the upper world.

Tarzan approached Ebopa, the chain ready to strike. But when he was within distance to do the killing, Ebopa's head dropped, the claw scraped over the rock, and Ebopa , The Stick That Walks, the God of the Urs, fell dead.

Tarzan turned his attention to the leather egg. It wobbled. A little hooked claw emerged from the shell, twisted, vibrated.

And above them the earth shifted.

Tarzan looked up. The cavern was starting to collapse. He turned to run, but suddenly the light of the tunnel disappeared behind a curtain of dirt. The stampede of people above, the rotten timbers, the disintegration of the caverns, were all coming into position at once. And the end result was simple.


The ground pitched and rocked. A timber fell toward Tarzan. He caught it, shoved it aside.

Then the world dropped down on him.

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