Tarzan the Terrible

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 25

to have speech with my own blood.
It will not take long. Wait here--I shall return soon. Afterward shall
we go together to Ta-den's people."

He moved silently toward the foot of the cliff up which Tarzan could
presently see him ascending like a great fly on a wall. In the dim
light the ape-man could not see the pegs set in the face of the cliff.
Om-at moved warily. In the lower tier of caves there should be a
sentry. His knowledge of his people and their customs told him,
however, that in all probability the sentry was asleep. In this he was
not mistaken, yet he did not in any way abate his wariness. Smoothly
and swiftly he ascended toward the cave of Pan-at-lee while from below
Tarzan and Ta-den watched him.

"How does he do it?" asked Tarzan. "I can see no foothold upon that
vertical surface and yet he appears to be climbing with the utmost
ease."

Ta-den explained the stairway of pegs. "You could ascend easily," he
said, "although a tail would be of great assistance."

They watched until Om-at was about to enter the cave of Pan-at-lee
without seeing any indication that he had been observed and then,
simultaneously, both saw a head appear in the mouth of one of the lower
caves. It was quickly evident that its owner had discovered Om-at for
immediately he started upward in pursuit. Without a word Tarzan and
Ta-den sprang forward toward the foot of the cliff. The pithecanthropus
was the first to reach it and the ape-man saw him spring upward for a
handhold on the lowest peg above him. Now Tarzan saw other pegs roughly
paralleling each other in zigzag rows up the cliff face. He sprang and
caught one of these, pulled himself upward by one hand until he could
reach a second with his other hand; and when he had ascended far enough
to use his feet, discovered that he could make rapid progress. Ta-den
was outstripping him, however, for these precarious ladders were no
novelty to him and, further, he had an advantage in possessing a tail.

Nevertheless, the ape-man gave a good account of himself, being
presently urged to redoubled efforts by the fact that the Waz-don above
Ta-den glanced down and discovered his pursuers just before the Ho-don
overtook him. Instantly a wild cry shattered the silence of the
gorge--a cry that was immediately answered by hundreds of savage
throats as warrior after warrior emerged from the entrance to his cave.

The creature who had raised the alarm had now reached the recess before
Pan-at-lee's cave and here

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