Tarzan the Terrible

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 82

the
heart of the high priest to tear the veil from his imposture.

At the entrance to the temple Ko-tan had relinquished the guidance of
the guest to Lu-don and now the latter led Tarzan through those
portions of the temple that he wished him to see. He showed him the
great room where the votive offerings were kept, gifts from the
barbaric chiefs of Pal-ul-don and from their followers. These things
ranged in value from presents of dried fruits to massive vessels of
beaten gold, so that in the great main storeroom and its connecting
chambers and corridors was an accumulation of wealth that amazed even
the eyes of the owner of the secret of the treasure vaults of Opar.

Moving to and fro throughout the temple were sleek black Waz-don
slaves, fruits of the Ho-don raids upon the villages of their less
civilized neighbors. As they passed the barred entrance to a dim
corridor, Tarzan saw within a great company of pithecanthropi of all
ages and of both sexes, Ho-don as well as Waz-don, the majority of them
squatted upon the stone floor in attitudes of utter dejection while
some paced back and forth, their features stamped with the despair of
utter hopelessness.

"And who are these who lie here thus unhappily?" he asked of Lu-don. It
was the first question that he had put to the high priest since
entering the temple, and instantly he regretted that he had asked it,
for Lu-don turned upon him a face upon which the expression of
suspicion was but thinly veiled.

"Who should know better than the son of Jad-ben-Otho?" he retorted.

"The questions of Dor-ul-Otho are not with impunity answered with other
questions," said the ape-man quietly, "and it may interest Lu-don, the
high priest, to know that the blood of a false priest upon the altar of
his temple is not displeasing in the eyes of Jad-ben-Otho."

Lu-don paled as he answered Tarzan's question. "They are the offerings
whose blood must refresh the eastern altars as the sun returns to your
father at the day's end."

"And who told you," asked Tarzan, "that Jad-ben-Otho was pleased that
his people were slain upon his altars? What if you were mistaken?"

"Then countless thousands have died in vain," replied Lu-don.

Ko-tan and the surrounding warriors and priests were listening
attentively to the dialogue. Some of the poor victims behind the barred
gateway had heard and rising, pressed close to the barrier through
which one was conducted just before sunset each day, never to return.

"Liberate them!" cried Tarzan with a wave of his hand toward the
imprisoned victims of

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