The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 155

passed through several of these chambers, finding many
evidences of the fabulous wealth of the original builders. In one room
were seven pillars of solid gold, and in another the floor itself was
of the precious metal. And all the while that he explored, his blacks
huddled close together at his back, and strange shapes hovered upon
either hand and before them and behind, yet never close enough that any
might say that they were not alone.

The strain, however, was telling upon the nerves of the Waziri. They
begged Tarzan to return to the sunlight. They said that no good could
come of such an expedition, for the ruins were haunted by the spirits
of the dead who had once inhabited them.

"They are watching us, O king," whispered Busuli. "They are waiting
until they have led us into the innermost recesses of their stronghold,
and then they will fall upon us and tear us to pieces with their teeth.
That is the way with spirits. My mother's uncle, who is a great witch
doctor, has told me all about it many times."

Tarzan laughed. "Run back into the sunlight, my children," he said.
"I will join you when I have searched this old ruin from top to bottom,
and found the gold, or found that there is none. At least we may take
the tablets from the walls, though the pillars are too heavy for us to
handle; but there should be great storerooms filled with gold--gold
that we can carry away upon our backs with ease. Run on now, out into
the fresh air where you may breathe easier."

Some of the warriors started to obey their chief with alacrity, but
Busuli and several others hesitated to leave him--hesitated between
love and loyalty for their king, and superstitious fear of the unknown.
And then, quite unexpectedly, that occurred which decided the question
without the necessity for further discussion. Out of the silence of
the ruined temple there rang, close to their ears, the same hideous
shriek they had heard the previous night, and with horrified cries the
black warriors turned and fled through the empty halls of the age-old
edifice.

Behind them stood Tarzan of the Apes where they had left him, a grim
smile upon his lips--waiting for the enemy he fully expected was about
to pounce upon him. But again silence reigned, except for the faint
suggestion of the sound of naked feet moving stealthily in near-by
places.

Then Tarzan wheeled and passed on into the depths of the temple.

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