The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 161

rolled his head in their direction in time to see the burly
brute of a priest leap upon the woman opposite him, dashing out her
brains with a single blow of his heavy cudgel. Then that happened
which Tarzan had witnessed a hundred times before among the wild
denizens of his own savage jungle. He had seen the thing fall upon
Kerchak, and Tublat, and Terkoz; upon a dozen of the other mighty bull
apes of his tribe; and upon Tantor, the elephant; there was scarce any
of the males of the forest that did not at times fall prey to it. The
priest went mad, and with his heavy bludgeon ran amuck among his
fellows.

His screams of rage were frightful as he dashed hither and thither,
dealing terrific blows with his giant weapon, or sinking his yellow
fangs into the flesh of some luckless victim. And during it the
priestess stood with poised knife above Tarzan, her eyes fixed in
horror upon the maniacal thing that was dealing out death and
destruction to her votaries.

Presently the room was emptied except for the dead and dying on the
floor, the victim upon the altar, the high priestess, and the madman.
As the cunning eyes of the latter fell upon the woman they lighted with
a new and sudden lust. Slowly he crept toward her, and now he spoke;
but this time there fell upon Tarzan's surprised ears a language he
could understand; the last one that he would ever have thought of
employing in attempting to converse with human beings--the low guttural
barking of the tribe of great anthropoids--his own mother tongue. And
the woman answered the man in the same language.

He was threatening--she attempting to reason with him, for it was quite
evident that she saw that he was past her authority. The brute was
quite close now--creeping with clawlike hands extended toward her
around the end of the altar. Tarzan strained at the bonds which held
his arms pinioned behind him. The woman did not see--she had forgotten
her prey in the horror of the danger that threatened herself. As the
brute leaped past Tarzan to clutch his victim, the ape-man gave one
superhuman wrench at the thongs that held him. The effort sent him
rolling from the altar to the stone floor on the opposite side from
that on which the priestess stood; but as he sprang to his feet the
thongs dropped from his freed arms, and at the same time he realized
that he was alone in

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