The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 196

humanity who
inhabit the ruins of Opar. And the girl's fate he could picture as
plainly as though he were an eyewitness to it. When they would lay her
across that trim altar he could not guess, but that her dear, frail
body would eventually find its way there he was confident.

But, finally, after what seemed long ages to the impatient ape-man, he
topped the barrier cliffs that hemmed the desolate valley, and below
him lay the grim and awful ruins of the now hideous city of Opar. At a
rapid trot he started across the dry and dusty, bowlder-strewn ground
toward the goal of his desires.

Would he be in time to rescue? He hoped against hope. At least he
could be revenged, and in his wrath it seemed to him that he was equal
to the task of wiping out the entire population of that terrible city.
It was nearly noon when he reached the great bowlder at the top of
which terminated the secret passage to the pits beneath the city. Like
a cat he scaled the precipitous sides of the frowning granite KOPJE. A
moment later he was running through the darkness of the long, straight
tunnel that led to the treasure vault. Through this he passed, then on
and on until at last he came to the well-like shaft upon the opposite
side of which lay the dungeon with the false wall.

As he paused a moment upon the brink of the well a faint sound came to
him through the opening above. His quick ears caught and translated
it--it was the dance of death that preceded a sacrifice, and the
singsong ritual of the high priestess. He could even recognize the
woman's voice. Could it be that the ceremony marked the very thing he
had so hastened to prevent? A wave of horror swept over him. Was he,
after all, to be just a moment too late? Like a frightened deer he
leaped across the narrow chasm to the continuation of the passage
beyond. At the false wall he tore like one possessed to demolish the
barrier that confronted him--with giant muscles he forced the opening,
thrusting his head and shoulders through the first small hole he made,
and carrying the balance of the wall with him, to clatter resoundingly
upon the cement floor of the dungeon.

With a single leap he cleared the length of the chamber and threw
himself against the ancient door. But here he stopped. The

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