The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 81

been!

They had entered the mountains now, and were progressing more slowly,
for the trail was steeper and very rocky.

For a few minutes they had been silent. The girl was wondering if they
would reach her father's DOUAR before the pursuit had overtaken them.
Tarzan was wishing that they might walk on thus forever. If the girl
were only a man they might. He longed for a friend who loved the same
wild life that he loved. He had learned to crave companionship, but it
was his misfortune that most of the men he knew preferred immaculate
linen and their clubs to nakedness and the jungle. It was, of course,
difficult to understand, yet it was very evident that they did.

The two had just turned a projecting rock around which the trail ran
when they were brought to a sudden stop. There, before them, directly
in the middle of the path, stood Numa, EL ADREA, the black lion. His
green eyes looked very wicked, and he bared his teeth, and lashed his
bay-black sides with his angry tail. Then he roared--the fearsome,
terror-inspiring roar of the hungry lion which is also angry.

"Your knife," said Tarzan to the girl, extending his hand. She slipped
the hilt of the weapon into his waiting palm. As his fingers closed
upon it he drew her back and pushed her behind him. "Walk back to the
desert as rapidly as you can. If you hear me call you will know that
all is well, and you may return."

"It is useless," she replied, resignedly. "This is the end."

"Do as I tell you," he commanded. "Quickly! He is about to charge."
The girl dropped back a few paces, where she stood watching for the
terrible sight that she knew she should soon witness.

The lion was advancing slowly toward Tarzan, his nose to the ground,
like a challenging bull, his tail extended now and quivering as though
with intense excitement.

The ape-man stood, half crouching, the long Arab knife glistening in
the moonlight. Behind him the tense figure of the girl, motionless as
a carven statue. She leaned slightly forward, her lips parted, her
eyes wide. Her only conscious thought was wonder at the bravery of the
man who dared face with a puny knife the lord with the large head. A
man of her own blood would have knelt in prayer and gone down beneath
those awful fangs without resistance. In either case the result would
be

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