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Title:      Tarzan and the Lost Empire
Author:     Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Language:   English
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Date first posted:          May 2006
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Title:      Tarzan and the Lost Empire
Author:     Edgar Rice Burroughs





Chapter One


NKIMA danced excitedly upon the naked, brown shoulder of his master. He
chattered and scolded, now looking up inquiringly into Tarzan's face and
then off into the jungle.

"Something is coming, Bwana," said Muviro, sub-chief of the Waziri.
"Nkima has heard it."

"And Tarzan," said the ape-man.

"The big Bwana's ears are as keen as the ears of Bara the antelope," said
Muviro.

"Had they not been, Tarzan would not be here today," replied the ape-man,
with a smile. "He would not have grown to manhood had not Kala, his
mother, taught him to use all of the senses that Mulungu gave him."

"What comes?" asked Muviro.

"A party of men," replied Tarzan.

"Perhaps they are not friendly," suggested the African. "Shall I warn the
warriors?"

Tarzan glanced about the little camp where a score of his fighting men
were busy preparing their evening meal and saw that, as was the custom of
the Waziri, their weapons were in order and at hand.

"No," he said. "It will, I believe, be unnecessary, as these people who
are approaching do not come stealthily as enemies would, nor are their
numbers so great as to cause us any apprehension."

But Nkima, a born pessimist, expected only the worst, and as the
approaching party came nearer his excitement increased. He leaped from
Tarzan's shoulder to the ground, jumped up and down several times and
then, springing back to Tarzan's side, seized his arm and attempted to
drag him to his feet.

"Run, run!" he cried, in the language of the apes. "Strange Gomangani are
coming. They will kill little Nkima."

"Do not be afraid, Nkima," said the ape-man. "Tarzan and Muviro will not
let the strangers hurt you."

"I smell a strange Tarmangani," chattered Nkima. "There is a Tarmangani
with them. The Tarmangani are worse than the Gomangani. They come with
thundersticks and kill little Nkima and all his brothers and sisters.
They kill the Mangani. They kill the Gomangani. They kill everything with
their thundersticks. Nkima does not like the Tarmangani. Nkima is
afraid."

To Nkima, as to the other denizens of the jungle, Tarzan was no
Tarmangani, no white man. He was of the jungle. He was one of them, and
if they thought of him as being anything other than just Tarzan it was as
a Mangani, a great ape, that they classified him.

The advance of the strangers was now plainly audible to everyone in the
camp. The Waziri warriors glanced into the jungle in the direction from
which the sounds were coming and then back to Tarzan and Muviro, but when
they saw that their leaders were not concerned they went quietly on with
their cooking.

A tall Negro warrior was the first of the party to come within sight of
the camp. When he saw the Waziri he halted and an instant later a bearded
white man stopped beside him.

For an instant the white man surveyed the camp and then he came forward,
making the sign of peace. Out of the jungle a dozen or more warriors
followed him. Most of them were porters, there being but three or four
rifles in evidence.

Tarzan and the Waziri realized at once that it was a small and harmless
party, and even Nkima, who had retreated to the safety of a near-by tree,
showed his contempt by scampering fearlessly back to climb to the
shoulder of his master.

"Doctor von Harben!" exclaimed Tarzan, as the bearded stranger
approached. "I scarcely recognized you at first."

"God has been kind to me, Tarzan of the Apes," said von Harben, extending
his hand. "I was on my way to see you and I have found you a full two
days march sooner than I expected."

"We are after a cattle-killer," explained Tarzan. "He has come into our
kraal several nights of late and killed some of our best cattle, but he
is very cunning. I think he must be an old lion to outwit Tarzan for so
long.

"But what brings you into Tarzan's country, Doctor? I hope it is only a
neighborly visit and that no trouble has come to my good friend, though
your appearance belies my hope."

"I, too, wish that it were nothing more than a friendly call," said von
Harben, "but as a matter of fact I am here to seek your help because I am
in trouble--very serious trouble, I fear."

"Do not tell me that the Arabs have come down again to take slaves or to
steal ivory, or is it that the leopard men are waylaying your people upon
the jungle trails at night?"

"No, it is neither the one nor the other. I have come to see you upon a
more personal matter. It is about my son, Erich. You have never met him."

"No," said Tarzan; "but you are tired and hungry. Let your men make camp
here. My evening meal is ready; while you and I eat you shall tell me how
Tarzan may serve you."

As the Waziri, at Tarzan's command, assisted von Harben's men in making
their camp, the doctor and the ape-man sat cross-legged upon the ground
and ate the rough fare that Tarzan's Waziri cook had prepared.

Tarzan saw that his guest's mind was filled with the trouble that had
brought him in search of the ape-man, and so he did not wait until they
had finished the meal to reopen the subject, but urged von Harben to
continue his story at once.

"I wish to preface the real object of my visit with a few words of
explanation," commenced von Harben. "Erich is my only son. Four years
ago, at the age of nineteen, he completed his university course with
honors and received his first degree. Since then he has spent the greater
part of his time in pursuing his studies in various European
universities, where he has specialized in archaeology and the study of
dead languages. His one hobby, outside of his chosen field, has been
mountain climbing and during succeeding summer vacations he scaled every
important Alpine peak.

"A few months ago he came here to visit me at the mission and immediately
became interested in the study of the various Bantu dialects that are in
use by the several tribes in our district and those adjacent thereto.

"While pursuing his investigation among the natives he ran across that
old legend of The Lost Tribe of the Wiramwazi Mountains, with which we
are all so familiar. Immediately his mind became imbued, as have the
minds of so many others, with the belief that this fable might have
originated in fact and that if he could trace it down he might possibly
find descendants of one of the lost tribes of Biblical history."

"I know the legend well," said Tarzan, "and because it is so persistent
and the details of its narration by the natives so circumstantial, I have
thought that I should like to investigate it myself, but in the past no
necessity has arisen to take me close to the Wiramwazi Mountains."

"I must confess," continued the doctor, "that I also have had the same
urge many times. I have upon two occasions talked with men of the Bagego
tribe that live upon the slopes of the Wiramwazi Mountains and in both
instances I have been assured that a tribe of white men dwells somewhere
in the depths of that great mountain range. Both of these men told me
that their tribe has carried on trade with these people from time
immemorial and each assured me that he had often seen members of The Lost
Tribe both upon occasions of peaceful trading and during the warlike
raids that the mountaineers occasionally launched upon the Bagego.

"The result was that when Erich suggested an expedition to the Wiramwazi
I rather encouraged him, since he was well fitted to undertake the
adventure. His knowledge of Bantu and his intensive, even though brief,
experience among the natives gave him an advantage that few scholars
otherwise equipped by education to profit by such an expedition would
have, while his considerable experience as a mountain climber would, I
felt, stand him in good stead during such an adventure.

"On the whole I felt that he was an ideal man to lead such an expedition,
and my only regret was that I could not accompany him, but this was
impossible at the time. I assisted him in every way possible in the
organization of his safari and in equipping and provisioning it.

"He has not been gone a sufficient length of time to accomplish any
considerable investigation and return to the mission, but recently a few
of the members of his safari were reported to me as having returned to
their villages. When I sought to interview them they avoided me, but
rumors reached me that convinced me that all was not well with my son. I
therefore determined to organize a relief expedition, but in all my
district I could find only these few men who dared accompany me to the
Wiramwazi Mountains, which, their legends assure them, are inhabited by
malign spirits--for, as you know, they consider The Lost Tribe of the
Wiramwazi to be a band of bloodthirsty ghosts. It became evident to me
that the deserters of Erich's safari had spread terror through the
district.

"Under the circumstances I was compelled to look elsewhere for help and
naturally I turned, in my perplexity, to Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle. Now
you know why I am here."

"I will help you, Doctor," said Tarzan, after the other had concluded.

"Good!" exclaimed von Harben; "but I knew that you would. You have about
twenty men here, I should judge, and I have about fourteen. My men can
act as carriers, while yours, who are acknowledged to be the finest
fighting men in Africa, can serve as askaris. With you to guide us we can
soon pick up the trail and with such a force, small though it be, there
is no country that we cannot penetrate."

Tarzan shook his head. "No, Doctor," he said, "I shall go alone. That is
always my way. Alone I may travel much more rapidly and when I am alone
the jungle holds no secrets from me--I shall be able to obtain more
information along the way than would be possible were I accompanied by
others. You know the jungle people consider me as one of themselves. They
do not run away from me as they would from you and other men."

"You know best," said von Harben. "I should like to accompany you. I
should like to feel that I am doing my share, but if you say no I can
only abide by your decision."

"Return to your mission, Doctor, and wait there until you hear from me."

"And in the morning you leave for the Wiramwazi Mountains?" asked von
Harben.

"I leave at once," said the ape-man.

"But it is already dark," objected von Harben.

"There is a full moon and I wish to take advantage of it," explained the
other. "I can lie up in the heat of the day for what rest I need." He
turned and called Muviro to him. "Return home with my warriors, Muviro,"
he instructed, "and hold every fighting man of the Waziri in readiness in
the event that I find it necessary to send for you."

"Yes, Bwana," replied Muviro; "and how long shall we wait for a message
before we set out for the Wiramwazi Mountains in search of you?"

"I shall take Nkima with me and if I need you I shall send him back to
fetch and to guide you."

"Yes, Bwana," replied Muviro. "They will be in readiness--all the
fighting men of the Waziri. Their weapons will be at hand by day and by
night and fresh war-paint will be ready in every pot."

Tarzan swung his bow and his quiver of arrows across his back. Over his
left shoulder and under his right arm lay the coils of his grass rope and
at his hip dangled the hunting-knife of his long-dead sire. He picked up
his short spear and stood for a moment with head up, sniffing the breeze.
The firelight played upon his bronzed skin.

For a moment he stood thus, every sense alert. Then he called to Nkima in
the tongue of the ape folk and as the little monkey scampered toward him,
Tarzan of the Apes turned without a word of farewell and moved silently
off into the jungle, his lithe carriage, his noiseless tread, his
majestic mien suggesting to the mind of von Harben a personification of
another mighty jungle animal, Numa the lion, king of beasts.


Chapter Two


ERICH VON HARBEN stepped from his tent upon the slopes of the Wiramwazi
Mountains to look upon a deserted camp.

When he had first awakened, the unusual quiet of his surroundings had
aroused within him a presentiment of ill, which was augmented when
repeated calls for his body-servant, Gabula, elicited no response.

For weeks, as the safari had been approaching the precincts of the feared
Wiramwazi, his men had been deserting by twos and threes until the
preceding evening when they had made this camp well upon the mountain
slopes only a terrified remnant of the original safari had remained with
him. Now even these, overcome during the night by the terrors of
ignorance and superstition, had permitted fear to supplant loyalty and
had fled from the impending and invisible terrors of this frowning range,
leaving their master alone with the bloodthirsty spirits of the dead.

A hasty survey of the camp site revealed that the men had stripped von
Harben of everything. All of his supplies were gone and his gun carriers
had decamped with his rifles and all of his ammunition, with the
exception of a single Luger pistol and its belt of ammunition that had
been in the tent with him.

Erich von Harben had had sufficient experience with these natives to
understand fairly well the mental processes based upon their deep-rooted
superstition that had led them to this seemingly inhuman and disloyal act
and so he did not place so much blame upon them as might another less
familiar with them.

While they had known their destination when they embarked upon the
undertaking, their courage had been high in direct proportion to the
great distance that they had been from the Wiramwazi, but in proportion
as the distance lessened with each day's march their courage had lessened
until now upon the very threshold of horrors beyond the ken of human
minds the last vestige of self-control had deserted them and they had
fled precipitately.

That they had taken his provisions, his rifles and his ammunition might
have seemed the depth of baseness had von Harben not realized the
sincerity of their belief that there could be no possible hope for him
and that his immediate death was a foregone conclusion.

He knew that they had reasoned that under the circumstances it would be a
waste of food to leave it behind for a man who was already as good as
dead when they would need it for their return journey to their villages,
and likewise, as the weapons of mortal man could avail nothing against
the ghosts of Wiramwazi, it would have beeen a needless extravagance to
have surrendered fine rifles and quantities of ammunition that von Harben
could not use against his enemies of the spirit world.

Von Harben stood for some time looking down the mountain slope toward the
forest, somewhere in the depths of which his men were hastening toward
their own country. That he might overtake them was a possibility, but by
no means a certainty, and if he did not he would be no better off alone
in the jungle than he would be on the slopes of the Wiramwazi.

He faced about and looked up toward the rugged heights above him. He had
come a long way to reach his goal, which now lay somewhere just beyond
that serrated skyline, and he was of no mind to turn back now in defeat.
A day or a week in these rugged mountains might reveal the secret of The
Lost Tribe of legend, and surely a month would be sufficient to determine
beyond a reasonable doubt that the story had no basis in fact, for von
Harben believed that in a month he could fairly well explore such
portions of the range as might naturally lend themselves to human
habitation, where he hoped at best to find relics of the fabled tribe in
the form of ruins or burial mounds. For to a man of von Harben's training
and intelligence there could be no thought that The Lost Tribe of legend,
if it had ever existed, could be anything more than a vague memory
surrounding a few moldy artifacts and some crumbling bones.

It did not take the young man long to reach a decision and presently he
turned back to his tent and, entering it, packed a few necessities that
had been left to him in a light haversack, strapped his ammunition belt
about him, and stepped forth once more to turn his face upward toward the
mystery of the Wiramwazi.

In addition to his Luger, von Harben carried a hunting-knife and with
this he presently cut a stout staff from one of the small trees that grew
sparsely upon the mountainside against the time when he might find an
alpenstock indispensable.

A mountain rill furnished him pure, cold water to quench his thirst, and
he carried his pistol cocked, hoping that he might bag some small game to
satisfy his hunger. Nor had he gone far before a hare broke cover, and as
it rolled over to the crack of the Luger, von Harben gave thanks that he
had devoted much time to perfecting himself in the use of small arms.

On the spot he built a fire and grilled the hare, after which he lit his
pipe and lay at ease while he smoked and planned. His was not a
temperament to be depressed or discouraged by seeming reverses, and he
was determined not to be hurried by excitement, but to conserve his
strength at all times during the strenuous days that he felt must lie
ahead of him.

All day he climbed, choosing the long way when it seemed safer,
exercising all the lore of mountain-climbing that he had accumulated, and
resting often. Night overtook him well up toward the summit of the
highest ridge that had been visible from the base of the range. What lay
behind, he could not even guess, but experience suggested that he would
find other ridges and frowning peaks before him.

He had brought a blanket with him from the last camp and in this he
rolled up on the ground. From below there came the noises of the jungle
subdued by distance--the yapping of jackals and faintly from afar the
roaring of a lion.

Toward morning he was awakened by the scream of a leopard, not from the
jungle far below, but somewhere upon the mountain slopes near by. He knew
that this savage night prowler constituted a real menace, perhaps the
greatest he would have to face, and he regretted the loss of his heavy
rifle.

He was not afraid, for he knew that after all there was little likelihood
that the leopard was hunting him or that it would attack him, but there
was always that chance and so to guard against it he started a fire of
dry wood that he had gathered for the purpose the night before. He found
the warmth of the blaze welcome, for the night had grown cold, and he sat
for some time warming himself.

Once he thought he heard an animal moving in the darkness beyond the
range of the firelight, but he saw no shining eyes and the sound was not
repeated. And then he must have slept, for the next thing that he knew it
was daylight and only embers remained to mark where the beast fire had
blazed.

Cold and without breakfast, von Harben continued the ascent from his
cheerless camp, his eyes, under the constant urging of his stomach,
always alert for food. The terrain offered few obstacles to an
experienced mountain climber, and he even forgot his hunger in the thrill
of expectancy with which he anticipated the possibilities hidden by the
ridge whose summit now lay but a short distance ahead of him.

It is the summit of the next ridge that ever lures the explorer onward.
What new sights lie just beyond? What mysteries will its achievement
unveil to the eager eyes of the adventurer? Judgment and experience
joined forces to assure him that when his eyes surmounted the ridge ahead
they would be rewarded with nothing more startling than another similar
ridge to be negotiated; yet there was always that other hope hanging like
a shining beacon just below the next horizon, above which the rays of its
hidden light served to illuminate the figments of his desire, and his
imagination transformed the figments into realities.

Von Harben, sane and phlegmatic as he was, was now keyed to the highest
pitch of excitement as he at last scaled the final barrier and stood upon
the crest of the ridge. Before him stretched a rolling plateau, dotted
with stunted wind-swept trees, and in the distance lay the next ridge
that he had anticipated, but indistinct and impurpled by the haze of
distance. What lay between him and those far hills? His pulse quickened
at the thought of the possibilities for exploration and discovery that
lay before him, for the terrain that he looked upon was entirely
different from what he had anticipated. No lofty peaks were visible
except in the far distance, and between him and them there must lie
intriguing ravines and valleys--virgin fields at the feet of the
explorer.

Eagerly, entirely forgetful of his hunger or his solitude, von Harben
moved northward across the plateau. The land was gently rolling,
rock-strewn, sterile, and uninteresting, and when he had covered a mile
of it he commenced to have misgivings, for if it continued on without
change to the dim hills in the distance, as it now seemed was quite
likely the case, it could offer him neither interest nor sustenance.

As these thoughts were commencing to oppress him, he became suddenly
conscious of a vague change in the appearance of the terrain ahead. It
was only an impression of unreality. The hills far away before him seemed
to rise out of a great void, and it was as though between him and them
there existed nothing. He might have been looking across an inland sea to
distant, hazy shores--a waterless sea, for nowhere was there any
suggestion of water--and then suddenly he came to a halt, startled,
amazed. The lolling plateau ceased abruptly at his feet, and below him,
stretching far to the distant hills, lay a great abyss--a mighty canyon
similar to that which has made the gorge of the Colorado world-famous.

But here there was a marked difference. There were indications of
erosion. The grim walls were scarred and water-worn. Towers and turrets
and minarets, carved from the native granite, pointed upward from below,
but they clung close to the canyon's wall, and just beyond them he could
see the broad expanse of the floor of the canyon, which from his great
height above it appeared as level as a billiard table. The scene held him
in a hypnosis of wonderment and admiration as, at first swiftly and then
slowly, his eyes encompassed the whole astounding scene.

Perhaps a mile below him lay the floor of the sunken canyon, the further
wall of which he could but vaguely estimate to be somewhere between
fifteen and twenty miles to the north, and this he realized was the
lesser dimension of the canyon. Upon his right, to the east, and upon his
left, to the west, he could see that the canyon extended to considerable
distances--just how far he could not guess. He thought that to the east
he could trace the wall that hemmed it upon that side, but from where he
stood the entire extent of the canyon to the west was not visible, yet he
knew that the floor that was visible to him must stretch fully
twenty-five or thirty miles from east to west Almost below him was a
large lake or marsh that seemed to occupy the greater part of the east
end of the canyon. He could see lanes of water winding through what
appeared to be great growths of reeds and, nearer the northern shore, a
large island. Three streams, winding ribbons far below, emptied into the
lake, and in the far distance was another ribbon that might be a road. To
the west the canyon was heavily wooded, and between the forest and the
lake he saw moving figures of what he thought to be grazing game.

The sight below him aroused the enthusiasm of the explorer to its highest
pitch. Here, doubtless, lay the secret of The Lost Tribe of the Wiramwazi
and how well Nature had guarded this secret with stupendous barrier
cliffs, aided by the superstitions of the ignorant inhabitants of the
outer slopes, was now easily understandable.

As far as he could see, the cliffs seemed sheer and impossible of
descent, and yet he knew that he must find a way--that he would find a
way down into that valley of enchantment.

Moving slowly along the rim he sought some foothold, however slight,
where Nature had lowered her guard, but it was almost night and he had
covered but a short distance before he found even a suggestion of hope
that the canyon was hemmed at any point by other than unbroken cliffs,
whose perpendicular faces rose at their lowest point fully a thousand
feet above any possible foothold for a human being.

The sun had already set when he discovered a narrow fissure in the
granite wall. Crumbled fragments of the mother rock had fallen into and
partially filled it so that near the surface, at least, it offered a
means of descent below the level of the cliff top, but in the gathering
darkness he could not determine how far downward this rough and
precarious pathway led.

He could see that below him the cliffs rose in terraced battlements to
within a thousand feet of where he stood, and if the narrow fissure
extended to the next terrace below him, he felt that the obstacles
thereafter would present fewer difficulties than those that had baffled
him up to the present time--for while he would still have some four
thousand feet to descend, the formation of the cliffs was much more
broken at the foot of the first sheer drop and consequently might be
expected to offer some avenues of descent of which an experienced
mountain climber could take advantage.

Hungry and cold, he sat beneath the descending night, gazing down into
the blackening void below. Presently, as the darkness deepened, he saw a
light twinkling far below and then another and another and with each his
excitement rose, for he knew that they marked the presence of man. In
many places upon the marsh-like lake he saw the fires twinkling, and at a
point which he took to mark the site of the island there were many
lights.

What sort of men were they who tended these fires? Would he find them
friendly or hostile? Were they but another tribe of Africans, or could it
be that the old legend was based upon truth and that far below him white
men of The Lost Tribe cooked their evening meals above those tantalizing
fires of mystery?

What was that? Von Harben strained his ears to catch the faint suggestion
of a sound that arose out of the shadowy abyss below--a faint, thin sound
that barely reached his ears, but he was sure that he could not be
mistaken--the sound was the voices of men.

And now from out of the valley came the scream of a beast and again a
roar that rumbled upward like distant thunder. To the music of these
sounds, von Harben finally succumbed to exhaustion; sleep for the moment
offering him relief from cold and hunger.

When morning came he gathered wood from the stunted trees near by and
built a fire to warm himself. He had no food, nor all the previous day
since he had reached the summit had he seen any sign of a living creature
other than the game a mile beneath him on the verdant meadows of the
canyon bottom.

He knew that he must have food and have it soon and food lay but a mile
away in one direction. If he sought to circle the canyon in search of an
easier avenue of descent, he knew that he might not find one in the
hundred miles or more that he must travel. Of course he might turn back.
He was sure that he could reach the base of the outer slopes of the
Wiramwazi, where he knew that game might be found before exhaustion
overcame him, but he had no mind to turn back and the thought of failure
was only a vague suggestion that scarcely ever rose above the threshold
of his conscious mind.

Having warmed himself before the fire, he turned to examine the fissure
by the full light of day. As he stood upon its brink he could see that it
extended downward for several hundred feet, but there it disappeared.
However, he was by no means sure that it ended, since it was not a
vertical cleft, but tilted slightly from the perpendicular.

From where he stood he could see that there were places in the fissure
where descent would be just possible, though it might be very difficult
to reascend. He knew, therefore, that should he reach the bottom of the
fissure and find that further descent was impossible he would be caught
in a trap from which there might be no escape.

Although he felt as fit and strong as ever, he realized perfectly that
the contrary was the fact and that his strength must be ebbing and that
it would continue to ebb still more rapidly the longer that he was forced
to expend it in arduous efforts to descend the cliff and without any
possibility of rebuilding it with food.

Even to Erich von Harben, young, self-confident and enthusiastic, his
next step seemed little better than suicidal. To another the mere idea of
attempting the descent of these towering cliffs would have seemed
madness, but in other mountains von Harben had always found a way, and
with this thin thread upon which to hang his hopes he faced the descent
into the unknown. Now he was just about to lower himself over the edge of
the fissure when he heard the sounds of footsteps behind him. Wheeling
quickly, he drew his Luger.


Chapter Three


LITTLE NKIMA came racing through the tree tops, jabbering excitedly, and
dropped to the knee of Tarzan of the Apes where the latter lay stretched
upon the great branch of a jungle giant, his back against the rough bole,
where he was lying up after making a kill and feeding.

"Gomangani! Gomangani!" shrilled Nkima. "They come! They come!"

"Peace," said Tarzan. "You are a greater nuisance than all the Gomangani
in the jungle."

"They will kill little Nkima," cried the monkey. "They are strange
Gomangani, and there are no Tarmangani among them."

"Nkima thinks everything wants to kill him," said Tarzan, "and yet he has
lived many years and is not dead yet."

"Sabor and Shetta and Numa, the Gomangani, had Histah the snake like to
eat poor little Nkima," walled the monkey. "That is why he is afraid."

"Do not fear, Nkima," said the ape-man. "Tarzan will let no one hurt
you."

"Go and see the Gomangani," urged Nkima. "Go and kill them. Nkima does
not like the Gomangani."

Tarzan arose leisurely. "I go," he said. "Nkima may come or he may hide
in the upper terraces."

"Nkima is not afraid," blustered the little monkey. "He will go and fight
the Gomangani with Tarzan of the Apes," and he leaped to the back of the
ape-man and clung there with his arms about the bronzed throat, from
which point of vantage he peered fearfully ahead, first over the top of
one broad shoulder and then over the top of the other.

Tarzan swung swiftly and quietly through the trees toward a point where
Nkima had discovered the Gomangani, and presently he saw below him some
score of natives straggling along the jungle trail. A few of them were
armed with rifles and all carried packs of various sizes--such packs as
Tarzan knew must belong to the equipment of a white man.

The Lord of the Jungle hailed them and, startled, the men halted, looking
up fearfully.

"I am Tarzan of the Apes. Do not be afraid," Tarzan reassured them, and
simultaneously he dropped lightly to the trail among them, but as he did
so Nkima leaped frantically from his shoulders and scampered swiftly to a
high branch far above, where he sat chattering and scolding, entirely
forgetful of his vain boasting of a few moments before.

"Where is your master?" demanded Tarzan.

The Africans looked sullenly at the ground, but did not reply.

"Where is the Bwana, von Harben?" Tarzan insisted.

A tall man standing near fidgeted uneasily. "He is dead," he mumbled.

"How did he die?" asked Tarzan.

Again the man hesitated before replying. "A bull elephant that he had
wounded killed him," he said at last.

"Where is his body?"

"We could not find it."

"Then how do you know that he was killed by a bull elephant?" demanded
the ape-man.

"We do not know," another spoke up. "He went away from camp and did not
return."

"There was an elephant about and we thought that it had killed him," said
the tall man.

"You are not speaking true words," said Tarzan.

"I shall tell you the truth," said a third. "Our Bwana ascended the
slopes of the Wiramwazi and the spirits of the dead being angry seized
him and carried him away."

"I shall tell you the truth," said Tarzan. "You have deserted your master
and run away, leaving him alone in the forest."

"We were afraid," the man replied. "We warned him not to ascend the
slopes of the Wiramwazi. We begged him to turn back. He would not listen
to us, and the spirits of the dead carried him away."

"How long ago was that?" asked the ape-man.

"Six, seven, perhaps ten marchings. I do not remember."

"Where was he when you last saw him?"

As accurately as they could the men described the location of their last
camp upon the slopes of the Wiramwazi.

"Go your way back to your own villages in the Urambi country. I shall
know where to find you if I want you. If your Bwana is dead, you shall be
punished," and swinging into the branches of the lower terrace, Tarzan
disappeared from the sight of the unhappy natives in the direction of the
Wiramwazi, while Nkima, screaming shrilly, raced through the trees to
overtake him.

From his conversation with the deserting members of von Harben's safari,
Tarzan was convinced that the young man had been traitorously abandoned
and that in all likelihood he was making his way alone back upon the
trail of the deserters.

Not knowing Erich von Harben, Tarzan could not have guessed that the
young man would push on alone into the unknown and forbidding depths of
the Wiramwazi, but assumed on the contrary that he would adopt the more
prudent alternative and seek to overtake his men as rapidly as possible.
Believing this, the ape-man followed back along the trail of the safari,
expecting momentarily to meet von Harben.

This plan greatly reduced his speed, but even so he traveled with so much
greater rapidity than the natives that he came to the slopes of the
Wiramwazi upon the third day after he had interviewed the remnants of von
Harben's safari.

It was with great difficulty that he finally located the point at which
von Harben had been abandoned by his men, as a heavy rain and wind-storm
had obliterated the trail, but at last he stumbled upon the tent, which
had blown down, but nowhere could he see any signs of von Harben's trail.

Not having come upon any signs of the white man in the jungle or any
indication that he had followed his fleeing safari, Tarzan was forced to
the conclusion that if von Harben was not indeed dead he must have faced
the dangers of the unknown alone and now be either dead or alive
somewhere within the mysterious fastnesses of the Wiramwazi.

"Nkima," said the ape-man, "the Tarmangani have a saying that when it is
futile to search for a thing, it is like hunting for a needle in a
haystack. Do you believe, Nkima, that in this great mountain range we
shall find our needle?"

"Let us go home," said Nkima, "where it is warm. Here the wind blows and
up there it is colder. It is no place for little Manu, the monkey."

"Nevertheless, Nkima, there is where we are going."

The monkey looked up toward the frowning heights above. "Little Nkima is
afraid," he said. "It is in such places that Sheeta, the panther, lairs."

Ascending diagonally and in a westerly direction in the hope of crossing
von Harben's trail, Tarzan moved constantly in the opposite direction
from that taken by the man he sought. It was his intention, however, when
he reached the summit, if he had in the meantime found no trace of von
Harben, to turn directly eastward and search at a higher altitude in the
opposite direction. As he proceeded, the slope became steeper and more
rugged until at one point near the western end of the mountain mass he
encountered an almost perpendicular barrier high up on the mountainside
along the base of which he picked his precarious way among loose boulders
that had fallen from above. Underbrush and stunted trees extended at
different points from the forest below quite up to the base of the
vertical escarpment.

So engrossed was the ape-man in the dangerous business of picking his way
along the mountainside that he gave little heed to anything beyond the
necessities of the trail and his constant search for the spoor of von
Harben, and so he did not see the little group of warriors that were
gazing up at him from the shelter of a clump of trees far down the slope,
nor did Nkima, usually as alert as his master, have eyes or ears for
anything beyond the immediate exigencies of the trail. Nkima was unhappy.
The wind blew and Nkima did not like the wind. All about him he smelled
the spoor of Sheeta, the panther, while he considered the paucity and
stunted nature of the few trees along the way that his master had chosen.
From time to time he noted, with sinking heart, ledges just above them
from which Sheeta might spring down upon them; and the way was a way of
terror for little Nkima.

Now they had come to a particularly precarious point upon the
mountainside. A sheer cliff rose above them on their right and at their
left the mountainside fell away so steeply that as Tarzan advanced his
body was pressed closely against the granite face of the cliff as he
sought a foothold upon the ledge of loose rubble. Just ahead of them the
cliff shouldered out boldly against the distant skies. Perhaps beyond
that clear-cut corner the going might be better. If it should develop
that it was worse, Tarzan realized that he must turn back.

At the turn where the footing was narrowest a stone gave beneath Tarzan's
foot, throwing him off his balance for an instant and at that same
instant Nkima, thinking that Tarzan was falling, shrieked and leaped from
his shoulder, giving the ape-man's body just the impetus that was
required to overbalance it entirely.

The mountainside below was steep, though not perpendicular, and if Nkima
had not pushed the ape-man outward he doubtless would have slid but a
short distance before being able to stay his fall, but as it was he
lunged headforemost down the embankment, rolling and tumbling for a short
distance over the loose rock until his body was brought to a stop by one
of the many stunted trees that clung tenaciously to the wind-swept slope.

Terrified, Nkima scampered to his master's side. He screamed and
chattered in his ear and pulled and tugged upon him in an effort to raise
him, but the ape-man lay motionless, a tiny stream of blood trickling
from a cut on his temple into his shock of black hair.

As Nkima mourned, the warriors, who had been watching them from below,
clambered quickly up the mountainside toward him and his helpless master.


Chapter Four


As Erich von Harben turned to face the thing that he had heard
approaching behind him, he saw a Negro armed with a rifle coming toward
him.

"Gabula!" exclaimed the white man, lowering his weapon. "What are you
doing here?"

"Bwana," said the warrior, "I could not desert you. I could not leave you
to die alone at the hands of the spirits that dwell upon these
mountains."

Von Harben eyed him incredulously. "But if you believe that, Gabula, are
you not afraid that they will kill you, too?"

"I expect to die, Bwana," replied Gabula. "I cannot understand why you
were not killed the first night or the second night. We shall both surely
be killed tonight."

"And yet you followed me! Why?"

"You have been kind to me, Bwana," replied the man. "Your father has been
kind to me. When the others talked they filled me with fear and when they
ran away I went with them, but I have come back. There was nothing else
that I could do, was there?"

"No, Gabula. For you or for me there would have been nothing else to do,
as we see such things, but as the others saw them they found another
thing to do and they did it."

"Gabula is not as the others," said the man, proudly. "Gabula is a
Batoro."

"Gabula is a brave warrior," said von Harben. "I do not believe in
spirits and so there was no reason why I should be afraid, but you and
all your people do believe in them and so it was a very brave thing for
you to come back, but I shall not hold you. You may return, Gabula, with
the others."

"Yes?" Gabula exclaimed eagerly. "The Bwana is going back? That will be
good. Gabula will go back with him."

"No, I am going down into that canyon," said von Harben, pointing over
the rim.

Gabula looked down, surprise and wonder reflected by his wide eyes and
parted lips.

"But, Bwana, even if a human being could find a way down these steep
cliffs, where there is no place for either hand or foot, he would surely
be killed the moment he reached the bottom, for this indeed must be the
Land of The Lost Tribe where the spirits of the dead live in the heart of
the Wiramwazi."

"You do not need to come with me, Gabula," said von Harben. "Go back to
your people."

"How are you going to get down there?" demanded the Negro.

"I do not know just how, or where, or when. Now I am going to descend as
far along this fissure as I can go. Perhaps I shall find my way down
here, perhaps not."

"But suppose there is no foothold beyond the fissure?" asked Gabula.

"I shall have to find footing."

Gabula shook his head. "And if you reach the bottom, Bwana, and you are
right about the spirits and there are none or they do not kill you, how
will you get out again?"

Von Harben shrugged his shoulders and smiled. Then he extended his hand.
"Goodby, Gabula," he said. "You are a brave man."

Gabula did not take the offered hand of his master. "I am going with
you," he said, simply.

"Even though you realize that should we reach the bottom alive we may
never be able to return?"

"Yes."

"I cannot understand you, Gabula. You are afraid and I know that you wish
to return to the village of your people. Then why do you insist on coming
with me when I give you leave to return home?"

"I have sworn to serve you, Bwana, and I am a Batoro," replied Gabula.

"And I can only thank the Lord that you are a Batoro," said von Harben,
"for the Lord knows that I shall need help before I reach the bottom of
this canyon, and we must reach it, Gabula, unless we are content to die
by starvation."

"I have brought food," said Gabula. "I knew that you might be hungry and
I brought some of the food that you like," and, unrolling the small pack
that he carried, he displayed several bars of chocolate and a few
packages of concentrated food that von Harben had included among his
supplies in the event of an emergency.

To the famished von Harben, the food was like manna to the Israelites,
and he lost no time in taking advantage of Gabula's thoughtfulness. The
sharp edge of his hunger removed, von Harben experienced a feeling of
renewed strength and hopefulness, and it was with a light heart and a
buoyant optimism that he commenced the descent into the canyon.

Gabula's ancestry, stretching back through countless generations of
jungle-dwelling people, left him appalled as he contemplated the
frightful abyss into which his master was leading him, but so deeply had
he involved himself by his protestations of loyalty and tribal pride that
he followed von Harben with no outward show of the real terror that was
consuming him.

The descent through the fissure was less difficult than it had appeared
from above. The tumbled rocks that had partially filled it gave more than
sufficient footing and in only a few places was assistance required, and
it was at these times that von Harben realized how fortunate for him had
been Gabula's return.

When at last they reached the bottom of the cleft they found themselves,
at its outer opening, flush with the face of the cliff and several
hundred feet below the rim. This was the point beyond which von Harben
had been unable to see and which he had been approaching with deep
anxiety, since there was every likelihood that the conditions here might
put a period to their further descent along this route.

Creeping over the loose rubble in the bottom of the fissure to its outer
edge, von Harben discovered a sheer drop of a hundred feet to the level
of the next terrace and his heart sank. To return the way they had come
was, he feared, a feat beyond their strength and ingenuity, for there had
been places down which one had lowered the other only with the greatest
difficulty, which would be practically unscalable on the return journey.

It being impossible to ascend and as starvation surely faced them where
they were, there was but one alternative. Von Harben lay upon his belly,
his eyes at the outer edge of the fissure, and, instructing Gabula to
hold tightly to his ankles, he wormed himself forward until he could scan
the entire face of the cliff below him to the level of the next terrace.

A few feet from the level on which he lay he saw that the fissure lay
open again to the base of the cliff, its stoppage at the point where they
were having been caused by a large fragment of rock that had wedged
securely between the sides of the fissure, entirely choking it at this
point.

The fissure, which had narrowed considerably since they had entered it at
the summit, was not more than two or three feet wide directly beneath the
rock on which he lay and extended with little variation at this width the
remaining hundred feet to the comparatively level ground below.

If he and Gabula could but get into this crevice he knew that they could
easily brace themselves against its sides in such a way as to descend
safely the remaining distance, but how with the means at hand were they
to climb over the edge of the rock that blocked the fissure and crawl
back into the fissure again several feet farther down?

Von Harben lowered his crude alpenstock over the edge of the rock
fragment. When he extended his arms at full length the tip of the rod
fell considerably below the bottom of the rock on which he lay. A man
hanging at the end of the alpenstock might conceivably swing into the
fissure, but h would necessitate a feat of acrobatics far beyond the
powers of either himself or Gabula.

A rope would have solved their problem, but they had no rope. With a
sigh, von Harben drew back when his examination of the fissure convinced
him that he must find another way, but he was totally at a loss to
imagine in what direction to look for a solution.

Gabula crouched back in the fissure, terrified by the anticipation of
what von Harben's attempted exploration had suggested. The very thought
of even looking out over the edge of that rock beyond the face of the
cliff left Gabula cold and half paralyzed, while the thought that he
might have to follow von Harben bodily over the edge threw the Negro into
a fit of trembling; yet had von Harben gone over the edge Gabula would
have followed him.

The white man sat for a long time buried in thought. Time and again his
eyes examined every detail of the formation of the fissure within the
range of his vision. Again and again they returned to the huge fragment
upon which they sat, which was securely wedged between the fissure's
sides. With this out of the way he felt that they could make unimpeded
progress to the next terrace, but he knew that nothing short of a charge
of dynamite could budge the heavy granite slab. Directly behind it were
loose fragments of various sizes, and as his eyes returned to them once
again he was struck with the possibility that they suggested.

"Come, Gabula," he said. "Help me throw out some of these rocks. This
seems to be our only possible hope of escaping from the trap that I have
got us into."

"Yes, Bwana," replied Gabula, and fell to work beside von Harben, though
he could not understand why they should be picking up these stones, some
of which were very heavy, and pushing them out over the edge of the flat
fragment that clogged the fissure.

He heard them crash heavily where they struck the rocks below and this
interested and fascinated him to such an extent that he worked feverishly
to loosen the larger blocks of stone for the added pleasure he derived
from hearing the loud noise that they made when they struck.

"It begins to look," said von Harben, after a few minutes, "as though we
may be going to succeed, unless by removing these rocks here we cause
some of those above to slide down and thus loosen the whole mass above
us--in which event, Gabula, the mystery of The Lost Tribe will cease to
interest us longer."

"Yes, Bwana," said Gabula, and lifting an unusually large rock he started
to roll it toward the edge of the fissure. "Look! Look, Bwana!" he
exclaimed, pointing at the place where the rock had lain.

Von Harben looked and saw an opening about the size of a man's head
extending into the fissure beneath them.

"Thank Nsenene, the grasshopper, Gabula," cried the white man, "if that
is the totem of your clan--for here indeed is a way to salvation."

Hurriedly the two men set to work to enlarge the hole by throwing out
other fragments that had long been wedged in together to close the
fissure at this point, and as the fragments clattered down upon the rocks
below, a tall, straight warrior standing in the bow of a dugout upon the
marshy lake far below looked up and called the attention of his comrades.

They could plainly hear the reverberations of the falling fragments as
they struck the rocks at the foot of the fissure and, keen-eyed, they
could see many of the larger pieces that von Harben and Gabula tossed
downward.

"The great wall is falling," said the warrior.

"A few pebbles," said another. "It is nothing."

"Such things do not happen except after rains," said the first speaker.
"It is thus that it is prophesied that the great wall will fall."

"Perhaps it is a demon who lives in the great rift in the wall," said
another. "Let us hasten and tell the masters."

"Let us wait and watch," said the first speaker, "until we have something
to tell them. If we went and told them that a few rocks had fallen from
the great wall they would only laugh at us."

Von Harben and Gabula had increased the size of the opening until it was
large enough to permit the passage of a man's body. Through it the white
man could see the rough sides of the fissure extending to the level of
the next terrace and knew that the next stage of the descent was already
as good as an accomplished fact.

"We shall descend one at a time, Gabula," said von Harben. "I shall go
first, for I am accustomed to this sort of climbing. Watch carefully so
that you may descend exactly as I do. It is easy and there is no danger.
Be sure that you keep your back braced against one wall and your feet
against the other. We shall lose some hide in the descent, for the walls
are rough, but we shall get down safely enough if we take it slowly."

"Yes, Bwana. You go first," said Gabula. "If I see you do it then,
perhaps, I can do it."

Von Harben lowered himself through the aperture, braced himself securely
against the opposite walls of the fissure, and started slowly downward. A
few minutes later Gabula saw his master standing safely at the bottom,
and though his heart was in his mouth the Negro followed without
hesitation, but when he stood at last beside von Harben he breathed such
a loud sigh of relief that von Harben was forced to laugh aloud.

"It is the demon himself," said the warrior in the dugout, as von Harben
had stepped from the fissure.

From where the dugout of the watchers floated, half concealed by lofty
papyrus, the terrace at the base of the fissure was just visible. They
saw von Harben emerge and a few moments later the figure of Gabula.

"Now, indeed," said one of the men, "we should hasten and tell the
masters."

"No," said the first speaker. "Those two may be demons, but they look
like men and we shall wait until we know what they are and why they are
here before we go away."

For a thousand feet the descent from the base of the fissure was far from
difficult, a rough slope leading in an easterly direction down toward the
canyon bottom. During the descent their view of the lake and of the
canyon was often completely shut off by masses of weather-worn granite
around which they sometimes had difficulty in finding a way. As a rule
the easiest descent lay between these towering fragments of the main body
of the cliff, and at such times as the valley was hidden from them so
were they hidden from the watchers on the lake.

A third of the way down the escarpment von Harben came to the verge of a
narrow gorge, the bottom of which was densely banked with green, the
foliage of trees growing luxuriantly, pointing unquestionably to the
presence of water in abundance. Leading the way, von Harben descended
into the gorge, at the bottom of which he found a spring from which a
little stream trickled downward. Here they quenched their thirst and
rested. Then, following the stream down-ward, they discovered no
obstacles that might not be easily surmounted.

For a long time, hemmed in by the walls of the narrow gorge and their
view further circumscribed by the forest-like growth along the banks of
the stream, they had no sight of the lake or the canyon bottom, but,
finally, when the gorge debouched upon the lower slopes von Harben halted
in admiration of the landscape spread out before him. Directly below,
another stream entered that along which they had descended, forming a
little river that dropped steeply to what appeared to be vivid green
meadow land through which it wound tortuously to the great swamp that
extended out across the valley for perhaps ten miles.

So choked was the lake with some feathery-tipped aquatic plant that von
Harben could only guess as to its extent, since the green of the water
plant and the green of the surrounding meadows blended into one another,
but here and there he saw signs of open water that appeared like winding
lanes or passages leading in all directions throughout the marsh.

As von Harben and Gabula stood looking out across this (to them) new and
mysterious world, the warriors in the dugout watched them attentively.
The strangers were still so far away that the men were unable to identify
them, but their leader assured them that these two were no demons.

"How do you know that they are not demons?" demanded one of these
fellows.

"I can see that they are men," replied the other.

"Demons are very wise and very powerful," insisted the doubter. "They may
take any form they choose. They might come as birds or animals or men."

"They are not fools," snapped the leader. "If a demon wished to descend
the great wall he would not choose the hardest way. He would take the
form of a bird and fly down."

The other scratched his head in perplexity, for he realized that here was
an argument that would be difficult to controvert. For want of anything
better to say, he suggested that they go at once and report the matter to
their masters.

"No," said the leader. "We shall remain here until they come closer. It
will be better for us if we can take them with us and show them to our
masters."

The first few steps that von Harben took onto the grassy meadow land
revealed the fact that it was a dangerous swamp from which only with the
greatest difficulty were they able to extricate themselves.

Floundering back to solid ground, von Harben reconnoitered in search of
some other avenue to more solid ground on the floor of the canyon, but he
found that upon both sides of the river the swamp extended to the foot of
the lowest terrace of the cliff, and low as these were in comparison to
their lofty fellows towering far above them, they were still impassable
barriers.

Possibly by reascending the gorge he might find an avenue to more solid
ground toward the west, but as he had no actual assurance of this and as
both he and Gabula were well-nigh exhausted from the physical strain of
the descent, he preferred to find an easier way to the lake shore if it
were possible.

He saw that while the river at this point was not swift, the current was
rapid enough to suggest that the bottom might be sufficiently free from
mud to make it possible for them to utilize it as an avenue to the lake,
if it were not too deep.

To test the feasibility of the idea, be lowered himself into the water,
holding to one end of his alpenstock, while Gabula seized the other. He
found that the water came to his waist-line and that the bottom was firm
and solid.

"Come on, Gabula. This is our way to the lake, I guess," he said.

As Gabula slipped into the water behind his master, the dugout containing
the warriors pushed silently along the watery lane among the papyrus and
with silent paddles was urged swiftly toward the mouth of the stream
where it emptied into the lake.

As von Harben and Gabula descended the stream they found that the depth
of the water did not greatly increase. Once or twice they stumbled into
deeper holes and were forced to swim, but in other places the water
shallowed until it was only to their knees, and thus they made their way
down to the lake at the verge of which their view was shut off by clumps
of papyrus rising twelve or fifteen feet above the surface of the water.

"It begins to look," said von Harben, "as though there is no solid ground
along the shore line, but the roots of the papyus will hold us and if we
can make our way to the west end of the lake I am sure that we shall find
solid ground, for I am positive that I saw higher land there as we were
descending the cliff."

Feeling their way cautiously along, they came at last to the first clump
of papyrus and just as von Harben was about to clamber to the solid
footing of the roots, a canoe shot from behind the mass of floating
plants and the two men found themselves covered by the weapons of a
boatload of warriors.


Chapter Five


LUKEDI, the Bagego, carried a gourd of milk to a hut in the village of
his people on the lower slopes at the west end of the Wiramwazi range.

Two stalwart spearmen stood guard at the doorway of the hut. "Nyuto has
sent me with milk for the prisoner," said Lukedi. "Has his spirit
returned to him?"

"Go in and see," directed one of the sentries.

Lukedi entered the hut and in the dim light saw the figure of a giant
white man sitting upon the dirt floor gazing at him. The man's wrists
were bound together behind his back and his ankles were secured with
tough fiber strands.

"Here is food," said Lukedi, setting the gourd upon the ground near the
prisoner.

"How can I eat with my hands tied behind my back?" demanded Tarzan.
Lukedi scratched his head. "I do not know," he said. "Nyuto sent me with
the food. He did not tell me to free your hands."

"Cut the bond," said Tarzan, "otherwise I cannot eat."

One of the spearmen entered the hut. "What is he saying?" he demanded.

"He says, that he cannot eat unless his hands are freed," said Lukedi.

"Did Nyuto tell you to free his hands?" asked the spearman.

"No," said Lukedi.

The spearman shrugged his shoulders. "Leave the food then; that is all
you were asked to do."

Lukedi turned to leave the hut. "Wait," said Tarzan. "Who is Nyuto?"

"He is chief of the Bagegos," said Lukedi.

"Go to him and tell him that I wish to see him. Tell him also that I
cannot eat with my hands tied behind my back."

Lukedi was gone for half an hour. When he returned he brought an old,
rusted slave chain and an ancient padlock.

"Nyuto says that we may chain him to the center pole and then cut the
bonds that secure his hands," he said to the guard.

The three men entered the hut where Lukedi passed one end of the chain
around the center pole, pulling it through a ring on the other end; the
free end he then passed around Tarzan's neck, securing it there with the
old slave padlock.

"Cut the bonds that hold his wrists," said Lukedi to one of the spearmen.

"Do it yourself," retorted the warrior, "Nyuto sent you to do it. He did
not tell me to cut the bonds."

Lukedi hesitated. It was apparent that he was afraid.

"We will stand ready with our spears," said the guardsmen; "then he
cannot harm you."

"I shall not harm him," said Tarzan. "Who are you anyway and who do you
think I am?"

One of the guardsmen laughed. "He asked who we are as though he did not
know!"

"We know who you are, all right," said the other warrior.

"I am Tarzan of the Apes," said the prisoner, "and I have no quarrel with
the Bagegos."

The guardsman who had last spoken laughed again derisively. "That may be
your name," he said. "You men of The Lost Tribe have strange names.
Perhaps you have no quarrel with the Bagegos, but the Bagegos have a
quarrel with you," and still laughing he left the hut followed by his
companion, but the youth Lukedi remained, apparently fascinated by the
prisoner at whom he stood staring as he might have stared at a deity.

Tarzan reached for the gourd and drank the milk it contained, and never
once did Lukedi take his eyes from him.

"What is your name?" asked Tarzan.

"Lukedi," replied the youth.

"And you have never heard of Tarzan of the Apes?"

"No," replied the youth.

"Who do you think I am?" demanded the ape-man.

"We know that you belong to The Lost Tribe."

"But I thought the members of The Lost Tribe were supposed to be the
spirits of the dead," said Tarzan.

"That we do not know," replied Lukedi. "Some think one way, some another;
but you know, for you are one of them."

"I am not one of them," said Tarzan. "I come from a country farther
south, but I have heard of the Bagegos and I have heard of The Lost
Tribe."

"I do not believe you," said Lukedi.

"I speak the truth," said Tarzan.

Lukedi scratched his head. "Perhaps you do," he said. "You do not wear
clothes like the members of The Lost Tribe, and the weapons that we found
with you are different."

"You have seen members of The Lost Tribe?" asked Tarzan.

"Many times," replied Lukedi. "Once a year they come out of the bowels of
the Wiramwazi and trade with us. They bring dried fish, snails, and iron
and take in exchange salt, goats, and cows."

"If they come and trade with you peacefully, why do you make me a
prisoner if you think I am one of them?" demanded Tarzan.

"Since the beginning we have been at war with the members of The Lost
Tribe," replied Lukedi. "It is true that once a year we trade with them,
but they are always our enemies."

"Why is that?" demanded the ape-man.

"Because at other times we cannot tell when they will come with many
warriors and capture men, women, and children whom they take away with
them into the Wiramwazi. None ever returns. We do not know what becomes
of them. Perhaps they are eaten."

"What will your chief, Nyuto, do with me?" asked Tarzan.

"I do not know," said Lukedi. "They are discussing the question now. They
all wish to put you to death, but there are some who believe that this
would arouse the anger of the ghosts of all the dead Bagegos."

"Why should the ghosts of your dead wish to protect me?" demanded Tarzan.

"There are many who think that you members of The Lost Tribe are the
ghosts of our dead," replied Lukedi.

"What do you think, Lukedi?" asked the ape-man.

"When I look at you I think that you are a man of flesh and blood the
same as I, and so I think that perhaps you are telling me the truth when
you say that you are not a member of The Lost Tribe, because I am sure
that they are all ghosts."

"But when they come to trade with you and when they come to fight with
you, can you not tell whether they are flesh and blood or not?"

"They are very powerful," said Lukedi. "They might come in the form of
men in the flesh or they might come as snakes or lions. That is why we
are not sure."

"And what do you think the council will decide to do with me?" asked
Tarzan.

"I think that there is no doubt but that they will burn you alive, for
thus both you and your spirit will be destroyed so that it cannot come
back to haunt and annoy us."

"Have you seen or heard of another white man recently?" asked Tarzan.

"No," replied the youth. "Many years ago, before I can remember, two
white men came who said that they were not members of The Lost Tribe, but
we did not believe them and they were killed. I must go now. I shall
bring you more milk tomorrow."

After Lukedi had left, Tarzan commenced examining the chain, padlock, and
the center pole of the hut in an effort to discover some means of escape.
The hut was cylindrical and surmounted by a conical roof of grass. The
side walls were of stakes set upright a few inches in the ground and
fastened together at their tops and bottoms by creepers. The center pole
was much heavier and was secured in position by rafters radiating from it
to the top of the wall. The interior of the hut was plastered with mud,
which had been thrown on with force and then smoothed with the palm of
the hand. It was a common type with which Tarzan was familiar. He knew
that there was a possibility that he might be able to raise the center
pole and withdraw the chain from beneath it.

It would, of course, be difficult to accomplish this without attracting
the attention of the guards, and there was a possibility that the center
pole might be set sufficiently far in the ground to render it impossible
for him to raise it. If he were given time he could excavate around the
base of it, but inasmuch as one or the other of the sentries was
continually poking his head into the hut to see that all was well, Tarzan
saw little likelihood of his being able to free himself without being
discovered.

As darkness settled upon the village Tarzan stretched himself upon the
hard dirt floor of the hut and sought to sleep. For some time the noises
of the village kept him awake, but at last he slept. How long thereafter
it was that he was awakened he did not know. From childhood he had shared
with the beasts, among whom he had been raised, the ability to awaken
quickly and in full command of all his faculties. He did so now,
immediately conscious that the noise that had aroused him came from an
animal upon the roof of the hut. Whatever it was, it was working quietly,
but to what end the ape-man could not imagine.

The acrid fumes of the village cook fires so filled the air that Tarzan
was unable to catch the scent of the creature upon the roof. He carefully
reviewed all the possible purposes for which an animal might be upon the
thatched, dry-grass roof of the Bagego hut and through a process of
elimination he could reach but one conclusion. That was that the thing
upon the outside wished to come in and either it did not have brains
enough to know that there was a doorway, or else it was too cunning to
risk detection by attempting to pass the sentries.

But why should any animal wish to enter the hut? Tarzan lay upon his
back, gazing up through the darkness in the direction of the roof above
him as he tried to find an answer to his question. Presently, directly
above his head, he saw a little ray of moonlight. Whatever it was upon
the roof had made an opening that grew larger and larger as the creature
quietly tore away the thatching. The aperture was being made close to the
wall where the radiating rafters were farthest apart, but whether this
was through intent or accident Tarzan could not guess. As the hole grew
larger and he caught occasional glimpses of the thing silhouetted against
the moonlit sky, a broad smile illuminated the face of the ape-man. Now
he saw strong little fingers working at the twigs that were fastened
laterally across the rafters to support the thatch and presently, after
several of these had been removed, the opening was entirely closed by a
furry little body that wriggled through and dropped to the floor close
beside the prisoner.

"How did you find me, Nkima?" whispered Tarzan.

"Nkima followed," replied the little monkey. "All day he has been sitting
in a high tree above the village watching this place and waiting for
darkness. Why do you stay here, Tarzan of the Apes? Why do you not come
away with little Nkima?"

"I am fastened here with a chain," said Tarzan. "I cannot come away."

"Nkima will go and bring Muviro and his warriors," said Nkima.

Of course he did not use these words at all, but what he said in the
language of the apes conveyed the same meaning to Tarzan. Black apes
carrying sharp, long sticks was the expression that he used to describe
the Waziri warriors, and the name for Muviro was one of his own coining,
but he and Tarzan understood one another.

"No," said Tarzan. "If I am going to need Muviro, he could not get here
in time now to be of any help to me. Go back into the forest, Nkima, and
wait for me. Perhaps I shall join you very soon."

Nkima scolded, for he did not want to go away. He was afraid alone in
this strange forest; in fact, Nkima's life had been one long complex of
terror, relieved only by those occasions when he could snuggle in the lap
of his master, safe within the solid walls of Tarzan's bungalow. One of
the sentries heard the voices within the hut and crawled part way in.

"There," said Tarzan to Nkima, "you see what you have done. Now you had
better do as Tarzan tells you and get out of here and into the forest
before they catch you and eat you."

"Who are you talking to?" demanded the sentry. He heard a scampering in
the darkness and at the same instant he caught sight of the hole in the
roof and almost simultaneously he saw something dark go through it and
disappear. "What was that?" he demanded, nervously.

"That," said Tarzan, "was the ghost of your grandfather. He came to tell
me that you and your wives and all your children would take sick and die
if anything happens to me. He also brought the same message for Nyuto."

The sentry trembled. "Call him back," he begged, "and tell him that I had
nothing to do with it. It is not I, but Nyuto, the chief, who is going to
kill you."

"I cannot call him back," said Tarzan, "and so you had better tell Nyuto
not to kill me."

"I cannot see Nyuto until morning," wailed the sentry. "Perhaps then it
will be too late."

"No," said Tarzan. "The ghost of your grandfather will not do anything
until tomorrow."

Terrified, the sentry returned to his post where Tarzan heard him
fearfully and excitedly discussing the matter with his companion until
the ape-man finally dropped off to sleep again.

It was late the following morning before anyone entered the hut in which
Tarzan was confined. Then came Lukedi with another gourd of milk. He was
very much excited.

"Is what Ogonyo says true?" he demanded.

"Who is Ogonyo?" asked Tarzan.

"He was one of the warriors who stood guard here last night, and he has
told Nyuto and all the village that he heard the ghost of his grandfather
talking with you and that the ghost said that he would kill everyone in
the village if you were harmed, and now everyone is afraid."

"And Nyuto?" asked Tarzan.

"Nyuto is not afraid of anything," said Lukedi.

"Not even of ghosts of grandfathers?" asked Tarzan.

"No. He alone of all the Bagegos is not afraid of the men of The Lost
Tribe, and now he is very angry at you because you have frightened his
people and this evening you are to be burned. Look!" And Lukedi pointed
to the low doorway of the hut. "From here you can see them placing the
stake to which you are to be bound, and the boys are in the forest
gathering fagots."

Tarzan pointed toward the hole in the roof. "There," he said, "is the
hole made by the ghost of Ogonyo's grandfather. Fetch Nyuto and let him
see. Then, perhaps, he will believe."

"It will make no difference," said Lukedi. "If he saw a thousand ghosts
with his own eyes, he would not be afraid. He is very brave, but he is
also very stubborn and a fool. Now we shall all die."

"Unquestionably," said Tarzan.

"Can you not save me?" asked Lukedi.

"If you will help me to escape, I promise you that the ghosts shall not
harm you."

"Oh, if I could but do it," said Lukedi, as he passed the gourd of milk
to the ape-man.

"You bring me nothing but milk," said Tarzan. "Why is that?"

"In this village we belong to the Buliso clan and, therefore, we may not
drink the milk nor eat the flesh of Timba, the black cow, so when we have
guests or prisoners we save this food for them."

Tarzan was glad that the totem of the Buliso clan was a cow instead of a
grasshopper, or rainwater from the roofs of houses or one of the hundreds
of other objects that are venerated by different clans, for while
Tarzan's early training had not placed grasshoppers beyond the pale as
food for men, he much preferred the milk of Timba.

"I wish that Nyuto would see me and talk with me," said Tarzan of the
Apes. "Then he would know that it would be better to have me for a friend
than for an enemy. Many men have tried to kill me, many chiefs greater
than Nyuto. This is not the first hut in which I have lain a prisoner,
nor is it the first time that men have prepared fires to receive me, yet
I still live, Lukedi, and many of them are dead. Go, therefore, to Nyuto
and advise him to treat me as a friend, for I am not from The Lost Tribe
of the Wiramwazi."

"I believe you," said Lukedi, "and I shall go and beg Nyuto to hear me,
but I am afraid that he will not."

As the youth reached the doorway of the hut, there suddenly arose a great
commotion in the village. Tarzan heard men issuing orders. He heard
children crying and the pounding of many naked feet upon the hard ground.
Then the war-drums boomed and he heard clashing of weapons upon shields
and loud shouting. He saw the guards before the doorway spring to their
feet and run to join the other warriors and then Lukedi, at the doorway,
shrank back with a cry of terror.

"They come! They come!" he cried, and ran to the far side of the hut
where he crouched in terror.


Chapter Six


ERICH VON HARBEN looked into the faces of the tall, almost naked,
warriors whose weapons menaced him across the gunwale of their low
dugout, and the first thing to attract his attention was the nature of
those weapons.

Their spears were unlike any that he had ever seen in the hands of modern
savages. Corresponding with the ordinary spear of the African savage,
they carried a heavy, and formidable javelin that suggested to the mind
of the young archaeologist nothing other than the ancient Roman pike, and
this similarity was further confirmed by the appearance of the short,
broad, two-edged swords that dangled in scabbards supported by straps
passing over the left shoulders of the warriors. If this weapon was not
the gladius Hispanus of the Imperial Legionary, von Harben felt that his
studies and researches had been for naught.

"Ask them what they want, Gabula," he directed. "Perhaps they will
understand you."

"Who are you and what do you want of us?" demanded Gabula in the Bantu
dialect of his tribe.

"We wish to be friends," added von Harben in the same dialect. "We have
come to visit your country. Take us to your chief."

A tall Negro in the stern of the dugout shook his head. "I do not
understand you," he said. "You are our prisoners. We are going to take
you with us to our masters. Come, get into the boat. If you resist or
make trouble we shall kill you."

"They speak a strange language," said Gabula. "I do not understand them."

Surprise and incredulity were reflected in the expression on von Harben's
face, and he experienced such a sensation as one might who looked upon a
man suddenly resurrected after having been dead for nearly two thousand
years.

Von Harben had been a close student of ancient Rome and its long dead
language, but how different was the living tongue, which he heard and
which he recognized for what it was, from the dead and musty pages of
ancient manuscripts.

He understood enough of what the man had said to get his meaning, but he
recognized the tongue as a hybrid of Latin and Bantu root words, though
the inflections appeared to be uniformly those of the Latin language.

In his student days von Harben had often imagined himself a citizen of
Rome. He had delivered orations in the Forum and had addressed his troops
in the field in Africa and in Gaul, but how different it all seemed now
when he was faced with the actuality rather than the figment of
imagination. His voice sounded strange in his own ears and his words came
haltingly as he spoke to the tall man in the language of the Caesars.

"We are not enemies," he said. "We have come as friends to visit your
country," and then he waited, scarce believing that the man could
understand him.

"Are you a citizen of Rome?" demanded the warrior.

"No, but my country is at peace with Rome," replied von Harben.

The man looked puzzled as though he did not understand the reply. "You
are from Castra Sanguinarius." His words carried the suggestion of a
challenge.

"I am from Germania," replied von Harben.

"I never heard of such a country. You are a citizen of Rome from Castra
Sanguinarius."

"Take me to your chief," said von Harben.

"That is what I intend to do. Get in here. Our masters will know what to
do with you."

Von Harben and Gabula climbed into the dugout, so awkwardly that they
almost overturned it, much to the disgust of the warriors, who seized
hold of them none too gently and forced them to squat in the bottom of
the frail craft. This was now turned about and paddled along a winding
canal, bordered on either side of tufted papyrus rising ten to fifteen
feet above the surface of the water.

"To what tribe do you belong?" asked von Harben, addressing the leader of
the warriors.

"We are barbarians of the Mare Orientis, subjects of Validus Augustus,
Emperor of the East; but why do you ask such questions? You know these
things as well as I."

A half hour of steady paddling along winding water-lanes brought them to
a collection of beehive huts built upon the floating roots of the
papyrus, from which the tall plants had been cleared just sufficiently to
make room for the half dozen huts that constituted the village. Here von
Harben and Gabula became the center of a curious and excited company of
men, women, and children, and von Harben heard himself and Gabula
described by their captors as spies from Castra Sanguinarius and learned
that on the morrow they were to be taken to Castrum Mare, which he
decided must be the village of the mysterious "masters" to whom his
captors were continually alluding. The Negroes did not treat them
unkindly, though they evidently considered them as enemies.

When they were interviewed by the headman of the village, von Harben, his
curiosity aroused, asked him why they had not been molested if all of his
people believed, as they seemed to, that they were enemies.

"You are a citizen of Rome," replied the headman, "and this other is your
slave. Our masters do not permit us barbarians to injure a citizen of
Rome even though he may be from Castra Sanguinarius, except in
self-defense or upon the battlefield in time of war."

"Who are your masters?" demanded von Harben.

"Why, the citizens of Rome who live in Castrum Mare, of course, as one
from Castra Sanguinarius well knows."

"But I am not from Castra Sanguinarius," insisted von Harben.

"You may tell that to the officers of Validus Augustus," replied the
headman. "Perhaps they will believe you, but it is certain that I do
not."

"Are these people who dwell in Castrum Mare Negroes?" asked von Harben.

"Take them away," ordered the headman, "and confine them safely in a hut.
There they may ask one another foolish questions. I do not care to listen
to them further."

Von Harben and Gabula were led away by a group of warriors and conducted
into one of the small huts of the village. Here they were brought a
supper of fish and snails and a dish concocted of the cooked pith of
papyrus.

When morning dawned the prisoners were again served with food similar to
that which had been given them the previous evening and shortly
thereafter they were ordered from the hut.

Upon the water-lane before the village floated half a dozen dugouts
filled with warriors. Their faces and bodies were painted as for war and
they appeared to have donned all the finery of barbaric necklaces,
anklets, bracelets, armbands, and feathers that each could command; even
the prows of the canoes bore odd designs in fresh colors.

There were many more warriors than could have been accommodated in the
few huts within the small clearing, but, as von Harben learned later,
these came from other clearings, several of which comprised the village.
Von Harben and Gabula were ordered into the chiefs canoe and a moment
later the little fleet pushed off into the water-lane. Strong paddlers
propelled the dugouts along the winding waterway in a northeasterly
direction.

During the first half hour they passed several small clearings in each of
which stood a few huts from which the women and children came to the
water's edge to watch them as they passed, but for the most part the
water-lane ran between monotonous walls of lofty papyrus, broken only
occasionally by short stretches of more open water.

Von Harben tried to draw the chief into conversation, especially relative
to their destination and the nature of the "masters" into whose hands
they were to be delivered, but the taciturn warrior ignored his every
advance and finally von Harben lapsed into the silence of resignation.

They had been paddling for hours, and the heat and monotony had become
almost unbearable, when a turn in the water-lane revealed a small body of
open water, across the opposite side of which stretched what appeared to
be low land surmounted by an earthen rampart, along the top of which was
a strong stockade. The course of the canoe was directed toward two lofty
towers that apparently marked the gateway through the rampart.

Figures of men could be seen loitering about this gateway, and as they
caught sight of the canoes a trumpet sounded and a score of men sallied
from the gateway and came down to the water's edge.

As the boat drew nearer, von Harben saw that these men were soldiers, and
at the command of one of them the canoes drew up a hundred yards offshore
and waited there while the chief shouted to the soldiers on shore telling
them who he was and the nature of his business. Permission was then given
for the chiefs canoe to approach, but the others were ordered to remain
where they were.

"Stay where you are," commanded one of the soldiers, evidently an
under-officer, as the dugout touched the shore. "I have sent for the
centurion."

Von Harben looked with amazement upon the soldiers drawn up at the
landing. They wore the tunics and cloaks of Caesar's legionaries. Upon
their feet were the sandal-like caligae. A helmet, a leather cuirass, an
ancient shield with pike and Spanish sword completed the picture of
antiquity; only their skin belied the suggestion of their origin. They
were not white men; neither were they Negroes, but for the most part of a
light-brown color with regular features.

They seemed only mildly curious concerning von Harben, and on the whole
appeared rather bored than otherwise. The under-officer questioned the
chief concerning conditions in the village. They were casual questions on
subjects of no particular moment, but they indicated to von Harben a
seemingly interested and friendly relationship between the Negroes of the
outlying villages in the papyrus swamp and the evidently civilized brown
people of the mainland; yet the fact that only one canoe had been
permitted to approach the land suggested that other and less pleasant
relations had also existed between them at times. Beyond the rampart von
Harben could see the roofs of buildings and far away, beyond these, the
towering cliffs that formed the opposite side of the canyon.

Presently two more soldiers emerged from the gateway opposite the
landing. One of them was evidently the officer for whom they were
waiting, his cloak and cuirass being of finer materials and more
elaborately decorated; while the other, who walked a few paces behind
him, was a common soldier, probably the messenger who had been dispatched
to fetch him.

And now another surprise was added to those which von Harben had already
experienced since he had dropped over the edge of the barrier cliffs into
this little valley of anachronisms--the officer was unquestionably white.

"Who are these, Rufinus?" he demanded of the under-officer.

"A barbarian chief and warriors from the villages of the western shore,"
replied Rufinus. "They bring two prisoners that they captured in the
Rupes Flumen. As a reward they wish permission to enter the city and see
the Emperor."

"How many are they?" asked the officer.

"Sixty," replied Rufinus.

"They may enter the city," said the officer. "I will give them a pass,
but they must leave their weapons in their canoes and be out of the city
before dark. Send two men with them. As to their seeing Validus Augustus,
that I cannot arrange. They might go to the palace and ask the praefect
there. Have the prisoners come ashore."

As von Harben and Gabula stepped from the dugout, the expression upon the
officer's face was one of perplexity.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

"My name is Erich von Harben," replied the prisoner.

The officer jerked his head impatiently. "There is no such family in
Castra Sanguinarius," he retorted.

"I am not from Castra Sanguinarius."

"Not from Castra Sanguinarius!" The officer laughed.

"That is the story he told me," said the chief, who had been listening to
the conversation.

"I suppose that he will be saying next that he is not a citizen of Rome,"
said the officer.

"That is just what he does say," said the chief.

"But wait." exclaimed the officer, excitedly. "Perhaps you are indeed
from Rome herself!"

"No, I am not from Rome," von Harben assured him.

"Can it be that there are white barbarians in Africa!" exclaimed the
officer. "Surely your garments are not Roman. Yes, you must be a
barbarian unless, as I suspect, you are not telling me the truth and you
are indeed from Castra Sanguinarius."

"A spy, perhaps," suggested Rufinus.

"No," said von Harben. "I am no spy nor am I an enemy," and with a smile,
"I am a barbarian, but a friendly barbarian."

"And who is this man?" asked the officer, indicating Gabula. "Your
slave?"

"He is my servant, but not a slave."

"Come with me," directed the officer. "I should like to talk with you. I
find you interesting, though I do not believe you."

Von Harben smiled. "I do not blame you," he said, "for even though I see
you before me I can scarcely believe that you exist."

"I do not understand what you mean," said the officer, "but come with me
to my quarters."

He gave orders that Gabula was to be confined in the guardhouse
temporarily, and then he led von Harben back to one of the towers that
guarded the entrance to the rampart.

The gate lay in a vertical plane at right angles to the rampart with a
high tower at either side, the rampart curving inward at this point to
connect with the tower at the inner end of the gate. This made a curved
entrance that forced an enemy attempting to enter to disclose its right
or unprotected side to the defenders upon the rampart, a form of camp
fortification that von Harben knew had been peculiar to the ancient
Romans.

The officer's quarters consisted of a single, small, bare room directly
off a larger room occupied by the members of the guard. It contained a
desk, a bench, and a couple of roughly made chairs.

"Sit down." said the officer, after they had entered, "and tell me
something about yourself. If you are not from Castra Sanguinarius, from
whence do you come? How did you get into our country and what are you
doing here?"

"I am from Germania," replied von Harben.

"Bah!" exclaimed the officer. "They are wild and savage barbarians. They
do not speak the language of Rome at all; not even as poorly as you."

"How recently have you come in contact with German barbarians?" von
Harben asked.

"Oh, I? Never, of course, but our historians knew them well."

"And how lately have they written of them?"

"Why, Sanguinarius himself mentions them in the story of his life."

"Sanguinarius?" questioned von Harben. "I do not recall ever having heard
of him."

"Sanguinarius fought against the barbarians of Germania in the 839th year
of Rome."

"That was about eighteen hundred and thirty-seven years ago," von Harben
reminded the officer, "and I think you will have to admit that there may
have been much progress in that time."

"And why?" demanded the other. "There have been no changes in this
country since the days of Sanguinarius and he has been dead over eighteen
hundred years. It is not likely then that barbarians would change greatly
if Roman citizens have not. You say you are from Germania. Perhaps you
were taken to Rome as a captive and got your civilization there, but your
apparel is strange. It is not of Rome. It is not of any place of which I
have ever heard. Go on with your story."

"My father is a medical missionary in Africa," explained von Harben.
"Often when I have visited him I heard the story of a lost tribe that was
supposed to live in these mountains. The natives told strange stories of
a white race living in the depths of the Wiramwazi. They said that the
mountains were inhabited by the ghosts of their dead. Briefly, I came to
investigate the story. All but one of my men, terrified after we reached
the outer slopes of the mountains, debited me. That one and I managed to
descend to the floor of the canyon. Immediately we were captured and
brought here."

For a while the other sat in silence, thinking.

"Perhaps you are telling me the truth," he said, at last. "Your apparel
is not that of Castra Sanguinarius and you speak our language with such a
peculiar accent and with so great effort that it is evidently not your
mother tongue. I shall have to report your capture to the Emperor, but in
the meantime I shall take you to the home of my uncle, Septimus Favonius.
If he believes your story he can help you, as he has great influence with
the Emperor, Validus Augustus."

"You are kind," said von Harben, "and I shall need a friend here if the
customs of Imperial Rome still prevail in your country, as you suggest.
Now that you know so much about me, perhaps you will tell me something
about yourself."

"There is little to tell," said the officer. "My name is Mallius Lepus. I
am a centurion in the army of Validus Augustus. Perhaps, if you are
familiar with Roman customs, you will wonder that a patrician should be a
centurion, but in this matter as in some others we have not followed the
customs of Rome. Sanguinarius admitted all his centurions to the
patrician class, and since then for over eighteen hundred years only
patricians have been appointed centurions.

"But here is Aspar," exclaimed Mallius Lepus, as another officer entered
the room. "He has come to relieve me and when he has taken over the gate
you and I shall go at once to the home of my uncle, Septimus Favonius."


Chapter Seven


TARZAN OF THE APES looked at Lukedi in surprise and then out through the
low doorway of the hut in an effort to see what it was that had so filled
the breast of the youth with terror.

The little section of the village street, framed by the doorway, showed a
milling mass of brown bodies, waving spears, terrified women and
children. What could it mean?

At first he thought that Lukedi meant that the Bagegos were coming for
Tarzan, but now he guessed that the Bagegos were being beset by troubles
of their own, and at last he came to the conclusion that some other
savage tribe had attacked the village.

But, whatever the cause of the uproar, it was soon over. He saw the
Bagegos turn and flee in all directions. Strange figures passed before
his eyes in pursuit, and for a time there was comparative silence, only a
hurrying of feet, an occasional command and now and then a scream of
terror.

Presently three figures burst into the hut--enemy warriors searching the
village for fugitives. Lukedi, trembling, inarticulate, paralyzed by
fright, crouched against the far wall. Tarzan sat leaning against the
center pole to which he was chained. At sight of him, the leading warrior
halted, surprise written upon his face. His fellows joined him and they
stood for a moment in excited conversation, evidently discussing their
find. Then one of them addressed Tarzan, but in a tongue that the ape-man
could not understand, although he realized that there was something
vaguely and tantalizingly familiar about it.

Then one of them discovered Lukedi and, crossing the hut, dragged him to
the center of the floor. They spoke again to Tarzan, motioning him toward
the door so that he understood that they were ordering him from the hut,
but in reply he pointed to the chain about his neck.

One of the warriors examined the lock that secured the chain, spoke to
his fellows, and then left the hut. He returned very shortly with two
rocks and, making Tarzan lie upon the ground, placed the padlock upon one
of the rocks and pounded upon it with the other until it broke.

As soon as he was released, Tarzan and Lukedi were ordered from the hut,
and when they had come out into the open the ape-man had an opportunity
to examine his captors more closely. In the center of the village there
were about one hundred light-brown warriors surrounding their Bagego
prisoners, of whom there were some fifty men, women, and children.

The tunics, cuirasses, helmets, and sandals of the raiders Tarzan knew
that he had never seen before, and yet they were as vaguely familiar as
was the language spoken by their wearers.

The heavy spears and the swords hanging at their right sides were not
precisely like any spears or swords that he had ever seen, and yet he had
a feeling that they were not entirely unfamiliar objects. The effect of
the appearance of these strangers was tantalizing in the extreme. It is
not uncommon for us to have experiences that are immediately followed by
such a sensation of familiarity that we could swear we had lived through
them before in their minutest detail, and yet we are unable to recall the
time or place or any coincident occurrences.

It was such a sensation that Tarzan experienced now. He thought that he
bad seen these men before, that he had heard them talk; he almost felt
that at some time he had understood their language, and yet at the same
time he knew that he had never seen them. Then a figure approached from
the opposite side of the village--a white man, garbed similarly to the
warriors, but in more resplendent trappings, and of a sudden Tarzan of
the Apes found the key and the solution of the mystery, for the man who
came toward him might have stepped from the pedestal of the statue of
Julius Caesar in the Palazzo dei Conservator! in Rome.

These were Romans! A thousand years after the fall of Rome he had been
captured by a band of Caesar's legionaries, and now he knew why the
language was so vaguely familiar, for Tarzan, in his effort to fit
himself for a place in the civilized world into which necessity sometimes
commanded him, had studied many things and among them Latin, but the
reading of Caesar's Commentaries and scanning Vergil do not give one a
command of the language and so Tarzan could neither speak nor understand
the spoken words, though the smattering that he had of the language was
sufficient to make it sound familiar when he heard others speaking it.

Tarzan looked intently at the Caesar-like white man approaching him and
at the dusky, stalwart legionaries about him. He shook himself. This
indeed must be a dream, and then he saw Lukedi with the other Bagego
prisoners. He saw the stake that had been set up for his burning and he
knew that as these were realities so were the strange warriors about him.

Each soldier carried a short length of chain, at one end of which was a
metal collar and a padlock, and with these they were rapidly chaining the
prisoners neck to neck.

While they were thus occupied the white man, who was evidently an
officer, was joined by two other whites similarly garbed. The three
caught sight of Tarzan and immediately approached and questioned him, but
the ape-man shook his head to indicate that he could not understand their
language. Then they questioned the soldiers who had discovered him in the
hut and finally the commander of the company issued some instructions
relative to the ape-man and turned away.

The result was that Tarzan was not chained to the file of prisoners, but
though he again wore the iron collar, the end of the chain was held by
one of the legionaries in whose keeping he had evidently been placed.

Tarzan could only believe that this preferential treatment was accorded
him because of his color and the reluctance of the white officers to
chain another white with Negroes.

As the raiders marched away from the village one of the officers and a
dozen legionaries marched in advance. These were followed by the long
line of prisoners accompanied by another officer and a small guard.
Behind the prisoners, many of whom were compelled to carry the live
chickens that were a part of the spoils of the raid, came another
contingent of soldiers herding the cows and goats and sheep of the
villagers, and behind all a large rear guard comprising the greater part
of the legionaries under the command of the third officer.

The march led along the base of the mountains in a northerly direction
and presently upward diagonally across the rising slopes at the west end
of the Wiramwazi range.

It chanced that Tarzan's position was at the rear of the line of
prisoners, at the end of which marched Lukedi.

"Who are these people, Lukedi?" asked Tarzan, after the party had settled
down to steady progress.

"These are the ghost people of the Wiramwazi," replied the young Bagego.

"They have come to prevent the killing of their fellow," said another,
looking at Tarzan. "I knew Nyuto should not have made him prisoner. I
knew that harm would come from it. It is well for us that the ghost
people came before we had slain him."

"What difference will it make?" said another. "I would rather have been
killed in my own village than to be taken into the country of the ghost
people and killed there."

"Perhaps they will not kill us," suggested Tarzan.

"They will not kill you because you are one 'of them, but they will kill
the Bagegos because they did dare to take you prisoner."

"But they have taken him prisoner, too," said Lukedi. "Can you not see
that he is not one of them? He does not even understand their language."

The other men shook their heads, but they were not convinced. They had
made up their minds that Tarzan was one of the ghost people and they were
determined that nothing should alter this conviction.

After two hours of marching the trail turned sharply to the right and
entered a narrow and rocky gorge, the entrance to which was so choked
with trees and undergrowth that it could not have been visible from any
point upon the slopes below.

The gorge soon narrowed until its rocky walls could be spanned by a man's
outstretched arms. The floor, strewn with jagged bits of granite from the
lofty cliffs above, afforded poor and dangerous footing, so that the
speed of the column was greatly reduced.

As they proceeded Tarzan realized that, although they were entering more
deeply into the mountains, the trend of the gorge was downward rather
than upward. The cliffs on either side rose higher and higher above them
until in places the gloom of night surrounded them and, far above, the
stars twinkled in the morning sky.

For a long hour they followed the windings of the dismal gorge. The
column halted for a minute or two and immediately after the march was
resumed Tarzan saw those directly ahead of him filing through an arched
gateway in the man-made wall of solid masonry that entirely blocked the
gorge to a height of at least a hundred feet. Also, when it was the
ape-man's turn to pass the portal, he saw that it was guarded by other
soldiers similar to those into whose hands he had fallen and that it was
further re-enforced by a great gate of huge, hand-hewn timbers that had
been swung open to permit the party pass.

Ahead of him Tarzan saw a well-worn road leading down into a dense forest
in which huge, live oaks predominated, though interspersed with other
varieties of trees, among which he recognized acacias and a variety of
plane tree as well as a few cedars.

Shortly after passing through the gate the officer in charge gave the
command to halt at a small village of conical huts that was inhabited by
Negroes not unlike the Bagegos, but armed with pikes and swords similar
to those carried by the legionaries.

Preparations were Immediately made to camp in the village, the natives
turning over their huts to the soldiers, quite evidently, judging from
the expressions on their faces, with poor grace. The legionaries took
possession of whatever they wished and ordered their hosts about with all
the authority and assurance of conquerors.

At this village a ration of corn and dried fish was issued to the
prisoners. They were given no shelter, but were permitted to gather
deadwood and build a fire, around which they clustered, still chained
neck to neck.

Numerous birds, strange to Tarzan, flitted among the branches of the
trees overhead and numerous monkeys chattered and scolded, but monkeys
were no novelty to Tarzan of the Apes, who was far more interested in
noting the manners and customs of his captors.

Presently an acorn fell upon Tarzan's head, but as acorns might be
expected to fall from oak trees he paid no attention to the occurrence
until a second and third acorn in rapid succession struck him squarely
from above, and then he glanced up to see a little monkey perched upon a
low branch just above him.

"So-o, Nkima!" he exclaimed. "How did you get here?"

"I saw them take you from the village of the Gomangani. I followed."

"You came through the gorge, Nkima?"

"Nkima was afraid that the rocks would come together and crush him," said
the little monkey, "so he climbed to the top and came over the mountains
along the edge. Far, far below he could hear the Tarmangani and the
Gomangani walking along the bottom. Away up there the wind blew and
little Nkima was cold and the spoor of Sheeta the leopard was everywhere
and there were great baboons who chased little Nkima, so that he was glad
when he came to the end of the mountain and saw the forest far below. It
was a very steep mountain. Even little Nkima was afraid, but he found the
way to the bottom."

"Nkima had better run home," said Tarzan. "This forest is full of strange
monkeys."

"I am not afraid," said Nkima. "They are little monkeys and they are all
afraid of Nkima. They are homely little monkeys. They are not so
beautiful as Nkima, but Nkima has seen some of the shes looking at him
and admiring him. It is not a bad place for Nkima. What are the strange
Tarmangani going to do with Tarzan of the Apes?"

"I do not know, Nkima," said the ape-man.

"Then Nkima will go back and fetch Muviro and the Waziri."

"No," said the ape-man. "Wait until I find the Tarmangani for whom we are
searching. Then you may go back with a message for Muviro."

That night Tarzan and the other prisoners slept upon the hard ground in
the open and, after it was dark, little Nkima came down and snuggled in
his master's arms and there he lay all night, happy to be near the great
Tarmangani he loved.

As morning dawned, Ogonyo, who had been captured with the other Bagegos,
opened his eyes and looked about him. The camp of the soldiers was just
stirring. Ogonyo saw some of the legionaries emerging from the huts that
they had commandeered. He saw his fellow prisoners huddled close together
for warmth and at a little distance from them lay the white man whom he
had so recently guarded in the prison hut in the village of Nyuto, his
chief. As his eyes rested upon the white man, he saw the head of a little
monkey arise from the encircling arms of the sleeper. He saw it cast a
glance in the direction of the legionaries emerging from the huts and
then he saw it scamper quickly to a near-by tree and swing quickly into
the branches above.

Ogonyo gave a cry of alarm that awakened the prisoners near him.

"What is the matter, Ogonyo?" cried one of them.

"The ghost of my grandfather!" he exclaimed. "I saw him again. He came
out of the mouth of the white man who calls himself Tarzan. He has put a
curse upon us because we kept the white man prisoner. Now we are
prisoners ourselves and soon we shall be killed and eaten." The others
nodded their heads solemnly in confirmation.

Food similar to that given to them the night before was given to the
prisoners, and after they and the legionaries had eaten, the march was
resumed in a southerly direction along the dusty road.

Until noon they plodded through the dust toward the south, passing
through other villages similar to that at which they had camped during
the night, and then they turned directly east into a road that joined the
main road at this point. Shortly afterward Tarzan saw before him,
stretching across the road to the right and left as far as he could see
through the forest, a lofty rampart surmounted by palisades and
battlements. Directly ahead the roadway swung to the left just inside the
outer line of the rampart and passed through a gateway that was flanked
by lofty towers. At the base of the rampart was a wide moat through which
a stream of water moved slowly, the moat being spanned by a bridge where
the road crossed it.

There was a brief halt at the gateway while the officer commanding the
company conferred with the commander of the gate, and then the
legionaries and their prisoners filed through and Tarzan saw stretching
before him not a village of native huts, but a city of substantial
buildings.

Those near the gate were one-story stucco houses, apparently built around
an inner courtyard, as he could see the foliage of trees rising high
above the roofs, but at a distance down the vista of a long avenue he saw
the outlines of more imposing edifices rising to a greater height.

As they proceeded along the avenue they saw many people upon the streets
and in the doorways of the houses--brown and black people, clothed for
the most part in tunics and cloaks, though many of the Negroes were
almost naked. In the vicinity of the gateway there were a few shops, but
as they proceeded along the avenue these gave way to dwellings that
continued for a considerable distance until they reached a section that
seemed to be devoted to shops of a better grade and to public buildings.
Here they began to encounter white men, though the proportion of them to
the total population seemed quite small.

The people they passed stopped to look at the legionaries and their
prisoners and at intersections little crowds formed and quite a number
followed them, but these were mostly small boys.

The ape-man could see that he was attracting a great deal of attention
and the people seemed to be commenting and speculating upon him. Some of
them called to the legionaries, who answered them good-naturedly, and
there was considerable joking and chaffing--probably, Tarzan surmised, at
the expense of the unfortunate prisoners.

During the brief passage through the city Tarzan came to the conclusion
that the Negro inhabitants were the servants, perhaps slaves; the brown
men, the soldiers and shopkeepers, while the whites formed the
aristocratic or patrician class.

Well within the city the company turned to the left into another broad
avenue and shortly afterward approached a great circular edifice
constructed of hewn granite blocks. Arched apertures flanked by graceful
columns rose tier upon tier to a height of forty or fifty feet, and above
the first story all of these arches were open. Through them Tarzan could
see that the enclosure was without a roof and he guessed that this lofty
wall enclosed an arena, since it bore a marked resemblance to the
Colosseum at Rome.

As they came opposite the building the head of the column turned and
entered it beneath a low, wide arch and here they were led through
numerous corridors in the first story of the building and down a flight
of granite steps into gloomy, subterranean chambers, where, opening from
a long corridor, the ends of which were lost in darkness in both
directions, were a series of narrow doorways before which swung heavy
iron rates. In parties of four or five the prisoners were unchained and
ordered into the dungeons that lay behind.

Tarzan found himself with Lukedi and two other Bagegos in a small room
constructed entirely of granite blocks. The only openings were the
narrow, grated doorway, through which they entered, and a small, grated
window in the top of the wall opposite the door, and through this window
came a little light and air. The grating was closed upon them, the heavy
padlock snapped, and they were left alone to wonder what fate lay in
store for them.


Chapter Eight


MILLIUS LEPUS conducted von Harben from the quarters of the captain of
the gate in the south wall of the island city of Castrum Mare and,
summoning a soldier, bade him fetch Gabula.

"You shall come with me as my guest, Erich von Harben," announced Mallius
Lepus, "and, by Jupiter, unless I am mistaken, Septimus Favonius will
thank me for bringing such a find. His dinners lag for want of novelty,
for long since has he exhausted all the possibilities of Castrum Mare. He
has even had a Negro chief from the Western forest as his guest of honor,
and once he invited the aristocracy of Castrum Mare to meet a great ape.

"His friends will be mad to meet a barbarian chief from Germania--you are
a chief, are you not?" and as von Harben was about to reply, Mallius
Lepus stayed him with a gesture. "Never mind! You shall be introduced as
a chief and if I do not know any different I cannot be accused of
falsifying."

Von Harben smiled as he realized how alike was human nature the world
over and in all periods of time.

"Here is your slave now," said Mallius. "As the guest of Septimus
Favonius you will have others to do your bidding, but doubtless you will
want to have your own body-servant as well."

"Yes," said Von Harben. "Gabula has been very faithful. I should hate to
part with him."

Mallius led the way to a long shed-like building beneath the inner face
of the rampart. Here were two litters and a number of strapping bearers.
As Mallius appeared eight of these sprang to their stations in front and
behind one of the litters and carried it from the shed, lowering it to
the ground again before their master.

"And tell me, if you have visited Rome recently, does my litter compare
favorably with those now used by the nobles?" demanded Mallius.

"There have been many changes, Mallius Lepus, since the Rome of which
your historian, Sanguinarius, wrote. Were I to tell you of even the least
of them, I fear that you would not believe me."

"But certainly there could have been no great change in the style of
litters," argued Mallius, "and I cannot believe that the patricians have
ceased to use them."

"Their litters travel upon wheels now," said von Harben.

"Incredible!" exclaimed Mallius. "It would be torture to bump over the
rough pavements and country roads on the great wooden wheels of ox-carts.
No, Erich von Harben, I am afraid I cannot believe that story."

"The city pavements are smooth today and the country side is cut in all
directions by wide level highways over which the litters of the modern
citizens of Rome roll at great speed on small wheels with soft
tires--nothing like the great wooden wheels of the ox-carts you have in
mind, Mallius Lepus."

The officer called a command to his carriers, who broke into a smart run.

"I warrant you, Erich von Harben, that there be no litters in all Rome
that move at greater speed than this," he boasted.

"How fast are we traveling now?" asked von Harben.

"Better than eighty-five hundred paces an hour," replied Mallius.

"Fifty thousand paces an hour is nothing unusual for the wheeled litters
of today," said von Harben. "We call them automobiles."

"You are going to be a great success," cried Mallius, slapping von Harben
upon the shoulder. "May Jupiter strike me dead if the guests of Septimus
Favonius do not say that I have made a find indeed. Tell them that there
be litter-curriers in Rome today who can run fifty thousand paces in an
hour and they will acclaim you the greatest entertainer as well as the
greatest liar Castrum Mare has ever seen."

Von Harben laughed good-naturedly. "But you will have to admit, my
friend, that I never said that there were litter-bearers who could run
fifty thousand paces an hour," he reminded Mallius.

"But did you not assure me that the litters traveled that fast? How then
may a litter travel unless it is carried by bearers. Perhaps the litters
of today are carried by horses. Where are the horses that can run fifty
thousand paces in an hour?"

"The litters are neither carried nor drawn by horses or men, Mallius,"
said von Harben.

The officer leaned back against the soft cushion of the carriage, roaring
with laughter. "They fly then, I presume," he jeered. "By Hercules, you
must tell this all over again to Septimus Favonius. I promise you that he
will love you."

They were passing along a broad avenue bordered by old trees. There was
no pavement and the surface of the street was deep with dust. The houses
were built quite up to the street line and where there was space between
adjacent houses a high wall closed the aperture, so that each side of the
street presented a solid front of masonry broken by arched gateways,
heavy doors, and small unglazed windows, heavily barred.

"These are residences?" asked von Harben, indicating the buildings they
were passing.

"Yes," said Mallius.

"From the massive doors and heavily barred windows I should judge that
your city is overrun with criminals," commented von Harben.

Mallius shook his head. "On the contrary," he said, "we have few
criminals in Castrum Mare. The defenses that you see are against the
possible uprising of slaves or invasions by barbarians. Upon several
occasions during the life of the city such things have occurred, and so
we build to safeguard against disaster in the event that there should be
a recurrence of them, but, even so, doors are seldom locked, even at
night, for there are no thieves to break in, no criminals to menace the
lives of our people. If a man has done wrong to a fellow man he may have
reason to expect the dagger of the assassin, but if his conscience be
cleared he may live without fear of attack."

"I cannot conceive of a city without criminals," said von Harben. "How
do you account for it?"

"That is simple," replied Mallius. "When Honus Hasta revolted and founded
the city of Castrum Mare in the 953rd year of Rome, Castra Sanguinarius
was overrun with criminals, so that no man dared go abroad at night
without an armed body-guard, nor was any one safe within his own home,
and Honus Hasta, who became the first Emperor of the East, swore that
there should be no criminals in Castrum Mare and he made laws so drastic
that no thief or murderer lived to propagate his kind. Indeed, the laws
of Honus Hasta destroyed not only the criminal, but all the members of
his family, so that there was none to transmit to posterity the criminal
inclinations of a depraved sire.

"There are many who thought Honus Hasta a cruel tyrant, but time has
shown the wisdom of many of his acts and certainly our freedom from
criminals may only be ascribed to the fact that the laws of Honus Hasta
prevented the breeding of criminals. So seldom now does an individual
arise who steals or wantonly murders that it is an event of as great
moment as any that can occur, and the entire city takes a holiday to see
the culprit and his family destroyed."

Entering an avenue of more pretentious homes, the litter-bearers halted
before an ornate gate where Lepus and Erich descended from the litter. In
answer to the summons of the former, the gate was opened by a slave and
von Harben followed his new friend across a tiled forecourt into an inner
garden, where beneath the shade of a tree a stout, elderly man was
writing at a low desk. It was with something of a thrill that von Harben
noted the ancient Roman inkstand, the reed pen, and the roll of parchment
that the man was using as naturally as though they had not been quite
extinct for a thousand years.

"Greetings, Uncle!" cried Lepus, and as the older man turned toward them,
"I have brought you a guest such as no citizen of Castrum Mare has
entertained since the founding of the city. This, my uncle, is Erich von
Harben, barbarian chief from far Germania." Then to von Harben, "My
revered uncle, Septimus Favonius."

Septimus Favonius arose and greeted von Harben hospitably, yet with such
a measure of conscious dignity as to carry the suggestion that a
barbarian, even though a chief and a guest, could not be received upon a
plane of actual social equality by a citizen of Rome.

Very briefly Lepus recounted the occurrences leading to his meeting with
von Harben. Septimus Favonius seconded his nephew's invitation to be
their guest, and then, at the suggestion of the older man, Lepus took
Erich to his apartments to outfit him with fresh apparel.

An hour later, Erich, shaved and appareled as a young Roman patrician,
stepped from the apartment, which had been placed at his disposal, into
the adjoining chamber, which was a part of the suite of Mallius Lepus.

"Go on down to the garden," said Lepus, "and when I am dressed I shall
join you there."

As von Harben passed through the home of Septimus Favonius on his way to
the garden court, he was impressed by the peculiar blending of various
cultures in the architecture and decoration of the home.

The walls and columns of the building followed the simplest Grecian lines
of architecture, while the rugs, hangings, and mural decorations showed
marked evidence of both oriental and savage African influences. The
latter he could understand, but the source of the oriental designs in
many of the decorations was quite beyond him, since it was obvious that
The Lost Tribe had had no intercourse with the outside world, other than
with the savage Bagegos, for many centuries.

And when he stepped out into the garden, which was of considerable
extent, he saw a further blending of Rome and savage Africa, for while
the main part of the building was roofed with handmade tile, several
porches were covered with native grass thatch, while a small outbuilding
at the far end of the garden was a replica of a Bagego hut except that
the walls were left unplastered, so that the structure appeared in the
nature of a summer-house. Septimus Favonius had left the garden and von
Harben took advantage of the fact to examine his surroundings more
closely. The garden was laid out with winding, graveled walks, bordered
by shrubs and flowers, with an occasional tree, some of which gave
evidence of great age.

The young man's mind, his eyes, his imagination were so fully occupied
with his surroundings that be experienced a sensation almost akin to
shock as he followed the turning of the path around a large ornamental
shrub and came face to face with a young woman.

That she was equally surprised was evidenced by the consternation
apparent in her expression as she looked wide-eyed into the eyes of von
Harben. For quite an appreciable moment of time they stood looking at one
another. Von Harben thought that never in his life had he seen so
beautiful a girl. What the girl thought, von Harben did not know. It was
she who broke the silence.

"Who are you?" she asked, in a voice little above a whisper, as one might
conceivably address an apparition that had arisen suddenly and
unexpectedly before him.

"I am a stranger here," replied von Harben, "and I owe you an apology
for intruding upon your privacy. I thought that I was alone in the
garden."

"Who are you?" repeated the girl. "I have never seen your face before or
one like yours."

"And I," said von Harben, "have never seen a girl like you. Perhaps I am
dreaming. Perhaps you do not exist at all, for it does not seem credible
that in the world of realities such a one as you could exist."

The girl blushed. "You are not of Castrum Mare," she said. "That I can
see." Her tone was a trifle cold and slightly haughty.

"I have offended you," said von Harben. "I ask your pardon. I did not
mean to be offensive, but coming upon you so unexpectedly quite took my
breath away."

"And your manners, too?" asked the girl, but now her eyes were smiling.

"You have forgiven me?" asked von Harben.

"You will have to tell me who you are and why you are here before I can
answer that," she replied. "For all I know you might be an enemy or a
barbarian."

Von Harben laughed. "Mallius Lepus, who invited me here, insists that I
am a barbarian," he said, "but even so I am the guest of Septimus
Favonius, his uncle."

The girl shrugged. "I am not surprised," she said. "My father is
notorious for the guests he honors."

"You are the daughter of Favonius?" asked von Harben.

"Yes, I am Favonia," replied the girl, "but you have not yet told me
about yourself. I command you to do so," she said, imperiously.

"I am Erich von Harben of Germania," said the young man.

"Germania!" exclaimed the girl. "Caesar wrote of Germania, as did
Sanguinarius. It seems very far away."

"It never seemed so far as now," said von Harben; "yet the three thousand
miles of distance seem nothing by comparison with the centuries of time
that intervene."

The girl puckered her brows. "I do not understand you," she said.

"No," said von Harben, "and I cannot blame you."

"You are a chief, of course?" she asked.

He did not deny the insinuation, for he had been quick to see from the
attitude of the three patricians he had met that the social standing of a
barbarian in Castrum Mare might be easily open to question, unless his
barbarism was some-what mitigated by a title. Proud as he was of his
nationality, von Harben realized that it was a far cry from the European
barbarians of Caesar's day to their cultured descendants of the twentieth
century and that it would probably be impossible to convince these people
of the changes that have taken place since their history was written;
and, also, he was conscious of a very definite desire to appear well in
the eyes of this lovely maiden of a bygone age.

"Favonia!" exclaimed von Harben. He scarcely breathed the name.

The girl looked up at him questioningly. "Yes!" she said.

"It is such a lovely name," he said. "I never heard it spoken before."

"You like it?" she asked.

"Very much, indeed."

The girl puckered her brows in thought. She had beautiful penciled brows
and a forehead that denoted an intelligence that was belied by neither
her eyes, her manner, nor her speech. "I am glad that you like my name,
but I do not understand why I should be glad. You say that you are a
barbarian, and yet you do not seem like a barbarian. Your Appearance and
your manner are those of a patrician, though perhaps you are overbold
with a young woman you have never met before, but that I ascribe to the
ignorance of the barbarian and so I forgive it."

"Being a barbarian has its compensations," laughed von Harben, "and
perhaps I am a barbarian. I may be again forgiven if I say you are quite
the most beautiful girl I have ever seen and the only one--I could--," he
hesitated.

"You could what?" she demanded.

"Even a barbarian should not dare to say what I was about to say to one
whom I have known scarce half a dozen minutes."

"Whoever you may be, you show rare discrimination," came in a sarcastic
tone in a man's voice directly behind von Harben.

The girl looked up in surprise and von Harben wheeled both
simultaneously, for neither had been aware of the presence of another.
Facing him von Harben saw a short, dark, greasy-looking young man in an
elaborate tunic, his hand resting upon the hilt of the short sword that
hung at his hip. There was a sarcastic sneer upon the face of the
newcomer.

"Who is your barbarian friend, Favonia?" he demanded.

"This is Erich von Harben, a guest in the home of Septimus Favonius, my
father," replied the girl, haughtily; and to von Harben, "This is Fulvus
Fupus, who accepts the hospitality of Septimus Favonius so often that he
feels free to criticize another guest."

Fupus flushed. "I apologize," he said, "but one may never know when to
honor or when to ridicule one of Septimus Favonius's guests of honor. The
last, if I recall correctly, was an ape, and before that there was a
barbarian from some outer village--but they are always interesting and I
am sure that the barbarian, Erich von Harben, will prove no exception to
the rule." The man's tone was sarcastic and obnoxious to a degree, and it
was with difficulty that von Harben restrained his mounting temper.

Fortunately, at this moment, Mallius Lepus joined them and von Harben was
formally presented to Favonia. Fulvus Fupus thereafter paid little
attention to von Harben, but devoted his time assiduously to Favonia. Von
Harben knew from their conversation that they were upon friendly and
intimate terms and he guessed that Fupus was in love with Favonia, though
he could not tell from the girl's attitude whether or not she returned
his affection.

There was something else that von Harben was sure of--that he too was in
love with Favonia. Upon several occasions in life he had thought that he
was in love, but his sensations and reactions upon those other occasions
had not been the same in either kind or degree as those which he now
experienced. He found himself hating Fulvus Fupus, whom he had known
scarce a quarter of an hour and whose greatest offense, aside from
looking lovingly at Favonia, had been a certain arrogant sarcasm of
speech and manner--certainly no sufficient warrant for a sane man to
wish to do murder, and yet Erich von Harben fingered the butt of his
Luger, which he had insisted upon wearing in addition to the slim dagger
with which Mallius Lepus had armed him.

Later, when Septimus Favonius joined them, he suggested that they all go
to the baths and Mallius Lepus whispered to von Harben that his uncle was
already itching to exhibit his new find.

"He will take us to the Baths of Caesar," said Lepus, "which are
patronized by the richest patricians only, so have a few good stories
ready, but save your best ones, like that you told me about the modern
Roman litters, for the dinner that my uncle is sure to give tonight--for
he will have the best of Castrum Mare there, possibly even the Emperor
himself."

The Baths of Caesar were housed in an imposing building, of which that
portion facing on the avenue was given over to what appeared to be
exclusive shops. The main entrance led to a large court where the warmth
with which the party was greeted by a number of patrons of the Baths
already congregated there attested to the popularity of Favonius, his
daughter, and his nephew, while it was evident to von Harben that there
was less enthusiasm manifested for Fulvus Fupus.

Servants conducted the bathers to the dressing-rooms, the men's and
women's being in different quarters of the building.

After his clothes were removed, von Harben's body was anointed with oils
in a warm room and then he was led into a hot room and from there with
the other men he passed into a large apartment containing a plunge where
both the men and women gathered. About the plunge were seats for several
hundred people, and in the Baths of Caesar these were constructed of
highly polished granite.

While von Harben enjoyed the prospect of a swim in the clear, cold water
of the frigidarium, he was much more interested by the opportunity it
afforded him to be with Favonia again. She was swimming slowly around the
pool when he entered the room and, making a long, running dive, von
Harben slipped easily and gracefully into the water, a few strokes
bringing him to her side. A murmur of applause that followed meant
nothing to von Harben, for he did not know that diving was an unknown art
among the citizens of Castrum Mare.

Fulvus Fupus, who had entered the frigidarium behind von Harben, sneered
as he saw the dive and heard the applause. He had never seen it done
before, but he could see that the thing was very easy, and realizing the
advantages of so graceful an accomplishment, he determined at once to
show the assembled patricians, and especially Favonia, that he was
equally a master of this athletic art as was the barbarian.

Running, as he had seen von Harben run, toward the end of the pool,
Fulvus Fupus sprang high into the air and came straight down upon his
belly with a resounding smack that sent the wind out of him and the water
splashing high in all directions.

Gasping for breath, he managed to reach the side of the pool, where he
clung while the laughter of the assembled patricians brought the scarlet
of mortification to his face. Whereas before he had viewed von Harben
with contempt and some slight suspicion, he now viewed him with contempt,
suspicion, and hatred. Disgruntled, Fupus clambered from the pool and
returned immediately to the dressing-room, where he donned his garments.

"Going already, Fupus?" demanded a young patrician who was disrobing in
the apodyterium.

"Yes," growled Fupus.

"I hear you came with Septimus Favonius and his new find. What sort may
he be?"

"Listen well, Caecilius Metellus," said Fupus. "This man who calls
himself Erich von Harben says that he is a chief from Germania, but I
believe otherwise."

"What do you believe?" demanded Metellus, politely, though evidently with
no considerable interest.

Fupus came close to the other. "I believe him to be a spy from Castra
Sanguinarius," he whispered, "and that he is only pretending that he is a
barbarian."

"But they say that he does not speak our language well," said Metellus.

"He speaks it as any man might speak it who wanted to pretend that he did
not understand it or that it was new to him," said Fupus.

Metellus shook his head. "Septimus Favonius is no fool," he said. "I
doubt if there is anyone in Castra Sanguinarius sufficiently clever to
fool him to such an extent."

"There is only one man who has any right to judge as to that," snapped
Fupus, "and he is going to have the facts before I am an hour older."

"Whom do you mean?" asked Metellus.

"Validus Augustus, Emperor of the East--I am going to him at once."

"Don't be a fool, Fupus," counseled Metellus. "You will only get yourself
laughed at or possibly worse. Know you not that Septimus Favonius is high
in the favor of the Emperor?"

"Perhaps, but is it not also known that he was friendly with Cassius
Hasta, nephew of the Emperor, whom Validus Augustus accused of treason
and banished. It would not take much to convince the Emperor that this
Erich von Harben is an emissary of Cassius Hasta, who is reputed to be in
Castra Sanguinarius."

Caecilius Metellus laughed. "Go on then and make a fool of yourself,
Fupus," he said. "You will probably bring up at the end of a rope."

"The end of a rope will terminate this business," agreed Fupus, "but von
Harben will be there, not I."


Chapter Nine


As night fell upon the city of Castra Sanguinarius, the gloom of the
granite dungeons beneath the city's Colosseum deepened into blackest
darkness, which was relieved only by a rectangular patch of starlit sky
where barred windows pierced the walls.

Squatting upon the rough stone floor, his back against the wall, Tarzan
watched the stars moving in slow procession across the window's opening.
A creature of the wild, impatient of restraint, the ape-man suffered the
mental anguish of the caged beast--perhaps, because of his human mind,
his suffering was greater than would have been that of one of the lower
orders, yet he endured with even greater outward stoicism than the beast
that paces to and fro seeking escape from the bars that confine it.

As the feet of the beast might have measured the walls of its dungeon, so
did the mind of Tarzan, and never for a waking moment was his mind not
occupied by thoughts of escape.

Lukedi and the other inmates of the dungeon slept, but Tarzan still sat
watching the free stars and envying them, when he became conscious of a
sound, ever so slight, coming from the arena, the floor of which was
about on a level with the sill of the little window in the top of the
dungeon wall. Something was moving, stealthily and cautiously, upon the
sand of the arena. Presently, framed in the window, silhouetted against
the sky, appeared a familiar figure. Tarzan smiled and whispered a word
so low that a human ear could scarce have heard it, and Nkima slipped
between the bars and dropped to the floor of the dungeon. An instant
later the little monkey snuggled close to Tarzan, its long, muscular arms
clasped tightly about the neck of the ape-man.

"Come home with me," pleaded Nkima. "Why do you stay in this cold, dark
hole beneath the ground?"

"You have seen the cage in which we sometimes keep Jad-Bal-Ja, the Golden
Lion?" demanded Tarzan.

"Yes," said Nkima.

"Jad-Bal-Ja cannot get out unless we open the gate," explained Tarzan. "I
too am in a cage. I cannot get out until they open the gate."

"I will go and get Muviro and his Gomangani with the sharp sticks," said
Nkima. "They will come and let you out."

"No, Nkima," said Tarzan. "If I cannot get out by myself, Muviro could
not get here in time to free me, and if he came many of my brave Waziri
would be killed, for there are fighting men here in far greater numbers
than Muviro could bring." After awhile Tarzan slept, and curled up within
his arms slept Nkima, the little monkey, but when Tarzan awoke in the
morning Nkima was gone.

Toward the middle of the morning soldiers came and the door of the
dungeon was unlocked and opened to admit several of them, including a
young white officer, who was accompanied by a slave. The officer
addressed Tarzan in the language of the city, but the ape-man shook his
head, indicating that he did not understand; then the other turned to the
slave with a few words and the latter spoke to Tarzan in the Bagego
dialect, asking him if he understood it.

"Yes," replied the ape-man, and through the interpreter the officer
questioned Tarzan.

"Who are you and what were you, a white man, doing in the village of the
Bagegos?" asked the officer.

"I am Tarzan of the Apes," replied the prisoner. "I was looking for
another white man who is lost somewhere in these mountains, but I slipped
upon the cliffside and fell and while I was unconscious the Bagegos took
me prisoner, and when your soldiers raided the Bagego village they found
me there. Now that you know about me, I presume that I shall be
released."

"Why?" demanded the officer. "Are you a citizen of Rome?"

"Of course not," said Tarzan. "What has that to do with it?"

"Because if you are not a citizen of Rome it is quite possible that you
are an enemy. How do we know that you are not from Castrum Mare?"

Tarzan shrugged. "I do not know," he said, "how you would know that since
I do not even know what Castrum Mare means."

"That is what you would say if you wished to deceive us," said the
officer, "and you would also pretend that you could not speak or
understand our language, but you will find that it is not going to be
easy to deceive us. We are not such fools as the people of Castrum Mare
believe us to be."

"Where is this Castrum Mare and what is it?" asked Tarzan.

The officer laughed. "You are very clever," he said.

"I assure you," said the ape-man, "that I am not trying to deceive you.
Believe me for a moment and answer one question."

"What is it you wish to ask?"

"Has another white man come into your country within the last few weeks?
He is the one for whom I am searching."

"No white man has entered this country," replied the officer, "since
Marcus Crispus Sanguinarius led the Third Cohort of the Tenth Legion in
victorious conquest of the barbarians who inhabited it eighteen hundred
and twenty-three years ago."

"And if a stranger were in your country you would know it?" asked Tarzan.

"If he were in Castra Sanguinarius, yes," replied the officer, "but if he
had entered Castrum Mare at the east end of the valley I should not know
it; but come, I was not sent here to answer questions, but to fetch you
before one who will ask them."

At a word from the officer, the soldiers who accompanied him conducted
Tarzan from the dungeon, along the corridor through which he had come the
previous day and up into the city. The detachment proceeded for a mile
through the city streets to an imposing building, before the entrance to
which there was stationed a military guard whose elaborate cuirasses,
helmets, and crests suggested that they might be a part of a select
military organization.

The metal plates of their cuirasses appeared to Tarzan to ho of gold, as
did the metal of their helmets, while the hilts and scabbards of their
swords were elaborately carved and further ornamented with colored stones
ingeniously inlaid in the metal, and to their gorgeous appearance was
added the final touch of scarlet cloaks.

The officer who met the party at the gate admitted Tarzan, the
interpreter, and the officer who had brought him, but the guard of
soldiery was replaced by a detachment of resplendent men-at-arms similar
to those who guarded the entrance to the palace.

Tarzan was taken immediately into the building and along a wide corridor,
from which opened many chambers, to a large, oblong room flanked by
stately columns. At the far end of the apartment a large man sat in a
huge, carved chair, on a raised dais.

There were many other people in the room, nearly all of whom were
colorfully garbed in bright cloaks over colored tunics and ornate
cuirasses of leather or metal, while others wore only simple flowing
togas, usually of white. Slaves, messengers, officers were constantly
entering or leaving the chamber. The party accompanying Tarzan withdrew
between the columns at one side, of the room and waited there.

"What is this place?" asked Tarzan of the Bagego interpreter, "and who is
the man at the far end of the room?"

"This is the throne-room of the Emperor of the West and that is Sublatus
Imperator himself."

For some time Tarzan watched the scene before him with interest. He saw
people, evidently of all classes, approach the throne and address the
Emperor, and though he could not understand their words, he judged that
they were addressing pleas to their ruler. There were patricians among
the suppliants, brown-skinned shopkeepers, barbarians resplendent in
their savage finery, and even slaves.

The Emperor, Sublatus, presented an imposing figure. Over a tunic of
white linen, the Emperor wore a cuirass of gold. His sandals were of
white with gold buckles, and from his shoulders fell the purple robe of
the Caesars. A fillet of embroidered linen about his brow was the only
other insignia of his station.

Directly behind the throne were heavy hangings against which were ranged
a file of soldiers bearing poles surmounted by silver eagles and various
other devices, and banners, of the meaning and purpose of which Tarzan
was ignorant. Upon every column along the side of the wall were hung
shields of various shapes 'over crossed banners and standards similar to
those ranged behind the Emperor. Everything pertaining to the
embellishment of the room was martial, the mural decorations being
crudely painted scenes of war.

Presently a man, who appeared to be an official of the court, approached
them and addressed the officer who had brought Tarzan from the Colosseum.

"Are you Maximus Praeclarus?" he demanded.

"Yes," replied the officer.

"Present yourself with the prisoner."

As Tarzan advanced toward the throne surrounded by the detachment of the
guard, all eyes were turned upon him, for he was a conspicuous figure
even in this assemblage of gorgeously appareled courtiers and soldiers,
though his only garments were a loincloth and a leopard skin. His
suntanned skin, his shock of black hair, and his gray eyes might not
alone have marked him especially in such an assemblage, for there were
other dark-skinned, black-haired, gray-eyed men among them, but there was
only one who towered inches above them all and he was Tarzan. The
undulating smoothness of his easy stride suggested even to the mind of
the proud and haughty Sublatus the fierce and savage power of the king of
beasts, which perhaps accounted for the fact that the Emperor, with
raised hand, halted the party a little further from the throne than
usual.

As the party halted before the throne, Tarzan did not wait to be
questioned, but, turning to the Bagego interpreter, said: "Ask Sublatus
why I have been made a prisoner and tell him that I demand that he free
me at once."

The man quailed. "Do as I tell you," said Tarzan.

"What is he saying?" asked Sublatus of the interpreter.

"I fear to repeat such words to the Emperor," replied the man.

"I command it," said Sublatus.

"He asked why he has been made a prisoner and demands that he be released
at once."

"Ask him who he is," said Sublatus, angrily, "that he dares issue
commands to Sublatus Imperator."

"Tell him," said Tarzan, after the Emperor's words had been translated to
him, "that I am Tarzan of the Apes, but if that means as little to him as
his name means to me, I have other means to convince him that I am as
accustomed to issuing orders and being obeyed as is he."

"Take the insolent dog away," replied Sublatus with trembling voice after
he had been told what Tarzan's words had been.

The soldiers laid hold of Tarzan, but he shook them off. "Tell him,"
snapped the ape-man, "that as one white man to another I demand an answer
to my question. Tell him that I did not approach his country as an enemy,
but as a friend, and that I shall look to him to see that I am accorded
the treatment to which I am entitled, and that before I leave this room."

When these words were translated to Sublatus, the purple of his enraged
face matched the imperial purple of his cloak.

"Take him away," he shrieked. "Take him away. Call the guard. Throw
Maximus Praeclarus into chains for permitting a prisoner to thus address
Sublatus."

Two soldiers seized Tarzan, one his right arm, the other his left, but he
swung them suddenly together before him and with such force did their
heads meet that they relaxed their grasps upon him and sank unconscious
to the floor, and then it was that the ape-man leaped with the agility of
a cat to the dais where sat the Emperor, Sublatus.

So quickly had the act been accomplished and so unexpected was it that
there was none prepared to come between Tarzan and the Emperor in time to
prevent the terrible indignity that Tarzan proceeded to inflict upon him.

Seizing the Emperor by the shoulder, he lifted him from his throne and
wheeled him about and then grasping him by the scruff of the neck and the
bottom of his cuirass, he lifted him from the floor just as several
pikemen leaped forward to rescue Sublatus. But when they were about to
menace Tarzan with their pikes, he used the body of the screaming
Sublatus as a shield so that the soldiers dared not to attack for fear of
killing their Emperor.

"Tell them," said Tarzan to the Bagego interpreter, "that if any man
interferes with me before I have reached the street, I shall wring the
Emperor's neck. Tell him to order them back. If he does. I shall set him
free when he is out of the building. If he refuses, it will be at his own
risk."

When this message was given to Sublatus, he stopped screaming orders to
his people to attack the ape-man and instead warned them to permit Tarzan
to leave the palace. Carrying the Emperor above his head, Tarzan leaped
from the dais and as he did so the courtiers fell back in accordance with
the commands of Sublatus, who now ordered them to turn their backs that
they might not witness the indignity that was being done their ruler.

Down the long throne-room and through the corridors to the outer court
Tarzan of the Apes carried Sublatus Imperator above his head and at the
command of the ape-man the black interpreter went ahead, but there was no
need for him, since Sublatus kept the road clear as he issued commands in
a voice that trembled with a combination of rage, fear, and
mortification.

At the outer gate the members of the guard begged to be permitted to
rescue Sublatus and avenge the insult that had been put upon him, but the
Emperor warned them to permit his captor to leave the palace in safety,
provided he kept his word and liberated Sublatus when they had reached
the avenue beyond the gate.

The scarlet-cloaked guard fell back grumbling, their eyes fired with
anger because of the humiliation of their Emperor. Even though they had
no love for him, yet he was the personification of the power and dignity
of their government, and the scene that they witnessed filled them with
mortification as the half-naked barbarian bore their commander-in-chief
through the palace gates out into the tree-bordered avenue beyond, while
the interpreter marched ahead, scarce knowing whether to be more downcast
by terror or elated through pride in this unwonted publicity.

The city of Castra Sanguinarius had been carved from the primeval forest
that clothed the west end of the canyon, and with unusual vision the
founders of the city had cleared only such spaces as were necessary for
avenues, buildings, and similar purposes. Ancient trees overhung the
avenue before the palace and in many places their foliage overspread the
low housetops, mingling with the foliage of the trees in inner
courtyards.

Midway of the broad avenue the ape-man halted and lowered Sublatus to the
ground. He turned his eyes in the direction of the gateway through which
the soldiers of Sublatus v, ere crowding out into the avenue.

"Tell them," said Tarzan to the interpreter, "to go back into the palace
grounds; then and then only shall I release their Emperor," for Tarzan
had noted the ready javelins in the hands of many of the guardsmen and
guessed that the moment his body ceased to be protected by the near
presence of Sublatus it would be the target and the goal of a score of
the weapons.

When the interpreter deliver the ape-man's ultimatum to them, the
guardsmen hesitated, but Sublatus commanded them to obey, for the
barbarian's heavy grip upon his shoulder convinced him that there was no
hope that he might-escape alive or uninjured unless he and his soldiers
acceded to the creature's demand. As the last of the guardsmen passed
back into the palace courtyard Tarzan released the Emperor and as
Sublatus hastened quickly toward the gate, the guardsmen made a sudden
sally into the avenue.

They saw their quarry turn and take a few quick steps, leap high into the
air and disappear amidst the foliage of an overhanging oak, A dozen
javelins hurtled among the branches of the tree. The soldiers rushed
forward, their eyes strained upward, but the quarry had vanished.

Sublatus was close upon their heels. "Quick!" he cried. "After him! A
thousand denaria to the man who brings down the barbarian."

"There he goes!" cried one, pointing.

"No," cried another. "I saw him there among the foliage. I saw the
branches move," and he pointed in the opposite direction.

And in the meantime the ape-man moved swiftly through the trees along one
side of the avenue, dropped to a low roof, crossed it and sprang into a
tree that rose from an inner court, pausing there to listen for signs of
pursuit. After the manner of a wild beast hunted through his native
jungle, he moved as silently as the shadow of a shadow, so that now,
although he crouched scarce twenty feet above them, the two people in the
courtyard below him were unaware of his presence.

But Tarzan was not unaware of theirs and as he listened to the noise of
the growing pursuit, that was spreading now in all directions through the
city, he took note of the girl and the man in the garden beneath him. It
was apparent that the man was wooing the maid, and Tarzan needed no
knowledge of their spoken language to interpret the gestures, the
glances, and the facial expressions of passionate pleading upon the part
of the man or the cold aloofness of the girl.

Sometimes a tilt of her head presented a partial view of her profile to
the ape-man and he guessed that she was very beautiful, but the face of
the young man with her reminded him of the face of Pamba the rat.

It was evident that his courtship was not progressing to the liking of
the youth and now there were evidences of anger in his tone. The girl
rose haughtily and with a cold word turned away, and then the man leaped
to his feet from the bench upon which they had been sitting and seized
her roughly by the arm. She turned surprised and angry eyes upon him and
had half voiced a cry for help when the rat-faced man clapped a hand
across her mouth and with his free arm dragged her into his embrace.

Now all this was none of Tarzan's affair. The shes of the city of Castra
Sanguinarius meant no more to the savage ape-man than did the shes of the
village of Nyuto, chief of the Bagegos. They meant no more to him than
did Sabor the lioness and far less than did the shes of the tribe of Akut
or of Toyat the king apes--but Tarzan of the Apes was often a creature of
impulses; now he realized that he did not like the rat-faced young man,
and that he never could like him, while the girl that he was maltreating
seemed to be doubly likable because of her evident aversion to her
tormentor.

The man had bent the girl's frail body back upon the bench. His lips were
close to hers when there was a sudden jarring of the ground beside him
and he turned astonished eyes upon the figure of a half-naked giant.
Steel-gray eyes looked into his beady black ones, a heavy hand fell upon
the collar of his tunic, and he felt himself lifted from the body of the
girl and then hurled roughly aside.

He saw his assailant lift his victim to her feet and his little eyes saw,
too, another thing: the stranger was unarmed! Then it was that the sword
of Fastus leaped from its scabbard and that Tarzan of the Apes found
himself facing naked steel. The girl saw what Fastus would do. She saw
that the stranger who protected her was unarmed and she leaped between
them, at the same time calling loudly, "Axuch! Sams! Mpingul Hither!
Quickly!"

Tarzan seized the girl and swung her quickly behind him, and
simultaneously Fastus was upon him. But the Roman had reckoned without
his host and the easy conquest over an unarmed man that he had expected
seemed suddenly less easy of accomplishment, for when his keen Spanish
sword swung down to cleave the body of his foe, that foe was not there.

Never in his life had Fastus witnessed such agility. It was as though the
eyes and body of the barbarian moved more rapidly than the sword of
Fastus, and always a fraction of an inch ahead.

Three times Fastus swung viciously at the stranger, and three times his
blade cut empty air, while the girl, wide-eyed with astonishment, watched
the seemingly unequal duel. Her heart filled with admiration for this
strange young giant, who, though he was evidently a barbarian, looked
more the patrician than Fastus himself. Three times the blade of Fastus
cut harmlessly through empty air--and then there was a lightning-like
movement on the part of his antagonist. A brown hand shot beneath the
guard of the Roman, steel fingers gripped his wrist, and an instant later
his sword clattered to the tile walk of the courtyard. At the same moment
two white men and a Negro hurried breathlessly into the garden and ran
quickly forward--two with daggers in their hands and one, the black, with
a sword.

They saw Tarzan standing between Fastus and the girl. They saw the man in
the grip of a stranger. They saw the sword clatter to the ground, and
naturally they reached the one conclusion that seemed possible--Fastus
was being worsted in an attempt to protect the girl against a stranger.

Tarzan saw them coming toward him and realized that three to one are
heavy odds. He was upon the point of using Fastus as a shield against his
new enemies when the girl stepped before the three and motioned them to
stop. Again the tantalizing tongue that he could almost understand and
yet not quite, as the girl explained the circumstances to the newcomers
while Tarzan still stood holding Fastus by the wrist.

Presently the girl turned to Tarzan and addressed him, but he only shook
his head to indicate that he could not understand her; then, as his eyes
fell upon the Negro, a possible means of communicating with these people
occurred to him, for the Negro resembled closely the Bagegos of the outer
world.

"Are you a Bagego?" asked Tarzan in the language of that tribe.

The man looked surprised. "Yes," he said, "I am, but who are you?"

"And you speak the language of these people?" asked Tarzan, indicating
the young woman and Fastus and ignoring the man's query.

"Of course," said the Negro. "I have been a prisoner among them for many
years, but there are many Bagegos among my fellow prisoners and we have
not forgotten the language of our mothers."

"Good," said Tarzan. "Through you this young woman may speak to me."

"She wants to know who you are, and where you came from, and what you
were doing in her garden, and how you got here, and how you happened to
protect her from Fastus, and--"

Tarzan held up his hand. "One at a time," he cried. "Tell her I am Tarzan
of the Apes, a stranger from a far country, and I came here in friendship
seeking one of my own people who is lost."

Now came an interruption in the form of loud pounding and hallooing
beyond the outer doorway of the building.

"See what that may be, Axuch," directed the girl, and as the one so
addressed, and evidently a slave, humbly turned to do her bidding, she
once more addressed Tarzan through the interpreter.

"You have won the gratitude of Dilecta," she said, "and you shall be
rewarded by her father."

At this moment Axuch returned followed by a young officer. As the eyes of
the newcomer fell upon Tarzan they went wide and he started back, his
hand going to the hilt of his sword, and simultaneously Tarzan recognized
him as Maximus Praeclarus, the young patrician officer who had conducted
him from the Colosseum to the palace.

"Lay off your sword, Maximus Praeclarus," said the young girl, "for this
man is no enemy."

"And you are sure of that, Dilecta?" demanded Praeclarus. "What do you
know of him?"

"I know that he came in time to save me from this swine who would have
harmed me," said the girl haughtily, casting a withering glance at
Fastus.

"I do not understand," said Praeclarus. "This is a barbarian prisoner of
war who calls himself Tarzan and whom I took this morning from the
Colosseum to the palace at the command of the Emperor, that Sublatus
might look upon the strange creature, whom some thought to be a spy from
Castrum Mare."

"If he is a prisoner, what is he doing here, then?" demanded the girl.
"And why are you here?"

"This fellow attacked the Emperor himself and then escaped from the
palace. The entire city is being searched and I, being in charge of a
detachment of soldiers assigned to this district, came immediately
hither, fearing the very thing that has happened and that this wild man
might find you and do you harm."

"It was the patrician, Fastus, son of Imperial Caesar, who would have
harmed me," said the girl. "It was the wild man who saved me from him."

Maximum Praeclarus looked quickly at Fastus, the son of Sublatus, and
then at Tarzan. The young officer appeared to be resting upon the horns
of a dilemma.

"There is your man," said Fastus, with a sneer. "Back to the dungeons
with him."

"Maximus Praeclarus does not take orders from Fastus," said the young
man, "and he knows his duty without consulting him."

"You will arrest this man who has protected me, Praeclarus?" demanded
Dilecta.

"What else may I do?" asked Praeclarus. "It is my duty."

"Then do it," sneered Fastus.

Praeclarus went white. "It is with difficulty that I can keep my hands
off you, Fastus," he said. "If you were the son of Jupiter himself, it
would not take much more to get yourself choked. If you know what is well
for you, you will go before I lose control of my temper."

"Mpingu," said Dilecta, "show Fastus to the avenue."

Fastus flushed. "My father, the Emperor, shall hear of this," he snarled;
"and do not forget, Dilecta, your father stands none too well in the
estimation of Sublatus Imperator."

"Get gone," cried Dilecta, "before I order my slave to throw you into the
avenue."

With a sneer and a swagger Fastus quit the garden, and when he had gone
Dilecta turned to Maximus Praeclarus.

"What shall we do?" she cried. "I must protect this noble stranger who
saved me from Fastus, and at the same time you must do your duty and
return him to Sublatus."

"I have a plan," said Maximus Praeclarus, "but I cannot carry it out
unless I can talk with the stranger."

"Mpingu can understand and interpret for him," said the girl.

"Can you trust Mpingu implicitly?" asked Praeclarus.

"Absolutely," said Dilecta.

"Then send away the others," said Praeclarus, indicating Axuch and Sarus;
and when Mpingu returned from escorting Fastus to the street he found
Maximus Praeclarus, Dilecta, and Tarzan alone in the garden.

Praeclarus motioned Mpingu to advance. "Tell the stranger that I have
been sent to arrest him," he said to Mpingu, "but tell him also that
because of the service he has rendered Dilecta I wish to protect him, if
he will follow my instructions."

"What are they?" asked Tarzan when the question had been put to him.
"What do you wish me to do?"

"I wish you to come with me," said Praeclarus; "to come with me as though
you are my prisoner. I shall take you in the direction of the Colosseum
and when I am opposite my own home I shall give you a signal so that you
will understand that the house is mine. Immediately afterward I will make
it possible for you to escape into the trees as you did when you quit the
palace with Sublatus. Go, then, immediately to my house and remain there
until I return. Dilecta will send Mpingu there now to warn my servants
that you are coming. At my command they will protect you with their
lives. Do you understand?"

"I understand," replied the ape-man, when the plan had been explained to
him by Mpingu.

"Later," said Praeclarus, "we may be able to find a way to get you out of
Castra Sanguinarius and across the mountains."


Chapter Ten


THE cares of state rested lightly upon the shoulders of Validus Augustus,
Emperor of the East, for though his title was imposing his domain was
small and his subjects few. The island city of Castrum Mare boasted a
population of only a trifle more than twenty-two thousand people, of
which some three thousand were whites and nineteen thousand of mixed
blood, while outside the city, in the villages of the lake dwellers and
along the eastern shore of Mare Orientis, dwelt the balance of his
subjects, comprising some twenty-six thousand Negroes.

Today, reports and audiences disposed of, the Emperor had withdrawn to
the palace garden to spend an hour in conversation with a few of his
intimates, while his musicians, concealed within a vine-covered bower,
entertained him. While he was thus occupied a chamberlain approached and
announced that the patrician Fulvus Fupus begged an audience of the
Emperor.

"Fulvus knows that the audience hour is past," snapped the Emperor. "Bid
him come on the morrow."

"He insists, most glorious Caesar," said the chamberlain, "that his
business is of the utmost importance and that it is only because he felt
that the safety of the Emperor is at stake that he came at this hour."

"Brim: him here then," commanded Validus, and, as the chamberlain turned
away, "Am I never to have a moment's relaxation without some fool like
Fulvus Fupus breaking in upon me with some silly story?" he grumbled to
one of his companions.

When Fulvus approached the Emperor a moment later, he was received with a
cold and haughty stare.

"I have come, most glorious Caesar," said Fulvus, "to fulfill the duty of
a citizen of Rome, whose first concern should be the safety of his
Emperor."

"What are you talking about?" snapped Validus. "Quick, out with it!"

"There is a stranger in Castrum Mare who claims to be a barbarian from
Germania, but I believe him to be a spy from Castrum Sanguinarius where,
it is said, Cassius Hasta is an honored guest of Sublatus, in that city."

"What do you know about Cassius Hasta and what has he to do with it?"
demanded Validus.

"It is said--it is rumored," stammered Fulvus Fupus, "that--"

"I have heard too many rumors already about Cassius Hasta," exclaimed
Validus. "Can I not dispatch my nephew upon a mission without every fool
in Castrum Mare lying awake nights to conjure motives, which may later be
ascribed to me?"

"It is only what I heard," said Fulvus, flushed and uncomfortable. "I do
not know anything about it. I did not say that I knew."

"Well, what did you hear?" demanded Validus. "Come, out with it."

"The talk is common in the Baths that you sent Cassius Hasta away because
he was plotting treason and that he went at once to Sublatus, who
received him in a friendly fashion and that together they are planning an
attack upon Castrum Mare."

Validus scowled. "Baseless rumor," he said; "but what about this
prisoner? What has he to do with it and why have I not been advised of
his presence?"

"That I do not know," said Fulvus Fupus. "That is why I felt it doubly my
duty to inform you, since the man who is harboring the stranger is a most
powerful patrician and one who might well be ambitious."

"Who is he?" asked the Emperor.

"Septimus Favonius," replied Fupus.

"Septimus Favonius!" exclaimed Validus. "Impossible."

"Not so impossible," said Fupus, boldly, "if glorious Caesar will but
recall the friendship that ever existed between Cassius Hasta and Mallius
Lepus, the nephew of Septimus Favonius. The home of Septimus Favonius was
the other home of Cassius Hasta. To whom, then, sooner might he turn for
aid than to this powerful friend whose ambitions are well known outside
the palace, even though they may not as yet have come to the ears of
Validus Augustus?"

Nervously the Emperor arose and paced to and fro, the eyes of the others
watching him narrowly; those of Fulvus Fupus narrowed with malign
anticipation.

Presently Validus halted and turned toward one of his courtiers. "May
Hercules strike me dead," he cried, "if there be not some truth in what
Fulvus Fupus suggests!" and to Fupus, "What is this stranger like?"

"He is a man of white skin, yet of slightly different complexion and
appearance than the usual patrician. He feigns to speak our language with
a certain practiced stiltedness that is intended to suggest lack of
familiarity. This, I think, is merely a part of the ruse to deceive."

"How did he come into Castrum Mare and none of my officers report the
matter to me?" asked Validus.

"That you may learn from Mallius Lepus," said Fulvus Fupus, "for Mallius
Lepus was in command of the Porta Decumana when some of the barbarians of
the lake villages brought him there, presumably a prisoner, yet Caesar
knows how easy it would have been to bribe these creatures to play such a
part."

"You explain it so well, Fulvus Fupus," said the Emperor, "that one might
even suspect you to have been the instigator of the plot, or at least to
have given much thought to similar schemes."

"Caesar's ever brilliant wit never deserts him," said Fupus, forcing a
smile, though his face paled.

"We shall see," snapped Validus, and turning to one of his officers,
"Order the arrest of Septimus Favonius, and Mallius Lepus and this
stranger at once."

As he ceased speaking a chamberlain entered the garden and approached the
Emperor. "Septimus Favonius requests an audience," he announced. "Mallius
Lepus, his nephew, and a stranger are with him."

"Fetch them," said Validus, and to the officer who was about to depart to
arrest them, "Wait here. We shall see what Septimus Favonius has to say."

A moment later the three entered and approached the Emperor. Favonius and
Lepus saluted Validus and then the former presented von Harben as a
barbarian chief from Ger-mania.

"We have already heard of this barbarian chief," said Validus with a
sneer. Favonius and Lepus glanced at Fupus. "Why was I not immediately
notified of the capture of this prisoner?" This time the Emperor directed
his remarks to Mallius Lepus.

"There has been little delay, Caesar," replied the young officer. "It was
necessary that he be bathed and properly clothed before he was brought
here."

"It was not necessary that he be brought here," said Validus. "There are
dungeons in Castrum Mare for prisoners from Castra Sanguinarius."

"He is not from Castra Sanguinarius," said Septimus Favonius.

"Where are you from and what are you doing in my country?" demanded
Validus, turning upon von Harben.

"I am from a country that your historians knew as Germania," replied
Erich.

"And I suppose you learned to speak our language in Germania," sneered
Validus.

"Yes," replied von Harben, "I did."

"And you have never been to Castra Sanguinarius?"

"Never."

"I presume you have been to Rome," laughed Validus.

"Yes, many times," replied von Harben.

"And who is Emperor there now?"

"There is no Roman Emperor," said von Harben.

"No Roman Emperor!" exclaimed Validus. "If you are not a spy from Castra
Sanguinarius, you are a lunatic. Perhaps you are both, for no one but a
lunatic would expect me to believe such a story. No Roman Emperor,
indeed!"

"There is no Roman Emperor," said von Harben, "because there is no Roman
Empire. Mallius Lepus tells me that your country has had no intercourse
with the outside world for more than eighteen hundred years. Much can
happen in that time--much has happened. Rome fell, over a thousand years
ago. No nation speaks its language today, which is understood by priests
and scholars only. The barbarians of Germania, of Gallia, and of
Britannia have built empires and civilizations of tremendous power, and
Rome is only a city in Italia."

Mallius Lepus was beaming delightedly. "I told you," he whispered to
Favonius, "that you would love him. By Jupiter, I wish he would tell
Validus the story of the litters that travel fifty thousand paces an
hour!"

There was that in the tone and manner of von Harben that compelled
confidence and belief, so that even the suspicious Validus gave credence
to the seemingly wild tales of the stranger and presently found himself
asking questions of the barbarian.

Finally the Emperor turned to Fulvus Fupus. "Upon what proof did you
accuse this man of being a spy from Castra Sanguinarius?" he demanded.

"Where else may he be from?" asked Fulvus Fupus. "We know he is not from
Castrum Mare, so he must be from Castra Sanguinarius."

"You have no evidence then to substantiate your accusations?"

Fupus hesitated.

"Get out," ordered Validus, angrily. "I shall attend to you later."

Overcome by mortification, Fupus left the garden, but the malevolent
glances that he shot at Favonius, Lepus, and Erich boded them no good.
Validus looked long and searchingly at von Harben for several minutes
after Fupus quit the garden as though attempting to read the soul of the
stranger standing before him.

"So there is no Emperor at Rome," he mused, half aloud. "When
Sanguinarius led his cohort out of Egyptus, Nerva was Emperor. That was
upon the sixth day before the calends of February in the 848th year of
the city in the second year of Nerva's reign. Since that day no word of
Rome has reached the descendants of Sanguinarius and his cohort."

Von Harben figured rapidly, searching his memory for the historical dates
and data of ancient history that were as fresh in his mind as those of
his own day. "The sixth day before the calends of February," he repeated;
"that would be the twenty-seventh day of January in the 848th year of the
city--why, January twenty-seventh, A.D. 98, is the date of Nerva's
death," he said.

"Ah, if Sanguinarius had but known," said Validus, "but AEgyptus is a
long way from Rome and Sanguinarius was far to the south up the Nilus
before word could have reached his post by ancient Thebae that his enemy
was dead. And who became Emperor after Nerva? Do you know that?"

"Trajan," replied von Harben.

"Why do you, a barbarian, know so much concerning the history of Rome?"
asked the Emperor.

"I am a student of such things," replied von Harben. "It has been my
ambition to become an authority on the subject."

"Could you write down these happenings since the death of Nerva?"

"I could put down all that I could recall, or all that I have read," said
von Harben, "but it would take a long time."

"You shall do it," said Validus, "and you shall have the time."

"But I had not planned remaining on in your country," dissented von
Harben.

"You shall remain," said Validus. "You shall also write a history of the
reign of Validus Augustus, Emperor of the East."

"But--" interjected von Harben,

"Enough!" snapped Validus. "I am Caesar. It is a command."

Von Harben shrugged and smiled. Rome and the Caesars, he realized, had
never seemed other than musty parchment and weather-worn inscriptions cut
in crumbling stone, until now.

Here, indeed, was a real Caesar. What matter it that his empire was
naught but a few square miles of marsh, an island and swampy shore-land
in the bottom of an unknown canyon, or that his subjects numbered less
than fifty thousand souls--the first Augustus himself was no more a
Caesar than was his namesake, Validus.

"Come," said Validus, "I shall take you to the library myself, for that
will be the scene of your labors."

In the library, which was a vault-like room at the end of a long
corridor, Validus displayed with pride several hundred parchment rolls
neatly arranged upon shelves.

"Here," said Validus, selecting one of the rolls, "is the story of
Sanguinarius and the history of our country up to the founding of Castrum
Mare. Take it with you and read it at your leisure, for while you shall
remain with Septimus Favonius, whom with Mallius Lepus I shall hold
responsible for you, every day you shall come to the palace and I shall
dictate to you the history of my rein. Go, now, with Septimus Favonius
and at this hour tomorrow attend again upon Caesar."

When they were outside the palace of Validus Augustus, von Harben turned
to Mallius Lepus. "It is a question whether I am prisoner or guest," he
said, with a rueful smile.

"Perhaps you are both," said Mallius Lepus, "but that you are even
partially a guest is fortunate for you. Validus Augustus is vain,
arrogant, and cruel. He is also suspicious, for he knows that he is not
popular, and Fulvus Fupus had evidently almost succeeded in bringing your
doom upon you and ruin to Favonius and myself before we arrived. What
strange whim altered the mind of Caesar I do not know, but it is
fortunate for you that it was altered; fortunate, too, for Septimus
Favonius and Mallius Lepus."

"But it will take years to write the history of Rome," said von Harben.

"And if you refuse to write it you will be dead many more years than it
would take to accomplish the task," re-toned Mallius Lepus, with a grin.

"Castrum Mare is not an unpleasant place in which to live," said Septimus
Favonius.

"Perhaps you are right," said von Harben, as the face of the daughter of
Favonius presented itself to his mind.

Returned to the home of the host, the instinct of the archaeologist and
the scholar urged von Harben to an early perusal of the ancient papyrus
roll that Caesar had loaned him, so that no sooner was he in the
apartments that had been set aside for him than he stretched himself upon
a long sofa and untied the cords that confined the roll.

As it unrolled before his eyes he saw a manuscript in ancient Latin,
marred by changes and erasures, yellowed by age. It was quite unlike
anything that had previously fallen into his hands during his scholarly
investigations into the history and literature of ancient Rome. For
whereas such other original ancient manuscripts as he had had the good
fortune to examine had been the work of clerks or scholars, a moment's
glance at this marked it as the laborious effort of a soldier unskilled
in literary pursuits.

The manuscript bristled with the rough idiom of far-flung camps of
veteran legionaries, with the slang of Rome and Egypt of nearly two
thousand years before, and there were references to people and places
that appeared in no histories or geographies known to modern man--little
places and little people that were without fame in their own time and
whose very memory had long since been erased from the consciousness of
man, but yet in this crude manuscript they lived again for Erich von
Harben--the quaestor who had saved the life of Sanguinarius in an
Egyptian town that never was on any map, and there was Marcus Crispus
Sanguinarius himself who had been of sufficient importance to win the
enmity of Nerva in the year 90 A.D. while the latter was consul--Marcus
Crispus Sanguinarius, the founder of an empire, whose name appears
nowhere in the annals of ancient Rome.

With mounting interest von Harben read the complaints of Sanguinarius and
his anger because the enmity of Nerva had caused him to be relegated to
the hot sands of this distant post below the ancient city of Thebes in
far AEgyptus.

Writing in the third person, Sanguinarius had said:

"Sanguinarius, a praefect of the Third Cohort of the Tenth Legion,
stationed below Thebae in AEgyptus in the 846th year of the city,
immediately after Nerva assumed the purple, was accused of having plotted
against the Emperor.

"About the fifth day before the calends of February in the 848th year of
the city a messenger came to Sanguinarius from Nerva commanding the
praefect to return to Rome and place himself under arrest, but this
Sanguinarius had no mind to do, and as no other in his camp knew the
nature of the message he had received from Nerva, Sanguinarius struck the
messenger down with his dagger and caused the word to be spread among his
men that the man had been an assassin sent from Rome and that
Sanguinarius had slain him in self-defense.

"He also told his lieutenants and centurions that Nerva was sending a
large force to destroy the cohort and he prevailed upon them to follow up
the Nilus in search of a new country where they might establish
themselves far from the malignant power of a jealous Caesar, and upon
the following day the long march commenced.

"It so happened that shortly before this a fleet of one hundred and
twenty vessels landed at Myos-hormos, a port of AEgyptus on the Sinus
Arabius. This merchant fleet annually brought rich merchandise from the
island of Taprobana--silk, the value of which was equal to its weight in
gold, pearls, diamonds, and a variety of aromatics and other merchandise,
which was transferred to the backs of camels and brought inland from
Myos-hormos to the Nilus and down that river to Alexandria, whence it was
shipped to Rome.

"With this caravan were hundreds of slaves from India and far Cathay and
even light-skinned people captured in the distant northwest by Mongol
raiders. The majority of these were young girls destined for the auction
block at Rome. And it so chanced that Sanguinarius met this caravan,
heavy with riches and women, and captured it. During the ensuing five
years the cohort settled several times in what they hoped would prove a
permanent camp, but it was not until the 853rd year of Rome that, by
accident, they discovered the hidden canyon where now stands Castra
Sanguinarius."

"You find it interesting?" inquired a voice from the doorway, and looking
up von Harben saw Mallius Lepus standing on the threshold.

"Very," said Erich.

Lepus shrugged his shoulders. "We suspect that it would have been more
interesting had the old assassin written the truth," said Lepus. "As a
matter of fact, very little is known concerning his reign, which lasted
for twenty years. He was assassinated in the year 20 Anno Sanguinar,
which corresponds to the 873rd year of Rome. The old buck named the city
after himself, decreed a calendar of his own, and had his head stamped on
gold coins, many of which are still in existence. Even today we use his
calendar quite as much as that of our Roman ancestors, but in Castrum
Mare we have tried to forget the example of Sanguinarius as much as
possible."

"What is this other city that I have heard mentioned so often and that is
called Castra Sanguinarius?" asked von Harben.

"It is the original city founded by Sanguinarius," replied Lepus. "For a
hundred years after the founding of the city conditions grew more and
more intolerable until no man's life or property was safe, unless he was
willing to reduce himself almost to the status of a slave and continually
fawn upon the Emperor. It was then that Honus Hasta revolted and led a
few hundred families to this island at the eastern end of the valley,
founding the city and the empire of Castrum Mare. Here, for over
seventeen hundred years, the descendants of these families have lived in
comparative peace and security, but in an almost constant state of war
with Castra Sanguinarius.

"From mutual necessity the two cities carry on a commerce that is often
interrupted by raids and wars. The suspicion and hatred that the
inhabitants of each city feel for the inhabitants of the other is
fostered always by our Emperors, each of whom fears that friendly
communication between the two cities would result in the overthrow of one
of them."

"And now Castrum Mare is happy and contented under Caesar?" asked Erich.

"That is a question that it might not be safe to answer honestly," said
Lepus, with a shrug.

"If I am going to the palace every day to write the history of Rome for
Validus Augustus and receive from him the story of his reign," said von
Harben, "it might be well if I knew something of the man, otherwise there
is a chance for me to get into serious trouble, which might conceivably
react upon you and Septimus Favonius, whom Caesar has made responsible
for me. If you care to forewarn me, I promise you that I shall repeat
nothing that you may tell me."

Lepus, leaning lightly against the wall by the doorway, played idly with
the hilt of his dagger as he took thought before replying. Presently he
looked up, straight into von Harben's eyes.

"I shall trust you," he said; "first, because there is that in you which
inspires confidence, and, second, because it cannot profit you to harm
either Septimus Favonius or myself. Castrum Mare is not happy with its
Caesar. He is arrogant and cruel--not like the Caesars to which Castrum
Mare has been accustomed.

"The last Emperor was a kindly man, but at the time of his death his
brother, Validus Augustus, was chosen to succeed him because Caesar's son
was, at that time, but a year old.

"This son of the former Emperor, a nephew of Validus Augustus, is called
Cassius Hasta. And because of his popularity he has aroused the jealousy
and hatred of Augustus, who recently sent him away upon a dangerous
mission to the west end of the valley. There are many who consider it
virtual banishment, but Validus Augustus insists that this is not the
fact. No one knows what Cassius Hasta's orders were. He went secretly by
night and was accompanied by only a few slaves.

"It is believed that he has been ordered to enter Castra Sanguinarius as
a spy, and if such is the case his mission amounts practically to a
sentence of death. If this were known for a fact, the people would rise
against Validus Augustus, for Cassius Hasta was the most popular man in
Castrum Mare.

"But enough. I shall not bore you with the sorrows of Castrum Mare. Take
your reading down into the garden where in the shade of the trees, it is
cooler than here and I shall join you presently."

As von Harben lay stretched upon the sward beneath the shade of a tree in
the cool garden of Septimus Favonius, his mind was not upon the history
of Sanguinarius, nor upon the political woes of Castrum Mare so much as
they were upon plans for escape.

As a scholar, an explorer, and an archaeologist he would delight in
remaining here for such a time as might be necessary for him to make an
exploration of the valley and study the government and customs of its
inhabitants, but to remain cooped up in the vault-like library of the
Emperor of the East writing the history of ancient Rome in Latin with a
reed pen on papyrus rolls in no way appealed to him.

The rustle of fresh linen and the soft fall of sandaled feet upon the
graveled garden walk interrupted his trend of thought and as he looked up
into the face of Favonia, daughter of Septimus Favonius, the history of
ancient Rome together with half-formulated plans for escape were
dissipated from his mind by the girl's sweet smile, as is a morning mist
by the rising sun.


Chapter Eleven


As Maximus Praeclarus led Tarzan of the Apes from the home of Dion
Splendidus in the city of Castra Sanguinarius, the soldiers, gathered by
the doorway, voiced their satisfaction in oaths and exclamations. They
liked the young patrician who commanded them and they were proud that he
should have captured the wild barbarian single-handed.

A command from Praeclarus brought silence and at a word from him they
formed around the prisoner, and the march toward the Colosseum was begun.
They had proceeded but a short distance when Praeclarus halted the
detachment and went himself to the doorway of a house fronting on the
avenue through which they were crossing. He halted before the door, stood
in thought for a moment, and then turned back toward his detachment as
though he had changed his mind about entering, and Tarzan knew that the
young officer was indicating to him the home in which he lived and in
which the ape-man might find sanctuary later.

Several hundred yards farther along the street, after they had resumed
the march, Praeclarus halted his detachment beneath the shade of great
trees opposite a drinking fountain, which was built into the outside of a
garden wall close beside an unusually large tree, which, overspreading
the avenue upon one side and the wall on the other, intermingled its
branches with those of other trees growing inside the garden beyond.

Praeclarus crossed the avenue and drank at the fountain and returning
inquired by means of signs if Tarzan would drink. The ape-man nodded in
assent and Praeclarus gave orders that he be permitted to cross to the
fountain.

Slowly Tarzan walked to the other side of the avenue. He stooped and
drank from the fountain. Beside him was the bole of a great tree; above
him was the leafy foliage that would conceal him from the sight and
protect him from the missiles of the soldiers. Turning from the fountain,
a quick step took him behind the tree. One of the soldiers shouted a
warning to Praeclarus, and the whole detachment, immediately suspicious,
leaped quickly across the avenue, led by the young patrician who
commanded them, but when they reached the fountain and the tree their
prisoner had vanished.

Shouting their disappointment, they gazed upward into the foliage, but
there was no sign there of the barbarian. Several of the more active
soldiers scrambled into the branches and then Maximus Praeclarus,
pointing in the direction opposite to that in which his home lay,
shouted: "This way, there he goes!" and started on a run down the avenue,
while behind him strung his detachment, their pikes ready in their hands.

Moving silently through the branches of the great trees that overhung the
greater part of the city of Castra Sanguinarius, Tarzan paralleled the
avenue leading back to the home of Maximus Praeclarus, halting at last in
a tree that overlooked the inner courtyard or walled garden, which
appeared to be a distinguishing feature of the architecture of the city.

Below him he saw a matronly woman of the patrician class, listening to a
tall Negro who was addressing her excitedly. Clustered about the woman
and eagerly listening to the words of the speaker were a number of
slaves, both men and women.

Tarzan recognized the speaker as Mpingu, and, though he could not
understand his words, realized that the man was preparing them for his
arrival in accordance with the instructions given him in the garden of
Dion Splendidus by Maximus Praeclarus, and that he was making a good
story of it was evidenced by his excited gesticulation and the wide eyes
and open mouths of the listening men.

The woman, listening attentively and with quiet dignity of mien, appeared
to be slightly amused, but whether at the story itself or at the
unrestrained excitement of Mpingu, Tarzan did not know.

She was a regal-looking woman of about fifty, with graying hair and with
the poise and manner of that perfect self-assurance which is the hallmark
of assured position; that she was a patrician to her finger tips was
evident, and yet there was that in her eyes and the little wrinkles at
their corners that bespoke a broad humanity and a kindly disposition.

Mpingu had evidently reached the point where his vocabulary could furnish
no adequate superlatives wherewith to describe the barbarian who had
rescued his mistress from Fastus, and he was acting out in exaggerated
pantomime the scene in the garden of his mistress, when Tarzan dropped
lightly to the sward beside him. The effect upon the Negroes of this
unexpected appearance verged upon the ludicrous, but the white woman was
unmoved to any outward sign of surprise.

"Is this the barbarian?" she asked of Mpingu.

"It is he," replied the black.

"Tell him that I am Festivitas, the mother of Maximus Praeclarus," the
woman directed Mpingu, "and that I welcome him here in the name of my
son."

Through Mpingu, Tarzan acknowledged the greetings of Festivitas and
thanked her for her hospitality, after which she instructed one of her
slaves to conduct the stranger to the apartments that were placed at his
disposal.

It was late afternoon before Maximus Praeclarus returned to his home,
going immediately to Tarzan's apartments. With him was the same man who
had acted as interpreter in the morning.

"I am to remain here with you," said the man to Tarzan, "as your
interpreter and servant."

"I venture to say," said Praeclarus through the interpreter, "that this
is the only spot in Castra Sanguinarius that they have not searched for
you and there are three centuries combing the forests outside the city,
though by this time Sublatus is convinced that you have escaped. We shall
keep you here in hiding for a few days when, I think, I can find the
means to get you out of the city after dark."

The ape-man smiled. "I can leave whenever I choose," he said, "either by
day or by night, but I do not choose to leave until I have satisfied
myself that the man for whom I am searching is not here. But, first, let
me thank you for your kindness to me, the reason for which I cannot
understand."

"That is easily explained," said Praeclarus. "The young woman whom you
saved from attack this morning is Dilecta, the daughter of Dion
Splendidus. She and I are to be married. That, I think, will explain my
gratitude."

"I understand," said Tarzan, "and I am glad that I was fortunate enough
to come upon them at the time that I did."

"Should you be captured again, it will not prove so fortunate for you,"
said Praeclarus, "for the man from whom you saved Dilecta is Fastus, the
son of Sublatus, and now the Emperor will have two indignities to avenge;
but if you remain here you will be safe, for our slaves are loyal and
there is little likelihood that you will be discovered."

"If I remain here," said Tarzan, "and it should be discovered that you
had befriended me, would not the anger of the Emperor fall upon you?"

Maximus Praeclarus shrugged. "I am daily expecting that," he said; "not
because of you, but because the son of the Emperor wishes to marry
Dilecta. Sublatus needs no further excuse to destroy me. I should be no
worse off were he to learn that I have befriended you than I now am."

"Then, perhaps, I may be of service to you if I remain," said Tarzan.

"I do not see how you can do anything but remain," said Praeclarus.
"Every man, woman, and child in Castra Sanguinarius will be on the
lookout for you, for Sublatus has offered a huge reward for your capture,
and besides the inhabitants of the city there are thousands of barbarians
outside the walls who will lay aside every other interest to run you
down."

"Twice today you have seen how easily I can escape from the soldiers of
Sublatus," said Tarzan, smiling. "Just as easily can I leave the city and
elude the barbarians in the outer villages."

"Then why do you remain?" demanded Praeclarus. "I came here searching for
the son of a friend," replied Tarzan. "Many weeks ago the young man
started out with an expedition to explore the Wiramwazi Mountains in
which your country is located. His people deserted him upon the outer
slopes, and I am convinced that he is somewhere within the range and very
possibly in this canyon. If he is here und alive, he will unquestionably
come sooner or later to your city where, from the experience that I have
gained, I am sure that he will receive anything but friendly treatment
from your Emperor. This is the reason that I wish to remain somewhere in
the vicinity, and now that you have told me that you are in danger, I may
as well remain in your home where it is possible I may have an
opportunity to reciprocate your kindness to me."

"If the son of your friend is in this end of the valley, he will be
captured and brought to Castra Sanguinarius," said Maximus Praeclarus,
"and when that occurs I shall know of it, since I am detailed to duty at
the Colosseum--a mark of the disfavor of Sublatus, since this is the most
distasteful duty to which an officer can be assigned."

"Is ft possible that this man for whom I am searching might be in some
other part of the valley?" asked Tarzan.

"No," replied Praeclarus. "There is only one entrance to the valley, that
through which you were brought, and while there is another city at the
eastern end, he could not reach it without passing through the forest
surrounding Castra Sanguinarius, in which event he would have been
captured by the barbarians and turned over to Sublatus."

"Then I shall remain here," said Tarzan, "for a time."

"You shall be a welcome guest," replied Praeclarus. For three weeks
Tarzan remained in the home of Maximus Praeclarus. Festivitas conceived a
great liking for the bronzed barbarian, and soon tiring of carrying on
conversation with him through an interpreter, she set about teaching him
her own language, with the result that it was not long before Tarzan
could carry on a conversation in Latin; nor did he lack opportunity to
practice his new accomplishment, since Festivitas never tired of hearing
stories of the outer world and of the manners and customs of modern
civilization.

And while Tarzan of the Apes waited in Castra Sanguinarius for word that
von Harben had been seen in the valley, the man he sought was living the
life of a young patrician attached to the court of the Emperor of the
East, and though much of his time was pleasantly employed in the palace
library, yet he chafed at the knowledge that he was virtually a prisoner
and was often formulating plans for escape--plans that were sometimes
forgotten when he sat beneath the spell of the daughter of Septimus
Favonius.

And often in the library he discovered only unadulterated pleasure in his
work, and thoughts of escape were driven from his mind by discoveries of
such gems as original Latin translations of Homer and of hitherto unknown
manuscripts of Vergil, Cicero, and Caesar--manuscripts that dated from
the days of the young republic and on down the centuries to include one
of the early satires of Juvenal.

Thus the days passed, while far off in another world a frightened little
monkey scampered through the upper terraces of a distant forest.


Chapter Twelve


A PENCHANT for boasting is not the prerogative of any time, or race, or
individual, but is more or less common to all. So it is not strange that
Mpingu, filled with the importance of the secret that he alone shared
with his mistress and the household of Maximus Praeclarus, should have
occasionally dropped a word here and there that might impress his
listeners with his importance.

Mpingu meant no harm. He was loyal to the house of Dion Splendidus and he
would not willingly have brought harm to his master or his master's
friend, but so it is often with people who talk too much, and Mpingu
certainly had done that. The result was that upon a certain day, as he
was bartering in the market-place for provisions for the kitchen of Dion
Splendidus, he felt a heavy hand laid upon his shoulder and, turning, he
was astonished to find himself looking into the face of a centurion of
the palace guard, behind whom stood a file of legionaries.

"You are Mpingu, the slave of Dion Splendidus?" demanded the centurion.

"I am," replied the man.

"Come with us," commanded the centurion.

Mpingu drew back, afraid, as all men feared the soldiers of Caesar. "What
do you want of me?" he demanded. "I have done nothing."

"Come, barbarian," ordered the soldier. "I was not sent to confer with
you, but to get you!" And he jerked Mpingu roughly toward him and pushed
him back among the soldiers.

A crowd had gathered, as crowds gathered always when a man is arrested,
but the centurion ignored the crowd as though it did not exist, and the
people fell aside as the soldiers marched away with Mpingu. No one
questioned or interfered, for who would dare question an officer of
Caesar? Who would interfere in behalf of a slave?

Mpingu thought that he would be taken to the dungeons beneath the
Colosseum, which was the common jail in which all prisoners were
confined; but presently he realized that his captors were not leading him
in that direction, and when finally it dawned upon him that the palace
was their goal he was filled with terror.

Never before had Mpingu stepped foot within the precincts of the palace
grounds, and when the imperial gate closed behind him he was in a mental
state bordering upon collapse. He had heard stories of the cruelty of
Sublatus, of the terrible vengeance wreaked upon his enemies, and he had
visions that paralyzed his mind so that he was in a state of
semi-consciousness when he was finally led into an inner chamber where a
high dignitary of the court confronted him.

"This," said the centurion, who had brought him, "is Mpingu, the slave of
Dion Splendidus, whom I was commanded to fetch to you."

"Good!" said the official. "You and your detachment may remain while I
question him." Then he turned upon Mpingu. "Do you know the penalties one
incurs for aiding the enemies of Caesar?" he demanded.

Mpingu's lower jaw moved convulsively as though he would reply, but he
was unable to control his voice.

"They die," growled the officer, menacingly. "They die terrible deaths
that they will remember through all eternity."

"I have done nothing," cried Mpingu, suddenly regaining control of his
vocal cords.

"Do not lie to me, barbarian," snapped the official. "You aided in the
escape of the prisoner who called himself Tarzan and even now you are
hiding him from your Emperor."

"I did not help him escape. I am not hiding him," wailed Mpingu.

"You lie. You know where he is. You boasted of it to other slaves. Tell
me where he is."

"I do not know," said Mpingu.

"If your tongue were cut out, you could not tell us where he is," said
the Roman. "If red-hot irons were thrust into your eyes, you could not
see to lead us to his hiding-place; but if we find him without your help,
and we surely shall find him, we shall need neither your tongue nor your
eyes. Do you understand?"

"I do not know where he is," repeated Mpingu.

The Roman turned away and struck a single blow upon a gong, after which
he stood in silence until a slave entered the room in response to the
summons. "Fetch tongs," the Roman instructed the slave, "and a charcoal
brazier with burning-irons. Be quick."

After the slave had left, silence fell again upon the apartment. The
official was giving Mpingu an opportunity to think, and Mpingu so
occupied the time in thinking that it seemed to him that the slave had
scarcely left the apartment before he returned again with tongs and a
lighted burner, from the glowing heart of which protruded the handle of a
burning-iron.

"Have your soldiers throw him to the floor and hold him," said the
official to the centurion.

It was evident to Mpingu that the end had come; the officer was not even
going to give him another opportunity to speak.

"Wait!" he shrieked.

"Well," said the official, "you are regaining your memory?"

"I am only a slave," wailed Mpingu. "I must do what my masters command."

"And what did they command?" inquired the Roman.

"I was only an interpreter," said Mpingu. "The white barbarian spoke the
language of the Bagegos, who are my people. Through me they talked to him
and he talked to them."

"And what was said?" demanded the inquisitor.

Mpingu hesitated, dropping his eyes to the floor.

"Come, quickly!" snapped the other.

"I have forgotten," said Mpingu.

The official nodded to the centurion. The soldiers seized Mpingu and
threw him roughly to the floor, four of them holding him there, one
seated upon each limb.

"The tongs!" directed the official, and the slave handed the instrument
to the centurion.

"Wait!" screamed Mpingu. "I will tell you."

"Let him up," said the official; and to Mpingu: "This is your last
chance. If you go down again, your tongue comes out and your eyes, too."

"I will talk," said Mpingu. "I did but interpret, that is all. I had
nothing to do with helping him to escape or hiding him."

"If you tell us the truth, you will not be punished," said the Roman.
"Where is the white barbarian?"

"He is hiding in the home of Maximus Praeclarus," said Mpingu.

"What has your master to do with this?" commanded the Romans.

"Dion Splendidus has nothing to do with it," replied Mpingu. "Maximus
Praeclarus planned it."

"That is all," said the official to the centurion. "Take him away and
keep him under guard until you receive further orders. Be sure that he
talks to no one."

A few minutes later the official who had interrogated Mpingu entered the
apartment of Sublatus while the Emperor was in conversation with his son
Fastus.

"I have located the white barbarian, Sublatus," announced the official.

"Good!" said the Emperor. "Where is he?"

"In the home of Maximus Praeclarus."

"I might have suspected as much," said Fastus.

"Who else is implicated?" asked Sublatus.

"He was caught in the courtyard of Dion Splendidus," said Fastus, "and
the Emperor has heard, as we all have, that Dion Splendidus has long had
eyes upon the imperial purple of the Caesars."

"The slave says that only Maximus Praeclarus is responsible for the
escape of the barbarian," said the official.

"He was one of Dion Splendidus's slaves, was he not?" demanded Fastus.

"Yes."

"Then it is not strange that he would protect his master," said Fastus.

"Arrest them all," commanded Sublatus.

"You mean Dion Splendidus, Maximus Praeclarus, and the barbarian Tarzan?"
asked the official.

"I mean those three and the entire household of Dion Splendidus and
Maximus Praeclarus," replied Sublatus.

"Wait, Caesar," suggested Fastus; "twice already has the barbarian
escaped from the legionaries. If he receives the slightest inkling of
this, he will escape again. I have a plan. Listen!"

An hour later a messenger arrived at the home of Dion Splendidus carrying
an invitation to the senator and his wife to be the guests of a high
court functionary that evening at a banquet. Another messenger went to
the home of Maximus Praeclarus with a letter urging the young officer to
attend an entertainment being given that same evening by a rich young
patrician.

As both invitations had emanated from families high in favor with the
Emperor, they were, in effect, almost equivalent to commands, even to as
influential a senator as Dion Splendidus, and so there was no question
either in the minds of the hosts or in the minds of the guests but that
they would be accepted.

Night had fallen upon Castra Sanguinarius. Dion Splendidus and his wife
were alighting from their litter before the home of their host and
Maximus Praeclarus was already drinking with his fellow guests in the
banquet hall of one of Castra Sanguinarius's wealthiest citizens. Fastus
was there, too, and Maximus Praeclarus was surprised and not a little
puzzled at the friendly attitude of the prince.

"I always suspect something when Fastus smiles at me," he said to an
intimate.

In the home of Dion Splendidus, Dilecta sat among her female slaves,
while one of them told her stories of the wild African village from which
she had come.

Tarzan and Festivitas sat in the home of Maximus Praeclarus, the Roman
matron listening attentively to the stories of savage Africa and
civilized Europe that she was constantly urging her strange guest to tell
her. Faintly they heard a knock at the outer gate and, presently, a slave
came to the apartment where they sat to tell them that Mpingu, the slave
of Dion Splendidus, had come with a message for Tarzan.

"Bring him hither," said Festivitas, and, shortly, Mpingu was ushered
into the room.

If Tarzan or Festivitas had known Mpingu better, they would have realized
that he was under great nervous strain; but they did not know him well,
and so they saw nothing out of the way in his manner or bearing.

"I have been sent to fetch you to the home of Dion Splendidus," said
Mpingu to Tarzan.

"That is strange," said Festivitas.

"Your noble son stopped at the home of Dion Splendidus on his way to the
banquet this evening and as he left I was summoned and told to come
hither and fetch the stranger to my master's house," explained Mpingu.
"That is all I know about the matter."

"Maximus Praeclarus gave you those instructions himself?" asked
Festivitas.

"Yes," replied Mpingu.

"I do not know what his reason can be," said Festivitas to Tarzan, "but
there must be some very good reason, or he would not run the risk of your
being caught."

"It is very dark out," said Mpingu. "No one will see him."

"There is no danger," said Tarzan to Festivitas. "Maximus Praeclarus
would not have sent for me unless it were necessary. Come, Mpingu!" And
he arose, bidding Festivitas good-by.

Tarzan and Mpingu had proceeded but a short distance down the avenue when
the black motioned the ape-man to the side of the street, where a small
gate was let into a solid wall.

"We are here," said Mpingu.

"This is not the home of Dion Splendidus," said Tarzan, immediately
suspicious.

Mpingu was surprised that this stranger should so well remember the
location of a house that he had visited but once, and that more than
three weeks since, but he did not know the training that had been the
ape-man's through the long years of moving through the trackless jungle
that had trained his every sense and faculty to the finest point of
orientation.

"It is not the main gate," replied Mpingu, quickly, "but Maximus
Praeclarus did not think it safe that you be seen entering the main gate
of the home of Dion Splendidus in the event that, by any chance, you were
observed. This way leads into a lane that might connect with any one of
several homes, and once in it there is little or no chance of
apprehension."

"I see," said Tarzan. "Lead the way."

Mpingu opened the gate and motioned Tarzan in ahead of him, and as the
ape-man passed through into the blackness beyond there fell upon him what
seemed to be a score of men and he was borne down in the same instant
that he realized that he had been betrayed. So rapidly did his assailants
work that it was a matter of seconds only before the ape-man found
shackles upon his wrists, the one thing that he feared and hated most.


Chapter Thirteen


WHILE Erich von Harben wooed Favonia beneath a summer moon in the garden
of Septimus Favonius in the island city of Castrum Mare, a detachment of
the brown legionaries of Sublatus Imperator dragged Tarzan of the Apes
and Mpingu, the slave of Dion Splendidus, to the dungeons beneath the
Colosseum of Castra Sanguinarius---and far to the south a little monkey
shivered from cold and terror in the topmost branches of a jungle giant,
while Sheeta the panther crept softly through the black shadows far
below.

In the banquet hall of his host, Maximus Praeclarus reclined upon a sofa
far down the board from Fastus, the guest of honor. The prince, his
tongue loosed by frequent drafts of native wine, seemed in unusually good
spirits, radiating self-satisfaction. Several times be had brought the
subject of conversation around to the strange white barbarian, who had
insulted his sire and twice escaped from the soldiers of Sublatus.

"He would never have escaped from me that day," he boasted, throwing a
sneer in the direction of Maximus Praeclarus, "nor from any other officer
who is loyal to Caesar."

"You had him, Fastus, in the garden of Dion Splendidus," retorted
Praeclarus. "Why did you not hold him?"

Fastus flushed. "I shall hold him this time," he blurted.

"This time?" queried Praeclarus. "He has been captured again?" There was
nothing in either the voice or expression of the young patrician of more
than polite interest, though the words of Fastus had come with all the
unexpected suddenness of lightning out of a clear sky.

"I mean," explained Fastus, in some confusion, "that if he is again
captured I, personally, shall see that he does not escape," but his words
did not allay the apprehensions of Praeclarus.

All through the long dinner Praeclarus was cognizant of a sensation of
foreboding. There was a menace in the air that was apparent in the veiled
hostility of his host and several others who were cronies of Fastus.

As early as was seemly he made his excuses and departed. Armed slaves
accompanied his litter through the dark avenues of Castra Sanguinarius,
where robbery and murder slunk among the shadows hand in hand with the
criminal element that had been permitted to propagate itself without
restraint; and when at last he came to the doorway at his home and had
alighted from his litter he paused and a frown of perplexity clouded his
face as he saw that the door stood partially ajar, though there was no
slave there to receive him.

The house seemed unusually quiet and lifeless. The night light, which
ordinarily a slave kept burning in the forecourt when a member of the
household was away, was absent. For an instant Praeclarus hesitated upon
the threshold and then, throwing his cloak back from his shoulders to
free his arms, he pushed the door open and stepped within.

In the banquet hall of a high court functionary the guests yawned behind
their hands from boredom, but none dared leave while Caesar remained, for
the Emperor was a guest there that evening. It was late when an officer
brought a message to Sublatus--a message that the Emperor read with a
satisfaction he made no effort to conceal.

"I have received an important message," said Sublatus to his host, "upon
a matter that interests the noble Senator Dion Splendidus and his wife.
It is my wish that you withdraw with the other guests, leaving us three
here alone."

When they had gone he turned to Dion Splendidus. "It has long been
rumored, Splendidus," he remarked, "that you aspire to the purple."

"A false rumor, Sublatus, as you should well know," replied the senator.

"I have reason to believe otherwise," said Sublatus, shortly. "There
cannot be two Caesars, Splendidus, and you well know the penalty for
treason."

"If the Emperor has determined, for personal reasons or for any reason
whatever, to destroy me, argument will avail me nothing," said
Splendidus, haughtily.

"But I have other plans," said Sublatus, "--plans that might be
overturned should I cause your death."

"Yes?" inquired Splendidus, politely.

"Yes," assented Sublatus. "My son wishes to marry your daughter, Dilecta,
and it is also my wish, for thus would the two most powerful families of
Castra Sanguinarius be united and the future of the empire assured."

"But our daughter, Dilecta, is betrothed to another," said Splendidus.

"To Maximus Praeclarus?" inquired Sublatus.

"Yes," replied the senator.

"Then let me tell you that she shall never wed Maximus Praeclarus," said
the Emperor.

"Why?" inquired Splendidus.

"Because Maximus Praeclarus is about to die."

"I do not understand," said Splendidus.

"Perhaps when I tell you that the white barbarian, Tarzan, has been
captured, you will understand why Praeclarus is about to die," said
Sublatus, with a sneer.

Dion Splendidus shook his head negatively. "I regret," he said, "that I
do not follow Caesar."

"I think you do, Splendidus," said the Emperor, "but that is neither here
nor there, since it is Caesar's will that there he no breath of suspicion
upon the sire of the next Empress of Castra Sanguinarius. So permit me to
explain what I am sure that you already know. After the white barbarian
escaped from my soldiers he was found by Maximus Praeclarus in your
garden. My son, Fastus, witnessed the capture. One of your own slaves
acted as interpreter between the barbarian and Maximus, who arranged that
the barbarian should escape and take refuge in the home of Maximus.
Tonight he was found there and captured, and Maximus Praeclarus has been
placed under arrest. They are both in the dungeons beneath the Colosseum.
It is improbable that these things should have transpired entirely
without your knowledge, but I shall let it pass if you give your word
that Dilecta shall marry Fastus."

"During the entire history of Castra Sanguinarius," said Dion Splendidus,
"it has been our boast that our daughters have been free to choose their
own husbands--not even a Caesar might command a free woman to marry
against her will."

"That is true," replied Sublatus, "and for that very reason I do not
command--I am only advising."

"I cannot answer for my daughter," said Splendidus. "Let the son of
Caesar do his own wooing as becomes the men of Castra Sanguinarius."

Sublatus arose. "I am only advising," but his tone belied his words. "The
noble senator and his wife may retire to their home and give thought to
what Caesar has said. In the course of a few days Fastus will come for
his answer."

By the light of the torch that illuminated the interior of the dungeon
into which he was thrust by his captors, Tarzan saw a white man and
several Negroes chained to the walls. Among the blacks was Lukedi, but
when he recognized Tarzan he evinced only the faintest sign of interest,
so greatly had his confinement weighed upon his mind and altered him.

The ape-man was chained next to the only other white in the dungeon, and
he could not help but notice the keen interest that this prisoner took in
him from the moment that he entered until the soldiers withdrew, taking
the torch with them, leaving the dungeon in darkness.

As had been his custom while he was in the home of Maximus Praeclarus,
Tarzan had worn only his loincloth and leopard skin, with a toga and
sandals out of courtesy for Festivitas when he appeared in her presence.
This evening, when he started out with Mpingu, he had worn the toga as a
disguise, but in the scuffle that proceeded his capture it had been torn
from him, with the result that his appearance was sufficient to arouse
the curiosity of his fellow prisoners, and as soon as the guards were out
of hearing the man spoke to him.

"Can it be," he asked, "that you are the white barbarian whose fame has
penetrated even to the gloom and silence of the dungeon?"

"I am Tarzan of the Apes," replied the ape-man.

"And you carried Sublatus out of his palace above your head and mocked at
his soldiers!" exclaimed the other. "By the ashes of my imperial father,
Sublatus will see that you die the death."

Tarzan made no reply.

"They say you run through the trees like a monkey," said the other. "How
then did you permit yourself to be recaptured?"

"It was done by treachery," replied Tarzan, "and the quickness with which
they locked the shackles upon me. Without these," and he shook the
manacles upon his wrists, "they could not hold me. But who are you and
what did you do to get yourself in the dungeons of Caesar?"

"I am in the dungeon of no Caesar," replied the other. "This creature who
sits upon the throne of Castra Sanguinarius is no Caesar."

"Who then is Caesar?" inquired Tarzan.

"Only the Emperors of the East are entitled to be called Caesar," replied
the other.

"I take it that you are not of Castra Sanguinarius then," suggested the
ape-man.

"No," replied the other, "I am from Castrum Mare."

"And why are you a prisoner?" asked Tarzan.

"Because I am from Castrum Mare," replied the other.

"Is that a crime in Castra Sanguinarius?" asked the ape-man.

"We are always enemies," replied the other. "We trade occasionally under
a flag of truce, for we have things that they want and they have things
that we must have, but there is much raiding and often there are wars,
and then whichever side is victorious takes the things by force that
otherwise they would be compelled to pay for."

"In this small valley what is there that one of you may have that the
other one has not already?" asked the ape-man.

"We of Castrum Mare have the iron mines," replied the other, "and we have
the papyrus swamps and the lake, which give us many things that the
people of Castra Sanguinarius can obtain only from us. We sell them iron
and paper, ink, snails, fish, and jewels, and many manufactured articles.
In their end of the valley they mine gold, and as they control the only
entrance to the country from the outside world, we are forced to obtain
our slaves through them as well as new breeding-stock for our herds.

"As the Sanguinarians are naturally thieves and raiders and are too lazy
to work and too ignorant to teach their slaves how to produce things,
they depend entirely upon their gold mine and their raiding and trading
with the outer world, while we, who have developed many skilled artisans,
have been in a position for many generations that permitted us to obtain
much more gold and many more slaves than we need in return for our
manufactured articles. Today we are much richer than the Sanguinarians.
We live better. We are more cultured. We are happier and the
Sanguinarians are jealous and their hatred of us has increased."

"Knowing these things," asked Tarzan, "how is it that you came to the
country of your enemies and permitted yourself to be captured?"

"I was delivered over treacherously into the hands of Sublatus by my
uncle, Validus Augustus, Emperor of the East," replied the other. "My
name is Cassius Hasta, and my father was Emperor before Validus. Validus
is afraid that I may wish to seize the purple, and for this reason he
plotted to get rid of me without assuming any responsibility for the act;
so he conceived the idea of sending me upon a military mission, after
bribing one of the servants who accompanied me to deliver me into the
hands of Sublatus."

"What will Sublatus do with you?" asked Tarzan.

"The same thing that he will do with you," replied Cassius Hasta. "We
shall be exhibited in the triumph of Sublatus, which he holds annually,
and then in the arena we shall amuse them until we are slain."

"And when does this take place?" asked Tarzan.

"It will not be long now," replied Cassius Hasta. "Already they have
collected so many prisoners to exhibit in the triumph and to take part in
the combats in the arena that they are forced to confine Negroes and
whites in the same dungeons, a thing they do not ordinarily do."

"Are these Negroes held here for this purpose?" asked the ape-man.

"Yes," replied the other.

Tarzan turned in the direction of Lukedi, whom he could not see in the
darkness. "Lukedi!" he called.

"What is it?" asked the black, listlessly.

"You are well?" asked Tarzan.

"I am going to die," replied Lukedi. "They will feed me to lions or burn
me upon a cross or make me fight with other warriors, so that it will be
all the same for Lukedi. It was a sad day when Nyuto, the chief, captured
Tarzan."

"Are all these men from your village?" asked Tarzan.

"No," replied Lukedi. "Most of them are from the villages outside the
walls of Castra Sanguinarius."

"Yesterday they called us their own people," spoke up a man, who
understood the language of the Bagego, "and tomorrow they make us kill
one another to entertain Caesar."

"You must be very few in numbers or very poor in spirit," said Tarzan,
"that you submit to such treatment."

"We number nearly twice as many as the people in the city," said the man,
"and we are brave warriors."

"Then you are fools," said Tarzan. "We shall not be fools forever.
Already there are many who would rise against Sublatus and the whites
of Castra Sanguinarius."

"The Negroes of the city as well as those of the outer villages hate
Caesar," said Mpingu, who had been brought to the dungeon with Tarzan.

The statements of the men furnished food for thought to Tarzan. He knew
that in the city there must be hundreds and perhaps thousands of African
slaves and many thousands of others in the outer Villages. If a leader
should arise among them, the tyranny of Caesar might be brought to an
abrupt end. He spoke of the matter to Cassius Hasta, but the patrician
assured him that no such leader would ever arise.

"We have dominated them for so many centuries," he explained, "that fear
of us is an inherited instinct. Our slaves will never rise against their
masters."

"But if they did?" asked Tarzan.

"Unless they had a white leader they could not succeed," replied Hasta.

"And why not a white leader then?" asked Tarzan.

"That is unthinkable," replied Hasta.

Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of a detachment of
soldiers, and as they halted before the entrance to the dungeon and threw
open the gate Tarzan saw, in the light of their torches, that they were
bringing another prisoner. As they dragged the man in, he recognized
Maximus Praeclarus. He saw that Praeclarus recognized him, but as the
Roman did not address him, Tarzan kept silent, too. The soldiers chained
Praeclarus to the wall, and after they had left and the dungeon was in
darkness again, the young officer spoke.

"I see now why I am here," said Praeclarus, "but even when they set upon
me and arrested me in the vestibule of my home, I had guessed as much,
after piecing together the insinuations of Fastus at the banquet this
evening."

"I have been fearful that by befriending me you would bring disaster upon
yourself," said Tarzan.

"Do not reproach yourself," said Praeclarus. "Fastus or Sublatus would
have found another excuse. I have been doomed from the moment that the
attention of Fastus fixed itself upon Dilecta. To attain his end it was
necessary that I be destroyed. That is all, my friend, but yet I wonder
who it could have been that betrayed me."

"It was I," said a voice out of the darkness.

"Who is that that speaks?" demanded Praeclarus.

"It is Mpingu," said Tarzan. "He was arrested with me when we were on the
way to the home of Dion Splendidus to meet you."

"To meet me!" exclaimed Praeclarus.

"I lied," said Mpingu, "but they made me."

"Who made you?" demanded Praeclarus.

"The officers of Caesar and Caesar's son," replied Mpingu. "They dragged
me to the palace of the Emperor and held me down upon my back and brought
tongs to tear out my tongue and hot irons to burn out my eyes. Oh,
master, what else could I do? I am only a poor slave and I was afraid
and Caesar is very terrible."

"I understand," said Praeclarus. "I do not blame you, Mpingu."

"They promised to give me my liberty," said the slave, "but instead they
have chained me in this dungeon. Doubtless I shall die in the arena, but
that I do not fear. It was the tongs and the red-hot irons that made me a
coward. Nothing else could have forced me to betray the friend of my
master."

There was little comfort upon the cold, hard stones of the dungeon floor,
but Tarzan, inured to hardship from birth, slept soundly until the coming
of the jailer with food awakened him several hours after sunrise. Water
and coarse bread were doled out to the inmates of the dungeon by slaves
in charge of a surly half-caste in the uniform of a legionary.

As he ate, Tarzan surveyed his fellow prisoners. There was Cassius Hasta
of Castrum Mare, son of a Caesar, and Maximus Praeclarus, a patrician of
Castra Sanguinarius and captain of Legionaries. These, with himself, were
the only whites. There was Lukedi, the Bagego who had befriended him in
the village of Nyuto, and Mpingu, the slave of Dion Splendidus, who had
betrayed him, and now, in the light from the little barred window, he
recognized also another Bagego--Ogonyo, who still cast fearful eyes upon
Tarzan as one might upon any person who was on familiar terms with the
ghost of one's grandfather.

In addition to these three, there were five strapping warriors from the
outer villages of Castra Sanguinarius, picked men chosen because of their
superb physiques for the gladiatorial contests that would form so
important a part of the games that would shortly take place in the arena
for the glorification of Caesar and the edification of the masses. The
small room was so crowded that there was barely space upon the floor for
the eleven to stretch their bodies, yet there was one vacant ring in the
stone wall, indicating that the full capacity of the dungeon had not been
reached.

Two days and nights dragged slowly by. The inmates of the cell amused
themselves as best they could, though the Negroes were too downcast to
take a lively interest in anything other than their own sad forebodings.

Tarzan talked much with these and especially with the five warriors from
the outer villages. From long experience with them he knew the minds and
the hearts of these men, and it was not difficult for him to win their
confidence and, presently, he was able to instill within them something
of his own courageous self-reliance, which could never accept or admit
absolute defeat.

He talked with Praeclarus about Castra Sanguinarius and with Cassius
Hasta about Castrum Mare. He learned all that they could tell him about
the forthcoming triumph and games; about the military methods of their
people, their laws and their customs until he, who all his Life had been
accounted taciturn, might easily have been indicted for loquacity by his
fellow prisoners, yet, though they might not realize it, he asked them
nothing without a well-defined purpose.

Upon the third day of his incarceration another prisoner was brought to
the crowded cell in which Tarzan was chained. He was a young white man in
the tunic and cuirass of an officer. He was received in silence by the
other prisoners, as seemed to be the custom among them, but after he had
been fastened to the remaining ring and the soldiers who had brought him
had departed, Cassius Hasta greeted him with suppressed excitement.

"Caecilius Metellus!" he exclaimed.

The other turned in the direction of Hasta's voice, his eyes not yet
accustomed to the gloom of the dungeon.

"Hasta!" he exclaimed. "I would know that voice were I to hear it rising
from the blackest depths of Tartarus."

"What ill fortune brought you here?" demanded Hasta.

"It is no ill fortune that unites me with my best friend," replied
Metellus.

"But tell me how it happened, insisted Cassius Hasta.

"Many things have happened since you left Castrum Mare," replied
Metellus. "Fulvus Fupus has wormed his way into the favor of the Emperor
to such an extent that all of your former friends are under suspicion and
in actual danger. Mallius Lepus is in prison. Septimus Favonius is out of
favor with the Emperor and would be in prison himself were it not that
Fupus is in love with Favonia, his daughter. But the most outrageous news
that I have to communicate to you is that Validus Augustus has adopted
Fulvus Fupus and has named him as his successor to the imperial purple."

"Fupus a Caesar!" cried Hasta, in derision. "And sweet Favonia? It cannot
be that she favors Fulvus Fupus?"

"No," replied Metellus, "and that fact lies at the bottom of all the
trouble. She loves another, and Fupus, in his desire to possess her, has
utilized the Emperor's jealousy of you to destroy every obstacle that
stands in his way."

"And whom does Favonia love?" asked Cassius Hasta. "It cannot be Mallius
Lepus, her cousin?"

"No," replied Metellus, "it is a stranger. One whom you have never
known."

"How can that be?" demanded Cassius Hasta. "Do I not know every patrician
in Castrum Mare?"

"He is not of Castrum Mare."

"Not a Sanguinarian?" demanded Cassius Hasta.

"No, he is a barbarian chieftain from Germania."

"What nonsense is this?" demanded Hasta.

"I speak the truth," replied Metellus. "He came shortly after you
departed from Castrum Mare, and being a scholar well versed in the
history of ancient and modern Rome he won the favor of Validus Augustus,
but he brought ruin upon himself and upon Mallius Lepus and upon Septimus
Favonius by winning the love of Favonia and with it the jealous hatred of
Fulvus Fupus."

"What is his name?" asked Cassius Hasta.

"He calls himself Erich von Harben," replied Metellus.

"Erich von Harben," repeated Tarzan. "I know him. Where is he now? Is he
safe?"

Caecilius Metellus turned his eyes in the direction of the ape-man. "How
do you know Erich von Harben, Sanguinarian?" he demanded. "Perhaps then
the story that Fulvus Fupus told Validus Augustus is true--that this
Erich von Harben is in reality a spy from Castra Sanguinarius."

"No," said Maximus Praeclarus. "Do not excite yourself. This Erich von
Harben has never been in Castra Sanguinarius, and my friend here is not
himself a Sanguinarian: He is a white barbarian from the outer world, and
if his story be true, and I have no reason to doubt it, he came here in
search of this Erich von Harben."

"You may believe this story, Metellus," said Cassius Hasta. "These both
are honorable men and since we have been in prison together we have
become good friends. What they tell you is the truth."

"Tell me something of von Harben," insisted Tarzan. "Where is he now and
is he in danger from-the machinations of this Fulvus Fupus?"

"He is in prison with Mallius Lepus in Castrum Mare." replied Metellus,
"and if he survives the games, which he will not, Fupus will find some
other means to destroy him."

"When are the games held?" asked Tarzan.

"They start upon the ides of August," replied Cassius Hasta.

"And it is now about the nones of August," said Tarzan.

"Tomorrow," corrected Praeclarus.

"We shall know it then," said Cassius Hasta, "for that is the date set
for the triumph of Sublatus."

"I am told that the games last about a week," said Tarzan. "How far is it
to Castrum Mare?"

"Perhaps an eight hours' march for fresh troops," said Caecilius
Metellus; "but why do you ask? Are you planning on making a trip to
Castrum Mare?"

Tarzan noted the other's smile and the ironic tone of his voice. "I am
going to Castrum Mare," he said.

"Perhaps you will take us with you," laughed Metellus.

"Are you a friend of von Harben?" asked Tarzan.

"I am a friend of his friends and an enemy of his enemies, but I do not
know him well enough to say that he is my friend."

"But you have no love for Validus Augustus, the Emperor?" asked Tarzan.

"No," replied the other.

"And I take it that Cassius Hasta has no reason to love his uncle,
either?" continued Tarzan.

"You are right," said Hasta.

"Perhaps I shall take you both, then," said Tarzan.

The two men laughed.

"We shall be ready to go with you when you are ready to take us," said
Cassius Hasta.

"You may count me in on the party, too," said Maximus Praeclarus, "if
Cassius Hasta will remain my friend in Castrum Mare."

"That I promise, Maximus Praeclarus," said Cassius Hasta.

"When do we leave?" demanded Metellus, shaking his chain.

"I can leave the moment that these shackles are struck from me," said the
ape-man, "and that they must do when they turn me into the arena to
fight."

"There will be many legionaries to see that you do not escape, you may
rest assured of that," Cassius Hasta reminded him.

"Maximus Praeclarus will tell you that I have twice escaped from the
legionaries of Sublatus," said Tarzan.

"That he has," declared Praeclarus, "Surrounded by the Emperor's guard,
he escaped from the very throne-room of Sublatus and he carried Caesar
above his head through the length of the palace and out into the avenue
beyond."

"But if I am to take you with me, it will be more difficult," said the
ape-man, "and I would take you because it would please me to frustrate
the plans of Sublatus and also because two of you, at least, could be
helpful to me in finding Erich von Harben in the city of Castrum Mare."

"You interest me," said Cassius Hasta. "You almost make me believe that
you can accomplish this mad scheme."


Chapter Fourteen


A GREAT sun, rising into a cloudless sky, ushered in the nones of August.
It looked down upon the fresh-raked sands of the deserted arena; upon the
crowds that lined the Via Principals that bisected Castra Sanguinarius.

Brown artisans and tradesmen in their smart tunics jostled one another
for places of vantage along the shady avenue. Among them moved barbarians
from the outer villages, sporting their finest feathers and most valued
ornaments and skins, and mingling with the others were the slaves of the
city, all eagerly waiting for the pageant that would inaugurate the
triumph of Sublatus.

Upon the low rooftops of their homes the patricians reclined upon rugs at
every point where the avenue might be seen between or beneath the
branches of the trees. All Castra Sanguinarius was there, technically to
honor Caesar, but actually merely to be entertained.

The air buzzed with talk and laughter; hawkers of sweetmeats and trinkets
elbowed through the crowd crying their wares; legionaries posted at
intervals the full distance from the palace to the Colosseum kept the
center of the avenue clear.

Since the evening of the preceding day the throng had been gathering.
During the cold night they had huddled with close-drawn cloaks. There had
been talk and laughter and brawls and near-riots, and many would-be
spectators had been haled off to the dungeons where their exuberance
might be permitted to cool against cold stone.

As the morning dragged on the crowd became restless. At first, as some
patrician who was to have a part in the pageant passed in his ornate
litter he would be viewed in respectful and interested silence, or if he
were well known and favorably thought of by the multitude he might be
greeted with cheers; but with the passing of time and the increasing heat
of the day each occasional litter that passed elicited deep-throated
groans or raucous catcalls as the patience and the temper of the mob
became thinner.

But presently from afar, in the direction of the palace, sounded the
martial notes of trumpets. The people forgot their fatigue and their
discomfort as the shrill notes galvanized them into joyous expectancy.

Slowly along the avenue came the pageant, led by a score of trumpeters,
behind whom marched a maniple of the imperial guard. Waving crests
surmounted their burnished helmets, the metal of two hundred cuirasses,
pikes, and shields shot back the sunlight that filtered through the trees
beneath which they marched. They made a proud showing as they strode
haughtily between the lines of admiring eyes, led by their patrician
officers in gold and embossed leather and embroidered linen.

As the legionaries passed, a great shout of applause arose. A roar of
human voices that started at the palace rolled slowly along the Via
Principalis toward the Colosseum as Caesar himself, resplendent in purple
and gold, rode alone in a chariot drawn by lions led on golden leashes by
huge blacks.

Caesar may have expected for himself the plaudits of the populace, but
there was a question as to whether these were elicited as much by the
presence of the Emperor as by the sight of the captives chained to
Caesar's chariot, for Caesar was an old story to the people of Castra
Sanguinarius, while the prisoners were a novelty and, furthermore,
something that promised rare sport in the arena.

Never before in the memory of the citizens of Castra Sanguinarius had an
Emperor exhibited such noteworthy captives in his triumph. There was
Nyuto, the chief of the Bagegos. There was Caecilius Metellus, a
centurion of the legions of the Emperor of the East; and Cassius Hasta,
the nephew of that Emperor; but perhaps he who aroused their greatest
enthusiasm because of the mad stories that had been narrated of his feats
of strength and agility was the great white barbarian, with a shock of
black hair and his well-worn leopard skin.

The collar of gold and the golden chain that held him in leash to the
chariot of Caesar, curiously enough, imparted to his appearance no
suggestion of fear or humiliation. He walked proudly with head erect--a
lion tethered to lions--and there was that in the easy sinuosity of his
stride that accentuated his likeness to the jungle beasts that drew the
chariot of Caesar along the broad Via Principalis of Castra Sanguinarius.

As the pageant moved its length slowly to the Colosseum the crowd found
other things to hold their interest. There were the Bagego captives
chained neck to neck and stalwart gladiators resplendent in new armor.
White men and brown men were numbered among these and many warriors from
the outer villages.

To the number of two hundred they marched--captives, condemned criminals,
and professional gladiators--but before them and behind them and on
either side marched veteran legionaries whose presence spoke in no
uncertain terms of the respect in which Caesar held the potential power
of these bitter, savage fighting-men.

There were floats depicting historic events in the history of Castra
Sanguinarius and ancient Rome. There were litters bearing the high
officers of the court and the senators of the city, while bringing up the
rear were the captured flocks and herds of the Bagegos.

That Sublatus failed to exhibit Maximus Praeclarus in his triumph
evidenced the popularity of this noble young Roman, but Dilecta, watching
the procession from the roof of her father's house, was filled with
anxiety when she noted the absence of her lover, for she knew that
sometimes men who entered the dungeons of Caesar were never heard of
more--but there was none who could tell her whether Maximus Praeclarus
lived or not, and so with her mother she made her way to the Colosseum to
witness the opening of the games. Her heart was heavy lest she should see
Maximus Praeclarus entered there, and his blood upon the white sand, yet,
also, she feared that she might not see him and thus be faced by the
almost definite assurance that he had been secretly done to death by the
agents of Fastus.

A great multitude had gathered in the Colosseum to witness the entry of
Caesar and the pageant of his triumph, and the majority of these remained
in their seats for the opening of the games, which commenced early in the
afternoon. It was not until then that the sections reserved for the
patricians began to fill.

The loge reserved for Dion Splendidus, the senator, was close to that of
Caesar. It afforded an excellent view of the arena and with cushions and
rugs was so furnished as to afford the maximum comfort to those who
occupied it.

Never had a Caesar essayed so pretentious a fete; entertainment of the
rarest description was vouchsafed each lucky spectator, yet never before
in her life had Dilecta loathed and dreaded any occurrence as she now
loathed and dreaded the games that were about to open.

Always heretofore her interest in the contestants had been impersonal.
Professional gladiators were not of the class to come within the ken or
acquaintance of the daughter of a patrician. The warriors and slaves were
to her of no greater importance than the beasts against which they
sometimes contended, while the condemned criminals, many of whom expiated
their sins within the arena, aroused within her heart only the remotest
suggestion of sympathy. She was a sweet and lovely girl, whose
sensibilities would doubtless have been shocked by the brutality of the
prize-ring or a varsity football game, but she could look upon the bloody
cruelties of a Roman arena without a qualm, because by custom and
heredity they had become a part of the national life of her people.

But today she trembled. She saw the games as a personal menace to her own
happiness and the life of one she loved, yet by no outward sign did she
divulge her perturbation. Calm, serene, and entirely beautiful, Dilecta,
the daughter of Dion Splendidus, awaited the signal for the opening of
the games that was marked by the arrival of Caesar.

Sublatus came, and after he had taken his seat there emerged from one of
the barred gates at the far end of the arena the head of a procession,
again led by trumpeters, who were followed by those who were to take part
in the games during the week. It consisted for the most part of the same
captives who had been exhibited in the pageant, to which were added a
number of wild beasts, some of which were led or dragged along by slaves,
while others, more powerful and ferocious, were drawn in wheeled cages.
These consisted principally of lions and leopards, but there were also a
couple of bull buffaloes and several cages in which were confined huge
man-like apes.

The participants were formed in a solid phalanx facing Sublatus, where
they were addressed by the Emperor, freedom and reward being promised the
victors; and then, sullen and lowering, they were herded back to their
dungeons and cages.

Dilecta's eyes scanned the faces of the contestants as they stood in
solid rank before the loge of Caesar, but nowhere among them could she
discover Maximus Praeclarus. Breathless and tense, with fearful
apprehension, she leaned forward in her seat across the top of the arena
wall as a man entered the loge from behind and sat upon the bench beside
her.

"He is not there," said the man.

The girl turned quickly toward the speaker. "Fastus!" she exclaimed. "How
do you know that he is not there?"

"It is by my order," replied the prince.

"He is dead," cried Dilecta. "You have had him killed."

"No," denied Fastus, "he is safe in his cell."

"What is to become of him?" asked the girl.

"His fate lies in your hands," replied Fastus. "Give him up and promise
to become the wife of Fastus and I will see that he is not forced to
appear in the arena."

"He would not have it so," said the girl.

Fastus shrugged. "As you will," he said, "but remember that his life is
in your hands."

"With sword, or dagger, or pike he has no equal," said the girl, proudly.
"If he were entered in the contest, he would be victorious."

"Caesar has been known to pit unarmed men against lions," Fastus reminded
her, tauntingly. "Of what avail then is prowess with any weapon?"

"That would be murder," said Dilecta.

"A harsh term to apply to an act of Caesar," returned Fastus, menacingly.

"I speak my mind," said the girl; "Caesar or no Caesar. It would be a
cowardly and contemptible act, but I doubt not that either Caesar or his
son is capable of even worse." Her voice trembled with scathing contempt.

With a crooked smile upon his lips, Fastus arose. "It is not a matter to
be determined without thought," he said, "and your answer concerns not
Maximus Praeclarus alone, nor you, nor me."

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"There are Dion Splendidus and your mother, and Festivitas, the mother of
Praeclarus!" And with this warning he turned and left the loge.

The games progressed amid the din of trumpets, the crash of arms, the
growling of beasts, and the murmuring of the great audience that
sometimes rose to wild acclaim or deep-throated, menacing disapproval.
Beneath fluttering banners and waving scarves the cruel, terrible
thousand-eyed thing that is a crowd looked down upon the blood and
suffering of its fellow men, munching sweetmeats while a victim died and
cracking coarse jokes as slaves dragged the body from the arena and raked
clean sand over crimsoned spots.

Sublatus had worked long and carefully with the prefect in charge of the
games that the resultant program might afford the greatest possible
entertainment for Caesar and the populace, thus winning for the Emperor a
certain popularity that his own personality did not command.

Always the most popular events were those in which men of the patrician
class participated, and so he counted much upon Cassius Hasta and
Caecilius Metellus, but of even greater value for his purpose was the
giant white barbarian, who already had captured the imagination of the
people because of his exploits.

Wishing to utilize Tarzan in as many events as possible, S u hiatus knew
that it would be necessary to reserve the more dangerous ones for the
latter part of the week, and so upon the first afternoon of the games
Tarzan found himself thrust into the arena, unarmed, in company with a
burly murderer, whom the master of the games had clothed in loincloth and
leopard skin similar to Tarzan.

A guard escorted them across the arena and halted them in the sand below
the Emperor, where the master of the games announced that these two would
fight with bare hands in any way that they saw fit and that he who
remained alive or alone in the arena at the end of the combat would be
considered victorious.

"The gate to the dungeons will be left open," he said, "and if either
contestant gets enough he may quit the arena, but whoever does so
forfeits the contest to the other."

The crowd booed. It was not to see such tame exhibitions as this that
they had come to the Colosseum. They wanted blood. They wanted thrills,
but they waited, for perhaps this contest might afford comedy--that they
enjoyed, too. If one greatly outclassed the other, it would be amusing to
see the weaker seek escape. They cheered Tarzan and they cheered the
low-browed murderer. They shouted insults at the noble patrician who was
master of the games, for they knew the safety and irresponsibility of
numbers.

As the word was given the contestants to engage one another Tarzan turned
to face the low-browed, hulking brute against whom he had been pitted and
he saw that some one had been at pains to select a worthy antagonist for
him. The man was somewhat shorter than Tarzan, but great, hard muscles
bulged beneath his brown hide, bulking so thick across his back and
shoulders as almost to suggest deformity. His long arms hung almost to
his knees, and his thick, gnarled legs suggested a man of bronze upon a
pedestal of granite. The fellow circled Tarzan, looking for an opening.
He scowled ferociously as though to frighten his adversary.

"There is the gate, barbarian," he cried in a low voice, pointing to the
far end of the arena. "Escape while you are yet alive."

The crowd roared in approbation. It enjoyed glorious sallies such as
these. "I shall tear you limb from limb," shouted the murderer, and again
the crowd applauded.

"I am here," said Tarzan, calmly.

"Flee!" screamed the murderer, and lowering his head he charged like an
angry bull.

The ape-man sprang into the air and came down upon his antagonist, and
what happened happened so quickly that no one there, other than Tarzan,
knew how it had been accomplished; only he knew that he clamped a reverse
head-lock upon the murderer.

What the crowd saw was the hulking figure hurtling to a hard fall. They
saw him lying half-stunned upon the sand, while the giant barbarian stood
with folded arms looking down upon him.

The fickle crowd rose from its benches, shrieking with delight. "Habet!
Habet!" they cried, and thousands of closed fists were outstretched with
the thumbs pointing downward, but Tarzan only stood there waiting, as the
murderer, shaking his head to clear his brain, crawled slowly to his
feet.

The fellow looked about him half-bewildered and then his eyes found
Tarzan and with a growl of rage he charged again. Again the terrible hold
was clamped upon him, and again he was hurled heavily to the floor of the
arena.

The crowd screamed with delight. Every thumb in the Colosseum was pointed
downward. They wanted Tarzan to kill his adversary. The ape-man looked up
into Caesar's loge, where sat the master of the games with Sublatus.

"Is not this enough?" he demanded, pointing at the prostrate figure of
the stunned gladiator.

The prefect waved a hand in an all-including gesture which took in the
audience. "They demand his death," he said. "While he remains alive in
the arena, you are not the victor."

"Does Caesar require that I kill this defenseless man?" demanded Tarzan,
looking straight into the face of Sublatus.

"You have heard the noble praefect," replied the Emperor, haughtily.

"Good," said Tarzan. "The rules of the contest shall be fulfilled." He
stooped and seized the unconscious form of his antagonist and raised it
above his head. "Thus I carried your Emperor from his throne-room to the
avenue!" he shouted to the audience.

Screams of delight measured the appreciation of the populace, while
Caesar went white and red in anger and mortification. He half rose from
his seat, but what he contemplated was never fulfilled, for at that
instant Tarzan swung the body of the murderer downward and back like a
huge pendulum and then upward with a mighty surge, hurling it over the
arena wall, full into the loge of Sublatus, where it struck Caesar,
knocking him to the floor.

"I am alive and alone in the arena," shouted Tarzan, turning to the
people, "and by the terms of the contest I am victor," and not even
Caesar dared question the decision that was voiced by the shrieking,
screaming, applauding multitude.


Chapter Fifteen


BLOODY days followed restless nights in comfortless cells, where lice and
rats joined forces to banish rest. When the games began there had been
twelve inmates in the cell occupied by Tarzan, but now three empty rings
dangled against the stone wall, and each day they wondered whose turn was
next.

The others did not reproach Tarzan because of his failure to free them,
since they had never taken his optimism seriously. They could not
conceive of contestants escaping from the arena during the games. It
simply was not done and that was all that there was to it. It never had
been done, and it never would be.

"We know you meant well," said Praeclarus, "but we knew better than you."

"The conditions have not been right, as yet," said Tarzan, "but if what I
have been told of the games is true, the time will come."

"What time could be propitious," asked Hasta, "while more than half of
Caesar's legionaries packed the Colosseum?"

"There should be a time," Tarzan reminded him, "when all the victorious
contestants are in the arena together. Then we shall rush Caesar's loge
and drag him into the arena. With Sublatus as a hostage we may demand a
hearing and get it. I venture to say that they will give us our liberty
in return for Caesar."

"But how can we enter Caesar's loge?" demanded Metellus.

"In an instant we may form steps with living men stooping, while others
step upon their backs as soldiers scale a wall. Perhaps some of us will
be killed, but enough will succeed to seize Caesar and drag him to the
sands."

"I wish you luck," said Praeclarus, "and, by Jupiter, I believe that you
will succeed. I only wish that I might be with you."

"You will not accompany us?" demanded Tarzan.

"How can I? I shall be locked in this cell. Is it not evident that they
do not intend to enter me in the contests? They are reserving for me some
other fate. The jailer has told me that my name appears in no event."

"But we must find a way to take you with us," said Tarzan.

"There is no way," said Praeclarus, shaking his head, sadly.

"Wait," said Tarzan. "You commanded the Colosseum guards, did you not?"

"Yes," replied Praeclarus.

"And you had the keys to the cells?" asked the ape-man.

"Yes," replied Praeclarus, "and to the manacles as well."

"Where are they?" asked Tarzan. "But no, that will not do. They must have
taken them from you when they arrested you."

"No, they did not," said Praeclarus. "As a matter of fact, I did not have
them with me when I dressed for the banquet that night. I left them in my
room."

"But perhaps they sent for them?"

"Yes, they sent for them, but they did not find them. The jailer asked me
about them the day after I was arrested, but I told him that the soldiers
took them from me. I told him that because I had hidden them in a secret
place where I keep many valuables. I knew that if I had told them where
they were they would take not only the keys, but my valuables as well."

"Good!" exclaimed the ape-man. "With the keys our problem is solved."

"But how are you going to get them?" demanded Praeclarus, with a rueful
smile.

"I do not know," said Tarzan. "All I know is that we must have the keys."

"We know, too, that we should have our liberty," said Hasta, "but knowing
it does not make us free."

Their conversation was interrupted by the approach of soldiers along the
corridor. Presently a detachment of the palace guard halted outside their
cell. The jailer unlocked the door and a man entered with two
torch-bearers behind him. It was Fastus.

He looked around the cell. "Where is Praeclarus?" he demanded, and then,
"Ah, there you are!"

Praeclarus did not reply.

"Stand up, slave!" ordered Fastus, arrogantly. "Stand up, all of you. How
dare you sit in the presence of a Caesar!" he exclaimed.

"Swine is a better title for such as you," taunted Praeclarus.

"Drag them up! Beat them with your pikes!" cried Fastus to the soldiers
outside the doorway.

The command of the Colosseum guard, who stood just behind Fastus, blocked
the doorway, "Stand back," he said to the legionaries. "No one gives
orders here except Caesar and myself, and you are not Caesar yet,
Fastus."

"I shall be one day," snapped the prince, "and it will be a sad day for
you."

"It will be a sad day for all Castra Sanguinarius," replied the officer.
"You said that you wished to speak to Praeclarus? Say what you have to
say and be gone. Not even Caesar's son may interfere with my charges."

Fastus trembled with anger, but he knew that he was powerless. The
commander of the guard spoke with the authority of the Emperor, whom he
represented. He turned upon Praeclarus.

"I came to invite my good friend, Maximus Praeclarus, to my wedding," he
announced, with a sneer. He waited, but Praeclarus made no reply. "You do
not seem duly impressed, Praeclarus," continued the prince. "You do not
ask who is to be the happy bride. Do you not wish to know who will be the
next Empress in Castra Sanguinarius, even though you may not live to see
her upon the throne beside Caesar?"

The heart of Maximus Praeclarus stood still, for now he knew why Fastus
had come to the dungeon-cell, but he gave no sign of what was passing
within his breast, but remained seated in silence upon the hard floor,
his back against the cold wall.

"You do not ask me whom I am to wed, nor when," continued Fastus, "but I
shall tell you. You should be interested. Dilecta, the daughter of Dion
Splendidus, will have none of a traitor and a felon. She aspires to share
the purple with a Caesar. In the evening following the last day of the
games Dilecta and Fastus are to be married in the throne-room of the
palace."

Gloating, Fastus waited to know the result of his announcement, but if he
had looked to surprise Maximus Praeclarus into an exhibition of chagrin
he failed, for the young patrician ignored him so completely that Fastus
might not have been in the cell at all for all the attention that the
other paid to him.

Maximus Praeclarus turned and spoke casually to Metellus and the quiet
affront aroused the mounting anger of Fastus to such an extent that he
lost what little control he had of himself. Stepping quickly forward, he
stooped and slapped Praeclarus in the face and then spat upon him, but in
doing so he had come too close to Tarzan and the ape-man reached out and
seized him by the ankle, dragging him to the floor.

Fastus screamed a command to his soldiers. He sought to draw his dagger
or his sword, but Tarzan took them from him and hurled the prince into
the arms of the legionaries, who had rushed past the commander of the
Colosseum guard and entered the cell.

"Get out now, Fastus," said the latter. "You have caused enough trouble
here already."

"I shall get you for this," hissed the prince, "all of you," and he swept
the inmates of the cell with an angry, menacing glance.

Long after they had gone, Cassius Hasta continued to chuckle. "Caesar!"
he exclaimed. "Swine!"

As the prisoners discussed the discomfiture of Fastus and sought to
prophesy what might come of it, they saw a wavering light reflected from
afar in the corridor before their cell.

"We are to have more guests," said Metellus.

"Perhaps Fastus is returning to spit on Tarzan," suggested Cassius Hasta,
and they all laughed.

The light was advancing along the corridor, but it was not accompanied by
the tramp of soldiers' feet.

"Whoever comes comes silently and alone," said Maximus Praeclarus.

"Then it is not Fastus," said Hasta.

"But it might be an assassin sent by him," suggested Praeclarus.

"We shall be ready for him," said Tarzan.

A moment later there appeared beyond the grating of the cell door the
commander of the Colosseum guards, who had accompanied Fastus and who had
stood between the prince and the prisoner.

"Appius Applosus!" exclaimed Maximus Praeclarus. "He is no assassin, my
friends."

"I am not the assassin of your body, Praeclarus," said Applosus, "but I
am indeed the assassin of your happiness."

"What do you mean, my friend?" demanded Praeclarus.

"In his anger Fastus told me more than he told you."

"He told you what?" asked Praeclarus.

"He told me that Dilecta had consented to become his wife only in the
hope of saving her father and mother and you, Praeclarus, and your
mother, Festivitas."

"To call him swine is to insult the swine," said Praeclarus. "Take word
to her, Applosus, that I would rather die than to see her wed to Fastus."

"She knows that, my friend," said the officer, "but she thinks also of
her father and her mother and yours."

Praeclarus's chin dropped upon his chest. "I had forgotten that," he
moaned. "Oh, there must be some way to stop it."

"He is the son of Caesar," Applosus reminded him, "and the time is
short."

"I know it! I know it!" cried Praeclarus, "but it is too hideous. It
cannot be."

"This officer is your friend, Praeclarus?" asked Tarzan, indicating
Appius Applosus.

"Yes," said Praeclarus.

"You would trust him fully?" demanded the ape-man.

"With my life and my honor," said Praeclarus.

"Tell him where your keys are and let him fetch them," said the ape-man.

Praeclarus brightened instantly. "I had not thought of that," he cried,
"but no, his life would be in jeopardy."

"It already is," said Applosus. "Fastus will never forget or forgive what
I said tonight. You, Praeclarus, know that I am already doomed. What'
keys do you want? Where are they? I will fetch them."

"Perhaps not when you know what they are," said Praeclarus.

"I can guess," replied Appius Applosus.

"You have been in my apartments often, Applosus?"

The other nodded affirmatively.

"You recall the shelves near the window where my books lie?"

"Yes."

"The back of the third shelf slides to one side and behind it in the
wall, you will find the keys."

"Good, Praeclarus. You shall have them," said the officer.

The others watched the diminishing light as Appius Applosus departed
along the corridor beneath the Colosseum.

The last day of the games had come. The bloodthirsty populace had
gathered once more as eager and enthusiastic as though they were about to
experience a new and unfamiliar thrill, their appetites swept as clean of
the memories of the past week as were the fresh sands of the arena of the
brown stains of yesterday.

For the last time the inmates of the cell were taken to enclosures nearer
to the entrance to the arena. They had fared better, perhaps, than
others, for of the twelve rings only four were empty.

Maximus Praeclarus alone was left behind. "Good-by," he said. "Those of
you who survive the day shall be free. We shall not see one another
again. Good luck to you and may the gods give strength and skill to your
arms--that is all that I can ask of them, for not even the gods could
give you more courage than you already possess."

"Applosus has failed us," said Hasta.

Tarzan looked troubled. "If only you were coming out with us, Praeclarus,
we should not then need the keys."

From within the enclosure, where they were confined, Tarzan and his
companions could hear the sounds of combat and the groans and hoots and
applause of the audience, but they could not see the floor of the arena.

It was a very large room with heavily barred windows and a door.
Sometimes two men, sometimes four, sometimes six would go out together,
but only one, or two, or three returned. The effect upon the nerves of
those who remained uncalled was maddening. For some the suspense became
almost unendurable. Two attempted suicide and others tried to pick
quarrels with their fellow prisoners, but there were many guards within
the room and the prisoners were unarmed, their weapons being issued to
them only after they had quit the enclosure and were about to enter the
arena.

The afternoon was drawing to a close. Metellus had fought with a
gladiator, both in full armor. Hasta and Tarzan had heard the excited
cries of the populace. They had heard cheer after cheer, which indicated
that each man was putting up a skilful and courageous fight. There was an
instant of silence and then the loud cries of "Habet! Habet!"

"It is over," whispered Cassias Hasta.

Tarzan made no reply. He had grown to like these men, for he had found
them brave and simple and loyal and he, too, was inwardly moved by the
suspense that must be endured until one or the other returned to the
enclosure; but he gave no outward sign of his perturbation, and while
Cassius Hasta paced nervously to and fro Tarzan of the Apes stood
silently, with folded arms, watching the door. After awhile it opened and
Caecilius Metellus crossed the threshold.

Cassius Hasta uttered a cry of relief and sprang forward to embrace his
friend.

Again the door swung open and a minor official entered. "Come," he cried,
"all of you. It is the last event."

Outside the enclosure each man was given a sword, dagger, pike, shield,
and a hempen net, and one by one, as they were thus equipped, they were
sent into the arena. All the survivors of the week of combat were
there--one hundred of them.

They were divided into two equal parties, and red ribbons were fastened
to the shoulders of one party and white ribbons to the shoulders of the
other.

Tarzan was among the reds, as were Hasta, Metellus, Lukedi, Mpingu, and
Ogonyo.

"What are we supposed to do?" asked Tarzan of Hasta.

"The reds will fight against the whites until all the reds are killed or
all the whites."

"They should see blood enough to suit them now," said Tarzan.

"They can never get enough of it," replied Metellus.

The two parties marched to the opposite end of the arena and received
their instructions from the prefect in charge of the games, and then they
were formed, the reds upon one side of the arena, the whites upon the
other. Trumpets sounded and the armed men advanced toward one another.

Tarzan smiled to himself as he considered the weapons with which he was
supposed to defend himself. The pike he was sure of, for the Waziri are
great spearmen and Tarzan excelled even among them, and with the dagger
he felt at home, so long had the hunting-knife of his father been his
only weapon of protection--but the Spanish sword, he felt, would probably
prove more of a liability than an asset, while the net in his hands could
be nothing more than a sorry joke. He would like to have thrown his
shield aside, for he did not like shields, considering them, as a rule,
useless encumbrances, but he had used them before when the Waziri had
fought other native tribes, and knowing that they were constructed as a
defense against the very weapons that his opponents were using he
retained his and advanced with the others toward the white line. He had
determined that their only hope lay in accounting for as many of their
adversaries in the first clash of arms as was possible, and this word he
had passed down the line with the further admonition that the instant
that a man had disposed of an antagonist he turn immediately to help the
red nearest him, or the one most sorely beset.

As the two lines drew closer, each man selected the opponent opposite him
and Tarzan found that he faced a warrior from the outer villages. They
came closer. Some of the men, more eager or nervous than the others, were
in advance; some, more fearful, lagged behind. Tarzan's opponent came
upon him. Already pikes were flying through the air. Tarzan and the
warrior hurled their missiles at the same instant, and back of the
ape-man's throw was all the skill and all the muscle and all the weight
that he could command. Tarzan struck upward with his shield and his
opponent's pike struck it a glancing blow, but with such force that the
spear haft was shattered, while Tarzan's weapon passed through the shield
of his opponent and pierced the fellow's heart.

There were two others down--one killed and one wounded--and the
Colosseum was a babble of voices and a bedlam of noise. Tarzan sprang
quickly to aid one of his fellows, but another white, who had killed his
red opponent, ran to interfere. Tarzan's net annoyed him, so he threw it
at a white who was pressing one of the reds and took on his fresh
opponent, who had drawn his sword. His adversary was a professional
gladiator, a man trained in the use of all his weapons, and Tarzan soon
realized that only through great strength and agility might he expect to
hold his own with this opponent.

The fellow did not rush. He came in slowly and carefully, feeling out
Tarzan. He was cautious because he was an old hand at the business and
was imbued with but a single hope--to live. He cared as little for the
hoots and jibes of the people as he did for their applause, and he hated
Caesar. He soon discovered that Tarzan was adopting defensive tactics
only, but whether this was for the purpose of feeling out his opponent or
whether it was part of a plan that would lead up to a sudden and swift
surprise, the gladiator could not guess, nor did he care particularly,
for he knew that he was master of his weapon and many a corpse had been
burned that in life had thought to surprise him.

Judging Tarzan's skill with the sword by his skill with the shield, the
gladiator thought that he was pitted against a highly skilled adversary,
and he waited patiently for Tarzan to open up his offense and reveal his
style. But Tarzan had no style that could be compared with that of the
gladiator. What he was awaiting was a lucky chance--the only thing that
he felt could assure him victory over this wary and highly skilled
swordsman--but the gladiator gave him no openings and he was hoping that
one of his companions would be free to come to his assistance, when,
suddenly and without warning, a net dropped over his shoulders from
behind.


Chapter Sixteen


CASSIUS HASTA split the helmet of a burly thief who opposed him, and as
he turned to look for a new opponent he saw a white cast a net over
Tarzan's head and shoulders from the rear, while the ape-man was engaged
with a professional gladiator. Cassius was nearer the gladiator than
Tarzan's other opponent and with a cry he hurled himself upon him. Tarzan
saw what Cassius Hasta had done and wheeled to face the white who had
attacked him from the rear.

The gladiator found Cassius Hasta a very different opponent from Tarzan.
Perhaps he was not as skilful with his shield. Perhaps he was not as
powerful, but never in all his experience had the gladiator met such a
swordsman.

The crowd had been watching Tarzan from the beginning of the event
because his great height and his nakedness and his leopard skin marked
him from all others. They noticed that the first cast of his pike had
split the shield of his opponent and dropped him dead and they watched
his encounter with I lie gladiator, which did not please them at all. It
was far too slow and they hooted and voiced catcalls. When the white cast
the net over him they howled with delight, for they did not know from one
day to the next, or from one minute to the next, what their own minds
would be the next day or the next minute. They were cruel and stupid, but
they were no different from the crowds of any place or any time.

As Tarzan, entangled in the net, turned to face the new menace, the white
leaped toward him to finish him with a dagger and Tarzan caught the net
with the fingers of both his hands and tore it asunder as though it had
been made of paper, but the fellow was upon him in the same instant. The
dagger hand struck as Tarzan seized the dagger wrist. Blood poured from
beneath the leopard skin from a wound over Tarzan's heart, so close had
he been to death, but his hand stopped the other just in time and now
steel ringers closed upon that wrist until the man cried out with pain as
he felt his bones crushed together. The ape-man drew his antagonist
toward him and seized him by the throat and shook himas a terrier shakes
a rat, while the air trembled to the delighted screams of the mob.

An instant later Tarzan cast the lifeless form aside, picked up his sword
and shield that he had been forced to abandon, and sought for new foes.
Thus the battle waged around the arena each side seeking to gain the
advantage in numbers so that they might set upon the remnant of their
opponents and destroy them. Cassius Hasta had disposed of the gladiator
that he had drawn away from Tarzan and was now engaged with another
swordsman when a second fell upon him. Two to one are heavy odds, but
Cassius Hasta tried to hold the second off until another red could come
to his assistance.

This, however, did not conform with the ideas of the whites who were
engaging him, and they fell upon him with redoubled fury to prevent the
very thing that he hoped for. He saw an opening and quick as lightning
his sword leaped into it, severing the jugular vein of one of his
antagonists, but his guard was down for the instant and a glancing blow
struck his helmet and, though it did not pierce it, it sent him stumbling
to the sand, half-stunned.

"Habet! Habet!" cried the people, for Cassius Hasta had fallen close to
one side of the arena where a great number of people could see him.
Standing over him, his antagonist raised his forefinger to the audience
and every thumb went down.

With a smile the white raised his sword to drive it through Hasta's
throat, but as he paused an instant, facing the crowd, in a little play
to the galleries for effect, Tarzan leaped across the soft sand, casting
aside his sword and shield, reverting to the primitive, to the beast, to
save his friend.

It was like the charge of a lion. The crowd saw and was frozen into
silence. They saw him spring in his stride several yards before he
reached the opposing gladiator and, like a jungle beast, fall upon the
shoulders and back of his prey.

Down the two went across the body of Hasta, but instantly the ape-man was
upon his feet and in his hands was his antagonist. He shook him as he had
shaken the other--shook him into unconsciousness, choking him as he
shook, shook him to death, and cast his body from him.

The crowd went wild. They stood upon their benches and shrieked and waved
scarves and helmets and threw many flowers and sweetmeats into the arena.
Tarzan stooped and lifted Cassius Hasta to his feet as he saw that he was
not killed and consciousness was returning.

Scanning the arena quickly, he saw that fifteen reds survived and but ten
whites. This was a battle for survival. There were no rules and no
ethics. It was your life or mine and Tarzan gathered the surplus five and
set upon the strongest white, who now, surrounded by six swordsmen, went
down to death in an instant.

At Tarzan's command the six divided and each three charged another white
with the result that by following these tactics the event was brought to
a sudden and bloody close with fifteen reds surviving and the last white
slain.

The crowd was crying Tarzan's name above all others, but Sublatus was
enraged. The affront that had been put upon him by this wild barbarian
had not been avenged as he had hoped, but instead Tarzan had achieved a
personal popularity far greater than his own. That it was ephemeral and
subject to the changes of the fickle public mind did not lessen the
indignation and chagrin of the Emperor. His mind could entertain but one
thought toward Tarzan. The creature must be destroyed. He turned to the
praefect in charge of the games and whispered a command.

The crowd was loudly demanding that the laurel wreaths be accorded the
victors and that they be given their freedom, but instead they were
herded back to their enclosure, all but Tarzan.

Perhaps, suggested some members of the audience, Sublatus is going to
honor him particularly, and this rumor ran quickly through the crowd, as
rumors will, until it became a conviction.

Slaves came and dragged away the corpses of the slain and picked up the
discarded weapons and scattered new sand and raked it, while Tarzan stood
where he had been told to stand, beneath the loge of Caesar.

He stood with folded arms, grimly waiting for what he knew not, and then
a low groan rose from the crowded stands--a groan that grew in volume to
loud cries of anger above which Tarzan caught words that sounded like
"Tyrant!"

"Coward!"

"Traitor!" and "Down with Sublatus!" He looked around and saw them
pointing to the opposite end of the arena and, facing in that direction,
he saw the thing that had aroused their wrath, for instead of a laurel
wreath and freedom there stood eying him a great, black-maned lion, gaunt
with hunger.

Toward the anger of the populace Sublatus exhibited, outwardly, an
arrogant and indifferent mien. Contemptuously he permitted his gaze to
circle the stands, but he whispered orders that sent three centuries of
legionaries among the audience in time to overawe a few agitators who
would have led them against the imperial loge.

But now the lion was advancing, and the cruel and selfish audience forgot
its momentary anger against injustice in the expected thrill of another
bloody encounter. Some, who, a moment before, had been loudly acclaiming
Tarzan now cheered the lion, though if the lion were vanquished they
would again cheer Tarzan. That, however, they did not anticipate, but
believed that they had taken sides with the assured winner, since Tarzan
was armed only with a dagger, not having recovered his other weapons
after he had thrown them aside.

Naked, but for loincloth and leopard skin, Tarzan presented a magnificent
picture of physical perfection, and the people of Castra Sanguinarius
gave him their admiration, while they placed their denaria and their
talents upon the lion.

They had seen other men that week face other lions bravely and hopelessly
and they saw the same courageous feeling in the giant barbarian, but the
hopelessness they took for granted the ape-man did not feel. With head
flattened, half-crouching, the lion moved slowly toward its prey, the tip
of its tail twitching in nervous anticipation, its gaunt sides greedy to
be filled. Tarzan waited.

Had he been the lion himself, he scarcely could have better known what
was passing in that savage brain. He knew to the instant when the final
charge would start. He knew the speed of that swift and deadly rush. He
knew when and how the lion would rear upon its hind legs to seize him
with great talons and mighty, yellow fangs.

He saw the muscles tense. He saw the twitching tail quiet for an instant.
His folded arms dropped to his side. The dagger remained in its sheath at
his hip. He waited, crouching almost imperceptibly, his weight upon the
balls of his feet, and then the lion charged.

Knowing how accurately the beast had timed its final rush, measuring the
distance to the fraction of a stride, even as a hunter approaches a jump,
the ape-man knew that the surest way in which to gain the first advantage
was to disconcert the charging beast by doing that which he would least
expect.

Numa the lion knows that his quarry usually does one of two things--he
either stands paralyzed with terror or he turns and flees. So seldom does
he charge to meet Numa that the lion never takes this possibility into
consideration and it was, therefore, this very thing that Tarzan did.

As the lion charged, the ape-man leaped to meet him, and the crowd sat
breathless and silent. Even Sublatus leaned forward with parted lips,
forgetful, for a moment, that he was Caesar.

Numa tried to check himself and rear to meet this presumptuous man-thing,
but he slipped a little in the sand and the great paw that struck at
Tarzan was ill-timed and missed, for the ape-man had dodged to one side
and beneath it, and in the fraction of a second that it took Numa to
recover himself he found that their positions had been reversed and that
the prey that he would have leaped upon had turned swiftly and leaped
upon him.

Full upon the back of the lion sprang Tarzan of the Apes. A giant forearm
encircled the maned throat; steel-thewed legs crossed beneath the gaunt,
slim belly and locked themselves there. Numa reared and pawed and turned
to bite the savage beast upon his back, but the vise-like arm about his
throat pressed tighter, holding him so that his fangs could not reach
their goal. He leaped into the air and when he alighted on the sand shook
himself to dislodge the growling man-beast clinging to him.

Holding his position with his legs and one arm, Tarzan, with his free
hand, sought the hilt of his dagger. Numa, feeling the life being choked
from him, became frantic. He reared upon his hind legs and threw himself
upon the ground, rolling upon his antagonist, and now the crowd found its
voice again and shouted hoarse delight. Never in the history of the arena
had such a contest as this been witnessed. The barbarian was offering
such a defense as they had not thought possible and they cheered him,
though they knew that eventually the lion would win. Then Tarzan found
his dagger and drove the thin blade into Numa's side, just back of his
left elbow. Again and again the knife struck home, but each blow seemed
only to increase the savage efforts of the lunging beast to shake the man
from his back and tear him to pieces.

Blood was mixed with the foam on Numa's jowls as he stood panting upon
trembling legs after a last futile effort to dislodge the ape-man. He
swayed dizzily. The knife struck deep again. A great stream of blood
gushed from the mouth and nostrils of the dying beast. He lurched forward
and fell lifeless upon the crimsoned sand.

Tarzan of the Apes leaped to his feet. The savage personal combat, the
blood, the contact with the mighty body of the carnivore had stripped
from him the last vestige of the thin veneer of civilization. It was no
English Lord who stood there with one foot upon his kill and through
narrowed lids glared about him at the roaring populace. It was no man,
but a wild beast, that raised its head and voiced the savage victory cry
of the bull ape, a cry that stilled the multitude and froze its blood.
But, in an instant, the spell that had seized him passed. His expression
changed. The shadow of a smile crossed his face as he stooped and, wiping
the blood from his dagger upon Numa's mane, returned the weapon to its
sheath.

Caesar's jealousy had turned to terror as he realized the meaning of the
tremendous ovation the giant barbarian was receiving from the people of
Castra Sanguinarius. He well knew, though he tried to conceal the fact,
that he held no place in popular favor and that Fastus, his son, was
equally hated and despised.

This barbarian was a friend of Maximus Praeclarus, whom he had wronged,
and Maximus Praeclarus, whose popularity with the troops was second to
none, was loved by Dilecta, the daughter of Dion Splendidus, who might
easily aspire to the purple with the support of such a popular idol as
Tarzan must become if he were given his freedom in accordance with the
customs and rules governing the contests. While Tarzan waited in the
arena and the people cheered themselves hoarse, more legionaries filed
into the stands until the wall bristled with glittering pikes.

Caesar whispered in consultation with the prefect of the games. Trumpets
blared and the prefect arose and raised his open palm for silence.
Gradually the din subsided and the people waited, listening, expecting
the honors that were customarily bestowed upon the outstanding hero of
the games. The prefect cleared his throat.

"This barbarian has furnished such extraordinary entertainment that
Caesar, as a special favor to his loyal subjects, has decided to add one
more event to the games in which the barbarian may again demonstrate his
supremacy. This event will"--but what further the praefect said was
drowned in a murmur of surprise, disapproval, and anger, for the people
had sensed by this time the vicious and unfair trick that Sublatus was
about to play upon their favorite.

They cared nothing for fair play, for though the individual may prate of
it at home it has no place in mob psychology, but the mob knew what it
wanted. It wanted to idolize a popular hero. It did not care to see him
fight again that day and it wanted to thwart Sublatus, whom it hated.
Menacing were the cries and threats directed toward Caesar, and only the
glittering pikes kept the mob at bay.

In the arena the slaves were working rapidly; fallen Numa had been
dragged away, the sands swept, and as the last slave disappeared, leaving
Tarzan again alone within the enclosure, those menacing gates at the far
end swung open once more.


Chapter Seventeen


As Tarzan looked toward the far end of the arena he saw six bull apes
being herded through the gateway. They had heard the victory cry roll
thunderously from the arena a few minutes before and they came now from
their cages filled with excitement and ferocity. Already had they long
been surly and irritable from confinement and from the teasing and
baiting to which they had been subjected by the cruel Sanguinarians.
Before them they saw a man-thing--a hated Tarmangani. He represented the
creatures that had captured them and teased them and hurt them.

"I am Gayat," growled one of the bull apes. "I kill."

"I am Zutho," bellowed another. "I kill."

"Kill the Tarmangani," barked Go-yad, as the six lumbered
forward--sometimes erect upon their hind feet, sometimes swinging with
gnarled knuckles to the ground.

The crowd hooted and groaned. "Down with Caesar!"

"Death to Sublatus!" rose distinctly above the tumult. To a man they were
upon their feet, but the glittering pikes held them in awe as one or two,
with more courage than brains, sought to reach the loge of Caesar, but
ended upon the pikes of the legionaries instead. Their bodies, lying in
the aisles, served as a warning to the others.

Sublatus turned and whispered to a guest in the imperial loge. "This
should be a lesson to all who would dare affront Caesar," he said.

"Quite right," replied the other. "Glorious Caesar is, indeed, all
powerful," but the fellow's lips were blue from terror as he saw how
great and menacing was the crowd and how slim and few looked the
glittering pikes that stood between it and the imperial loge.

As the apes approached, Zutho was in the lead. "I am Zutho," he cried. "I
kill."

"Look well, Zutho, before you kill your friend," replied the ape-man. "I
am Tarzan of the Apes."

Zutho stopped, bewildered. The others crowded about him.

"The Tarmangani spoke in the language of the great apes," said Zutho.

"I know him," said Go-yad. "He was king of the tribe when I was a young
ape."

"It is, indeed, Whiteskin," said Gayat.

"Yes," said Tarzan, "I am Whiteskin. We are all prisoners here together.
These Tarmangani are my enemies and yours. They wish us to fight, but we
shall not."

"No," said Zutho, "we shall not fight against Tarzan."

"Good," said the ape-man, as they gathered close around him, sniffing
that their noses might validate the testimony of their eyes.

"What has happened?" growled Sublatus. "Why do they not attack him?"

"He has cast a spell upon them," replied Caesar's guest.

The people looked on wonderingly. They heard the beasts and the man
growling at one another. How could they guess that they were speaking
together in their common language? They saw Tarzan turn and walk toward
Caesar's loge, his bronzed skin brushing against the black coats of the
savage beasts lumbering at his side. The ape-man and the apes halted
below imperial Caesar. Tarzan's eyes ran quickly around the arena. The
wall was lined with legionaries so not even Tarzan might pass these
unscathed. He looked up at Sublatus.

"Your plan has failed, Caesar. These that you thought would tear me to
pieces are my own people. They will not harm me. If there are any others
that you would turn against me let them come now, but be quick, for my
patience is growing short and if I should say the word these apes will
follow me into the imperial loge and tear you to shreds."

And that is exactly what Tarzan would have done had he not known that
while he doubtless could have killed Sublatus his end would come quickly
beneath the pikes of the legionaries. He was not sufficiently well versed
in the ways of mobs to know that in their present mood the people would
have swarmed to protect him and that the legionaries, with few
exceptions, would have joined forces with them against the hated tyrant.

What Tarzan wanted particularly was to effect the escape of Cassius Hasta
and Caecilius Metellus simultaneously with his own, so that he might have
the advantage of their assistance in his search for Erich von Harben in
the Empire of the East; therefore, when the praefect ordered him back to
his dungeon he went, taking the apes with him to their cages.

As the arena gates closed behind him he heard again, above the roaring of
the populace, the insistent demand: "Down with Sublatus!"

As the jailer opened the cell door, Tarzan saw that its only occupant was
Maximus Praeclarus.

"Welcome, Tarzan!" cried the Roman. "I had not thought to see you again.
How is it that you are neither dead nor free?"

"It is the justice of Caesar," replied Tarzan, with a smile, "but at
least our friends are free, for I see they are not here."

"Do not deceive yourself, barbarian," said the jailer. "Your friends are
chained safely in another cell."

"But they won their freedom," exclaimed Tarzan.

"And so did you," returned the jailer, with a grin; "but are you free?"

"It is an outrage," cried Praeclarus. "It cannot be done."

The jailer shrugged. "But it is already done," he said.

"And why?" demanded Praeclarus.

"Think you that a poor soldier has the confidence of Caesar?" asked the
jailer; "but I have heard the reason rumored. Sedition is in the air.
Caesar fears you and all your friends because the people favor you and
you favor Dion Splendidus."

"I see," said Praeclarus, "and so we are to remain here indefinitely."

"I should scarcely say indefinitely," grinned the jailer, as he closed
the door and locked it, leaving them alone.

"I did not like the look in his eye nor the tone of his voice," said
Praeclarus, after the fellow was out of hearing. "The gods are unkind,
but how can I expect else from them when even my best friend fails me?"

"You mean Appius Applosus?" asked Tarzan.

"None other," replied Praeclarus. "If he had fetched the keys, we might
yet escape."

"Perhaps we shall in any event," said Tarzan. "I should never give up
hope until I were dead--and I have never been dead."

"You do not know either the power or perfidy of Caesar," replied the
Roman.

"Nor does Caesar know Tarzan of the Apes."

Darkness had but just enveloped the city, blotting out even the dim light
of their dungeon cell, when the two men perceived wavering light beams
lessening the darkness of the corridor without. The light increased and
they knew that someone was approaching, lighting his way with a flaring
torch.

Visitors to the dungeon beneath the Colosseum were few in the daytime.
Guards and jailers passed occasionally and twice each day slaves came
with food, but at night the silent approach of a single torch might more
surely augur ill than well. Praeclarus and Tarzan dropped the desultory
conversation with which they had been whiling away the time and waited in
silence for whoever might be coming.

Perhaps the night-time visitor was not for them, but the egotism of
misfortune naturally suggested that he was and that his intentions might
be more sinister than friendly. But they had not long to wait and their
suspicions precluded any possibility of surprise when a man halted before
the barred gateway to their cell. As the visitor fitted the key to the
lock Praeclarus recognized him through the bars.

"Appius Applosus!" he cried. "You have come!"

"Ps-st!" cautioned Applosus, and quickly opening the gate he stepped
within and closed it silently behind him. With a quick glance he surveyed
the cell and then extinguished his torch against the stone wall. "It is
fortunate that you are alone," he said, speaking in whispers, as he
dropped to the floor close to the two men.

"You are trembling," said Praeclarus. "What has happened?"

"It is not what has happened but what is about to happen that alarms me,"
replied Applosus. "You have probably wondered why I had not brought the
keys. You have doubtless thought me faithless, but the fact is that up to
this instant it has been impossible, although I have stood ready before
to risk my life in the attempt, even as I am now doing."

"But why should it be so difficult for the commander of the Colosseum
guard to visit the dungeon?"

"I am no longer the commander of the guards," replied Applosus.
"Something must have aroused Caesar's suspicions, for I was removed in
the hour that I last left you. Whether someone overheard and reported our
plan or whether it was merely my known friendship for you that aroused
his misgivings, I may only surmise, but the fact remains that I have been
kept on duty constantly at the Porta Praetoria since I was transferred
there from the Colosseum. I have not even been permitted to return to my
home, the reason given being that Caesar expects an uprising of the
barbarians of the outer villages, which, as we all know, is utterly
ridiculous.

"I risked everything to leave my post only an hour ago and that because
of a word of gossip that was passed to me by a young officer, who came to
relieve another at the gate."

"What said he?" demanded Praeclarus.

"He said that an officer of the palace guard had told him that he had
been ordered to come to your cell tonight and assassinate both you and
this white barbarian. I hastened to Festivitas and together we found the
keys that I promised to bring you, but even as I slunk through the
shadows of the city's streets, endeavoring to reach the Colosseum
unobserved or unrecognized, I feared that I might be too late, for
Caesar's orders are that you are to be dispatched at once. Here are the
keys, Praeclarus. If I may do more, command me."

"No, my friend," replied Praeclarus, "you have already risked more than
enough. Go at once. Return to your post lest Caesar learn and destroy
you."

"Farewell then and good luck," said Applosus. "If you would leave the
city, remember that Appius Applosus commands the Porta Praetoria."

"I shall not forget, my friend," replied Praeclarus, "but I shall not
impose further risks upon your friendship."

Appius Applosus turned to leave the cell, but he stopped suddenly at the
gate. "It is too late," he whispered. "Look!"

The faint gleams of distant torch-light were cutting the gloom of the
corridor.

"They come!" whispered Praeclarus. "Make haste!" but instead Appius
Applosus stepped quickly to one side of the doorway, out of sight of the
corridor beyond, and drew his Spanish sword.

Rapidly the torch swung down the corridor. The scraping of sandals on
stone could be distinctly heard, and the ape-man knew that whoever came
was alone. A man wrapped in a long dark cloak halted before the barred
door and, holding his torch above his head, peered within.

"Maximus Praeclarus!" he whispered. "Are you within?"

"Yes," replied Praeclarus.

"Good!" exclaimed the other. "I was not sure that this was the right
cell."

"What is your errand?" demanded Praeclarus.

"I come from Caesar," said the other. "He sends a note."

"A sharp one?" inquired Praeclarus.

"Sharp and pointed," laughed the officer.

"We are expecting you."

"You knew?" demanded the other.

"We guessed, for we know Caesar."

"Then make your peace with your gods," said the officer, drawing his
sword and pushing the door open, "for you are about to die."

There was a cold smile upon his lips as he stepped across the threshold,
for Caesar knew his men and had chosen well the proper type for this
deed--a creature without conscience whose envy and jealousy Praeclarus
had aroused, and the smile was still upon his lips as the sword of Appius
Applosus crashed through his helmet to his brain. As the man lunged
forward dead, the torch fell from his left hand und was extinguished upon
the floor.

"Now go," whispered Praeclarus to Applosus, "and maybe the gratitude of
those you have saved prove a guard against disaster."

"It could not have turned out better," whispered Applosus. "You have the
keys; you have his weapons, and now you have ample time to make your
escape before the truth is learned. Good-by, again. Good-by, and may the
gods protect you."

As Applosus moved cautiously along the dark corridor, Maximus Praeclarus
fitted keys to their manacles and both men stood erect, freed at last
from their hated chains. No need to formulate plans--they had talked and
talked of nothing else for weeks, changing them only to meet altered
conditions. Now their first concern was to find Hasta and Metellus and
the others upon whose loyalty they could depend and to gather around them
as many of the other prisoners as might be willing to follow them in the
daring adventure they contemplated.

Through the darkness of the corridor they crept from cell to cell and in
the few that still held prisoners they found none unwilling to pledge his
loyalty to any cause or to any leader that might offer freedom. Lukedi,
Mpingu, and Ogonyo were among those they liberated. They had almost given
up hope of finding the others when they came upon Metellus and Hasta in a
cell close to the entrance to the arena. With them were a number of
professional gladiators, who should have been liberated with the other
victors at the end of the games, but who were being kept because of Mime
whim of Caesar that they could not understand and that only inflamed them
to anger against the Emperor.

To a man they pledged themselves to follow wherever Tarzan might lead.

"Few of us will come through alive," said the ape-man, when they had all
gathered in the large room that was reserved for the contestants before
they were ushered into the arena, "but those who do will have been
avenged upon Caesar for the wrongs that he has done them."

"The others will be welcomed by the gods as heroes worthy of every
favor," added Praeclarus.

"We do not care whether your cause be right or wrong, or whether we live
or die," said a gladiator, "so long as there is good fighting."

"There will be good fighting. I can promise you that," said Tarzan, "and
plenty of it."

"Then lead on," said the gladiator.

"But first I must liberate the rest of my friends," said the ape-man.

"We have emptied every cell," said Praeclarus. "There are no more."

"Oh, yes, my friend," said Tarzan. "There are still others--the great
apes."



Chapter Eighteen


IN the dungeons of Validus Augustus in Castrum Mare, Erich von Harben and
Mallius Lepus awaited the triumph of Validus Augustus and the opening of
the games upon the morrow.

"We have nothing to expect but death," said Lepus, gloomily. "Our friends
are in disfavor, or in prison, or in exile. The jealousy of Validus
Augustus against his nephew, Cassius Hasta, has been invoked against us
by Fulvus Fupus to serve his own aims."

"And the fault is mine," said von Harben. "Do not reproach yourself,"
replied his friend. "That Favonia gave you her love cannot be held
against you. It is only the jealous and scheming mind of Fupus that is to
blame."

"My love has brought sorrow to Favonia and disaster to her friends," said
von Harben, "and here am I, chained to a stone wall, unable to strike a
blow in her defense or theirs."

"Ah, if Cassius Hasta were but here!" exclaimed Lepus. "There is a man.
With Fupus adopted by Caesar, the whole city would arise against Validus
Augustus if Cassius Hasta were but here to lead us."

And as they conversed sadly and hopelessly in the dungeons of Castrum
Mare, noble guests gathered in the throne-room of Sublatus in the city of
Castra Sanguinarius, at the opposite end of the valley. There were
senators in rich robes and high officers of the court and of the army,
resplendent in jewels and embroidered linen, who, with their wives and
their daughters, formed a gorgeous, and glittering company in the
pillared chamber, for Fastus, the son of Caesar, was to wed the daughter
of Dion Splendidus that evening.

In the avenue, beyond the palace gates, a great crowd had assembled--a
multitude of people pushing and surging to and fro, but pressing ever
upon the gates up to the very pikes of the legionaries. It was a noisy
crowd--noisy with a deep-throated roar of anger.

"Down with the tyrant!"

"Death to Sublatus!"

"Death to Fastus!" was the burden of their hymn of hate.

The menacing notes filled the palace, reaching to the throne-room, but
the haughty patricians pretended not to hear the voice of the cattle. Why
should they fear? Had not Sublatus distributed donations to all the
troops that very day? Would not the pikes of the legionaries protect the
source of their gratuity? It would serve the ungrateful populace right if
Sublatus set the legions upon them, for had he not given them such a
pageant and such a week of games as Castra Sanguinarius never had known
before?

For the rabble without, their contempt knew no bounds now that they were
within the palace of the Emperor, but they did not speak among themselves
of the fact that most of them had entered by a back gate after the crowd
had upset the litter of a noble senator and spilled its passengers into
the dust of the avenue.

With pleasure they anticipated the banquet that would follow the marriage
ceremony, and while they laughed and chattered over the gossip of the
week, the bride sat stark and cold in an upper chamber of the palace
surrounded by her female slaves and comforted by her mother.

"It shall not be," she said. "I shall never be the wife of Fastus," and
in the folds of her flowing robe she clutched the hilt of a slim dagger.

In the corridor beneath the Colosseum, Tarzan marshaled his forces. He
summoned Lukedi and a chief of one of the outer villages, who had been a
fellow prisoner with him and with whom he had fought shoulder to shoulder
in the games.

"Go to the Porta Praetoria," he said, "and ask Appius Applosus to pass
you through the city wall as a favor to Maximus Praeclarus. Go then among
the villages and gather warriors. Tell them that if they would be avenged
upon Caesar and free to live their own lives in their own way, they must
rise now and join the citizens who are ready to revolt and destroy the
tyrant. Hasten, there is no time to be lost. Gather them quickly and lead
them into the city by the Porta Pretoria, straight to the palace of
Caesar."

Warning their followers to silence, Tarzan and Maximus Praeclarus led
them in the direction of the barracks of the Colosseum guard, where were
quartered the men of Praeclarus's own cohort.

It was a motley throng of near-naked warriors from the outer villages,
slaves from the city, and brown half-castes, among whom were murderers,
thieves and professional gladiators. Praeclarus and Hasta and Metellus
and Tarzan led them, and swarming close to Tarzan were Gayat, Zutho, and
Go-yad and their three fellow apes.

Ogonyo was certain now that Tarzan was a demon, for who else might
command the hairy men of the woods? Doubtless in each of these fierce
bodies presided the ghost of some great Bagego chief. If little Nkima had
been the ghost of his grandfather, then these must be the ghosts of very
great men, indeed. Ogonyo did not press too closely to these savage
allies, nor as a matter of fact did any of the others--not even the most
ferocious of the gladiators.

At the barracks Maximus Praeclarus knew to whom to speak and what to say,
for mutiny had long been rife in the ranks of the legionaries. Only their
affection for some of their officers, among whom was Praeclarus, had kept
them thus long in leash, and now they welcomed the opportunity to follow
the young patrician to the very gates of Caesar's palace.

Following a plan that had been decided upon, Praeclarus dispatched a
detachment under an officer to the Porta Praetoria with orders to take it
by force, if they could not persuade Appius Applosus to join them, and
throw it open to the warriors from the outer villages when they should
arrive.

Along the broad Via Principalis, overhung by giant trees that formed a
tunnel of darkness in the night, Tarzan of the Apes led his followers
toward the palace in the wake of a few torch-bearers, who lighted the
way.

As they approached their goal, someone upon the outskirts of the crowd,
pressing the palace guard, was attracted by the light of their torches
and quickly the word was passed that Caesar had sent for
reinforcements--that more troops were coming. The temper of the crowd,
already inflamed, was not improved as this news spread quickly through
its ranks. A few, following a self-appointed leader, moved forward
menacingly to meet the newcomers.

"Who comes?" shouted one.

"It is I, Tarzan of the Apes," replied the ape-man.

The shout that went up in response to this declaration proved that the
fickle populace had not, as yet, turned against him.

Within the palace the cries of the people brought a scowl to the face of
Caesar and a sneer to many a patrician lip, but their reaction might have
been far different had they known the cause of the elation of the mob.

"Why are you here?" cried voices. "What are you going to do?"

"We have come to rescue Dilecta from the arms of Fastus and to drag the
tyrant from the throne of Castra Sanguinarius."

Roars of approval greeted the announcement. "Death to the tyrant!"

"Down with the palace guards!"

"Kill them!"

"Kill them!" rose from a thousand lips.

The crowd pushed forward. The officer of the guard, seeing the
reinforcements, among which were many legionaries, ordered his men to
fall back within the palace grounds and close and bar the gate, nor did
they succeed in accomplishing this an instant too soon, for as the bolts
were shot the crowd hurled itself upon the stout barriers of iron and
oak.

A pale-faced messenger hastened to the throne-room and to Caesar's side.

"The people have risen," he whispered, hoarsely, "and many soldiers and
gladiators and slaves have joined them. They are throwing themselves
against the gates, which cannot hold for long."

Caesar arose and paced nervously to and fro, and presently he paused and
summoned officers.

"Dispatch messengers to every gate and every barracks," he ordered.
"Summon the troops to the last man that may be spared from the gates.
Order them to fall upon the rabble and kill. Let them kill until no
citizen remains alive in the streets of Castra Sanguinarius. Take no
prisoners."

As word finds its way through a crowd, as though by some strange
telepathic means, so the knowledge soon became common that Sublatus had
ordered every legionary in the city to the palace with instructions to
destroy the revolutionaries to the last man.

The people, encouraged by the presence of the legionaries led by
Praeclarus, had renewed their assaults upon the gates, and though many
were piked through its bars, their bodies were dragged away by their
friends and others took their places, so that the gates sagged and bent
beneath their numbers; yet they held and Tarzan saw that they might hold
for long--or at least long enough to permit the arrival of the
re-enforcements that, if they remained loyal to Caesar, might overcome
this undisciplined mob with ease.

Gathering around him some of those he knew best, Tarzan explained a new
plan that was greeted with exclamations of approval, and summoning the
apes he moved down the dark avenue, followed by Maximus Praeclarus,
Cassius Hasta, Caecilius Metellus, Mpingu, and a half dozen of Castra
Sanguinarius's most famous gladiators.

The wedding of Fastus and Dilecta was to take place upon the steps of
Caesar's throne. The high priest of the temple stood facing the audience,
and just below him, and at one side, Fastus waited, while slowly up the
center of the long chamber came the bride, followed by the vestal
virgins, who tended the temple's sacred fires.

Dilecta was pale, but she did not falter as she moved slowly forward to
her doom. There were many who whispered that she looked the Empress
already, so noble was her mien, so stately her carriage. They could not
see the slim dagger clutched in her right hand beneath the flowing bridal
robes. Up the aisle she moved, but she did not halt before the priest as
Fastus had done--and as she should have done--but passed him and mounting
the first few steps toward the throne she halted, facing Sublatus.

"The people of Castra Sanguinarius have been taught through all the ages
that they may look to Caesar for protection," she said. "Caesar not only
makes the law--he is the law. He is either the personification of justice
or he is a tyrant. Which, Sublatus, are you?"

Caesar flushed. "What mad whim is this, child?" he demanded. "Who has set
you to speak such words to Caesar?"

"I have not been prompted," replied the girl, wearily. "It is my last
hope and though I knew beforehand that it was futile, I felt that I must
not cast it aside as useless before putting it to the test."

"Come! Come!" snapped Caesar. "Enough of this foolishness. Take your
place before the priest and repeat your marriage vows."

"You cannot refuse me," cried the girl, stubbornly. "I appeal to Caesar,
which is my right as a citizen of Rome, the mother city that we have
never seen, but whose right to citizenship has been handed down to us
from our ancient sires. Unless the spark of freedom is to be denied us,
you cannot refuse me that right, Sublatus."

The Emperor paled and then flushed with anger. "Come lo me tomorrow," be
said. "You shall have whatever you wish."

"If you do not hear me now, there will be no tomorrow," she said. "I
demand my rights now."

"Well," demanded Caesar, coldly, "what favor do you seek?"

"I seek no favor," replied Dilecta. "I seek the right to know if the
thing for which I am paying this awful price has been done, as it was
promised."

"What do you mean?" demanded Sublatus. "What proof do you wish?"

"I wish to see Maximus Praeclarus here alive and free," replied the girl,
"before I pledge my troth to Fastus. That, as you well know, was the
price of my promise to wed him."

Caesar arose angrily. "That cannot be," he said.

"Oh, yes, it can be," cried a voice from the balcony at the side of the
chamber, "for Maximus Praeclarus stands just behead me."


Chapter Nineteen


EVERY eye turned in the direction of the balcony from which came the
voice of the speaker. A gasp of astonishment arose from the crowded room.

"The barbarian!"

"Maximus Praeclarus!" cried a score of voices.

"The guard! The guard!" screamed Caesar, as Tarzan leaped from the
balcony to one of the tall pillars that supported the roof and slid
quickly to the floor, while behind him came six hairy apes.

A dozen swords flashed from their scabbards as Tarzan and the six leaped
toward the throne. Women screamed and fainted. Caesar shrank back upon
his golden seat, momentarily paralyzed by terror.

A noble with bared blade leaped in front of Tarzan to bur his way, but
Go-yad sprang full upon him. Yellow fangs bit once into his neck and, as
the great ape arose and standing on the body of his kill roared forth his
victory cry, the other nobles shrank back. Fastus, with a scream, turned
and fled, and Tarzan leaped to Dilecta's side. As the apes ascended the
steps to the dais, Caesar, jabbering with terror, scuttled from his seat
and hid, half-fainting, behind the great throne that was the symbol of
his majesty and his power.

But it was not long before the nobles and officers and soldiers in the
apartment regained the presence of mind that the sudden advent of this
horrid horde had scattered to the four winds, and now, seeing only the
wild barbarian and six unarmed beasts threatening them, they pushed
forward. Just then a small door beneath the balcony from which Tarzan had
descended to the floor of the throne-room was pushed open, giving
entrance to Maximus Praeclarus, Cassius Hasta, Callous Metellus, Mpingu,
and the others who had accompanied Tarzan over the palace wall beneath
the shadows of the great trees into which the ape-man and the apes had
assisted their less agile fellows.

As Caesar's defenders sprang forward they were met by some of the best
swords in Castra Sanguinarius, as in the forefront of the fighting were
the very gladiators whose exploits they had cheered during the week.
Tarzan passed Dilecta to Mpingu, for he and Praeclarus must lend a hand
in the fighting.

Slowly, Dilecta's defenders fell back before the greater number of
nobles, soldiers, and guardsmen who were summoned from other parts of the
palace. Back toward the little door they fell, while shoulder to shoulder
with the gladiators and with Maximus Praeclarus and Hasta and Metellus,
Tarzan fought and the great apes spread consternation among all because
of their disposition to attack friend as well as foe.

And out upon the Via Principalis the crowd surged and the great gates
gave to a shrieking mob that poured into the palace grounds, overwhelming
the guards, trampling them--trampling their own dead and their own
living.

But the veteran legionaries who composed the palace guard made a new
stand at the entrance to the palace. Once more they checked the
undisciplined rabble, which had by now grown to such proportions that the
revolting troops, who had joined them, were lost in their midst. The
guard had dragged an onager to the palace steps and were discharging
stones into the midst of the crowd, which continued to rush forward to
fall upon the pikes of the palace defenders.

In the distance trumpets sounded from the direction of the Porta
Decumana, and from the Porta Principalis Dextra came the sound of
advancing troops. At first those upon the outskirts of the mob, who had
heard these sounds, did not interpret them correctly. They cheered and
shouted. These cowards that hang always upon the fringe of every crowd,
letting others take the risks and do the fighting for them, thought that
more troops had revolted and that the reinforcements were for them. But
their joy was short-lived, for the first century that swung into the Via
Principalis from the Porta Decumana fell upon them with pike and sword
until those who were not slain escaped, screaming, in all directions.

Century after century came at the double. They cleared the Via
Principalis and fell upon the mob within the palace court until the
revolt dissolved into screaming individuals fleeing through the darkness
of the palace grounds, seeking any shelter that they might find, while
terrible legionaries pursued them with flaming torches and bloody swords.

Back into the little room from which they had come fell Tarzan and his
followers. The doorway was small and it was not difficult for a few men
to hold it, but when they would have retreated through the window they
had entered and gone back into the palace grounds to seek escape across
the walls in the shadows of the old trees, they saw the grounds swarming
with legionaries and realized that the back of the revolt had been
broken.

The anteroom in which they had taken refuge would barely accommodate them
all, but it offered probably the best refuge they could have found in all
the palace of Sublatus, for there were but two openings in it--the single
small doorway leading into the throne-room and an even smaller window
letting into the palace gardens. The walls were all stone and proof
against any weapons at the disposal of the legionaries; yet if the
uprising had failed and the legionaries had not joined the people, as
they had expected, of what value this temporary sanctuary? The instant
that hunger and thirst assailed them this same room would become their
prison cell and torture chamber--and perhaps for many of them a vestibule
to the grave.

"Ah, Dilecta," cried Praeclarus, in the first moment that he could seize
to go to her side, "I have found you only to lose you again. My rashness,
perhaps, has brought you death."

"Your coming saved me from death," replied the girl, drawing the dagger
from her gown and exhibiting it to Praeclarus. "I chose this as husband
rather than Fastus," she said, "so if I die now I have lived longer than
I should have, had you not come; and at least I die happy, for we shall
die together."

"This is no time to be speaking of dying," said Tarzan. "Did you think a
few hours ago that you would ever be together again? Well, here you are.
Perhaps in a few more hours everything will be changed and you will be
laughing at the fears you are now entertaining."

Some of the gladiators, who were standing near and had overheard Tarzan's
words, shook their heads.

"Any of us who gets out of this room alive," said one, "will be burned at
the stake, or fed to lions, or pulled apart by wild buffalo. We are
through, but it has been a good fight, and I for one thank this great
barbarian for this glorious end."

Tarzan shrugged and turned away. "I am not dead yet," he said, "and not
until I am dead is it time to think of it--and then it will be too late."

Maximus Praeclarus laughed. "Perhaps you are right," he said. "What do
you suggest? If we stay here, we shall be slain, so you must have some
plan for getting us out."

"If we can discern no hope of advantage through our own efforts," replied
Tarzan, "we must look elsewhere and await such favors of fortune as may
come from without, either through the intervention of our friends beyond
the palace grounds or from the carelessness of the enemy himself. I admit
that just at present our case appears desperate, but even so I am not
without hope; at least we may be cheered by the realization that whatever
turn events may take it must be for the better, since nothing could be
worse."

"I do not agree with you," said Metellus, pointing through the window.
"See, they ere setting up a small ballista in the garden. Presently our
condition will be much worse than it is now."

"The walls appear substantial," returned the ape-man. "Do you think they
can batter them down, Praeclarus?"

"I doubt it," replied the Roman, "but every missile that comes through
the window must take its toll, as we are so crowded here that all of us
cannot get out of range."

The legionaries that had been summoned to the throne-room had been held
at the small doorway by a handful of gladiators and the defenders had
been able to close and bar the stout oaken door. For a time there had
been silence in the throne-room and no attempt was made to gain entrance
to the room upon that side; while upon the garden side two or three
attempts to rush the window had been thwarted, and now the legionaries
held off while the small ballista was being dragged into place and
trained upon the palace wall.

Dilecta having been placed in an angle of the room where she would be
safest, Tarzan and his lieutenants watched the operations of the
legionaries in the garden.

"They do not seem to be aiming directly at the window," remarked Cassius
Hasta.

"No," said Praeclarus. "I rather think they intend making a breach in the
wall through which a sufficient number of them can enter to overpower
us."

"If we could rush the ballista and take it," mused Tarzan, "We could make
it rather hot for them. Let us bold ourselves in readiness for that, if
their missiles make it too hot for us in here. We shall have some
advantage if we anticipate their assault by a sortie of our own."

A dull thud upon the door at the opposite end of the room brought the
startled attention of the defenders to that quarter. The oak door sagged
and the stone walls trembled to the impact.

Cassius Hasta smiled wryly. "They have brought a ram," he said.

And now a heavy projectile shook the outer wall and a piece of plaster
crumbled to the floor upon the inside--the ballista had come into action.
Once again the heavy battering-ram shivered the groaning timbers of the
door and the inmates of the room could hear the legionaries chanting the
hymn of the ram to the cadence of which they swung it Kick and heaved it
forward.

The troops in the garden went about their duty with quiet, military
efficiency. Each time a stone from the ballista struck the wall there was
a shout, but there was nothing spontaneous in the demonstration, which
seemed as perfunctory as the mechanical operation of the ancient
war-engine that delivered its missiles with almost clocklike regularity.

The greatest damage that the ballista appeared to be doing was to the
plaster on the inside of the wall, but the battering-ram was slowly but
surely shattering the door at the opposite side of the room.

"Look," said Metellus, "they are altering the line of the ballista. They
have discovered that they can effect nothing against the wall."

"They are aiming at the window," said Praeclarus.

"Those of you who are in line with the window lie down upon the floor,"
commanded Tarzan. "Quickly! the hammer is falling upon the trigger."

The next missile struck one side of the window, carrying away a piece of
the stone, and this time the result was followed by an enthusiastic shout
from the legionaries in the garden.

"That's what they should have done in the beginning," commented Hasta.
"If they get the walls started at the edge of the window, they can make a
breach more quickly there than elsewhere."

"That is evidently what they are planning on doing," said Metellus, as a
second missile struck in the same place and a large fragment of the wall
crumbled.

"Look to the door," shouted Tarzan, as the weakened timbers sagged to the
impact of the ram.

A dozen swordsmen stood ready and waiting to receive the legionaries,
whose rush they expected the instant that the door fell. At one side of
the room the six apes crouched, growling, and kept in leash only by the
repeated assurances of Tarzan that the man-things in the room with them
were the friends of the ape-man.

As the door crashed, there was a momentary silence, as each side waited
to see what the other would do, and in the lull that ensued there came
through the air a roaring sound ominous and threatening, and then the
shouts of the legionaries in the throne-room and the legionaries in the
garden drowned all other sounds.

The gap around the window had been enlarged. The missiles of the ballista
had crumbled the wall from the ceiling to the floor, and as though in
accordance with a prearranged plan the legionaries assaulted
simultaneously, one group rushing the doorway from the throne-room, the
other the breach in the opposite wall.

Tarzan turned toward the apes and pointing in the direction of the
breached wall, shouted: "Stop them, Zutho! Kill, Go-yad! Kill!"

The men near him looked at him in surprise and perhaps they shuddered a
little as they heard the growling voice of a beast issue from the throat
of the giant barbarian, but instantly they realized he was speaking to
his hairy fellows, as they saw the apes spring forward with bared fangs
and, growling hideously, throw themselves upon the first legionaries to
reach the window. Two apes went down, pierced by Roman pikes, but before
the beastly rage of the others Caesar's soldiers gave back.

"After them," cried Tarzan to Praeclarus. "Follow them into the garden.
Capture the ballista and turn it upon the legionaries. We will hold the
throne-room door until you have seized the ballista, then we shall fall
back upon you."

After the battling apes rushed the three patricians, Maximus Praeclarus,
Cassius Hasta, and Caecilius Metellus, leading gladiators, thieves,
murderers, and slaves into the garden, profiting by the temporary
advantage the apes had gained for them.

Side by side with the remaining gladiators Tarzan fought to hold the
legionaries back from the little doorway until the balance of his party
had won safely to the garden and seized the ballista. Glancing back he
saw Mpingu leading Dilecta from the room in the rear of the escaped
prisoners. Then he turned again to the defense of the doorway, which his
little party held stubbornly until Tarzan saw the ballista in the hands
of his own men, and, giving step by step across the room, he and they
backed through the breach in the wall.

At a shout of command from Praeclarus, they leaped to one side. The
hammer fell upon the trigger of the ballista, which Praeclarus had lined
upon the window, and a heavy rock drove full into the faces of the
legionaries.

For a moment the fates had been kind to Tarzan and his fellows, but it
soon became apparent that they were little if any better off here than in
the room they had just quitted, for in the garden they were ringed by
legionaries. Pikes were flying through the air, and though the ballista
and their own good swords were keeping the enemy at a respectful
distance, there was none among them who believed that they could for long
withstand the superior numbers and the bettor equipment of their
adversaries.

There came a pause in the fighting, which must necessarily be the case in
hand-to-hand encounters, and as though by tacit agreement each side
rested. The three whites watched the enemy closely. "They are preparing
for a concerted attack with pikes," said Praeclarus.

"That will write finis to our earthly endeavors," remarked Cassius Hasta.

"May the gods receive us with rejoicing," said Caecilius Metellus.

"I think the gods prefer them to us," said Tarzan.

"Why?" demanded Cassius Hasta.

"Because they have taken so many more of them to heaven this night,"
replied the ape-man, pointing at the corpses lying about the garden, and
Cassius Hasta smiled, appreciatively.

"They will charge in another moment," said Maximus Praeclarus, and
turning to Dilecta he took her in his arms and kissed her. "Good-by, dear
heart," he said. "How fleeting is happiness! How futile the hopes of
mortal man!"

"Not good-by, Praeclarus," replied the girl, "for where you go I shall
go," and she showed him the slim dagger in her hand.

"No," cried the man. "Promise me that you will not do that."

"And why not? Is not death sweeter than Fastus?"

"Perhaps you are right," he said, sadly.

"They come," cried Cassius Hasta.

"Ready!" shouted Tarzan. "Give them all we have. Death is hotter than the
dungeons of the Colosseum."


Chapter Twenty


FROM the far end of the garden, above the din of breaking battle, rose a
savage cry--a new note that attracted the startled attention of the
contestants upon both sides. Tarzan's head snapped to attention. His
nostrils sniffed the air. Recognition, hope, surprise, incredulity surged
through his consciousness as he stood there with flashing eyes looking
out over the heads of his adversaries.

In increasing volume the savage roar rolled into the garden of Caesar.
The legionaries turned to face the vanguard of an army led by a horde of
warriors, glistening giants from whose proud heads floated white feather
warbonnets and from whose throats issued the savage war-cry that had
filled the heart of Tarzan--the Waziri had come.

At their head Tarzan saw Muviro and with him was Lukedi, but what the
ape-man did not see, and what none of those in the garden of Caesar saw
until later, was the horde of warriors from the outer villages of Castra
Sanguinarius that, following the Waziri into the city, were already
overrunning the palace seeking the vengeance that had so long been denied
them.

As the last of the legionaries in the garden threw down their arms and
begged Tarzan's protection, Muviro ran to the ape-man and, kneeling at
his feet, kissed his hand, and at the same instant a little monkey
dropped from an overhanging tree onto Tarzan's shoulder.

"The gods of our ancestors have been good to the Waziri," said Muviro,
"otherwise we should have been too late."

"I was puzzled as to how you found me," said Tarzan, "until I saw Nkima."

"Yes, it was Nkima," said Muviro. "He came back to the country of the
Waziri, to the land of Tarzan, and led us here. Many times we would have
turned back thinking that he was mad, but he urged us on and we followed
him, and now the big Bwana can come back with us to the home of his own
people."

"No," said Tarzan, shaking his head, "I cannot come yet The son of my
good friend is still in this valley, but you are just in time to help me
rescue him, nor is there any time to lose."

Legionaries, throwing down their arms, were running from the palace, from
which came the shrieks and groans of the dying and the savage hoots and
cries of the avenging horde. Praeclarus stepped to Tarzan's side.

"The barbarians of the outer villages are attacking the city, murdering
all who fall into their hands," he cried. "We must gather what men we can
and make a stand against them. Will these warriors, who have just come,
fight with us against them?"

"They will fight as I direct," replied Tarzan, "but I think it will not
be necessary to make war upon the barbarians. Lukedi, where are the white
officers who command the barbarians?"

"Once they neared the palace," replied Lukedi, "the warriors became so
excited that they broke away from their white leaders and followed their
own chieftain."

"Go and fetch their greatest chief," directed Tarzan.

During the half hour that followed, Tarzan and his lieutenants were busy
reorganizing their forces into which were incorporated the legionaries
who had surrendered to them, in coring for the wounded, and planning for
the future. From the palace came the hoarse cries of the looting
soldiers, and Tarzan had about abandoned hope that Lukedi would be able
to persuade a chief to come to him when Lukedi returned, accompanied by
two warriors from the outer villages, whose bearing and ornaments
proclaimed them chieftains.

"You are the man called Tarzan?" demanded one of the chiefs.

The ape-man nodded. "I am," he said.

"We have been looking for you. This Bagego said that you have promised
that no more shall our people be taken into slavery and no longer shall
our warriors be condemned to the arena. How can you, who are yourself a
barbarian, guarantee this to us?"

"If I cannot guarantee it, you have the power to enforce it yourself,"
replied the ape-man, "and I with my Waziri will aid you, but now you must
gather your warriors. Let no one be killed from now on who does not
oppose you. Gather your warriors and take them into the avenue before the
palace and then come with your sub-chiefs to the throne-room of Caesar.
There we shall demand and receive justice, not for the moment but for all
time. Go!"

Eventually the looting horde was quieted by their chiefs and withdrawn to
the Via Principalis. Waziri warriors manned the shattered gate of
Caesar's palace and lined the corridor to the throne-room and the aisle
to the foot of the throne. They formed a half circle about the throne
itself, and upon the throne of Caesar sat Tarzan of the Apes with
Praeclarus and Dilecta and Cassius Hasta and Caecilius Metellus and
Muviro about him, while little Nkima sat upon his shoulder and complained
bitterly, for Nkima, as usual, was frightened and cold and hungry.

"Send legionaries to fetch Sublatus and Fastus," Tarzan directed
Praeclarus, "for this business must be attended to quickly, as within the
hour I march on Castrum Mare."

Flushed with excitement, the legionaries that had been sent to fetch
Sublatus and Fastus rushed into the throne-room. "Sublatus is dead!" they
cried. "Fastus is dead! The barbarians have slain them. The chambers and
corridors above are filled with the bodies of senators, nobles, and
officers of the legion."

"Are none left alive?" demanded Praeclarus, paling.

"Yes," replied one of the legionaries, "there were many barricaded in
another apartment who withstood the onslaught of the warriors. We
explained to them that they are now safe and they are coming to the
throne-room," and up the aisle marched the remnants of the wedding
guests, the sweat and blood upon the men evidencing the dire straits from
which they had been delivered, the women still nervous and hysterical.
Leading them came Dion Splendidus, and at sight of him Dilecta gave a cry
of relief and pleasure and ran down the steps of the throne and along the
aisle to meet him.

Tarzan's face lighted with relief when he saw the old senator, for his
weeks in the home of Festivitas and his long incarceration with Maximus
Praeclarus in the dungeons of the Colosseum had familiarized him with the
politics of Castra Sanguinarius, and now the presence of Dion Splendidus
was all that he needed to complete the plans that the tyranny and cruelty
of Sublatus had forced upon him.

He rose from the throne and raised his hand for silence. The hum of
voices ceased. "Caesar is dead, but upon someone of you must fall the
mantle of Caesar."

"Long live Tarzan! Long live the new Caesar!" cried one of the
gladiators, and instantly every Sanguinarian in the room took up the cry.

The ape-man smiled and shook his head. "No," he said, "not I, but there
is one here to whom I offer the imperial diadem upon the condition that
he fulfill the promises I have made to the barbarians of the outer
villages. Dion Splendidus, will you accept the imperial purple with the
understanding that the men of the outer villages shall be forever free;
that no longer shall their girls or their boys be pressed into slavery,
or their warriors forced to do battle in the arena?"

Dion Splendidus bowed his bead in assent--and thus did Tarzan refuse
the diadem and create a Caesar.


Chapter Twenty-One


THE yearly triumph of Validus Augustus, Emperor of the East, had been a
poor thing by comparison with that of Sublatus of Castra Sanguinarius,
though dignity and interest was lent the occasion by the presence of the
much-advertised barbarian chieftain, who strode in chains behind Caesars
chariot.

The vain show of imperial power pleased Validus Augustus, deceiving
perhaps the more ignorant of his subjects, and would have given Erich von
Harben cause for laughter had he not realized the seriousness of his
position.

No captive chained to the chariot of the greatest Caesar that ever lived
had faced a more hopeless situation than he. What though he knew that a
regiment of marines or a squadron of Uhlans might have reduced this
entire empire to vassalage? What though he knew that the mayor of many a
modern city could have commanded a fighting force far greater and much
more effective than this little Caesar? The knowledge was only
tantalizing, for the fact remained that Validus Augustus was supreme here
and there was neither regiment of marines nor squadron of Uhlans to
question his behavior toward the subject of a great republic that could
have swallowed his entire empire without being conscious of any
discomfort. The triumph was over. Von Harben had been returned to the
cell that he occupied with Mallius Lepus.

"You are back early," said Lepus. "How did the triumph of Validus impress
you?"

"It was not much of a show, if I may judge by the amount of enthusiasm
displayed by the people."

"The triumphs of Validus are always poor things," said Lepus. "He would
rather put ten talents in his belly or on his back than spend one
denarius to amuse the people."

"And the games," asked von Harben, "will they be as poor?"

"They do not amount to much," said Lepus. "We have few criminals here and
as we have to purchase all our slaves, they are too valuable to waste in
this way. Many of the contests are between wild beasts, an occasional
thief or murderer may be pitted against a gladiator, but for the most
part Validus depends upon professional gladiators and political
prisoners--enemies or supposed enemies of Caesar. More often they are
like you and I--victims of the lying and jealous intrigues of favorites.
There are about twenty such in the dungeons now, and they will furnish
the most interesting entertainment of the games."

"And if we are victorious, we are freed?" asked von Harben.

"We shall not be victorious," said Mallius Lepus. "Fulvus Fupus has seen
to that, you may rest assured."

"It is terrible," muttered von Harben.

"You are afraid to die?" asked Mallius Lepus.

"It is not that," said von Harben. "I am thinking of Favonia."

"And well you may," said Mallius Lepus. "My sweet cousin would be happier
dead than married to Fulvus Fupus."

"I feel so helpless," said von Harben. "Not a friend, not even my
faithful body servant, Gabula."

"Oh, that reminds me," exclaimed Lepus. "They were here looking for him
this morning."

"Looking for him? Is he not confined in the dungeon?"

"He was, but he was detailed with other prisoners to prepare the arena
last night, and during the darkness of early morning he is supposed to
have escaped--but be that as it may, they were looking for him."

"Good!" exclaimed von Harben. "I shall feel better just knowing that he
is at large, though there is nothing that he can do for me. Where could
he have gone?"

"Castrum Mare is ill guarded along its waterfront, but the lake itself
and the crocodiles form a barrier as efficacious as many legionaries.
Gabula may have scaled the wall, but the chances are that he is hiding
within the city, protected by other slaves or, possibly, by Septimus
Favonius himself."

"I wish I might feel that the poor, faithful fellow had been able to
escape the country and return to his own people," said von Harben.

Mallius Lepus shook his head. "That is impossible," he said. "Though you
came down over the cliff, he could not return that way, and even if he
could find the pass to the outer world, he would fall into the hands of
the soldiers of Castra Sanguinarius or the barbarians of their outer
villages. No, there is no chance that Gabula will escape."

The time passed quickly, all too quickly, between the hour that Erich von
Harben was returned to his cell, following his exhibition in the triumph
of Validus Augustus, and the coming of the Colosseum guards to drive them
into the arena.

The Colosseum was packed. The loges of the patricians were filled. The
haughty Caesar of the East sat upon an ornate throne, shaded by a canopy
of purple linen. Septimus Favonius sat with bowed head in his loge and
with him was his wife and Favonia. The girl sat with staring eyes fixed
upon the gateway from which the contestants were emerging. She saw her
cousin, Mallius Lepus, emerge and with him Erich von Harben, and she
shuddered and closed her eyes for a moment.

When she opened them again the column was forming and the contestants
were marched across the white sands to receive the commands of Caesar.
With Mallius Lepus and von Harben marched the twenty political prisoners,
all of whom were of the patrician class. Then came the professional
gladiators--coarse, brutal men, whose business it was to kill or be
killed. Leading these, with a bold swagger, was one who had been champion
gladiator of Castrum Mare for five years. If the people had an idol, it
was he. They roared their approval of him. "Claudius Taurus! Claudius
Taurus!" rose above a babble of voices. A few mean thieves, some
frightened slaves, and a half dozen lions completed the victims that were
to make a Roman holiday.

Erich von Harben had often been fascinated by the stories of the games of
ancient Rome. Often had he pictured the Colosseum packed with its
thousands and the contestants upon the white sand of the arena, but now
he realized that they had been but pictures--but the photographs of his
imagination. The people in those dreams had been but picture
people--automatons, who move only when we look at them. When there had
been action on the sand the audience had been a silent etching, and when
the audience had roared and turned its thumbs down the actors had been
mute and motionless.

How different, this! He saw the constant motion in the packed stands, the
mosaic of a thousand daubs of color that became kaleidoscopic with every
move of the multitude. He heard the hum of voices and sensed the
offensive odor of many human bodies. He saw the hawkers and vendors
passing along the aisles shouting their wares. He saw the legionaries
stationed everywhere. He saw the rich in their canopied loges and the
poor in the hot sun of the cheap seats.

Sweat was trickling down the back of the neck of the patrician marching
just in front of him. He glanced at Claudius Taurus. He saw that his
tunic was faded and that his hairy legs were dirty. He had always thought
of gladiators as cleanlimbed and resplendent. Claudius Taurus shocked
him.

As they formed in solid rank before the loge of Caesar, von Harben
smelled the men pressing close behind him. The air was hot and
oppressive. The whole thing was disgusting.

There was no grandeur to it, no dignity. He wondered if it had been like
this in Rome.

And then he looked up into the loge of Caesar. He saw the man in gorgeous
robes, sitting upon his carved throne. He saw naked slaves swaying
long-handled fans of feathers above the head of Caesar. He saw large men
in gorgeous tunics and cuirasses of shining gold. He saw the wealth and
pomp and circumstance of power, and something told him that after all
ancient Rome had probably been much as this was--that its populace had
smelled and that its gladiators had had hairy legs with din on them and
that its patricians had sweated behind the ears.

Perhaps Validus Augustus was as great a Caesar as any of them, for did he
not rule half of his known world? Few of them had done more than this.

His eyes wandered along the row of loges. The praefect of the games was
speaking and von Harben heard his voice, but the words did not reach his
brain, for his eyes had suddenly met those of a girl.

He saw the anguish and hopeless horror in her face and he tried to smile
as he looked at her, a smile of encouragement and hope, but she only saw
the beginning of the smile, for the tears came and the image of the man
she loved was only a dull blur like the pain in her heart.

A movement in the stands behind the loges attracted von Harben's eyes and
he puckered his brows, straining his faculties to assure himself that he
must be mistaken, but he was not. What he had seen was Gabula--he was
moving toward the imperial loge, where he disappeared behind the hangings
that formed the background of Caesar's throne.

Then the praefect ordered them from the arena and as von Harben moved
across the sand he tried to find some explanation of Gabula's presence
there--what errand had brought him to so dangerous a place?

The contestants had traversed but half the width of the arena returning
to their cells when a sudden scream, ringing out behind them, caused them
all to turn. Von Harben saw that the disturbance came from the imperial
loge, but the scene that met his startled gaze seemed too preposterous to
have greater substance than a dream. Perhaps it was all a dream. Perhaps
there was no Castrum Mare. Perhaps there was no Validus Augustus. Perhaps
there was no--ah, but that could not be true, there was a Favonia and
this preposterous thing then that he was looking at was true too. He saw
a man holding Caesar by the throat and driving a dagger into his heart
with the other, and the man was Gabula.

It all happened so quickly and was over so quickly that scarcely had
Caesar's shriek rung through the Colosseum than he lay dead at the foot
of his carved throne, and Gabula, the assassin, in a single leap had
cleared the arena wall and was running across the sand toward von Harben.

"I have avenged you, Bwana!" cried Gabula. "No matter what they do to
you, you are avenged."

A great groan arose from the audience and then a cheer as someone
shouted: "Caesar is dead!"

A hope flashed to the breast of von Harben. He turned and grabbed Mallius
Lepus by the arm. "Caesar is dead," he whispered. "Now is our chance."

"What do you mean?" demanded Mallius Lepus.

"In the confusion we can escape. We can hide in the city and at night we
can take Favonia with us and go away."

"Where?" asked Mallius Lepus.

"God! I do not know," exclaimed von Harben, "but anywhere would be better
than here, for Fulvus Fupus is Caesar and if we do not save Favonia
tonight, it will be too late."

"You are right," said Mallius Lepus.

"Pass the word to the others," said von Harben. "The more there are who
try to escape the better chance there will be for some of us to succeed."

The legionaries and their officers as well as the vast multitude could
attend only upon what was happening in the logo of Caesar. So few of them
had seen what really occurred there that as yet there had been no pursuit
of Gabula.

Mallius Lepus turned to the other prisoners. "The gods have been good to
us," he cried. "Caesar is dead and in the confusion we can escape. Come!"

As Mallius Lepus started on a run toward the gateway that led to the
cells beneath the Colosseum, the shouting prisoners fell in behind him.
Only those of the professional gladiators who were freemen held aloof,
but they made no effort to stop them.

"Good luck!" shouted Claudius Taurus, as von Harben passed him. "Now if
someone would kill Fulvus Fupus we might have a Caesar who is a Caesar."

The sudden rush of the escaping prisoners so confused and upset the few
guards beneath the Colosseum that they were easily overpowered and a
moment later the prisoners found themselves in the streets of Castrum
Mare.

"Where now?" cried one.

"We must scatter," said Mallius Lepus. "Each man for himself."

"We shall stick together, Mallius Lepus," said von Harben.

"To the end," replied the Roman.

"And here is Gabula," said von Harben, as the Negro joined them. "He
shall come with us."

"We cannot desert the brave Gabula," said Mallius Lepus, "but the first
thing for us to do is to find a hiding-place."

"There is a low wall across the avenue," said von Harben, "and there are
trees beyond it."

"Come, then," said Mallius Lepus. "It is as good for now as any other
place."

The three men hurried across the avenue and scaled the low wall, finding
themselves in a garden so overgrown with weeds and underbrush that they
at once assumed that it was deserted. Creeping through the weeds and
forcing their way through the underbrush, they came to the rear of a
house. A broken door, hanging by one hinge, windows from which the wooden
blinds had fallen, an accumulation of rubbish upon the threshold marked
the dilapidated structure as a deserted house.

"Perhaps this is just the place for us to hide until night," said von
Harben.

"Its proximity to the Colosseum is its greatest advantage," said Mallius
Lepus, "for they will be sure to believe that we have rushed as far from
our dungeon as we could. Let us go in and investigate. We must be sure
that the place is uninhabited."

The rear room, which had been the kitchen, had a crumbling brick oven in
one corner, a bench and a dilapidated table. Crossing the kitchen, they
entered an apartment beyond and saw that these two rooms constituted all
that there was to the house. The front room was large and as the blinds
at the windows facing the avenue had not fallen, it was dark within it.
In one corner they saw a ladder reaching to a trap-door in the ceiling,
which evidently led to the roof of the building, and two or three feet
below the ceiling and running entirely across the end of the room where
the ladder arose was a false ceiling, which formed a tiny loft just below
the roof-beams, a place utilized by former tenants as a storage room. A
more careful examination of the room revealed nothing more than a pile of
filthy rags against one wall, the remains perhaps of some homeless
beggar's bed.

"It could not have been better," said Mallius Lepus, "if this had been
built for us. Why, we have three exits if we are hard pressed--one into
the back garden, one into the avenue in front, and the third to the
roof."

"We can remain in safety, then," said von Harben, "until after dark, when
it should be easy to make our way unseen through the dark streets to the
home of Septimus Favonius."


Chapter Twenty-Two


EAST along the Via Mare from Castra Sanguinarius marched five thousand
men. The white plumes of the Waziri nodded at the back of Tarzan.
Stalwart legionaries followed Maxim us Praeclarus, while the warriors of
the outer villages brought up the rear.

Sweating slaves dragged catapults, ballistae, testudones, huge
battering-rams, and other ancient engines of war. There were scaling
ladders and wall hooks and devices for throwing fire balls into the
defenses of an enemy. The heavy engines had delayed the march and Tarzan
had chafed at the delay, but he had to listen to Maximus Praeclarus and
Cassius Hasta and Caecilius Metellus, all of whom had assured him that
the fort, which defended the only road to Castrum Mare, could not be
taken by assault without the aid of these mechanical engines of war.

Along the hot and dusty Via Mare the Waziri swung, chanting the war-songs
of their people. The hardened legionaries, their heavy helmets dangling
against their breasts from cords that passed about their necks, their
packs on forked sticks across their shoulders, their great oblong shields
hanging in their leather covers at their backs, cursed and grumbled as
become veterans, while the warriors from the outer villages laughed and
sang and chattered as might a party of picnickers.

As they approached the fort with its moat and embankment and palisade and
towers, slaves were bearing the body of Valid us Augustus to his palace
within the city, and Fulvus Fupus, surrounded by fawning sycophants, was
proclaiming himself Caesar, though he trembled inwardly in contemplation
of what fate might lie before him--for though he was a fool be knew that
he was not popular and that many a noble patrician with a strong
following had a better right to the imperial purple than he.

Throughout the city of Castrum Mare legionaries searched for the escaped
prisoners and especially for the slave who had struck down Validus
Augustus, though they were handicapped by the fact that no one had
recognized Gabula, for there were few in the city and certainly none in
the entourage of Caesar who was familiar with the face of the black from
distant Urambi.

A few of the thieves and five or six gladiators, who were condemned
felons and not freemen, had clung together in the break for freedom and
presently they found themselves in hiding in a low part of the city, in a
den where wine could be procured and where there were other forms of
entertainment for people of their class.

"What sort of a Caesar will this Fulvus Fupus make?" asked one.

"He will be worse than Validus Augustus," said another. "I have seen him
in the Baths where I once worked. He is vain and dull and ignorant; even
the patricians hate him."

"They say he is going to marry the daughter of Septimus Favonius."

"I saw her in the Colosseum today," said another. "I know her well by
sight, for she used to come to the shop of my father and make purchases
before I was sent to the dungeons."

"Have you ever been to the house of Septimus Favonius?" asked another.

"Yes, I have," said the youth. "Twice I took goods there for her
inspection, going through the forecourt and into the inner garden. I know
the place well."

"If one like her should happen to fall into the hands of a few poor
convicts they might win their freedom and a great ransom," suggested a
low-browed fellow with evil, cunning eyes.

"And be drawn asunder by wild oxen for their pains."

"We must die anyway if we are caught."

"It is a good plan."

They drank again for several minutes in silence, evidencing that the plan
was milling in their minds.

"The new Caesar should pay an enormous ransom for his bride."

The youth rose eagerly to his feet. "I will lead you to the home of
Septimus Favonius and guarantee that they will open the gate for me and
let me in, as I know what to say. All I need is a bundle and I can tell
the slave that it contains goods that my father wishes Favonia to
inspect."

"You are not such a fool as you look."

"No, and I shall have a large share of the ransom for my part in it,"
said the youth.

"If there is any ransom, we shall share and share alike."

Night was falling as Tarzan's army halted before the defenses of Castrum
Mare. Cassius Hasta, to whom the reduction of the fort had been
entrusted, disposed his forces and supervised the placing of his various
engines of war.

Within the city Erich von Harben and Mallius Lepus discussed the details
of their plans. It was the judgment of Lepus to wait until after midnight
before making any move in leave their hiding-place.

"The streets will be deserted then," said Mallius Lepus, "except for an
occasional patrol upon the principal avenue, and these may be easily
eluded, since the torches that they curry proclaim their approach long
before there is any danger of their apprehending us. I have the key to
the gate of my uncle's garden, which insures that we may enter the
grounds silently and unobserved."

"Perhaps you are right," said von Harben, "but I dread the long wait and
the thought of further inaction seems unbearable."

"Have patience, my friend," said Mallius Lepus. "Fulvus Fupus will be too
busy with his new Caesarship to give heed to aught else for some time,
and Favonia will be safe from him, certainly for the next few hours at
least."

And as they discussed the matter, a youth knocked upon the door of the
home of Septimus Favonius. Beneath the shadow of the trees along the wall
darker shadows crouched. A slave bearing a lamp came to the door in
answer to the knocking and, speaking through a small grille, asked who
was without and what the nature of his business.

"I am the son of Tabernarius," said the youth. "I have brought fabrics
from the shop of my father that the daughter of Septimus Favonius may
inspect them."

The slave hesitated.

"You must remember me," said the youth. "I have been here often," and the
slave held the light a little bit higher and peered through the grille.

"Yes," he said, "your face is familiar. I will go and ask my mistress if
she wishes to see you. Wait here."

"These fabrics are valuable," said the youth, holding up a bundle, which
he carried under his arm. "Let me stand just within the vestibule lest
thieves set upon me and rob me."

"Very well," said the slave, and opening the gate be permitted the youth
to enter. "Remain here until I return."

As the slave disappeared into the interior of the house, the son of
Tabernarius turned quickly and withdrew the bolt that secured the door.
Opening it quickly, he leaned out to voice a low signal.

Instantly the denser shadows beneath the shadowy trees moved and were
resolved into the figures of men. Scurrying like vermin, they hurried
through the doorway and into the home of Septimus Favonius, and into the
anteroom off the vestibule the son of Tabernarius hustled them. Then he
closed both doors and waited.

Presently the slave returned. "The daughter of Septimus Favonius recalls
having ordered no goods from Tabernarius," he said, "nor does she feel in
any mood to inspect fabrics this night. Return them to your father and
tell him that when the daughter of Septimus Favonius wishes to purchase
she will come herself to his shop."

Now this was not what the son of Tabernarius desired and he racked his
crafty brain for another plan, though to the slave he appeared but a
stupid youth, staring at the floor in too much embarrassment even to take
his departure.

"Come," said the slave, approaching the door and laying hold of the bolt,
"you must be going."

"Wait," whispered the youth, "I have a message for Favonia. I did not
wish anyone to know it and for that reason I spoke of bringing fabrics as
an excuse."

"Where is the message and from whom?" demanded the slave, suspiciously.

"It is for her ears only. Tell her this and she will know from whom it
is."

The slave hesitated.

"Fetch her here," said the youth. "It will be better that no other member
of the household sees me."

The slave shook his head. "I will tell her," he said, for he knew that
Mallius Lepus and Erich von Harben had escaped from the Colosseum and he
guessed that the message might be from one of these. As he hastened back
to his mistress the son of Tabernarius smiled, for though he knew not
enough of Favonia to know from whom she might reasonably expect a secret
message, yet he knew there were few young women who might not, at least
hopefully, expect a clandestine communication. He had not long to wait
before the slave returned and with him came Favonia. Her excitement was
evident as she hastened eagerly forward toward the youth.

"Tell me," she cried, "you have brought word from him."

The son of Tabernarius raised a forefinger to his lip to caution her to
silence. "No one must know that I am here," he whispered, "and no ears
but yours may hear my message. Send your slave away."

"You may go," said Favonia to the slave. "I will let the young man out
when he goes," and the slave, glad to be dismissed, content to be
relieved of responsibility, moved silently away into the shadows of a
corridor and thence into that uncharted limbo into which pass slaves and
other lesser people when one has done with them.

"Tell me," cried the girl, "what word do you bring? Where is he?"

"He is here," whispered the youth, pointing to the anteroom.

"Here?" exclaimed Favonia, incredulously.

"Yes, here," said the youth. "Come," and he led her to the door and as
she approached it he seized her suddenly and, clapping a hand over her
mouth, dragged her into the dark anteroom beyond.

Rough hands seized her quickly and she was gagged and bound. She heard
them converse in low whispers.

"We will separate here," said one. "Two of us will take her to the place
we have selected. One of you will have to leave the note for Fulvus Fupus
so the palace guards will find it. The rest of you scatter and go by
different routes to the deserted house across from the Colosseum. Do you
know the place?"

"I know it well. Many is the night that I have slept there."

"Very well," said the first speaker, who seemed to be the leader, "now be
off. We have no time to waste."

"Wait," said the son of Tabernarius, "the division of the ransom has not
yet been decided. Without me you could have done nothing. I should have
at least half."

"Shut up or you will be lucky if you get anything," growled the leader.

"A knife between his ribs would do him good," muttered another.

"You will not give me what I asked?" demanded the youth.

"Shut up," said the leader. "Come along now, men," and carrying Favonia,
whom they wrapped in a soiled and ragged cloak, they left the home of
Septimus Favonius unobserved; and as two men carried a heavy bundle
through the dark shadows beneath the shadowy trees the son of Tabernarius
started away in the opposite direction.

A youth in soiled and ragged tunic and rough sandals approached the gates
of Caesar's palace. A legionary challenged him, holding him at a distance
with the point of his pike.

"What do you loitering by the palace of Caesar by night?" demanded the
legionary.

"I have a message for Caesar," replied the youth.

The legionary guffawed. "Will you come in or shall I send Caesar out to
you?" he demanded, ironically.

"You may take the message to him yourself, soldier," replied the other,
"and if you know what is good for you, you will not delay."

The seriousness of the youth's voice finally compelled the attention of
the legionary. "Well," he demanded, "out with it. What message have you
for Caesar?"

"Hasten to him and tell him that the daughter of Septimus Favonius has
been abducted and that if he hastens he will find her in the deserted
house that stands upon the corner opposite the chariot entrance to the
Colosseum."

"Who are you?" demanded the legionary.

"Never mind," said the youth. "Tomorrow I shall come for my reward," and
he turned and sped away before the legionary could detain him.

"At this rate midnight will never come," said von Harben.

Mallius Lepus laid a hand upon the shoulder of his friend. "You are
impatient, but remember that it will be safer for Favonia, as well as for
us, if we wait until after midnight, for the streets now must be full of
searchers. All afternoon we have heard soldiers passing. It is a miracle
that they have not searched this place."

"Ps-st!" cautioned von Harben. "What was that?"

"It sounded like the creaking of the gate in front of the house," said
Mallius Lepus.

"They are coming," said von Harben.

The three men seized the swords with which they had armed themselves,
after they had rushed the Colosseum guard, and following a plan they had
already decided upon in the event that searchers approached their
hiding-place, they scaled the ladder and crept out upon the roof. Leaving
the trap-door pushed slightly to one side, they listened to the sounds
that were now coming from below, ready to take instant' action should
there be any indication that the searchers might mount the ladder to the
roof.

Von Harben heard voices coming from below. "Well, we made it," said one,
"and no one saw us. Here come the others now," and von Harben heard the
gate creak again on its rusty hinges; then the door of the house opened
and he heard several people enter.

"This is a good night's work," said one.

"Is she alive? I cannot hear her breathe."

"Take the gag from her mouth."

"And let her scream for help?"

"We can keep her quiet. She is worth nothing to us dead."

"All right, take it out."

"Listen, you, we will take the gag out of your mouth, but if you scream
it will be the worse for you."

"I shall not scream," said a woman's voice in familiar tones that set von
Harben's heart to palpitating, though he knew that it was nothing more
than his imagination that suggested the seeming familiarity.

"We shall not hurt you," said a man's voice, "if you keep quiet and
Caesar sends the ransom."

"And if he does not send it?" asked the girl.

"Then, perhaps, your father, Septimus Favonius, will pay the price we
ask."

"Heavens!" muttered von Harben. "Did you hear that, Lepus?"

"I heard," replied the Roman.

"Then come," whispered von Harben. "Come, Gabula, Favonia is below."

Casting discretion to the wind, von Harben tore the trap from the opening
in the roof and dropped into the darkness below, followed by Mallius
Lepus and Gabula.

"Favonia!" he cried. "It is I. Where are you?"

"Here," cried the girl.

Rushing blindly in the direction of her voice, von Harben encountered one
of the abductors. The fellow grappled with him, while, terrified by fear
that the legionaries were upon them, the others bolted from the building.
As they went they left the door open and the light of a full moon
dissipated the darkness of the interior, revealing von Harben struggling
with a burly fellow who had seized the other's throat and was now trying
to draw his dagger from its sheath.

Instantly Mallius Lepus and Gabula were upon him, and a quick thrust of
the former's sword put a definite period to the earthly rascality of the
criminal. Free from his antagonist, von Harben leaped to his feet and ran
to Favonia, where she lay upon a pile of dirty rags against the wall.
Quickly he cut her bonds and soon they had her story.

"If you are no worse for the fright," said Mallius Lepus, "we may thank
these scoundrels for simplifying our task, for here we are ready to try
for our escape a full three hours earlier than we had hoped."

"Let us lose no time, then," said von Harben. "I shall not breathe freely
until I am across the wall."

"I believe we have little to fear now," said Mallius Lepus. "The wall is
poorly guarded. There are many places where we can scale it, and I know a
dozen places where we can find boats that are used by the fishermen of
the city. What lies beyond is upon the knees of the gods."

Gabula, who had been standing in the doorway, closed the door quickly and
crossed to von Harben. "Lights are coming down the avenue, Bwana," he
said. "I think many men are coming. Perhaps they are soldiers."

The four listened intently until they made out distinctly the measured
tread of marching men.

"Some more searchers," said Mallius Lepus. "When they have passed on
their way, it will be safe to depart."

The light from the torches of the legionaries approached until it shone
through the cracks in the wooden blinds, but it did not pass on as they
had expected. Mallius Lepus put an eye to an opening in one of the
blinds.

"They have halted in front of the house," he said. "A part of them are
turning the corner, but the rest are remaining."

They stood in silence for what seemed a long time, though it was only a
few minutes, and then they heard sounds coming from the garden behind the
house and the light of torches was visible through the open kitchen door.

"We are surrounded," said Lepus. "They are coming in the front way. They
are going to search the house."

"What shall we do?" cried Favonia.

"The roof is our only hope," whispered von Harben, but even as he spoke
the sound of sandaled feet was heard upon the roof and the light of
torches shone through the open trap.

"We are lost," said Mallius Lepus. "We cannot defeat an entire century of
legionaries."

"We can fight them, though," said von Harben.

"And risk Favonia's life uselessly?" said Lepus.

"You are right," said von Harben, sadly, and then, "Wait, I have a plan.
Come, Favonia, quickly. Lie down here upon the floor and I will cover you
with these rags. There is no reason why we should all be taken. Mallius
Lepus, Gabula, and I may not escape, but they will never guess that you
are here, and when they are gone you can easily make your way to the
guard-house in the Colosseum, where the officer in charge will see that
you are given protection and an escort to your home."

"Let them take me," said the girl. "If you are to be captured, let me be
captured also."

"It will do no good," said von Harben. "They will only separate us, and
if you are found here with us it may bring suspicion upon Septimus
Favonius."

Without further argument she threw herself upon the floor, resigned in
the face of von Harben's argument, and he covered her over with the rags
that had been a beggar's bed.


Chapter Twenty-Three


BY the time that Cassius Hasta had disposed his forces and placed his
engines of war before the defenses of Castrum Mare, he discovered that it
was too dark to open his assault that day, but he could carry out another
plan that he had and so he advanced toward the gate, accompanied by
Tarzan, Metellus, and Precarious and preceded by torch-hearers and a
legionary bearing a flag of truce.

Within the fort great excitement had reigned from the moment that the
advancing troops had been sighted. Word had been sent to Fulvus Fupus and
reinforcements had been hurried to the fort. It was assumed by all that
Sublatus had inaugurated a new raid upon a larger scale than usual, but
they were ready to meet it, nor did they anticipate defeat. As the
officer commanding the defenders saw the party approaching with a flag of
truce, he demanded from a tower gate the nature of their mission.

"I have two demands to make upon Validus Augustus," said Cassius Hasta.
"One is that he free Mallius Lepus and Erich von Harben and the other is
that he permit me to return to Castrum Mare and enjoy the privileges of
my station."

"Who are you?" demanded the officer.

"I am Cassius Hasta. You should know me well."

"The gods are good!" cried the officer.

"Long live Cassius Hasta! Down with Fulvus Fupus!" cried a hoarse chorus
of rough voices.

Someone threw open the gates, and the officer, an old friend of Cassius
Hasta, rushed out and embraced him.

"What is the meaning of all this?" demanded Cassius Hasta. "What has
happened?"

"Validus Augustus is dead. He was assassinated at the Barnes today and
Fulvus Fupus has assumed the title of Caesar. You are indeed come in
time. All Castrum Mare will welcome you."

Along the Via Mare from the castle to the lakeshore and across the
pontoon bridge to the island marched the army of the new Emperor of the
East, while the news spread through the city and crowds gathered and
shrieked their welcome to Cassius Hasta.

In a deserted house across the avenue from the Colosseum four fugitives
awaited the coming of the legionaries of Fulvus Fupus. It was evident
that the soldiers intended to take no chances. They entirely surrounded
the building and they seemed to be in no hurry to enter.

Von Harben had had ample time to cover Favonia with the rags, so that she
was entirely concealed before the legionaries entered simultaneously from
the garden, the avenue, and the roof, torch-bearers lighting their way.

"It is useless to resist," said Mallius Lepus to the officer who
accompanied the men in from the avenue. "We will return to the dungeons
peaceably."

"Not so fast," said the officer. "Where is the girl?"

"What girl?" demanded Mallius Lepus.

"The daughter of Septimus Favonius, of course."

"How should we know?" demanded von Harben.

"You abducted her and brought her here," replied the officer. "Search the
room," he commanded, and a moment later a legionary uncovered Favonia and
raised her to her feet.

The officer laughed as he ordered the three men disarmed.

"Wait," said von Harben. "What are you going to do with the daughter of
Septimus Favonius? Will you see that she has a safe escort to her
father's house?"

"I am taking my orders from Caesar," replied the officer.

"What has Caesar to do with this?" demanded von Harben.

"He has ordered us to bring Favonia to the palace and to slay her
abductors upon the spot."

"Then Caesar shall pay for us all with legionaries," cried von Harben,
and with his sword he fell upon the officer in the doorway, while Gabula
and Mallius Lepus, spurred by a similar determination to sell their lives
as dearly as possible, rushed those who were descending the ladder and
entering the kitchen door. Taken by surprise and momentarily disconcerted
by the sudden and unexpected assault, the legionaries fell back. The
officer, who managed to elude von Harben's thrust, escaped from the
building and summoned a number of the legionaries who were armed with
pikes.

"There are three men in that room," he said, "and a woman. Kill the men,
but be sure that the woman is not harmed."

In the avenue the officer saw people running; heard them shouting. He saw
them stop as they were questioned by some of his legionaries, whom he had
left in the avenue. He had not given the final order for his pike-men to
enter the building because his curiosity had momentarily distracted his
attention. As he turned now, however, to order them in, his attention was
again distracted by a tumult of voices that rose in great cheers and
rolled up the avenue from the direction of the bridge that connects the
city with the Via Mare and the fort. As he turned to look, he saw the
flare of many torches and now he heard the blare of trumpets and the thud
of marching feet.

What had happened? He had known, as had everyone in Castrum Mare, that
the forces of Sublatus were camped before the fort, but he knew that
there had been no battle and so this could not be the army of Sublatus
entering Castrum Mare, but it was equally strange if the defenders of
Castrum Mare should be marching away from the fort while it was menaced
by an enemy army. He could not understand these things, nor could he
understand why the people were cheering.

As he stood there watching the approach of the marching column, the
shouts of the people took on form and he heard the name of Cassius Hasta
distinctly.

"What has happened?" he demanded, shouting to the men in the street.

"Cassius Hasta has returned at the head of a big army, and Fulvus Fupus
has already fled and is in hiding."

The shouted question and the equally loud reply were heard by all within
the room.

"We are saved," cried Mallius Lepus, "for Cassius Hasta will harm no
friend of Septimus Favonius. Aside now, you fools, if you know when you
are well off," and he advanced toward the doorway.

"Back, men," cried the officer. "Back to the avenue. Let no hand be
raised against Mallius Lepus or these other friends of Cassius Hasta,
Emperor of the East."

"I guess this fellow knows which side his bread is buttered on,"
commented von Harben, with a grin.

Together Favonia, von Harben, Lepus, and Gabula stepped from the deserted
building into the avenue. Approaching them they saw the head of a column
of marching men; flaming torches lighted the scene until it was almost as
bright as day.

"There is Cassius Hasta," exclaimed Mallius Lepus. "It is indeed he, but
who are those with him?"

"They must be Sanguinarians," said Favonia. "But look, one of them is
garbed like a barbarian, and see the strange warriors with their white
plumes that are marching behind them."

"I have never seen the like in all my life," exclaimed Mallius Lepus.

"Neither have I," said von Harben, "but I am sure that I recognize them,
for their fame is great and they answer the description that I have heard
a thousand times."

"Who are they?" asked Favonia,

"The white giant is Tarzan of the Apes, and the warriors are his Waziri
fighting men."

At sight of the legionaries standing before the house, Cassius Hasta
halted the column.

"Where is the centurion in command of these troops?" he demanded.

"It is I, glorious Caesar," replied the officer, who had come to arrest
the abductors of Favonia.

"Does it happen that you are one of the detachments sent out by Fulvus
Fupus to search for Mallius Lepus and the barbarian, von Harben?"

"We are here, Caesar," cried Mallius Lepus, while Favonia, von Harben,
and Gabula followed behind him.

"May the gods be praised!" exclaimed Cassius Hasta, as he embraced his
old friend. "But where is the barbarian chieftain from Germania, whose
fame has reached even to Castra Sanguinarius?"

"This is he," said Mallius Lepus. "This is Erich von Harben."

Tarzan stepped nearer. "You are Erich von Harben?" he asked in English.

"And you are Tarzan of the Apes, I know," returned von Harben, in the
same language.

"You look every inch a Roman," said Tarzan with a smile.

"I feel every inch a barbarian, however," grinned von Harben.

"Roman or barbarian, your father will be glad when I bring you back to
him."

"You came here in search of me, Tarzan of the Apes?" demanded von Harben.

"And I seemed to have arrived just in time," said the ape-man.

"How can I ever thank you?" exclaimed von Harben.

"Do not thank me, my friend," said the ape-man. "Thank little Nkima!"



The End





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