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Title:      Tarzan at the Earth's Core
Author:     Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Title:      Tarzan at the Earth's Core
Author:     Edgar Rice Burroughs




CONTENTS

FOREWORD
I--THE O-220
II--PELLUCIDAR
III--THE GREAT CATS
IV--THE SAGOTHS
V--BROUGHT DOWN
VI--A PHORORHACOS OF THE MIOCENE
VII--THE RED FLOWER OF ZORAM
VIII--JANA AND JASON
IX--TO THE THIPDAR'S NEST
X--ONLY A MAN MAY GO
XI--THE CAVERN OF CLOVI
XII--THE PHELIAN SWAMP
XIII--THE HORIBS
XIV--THROUGH THE DARK FOREST
XV--PRISONERS
XVI--ESCAPE
XVII--REUNITED


FOREWORD

PELLUCIDAR, as every schoolboy knows, is a world within a
world, lying, as it does, upon the inner surface of the hollow
sphere, which is the Earth.

It was discovered by David Innes and Abner Perry upon the
occasion when they made the trial trip upon the mechanical
prospector invented by Perry, wherewith they hoped to locate new
beds of anthracite coal. Owing, however, to their inability to
deflect the nose of the prospector, after it had started downward
into the Earth's crust, they bored straight through for five
hundred miles, and upon the third day, when Perry was already
unconscious owing to the consumption of their stock of oxygen,
and David was fast losing consciousness, the nose of the
prospector broke through the crust of the inner world and the
cabin was filled with fresh air.

In the years that have intervened, weird adventures have
befallen these two explorers. Perry has never returned to the
outer crust, and Innes but once--upon that occasion when he made
the difficult and dangerous return trip in the prospector for the
purpose of bringing back to the empire he had founded in the
inner world the means to bestow upon his primitive people of the
stone age the civilization of the twentieth century.

But what with battles with primitive men and still more
primitive beasts and reptiles, the advance of the empire of
Pellucidar toward civilization has been small; and in so far as
the great area of the inner world is concerned, or the countless
millions of its teeming life of another age than ours, David
Innes and Abner Perry might never have existed.

When one considers that these land and water areas upon the
surface of Pellucidar are in opposite relationship to the same
areas upon the outer crust, some slight conception of the vast
extent of this mighty world within a world may be dreamed.

The land area of the outer world comprises some fifty-three
million square miles, or one-quarter of the total area of the
earth's surface; while within Pellucidar three-quarters of the
surface is land, so that jungle, mountain, forest and plain
stretch interminably over 124,110,000 square miles; nor are the
oceans with their area of 41,370,000 square miles of any mean or
niggardly extent.

Thus, considering the land area only, we have the strange
anomaly of a larger world within a smaller one, but then
Pellucidar is a world of deviation from what we of the outer
crust have come to accept as unalterable laws of nature.

In the exact center of the earth hangs Pellucidar's sun, a
tiny orb compared with ours, but sufficient to illuminate
Pellucidar and flood her teeming jungles with warmth and
life-giving rays. Her sun hanging thus perpetually at zenith,
there is no night upon Pellucidar, but always an endless eternity
of noon.

There being no stars and no apparent movement of the sun,
Pellucidar has no points of compass; nor has she any horizon
since her surface curves always upward in all directions from the
observer, so that far above one's line of vision, plain or sea or
distant mountain range go onward and upward until lost in the
haze of the distance. And again, in a world where there is no
sun, no stars and no moon, such as we know, there can be no such
thing as time, as we know it. And so, in Pellucidar, we have a
timeless world which must necessarily be free from those pests
who are constantly calling our attention to "the busy little bee"
and to the fact that "time is money." While time may be "the soul
of this world" and the "essence of contracts," in the beatific
existence of Pellucidar it is nothing and less than nothing.

Thrice in the past have we of the outer world received
communication from Pellucidar. We know that Perry's first great
gift of civilization to the stone age was gunpowder. We know that
he followed this with repeating rifles, small ships of war upon
which were mounted guns of no great caliber, and finally we know
that he perfected a radio.

Knowing Perry as something of an empiric, we were not
surprised to learn that his radio could not be tuned in upon any
known wave or wave length of the outer world, and it remained for
young Jason Gridley of Tarzana, experimenting with his newly
discovered Gridley Wave, to pick up the first message from
Pellucidar.

The last word that we received from Perry before his messages
faltered and died out was to the effect that David Innes, first
Emperor of Pellucidar, was languishing in a dark dungeon in the
land of the Korsars, far across continent and ocean from his
beloved land of Sari, which lies upon a great plateau not far
inland from the Lural Az.


I
THE O-220


TARZAN OF THE APES paused to listen and to sniff the air. Had
you been there you could not have heard what he heard, or had you
you could not have interpreted it. You could have smelled nothing
but the mustiness of decaying vegetation, which blended with the
aroma of growing things.

The sounds that Tarzan heard came from a great distance and
were faint even to his ears; nor at first could he definitely
ascribe them to their true source, though he conceived the
impression that they heralded the coming of a party of men.

Buto the rhinoceros, Tantor the elephant or Numa the lion
might come and go through the forest without arousing more than
the indifferent interest of the Lord of the Jungle, but when man
came Tarzan investigated, for man alone of all creatures brings
change and dissension and strife wheresoever he first sets
foot.

Reared to manhood among the great apes without knowledge of
the existence of any other creatures like himself, Tarzan had
since learned to anticipate with concern each fresh invasion of
his jungle by these two-footed harbingers of strife. Among many
races of men he had found friends, but this did not prevent him
from questioning the purposes and the motives of whosoever
entered his domain. And so today he moved silently through the
middle terrace of his leafy way in the direction of the sounds
that he had heard.

As the distance closed between him and those he went to
investigate, his keen ears cataloged the sound of padding, naked
feet and the song of native carriers as they swung along beneath
their heavy burdens. And then to his nostrils came the scent
spoor of black men and with it, faintly, the suggestion of
another scent, and Tarzan knew that a white man was on safari
before the head of the column came in view along the wide, well
marked game trail, above which the Lord of the Jungle waited.

Near the head of the column marched a young white man, and
when Tarzan's eyes had rested upon him for a moment as he swung
along the trail they impressed their stamp of approval of the
stranger within the ape-man's brain, for in common with many
savage beasts and primitive men Tarzan possessed an uncanny
instinct in judging aright the characters of strangers whom he
met.

Turning about, Tarzan moved swiftly and silently through the
trees until he was some little distance ahead of the marching
safari, then he dropped down into the trail and awaited its
coming.

Rounding a curve in the trail the leading askari came in sight
of him and when they saw him they halted and commenced to jabber
excitedly, for these were men recruited in another district--men
who did not know Tarzan of the Apes by sight.

"I am Tarzan," announced the ape-man. "What do you in Tarzan's
country?"

Immediately the young man, who had halted abreast of his
askari, advanced toward the ape-man. There was a smile upon his
eager face. "You are Lord Greystoke?" he asked.

"Here, I am Tarzan of the Apes," replied the foster son of
Kala.

"Then luck is certainly with me," said the young man, "for I
have come all the way from Southern California to find you."

"Who are you," demanded the ape-man, "and what do you want of
Tarzan of the Apes?"

"My name is Jason Gridley," replied the other. "And what I
have come to talk to you about will make a long story. I hope
that you can find the time to accompany me to our next camp and
the patience to listen to me there until I have explained my
mission."

Tarzan nodded. "In the jungle," he said, "we are not often
pressed for time. Where do you intend making camp?"

"The guide that I obtained in the last village complained of
being ill and turned back an hour ago, and as none of my own men
is familiar with this country we do not know whether there is a
suitable camp-site within one mile or ten."

"There is one within half a mile," replied Tarzan, "and with
good water."

"Good," said Gridley; and the safari resumed its way, the
porters laughing and singing at the prospect of an early
camp.

It was not until Jason and Tarzan were enjoying their coffee
that evening that the ape-man reverted to the subject of the
American's visit.

"And now," he said, "what has brought you all the way from
Southern California to the heart of Africa?"

Gridley smiled. "Now that I am actually here," he said, "and
face to face with you, I am suddenly confronted with the
conviction that after you have heard my story it is going to be
difficult to convince you that I am not crazy, and yet in my own
mind I am so thoroughly convinced of the truth of what I am going
to tell you that I have already invested a considerable amount of
money and time to place my plan before you for the purpose of
enlisting your personal and financial support, and I am ready and
willing to invest still more money and all of my time.
Unfortunately I cannot wholly finance the expedition that I have
in mind from my personal resources, but that is not primarily my
reason for coming to you. Doubtless I could have raised the
necessary money elsewhere, but I believe that you are peculiarly
fitted to lead such a venture as I have in mind."

"Whatever the expedition may be that you are contemplating,"
said Tarzan, "the potential profits must be great indeed if you
are willing to risk so much of your own money."

"On the contrary," replied Gridley, "there will be no
financial profit for anyone concerned in so far as I now
know."

"And you are an American?" asked Tarzan, smiling.

"We are not all money mad," replied Gridley.

"Then what is the incentive? Explain the whole proposition to
me."

"Have you ever heard of the theory that the earth is a hollow
sphere, containing a habitable world within its interior?"

"The theory that has been definitely refuted by scientific
investigation," replied the ape-man.

"But has it been refuted satisfactorily?" asked Gridley.

"To the satisfaction of the scientists," replied Tarzan.

"And to my satisfaction, too," replied the American, "until I
recently received a message direct from the inner world."

"You surprise me," said the ape-man.

"And I, too, was surprised, but the fact remains that I have
been in radio communication with Abner Perry in the inner world
of Pellucidar and I have brought a copy of that message with me
and also an affidavit of its authenticity from a man with whose
name you are familiar and who was with me when I received the
message; in fact, he was listening in at the same time with me.
Here they are."

From a portfolio he took a letter which he handed to Tarzan
and a bulky manuscript bound in board covers.

"I shall not take the time to read you all of the story of
Tanar of Pellucidar," said Gridley, "because there is a great
deal in it that is not essential to the exposition of my
plan."

"As you will," said Tarzan. "I am listening."

For half an hour Jason Gridley read excerpts from the
manuscript before him. "This," he said, when he had completed the
reading, "is what convinced me of the existence of Pellucidar,
and it is the unfortunate situation of David Innes that impelled
me to come to you with the proposal that we undertake an
expedition whose first purpose shall be to rescue him from the
dungeon of the Korsars."

"And how do you think this may be done?" asked the ape-man.
"Are you convinced of the correctness of Innes' theory that there
is an entrance to the inner world at each pole?"

"I am free to confess that I do not know what to believe,"
replied the American. "But after I received this message from
Perry I commenced to investigate and I discovered that the theory
of an inhabitable world at the center of the earth with openings
leading into it at the north and south poles is no new one and
that there is much evidence to support it. I found a very
complete exposition of the theory in a book written about 1830
and in another work of more recent time. Therein I found what
seemed to be a reasonable explanation of many well-known
phenomena that have not been satisfactorily explained by any
hypothesis endorsed by science."

"What, for example?" asked Tarzan.

"Well, for example, warm winds and warm ocean currents coming
from the north and encountered and reported by practically all
arctic explorers; the presence of the limbs and branches of trees
with green foliage upon them floating southward from the far
north, far above the latitude where any such trees are found upon
the outer crust; then there is the phenomenon of the northern
lights, which in the light of David Innes' theory may easily be
explained as rays of light from the central sun of the inner
world, breaking occasionally through the fog and cloud banks
above the polar opening. Again there is the pollen, which often
thickly covers the snow and ice in portions of the polar regions.
This pollen could not come from elsewhere than the inner world.
And in addition to all this is the insistence of the far northern
tribes of Eskimos that their forefathers came from a country to
the north."

"Did not Amundson ??and Ellsworth in the Norge expedition
definitely disprove the theory of a north polar opening in the
earth's crust, and have not airplane flights been made over a
considerable portion of the hitherto unexplored regions near the
pole?" demanded the ape-man.

"The answer to that is that the polar opening is so large that
a ship, a dirigible or an airplane could dip down over the edge
into it a short distance and return without ever being aware of
the fact, but the most tenable theory is that in most instances
explorers have merely followed around the outer rim of the
orifice, which would largely explain the peculiar and mystifying
action of compasses and other scientific instruments at points
near the so-called north pole--matters which have greatly puzzled
all arctic explorers."

"You are convinced then that there is not only an inner world
but that there is an entrance to it at the north pole?" asked
Tarzan.

"I am convinced that there is an inner world, but I am not
convinced of the existence of a polar opening," replied Gridley.
"I can only say that I believe there is sufficient evidence to
warrant the organization of an expedition such as I have
suggested."

"Assuming that a polar opening into an inner world exists, by
just what means do you purpose accomplishing the discovery and
exploration of it?"

"The most practical means of transportation that exists today
for carrying out my plan would be a specially constructed rigid
airship, built along the lines of the modern Zeppelin. Such a
ship, using helium gas, would show a higher factor of safety than
any other means of transportation at our disposal. I have given
the matter considerable thought and I feel sure that if there is
such a polar opening, the obstacles that would confront us in an
attempt to enter the inner world would be far less than those
encountered by the Norge in its famous trip across the pole to
Alaska, for there is no question in my mind but that it made a
wide detour in following the rim of the polar orifice and covered
a far greater distance than we shall have to cover to reach a
reasonably safe anchorage below the cold, polar sea that David
Innes discovered north of the land of the Korsars before he was
finally taken prisoner by them.

"The greatest risk that we would have to face would be a
possible inability to return to the outer crust, owing to the
depletion of our helium gas that might be made necessary by the
maneuvering of the ship. But that is only the same chance of life
or death that every explorer and scientific investigator must be
willing to assume in the prosecution of his labors. If it were
but possible to build a hull sufficiently light, and at the same
time sufficiently strong, to withstand atmospheric pressure, we
could dispense with both the dangerous hydrogen gas and the rare
and expensive helium gas and have the assurance of the utmost
safety and maximum of buoyancy in a ship supported entirely by
vacuum tanks."

"Perhaps even that is possible," said Tarzan, who was now
evincing increasing interest in Gridley's proposition.

The American shook his head. "It may be possible some day," he
said, "but not at present with any known material. Any receptacle
having sufficient strength to withstand the atmospheric pressure
upon a vacuum would have a weight far too great for a vacuum to
lift."

"Perhaps," said Tarzan, "and, again, perhaps not."

"What do you mean?" inquired Gridley.

"What you have just said," replied Tarzan, "reminds me of
something that a young friend of mine recently told me. Erich von
Harben is something of a scientist and explorer himself, and the
last time that I saw him he had just returned from a second
expedition into the Wiramwazi Mountains, where he told me that he
had discovered a lake-dwelling tribe using canoes made of a metal
that was apparently as light as cork and stronger than steel. He
brought some samples of the metal back with him, and at the time
I last saw him he was conducting some experiments in a little
laboratory he had rigged up at his father's mission."

"Where is this man?" demanded Gridley.

"Dr. von Harben's mission is in the Urambi country," replied
the ape-man, "about four marches west of where we now are."

Far into the night the two men discussed plans for the
project, for Tarzan was now thoroughly interested, and the next
day they turned back toward the Urambi country and von Harben's
mission, where they arrived on the fourth day and were greeted by
Dr. von Harben and his son, Erich, as well as by the latter's
wife, the beautiful Favonia of Castrum Mare.

It is not my intention to weary you with a recital of the
details of the organization and equipment of the Pellucidarian
expedition, although that portion of it which relates to the
search for and discovery of the native mine containing the
remarkable metal now known as Harben-ite, ??filled as it was with
adventure and excitement, is well worth a volume by itself.

While Tarzan and Erich von Harben were locating the mine and
transporting the metal to the seacoast, Jason Gridley was in
Friedrichshafen in consultation with the engineers of the company
he had chosen to construct the specially designed airship in
which the attempt was to be made to reach the inner world.

Exhaustive tests were made of the samples of Harben-ite
brought to Friedrichshafen by Jason Gridley. Plans were drawn,
and by the time the shipment of the ore arrived everything was in
readiness to commence immediate construction, which was carried
on secretly. And six months later, when the O-220, as it was
officially known, was ready to take the air, it was generally
considered to be nothing more than a new design of the ordinary
type of rigid airship, destined to be used as a common carrier
upon one of the already numerous commercial airways of
Europe.

The great cigar-shaped hull of the O-220 was 997 feet in
length and 150 feet in diameter. The interior of the hull was
divided into six large, air-tight compartments, three of which,
running the full length of the ship, were above the medial line
and three below. Inside the hull and running along each side of
the ship, between the upper and lower vacuum tanks, were long
corridors in which were located the engines, motors and pumps, in
addition to supplies of gasoline and oil.

The internal location of the engine room was made possible by
the elimination of fire risk, which is an ever-present source of
danger in airships which depend for their lifting power upon
hydrogen gas, as well as to the absolutely fireproof construction
of the O-220; every part of which, with the exception of a few
cabin fittings and furniture, was of Harbenite, this metal being
used throughout except for certain bushings and bearings in
motors, generators and propellers.

Connecting the port and starboard engine and fuel corridors
were two transverse corridors, one forward and one aft, while
bisecting these transverse corridors were two climbing shafts
extending from the bottom of the ship to the top.

The upper end of the forward climbing shaft terminated in a
small gun and observation cabin at the top of the ship, along
which was a narrow walking-way extending from the forward cabin
to a small turret near the tail of the ship, where provision had
been made for fixing a machine gun.

The main cabin, running along the keel of the ship, was an
integral part of the hull, and because of this entirely rigid
construction, which eliminated the necessity for cabins suspended
below the hull, the O-220 was equipped with landing gear in the
form of six, large, heavily tired wheels projecting below the
bottom of the main cabin. In the extreme stern of the keel cabin
a small scout monoplane was carried in such a way that it could
be lowered through the bottom of the ship and launched while the
O-220 was in flight.

Eight air-cooled motors drove as many propellers, which were
arranged in pairs upon either side of the ship and staggered in
such a manner that the air from the forward propellers would not
interfere with those behind.

The engines, developing 5600 horsepower, were capable of
driving the ship at a speed of 105 miles per hour.

In the O-220 the ordinary axial wire, which passes the whole
length of the ship through the center, consisted of a tubular
shaft of Harbenite from which smaller tubular braces radiated,
like the spokes of a wheel, to the tubular girders, to which the
Harbenite plates of the outer envelope were welded.

Owing to the extreme lightness of Harbenite, the total weight
of the ship was 75 tons, while the total lift of its vacuum tanks
was 225 tons.

For purposes of maneuvering the ship and to facilitate
landing, each of the vacuum tanks was equipped with a bank of
eight air valves operated from the control cabin at the forward
end of the keel; while six pumps, three in the starboard and
three in the port engine corridors, were designed to expel the
air from the tanks when it became necessary to renew the vacuum.
Special rudders and elevators were also operated from the forward
control cabin as well as from an auxiliary position aft in the
port engine corridor, in the event that the control cabin
steering gear should break down.

In the main keel cabin were located the quarters for the
officers and crew, gun and ammunition room, provision room,
galley, additional gasoline and oil storage tanks, and water
tanks, the latter so constructed that the contents of any of them
might be emptied instantaneously in case of an emergency, while a
proportion of the gasoline and oil tanks were slip tanks that
might be slipped through the bottom of the ship in cases of
extreme emergency when it was necessary instantaneously to reduce
the weight of the load.

This, then, briefly, was the great, rigid airship in which
Jason Gridley and Tarzan of the Apes hoped to discover the north
polar entrance to the inner world and rescue David Innes, Emperor
of Pellucidar, from the dungeons of the Korsars.


II
PELLUCIDAR


JUST BEFORE daybreak of a clear June morning, the O-220 moved
slowly from its hangar under its own power. Fully loaded and
equipped, it was to make its test flight under load conditions
identical with those which would obtain when it set forth upon
its long journey. The three lower tanks were still filled with
air and she carried an excess of water ballast sufficient to
overcome her equilibrium, so that while she moved lightly over
the ground she moved with entire safety and could be maneuvered
almost as handily as an automobile.

As she came into the open her pumps commenced to expel the air
from the three lower tanks, and at the same time a portion of her
excess water ballast was slowly discharged, and almost
immediately the huge ship rose slowly and gracefully from the
ground.

The entire personnel of the ship's company during the test
flight was the same that had been selected for the expedition.
Zuppner, who had been chosen as captain, had been in charge of
the construction of the ship and had a considerable part in its
designing. There were two mates, Von Horst and Dorf, who had been
officers in the Imperial air forces, as also had the navigator,
Lieutenant Mines. In addition to these there were twelve
engineers and eight mechanics, a negro cook and two Filipino
cabin-boys.

Tarzan was commander of the expedition, with Jason Gridley as
his lieutenant, while the fighting men of the ship consisted of
Muviro and nine of his Waziri warriors.

As the ship rose gracefully above the city, Zuppner, who was
at the controls, could scarce restrain his enthusiasm.

"The sweetest thing I ever saw!" he exclaimed. "She responds
to the lightest touch."

"I am not surprised at that," said Hines; "I knew she'd do it.
Why we've got twice the crew we need to handle her."

"There you go again, Lieutenant," said Tarzan, laughing; "but
do not think that my insistence upon a large crew was based upon
any lack of confidence in the ship. We are going into a strange
world. We may be gone a long time. If we reach our destination we
shall have fighting, as each of you men who volunteered has been
informed many times, so that while we may have twice as many men
as we need for the trip in, we may yet find ourselves short
handed on the return journey, for not all of us will return."

"I suppose you are right," said Hines; "but with the feel of
this ship permeating me and the quiet peacefulness of the scene
below, danger and death seem remote."

"I hope they are," returned Tarzan, "and I hope that we shall
return with every man that goes out with us, but I believe in
being prepared and to that end Gridley and I have been studying
navigation and we want you to give us a chance at some practical
experience before we reach our destination."

Zuppner laughed. "They have you marked already, Hines," he
said.

The Lieutenant grinned. "I'll teach them all I know," he said;
"but I'll bet the best dinner that can be served in Berlin that
if this ship returns I'll still be her navigator."

"That is a case of heads-I-win, tails-you-lose," said
Gridley.

"And to return to the subject of preparedness," said Tarzan,
"I am going to ask you to let my Waziri help the mechanics and
engineers. They are highly intelligent men, quick to learn, and
if some calamity should overtake us we cannot have too many men
familiar with the engines, and other machinery of the ship."

"You are right," said Zuppner, "and I shall see that it is
done."

The great, shining ship sailed majestically north; Ravensburg
fell astern and half an hour later the somber gray ribbon of the
Danube lay below them.

The longer they were in the air the more enthusiastic Zuppner
became. "I had every confidence in the successful outcome of the
trial flight," he said; "but I can assure you that I did not look
for such perfection as I find in this ship. It marks a new era in
aeronautics, and I am convinced that long before we cover the
four hundred miles to Hamburg that we shall have established the
entire air worthiness of the O-220 to the entire satisfaction of
each of us."

"To Hamburg and return to Friedrichshafen was to have been the
route of the trial trip," said Tarzan, "but why turn back at
Hamburg?"

The others turned questioning eyes upon him as the purport of
his query sank home.

"Yes, why?" demanded Gridley.

Zuppner shrugged his shoulders. "We are fully equipped and
provisioned," he said.

"Then why waste eight hundred miles in returning to
Friedrichshafen?" demanded Hines.

"If you are all agreeable we shall continue toward the north,"
said Tarzan. And so it was that the trial trip of the O-220
became an actual start upon its long journey toward the interior
of the earth, and the secrecy that was desired for the expedition
was insured.

The plan had been to follow the Tenth Meridian east of
Greenwich north to the pole. But to avoid attracting unnecessary
notice a slight deviation from this course was found desirable,
and the ship passed to the west of Hamburg and out across the
waters of the North Sea, and thus due north, passing to the west
of Spitzbergen and out across the frozen polar wastes.

Maintaining an average cruising speed of about 75 miles per
hour, the O-220 reached the vicinity of the north pole about
midnight of the second day, and excitement ran high when Hines
announced that in accordance with his calculation they should be
directly over the pole. At Tarzan's suggestion the ship circled
slowly at an altitude of a few hundred feet above the rough,
snow-covered ice.

"We ought to be able to recognize it by the Italian flags,"
said Zuppner, with a smile. But if any reminders of the passage
of the Norge remained below them, they were effectually hidden by
the mantle of many snows.

The ship made a single circle above the desolate ice pack
before she took up her southerly course along the 170th East
Meridian.

From the moment that the ship struck south from the pole Jason
Gridley remained constantly with Hines and Zuppner eagerly and
anxiously watching the instruments, or gazing down upon the bleak
landscape ahead. It was Gridley's belief that the north polar
opening lay in the vicinity of 85 north latitude and 170 east
longitude. Before him were compass, aneroids, bubble statoscope,
air speed indicator, inclinometers, rise and fall indicator,
bearing plate, clock and thermometers; but the instrument that
commanded his closest attention was the compass, for Jason
Gridley held a theory and upon the correctness of it depended
their success in finding the north polar opening.

For five hours the ship flew steadily toward the south, when
she developed an apparent tendency to fall off toward the
west.

"Hold her steady, Captain," cautioned Gridley, "for if I am
correct we are now going over the lip of the polar opening, and
the deviation is in the compass only and not in our course. The
further we go along this course the more erratic the compass will
become and if we were presently to move upward, or in other
words, straight out across the polar opening toward its center,
the needle would spin erratically in a circle. But we could not
reach the center of the polar opening because of the tremendous
altitude which this would require. I believe that we are now on
the eastern verge of the opening and if whatever deviation from
the present course you make is to the starboard we shall slowly
spiral downward into Pellucidar, but your compass will be useless
for the next four to six hundred miles."

Zuppner shook his head, dubiously. "If this weather holds, we
may be able to do it," he said, "but if it commences to blow I
doubt my ability to keep any sort of a course if I am not to
follow the compass."

"Do the best you can," said Gridley, "and when in doubt put
her to starboard."

So great was the nervous strain upon all of them that for
hours at a time scarcely a word was exchanged.

"Look!" exclaimed Hines suddenly. "There is open water just
ahead of us."

"That, of course, we might expect," said Zuppner, "even if
there is no polar opening, and you know that I have been
skeptical about that ever since Gridley first explained his
theory to me."

"I think," said Gridley, with a smile, "that really I am the
only one in the party who has had any faith at all in the theory,
but please do not call it my theory for it is not, and even I
should not have been surprised had the theory proven to be a
false one. But if any of you has been watching the sun for the
last few hours, I think that you will have to agree with me that
even though there may be no polar opening into an inner world,
there must be a great depression at this point in the earth's
crust and that we had gone down into it for a considerable
distance, for you will notice that the midnight sun is much lower
than it should be and that the further we continue upon this
course the lower it drops--eventually it will set completely, and
if I am not much mistaken we shall soon see the light of the
eternal noonday sun of Pellucidar."

Suddenly the telephone rang and Hines put the receiver to his
ear. "Very good, sir," he said, after a moment, and hung up. "It
was Von Horst, Captain, reporting from the observation cabin. He
has sighted land dead ahead."

"Land!" exclaimed Zuppner. "The only land our chart shows in
this direction is Siberia."

"Siberia lies over a thousand miles south of 85, and we cannot
be over three hundred miles south of 85," said Gridley.

"Then we have either discovered a new arctic land, or we are
approaching the northern frontiers of Pellucidar," said
Lieutenant Hines.

"And that is just what we are doing," said Gridley. "Look at
your thermometer."

"The devil!" exclaimed Zuppner. "It is only twenty degrees
above zero Fahrenheit."

"You can see the land plainly now," said Tarzan. "It looks
desolate enough, but there are only little patches of snow here
and there."

"This corresponds with the land Innes described north of
Korsar," said Gridley.

Word was quickly passed around the ship to the other officers
and the crew that there was reason to believe that the land below
them was Pellucidar. Excitement ran high, and every man who could
spare a moment from his duties was aloft on the walkingway, or
peering through portholes for a glimpse of the inner world.

Steadily the O-220 forged southward and just as the rim of the
midnight sun disappeared from view below the horizon astern, the
glow of Pellucidar's central sun was plainly visible ahead.

The nature of the landscape below was changing rapidly. The
barren land had fallen astern, the ship had crossed a range of
wooded hills and now before it lay a great forest that stretched
on and on seemingly curving upward to be lost eventually in the
haze of the distance. This was indeed Pellucidar--the Pellucidar
of which Jason Gridley had dreamed.

Beyond the forest lay a rolling plain dotted with clumps of
trees, a well-watered plain through which wound numerous streams,
which emptied into a large river at its opposite side.

Great herds of game were grazing in the open pasture land and
nowhere was there sight of man.

"This looks like heaven to me," said Tarzan of the Apes, "Let
us land, Captain."

Slowly the great ship came to earth as air was taken into the
lower vacuum tanks.

Short ladders were run out, for the bottom of the cabin was
only six feet above the ground, and presently the entire ship's
company, with the exception of a watch of an officer and two men,
were knee deep in the lush grasses of Pellucidar.

"I thought we might get some fresh meat," said Tarzan, "but
the ship has frightened all the game away."

"From the quantity of it I saw, we shall not have to go far to
bag some," said Dorf.

"What we need most right now, however, is rest," said Tarzan.
"For weeks every man has been working at high pitch in completing
the preparation for the expedition and I doubt if one of us has
had over two hours sleep in the last three days. I suggest that
we remain here until we are all thoroughly rested and then take
up a systematic search for the city of Korsar."

The plan met with general approval and preparations were made
for a stay of several days.

"I believe," said Gridley to Captain Zuppner, "that it would
be well to issue strict orders that no one is to leave the ship,
or rather its close vicinity, without permission from you and
that no one be allowed to venture far afield except in parties
commanded by an officer, for we have every assurance that we
shall meet with savage men and far more savage beasts everywhere
within Pellucidar."

"I hope that you will except me from that order," said Tarzan,
smiling.

"I believe that you can take care of yourself in any country,"
said Zuppner.

"And I can certainly hunt to better effect alone than I can
with a party," said the ape-man.

"In any event," continued Zuppner, "the order comes from you
as commander, and no one will complain if you exempt yourself
from its provisions since I am sure that none of the rest of us
is particularly anxious to wander about Pellucidar alone."

Officers and men, with the exception of the watch, which
changed every four hours, slept the clock around.

Tarzan of the Apes was the first to complete his sleep and
leave the ship. He had discarded the clothing that had encumbered
and annoyed him since he had left his own African jungle to join
in the preparation of the O-220, and it was no faultlessly
attired Englishman that came from the cabin and dropped to the
ground below, but instead an almost naked and primitive warrior,
armed with hunting knife, spear, a bow and arrows, and the long
rope which Tarzan always carried, for in the hunt he preferred
the weapons of his youth to the firearms of civilization.

Lieutenant Dorf, the only officer on duty at the time, saw him
depart and watched with unfeigned admiration as the black-haired
jungle lord moved across the open plain and disappeared in the
forest.

There were trees that were familiar to the eyes of the ape-man
and trees such as he had never seen before, but it was a forest
and that was enough to lure Tarzan of the Apes and permit him to
forget the last few weeks that had been spent amidst the
distasteful surroundings of civilization. He was happy to be free
from the ship, too, and, while he liked all his companions, he
was yet glad to be alone.

In the first flight of his new-found freedom Tarzan was like a
boy released from school. Unhampered by the hated vestments of
civilization, out of sight of anything that might even remotely
remind him of the atrocities with which man scars the face of
nature, he filled his lungs with the free air of Pellucidar,
leaped into a nearby tree and swung away through the forest, his
only concern for the moment the joyousness of exultant vitality
and life. On he sped through the primeval forest of Pellucidar.
Strange birds, startled by his swift and silent passage, flew
screaming from his path, and strange beasts slunk to cover
beneath him. But Tarzan did not care; he was not hunting; he was
not even searching for the new in this new world. For the moment
he was only living.

While this mood dominated him Tarzan gave no thought to the
passage of time any more than he had given thought to the
timelessness of Pellucidar, whose noonday sun, hanging
perpetually at zenith, gives a lie to us of the outer crust who
rush frantically through life in mad and futile effort to beat
the earth in her revolutions.

Nor did Tarzan reckon upon distance or direction, for such
matters were seldom the subjects of conscious consideration upon
the part of the ape-man, whose remarkable ability to meet every
and any emergency he unconsciously attributed to powers that lay
within himself, not stopping to consider that in his own jungle
he relied upon the friendly sun and moon and stars as guides by
day and night, and to the myriad familiar things that spoke to
him in a friendly, voiceless language that only the jungle people
can interpret.

As his mood changed Tarzan reduced his speed, and presently he
dropped to the ground in a well-marked game trail. Now he let his
eyes take in the new wonders all about him. He noticed the
evidences of great age as betokened by the enormous size of the
trees and the hoary stems of the great vines that clung to many
of them--suggestions of age that made his own jungle seem
modern--and he marvelled at the gorgeous flowers that bloomed in
riotous profusion upon every hand, and then of a sudden something
gripped him about the body and snapped him high into the air.

Tarzan of the Apes had nodded. His mind occupied with the
wonders of this new world had permitted a momentary relaxation of
that habitual wariness that distinguishes creatures of the
wild.

Almost in the instant of its occurrence the ape-man realized
what had befallen him. Although he could easily imagine its
disastrous sequel, the suggestion of a smile touched his lips--a
rueful smile--and one that was perhaps tinged with disgust for
himself, for Tarzan of the Apes had been caught in as primitive a
snare as was ever laid for unwary beasts.

A rawhide noose, attached to the downbent limb of an
overhanging tree, had been buried in the trail along which he had
been passing and he had struck the trigger--that was the whole
story. But its sequel might have had less unfortunate
possibilities had the noose not pinioned his arms to his sides as
it closed about him.

He hung about six feet above the trail, caught securely about
the hips, the noose imprisoning his arms between elbows and
wrists and pinioning them securely to his sides. And to add to
his discomfort and helplessness, he swung head downward, spinning
dizzily like a human plumb-bob.

He tried to draw an arm from the encircling noose so that he
might reach his hunting knife and free himself, but the weight of
his body constantly drew the noose more tightly about him and
every effort upon his part seemed but to strengthen the
relentless grip of the rawhide that was pressing deep into his
flesh.

He knew that the snare meant the presence of men and that
doubtless they would soon come to inspect their noose, for his
own knowledge of primitive hunting taught him that they would not
leave their snares long untended, since in the event of a catch,
if they would have it at all, they must claim it soon lest it
fall prey to carnivorous beasts or birds. He wondered what sort
of people they were and if he might not make friends with them,
but whatever they were he hoped that they would come before the
beasts of prey came. And while such thoughts were running through
his mind, his keen ears caught the sound of approaching
footsteps, but they were not the steps of men. Whatever was
approaching was approaching across the wind and he could detect
no scent spoor; nor, upon the other hand, he realized, could the
beast scent him. It was coming leisurely and as it neared him,
but before it came in sight along the trail, he knew that it was
a hoofed animal and, therefore, that he had little reason to fear
its approach unless, indeed, it might prove to be some strange
Pellucidarian creature with characteristics entirely unlike any
that he knew upon the outer crust.

But even as he permitted these thoughts partially to reassure
him, there came strongly to his nostrils a scent that always
caused the short hairs upon his head to rise, not in fear but in
natural reaction to the presence of an hereditary enemy. It was
not an odor that he had ever smelled before. It was not the scent
spoor of Numa the lion, nor Sheeta the leopard, but it was the
scent spoor of some sort of great cat. And now he could hear its
almost silent approach through the underbrush and he knew that it
was coming down toward the trail, lured either by knowledge of
his presence or by that of the beast whose approach Tarzan had
been awaiting.

It was the latter who came first into view--a great ox-like
animal with wide-spread horns and shaggy coat--a huge bull that
advanced several yards along the trail after Tarzan discovered it
before it saw the ape-man dangling in front of it. It was the
thag of Pellucidar, the Bos Primigenus of the paleontologist of
the outer crust, a long extinct progenitor of the bovine races of
our own world.

For a moment it stood eyeing the man dangling in its path.

Tarzan remained very quiet. He did not wish to frighten it
away for he realized that one of them must be the prey of the
carnivore sneaking upon them, but if he expected the thag to be
frightened he soon realized his error in judgment for, uttering
low grumblings, the great bull pawed the earth with a front foot,
and then, lowering his massive horns, gored it angrily, and the
ape-man knew that he was working his short temper up to charging
pitch; nor did it seem that this was to take long for already he
was advancing menacingly to the accompaniment of thunderous
bellowing. His tail was up and his head down as he broke into the
trot that preluded the charge.

The ape-man realized that if he was ever struck by those
massive horns or that heavy head, his skull would be crushed like
an eggshell.

The dizzy spinning that had been caused by the first
stretching of the rawhide to his weight had lessened to a gentle
turning motion, so that sometimes he faced the thag and sometimes
in the opposite direction. The utter helplessness of his position
galled the ape-man and gave him more concern than any
consideration of impending death. From childhood he had walked
hand in hand with the Grim Reaper and he had looked upon death in
so many forms that it held no terror for him. He knew that it was
the final experience of all created things, that it must as
inevitably come to him as to others and while he loved life and
did not wish to die, its mere approach induced within him no
futile hysteria. But to die without a chance to fight for life
was not such an end as Tarzan of the Apes would have chosen. And
now, as his body slowly revolved and his eyes were turned away
from the charging thag, his heart sank at the thought that he was
not even to be vouchsafed the meager satisfaction of meeting
death face to face.

In the brief instant that he waited for the impact, the air
was rent by as horrid a scream as had ever broken upon the ears
of the ape-man and the bellowing of the bull rose suddenly to a
higher pitch and mingled with that other awesome sound.

Once more the dangling body of the ape-man revolved and his
eyes fell upon such a scene as had not been vouchsafed to men of
the outer world for countless ages. Upon the massive shoulders
and neck of the great thag clung a tiger of such huge proportions
that Tarzan could scarce credit the testimony of his own eyes.
Great saber-like tusks, projecting from the upper jaw, were
buried deep in the neck of the bull, which, instead of trying to
escape, had stopped in its tracks and was endeavoring to dislodge
the great beast of prey, swinging its huge horns backward in an
attempt to rake the living death from its shoulders, or again
shaking its whole body violently for the same purpose and all the
while bellowing in pain and rage.

Gradually the saber-tooth changed its position until it had
attained a hold suited to its purpose. Then with lightning-like
swiftness it swung back a great forearm and delivered a single,
terrific blow on the side of the thag's head--a titanic blow that
crushed that mighty skull and dropped the huge bull dead in its
tracks. And then the carnivore settled down to feast upon its
kill.

During the battle the saber-tooth had not noticed the ape-man;
nor was it until after he had commenced to feed upon the thag
that his eye was attracted by the revolving body swinging upon
the trail a few yards away. Instantly the beast stopped feeding;
his head lowered and flattened; his upper lip turned back in a
hideous snarl. He watched the ape-man. Low, menacing growls
rumbled from his cavernous throat; his long, sinuous tail lashed
angrily as slowly he arose from the body of his kill and advanced
toward Tarzan of the Apes.


III
THE GREAT CATS


THE EBBING TIDE of the great war had left human flotsam
stranded upon many an unfamiliar beach. In its full flow it had
lifted Robert Jones, high private in the ranks of the labor
battalion, from uncongenial surroundings and landed him in a
prison camp behind the enemy line.

Here his good nature won him friends and favors, but neither
one nor the other served to obtain his freedom. Robert Jones
seemed to have been lost in the shuffle. And finally, when the
evacuation of the prison had been completed, Robert Jones still
remained, but he was not downhearted. He had learned the language
of his captors and had made many friends among them. They found
him a job and Robert Jones of Alabama was content to remain where
he was. He had been graduated from body servant to cook of an
officers' mess and it was in this capacity that he had come under
the observation of Captain Zuppner, who had drafted him for the
O-220 expedition.

Robert Jones yawned, stretched, turned over in his narrow
berth aboard the O-220, opened his eyes and sat up with an
exclamation of surprise. He jumped to the floor and stuck his
head out of an open port.

"Lawd, niggah!" he exclaimed; "you all suah done overslep'
yo'sef."

For a moment he gazed up at the noonday sun shining down upon
him and then, hastily dressing, hurried into his galley.

"'S funny," he soliloquized; "dey ain't no one stirrin'--
mus' all of overslep' demsef." He looked at the clock on the
galley wall. The hour hand pointed to six. He cocked his ear and
listened. "She ain't stopped," he muttered. Then he went to the
door that opened from the galley through the ship's side and
pushed it back. Leaning far out he looked up again at the sun.
Then he shook his head. "Dey's sumpin wrong," he said. "Ah dunno
whether to cook breakfas', dinner or supper."

Jason Gridley, emerging from his cabin, sauntered down the
narrow corridor toward the galley. "Good morning, Bob!" he said,
stopping in the open doorway. "What's the chance for a bite of
breakfast?"

"Did you all say breakfas', suh?" inquired Robert.

"Yes," replied Gridley; "just toast and coffee and a couple of
eggs--anything you have handy."

"Ah knew it!" exclaimed the black. "Ah knew dat ol' clock
couldn't be wrong, but Mistah Sun he suah gone hay wire."

Gridley grinned. "I'll drop down and have a little walk," he
said. "I'll be back in fifteen minutes. Have you seen anything of
Lord Greystoke?"

"No suh, Ah ain't seen nothin' o' Massa Ta'zan sence
yesterday."

"I wondered," said Gridley; "he is not in his cabin."

For fifteen minutes Gridley walked briskly about in the
vicinity of the ship. When he returned to the mess room he found
Zuppner and Dorf awaiting breakfast and greeted them with a
pleasant "good morning."

"I don't know whether it's good morning or good evening," said
Zuppner.

"We have been here twelve hours," said Dorf, "and it is just
the same time that it was when we arrived. I have been on watch
for the last four hours and if it hadn't been for the chronometer
I could not swear that I had been on fifteen minutes or that I
had not been on a week."

"It certainly induces a feeling of unreality that is hard to
explain," said Gridley.

"Where is Greystoke?" asked Zuppner. "He is usually an early
riser."

"I was just asking Bob," said Gridley, "but he has not seen
him."

"He left the ship shortly after I came on watch," said Dorf.
"I should say about three hours ago, possibly longer. I saw him
cross the open country and enter the forest."

"I wish he had not gone out alone," said Gridley.

"He strikes me as a man who can take care of himself," said
Zuppner.

"I have seen some things during the last four hours," said
Dorf, "that make me doubt whether any man can take care of
himself alone in this world, especially one armed only with the
primitive weapons that Greystoke carried with him."

"You mean that he carried no firearms?" demanded Zuppner.

"He was armed with a bow and arrows, a spear and a rope," said
Dorf, "and I think he carried a hunting knife as well. But he
might as well have had nothing but a peashooter if he met some of
the things I have seen since I went on watch."

"What do you mean?" demanded Zuppner. "What have you
seen?"

Dorf grinned sheepishly. "Honestly, Captain, I hate to tell
you," he said, "for I'm damned if I believe it myself."

"Well, out with it," exclaimed Zuppner. "We will make
allowances for your youth and for the effect that the sun and
horizon of Pellucidar may have had upon your eyesight or your
veracity."

"Well," said Dorf, "about an hour ago a bear passed within a
hundred yards of the ship."

"There is nothing remarkable about that," said Zuppner.

"There was a great deal that was remarkable about the bear,
however," said Dorf.

"In what way?" asked Gridley.

"It was fully as large as an ox," said Dorf, "and if I were
going out after bear in this country I should want to take along
field artillery."

"Was that all you saw--just a bear?" asked Zuppner. "No," said
Dorf, "I saw tigers, not one but fully a dozen, and they were as
much larger than our Bengal tigers as the bear was larger than
any bear of the outer crust that I have ever seen. They were
perfectly enormous and they were armed with the most amazing
fangs you ever saw--great curved fangs that extended from their
upper jaws to lengths of from eight inches to a foot. They came
down to this stream here to drink and then wandered away, some of
them toward the forest and some down toward the big river
yonder."

"Greystoke couldn't do much against such creatures as those
even if he had carried a rifle," said Zuppner.

"If he was in the forest, he could escape them," said
Gridley.

Zuppner shook his head. "I don't like the looks of it," he
said. "I wish that he had not gone out alone."

"The bear and the tigers were bad enough," continued Dorf,
"but I saw another creature that to me seemed infinitely
worse."

Robert, who was more or less a privileged character, had
entered from the galley and was listening with wide-eyed interest
to Dorf's account of the creatures he had seen, while Victor, one
of the Filipino cabin-boys, served the officers.

"Yes," continued Dorf, "I saw a mighty strange creature. It
flew directly over the ship and I had an excellent view of it. At
first I thought that it was a bird, but when it approached more
closely I saw that it was a winged reptile. It had a long, narrow
head and it flew so close that I could see its great jaws, armed
with an infinite number of long, sharp teeth. Its head was
elongated above the eyes and came to a sharp point. It was
perfectly immense and must have had a wing spread of at least
twenty feet. While I was watching it, it dropped suddenly to
earth only a short distance beyond the ship, and when it arose
again it was carrying in its talons some animal that must have
been fully as large as good sized sheep, with which it flew away
without apparent effort. That the creature is carnivorous is
evident as is also the fact that it has sufficient strength to
carry away a man."

Robert Jones covered his large mouth with a pink palm and with
hunched and shaking shoulders turned and tip-toed from the room.
Once in the galley with the door closed, he gave himself over to
unrestrained mirth. "What is the matter with you?" asked
Victor.

"Lawd-a-massy!" exclaimed Robert. "Ah allus thought some o'
dem gem'n in dat dere Adventurous Club in Bummingham could lie
some, but, shucks, dey ain't in it with this Lieutenant Dorf. Did
you all heah him tell about dat flyin' snake what carries off
sheep?"

But back in the mess room the white men took Dorf's statement
more seriously.

"That would be a pterodactyl," said Zuppner.

"Yes," replied Dorf. "I classified it as a Pteranodon."

"Don't you think we ought to send out a search party?" asked
Gridley.

"I am afraid Greystoke would not like it," replied
Zuppner.

"It could go out under the guise of a hunting party,"
suggested Dorf.

"If he has not returned within an hour," said Zuppner, "we
shall have to do something of the sort."

Hines and Von Horst now entered the mess room, and when they
learned of Tarzan's absence from the ship and had heard from Dorf
a description of some of the animals that he might have
encountered, they were equally as apprehensive as the others of
his safety.

"We might cruise around a bit, sir," suggested Von Horst to
Zuppner.

"But suppose he returns to this spot during our absence?"
asked Gridley.

"Could you return the ship to this anchorage again?" inquired
Zuppner.

"I doubt it," replied the Lieutenant. "Our instruments are
almost worthless under the conditions existing in
Pellucidar."

"Then we had better remain where we are," said Gridley, "until
he returns."

"But if we send a searching party after him on foot, what
assurance have we that it will be able to find its way back to
the ship?" demanded Zuppner.

"That will not be so difficult," said Gridley. "We can always
blaze our trail as we go and thus easily retrace our steps."

"Yes, that is so," agreed Zuppner.

"Suppose," said Gridley, "that Von Horst and I go out with
Muviro and his Waziri. They are experienced trackers, prime
fighting men and they certainly know the jungle."

"Not this jungle," said Dorf.

"But at least they know any jungle better than the rest of
us," insisted Gridley.

"I think your plan is a good one," said Zuppner, "and anyway
as you are in command now, the rest of us gladly place ourselves
under your orders."

"The conditions that confront us here are new to all of us,"
said Gridley. "Nothing that anyone of us can suggest or command
can be based upon any personal experience or knowledge that the
rest do not possess, and in matters of this kind I think that we
had better reach our decision after full discussion rather than
to depend blindly upon official priority of authority."

"That has been Greystoke's policy," said Zuppner, "and it has
made it very easy and pleasant for all of us. I quite agree with
you, but I can think of no more feasible plan than that which you
have suggested."

"Very good," said Gridley. "Will you accompany me,
Lieutenant?" he asked, turning to Von Horst.

The officer grinned. "Will I?" he exclaimed. "I should never
have forgiven you if you had left me out of it."

"Fine," said Gridley. "And now, I think, we might as well make
our preparations at once and get as early a start as possible.
See that the Waziri have eaten, Lieutenant, and tell Muviro that
I want them armed with rifles. These fellows can use them all
right, but they rather look with scorn upon anything more modern
than their war spears and arrows."

"Yes, I discovered that," said Hines. "Muviro told me a few
days ago that his people consider firearms as something of an
admission of cowardice. He told me that they use them for target
practice, but when they go out after lions or rhino they leave
their rifles behind and take their spears and arrows."

"After they have seen what I saw," said Dorf, "they will have
more respect for an express rifle."

"See that they take plenty of ammunition, Von Horst," said
Gridley, "for from what I have seen in this country we shall not
have to carry any provisions."

"A man who could not live off this country would starve to
death in a meat market," said Zuppner.

Von Horst left to carry out Gridley's orders while the latter
returned to his cabin to prepare for the expedition.

The officers and crew remaining with the O-220 were all on
hand to bid farewell to the expedition starting out in search of
Tarzan of the Apes, and as the ten stalwart Waziri warriors
marched away behind Gridley and Von Horst, Robert Jones, watching
from the galley door, swelled with pride. "Dem niggahs is sho nuf
hot babies," he exclaimed. "All dem flyin' snakes bettah clear
out de country now." With the others Robert watched the little
party as it crossed the plain and until it had disappeared within
the dark precincts of the forest upon the opposite side. Then he
glanced up at the noonday sun, shook his head, elevated his palms
in resignation and turned back into his galley.

Almost immediately after the party had left the ship, Gridley
directed Muviro to take the lead and watch for Tarzan's trail
since, of the entire party, he was the most experienced tracker;
nor did the Waziri chieftain have any difficulty in following the
spoor of the ape-man across the plain and into the forest, but
here, beneath a great tree, it disappeared.

"The Big Bwana took to the trees here," said Muviro, "and no
man lives who can follow his spoor through the lower, the middle
or the upper terraces."

"What do you suggest, then, Muviro?" asked Gridley.

"If this were his own jungle," replied the warrior, "I should
feel sure that when he took to the trees he would move in a
straight line toward the place he wished to go; unless he
happened to be hunting, in which case his direction would be
influenced by the sign and scent of game."

"Doubtless he was hunting here," said Von Horst.

"If he was hunting," said Muviro, "he would have moved in a
straight line until he caught the scent spoor of game or came to
a well-beaten game trail."

"And then what would he do?" asked Gridley.

"He might wait above the trail," replied Muviro, "or he might
follow it. In a new country like this, I think he would follow
it, for he has always been interested in exploring every new
country he entered."

"Then let us push straight into the forest in this same
direction until we strike a game trail," said Gridley.

Muviro and three of his warriors went ahead, cutting brush
where it was necessary and blazing the trees at frequent
intervals that they might more easily retrace their steps to the
ship. With the aid of a small pocket compass Gridley directed the
line of advance, which otherwise it would have been difficult to
hold accurately beneath the eternal noonday sun, whose warm rays
filtered down through the foliage of the forest.

"God! What a forest!" exclaimed Von Horst. "To search for a
man here is like the proverbial search for the needle in a
haystack."

"Except," said Gridley, "that one might stand a slight chance
of finding the needle."

"Perhaps we had better fire a shot occasionally," suggested
Von Horst.

"Excellent," said Gridley. "The rifles carry a much heavier
charge and make a louder report than our revolvers."

After warning the others of his intention, he directed one of
the blacks to fire three shots at intervals of a few seconds, for
neither Gridley nor Von Horst was armed with rifles, each of the
officers carrying two .45 caliber Colts. Thereafter, at intervals
of about half an hour, a single shot was fired, but as the
searching party forced its way on into the forest each of its
members became gloomily impressed with the futility of their
search.

Presently the nature of the forest changed. The trees were set
less closely together and the underbrush, while still forming an
almost impenetrable screen, was less dense than it had been
heretofore and here they came upon a wide game trail, worn by
countless hoofs and padded feet to a depth of two feet or more
below the surface of the surrounding ground, and here Jason
Gridley blundered.

"We won't bother about blazing the trees as long as we follow
this trail," he said to Muviro, "except at such places as it may
fork or be crossed by other trails."

It was, after all, a quite natural mistake since a few blazed
trees along the trail would not serve any purpose in following it
back when they wished to return.

The going here was easier and as the Waziri warriors swung
along at a brisk pace, the miles dropped quickly behind
them and already had the noonday sun so cast its spell upon them
that the element of time seemed not to enter into their
calculations, while the teeming life about them absorbed the
attention of blacks and whites alike.

Strange monkeys, some of them startlingly man-like in
appearance and of large size, watched them pass. Birds of both
gay and somber plumage scattered protestingly before their
advance, and again dim bulks loomed through the undergrowth and
the sound of padded feel was everywhere.

At times they would pass through a stretch of forest as silent
as the tomb, and then again they seemed to be surrounded by a
bedlam of hideous growls and roars and screams.

"I'd like to see some of those fellows," said Von Horst, after
a particularly savage outburst of sound.

"I am surprised that we haven't," replied Gridley; "but I
imagine that they are a little bit leery of us right now, not
alone on account of our numbers but because of the, to them,
strange and unfamiliar, odors which must surround us. These would
naturally increase the suspicion which must have been aroused by
the sound of our shots."

"Have you noticed," said Von Horst, "that most of the noise
seems to come from behind us; I mean the more savage, growling
sounds. I have heard squeals and noises that sounded like the
trumpeting of elephants to the right and to the left and ahead,
but only an occasional growl or roar seems to come from these
directions and then always at a considerable distance."

"I can't account for it," replied Von Horst. "It is as though
we were moving along in the center of a procession with all the
savage carnivores behind us."

"This perpetual noonday sun has its compensations," remarked
Gridley with a laugh, "for at least it insures that we shall not
have to spend the night here."

At that instant the attention of the two men was attracted by
an exclamation from one of the Waziri behind them. "Look, Bwana!
Look!" cried the man, pointing back along the trail. Following
the direction of the Waziri's extended finger, Gridley and Von
Horst saw a huge beast slinking slowly along the trail in their
rear.

"God!" exclaimed Von Horst, "and I thought Dorf was
exaggerating."

"It doesn't seem possible," exclaimed Gridley, "that five
hundred miles below our feet automobiles are dashing through
crowded streets lined by enormous buildings; that there the
telegraph, the telephone and the radio are so commonplace as to
excite no comment; that countless thousands live out their entire
lives without ever having to use a weapon in self-defense, and
yet at the same instant we stand here facing a saber-tooth tiger
in surroundings that may not have existed upon the outer crust
for a million years."

"Look at them!" exclaimed Von Horst. "If there is one there
are a dozen of them."

"Shall we fire, Bwana?" asked one of the Waziri. "Not yet,"
said Gridley. "Close up and be ready. They seem to be only
following us."

Slowly the party fell back, a line of Waziri in the rear
facing the tigers and backing slowly away from them. Muviro
dropped back to Gridley's side.

"For a long time, Bwana," he said, "there has been the spoor
of many elephants in the trail, or spoor that looked like the
spoor of elephants, though it was different. And just now I
sighted some of the beasts ahead. I could not make them out
distinctly, but if they are not elephants they are very much like
them."

"We seem to be between the devil and the deep sea," said Von
Horst.

"And there are either elephants or tigers on each side of us,"
said Muviro. "I can hear them moving through the brush."

Perhaps the same thought was in the minds of all these men,
that they might take to the trees, but for some reason no one
expressed it. And so they continued to move slowly along the
trail until suddenly it broke into a large, open area in the
forest, where the ground was scantily covered with brush and
there were few trees. Perhaps a hundred acres were included in
the clearing and then the forest commenced again upon all
sides.

And into the clearing, along numerous trails that seemed to
center at this spot, came as strange a procession as the eyes of
these men had ever rested upon. There were great ox-like
creatures with shaggy coats and wide-spreading horns. There were
red deer and sloths of gigantic size. There were mastodon and
mammoth, and a huge, elephantine creature that resembled an
elephant and yet did not seem to be an elephant at all. Its great
head was four feet long and three feet wide. It had a short,
powerful trunk and from its lower jaw mighty tusks curved
downward, their points bending inward toward the body. At the
shoulder it stood at least ten feet from the ground, and in
length it must have been fully twenty feet. But what resemblance
it bore to an elephant was lessened by its small, pig-like
ears.

The two white men, momentarily forgetting the tigers behind
them in their amazement at the sight ahead, halted and looked
with wonder upon the huge gathering of creatures within the
clearing.

"Did you ever see anything like it?" exclaimed Gridley.

"No, nor anyone else," replied Von Horst.

"I could catalog a great many of them," said Gridley,
"although practically all are extinct upon the outer crust. But
that fellow there gets me," and he pointed to the elephantine
creature with the downward pointing tusks.

"A Dinotherium of the Miocene," said Von Horst.

Muviro had stopped beside the two whites and was gazing in
wide-eyed astonishment at the scene before him, stilled, and the
full attention of hunters and hunted was focused upon the little
band of men, so puny and insignificant in the presence of the
mighty beasts of another day. A dinotherium, his little ears
up-cocked, his tail stiffly erect, walked slowly toward them.
Almost immediately others followed his example until it seemed
that the whole aggregation was converging upon them. The forest
was yet a hundred yards away as Jason Gridley realized the
seriousness of the emergency that now confronted them.

"We shall have to run for it," he said. "Give them a volley,
and then beat it for the trees. If they charge, it will have to
be every man for himself."

The Waziri wheeled and faced the slowly advancing herd and
then, at Gridley's command, they fired. The thunderous volley had
its effect upon the advancing beasts. They hesitated and then
turned and retreated; but behind them were the carnivores. And
once again they swung back in the direction of the men, who were
now moving rapidly toward the forest.

"Here they come!" cried Von Horst. And a backward glance
revealed the fact that the entire herd, goaded to terror by the
tigers behind them, had broken into a mad stampede. Whether or
not it was a direct charge upon the little party of men is open
to question, but the fact that they lay in its path was
sufficient to seal their doom if they were unable to reach the
safety of the forest ahead of the charging quadrupeds.

"Give them another volley!" cried Gridley. And again the
Waziri turned and fired. A dinotherium, a thag and two mammoths
stumbled and fell to the ground, but the remainder of the herd
did not pause. Leaping over the carcasses of their fallen
comrades they thundered down upon the fleeing men.

It was now, in truth, every man for himself, and so close
pressed were they that even the brave Wazi threw away their
rifles as useless encumbrances to flight.

Several of the red deer, swifter in flight than the other
members of the herd, had taken the lead, and, stampeding through
the party, scattered them to left and right.

Gridley and Von Horst were attempting to cover the retreat of
the Waziri and check the charge of the stampeding animals with
their revolvers. They succeeded in turning a few of the leaders,
but presently a great, red stag passed between them, forcing them
to jump quickly apart to escape his heavy antlers, and behind him
swept a nightmare of terrified beasts forcing them still further
apart.

Not far from Gridley grew a single, giant tree, a short
distance from the edge of the clearing, and finding himself alone
and cut off from further retreat, the American turned and ran for
it, while Von Horst was forced to bolt for the jungle which was
now almost within reach.

Bowled over by a huge sloth, Gridley scrambled to his feet,
and, passing in front of a fleeing mastodon, reached the tree
just as the main body of the stampeding herd closed about it. Its
great bole gave him momentary protection and an instant later he
had scrambled among it's branches.

Instantly his first thought was for his fellows, but where
they had been a moment before was now only a solid mass of
leaping, plunging, terrified beasts. No sign of a human being was
anywhere to be seen and Gridley knew that no living thing could
have survived the trampling of those incalculable tons of
terrified flesh.

Some of them, he knew, must have reached the forest but he
doubted that all had come through in safety and he feared
particularly for Van Horst, who had been some little distance in
rear of the Waziri.

The eyes of the American swept back over the clearing to
observe such a scene as probably in all the history of the world
had never before been vouchsafed to the eyes of man. Literally
thousands of creatures, large and small, were following their
leaders in a break for life and liberty, while upon their flanks
and at their rear hundreds of savage saber-tooth tigers leaped
upon them, dragging down the weaker, battling with the stronger,
leaving the maimed and crippled behind that they might charge
into the herd again and drag down others.

The mad rush of the leaders across the clearing had been
checked as they entered the forest, and now those in the rear
were forced to move more slowly, but in their terror they sought
to clamber over the backs of those ahead. Red deer leaped upon
the backs of mastodons and fled across the heaving bodies beneath
them, as a mountain goat might leap from rock to rock. Mammoths
raised their huge bulks upon lesser animals and crushed them to
the ground. Tusks and horns were red with gore as the maddened
beasts battled for their lives. The scene was sickening in its
horror, and yet fascinating in its primitive strength and
savagery--and everywhere were the great, savage cats.

Slowly they were cutting into the herd from both sides in an
effort to encircle a portion of it and at last they were
successful, though within the circle there remained but a few
scattered beasts that were still unmaimed or uncrippled. And then
the great tigers turned upon these, closing in and drawing
tighter their hideous band of savage fury.

In twos and threes and scores they leaped upon the remaining
beasts and dragged them down until the sole creature remaining
alive within their circle was a gigantic bull mammoth. His shaggy
coat was splashed with blood and his tusks were red with gore.
Trumpeting, he stood at bay, a magnificent picture of primordial
power, of sagacity, of courage.

The heart of the American went out to that lone warrior
trumpeting his challenge to overwhelming odds in the face of
certain doom.

By hundreds the carnivores were closing in upon the great
bull; yet it was evident that even though they outnumbered him so
overwhelmingly, they still held him in vast respect. Growling and
snarling, a few of them slunk in stealthy circles about him, and
as he wheeled about with them, three of them charged him from the
rear. With a swiftness that matched their own, the pachyderm
wheeled to meet them. Two of them he caught upon his tusks and
tossed them high into the air, and at the same instant a score of
others rushed him from each side and from the rear and fastened
themselves to his back and flanks. Down he went as though struck
by lightning, squatting quickly upon his haunches and rolling
over backward, crushing a dozen tigers before they could
escape.

Gridley could scarce repress a cheer as the great fellow
staggered to his feet and threw himself again upon the opposite
side to the accompaniment of hideous screams of pain and anger
from the tigers he pinioned beneath him. But now he was gushing
blood from a hundred wounds, and other scores of the savage
carnivores were charging him.

Though he put up a magnificent battle the end was inevitable
and at last they dragged him down, tearing him to pieces while he
yet struggled to rise again and battle with them.

And then commenced the aftermath as the savage beasts fought
among themselves for possession of their prey. For even though
there was flesh to more than surfeit them all, in their greed,
jealousy and ferocity, they must still battle one with
another.

That they had paid heavily for their meat was evident by the
carcasses of the tigers strewn about the clearing and as the
survivors slowly settled down to feed, there came the jackals,
the hyaenodons and the wild dogs to feast upon their
leavings.


IV
THE SAGOTHS


AS THE great cat slunk toward him, Tarzan of the Apes realized
that at last he faced inevitable death, yet even in that last
moment of life the emotion which dominated him was one of
admiration for the magnificent beast drawing angrily toward
him.

Tarzan of the Apes would have preferred to die fighting, if he
must die; yet he felt a certain thrill as he contemplated the
magnificence of the great beast that Fate had chosen to terminate
his earthly career. He felt no fear, but a certain sense of
anticipation of what would follow after death. The Lord of the
Jungle subscribed to no creed. Tarzan of the Apes was not a
church man; yet like the majority of those who have always lived
close to nature he was, in a sense, intensely religious. His
intimate knowledge of the stupendous forces of nature, of her
wonders and her miracles had impressed him with the fact that
their ultimate origin lay far beyond the conception of the finite
mind of man, and thus incalculably remote from the farthest
bounds of science. When he thought of God he liked to think of
Him primitively, as a personal God. And while he realized that he
knew nothing of such matters, he liked to believe that after
death, he would live again.

Many thoughts passed quickly through his mind as the saber-tooth
advanced upon him. He was watching the long, glistening fangs
that so soon were to be buried in his flesh when his attention
was attracted by a sound among the trees about him. That the
great cat had heard too was evident, for it stopped in its
tracks and gazed up into the foliage of the trees above. And
then Tarzan heard a rustling in the branches directly overhead,
and looking up he saw what appeared to be a gorilla glaring down
upon him.

Two more savage faces showed through the foliage above him and
then in other trees about he caught glimpses of similar shaggy
forms and fierce faces. He saw that they were like gorillas, and
yet unlike them; that in some respects they were more man than
gorilla, and in others more gorilla than man. He caught glimpses
of great clubs wielded by hairy hands, and when his eyes returned
to the saber-tooth he saw that the great beast had hesitated in
its advance and was snarling and growling angrily as its eyes
roved upward and around at the savage creatures glaring down upon
it.

It was only for a moment that the cat paused in its advance
upon the ape-man. Snarling angrily, it moved forward again and as
it did so, one of the creatures in the tree above Tarzan reached
down, and seizing the rope that held him dangling in mid-air,
drew him swiftly upward. Then several things occurred
simultaneously--the saber-tooth leaped to retrieve its prey and a
dozen heavy cudgels hurtled through the air from the surrounding
trees, striking the great cat heavily upon head and body with the
result that the talons that must otherwise have inevitably been
imbedded in the flesh of the ape-man grazed harmlessly by him,
and an instant later he was drawn well up among the branches of
the tree, where he was seized by three hairy brutes whose
attitude suggested that he might have been as well off had he
been left to the tender mercies of the saber-tooth.

Two of them, one on either side, seized an arm and the third
grasped him by the throat with one hand while he held his cudgel
poised above his head in the other. And then from the lips of the
creature facing him came a sound that fell as startlingly upon
the ears of the ape-man as had the first unexpected roar of the
saber-tooth, but with far different effect.

"Ka-goda!" said the creature facing Tarzan. In the language of
the apes of his own jungle Ka-goda may be roughly interpreted
according to its inflection as a command to surrender, or as an
interrogation, "do you surrender?" or as a declaration of
surrender.

This word, coming from the lips of a hairy gorilla man of the
inner world, suggested possibilities of the most startling
nature. For years Tarzan had considered the language of the great
apes as the primitive root language of created things. The great
apes, the lesser apes, the gorillas, the baboons and the monkeys
utilized this with various degrees of refinement and many of its
words were understood by jungle animals of other species and by
many of the birds; but, perhaps, after the fashion that our
domestic animals have learned many of the words in our
vocabulary, with this difference that the language of the great
apes has doubtless persisted unchanged for countless ages.

That these gorilla men of the inner world used even one word
of this language suggested one of two possibilities--either they
held an origin in common with the creatures of the outer crust,
or else that the laws of evolution and progress were so constant
that this was the only form of primitive language that could have
been possible to any creatures emerging from the lower orders
toward the estate of man. But the suggestion that im- pressed
Tarzan most vividly was that this single word, uttered by the
creature grasping him by the throat, postulated familiarity on
the part of his fierce captors with the entire ape language that
he had used since boyhood.

"Ka-goda?" inquired the bull.

"Ka-goda," said Tarzan of the Apes.

The brute, facing Tarzan, half lowered his cudgel as though he
were surprised to hear the prisoner answer in his own tongue.
"Who are you?" he demanded in the language of the great apes.

"I am Tarzan--mighty hunter, mighty fighter," replied the
ape-man.

"What are you doing in M'wa-lot's country?" demanded the
gorilla man.

"I come as a friend," replied Tarzan. "I have no quarrel with
your people."

The fellow had lowered his club now, and from other trees had
come a score more of the shaggy creatures until the surrounding
limbs sagged beneath their weight.

"How did you learn the language of the Sagoths?" demanded the
bull. "We have captured gilaks in the past, but you are the first
one who ever spoke or understood our language."

"It is the language of my people," replied Tarzan. "As a
little balu, I learned it from Kala and other apes of the tribe
of Kerchak."

"We never heard of the tribe of Kerchak," said the bull.

"Perhaps he is not telling the truth," said another. "Let us
kill him; he is only a gilak."

"No," said a third. "Take him back to M'wa-lot that the whole
tribe of M'wa-lot may join in the killing."

"That is good," said another. "Take him back to the tribe, and
while we are killing him we shall dance."

The language of the great apes is not like our language. It
sounds to man like growling and barking and grunting, punctuated
at times by shrill screams, and it is practically untranslatable
to any tongue known to man; yet it carried to Tarzan and the
Sagoths the sense that we have given it. It is a means of
communicating thought and there its similarity to the languages
of men ceases.

Having decided upon the disposition of their prisoner, the
Sagoths now turned their attention to the saber-tooth, who had
returned to his kill, across the body of which he was lying. He
was not feeding, but was gazing angrily up into the trees of his
tormentors.

While three of the gorilla men secured Tarzan's wrists behind
his back with a length of buckskin thong, the others renewed
their attention to the tiger. Three or four of them would cast
well-aimed cudgels at his face at intervals so nicely timed that
the great beast could do nothing but fend off the missiles as
they sped toward him. And while he was thus occupied, the other
Sagoths, who had already cast their clubs, sprang to the ground
and retrieved them with an agility and celerity that would have
done credit to the tiniest monkey of the jungle. The risk that
they took bespoke great self-confidence and high courage since
often they were compelled to snatch their cudgels from almost
beneath the claws of the saber-tooth.

Battered and bruised, the great cat gave back inch by inch
until, unable to stand the fusillade longer, it suddenly turned
tail and bounded into the underbrush, where for some time the
sound of its crashing retreat could be distinctly heard. And with
the departure of the carnivore, the gorilla men leaped to the
ground and fell upon the carcass of the thag. With heavy fangs
they tore its flesh, oftentimes fighting among themselves like
wild beasts for some particularly choice morsel; but unlike many
of the lower orders of man upon similar occasions they did not
gorge themselves, and having satisfied their hunger they left
what remained to the jackals and wild dogs that had already
gathered.

Tarzan of the Apes, silent spectator of this savage scene, had
an opportunity during the feast to examine his captors more
closely. He saw that they were rather lighter in build than the
gorillas he had seen in his own native jungle, but even though
they were not as heavy as Bolgani, they were yet mighty
creatures. Their arms and legs were of more human conformation
and proportion than those of a gorilla, but the shaggy brown hair
covering their entire body increased their beast-like appearance,
while their faces were even more brutal than that of Bolgani
himself, except that the development of the skull denoted a brain
capacity seemingly as great as that of man.

They were entirely naked, nor was there among them any
suggestion of ornamentation, while their only weapons were clubs.
These, however, showed indications of having been shaped by some
sharp instrument as though an effort had been made to insure a
firm grip and a well-balanced weapon.

Their feeding completed, the Sagoths turned back along the
game trail in the same direction that Tarzan had been going when
he had sprung the trigger of the snare. But before departing
several of them reset the noose, covered it carefully with earth
and leaves and set the trigger that it might be sprung by the
first passing animal.

So sure were all their movements and so deft their fingers,
Tarzan realized that though these creatures looked like beasts
they had long since entered the estate of man. Perhaps they were
still low in the scale of evolution, but unquestionably they were
men with the brains of men and the faces and skins of
gorillas.

As the Sagoths moved along the jungle trail they walked erect
as men walk, but in other ways they reminded Tarzan of the great
apes who were his own people, for they were given neither to
laughter nor song and their taciturnity suggested the
speechlessness of the alali. That certain of their sense
faculties were more highly developed than in man was evidenced by
the greater dependence they placed upon their ears and noses than
upon their eyes in their unremitting vigil against surprise by an
enemy.

While by human standards they might have been judged ugly and
even hideous, they did not so impress Tarzan of the Apes, who
recognized in them a certain primitive majesty of bearing and
mien such as might well have been expected of pioneers upon the
frontiers of humanity.

It is sometimes the custom of theorists to picture our
primordial progenitors as timid, fearful creatures, fleeing from
the womb to the grave in constant terror of the countless savage
creatures that beset their entire existence. But as it does not
seem reasonable that a creature so poorly equipped for offense
and defense could have survived without courage, it seems far
more consistent to assume that with the dawning of reason came a
certain superiority complex--a vast and at first stupid egotism--
that knew caution, perhaps, but not fear; nor is any other theory
tenable unless we are to suppose that from the loin of a
rabbit-hearted creature sprang men who hunted the bison, the
mammoth and the cave bear with crude spears tipped with
stone.

The Sagoths of Pellucidar may have been analogous in the scale
of evolution to the Neanderthal men of the outer crust, or they
may, indeed, have been even a step lower; yet in their bearing
there was nothing to suggest to Tarzan that they had reached this
stage in evolution through the expedience of flight. Their
bearing as they trod the jungle trail bespoke assurance and even
truculence, as though they were indeed the lords of creation,
fearing nothing. Perhaps Tarzan understood their attitude better
than another might have since it had been his own always in the
jungle--unquestioning fearlessness--with which a certain
intelligent caution was not inconsistent.

They had come but a short distance from the scene of Tarzan's
capture when the Sagoths stopped beside a hollow log, the
skeleton of a great tree that had fallen beside the trail. One of
the creatures tapped upon the log with his club--one, two; one,
two; one, two, three. And then, after a moment's pause, he
repeated the same tapping. Three times the signal boomed through
the jungle and then the signaler paused, listening, while others
stopped and put their ears against the ground.

Faintly through the air, more plainly through the ground, came
an answering signal--one, two; one, two; one, two, three.

The creatures seemed satisfied and climbing into the
surrounding trees, disposed themselves comfortably as though
settling down to a wait. Two of them carried Tarzan easily aloft
with them, as with his hands bound behind his back he could not
climb unassisted.

Since they had started on the march Tarzan had not spoken, but
now he turned to one of the Sagoths near him. "Remove the bonds
from my wrists," he said. "I am not an enemy."

"Tar-gash," said he whom Tarzan had addressed, "the gilak
wants his bonds removed."

Tar-gash, a large bull with noticeably long, white canine
fangs, turned his savage eyes upon the ape-man. For a long time
he glared unblinkingly at the prisoner and it seemed to Tarzan
that the mind of the half-brute was struggling with a new idea.
Presently he turned to the Sagoth who had repeated Tarzan's
request. "Take them off," he said.

"Why?" demanded another of the bulls. The tone was challenging.

"Because I, Tar-gash, say 'take them off,'" growled the other.

"You are not M'wa-lot. He is king. If M'wa-lot says take them
off, we will take them off."

"I am not M'wa-lot, To-yad; I am Tar-gash, and Tar-gash says
'take them off.'"

To-yad swung to Tarzan's side. "M'wa-lot will come soon," he
said. "If M'wa-lot says take them off, we shall take them off. We
do not take orders from Tar-gash."

Like a panther, quickly, silently Tar-gash sprang straight for
the throat of To-yad. There was no warning, not even an instant
of hesitation. In this Tarzan saw that Tar-gash differed from the
great apes with whom the Lord of the Jungle had been familiar
upon the outer crust, for among them two bulls ordinarily must
need have gone through a long preliminary of stiff-legged
strutting and grumbled invective before either one launched
himself upon the other in deadly combat. But the mind of Tar-gash
had functioned with like celerity, so much so that decision and
action had appeared to be almost simultaneous.

The impact of the heavy body of Tar-gash toppled To-yad from
the branch upon which he had been standing, but so naturally
arboreal were the two great creatures that even as they fell they
reached out and seized the same branch and still fighting, each
with his free hand and his heavy fangs, they hung there a second
breaking their fall, and then dropped to the ground. They fought
almost silently except for low growls, Tar-gash seeking the
jugular of To-yad with those sharp, white fangs that had given
him his name. To-yad, his every faculty concentrated upon
defense, kept the grinning jaws from his flesh and suddenly
twisting quickly around, tore loose from the powerful fingers of
his opponent and sought safety in flight. But like a football
player, Tar-gash launched himself through the air; his long hairy
arms encircled the legs of the fleeing To-yad, bringing him
heavily to the ground, and an instant later the powerful
aggressor was on the back of his opponent and To-yad's jugular
was at the mercy of his foe, but the great jaws of Tar-gash did
not close.

"Ka-goda?" he inquired.

"Ka-goda," growled To-yad, and instantly Tar-gash arose from
the body of the other bull.

With the agility of a monkey the victor leaped back into the
branches of the tree. "Remove the bonds from the wrists of the
gilak," he said, and at the same time he glared ferociously about
him to see if there was another so mutinously minded as To-yad;
but none spoke and none objected as one of the Sagoths who had
dragged Tarzan up into the tree untied the bonds that secured his
wrists.

"If he tries to run away from us," said Tar-gash, "kill him."

When his bonds were removed Tarzan expected that the Sagoths
would take his knife away from him. He had lost his spear and bow
and most of his arrows at the instant that the snare had snapped
him from the ground, but though they had lain in plain view in
the trail beneath the snare the Sagoths had paid no attention to
them; nor did they now pay any attention to his knife. He was
sure they must have seen it and he could not understand their
lack of concern regarding it, unless they were ignorant of its
purpose or held him in such contempt that they did not consider
it worth the effort to disarm him.

Presently To-yad sneaked back into the tree, but he huddled
sullenly by himself, apart from the others.

Faintly, from a distance, Tarzan heard something approaching.
He heard it just a moment before the Sagoths heard it.

"They come!" announced Tar-gash.

"M'wa-lot comes," said another, glancing at To-yad. Now Tarzan
knew why the primitive drum had been sounded, but he wondered why
they were gathering.

At last they arrived, nor was it difficult for Tarzan to
recognize M'wa-lot, the king among the others. A great bull
walked in front--a bull with so much gray among the hairs on his
face that the latter had a slightly bluish complexion, and
instantly the ape-man saw how the king had come by his name.

As soon as the Sagoths with Tarzan were convinced of the
identity of the approaching party, they descended from the trees
to the ground and when M'wa-lot had approached within twenty
paces of them, he halted. "I am M'wa-lot," he announced. "With me
are the people of my tribe."

"I am Tar-gash," replied the bull who seemed to be in charge
of the other party. "With me are other bulls of the tribe of
M'wa-lot."

This precautionary preliminary over, M'wa-lot advanced,
followed by the bulls, the shes and the balus of his tribe.

"What is that?" demanded M'wa-lot, as his fierce eyes espied
Tarzan.

"It is a gilak that we found caught in our snare," replied
Tar-gash.

"That is the feast that you called us to?" demanded M'wa-lot,
angrily. "You should have brought it to the tribe. It can walk."

"This is not the food of which the drum spoke," replied
Tar-gash. "Nearby is the body of a thag that was killed by a
tarag close by the snare in which this gilak was caught."

"Ugh!" grunted M'wa-lot. "We can eat the gilak later."

"We can have a dance," suggested one of Tarzan's captors. "We
have eaten and slept many times since we have danced,
M'wa-lot."

As the Sagoths, guided by Tar-gash, proceeded along the trail
towards the body of the thag, the shes with balus growled
savagely when one of the little ones chanced to come near to
Tarzan. The bulls eyed him suspiciously and all seemed uneasy
because of his presence. In these and in other ways the Sagoths
were reminiscent of the apes of the tribe of Kerchak and to such
an extent was this true that Tarzan, although a prisoner among
them, felt strangely at home in this new environment.

A short distance ahead of the ape-man walked M'wa-lot, king of
the tribe, and at M'wa-lot's elbow was To-yad. The two spoke in
low tones and from the frequent glances they cast at Tar-gash,
who walked ahead of them, it was evident that he was the subject
of their conversation, the effect of which upon M'wa-lot seemed
to be highly disturbing.

Tarzan could see that the shaggy chieftain was working himself
into a frenzy of rage, the inciting cause of which was evidently
the information that To-yad was imparting to him. The latter
seemed to be attempting to goad him to greater fury, a fact which
seemed to be now apparent to every member of the tribe with the
exception of Tar-gash, who was walking in the lead, ahead of
M'wa-lot and To-yad, for practically every other eye was turned
upon the king, whose evident excitement had imparted a certain
fierce restlessness to the other members of his party. But it was
not until they had come within sight of the body of the thag that
the storm broke and then, without warning, M'wa-lot swung his
heavy club and leaped forward toward Tar-gash with the very
evident intention of braining him from behind.

If the life of the ape-man in his constant battle for survival
had taught him to act quickly, it also had taught him to think
quickly. He knew that in all his savage company he had no
friends, but he also knew that Tar-gash, from very stubbornness
and to spite To-yad, might alone be expected to befriend him and
now it appeared that Tar-gash himself might need a friend, for it
was evident that no hand was to be raised in defense of him nor
any voice in warning. And so Tarzan of the Apes, prompted both by
considerations of self-interest and fair play, took matters in
his own hands with such suddenness that he had already acted
before any hand could be raised to stop him.

"Kreeg-ah, Tar-gash!" he cried, and at the same instant he
sprang quickly forward, brushing To-yad aside with a single sweep
of a giant arm that sent the Sagoth headlong into the underbrush
bordering the trail.

At the warning cry of "Kreeg-ah," which in the language of the
great apes is synonymous to beware, Tar-gash wheeled about to see
the infuriated M'wa-lot with upraised club almost upon him and
then he saw something else which made his savage eyes widen in
surprise. The strange gilak, whom he had taken prisoner, had
leaped close to M'wa-lot from behind. A smooth, bronzed arm
slipped quickly about the king's neck and tightened. The gilak
turned and stooped and surging forward with the king across his
hip threw the great hairy bull completely over his head and sent
him sprawling at the feet of his astonished warriors. Then the
gilak leaped to Tar-gash's side and, wheeling, faced the tribe
with Tar-gash. Instantly a score of clubs were raised against the
two. "Shall we remain and fight, Tar-gash?" demanded the
ape-man.

"They will kill us," said Tar-gash. "If you were not a gilak,
we might escape through the trees, but as you cannot escape we
shall have to remain and fight."

"Lead the way," said Tarzan. "There is no Sagoth trail that
Tarzan cannot follow."

"Come then," said Tar-gash, and as he spoke he hurled his club
into the faces of the oncoming warriors and, turning, fled along
the trail. A dozen mighty bounds he took and then leaped to the
branch of an overhanging tree, and close behind him came the
hairless gilak.

M'wa-lot's hairy warrior bulls pursued the two for a short
distance and then gave up the chase as Tarzan was confident that
they would, since among his own people it had usually been
considered sufficient to run a recalcitrant bull out of the tribe
and, unless he insisted upon returning, no particular effort was
made to molest him.

As soon as it became evident that pursuit had been abandoned
the Sagoth halted among the branches of a huge tree. "I am
Tar-gash," he said, as Tarzan stopped near him.

"I am Tarzan," replied the ape-man.

"Why did you warn me?" asked Tar-gash.

"I told you that I did not come among you as an enemy,"
replied Tarzan, "and when I saw that To-yad had succeeded in
urging M'wa-lot to kill you, I warned you because it was you that
kept the bulls from killing me when I was captured."

"What were you doing in the country of the Sagoths?" asked
Tar-gash.

"I was hunting," replied Tarzan.

"Where do you want to go now?" asked the Sagoth.

"I shall return to my people," replied Tarzan.

"Where are they?"

Tarzan of the Apes hesitated. He looked upward toward the sun,
whose rays were filtering down through the foliage of the forest.
He looked about him, everywhere was foliage. There was nothing in
the foliage nor upon the boles or branches of the trees to
indicate direction. Tarzan of the Apes was lost!


V
BROUGHT DOWN


JASON GRIDLEY, looking down from the branches of the tree in
which he had found sanctuary, was held by a certain horrible
fascination as he watched the feast of the great cats.

The scene that he had just witnessed--this stupendous
spectacle of savagery--suggested to him something of what life
upon the outer crust must have been at the dawn of humanity.

The suggestion was borne in upon him that perhaps this scene
which he had witnessed might illustrate an important cause of the
extinction of all of these animals upon the outer crust.

The action of the great saber-tooth tigers of Pellucidar in
rounding up the other beasts of the forest and driving them to
this clearing for slaughter evidenced a development of
intelligence far beyond that attained by the carnivores of the
outer world of the present day, such concerted action by any
great number for the common good being unknown.

Gridley saw the vast number of animals that had been
slaughtered and most of them uselessly, since there was more
flesh there than the surviving tigers could consume before it
reached a stage of putrefaction that would render it unpalatable
even to one of the great cats. And this fact suggested the
conviction that the cunning of the tigers had reached a plane
where it might reasonably be expected to react upon themselves
and eventually cause their extinction, for in their savage fury
and lust for flesh they had slaughtered indiscriminately males
and females, young and old. If this slaughter went on unchecked
for ages, the natural prey of the tigers must become extinct and
then, goaded by starvation, they would fall upon one another.

The last stage of the ascendancy of the great cats upon the
outer crust must have been short and terrible and so eventually
it would prove here in Pellucidar.

And just as the great cats may have reached a point where
their mental development had spelled their own doom, so in the
preceding era the gigantic, carnivorous dinosaurs of the Jurassic
may similarly have caused the extinction of their own
contemporaries and then of themselves. Nor did Jason Gridley find
it difficult to apply the same line of reasoning to the evolution
of man upon the outer crust and to his own possible extinction in
the not far remote future. In fact, he recalled quite definitely
that statisticians had shown that within two hundred years or
less the human race would have so greatly increased and the
natural resources of the outer world would have been so depleted
that the last generation must either starve to death or turn to
cannibalism to prolong its hateful existence for another short
period.

Perhaps, thought Gridley, in nature's laboratory each type
that had at some era dominated all others represented an
experiment in the eternal search for perfection. The invertebrate
had given way to fishes, the fishes to the reptiles, the reptiles
to the birds and mammals, and these, in turn, had been forced to
bow to the greater intelligence of man.

What would be next? Gridley was sure that there would be
something after man, who is unquestionably the Creator's greatest
blunder, combining as he does all the vices of preceding types
from invertebrates to mammals, while possessing few of their
virtues.

As such thoughts were forced upon his mind by the scene below
him they were accompanied by others of more immediate importance;
first of which was concern for his fellows.

Nowhere about the clearing did he see any sign of a human
being alive or dead. He called aloud several times but received
no reply, though he realized that it was possible that above the
roaring and the growling of the feeding beasts his voice might
not carry to any great distance. He began to have hopes that his
companions had all escaped, but he was still greatly worried over
the fate of Von Horst.

The subject of second consideration was that of his own escape
and return to the O-220. He had it in his mind that at nightfall
the beasts might retire and unconsciously he glanced upward at
the sun to note the time, when the realization came to him that
there would never be any night, that forever throughout all
eternity it would be noon here. And then he began to wonder how
long he had been gone from the ship, but when he glanced at his
watch he realized that that meant nothing. The hour hand might
have made an entire circle since he had last looked at it, for in
the excitement of all that had transpired since they had left the
O-220 how might the mind of man, unaided, compute time?

But he knew that eventually the beasts must get their fill and
leave. After them, however, there would be the hyaenodons and the
jackals with their fierce cousins, the wild dogs. As he watched
these, sitting at a respectful distance from the tigers or
slinking hungrily in the background, he realized that they might
easily prove as much of a bar to his escape as the saber-tooth
tigers themselves.

The hyaenodons especially were most discouraging to
contemplate. Their bodies were as large as that of a full grown
mastiff. They walked upon short, powerful legs and their broad
jaws were massive and strong. Dark, shaggy hair covered their
backs and sides, turning to white upon their breasts and
bellies.

Gnawing hunger assailed Jason Gridley and also an overpowering
desire to sleep, convincing him that he must have been many hours
away from the O-220, and yet the beasts beneath him continued to
feed.

A dead thag lay at the foot of the tree in which the American
kept his lonely vigil. So far it had not been fed upon and the
nearest tiger was fifty yards away. Gridley was hungry, so hungry
that he eyed the thag covetously. He glanced about him, measuring
the distance from the tree to the nearest tiger and trying to
compute the length of time that it would take him to clamber back
to safety should he descend to the ground. He had seen the tigers
in action and he knew how swiftly they could cover ground and
that one of them could leap almost as high as the branch upon
which he sat.

Altogether the chance of success seemed slight for the plan he
had in mind in the event that the nearest tiger took exception to
it. But great though the danger was, hunger won. Gridley drew his
hunting knife and lowered himself gently to the ground, keeping
an alert eye upon the nearest tiger. Quickly he sliced several
long strips of flesh from the thag's hind quarter.

The tarag feeding fifty yards away looked up. Jason sliced
another strip, returned his knife to its sheath and climbed
quickly back to safety. The tarag lowered its head upon its kill
and closed its eyes.

The American gathered dead twigs and small branches that still
clung to the living tree and with them he built a small fire in a
great crotch.

Here he cooked some of the meat of the thag; the edges were
charred, the inside was raw, but Jason Gridley could have sworn
that never before in his life had he tasted such delicious
food.

How long his culinary activities employed him, he did not
know, but when he glanced down again at the clearing he saw that
most of the tigers had quitted their kills and were moving
leisurely toward the forest, their distended bellies proclaiming
how well they had surfeited themselves. And as the tigers
retired, the hyaenodons, the wild dogs and the jackals closed in
to the feast.

The hyaenodons kept the others away and Gridley saw another
long wait ahead of him; nor was he mistaken. And when the
hyaenodons had had their fill and gone, the wild dogs came and
kept the jackals away.

In the meantime Gridley had fashioned a rude platform among
the branches of the tree, and here he had slept, awakening
refreshed but assailed by a thirst that was almost
overpowering.

The wild dogs were leaving now and Gridley determined to wait
no longer. Already the odor of decaying flesh was warning him of
worse to come and there was the fear too that the tigers might
return to their kills.

Descending from the tree he skirted the clearing, keeping
close to the forest and searching for the trail by which his
party had entered the clearing. The wild dogs, slinking away,
turned to growl at him, baring menacing fangs. But knowing how
well their bellies were filled, he entertained little fear of
them; while for the jackals he harbored that contempt which is
common among all creatures.

Gridley was dismayed to note that many trails entered the
clearing; nor could he recognize any distinguishing mark that
might suggest the one by which he had come. Whatever footprints
his party had left had been entirely obliterated by the pads of
the carnivores.

He tried to reconstruct his passage across the clearing to the
tree in which he had found safety and by this means he hit upon a
trail to follow, although he had no assurance that it was the
right trail. The baffling noonday sun shining down upon him
seemed to taunt him with his helplessness.

As he proceeded alone down the lonely trail, realizing that at
any instant he might come face to face with some terrible beast
of a long dead past, Jason Gridley wondered how the ape-like
progenitors of man had survived to transmit any of their
characteristics however unpleasant to a posterity. That he could
live to reach the O-220 he much doubted. The idea that he might
live to take a mate and raise a family was preposterous.

While the general aspect of the forest through which he was
passing seemed familiar, he realized that this might be true no
matter what trail he was upon and now he reproached himself for
not having had the trees along the trail blazed. What a stupid
ass he had been, he thought; but his regrets were not so much for
himself as for the others, whose safety had been in his
hands.

Never in his life had Jason Gridley felt more futile or
helpless. To trudge ceaselessly along that endless trail, having
not the slightest idea whether it led toward the O-220 or in the
opposite direction was depressing, even maddening; yet there was
naught else to do. And always that damned noon-day sun staring
unblinkingly down upon him--the cruel sun that could see his
ship, but would not lead him to it.

His thirst was annoying, but not yet overpowering, when he
came to a small stream that was crossed by the trail. Here he
drank and rested for a while, built a small fire, cooked some
more of his thag meat, drank again and took up his weary
march--but much refreshed.

Aboard the O-220, as the hours passed and hope waned, the
spirit of the remaining officers and members of the crew became
increasingly depressed as apprehension for the safety of their
absent comrades increased gradually until it became eventually an
almost absolute conviction of disaster.

"They have been gone nearly seventy-two hours now," said
Zuppner, who, with Dorf and Hines, spent most of his time in the
upper observation cabin or pacing the narrow walkingway along the
ship's back. "I never felt helpless before in my life," he
continued ruefully, "but I am free to admit that I don't know
what in the devil to do."

"It just goes to show," said Hines, "how much we depend upon
habit and custom and precedence in determining all our action
even in the face of what we are pleased to call emergency. Here
there is no custom, habit or precedence to guide us."

"We have only our own resources to fall back upon," said Dorf,
"and it is humiliating to realize that we have no resources."

"Not under the conditions that surround us," said Zuppner. "On
the outer crust there would be no question but that we should
cruise around in search of the missing members of our party. We
could make rapid excursions, returning to our base often; but
here in Pellucidar if we should lose sight of our base there is
not one of us who believes he could return the ship to this same
anchorage. And that is a chance we cannot take for the only hope
those men have is that the ship shall be here when they
return."

One hundred and fifty feet below them Robert Jones leaned far
out of the galley doorway in an effort to see the noonday sun
shining down upon the ship. His simple, good-natured face wore a
puzzled expression not un-tinged with awe, and as he drew back
into the galley he extracted a rabbit's foot from his trousers
pocket. Gently he touched each eye with it and then rubbed it
vigorously on the top of his head at the same time muttering
incoherently below his breath.

From the vantage point of the walkingway far above, Lieutenant
Hines scanned the landscape in all directions through powerful
glasses as he had done for so long that it seemed he knew every
shrub and tree and blade of grass within sight. The wild life of
savage Pellucidar that crossed and re-crossed the clearing had
long since become an old story to these three men. Again and
again as one animal or another had emerged from the distant
forest the glasses had been leveled upon it until it could be
identified as other than man; but now Hines voiced a sudden,
nervous exclamation.

"What is it?" demanded Zuppner. "What do you see?"

"It's a man!" exclaimed Hines. "I'm sure of it."

"Where?" asked Dorf, as he and Zuppner raised their glasses to
their eyes.

"About two points to port."

"I see it," said Dorf. "It's either Gridley or Von Horst, and
whoever it is he is alone."

"Take ten of the crew at once, Lieutenant," said Zuppner,
turning to Dorf. "See that they are well armed and go out and
meet him. Lose no time," he shouted after the Lieutenant, who had
already started down the climbing shaft.

The two officers upon the top of the O-220 watched Dorf and
his party as it set out to meet the man they could see trudging
steadily toward the ship. They watched them as they approached
one another, though, owing to the contour of the land, which was
rolling, neither Dorf nor the man he had gone to meet caught
sight of one another until they were less than a hundred yards
apart. It was then that the Lieutenant recognized the other as
Jason Gridley.

As they hastened forward and clasped hands it was typical of
the man that Gridley's first words were an inquiry relative to
the missing members of the party.

Dorf shook his head. "You are the only one that has returned,"
he said.

The eager light died out of Gridley's eyes and he suddenly
looked very tired and much older as he greeted the engineers and
mechanics who made up the party that had come to escort him back
to the ship.

"I have been within sight of the ship for a long time," he
said. "How long, I do not know. I broke my watch back in the
forest a way trying to beat a tiger up a tree. Then another one
treed me just on the edge of the clearing in plain view of the
ship. It seems as though I have been there a week. How long have
I been gone, Dorf?"

"About seventy-two hours."

Gridley's face brightened. "Then there is no reason to give up
hope yet for the others," he said. "I honestly thought I had been
gone a week. I have slept several times, I never could tell how
long; and then I have gone for what seemed long periods without
sleep because I became very tired and excessively hungry and
thirsty."

During the return march to the ship Jason insisted upon
hearing a detailed account of everything that had happened since
his departure, but it was not until they had joined Zuppner and
Hines that he narrated the adventures that had befallen him and
his companions during their ill-fated expedition.

"The first thing I want," he told them after he had been
greeted by Zuppner and Hines, "is a bath, and then if you will
have Bob cook a couple of cows I'll give you the details of the
expedition while I am eating them. A couple of handfuls of Bos
Primigenus and some wild fruit have only whetted my appetite.

A half hour later, refreshed by a bath, a shave and fresh
clothing, he joined them in the mess room.

As the three men seated themselves, Robert Jones entered from
the galley, his black face wreathed in smiles.

"Ah'm suttinly glad to see you all, Mas' Jason," said Robert.
"Ah knew sumpin was a-goin' to happen though--Ah knew we was
a-goin' to have good luck."

"Well, I'm glad to be back, Bob," said Gridley, "and I don't
know of anyone that I am happier to see than you, for I sure have
missed your cooking. But what made you think that we're going to
have good luck?"

"Ah jes had a brief conversation with mah rabbit's foot. Dat
ole boy he never fails me. We suah be out o' luck if Ah lose
him."

"Oh, I've seen lots of rabbits around, Bob," said Zuppner. "We
can get you a bushel of them in no time."

"Yes suh, Cap'n, but you can't get 'em in de dahk of de moon
where dey ain't no dahk an' dey ain't no moon, an' othe'wise dey
lacks efficiency."

"It's a good thing, then, that we brought you along," said
Jason, "and a mighty good thing for Pellucidar, for she never has
had a really effective rabbit's foot before in all her existence.
But I can see where you're going to need that rabbit's foot
pretty badly yourself in about a minute, Bob."

"How's dat, suh?" demanded Robert.

'The spirits tell me that something is going to happen to you
if you don't get food onto this table in a hurry," laughed
Gridley.

"Yes suh, comin' right up," exclaimed the black as he hastened
into the galley.

As Gridley ate, he went over the adventures of the last
seventy-two hours in careful detail and the three men sought to
arrive at some definite conjecture as to the distance he had
covered from the ship and the direction.

"Do you think that you could lead another party to the
clearing where you became separated from Von Horst and the
Waziri?" asked Zuppner.

"Yes, of course I could," replied Gridley, "because from the
point that we entered the forest we blazed the trees up to the
time we reached the trail, which we followed to the left. In fact
I would not be needed at all and if we decide to send out such a
party, I shall not accompany it."

The other officers looked at him in surprise and for a moment
there was an embarrassed silence.

"I have what I consider a better plan," continued Gridley.
"There are twenty-seven of us left. In the event of absolute
necessity, twelve men can operate the ship. That will leave
fifteen to form a new searching party. Leaving me out, you would
have fourteen, and after you have heard my plan, if you decide
upon sending out such a party, I suggest that Lieutenant Dorf
command it, leaving you, Captain Zuppner, and Hines to navigate
the ship in the event that none of us returns, or that you
finally decide to set out in search of us."

"But I thought that you were not going," said Zuppner.

"I am not going with the searching party. I am going alone in
the scout plane, and my advice would be that you send out no
searching party for at least twenty-four hours after I depart,
for in that time I shall either have located those who are
missing or have failed entirely."

Zuppner shook his head, dubiously. "Hines, Dorf and I have
discussed the feasibility of using the scout plane," he said.
"Hines was very anxious to make the attempt although he realizes
better than any of us that once a pilot is out of sight of the
O-220 he may never be able to locate it again, for you must
remember that we know nothing concerning any of the landmarks of
the country in the direction that our search must be
prosecuted."

"I have taken all that into consideration," replied Gridley,
"and I realize that it is at best but a forlorn hope."

"Let me undertake it," said Hines. "I have had more flying
experience than any of you with the possible exception of Captain
Zuppner, and it is out of the question that we should risk losing
him."

"Any one of you three is probably better fitted to undertake
such a flight than I," replied Gridley; "but that does not
relieve me of the responsibility. I am more responsible than any
other member of this party for our being where we are and,
therefore, my responsibility for the safety of the missing
members of the expedition is greater than that of any of the rest
of you. Under the circumstances, then, I could not permit anyone
else to undertake this flight. I think that you will all
understand and appreciate how I feel and that you will do me the
favor to interpose no more objection."

It was several minutes thereafter before anyone spoke, the
four seeming to be immersed in the business of sipping their
coffee and smoking their cigarettes. It was Zuppner who broke the
silence.

"Before you undertake this thing," he said, "you should have a
long sleep, and in the meantime we will get the plane out and
have it gone over thoroughly. You must have every chance for
success that we can give you."

"Thank you!" said Gridley. "I suppose you are right about the
sleep. I hate to waste the time, but if you will call me the
moment that the ship is ready I shall go to my cabin at once and
get such sleep as I can in the meantime."

While Gridley slept, the scout plane, carried aft in the keel
cabin, was lowered to the ground, where it underwent a careful
inspection and test by the engineers and officers of the
O-220.

Even before the plane was ready Gridley appeared at the cabin
door of the O-220 and descended to the ground.

"You did not sleep long," said Zuppner.

"I do not know how long," said Gridley, "but I feel rested and
anyway I could not have slept longer, knowing that those fellows
are out there somewhere waiting and hoping for succor."

"What route do you expect to follow," asked Zuppner, "and how
are you planning to insure a reasonable likelihood of your being
able to return?"

"I shall fly directly over the forest as far as I think it at
all likely that they could have marched in the time that they
have been absent, assuming that they became absolutely confused
and have traveled steadily away from the ship. As soon as I have
gained sufficient altitude to make any observation I shall try
and spot some natural landmark, like a mountain or a body of
water, near the ship and from time to time, as I proceed, I shall
make a note of similar landmarks, I believe that in this way I
can easily find my way back, since at the furthest I cannot
proceed over two hundred and fifty miles from the O-220 and
return to it with the fuel that I can carry.

"After I have reached the furthest possible limits that I
think the party could have strayed, I shall commence circling,
depending upon the noise of the motor to attract their attention
and, of course, assuming that they will find some means of
signaling their presence to me, which they can do even in wooded
country by building smudges."

"You expect to land?" inquired Zuppner, nodding at the heavy
rifle which Gridley carried.

"If I find them in open country, I shall land; but even if I
do not find them it may be necessary for me to come down and my
recent experiences have taught me not to venture far in
Pellucidar without a rifle."

After a careful inspection, Gridley shook hands with the three
remaining officers and bid farewell to the ship's company, all of
whom were anxious observers of his preparation for departure.

"Good-bye, old man," said Zuppner, "and may God and luck go
with you."

Gridley pressed the hand of the man he had come to look upon
as a staunch and loyal friend, and then took his seat in the open
cockpit of the scout plane. Two mechanics spun the propeller, the
motor roared and a moment later the block was kicked away and the
plane rolled out across the grassy meadowland towards the forest
at the far side. The watchers saw it rise swiftly and make a
great circle and they knew that Gridley was looking for a
landmark. Twice it circled above the open plain and then darted
away across the forest.

It had not been until he made that first circle that Jason
Gridley had realized the handicap that this horizonless landscape
of Pellucidar had placed upon his chances of return. He had
thought of a mountain standing boldly out against the sky, for
such a landmark would have been almost constantly within the
range of his vision during the entire flight.

There were mountains in the distance, but they stood out
against no background or blue sky nor upon any horizon. They
simply merged with the landscape beyond them, curving upward in
the distance. Twice he circled, his keen eyes searching for any
outstanding point in the topography of the country beneath him,
but there was nothing that was more apparent than the grassy
plain upon which the O-220 rested.

He felt that he could not waste time and fuel by searching
longer for a landmark that did not exist, and while he realized
that the plain would be visible for but a comparatively short
distance he was forced to accept it as his sole guide in lieu of
a better one.

Roaring above the leafy roof of the primeval forest, all that
transpired upon the ground below was hidden from him and it was
tantalizing to realize that he might have passed directly over
the heads of the comrads he sought, yet there was no other way.
Returning, he would either circle or hold an exaggerated zig-zag
course, watching carefully for sign of a signal.

For almost two hours Jason Gridley held a straight course,
passing over forest, plain and rolling, hilly country, but
nowhere did he see any sign of those he sought. Already he had
reached the limit of the distance he had planned upon coming when
there loomed ahead of him in the distance a range of lofty
mountains. These alone would have determined him to turn back,
since his judgment told him that the lost members of the party,
should they have chanced to come this far, would be now have
realized that they were traveling in the wrong direction.

As he banked to turn he caught a glimpse out of the corner of
an eye of something in the air above him and looking quickly
back, Jason Gridley caught his breath in astonishment.

Hovering now, almost above him, was a gigantic creature, the
enormous spread of those wings almost equalled that of the plane
he was piloting. The man had a single glimpse of tremendous jaws,
armed with mighty teeth, in the very instant that he realized
that this mighty anachronism was bent upon attacking him.

Gridley was flying at an altitude of about three thousand feet
when the huge pteranodon launched itself straight at the ship.
Jason sought to elude it by diving. There was a terrific crash, a
roar, a splintering of wood and a grinding of metal as the
pteranodon swooped down upon its prey and full into the
propeller.

What happened then, happened so quickly that Jason Gridley
could not have reconstructed the scene five seconds later.

The plane turned completely over and at the same instant
Gridley jumped. He jerked the rip cord of his parachute.
Something struck him on the head and he lost consciousness.


VI
A PHORORHACOS OF THE MIOCENE


"WHERE ARE your people?" Tar-gash asked again.

Tarzan shook his head. "I do not know," he said.

"Where is your country?" asked Tar-gash.

"It is a long way off," replied the ape-man. "It is not in
Pellucidar;" but that the Sagoth could not understand any more
than he could understand that a creature might be lost at all,
for inherent in him was that same homing instinct that marked all
the creatures of Pellucidar and which constitutes a wise
provision of nature in a world without guiding celestial
bodies.

Had it been possible to transport Tar-gash instantly to any
point within that mighty inner world, elsewhere than upon the
surface of an ocean, he could have unerringly found his way to
the very spot where he was born, and because that power was
instinctive he could not understand why Tarzan did not possess
it.

"I know where there is a tribe of men," he said, presently.
"Perhaps they are your people. I shall lead you to them."

As Tarzan had no idea as to the direction in which the ship
lay and as it was remotely possible that Tar-gash was referring
to the members of the O-220 expedition, he felt that he was as
well off following where Tar-gash led as elsewhere, and so he
signified his readiness to accompany the Sagoth.

"How long since you saw this tribe of men," he asked after a
while, "and how long have they lived where you saw them?"

Upon the Sagoth's reply to these questions, the ape-man felt
that he might determine the possibility of the men to whom
Tar-gash referred being the members of his own party, for if they
were newcomers in the district then the chances were excellent
that they were the people he sought; but his questions elicited
no satisfactory reply for the excellent reason that time meant
nothing to Tar-gash. And so the two set out upon a leisurely
search for the tribe of men that Tar-gash knew of. It was
leisurely because for Tar-gash time did not exist; nor had it
ever been a very important factor in the existence of the
ape-man, except in occasional moments of emergency.

They were a strangely assorted pair--one a creature just
standing upon the threshold of humanity, the other an English
Lord in his own right, who was, at the same time, in many
respects as primitive as the savage, shaggy bull into whose
companionship chance had thrown him.

At first Tar-gash had been inclined to look with contempt upon
this creature of another race, which he considered far inferior
to his own in strength, agility, courage and woodcraft, but he
soon came to hold the ape-man in vast respect. And because he
could respect his prowess he became attached to him in bonds of
loyalty that were as closely akin to friendship as the savage
nature of his primitive mind permitted.

They hunted together and fought together. They swung through
the trees when the great cats hunted upon the ground, or they
followed game trails ages old beneath the hoary trees of
Pellucidar or out across her rolling, grassy, flower-spangled
meadowland.

They lived well upon the fat of the land for both were mighty
hunters.

Tarzan fashioned a new bow and arrows and a stout spear, and
these, at first, the Sagoth refused even to notice, but presently
when he saw how easily and quickly they brought game to their
larder he evinced a keen interest and Tarzan taught him how to
use the weapons and later how to fashion them.

The country through which they traveled was well watered and
was alive with game. It was partly wooded with great stretches of
open land, where tremendous herds of herbivores grazed beneath
the eternal noonday sun, and because of these great herds the
beasts of prey were numerous--and such beasts!

Tarzan had thought that there was no world like his own world
and no jungle like his own jungle, but the more deeply he dipped
into the wonders of Pellucidar the more enamored he became of
this savage, primitive world, teeming with the wild life he loved
best. That there were few men was Pellucidar's chiefest
recommendation. Had there been none the ape-man might have
considered this the land of ultimate perfection, for who is there
more conversant with the cruelty and inconsideration of man than
the savage beasts of the jungle?

The friendship that had developed between Tarzan and the
Sagoth--and that was primarily based upon the respect which each
felt for the prowess of the other--increased as each seemed to
realize other admirable, personal qualities and characteristics
in his companion, not the least of which being a common
taciturnity. They spoke only when conversation seemed necessary,
and that, in reality, was seldom.

If man spoke only when he had something worth while to say and
said that as quickly as possible, ninety-eight per cent of the
human race might as well be dumb, thereby establishing a heavenly
harmony from pate to tonsil.

And so the companionship of Tar-gash, coupled with the romance
of strange sights and sounds and odors in this new world, acted
upon the ape-man as might a strong drug, filling him with
exhilaration and dulling his sense of responsibility, so that the
necessity of finding his people dwindled to a matter of minor
importance. Had he known that some of them were in trouble his
attitude would have changed immediately, but this he did not
know. On the contrary he was only aware that they had every
facility for insuring their safety and their ultimate return to
the outer world and that his absence would not handicap them in
any particular. However, when he did give the matter thought he
knew that he must return to them, that he must find them, and
that sooner or later he must go back with them to the world from
which they had come.

But all such considerations were quite remote from his
thoughts as he and Tar-gash were crossing a rolling, tree-dotted
plain in their search for the tribe of men to which the Sagoth
was guiding him. By comparison with other plains they had
crossed, this one seemed strangely deserted, but the reason for
this was evident in the close-cropped grass which suggested that
great herds had grazed it off before moving on to new pastures.
The absence of life and movement was slightly depressing and
Tarzan found himself regretting the absence of even the dangers
of the teeming land through which they had just come.

They were well out toward the center of the plain and could
see the solid green of a great forest curving upward into the
hazy distance when the attention of both was attracted by a
strange, droning noise that brought them to a sudden halt.
Simultaneously both turned and looked backward and up into the
sky from which the sound seemed to come.

Far above and just emerging from the haze of the distance was
a tiny speck. "Quick!" exclaimed Tar-gash. "It is a thipdar," and
motioning Tarzan to follow him he ran swiftly to concealment
beneath a large tree.

"What is a thipdar?" asked Tarzan, as the two halted beneath
the friendly shade.

"A thipdar," said the Sagoth, "is a thipdar;" nor could he
describe it more fully other than to add that the thipdars were
sometimes used by the Mahars either to protect them or to hunt
their food.

"Is the thipdar a living thing?" demanded Tarzan.

"Yes," replied Tar-gash. "It lives and is very strong and very
fierce."

"Then that is not a thipdar," said Tarzan.

"What is it then?" demanded the Sagoth.

"It is an aeroplane," replied Tarzan.

"What is that?" inquired the Sagoth.

"It would be hard to explain it to you," replied the ape-man.
"It is something that the men of my world build and in which they
fly through the air," and as he spoke he stepped out into the
opening, where he might signal the pilot of the plane, which he
was positive was the one carried by the O-220 and which, he
assumed, was prosecuting a search for him.

"Come back," exclaimed Tar-gash. "You cannot fight a thipdar.
It will swoop down and carry you off if you are out in the
open."

"It will not harm me," said Tarzan. "One of my friends is in
it."

"And you will be in it, too, if you do not come back under the
tree," replied Tar-gash.

As the plane approached, Tarzan ran around in a small circle
to attract the pilot's attention, stopping occasionally to wave
his arms, but the plane sped on above him and it was evident that
its pilot had not seen him.

Until it faded from sight in the distance, Tarzan of the Apes
stood upon the lonely plain, watching the ship that was bearing
his comrade away from him.

The sight of the ship awakened Tarzan to a sense of his
responsibility. He realized now that someone was risking his life
to save him and with this thought came a determination to exert
every possible effort to locate the O-220.

The passage of the plane opened many possibilities for
conjecture. If it was circling, which was possible, the direction
of its flight as it passed over him would have no bearing upon
the direction of the O-220, and if it were not circling, then how
was he to know whether it was traveling away from the ship in the
beginning of its quest, or was returning to it having concluded
its flight.

"That was not a thipdar," said Tar-gash, coming from beneath
the tree and standing at Tarzan's side. "It is a creature that I
have never seen before. It is larger and must be even more
terrible than a thipdar. It must have been very angry, for it
growled terribly all the time."

"It is not alive," said Tarzan. "It is something that the men
of my country build that they may fly through the air. Riding in
it is one of my friends. He is looking for me."

The Sagoth shook his head. "I am glad he did not come down,"
he said. "He was either very angry or very hungry, otherwise he
would not have growled so loudly."

It was apparent to Tarzan that Tar-gash was entirely incapable
of comprehending his explanation of the aeroplane and that he
would always believe it was a huge, flying reptile; but that was
of no importance--the thing that troubled Tarzan being the
question of the direction in which he should now prosecute his
search for the O-220, and eventually he determined to follow in
the direction taken by the airship, for as this coincided with
the direction in which Tar-gash assured him he would find the
tribe of human beings for which they were searching, it seemed
after all the wisest course to pursue.

The drone of the motor had died away in the distance when
Tarzan and Tar-gash took up their interrupted journey across the
plain and into broken country of low, rocky hills.

The trail, which was well marked and which Tar-gash said led
through the hills, followed the windings of a shallow canyon,
which was rimmed on one side by low cliffs, in the face of which
there were occasional caves and crevices. The bottom of the
canyon was strewn with fragments of rock of various sizes. The
vegetation was sparse and there was every indication of an
aridity such as Tarzan had not previously encountered since he
left the O-220, and as it seemed likely that both game and water
would be scarce here, the two pushed on at a brisk, swinging
walk.

It was very quiet and Tarzan's ears were constantly upon the
alert to catch the first sound of the hum of the motor of the
returning aeroplane, when suddenly the silence was shattered by
the sound of hoarse screeching which seemed to be coming from a
point further up the canyon.

Tar-gash halted. "Dyal," he said.

Tarzan looked at the Sagoth questioningly.

"It is a Dyal," repeated Tar-gash, "and it is angry."

"What is a Dyal?" asked Tarzan.

"It is a terrible bird," replied the Sagoth; "but its meat is
good, and Tar-gash is hungry."

That was enough. No matter how terrible the Dyal might be, it
was meat and Tar-gash was hungry, and so the two beasts of prey
crept warily forward, stalking their quarry. A vagrant breeze,
wafting gently down the canyon, brought to the nostrils of the
ape-man a strange, new scent. It was a bird scent, slightly
suggestive of the scent of an ostrich, and from its volume Tarzan
guessed that it might come from a very large bird, a suggestion
that was borne out by the loud screeching of the creature,
intermingled with which was a scratching and a scraping
sound.

Tar-gash, who was in the lead and who was taking advantage of
all the natural shelter afforded by the fragments of rock with
which the canyon bed was strewn, came to a halt upon the lower
side of a great boulder, behind which he quickly withdrew, and as
Tarzan joined him he signalled the ape-man to look around the
corner of the boulder.

Following the suggestion of his companion, Tarzan saw the
author of the commotion that had attracted their attention. Being
a savage jungle beast, he exhibited no outward sign of the
astonishment he felt as he gazed upon the mighty creature that
was clawing frantically at a crevice in the cliffside.

To Tarzan it was a nameless creature of another world. To
Tar-gash it was simply a Dyal. Neither knew that he was looking
upon a Phororhacos of the Miocene. They saw a huge creature whose
crested head, larger than that of a horse, towered eight feet
above the ground. Its powerful, curved beak gaped wide as it
screeched in anger. It beat its short, useless wings in a frenzy
of rage as it struck with its mighty three-toed talons at
something just within the fissure before it. And then it was that
Tarzan saw that the thing at which it struck was a spear, held by
human hands--a pitifully inadequate weapon with which to attempt
to ward off the attack of the mighty Dyal.

As Tarzan surveyed the creature he wondered how Tar-gash,
armed only with his puny club, might hope to pit himself in
successful combat against it. He saw the Sagoth creep stealthily
out from behind their rocky shelter and move slowly to another
closer to the Dyal and behind it, and so absorbed was the bird in
its attack upon the man within the fissure that it did not notice
the approach of the enemy in its rear.

The moment that Tar-gash was safely concealed behind the new
shelter, Tarzan followed him and now they were within fifty feet
of the great bird.

The Sagoth, grasping his club firmly by the small end arose
and ran swiftly from his concealment, straight toward the giant
Dyal, and Tarzan followed, fitting an arrow to his bow.

Tar-gash had covered but half the distance when the sound of
his approach attracted the attention of the bird. Wheeling about,
it discovered the two rash creatures who dared to interfere with
its attack upon its quarry and with a loud screech and wide
distended beak it charged them.

The instant that the Dyal had turned and discovered them,
Tar-gash had commenced whirling his club about his head and as
the bird charged he launched it at one of those mighty legs, and
on the instant Tarzan understood the purpose of the Sagoth's
method of attack. The heavy club, launched by the mighty muscles
of the beast man would snap the leg bone that it struck, and then
the enormous fowl would be at the mercy of the Sagoth. But if it
did not strike the leg, what then? Almost certain death for
Tar-gash.

Tarzan had long since had reason to appreciate his companion's
savage disregard of life in the pursuit of flesh, but this seemed
the highest pinnacle to which rashness might ascend and still
remain within the realm of sanity.

And, indeed, there happened that which Tarzan had feared--the
club missed its mark. Tarzan's bow sang and an arrow sank deep
into the breast of the Dyal. Tar-gash leaped swiftly to one side,
eluding the charge, and another arrow pierced the bird's feathers
and hide. And then the ape-man sprang quickly to his right as the
avalanche of destruction bore down upon him, its speed
un-diminished by the force of the two arrows buried so deeply
within it.

Before the Dyal could turn to pursue either of them, Tar-gash
hurled a rock, many of which were scattered upon the ground about
them. It struck the Dyal upon the side of the head, momentarily
dazing him, and Tarzan drove home two more arrows. As he did so,
the Dyal wheeled drunkenly toward him and as he faced about a
great spear drove past Tarzan's shoulder and plunged deep into
the breast of the maddened creature, and to the impact of this
last missile it went down, falling almost at the feet of the
ape-man.

Ignorant though he was of the strange bird, Tarzan
nevertheless hesitated not an instant and as the Dyal fell he was
upon it with drawn hunting knife.

So quickly was he in and out that he had severed its windpipe
and was away again before he could become entangled in its death
struggle, and then it was that for the first time he saw the man
who had cast the spear.

Standing erect, a puzzled expression upon his face, was a
tall, stalwart warrior, his slightly bronzed skin gleaming in the
sunlight, his shaggy head of hair bound back by a deerskin
band.

For weapons, in addition to his spear, he carried a stone
knife, thrust into the girdle that supported his G-string. His
eyes were well set and intelligent. His features were regular and
well cut. Altogether he was as splendid a specimen of manhood as
Tarzan had ever beheld.

Tar-gash, who had recovered his club, was advancing toward the
stranger. "I am Tar-gash," he said. "I kill."

The stranger drew his stone knife and waited, looking first at
Tar-gash and then at Tarzan.

The ape-man stepped in front of Tar-gash. "Wait," he
commanded. "Why do you kill?"

"He is a gilak," replied the Sagoth.

"He saved you from the Dyal," Tarzan reminded Tar-gash. "My
arrows would not stop the bird. Had it not been for his spear,
one or both of us must have died."

The Sagoth appeared puzzled. He scratched his head in
perplexity. "But if I do not kill him, he will kill me," he said
finally.

Tarzan turned toward the stranger. "I am Tarzan," he said.
"This is Tar-gash," and he pointed at the Sagoth and waited.

"I am Thoar," said the stranger.

"Let us be friends," said Tarzan. "We have no quarrel with
you."

Again the stranger looked puzzled.

"Do you understand the language of the Sagoths?" asked Tarzan,
thinking that possibly the man might not have understood him.

Thoar nodded. "A little," he said; "but why should we be
friends?"

"Why should we be enemies?" countered the ape-man.

Thoar shook his head. "I do not know," he said. "It is always
thus."

"Together we have slain the Dyal," said Tarzan. "Had we not
come it would have killed you. Had you not cast your spear it
would have killed us. Therefore, we should be friends, not
enemies. Where are you going?"

"Back to my own country," replied Thoar, nodding in the
direction that Tarzan and Tar-gash had been travelling.

"We, too, are going in that direction," said Tarzan "Let us go
together. Six hands are better than four."

Thoar glanced at the Sagoth.

"Shall we all go together as friends, Tar-gash?" demanded
Tarzan.

"It is not done," said the Sagoth, precisely as though he had
behind him thousands of years of civilization and culture.

Tarzan smiled one of his rare smiles. "We shall do it, then,"
he said. "Come!"

As though taking it for granted that the others would obey his
command, the ape-man turned to the body of the Dyal and, drawing
his hunting knife, fell to work cutting off portions of the meat.
For a moment Thoar and Tar-gash hesitated, eyeing each other
suspiciously, and then the bronzed warrior walked over to assist
Tarzan and presently Tar-gash joined them.

Thoar exhibited keen interest in Tarzan's steel knife, which
slid so easily through the flesh while he hacked and hewed
laboriously with his stone implement; while Par-gash seemed not
particularly to notice either of the implements as he sunk his
strong fangs into the breast of the Dyal and tore away a large
hunk of the meat, which be devoured raw, Tarzan was about to do
the same, having been raised exclusively upon a diet of raw meat,
when he saw Thoar preparing to make fire, which he accomplished
by the primitive expedient of friction. The three ate in silence,
the Sagoth carrying his meat to a little distance from the
others, perhaps because in him the instinct of the wild beast was
stronger.

When they had finished they followed the trail upward toward
the pass through which it led across the hills, and as they went
Tarzan sought to question Thoar concerning his country and its
people but so limited is the primitive vocabulary of the Sagoths
and so meager Thoar's knowledge of this language that they found
communication difficult and Tarzan determined to master Thoar's
tongue.

Considerable experience in learning new dialects and languages
rendered the task far from difficult and as the ape-man never for
a moment relinquished a purpose he intended to achieve, nor ever
abandoned a task that he had set himself until it had been
successfully concluded, he made rapid progress which was greatly
facilitated by the interest which Thoar took in instructing
him.

As they reached the summit of the low hills, they saw, hazily
in the far distance, what appeared to be a range of lofty
mountains.

"There," said Thoar, pointing, "lies Zoram."

"What is Zoram?" asked Tarzan.

"It is my country," replied the warrior. "It lies in the
Mountains of the Thipdars."

This was the second time that Tarzan had heard a reference to
thipdars. Tar-gash had said the aeroplane was a thipdar and now
Thoar spoke of the Mountains of the Thipdars. "What is a
thipdar?" he asked.

Thoar looked at him in astonishment. "From what country do you
come," he demanded, "that you do not know what a thipdar is and
do not speak the language of the gilaks?"

"I am not of Pellucidar," said Tarzan.

"I could believe that," said Thoar, "if there were any other
place from which you could be, but there is not, except Molop Az,
the flaming sea upon which Pellucidar floats. But the only
inhabitants of the Molop Az are the little demons, who carry the
dead who are buried in the ground, piece by piece, down to Molop
Az, and while I have never seen one of these little demons I am
sure that they are not like you."

"No," said Tarzan, "I am not from Molop Az, yet sometimes I
have thought that the world from which I come is inhabited by
demons, both large and small."

As they hunted and ate and slept and marched together, these
three creatures found their confidence in one another increasing
so that even Tar-gash looked no longer with suspicion upon Thoar,
and though they represented three distinct periods in the ascent
of man, each separated from the other by countless thousands of
years, yet they had so much in common that the advance which man
had made from Tar-gash to Tarzan seemed scarcely a fair
recompense for the time and effort which Nature must have
expended.

Tarzan could not even conjecture the length of time he had
been absent from the O-220, but he was confident that he must be
upon the wrong trail, yet it seemed futile to turn back since he
could not possibly have any idea as to what direction he should
take. His one hope was that either he might be sighted by the
pilot of the plane, which he was certain was hunting for him, or
that the O-220, in cruising about, would eventually pass within
signaling distance of him. In the meantime he might as well be
with Tar-gash and Thoar as elsewhere.

The three had eaten and slept again and were resuming their
journey when Tarzan's keen eyes espied from the summit of a low
hill something lying upon an open plain at a considerable
distance ahead of them. He did not know what it was, but he was
sure that whatever it was, it was not a part of the natural
landscape, there being about it that indefinable suggestion of
discord, or, more properly, lack of harmony with its surroundings
that every man whose perception has not been dulled by city
dwelling will understand. And as it was almost instinctive with
Tarzan to investigate anything that he did not understand, he
turned his footsteps in the direction of the thing that he had
seen.

The object that had aroused his curiosity was hidden from him
almost immediately after he started the descent of the hill upon
which he had stood when he discovered it; nor did it come again
within the range of his vision until he was close upon it, when
to his astonishment and dismay he saw that it was the wreck of an
aeroplane.


VII
THE RED FLOWER OF ZORAM


JANA, The Red Flower of Zoram, paused and looked back across
the rocky crags behind and below her. She was very hungry and it
had been long since she had slept, for behind her, dogging her
trail, were the four terrible men from Pheli, which lies at the
foot of the Mountains of the Thipdars, beyond the land of
Zoram.

For just an instant she stood erect and then she threw herself
prone upon the rough rock, behind a jutting fragment that
partially concealed her, and here she looked back along the way
she had come, across a pathless waste of tumbled granite.
Mountain-bred, she had lived her life among the lofty peaks of
the Mountains of the Thipdars, considering contemptuously the
people of the lowland to which those who pursued her belonged.
Perchance, if they followed her here she might be forced to
concede them some measure of courage and possibly to look upon
them with a slightly lessened contempt, yet even so she would
never abate her effort to escape them.

Bred in the bone of The Red Flower was loathing of the men of
Pheli, who ventured occasionally into the fastnesses of the
Mountains of the Thipdars to steal women, for the pride and the
fame of the mountain people lay in the beauty of their girls, and
so far had this fame spread that men came from far countries, out
of the vast river basin below their lofty range, and risked a
hundred deaths in efforts to steal such a mate as Jana, The Red
Flower of Zoram.

The girl's sister, Lana, had been thus stolen, and within her
memory two other girls of Zoram, by the men from the lowland, and
so the fear, as well as the danger, was ever present. Such a fate
seemed to The Red Flower worse than death, since not only would
it take her forever from her beloved mountains, but make her a
low-country woman and her children low-country children than
which, in the eyes of the mountain people, there could be no
deeper disgrace, for the mountain men mated only with mountain
women, the men of Zoram, and Clovi, and Daroz taking mates from
their own tribes or stealing them from their neighbors.

Jana was beloved by many of the young warriors of Zoram, and
though, as yet, there had been none who had fired her own heart
to love she knew that some day she would mate with one of them,
unless in the meantime she was stolen by a warrior from another
tribe.

Were she to fall into the hands of one from either Clovi or
Daroz she would not be disgraced and she might even be happy, but
she was determined to die rather than to be taken by the men from
Pheli.

Long ago, it seemed to her now, who had no means for measuring
time, she had been searching for thipdar eggs among the lofty
crags above the caverns that were the home of her people when a
great hairy man leaped from behind a rock and endeavored to seize
her. Active as a chamois, she eluded him with ease, but he stood
between her and the village and when she sought to circle back
she discovered that he had three companions who effectually
barred her way, and then had commenced the flight and the pursuit
that had taken her far from Zoram among lofty peaks where she had
never been before.

Not far below her, four squat, hairy men had stopped to rest.
"Let us turn back," growled one. "You can never catch her, Skruk,
in country like this, which is fit only for thipdars and no place
for men."

Skruk shook his bullet head. "I have seen her," he said "and I
shall have her if I have to chase her to the shore of Molop
Az."

"Our hands are torn by the sharp rock," said another. "Our
sandals are almost gone and our feet bleed. We cannot go on. We
shall die."

"You may die," said Skruk, "but until then you shall go on. I
am Skruk, the chief, and I have spoken."

The others growled resentfully, but when Skruk took up the
pursuit again they followed him. Being from a low country they
found strenuous exertion in these high altitudes exhausting, it
is true, but the actual basis for their disinclination to
continue the pursuit was the terror which the dizzy
heights inspired in them and the perilous route along which The
Red Flower of Zoram was leading them.

From above Jana saw them ascending, and knowing that they were
again upon the right trail she stood erect in plain view of them.
Her single, soft garment made from the pelt of tarag cubs,
whipped about her naked legs, half revealing, half concealing the
rounded charms of her girlish figure. The noonday sun shone down
upon her light, bronzed skin, glistening from the naked contours
of a perfect shoulder and imparting golden glint to her hair that
was sometimes a lustrous brown and again a copper bronze. It was
piled loosely upon her head and held in place by slender, hollow
bones of the dimorphodon, a little long-tailed cousin of the
thipdar. The upper ends of these bone pins were ornamented with
carving and some of them were colored. A fillet of soft skin
ornamented in colors encircled her brow and she wore bracelets
and anklets made of the vertebrae of small animals, strung upon
leather thongs. These, too were carved and colored. Upon her feet
were stout, little sandals, soled with the hide of the mastodon
and from the center of her headband rose a single feather. At her
hip was a stone knife and in her right hand a light spear.

She stooped and picking up a small fragment of rock hurled it
down at Skruk and his companions. "Go back to your swamps, jaloks
of the low country," she cried. "The Red Flower of Zoram is not
for you," and then she turned and sped away across the pathless
granite.

To her left lay Zoram, but there was a mighty chasm between
her and the city. Along its rim she made her way, sometimes upon
its very verge, but unshaken by the frightful abyss below her.
Constantly she sought for a means of descent, since she knew that
if she could cross it she might circle back toward Zoram, but the
walls rose sheer for two thousand feet offering scarce a handhold
in a hundred feet.

As she rounded the shoulder of the peak she saw a vast country
stretching away below her--a country that she had never seen
before--and she knew that she had crossed the mighty range and
was looking on the land that lay beyond. The fissure that she had
been following she could see widening below her into a great
canyon that led out through foothills to a mighty plain. The
slopes of the lower hills were wooded and beyond the plain were
forests.

This was a new world to Jana of Zoram, but it held no lure for
her; it did not beckon to her for she knew that savage beasts and
savage men of the low countries roamed its plains and
forests.

To her right rose the mountains she had rounded; to her left
was the deep chasm, and behind her were Skruk and his three
companions.

For a moment she feared that she was trapped, but after
advancing a few yards she saw that the sheer wall of the abyss
had given way to a tumbled mass of broken ledges. But whether
there were any means of descent, even here, she did not know--she
could only hope.

From pausing often to search for a way down into the gorge,
Jana had lost precious time and now she became suddenly aware
that her pursuers were close behind her. Again she sprang
forward, leaping from rock to rock, while they redoubled their
speed and stumbled after her in pursuit, positive now that they
were about to capture her.

Jana glanced below, and a hundred feet beneath her she saw a
tumbled mass of granite that had fallen from above and formed a
wide ledge. Just ahead the mountain jutted out forming an
overhanging cliff.

She glanced back. Skruk was already in sight. He was stumbling
awkwardly along in a clumsy run and breathing heavily, but he was
very near and she must choose quickly.

There was but one way--over the edge of the cliff lay
temporary escape or certain death. A leather thong, attached a
foot below the point of her spear, she fastened around her neck,
letting the spear hang down her back, threw herself upon the
ground and slid over the edge of the cliff. Perhaps there were
handholds; perhaps not. She glanced down. The face of the cliff
was rough and not perpendicular, leaning in a little toward the
mountain. She felt about with her toes and finally she located a
protuberance that would hold her weight. Then she relinquished
her hold upon the top of the cliff with one hand and searched
about for a crevice in which to insert her fingers, or a
projection to which she could cling.

She must work quickly for already the footsteps of the
Phelians were sounding above her. She found a hold to which she
might cling with scarcely more than the tips of her fingers, but
it was something and the horror of the lowland was just above her
and only death below.

She relinquished her hold upon the cliff edge with her other
hand and lowered herself very slowly down the face of the cliff,
searching with her free foot for another support. One foot, two,
three she descended, and then attracted by a noise above her she
glanced up and saw the hairy face of Skruk just just above
her.

"Hold my legs," he shouted to his companions, at the same time
throwing himself prone at the edge of the cliff, and as they
obeyed his command he reached down a long, hairy arm to seize
Jana, and the girl was ready to let go all holds and drop to the
jagged rocks beneath when Skruk's hand should touch her. Still
looking upward she saw the fist of the Phelian but a few inches
from her face.

The outstretched fingers of the man brushed the hair of the
girl. One of her groping feet found a tiny ledge and she lowered
herself from immediate danger of capture. Skruk was furious, but
that one glance into the upturned face of the girl so close
beneath him only served to add to his determination to possess
her. No lengths were too far now to go to achieve his heart's
desire, but as he glanced down that frightful escarpment his
savage heart was filled with fear for the safety of his prize. It
seemed incredible that she had descended as far as she had
without falling and she had only commenced the descent. He knew
that he and his companions could not follow the trail that she
was blazing and he realized, too, that if they menaced her from
above she might be urged to a greater haste that would spell her
doom.

With these thoughts in his mind Skruk arose to his feet and
turned to his companions. "We shall seek an easier way down," he
said in a low voice, and then leaning over the cliff edge, he
called down to Jana. "You have beaten me, mountain girl," he
said. "I go back now to Pheli in the lowland. But I shall return
and then I shall take you with me as my mate."

"May the thipdars catch you and tear out your heart before
ever you reach Pheli again," cried Jana. But Skruk made no reply
and she saw that they were going back the way that they had come,
but she did not know that they were merely looking for an easier
way into the bottom of the gorge toward which she was descending,
or that Skruk's words had been but a ruse to throw her off her
guard.

The Red Flower of Zoram, relieved of immediate necessity for
haste, picked her way cautiously down the face of the cliff to
the first ledge of tumbled granite. Here, by good fortune, she
found the egg of a thipdar, which furnished her with both food
and drink.

It was a long, slow descent to the bottom of the gorge, but
finally the girl accomplished it, and in the meantime Skruk and
his companions had found an easier way and had descended into the
gorge several miles above her.

For a moment after she reached the bottom Jana was undecided
as to what course to pursue. Instinct urged her to turn upward
along the gorge in the general direction of Zoram, but her
judgment prompted her to descend and skirt the base of the
mountain to the left in search of an easier route back across
them. And so she came leisurely down toward the valley, while
behind her followed the four men from Pheli.

The canyon wall at her left, while constantly lessening in
height as she descended, still presented a formidable obstacle,
which it seemed wiser to circumvent than to attempt to surmount,
and so she continued on downward toward the mouth of the canyon,
where it debauched upon a lovely valley.

Never before in all her life had Jana approached the lowland
so closely. Never before had she dreamed how lovely the lowland
country might be, for she had always been taught that it was a
horrid place and no fit abode for the stalwart tribes of the
mountains.

The lure of the beauties and the new scenes unfolding before
her, coupled with a spirit of exploration which was being born
within her, led her downward into the valley much farther than
necessity demanded.

Suddenly her attention was attracted by a strange sound coming
suddenly from on high--a strange, new note in the diapason of her
savage world, and glancing upward she finally descried the
creature that must be the author of it.

A great thipdar, it appeared to be, moaning dismally far above
her head--but what a thipdar! Never in her life had she seen one
as large as this.

As she watched she saw another thipdar, much smaller, soaring
above it. Suddenly the lesser one swooped upon its intended prey.
Faintly she heard sounds of shattering and tearing and then the
two combatants plunged earthward. As they did so she saw
something separate itself from the mass and as the two creatures,
partially supported by the wings of the larger, fell in a great,
gliding spiral a most remarkable thing happened to the piece that
had broken loose. Something shot out of it and unfolded above it
in the air--something that resembled a huge toadstool, and as it
did so the swift flight of the falling body was arrested and it
floated slowly earthward, swinging back and forth as she had seen
a heavy stone do when tied at the end of a buckskin thong.

As the strange thing descended nearer, Jana's eyes went wide
in surprise and terror as she recognized the dangling body as
that of a man.

Her people had few superstitions, not having advanced
sufficiently in the direction of civilization to have developed a
priesthood, but here was something that could be explained
according to no natural logic. She had seen two great, flying
reptiles meet in battle, high in air and out of one of them had
come a man. It was incredible, but more than all it was
terrifying. And so The Red Flower of Zoram, reacting in the most
natural way, turned and fled.

Back toward the canyon she raced, but she had gone only a
short distance when, directly in front of her, she saw Skruk and
his three companions.

They, too, had seen the battle in mid-air, and they had seen
the thing floating downward toward the ground, and while they had
not recognized it for what it was they had been terrified and
were themselves upon the point of fleeing when Skruk descried
Jana running toward them. Instantly every other consideration was
submerged in his desire to have her and growling commands to his
terrified henchmen he led them toward the girl.

When Jana discovered them she turned to the right and tried to
circle about them, but Skruk sent one to intercept her and when
she turned in the opposite direction, the four spread out across
her line of retreat so as to effectually bar her escape in that
direction.

Choosing any fate rather than that which must follow her
capture by Skruk, Jana turned again and fled down the valley and
in pursuit leaped the four squat, hairy men of Pheli.

At the instant that Jason Gridley had pulled the rip cord of
his parachute a fragment of the broken propeller of his plane had
struck him a glancing blow upon the head, and when he retained
consciousness he found himself lying upon a bed of soft grasses
at the head of a valley, where a canyon, winding out of lofty
mountains, opened onto leveller land.

Disgusted by the disastrous end of his futile search for his
companions, Gridley arose and removed the parachute harness. He
was relieved to discover that he had suffered no more serious
injury than a slight abrasion of the skin upon one temple.

His first concern was for his ship and though he knew that it
must be a total wreck he hoped against hope that he might at
least salvage his rifle and ammunition from it. But even as the
thought entered his mind it was forced into the background by a
chorus of savage yelps and growls that caused him to turn his
eyes quickly to the right. At the summit of a little rise of
ground a short distance away he saw four of the ferocious wolf
dogs of Pellucidar. As hyaenodons they were known to the
paleontologists of the outer crust, and as jaloks to the men of
the inner world. As large as full grown mastiffs they stood there
upon their short, powerful legs, their broad, strong jaws parted
in angry growls, their snarling lips drawn back to reveal their
powerful fangs.

As he discovered them Jason became aware that their attention
was not directed upon him--that they seemed not as yet to have
discovered him--and as he looked in the direction that they were
looking he was astounded to see a girl running swiftly toward
them, and a short distance behind the girl four men, who were
apparently pursuing her.

As the vicious growls of the jaloks broke angrily upon the
comparative silence of the scene, the girl paused and it was
evident that she had not before been aware of the presence of
this new menace. She glanced at them and then back at her
pursuers.

The hyaenodons advanced toward her at an easy trot. In piteous
bewilderment she glanced about her. There was but one way open
for escape and then as she turned to flee in that direction her
eyes fell upon Jason Gridley, straight ahead in her path of
flight and again she hesitated.

To the man came an intuitive understanding of her quandary.
Menaced from the rear and upon two sides by known enemies, she
was suddenly faced by what might indeed be another, cutting off
all hope of retreat.

Acting impulsively and in accordance with the code that
dominates his kind, Gridley ran toward the girl, shouting words
of encouragement and motioning her to come to him.

Shruk and his companions were closing in upon her from behind
and from her right, while upon her left came the jaloks. For just
an instant longer, she hesitated and then seemingly determined to
place her fate in the hands of an unknown, rather than surrender
it to the inevitable doom which awaited her either at the hands
of the Phelians or the fangs of the jaloks, she turned and sped
toward Gridley, and behind her came the four beasts and the four
men.

As Gridley ran forward to meet the girl he drew one of his
revolvers, a heavy .45 caliber Colt.

The hyaenodons were charging now and the leader was close
behind her, and at that instant Jana tripped and fell, and
simultaneously Jason reached her side, but so close was the
savage beast that when Jason fired the hyaenodon's body fell
across the body of the girl.

The shot, a startling sound to which none of them was
accustomed, brought the other hyaenodons to a sudden stop, as
well as the four men, who were racing rapidly forward under
Skruk's command in an effort to save the girl from the
beasts.

Quickly rolling the body of the jalok from its intended
victim, Jason lifted the girl to her feet and as he did so she
snatched her stone knife from its scabbard. Jason Gridley did not
know how near he was to death at that instant. To Jana, every man
except the men of Zoram was a natural enemy. The first law of
nature prompted her to kill lest she be killed, but in the
instant before she struck the blade home she saw something in the
eyes of this man, something in the expression upon his face that
she had never seen in the eyes or face of any man before. As
plainly as though it had been spoken in words she understood that
this stranger was prompted by solicitousness for her safety; that
he was prompted by a desire to befriend rather than to harm her,
and though in common with the jaloks and the Phelians she had
been terrified by the loud noise and the smoke that had burst
from the strange stick in his hand she knew that this had been
the means that he had taken to protect her from the jaloks.

Her knife hand dropped to her side, and, as a slow smile
lighted the face of the stranger, The Red Flower of Zoram smiled
back in response.

They stood as they had when he had lifted her from the ground,
his left arm about her shoulders supporting her and he maintained
this unconscious gesture of protection as he turned to face the
girl's enemies, who, after their first fright, seemed on the
point of returning to the attack.

Two of the hyaenodons, however, had transferred their
attention to Skruk and his companions, while the third was
slinking bare fanged, toward Jason and Jana.

The men of Pheli stood ready to receive the charge of the
hyaenodons, having taken positions in line, facing their
attackers, and at sufficient intervals to permit them properly to
wield their clubs. As the beasts charged two of the men hurled
their weapons, each singling out one of the fierce carnivores.
Skruk hurled his weapon with the greater accuracy, breaking one
of the forelegs of the beast attacking him, and as it went down
the Phelian standing next to Skruk leaped forward and rained
heavy blows upon its skull.

The cudgel aimed at the other beast struck it a glancing blow
upon the shoulder, but did not stop it and an instant later it
was upon the Phelian whose only defense now was his crude stone
knife. But his companion, who had reserved his club for such an
emergency, leaped in and swung lustily at the savage brute, while
Skruk and the other, having disposed of their adversary, came to
the assistance of their fellows.

The savage battle between men and beast went unnoticed by
Jason, whose whole attention was occupied by the fourth wolfdog
as it moved forward to attack him and his companion.

Jana, fully aware that the attention of each of the men was
fully centered upon the attacking beasts, realized that now was
the opportune moment to make a break for freedom. She felt the
arm of the stranger about her shoulders, but it rested there
lightly--so lightly that she might easily disengage herself by a
single, quick motion. But there was something in the feel of that
arm about her that imparted to her a sense of greater safety than
she had felt since she had left the caverns of her people
--perhaps the protective instinct which dominated the man
subconsciously exerted its natural reaction upon the girl to the
end that instead of fleeing she was content to remain, sensing
greater safety where she was than elsewhere.

And then the fourth hyaenodon charged, growling, to be met by
the roaring bark of the Colt. The creature stumbled and went
down, stopped by the force of the heavy charge--but only for an
instant--again it was up, maddened by pain, desperate in the face
of death. Bloody foam crimsoned its jowls as it leaped for
Jason's throat.

Again the Colt spoke, and then the man went down beneath the
heavy body of the wolf dog, and at the same instant the Phelians
dispatched the second of the beasts which had attacked them.

Jason Gridley was conscious of a great weight upon him as he
was borne to the ground and he sought to fend those horrid jaws
from his throat by interposing his left forearm, but the jaws
never closed and when Gridley struggled from beneath the body of
the beast and scrambled to his feet he saw the girl tugging upon
the shaft of her crude, stone-tipped spear in an effort to drag
it from the body of the jalok.

Whether his last bullet or the spear had dispatched the beast
the man did not know, and he was only conscious of gratitude and
admiration for the brave act of the slender girl, who had stood
her ground at his side, facing the terrible beast without loss of
poise or resourcefulness.

The four jaloks lay dead, but Jason Gridley's troubles were by
no means over, for scarcely had he arisen after the killing of
the second beast when the girl seized him by the arm and pointed
toward something behind him.

"They are coming," she said. "They will kill you and take me.
Oh, do not let them take me!"

Jason did not understand a word that she had said, but it was
evident from her tone of voice and from the expression upon her
beautiful face that she was more afraid of the four men
approaching them than she had been of the hyaenodons, and as he
turned to face them he could not wonder, for the men of Pheli
looked quite as brutal as the hyaenodons and there was nothing
impressive or magnificent in their appearance as there had been
in the mien of the savage carnivores--a fact which is almost
universally noticeable when a comparison is made between the
human race and the so-called lower orders.

Gridley raised his revolver and levelled it at the leading
Phelian, who happened to be another than Skruk. "Beat it!" he
said. "Your faces frighten the young lady."

"I am Gluf," said the Phelian. "I kill."

"If I could understand you I might agree with you," replied
Jason, "but your exuberant whiskers and your diminutive forehead
suggest that you are all wet."

He did not want to kill the man, but he realized that he could
not let him approach too closely. But if he had any compunction
in the matter of manslaughter, it was evident that the girl did
not for she was talking volubly, evidently urging him to some
action, and when she realized that he could not understand her
she touched his pistol with a brown forefinger and then pointed
meaningly at Gluf.

The fellow was now within fifteen paces of them and Jason
could see that his companions were starting to circle them. He
knew that something must be done immediately and prompted by
humanitarian motives he fired his Colt, aiming above the head of
the approaching Phelian. The sharp report stopped all four of
them, but when they realized that none of them was injured they
broke into a torrent of taunts and threats, and Gluf, inspired
only by a desire to capture the girl so that they might return to
Pheli, resumed his advance, at the same time commencing to swing
his club menacingly. Then it was that Jason Gridley regretfully
shot, and shot to kill. Gluf stopped in his tracks, stiffened,
whirled about and sprawled forward upon his face.

Wheeling upon the others, Gridley fired again, for he realized
that those menacing clubs were almost as effective at short range
as was his Colt. Another Phelian dropped in his tracks, and then
Skruk and his remaining companion turned and fled.

"Well," said Gridley, looking about him at the bodies of the
four hyaenodons and the corpses of the two men, "this is a great
little country, but I'll be gosh-darned if I see how anyone grows
up to enjoy it."

The Red Flower of Zoram stood looking at him admiringly.
Everything about this stranger aroused her interest, piqued her
curiosity and stimulated her imagination. In no particular was he
like any other man she had ever seen. Not one item of his strange
apparel corresponded to anything that any other human being of
her acquaintance wore. The remarkable weapon, which spat smoke
and fire to the accompaniment of a loud roar, left her dazed with
awe and admiration; but perhaps the outstanding cause for
astonishment, when she gave it thought, was the fact that she was
not afraid of this man. Not only was the fear of strangers
inherent in her, but from earliest childhood she had been taught
to expect only the worst from men who were not of her own tribe
and to flee from them upon any and all occasions. Perhaps it was
his smile that had disarmed her, or possibly there was something
in his friendly, honest eyes that had won her immediate trust and
confidence. Whatever the cause, however, the fact remained that
The Red Flower of Zoram made no effort to escape from Jason
Gridley, who now found himself completely lost in a strange
world, which in itself was quite sad enough without having added
to it responsibilities for the protection of a strange, young
woman, who could understand nothing that he said to her and whom,
in turn, he could not understand.


VIII
JANA AND JASON


TAR-GASH and Thoar looked with wonder upon the wreckage of the
plane and Tarzan hastily searched it for the body of the pilot.
The ape-man experienced at least temporary relief when he
discovered that there was no body there, and a moment later he
found footprints in the turf upon the opposite side of the
plane--the prints of a booted foot which he recognized
immediately as having been made by Jason Gridley--and this
evidence assured him that the American had not been killed and
apparently not even badly injured by the fall. And then he
discovered something else which puzzled him exceedingly. Mingling
with the footprints of Gridley and evidently made at the same
time were those of a small sandaled foot.

A further brief examination revealed the fact that two
persons, one of them Gridley and the other apparently a female or
a youth of some Pellucidarian tribe, who had accompanied him, had
approached the plane after it had crashed, remained in its
vicinity for a short time and then returned in the direction from
which they had come. With the spoor plain before him there was
nothing for Tarzan to do other than to follow it.

The evidence so far suggested that Gridley had been forced to
abandon the plane in air and that he had safely made a parachute
descent, but where and under what circumstances he had picked up
his companion, Tarzan could not even hazard a guess.

He found it difficult to get Thoar away from the aeroplane,
the strange thing having so fired his curiosity and imagination
that he must need remain near it and ask a hundred questions
concerning it.

With Tar-gash, however, the reaction was entirely different.
He had glanced at it with only a faint show of curiosity or
interest, and then he had asked one question, "What is it?"

"This is the thing that passed over us and which you said was
a flying reptile," replied Tarzan. "I told you at that time that
one of my friends was in it. Something happened and the thing
fell, but my friend escaped without injury."

"It has no eyes," said Tar-gash. "How could it see to
fly?"

"It was not alive," replied Tarzan.

"I heard it growl," said the Sagoth; nor was he ever convinced
that the thing was not some strange form of living creature.

They had covered but a short distance along the trail made by
Gridley and Jana, after they had left the aeroplane, when they
came upon the carcass of a huge pteranodon. Its head was crushed
and battered and almost severed from its body and a splinter of
smooth wood projected from its skull--a splinter that Tarzan
recognized as a fragment of an aeroplane propeller--and instantly
he knew the cause of Gridley's crash.

Half a mile further on the three discovered further evidence,
some of it quite startling. An opened parachute lay stretched
upon the ground where it had fallen and at short distances from
it lay the bodies of four hyaenodons and two hairy men.

An examination of the bodies revealed the fact that both of
the men and two of the hyaenodons had died from bullet wounds.
Everywhere upon the trampled turf appeared the imprints of the
small sandals of Jason's companion. It was evident to the keen
eyes of Tarzan that two other men, both natives, had taken part
in the battle which had been waged here. That they were the same
tribe as the two that had fallen was evidenced by the imprints of
their sandals, which were of identical make, while those of
Tarzan's companion differed materially from all the others.

As he circled about, searching for further evidence, he saw
that the two men who had escaped had run rapidly for some
distance toward the mouth of a large canyon, and that, apparently
following their retreat, Jason and his companion had set out in
search of the plane. Later they had returned to the scene of the
battle, and when they had departed they also had gone toward the
mountains, but along a line considerably to the right of the
trail made by the fleeing natives.

Thoar, too, was much interested in the various tracks that the
participants in the battle by the parachute had left, but he said
nothing until after Tarzan had completed his investigation.

"There were four men and either a woman or a youth here with
my friend," said Tarzan.

"Four of them were low countrymen from Pheli," said Thoar,
"and the other was a woman of Zoram."

"How do you know?" asked Tarzan, who was always anxious to add
to his store of woodcraft.

"The low country sandals are never shaped to the foot as
closely as are those of the mountain tribes," replied Thoar, "and
the soles are much thinner, being made usually of the hides of
the thag, which is tough enough for people who do not walk often
upon anything but soft grasses or in soggy marshland. The sandals
of the mountain tribes are soled with the thick hide of Maj, the
cousin of Tandor. If you will look at the spoor you will see that
they are not worn at all, while there are holes in the sandals of
these dead men of Pheli."

"Are we near Zoram?" asked Tarzan.

"No," replied Thoar. "It lies across the highest range ahead
of us."

"When we first met, Thoar, you told me that you were from
Zoram."

"Yes, that is my country," replied Thoar.

"Then, perhaps, this woman is someone whom you know?"

"She is my sister," replied Thoar.

Tarzan of the Apes looked at him in surprise. "How do you
know?" he demanded.

"I found an imprint where there was no turf, only soft earth,
and there the spoor was so distinct that I could recognize the
sandals as hers. So familiar with her work am I that I could
recognize the stitching alone, where the sole is joined to the
upper part of the sandal, and in addition there are the notches,
which indicate the tribe.

The people of Zoram have three notches in the underside of the
sole at the toe of the left sandal."

"What was your sister doing so far from her own country and
how is it that she is with my friend?"

"It is quite plain," replied Thoar. "These men of Pheli sought
to capture her. One of them wanted her for his mate, but she
eluded them and they pursued her across the Mountains of the
Thipdars and down into this valley, where she was set upon by
jaloks. The man from your country came and killed the jaloks and
two of the Phelians and drove the other two away. It is evident
that my sister could not escape him, and he captured her."

Tarzan of the Apes smiled. "The spoor does not indicate that
she ever made any effort to escape him," he said.

Thoar scratched his head. "That is true," he replied, "and I
cannot understand it, for the women of my tribe do not care to
mate with the men of other tribes and I know that Jana, my
sister, would rather die than mate outside the Mountains of the
Thipdars. Many times has she said so and Jana is not given to
idle talk."

"My friend would not take her by force," said Tarzan. "If she
has gone with him, she has gone with him willingly. And I think
that when we find them you will discover that he is simply
accompanying her back to Zoram, for he is the sort of man who
would not permit a woman to go alone and unprotected."

"We shall see," said Thoar, "but if he has taken Jana against
her wishes, he must die."

As Tarzan, Tar-gash and Thoar followed the spoor of Jason and
Jana a disheartened company of men rounded the end of the great
Mountains of the Thipdars, fifty miles to the east of them, and
entered the Gyor Cors, or great Plains of the Gyors.

The party consisted of ten black warriors and a white man, and
doubtless, never in the history of mankind had eleven men been
more completely and hopelessly lost than these.

Muviro and his warriors, than whom no better trackers ever
lived, were totally bewildered by their inability even to
back-track successfully.

The stampeding of the maddened beasts, from which they had
barely escaped with their lives and then only by what appeared
nothing short of a miracle, had so obliterated all signs of the
party's former spoor that though they were all confident that
they had gone but a short distance from the clearing, into which
the beasts had been herded by the tarags, they had never again
been able to locate the clearing, and now they were wandering
hopelessly and, in accordance with Von Horst's plans, keeping as
much in the open as possible in the hope that the cruising O-220
might thus discover them, for Von Horst was positive that
eventually his companions would undertake a search for them.

Aboard the O-220 the grave fear that had been entertained for
the safety of the thirteen missing members of the ship's company
had developed into a conviction of disaster when Gridley failed
to return within the limit of the time that he might reasonably
be able to keep the scout plane in the air.

Then it was that Zuppner had sent Dorf out with another
searching party, but at the end of seventy hours they had
returned to report absolute failure. They had followed the trail
to a clearing where jackals fed upon rotting carrion, but beyond
this there was no sign of spoor to suggest in what direction
their fellows had wandered.

Going and coming they had been beset by savage beasts and so
ruthless and determined had been the attacks of the giant tarags
that Dorf reported to Zuppner that he was confident that all of
the missing members of the party must by this time have been
destroyed by these great cats.

"Until we have proof of that, we must not give up hope,"
replied Zuppner, "nor may we relinquish our efforts to find them,
whether dead or alive, and that we cannot do by remaining
here."

There was nothing now to delay the start. While the motors
were warming up, the anchor was drawn in and the air expelled
from the lower vacuum tanks. As the giant ship rose from the
ground Robert Jones jotted down a brief note in a greasy
memorandum book: "We sailed from here at noon."

When Skruk and his companion had left the field to the
victorious Jason, the latter had returned his six-gun to its
holster and faced the girl. "Well," he inquired, "what now?"

She shook her head. "I cannot understand you," she said. "You
do not speak the language of gilaks."

Jason scratched his head. "That being the case," he said, "and
as it is evident that we are never going to get anywhere on
conversation which neither one of us understands, I am going to
have a look around for my ship, in the meantime, praying to all
the gods that my thirty-thirty and ammunition are safe. It's a
cinch that she did not burn for she must have fallen close by and
I could have seen the smoke."

Jana listened attentively and shook her head.

"Come on," said Jason, and started off in the direction that
he thought the ship might lie.

"No, not that way," exclaimed Jana, and running forward she
seized his arm and tried to stop him, pointing back to the tall
peaks of the Mountains of the Thipdars, where Zoram lay.

Jason essayed the difficult feat of explaining in a weird sign
language of his own invention that he was looking for an
aeroplane that had crashed somewhere in the vicinity, but the
conviction soon claimed him that that would be a very difficult
thing to accomplish even if the person to whom he was trying to
convey the idea knew what an aeroplane was, and so he ended up by
grinning good naturedly, and, seizing the girl by the hand,
gently leading her in the direction he wished to go.

Again the charming smile disarmed The Red Flower of Zoram and
though she knew that this stranger was leading her away from the
caverns of her people, yet she followed docilely, though her brow
was puckered in perplexity as she tried to understand why she was
not afraid, or why she was willing to go with this stranger, who
evidently was not even a gilak, since he could not speak the
language of men.

A half hour's search was rewarded by the discovery of the
wreck of the plane, which had suffered far less damage than Jason
had expected.

It was evident that in its plunge to earth it must have
straightened out and glided to a landing. Of course, it was
wrecked beyond repair, even if there had been any facilities for
repairs, but it had not burned and Jason recovered his
thirty-thirty and all his ammunition.

Jana was intensely interested in the plane and examined every
portion of it minutely. Never in her life had she wished so much
to ask questions, for never in her life had she seen anything
that had so aroused her wonder. And here was the one person in
all the world who could answer her questions, but she could not
make him understand one of them. For a moment she almost hated
him, and then he smiled at her and pressed her hand, and she
forgave him and smiled back.

"And now," said Jason, "where do we go from here? As far as I
am concerned one place is as good as another."

Being perfectly well aware that he was hopelessly lost, Jason
Gridley felt that the only chance he had of being reunited with
his companions lay in the possibility that the O-220 might chance
to cruise over the very locality where he happened to be, and no
matter whither he might wander, whether north or south or east or
west, that chance was as slender in one direction as another, and
conversely, equally good. In an hour the O-220 would cover a
distance fully as great as he could travel in several days of
outer earthly time. And so even if he chanced to be moving in a
direction that led away from the ship's first anchorage, he could
never go so far that it might not easily and quickly overtake
him, if its search should chance to lead it in his direction.
Therefore he turned questioningly to the girl, pointing first in
one direction, and then in another, while he looked inquiringly
at her, attempting thus to convey to her the idea that he was
ready and willing to go in any direction she chose, and Jana,
sensing his meaning, pointed toward the lofty Mountains of the
Thipdars.

"There," she said, "lies Zoram, the land of my people."

"Your logic is unassailable," said Jason, "and I only wish I
could understand what you are saying, for I am sure that anyone
with such beautiful teeth could never be uninteresting."

Jana did not wait to discuss the matter, but started forthwith
for Zoram and beside her walked Jason Gridley of California.

Jana's active mind had been working rapidly and she had come
to the conclusion that she could not for long endure the
constantly increasing pressure of unsatisfied curiosity. She must
find some means of communicating with this interesting stranger
and to the accomplishment of this end she could conceive of no
better plan than teaching the man her language. But how to
commence! Never in her experience or that of her people had the
necessity arisen for teaching a language. Previously she had not
dreamed of the existence of such a means. If you can feature such
a state, which is doubtful, you must concede to this primitive
girl of the stone age a high degree of intelligence. This was no
accidental blowing off of the lid of the teapot upon which might
be built a theory. It required, as a matter of fact, a greater
reasoning ability. Give a steam engine to a man who had never
heard of steam and ask him to make it go--Jana's problem was
almost as difficult. But the magnitude of the reward spurred her
on, for what will one not do to have one's curiosity satisfied,
especially if one happens to be a young and beautiful girl and
the object of one's curiosity an exceptionally handsome young
man. Skirts may change, but human nature never.

And so The Red Flower of Zoram pointed at herself with a slim,
brown forefinger and said, "Jana." She repeated this several
times and then she pointed at Jason, raising her eyebrows in
interrogation.

"Jason," he said, for there was no misunderstanding her
meaning. And so the slow, laborious task began as the two trudged
upward toward the foothills of the Mountains of the Thipdars.

There lay before them a long, hard climb to the higher
altitudes, but there was water in abundance in the tumbling
brooks, dropping down the hillside, and Jana knew the edible
plants, and nuts, and fruits which grew in riotous profusion in
many a dark, deep ravine, and there was game in plenty to be
brought down, when they needed meat, by Jason's
thirty-thirty.

As they proceeded in their quest for Zoram, Jason found
greater opportunity to study his companion and he came to the
conclusion that nature had attained the pinnacle of physical
perfection with the production of this little savage. Every line
and curve of that lithe, brown body sang of symmetry, for The Red
Flower of Zoram was a living poem of beauty. If he had thought
that her teeth were beautiful he was forced to admit that they
held no advantage in that respect over her eyes, her nose or any
other of her features. And when she fell to with her crude stone
knife and helped him skin a kill and prepare the meet for
cooking, when he saw the deftness and celerity with which she
made fire with the simplest and most primitive of utensils, when
he witnessed the almost uncanny certitude with which she located
nests of eggs and edible fruit and vegetables, he was conscious
that her perfections were not alone physical and he became more
than anxious to acquire a sufficient understanding of her tongue
to be able to communicate with her, though he realized that he
might doubtless suffer a rude awakening and disillusionment when,
through an understanding of her language, he might be able to
judge the limitations of her mind.

When Jana was tired she went beneath a tree, and, making a bed
of grasses, curled up and fell asleep immediately, and, while she
slept, Gridley watched, for the dangers of this primitive land
were numerous and constant. Fully as often as he shot for food he
shot to protect them from some terrible beast, until the
encounters became as prosaic and commonplace as does the constant
eluding of death by pedestrians at congested traffic corners in
cities of the outer crust.

When Jason felt the need of sleep, Jana watched and sometimes
they merely rested without sleeping, usually beneath a tree for
there they found the greatest protection from their greatest
danger, the fierce and voracious thipdars from which the
mountains took their name. These hideous, flying reptiles were a
constant menace, but so thoroughly had nature developed a defense
against them that the girl could hear their wings at a greater
distance than either of them could see the creatures.

Jason had no means for determining how far they had travelled,
or how long they had been upon their way, but he was sure that
considerable outer earthly time must have elapsed since he had
met the girl, when they came to a seemingly insurmountable
obstacle, for already he had made considerable progress toward
mastering her tongue and they were exchanging short sentences,
much to Jana's delight, her merry laughter, often marking one of
Jason's more flagrant errors in pronunciation or
construction.

And now they had come to a deep chasm with overhanging walls
that not even Jana could negotiate. To Jason it resembled a
stupendous fault that might have been caused by the subsidence of
the mountain range for it paralleled the main axis of the range.
And if this were true he knew that it might extend for hundreds
of miles, effectually barring the way across the mountains by the
route they were following.

For a long time Jana sought a means of descent into the
crevice. She did not want to turn to the left as that route might
lead her eventually back to the canyon that she had descended
when pursued by Skruk and his fellows and she well knew how
almost unscalable were the perpendicular sides of this terrific
gorge. Another thing, perhaps, which decided her against the left
hand route was the possibility that in that direction they might
again come in contact with the Phelians, and so she led Jason
toward the right and always she searched for a way to the bottom
of the rift.

Jason realized that she was consuming a great deal of time in
trying to cross, but he became also aware of the fact that time
meant nothing in timeless Pellucidar. It was never a factor with
which to reckon for the excellent reason that it did not exist,
and when he gave the matter thought he was conscious of a mild
surprise that he, who had been always a slave of time, so easily
and naturally embraced the irresponsible existence of Pellucidar.
It was not only the fact that time itself seemed not to matter
but that the absence of this greatest of all task masters
singularly affected one's outlook upon every other consideration
of existence. Without time there appeared to be no accountability
for one's acts since it is to the future that the slaves of time
have learned to look for their reward or punishment. Where there
is no time, there is no future. Jason Gridley found himself
affected much as Tarzan had been in that the sense of his
responsibility for the welfare of his fellows seemed deadened.
What had happened to them had happened and no act of his could
alter it. They were not there with him and so he could not be of
assistance to them, and as it was difficult to visualize the
future beneath an eternal noonday sun how might one plan ahead
for others or for himself?

Jason Gridley gave up the riddle with a shake of his head and
found solace in contemplation of the profile of The Red Flower of
Zoram.

"Why do you look at me so much?" demanded the girl; for by now
they could make themselves understood to one another.

Jason Gridley flushed slightly and looked quickly away. Her
question had been very abrupt and surprising and for the first
time he realized that he had been looking at her a great deal. He
started to answer, hesitated and stopped. Why had he been
looking at her so much? It seemed silly to say that it was
because she was beautiful.

"Why do you not say it, Jason?" she inquired.

"Say what?" he demanded.

"Say the thing that is in your eyes when you look at me," she
replied.

Gridley looked at her in astonishment. No one but an imbecile
could have misunderstood her meaning, and Jason Gridley was no
imbecile.

Could it be possible that he had been looking at her
that way? Had he gone stark mad that he was even
subconsciously entertaining such thoughts of this little
barbarian who seized her meat in both hands and tore pieces from
it with her flashing, white teeth, who went almost as naked as
the beasts of the field and with all their unconsciousness of
modesty? Could it be that his eyes had told this untutored savage
that he was harboring thoughts of love for her? The
artificialities of a thousand years of civilization rose up in
horror against such a thought.

Upon the screen of his memory there was flashed a picture of
the haughty Cynthia Furnois of Hollywood, daughter of the famous
director, Abelard Furnois, ne Abe Fink. He recalled Cynthia's
meticulous observance of the minutest details of social usages
and the studied perfection of her deportment that had sometimes
awed him. He saw, too, the aristocratic features of Barbara
Green, daughter of old John Green, the Los Angeles realtor, from
Texas. It is true that old John was no purist and that his total
disregard of the social precedence of forks often shocked the
finer sensibilities that Mrs. Green and Barbara had laboriously
achieved in the universities of Montmarte and Cocoanut Grove, but
Barbara had had two years at Marlborough and knew her suffixes
and her hardware.

Of course Cynthia was a rotten little snob, not only on the
surface, but to the bottom of her shallow, selfish soul, while
Barbara's snobbishness, he felt, was purely artificial, the
result of mistaking for the genuine the silly artificialities and
affectations of the almost celebrities and sudden rich that
infest the public places of Hollywood.

But nevertheless these two did, after a fashion, reflect the
social environment to which he was accustomed and as he tried to
answer Jana's question he could not but picture her seated at
dinner with a company made up of such as these. Of course, Jana
was a bully companion upon an adventure such as that in which
they were engaged, but modern man cannot go adventuring forever
in the Stone Age. If his eyes had carried any other message to
Jana than that of friendly comradeship he felt sorry, for he
realized that in fairness to her, as well as to himself, there
could never be anything more than this between them.

As Jason hesitated for a reply, the eyes of The Red Flower of
Zoram searched his soul and slowly the half expectant smile faded
from her lips. Perhaps she was a savage little barbarian of the
Stone Age, but she was no fool and she was a woman.

Slowly she drew her slender figure erect as she turned away
from him and started back along the rim of the rift toward the
great gorge through which she had descended from the higher peaks
when Skruk and his fellows had been pursuing her.

"Jana," he exclaimed, "don't be angry. Where are you
going?"

She stopped and with her haughty little chin in air turned a
withering look back upon him across a perfect shoulder. "Go your
way, jalok," she said, "and Jana will go hers."


IX
TO THE THIPDAR'S NEST


HEAVY CLOUDS formed about the lofty peaks of the Mountains of
the Thipdars--black, angry clouds that rolled down the northern
slopes, spreading far to east and west.

"The waters have come again," said Thoar. "They are falling
upon Zoram. Soon they will fall here too."

It looked very dark up there above them and presently the
clouds swept out across the sky, blotting out the noonday
sun.

It was a new landscape upon which Tarzan looked--a sullen,
bleak and forbidding landscape. It was the first time that he had
seen Pellucidar in shadow and he did not like it. The effect of
the change was strikingly apparent in Thoar and Tar-gash. They
seemed depressed, almost fearful. Nor was it man alone that was
so strangely affected by the blotting out of the eternal
sunlight, for presently from the upper reaches of the mountains
the lower animals came, pursuing the sunlight. That they, too,
were strangely affected and filled with terror was evidenced by
the fact that the carnivores and their prey trotted side by side
and that none of them paid any attention to the three men.

"Why do they not attack us, Thoar?" asked Tarzan.

"They know that the water is about to fall," he replied, "and
they are afraid of the falling water. They forget their hunger
and their quarrels as they seek to escape the common terror."

"Is the danger so great then?" asked the ape-man.

"Not if we remain upon high ground," replied Thoar. "Sometimes
the gulleys and ravines fill with water in an instant, but the
only danger upon the high land is from the burning spears that
are hurled from the black clouds. But if we stay in the open,
even these are not dangerous for, as a rule, they are aimed at
trees. Do not go beneath a tree while the clouds are hurling
their spears of fire."

As the clouds shut off the sunlight, the air became suddenly
cold. A raw wind swept down from above and the three men shivered
in their nakedness.

"Gather wood," said Tarzan. "We shall build a fire for
warmth." And so the three gathered firewood and Tarzan made fire
and they sat about it, warming their naked hides; while upon
either side of them the brutes passed on their way down toward
the sunlight.

The rain came. It did not fall in drops, but in great
enveloping blankets that seemed to beat them down and smother
them. Inches deep it rolled down the mountainside, filling the
depressions and the gulleys, turning the canyons into raging
torrents.

The wind lashed the falling water into a blinding maelstrom
that the eye could not pierce a dozen feet. Terrified animals
stampeded blindly, constituting themselves the greatest menace of
the storm. The lightning flashed and the thunder roared, and the
beasts progressed from panic to an insanity of fear.

Above the roar of the thunder and the howling of the wind rose
the piercing shrieks and screams of the monsters of another day,
and in the air above flapped shrieking reptiles fighting toward
the sunlight against the pounding wrath of the elements. Giant
pteranodons, beaten to the ground, staggered uncertainly upon
legs unaccustomed to the task, and through it all the three
beast-men huddled at the spot where their fire had been, though
not even an ash remained.

It seemed to Tarzan that the storm lasted a great while, but
like the others he was enured to the hardships and discomforts of
primitive life. Where a civilized man might have railed against
fate and cursed the elements, the three beast-men sat in stoic
silence, their backs hunched against the storm, for each knew
that it would not last forever and each knew that there was
nothing he could say or do to lessen its duration or abate its
fury.

Had it not been for the example set by Tarzan and Thoar,
Tar-gash would have fled toward the sunlight with the other
beasts, not that he was more fearful than they, but that he was
influenced more by instinct than by reason. But where they
stayed, he was content to stay, and so he squatted there with
them, in dumb misery, waiting for the sun to come again.

The rain lessened; the howling wind died down; the clouds
passed on and the sun burst forth upon a steaming world. The
three beast-men arose and shook themselves.

"I am hungry," said Tarzan.

Thoar pointed about them to where lay the bodies of lesser
beasts that had been crushed in the mad stampede for safety.

Now even Thoar was compelled to eat his meat raw, for there
was no dry wood wherewith to start a fire, but to Tarzan and
Tar-gash this was no hardship. As Tarzan ate, the suggestion of a
smile smoldered in his eyes. He was recalling a fussy old
nobleman with whom he had once dined at a London club and who had
almost suffered a stroke of apoplexy because his bird had been
slightly underdone.

When the three had filled their bellies, they arose to
continue their search for Jana and Jason, only to discover that
the torrential rain had effectually erased every vestige of the
spoor that they had been following.

"We cannot pick up their trail again," said Thoar, "until we
reach the point where they continued on again after the waters
ceased to fall. To the left is a deep canyon, whose walls are
difficult to scale. In front of us is a fissure, which extends
along the base of the mountains for a considerable distance in
both directions. But if we go to the right we shall find a place
where we can descend into it and cross it. This is the way that
they should have gone. Perhaps there we shall pick up their trail
again." But though they continued on and crossed the fissure and
clambered upward toward the higher peaks, they found no sign that
Jana or Jason had come this way.

"Perhaps they reached your country by another route,"
suggested Tarzan.

"Perhaps," said Thoar. "Let us continue on to Zoram. There is
nothing else that we can do. There we can gather the men of my
tribe and search the mountains for them."

In the ascent toward the summit Thoar sometimes followed
trails that for countless ages the rough pads of the carnivores
had followed, or again he led them over trackless wastes of
granite, taking such perilous chances along dizzy heights that
Tarzan was astonished that any of them came through alive.

Upon a bleak summit they had robbed a thipdar's nest of its
eggs and the three were eating when Thoar became suddenly alert
and listening. To the ears of the ape-man came faintly a sound
that resembled the dismal flapping of distant wings.

"A thipdar," said Thoar, "and there is no shelter for us."

"There are three of us," said Tarzan. "What have we to
fear?"

"You do not know them," said Thoar. "They are hard to kill and
they are never defeated until they are killed. Their brains are
very small. Sometimes when we have cut them open it has been
difficult to find the brain at all, and having no brain they have
no fear of anything, not even death, for they cannot know what
death is; nor do they seem to be affected much by pain, it merely
angers them, making them more terrible. Perhaps we can kill it,
but I wish that there were a tree."

"How do you know that it will attack us?" asked Tarzan.

"It is coming in this direction. It cannot help but see us,
and whatever living thing they see they attack."

"Have you ever been attacked by one?" asked Tarzan.

"Yes," replied Thoar; "but only when there was no tree or
cave. The men of Zoram are not ashamed to admit that they fear
the mighty thipdars."

"But if you have killed them in the past, why may we not kill
this one?" demanded the ape-man.

"We may," replied Thoar, "but I have never chanced to have an
encounter with one, except when there were a number of my
tribesmen with me. The lone hunter who goes forth and never
returns is our reason for fearing the thipdar. Even when there
are many of us to fight them, always there are some killed and
many injured."

"It comes," said Tar-gash, pointing.

"It comes," said Thoar, grasping his spear more firmly.

Down to their ears came a sound resembling the escaping of
steam through a petcock.

"It has seen us," said Thoar.

Tarzan laid his spear upon the ground at his feet, plucked a
handful of arrows from his quiver and fitted one to his bow.
Tar-gash swung his club slowly to and fro and growled.

On came the giant reptile, the dismal flapping of its wings
punctuated occasionally by a loud and angry hiss. The three men
waited, poised, ready, expectant.

There were no preliminaries. The mighty pteranodon drove
straight toward them. Tarzan loosed a bolt which drove true to
its mark, burying its head in the breast of the pterodactyl. The
hiss became a scream of anger and then in rapid succession three
more arrows buried themselves in the creature's flesh.

That this was a warmer reception than it had expected was
evidenced by the fact that it rose suddenly upward, skimmed above
their hands as though to abandon the attack, and then, quite
suddenly and with a speed incomprehensible in a creature of its
tremendous size, wheeled like a sparrow hawk and dove straight at
Tarzan's back.

So quickly did the creature strike that there could be no
defense. The ape-man felt sharp talons half buried in his naked
flesh and simultaneously he was lifted from the ground.

Thoar raised his spear and Tar-gash swung his cudgel, but
neither dared strike for fear of wounding their comrade. And so
they were forced to stand there futilely inactive and watch the
monster bear Tarzan of the Apes away across the tops of the
Mountains of the Thipdars.

In silence they stood watching until the creature passed out
of sight beyond the summit of a distant peak, the body of the
ape-man still dangling in its talons. Then Tar-gash turned and
looked at Thoar.

"Tarzan is dead," said the Sagoth. Thoar of Zoram nodded
sadly. Without another word Tar-gash turned and started down
toward the valley from which they had ascended. The only bond
that had united these two hereditary enemies had parted, and
Tar-gash was going his way back to the stamping grounds of his
tribe.

For a moment Thoar watched him, and then, with a shrug of his
shoulders, he turned his face toward Zoram.

As the pteranodon bore him off across the granite peaks,
Tarzan hung limply in its clutches, realizing that if Fate held
in store for him any hope of escape it could not come in midair
and if he were to struggle against his adversary, or seek to
battle with it, death upon the jagged rocks below would be the
barren reward of success. His one hope lay in retaining
consciousness and the power to fight when the creature came to
the ground with him. He knew that there were birds of prey that
kill their victims by dropping them from great heights, but he
hoped that the pteranodons of Pellucidar had never acquired this
disconcerting habit.

As he watched the panorama of mountain peaks passing below
him, he realized that he was being carried a considerable
distance from the spot at which he had been seized; perhaps
twenty miles.

The flight at last carried them across a frightful gorge and a
short distance beyond the pteranodon circled a lofty granite
peak, toward the summit of which it slowly dropped and there,
below him, Tarzan of the Apes saw a nest of small thipdars,
eagerly awaiting with wide distended jaws the flesh that their
savage parent was bringing to them.

The nest rested upon the summit of a lofty granite spire, the
entire area of the summit encompassing but a few square yards,
the walls dropping perpendicularly hundreds of feet to the rough
granite of the lofty peak the spire surmounted. It was, indeed, a
precarious place at which to stage a battle for life. Cautiously,
Tarzan of the Apes drew his keen hunting knife from its sheath.
Slowly his left hand crept upward against his body and passed
over his left shoulder until his fingers touched the thipdar's
leg. Cautiously, his fingers encirced the scaly, bird-like ankle
just above the claws.

The reptile was descending slowly toward its nest. The hideous
demons below were screeching and hissing in anticipation.
Tarzan's feet were almost in their jaws when he struck suddenly
upward with his blade at the breast of the thipdar.

It was no random thrust. What slender chance for life the
ape-man had depended upon the accuracy and the strength of that
single blow. The giant pteranodon emitted a shrill scream,
stiffened convulsively in mid-air and, as it collapsed, relaxed
its hold upon its prey, dropping the ape-man into the nest among
the gaping jaws of its frightful brood.

Fortunately for Tarzan there were but three of them and they
were still very young, though their teeth were sharp and their
jaws strong.

Striking quickly to right and left with his blade he scrambled
from the nest with only a few minor cuts and scratches upon his
legs.

Lying partially over the edge of the spire was the body of the
dead thipdar. Tarzan gave it a final shove and watched it as it
fell three hundred feet to the rocks below. Then he turned his
attention to a survey of his surroundings, but almost hopelessly
since the view that he had obtained of the spire while the
thipdar was circling it assured him that there was little or no
likelihood that he could find any means of descent.

The young thipdars were screaming and hissing, but they had
made no move to leave their nest as Tarzan started a close
investigation of the granite spire upon the lofty summit of which
it seemed likely that he would terminate his adventurous
career.

Lying flat upon his belly he looked over the edge, and thus
moving slowly around the periphery of the lofty aerie he examined
the walls of the spire with minute attention to every detail.

Again and again he crept around the edge until he had
catalogued within his memory every projection and crevice and
possible handhold that he could see from above.

Several times he returned to one point and then he removed the
coils of his grass rope from about his shoulders and holding the
two ends in one hand, lowered the loop over the edge of the
spire. Carefully he noted the distance that it descended from the
summit and what a pitiful span it seemed--that paltry twenty-five
feet against the three hundred that marked the distance from base
to apex.

Releasing one end of the rope, he let that fall to its full
length, and when he saw where the lower end touched the granite
wall he was satisfied that he could descend at least that far,
and below that another twenty-five feet. But it was difficult to
measure distances below that point and from there on he must
leave everything to chance.

Drawing the rope up again he looped the center of it about a
projecting bit of granite, permitting the ends to fall over the
edge of the cliff. Then he seized both strands of the rope
tightly in one hand and lowered himself over the edge. Twenty
feet below was a projection that gave him precarious foothold and
a little crevice into which he could insert the fingers of his
left hand. Almost directly before his face was the top of a
buttress-like projection and below him he knew that there were
many more similar to it. It was upon these that he had based his
slender hope of success.

Gingerly he pulled upon one strand of the rope with his right
hand. So slender was his footing upon the rocky escarpment that
he did not dare draw the rope more than a few inches at a time
lest the motion throw him off his balance. Little by little he
drew it in until the upper end passed around the projection over
which the rope had been looped at the summit and fell upon him.
And as it descended he held his breath for fear that even this
slight weight might topple him to the jagged rocks below.

And now came the slow process of drawing the rope unaided
through one hand, fingering it slowly an inch at a time until the
center was in his grasp. This he looped over the top of the
projection in front of him, seating it as securely as he could,
and then he grasped both strands once more in his right hand and
was ready to descend another twenty-five feet.

This stage of the descent was the most appalling of all, since
the rope was barely seated upon a shelving protuberance from
which he was aware it might slip at any instant. And so it was
with a sense of unspeakable relief that he again found foothold
near the end of the frail strands that were supporting him.

At this point the surface of the spire became much rougher. It
was broken by fissures and horizontal cracks that had not been
visible from above, with the result that compared with the first
fifty feet the descent from here to the base was a miracle of
ease, and it was not long before Tarzan stood again squarely upon
his two feet and level ground. And now for the first time he had
an opportunity to take stock of his injuries.

His legs were scratched and cut by the teeth and talons of the
young thipdars, but these wounds were as nothing to those left by
the talons of the adult reptile upon his back and shoulders. He
could feel the deep wounds, but he could not see them; nor the
clotted blood that had dried upon his brown skin.

The wounds pained and his muscles were stiff and sore, but his
only fear lay in the possibility of blood poisoning and that did
not greatly worry the ape-man, who had been repeatedly torn and
mauled by carnivores since childhood.

A brief survey of his position showed him that it would be
practically impossible for him to recross the stupendous gorge
that yawned between him and the point at which he had been so
ruthlessly torn from his companions. And with that discovery came
the realization that there was little or no likelihood that the
people toward which Tar-gash had been attempting to guide him
could be members of the O-220 expedition. Therefore it seemed
useless to attempt the seemingly impossible feat of finding Thoar
and Tar-gash again among this maze of stupendous peaks, gorges
and ravines. And so he determined merely to seek a way out of the
mountains and back to the forests and plains that held a greater
allure for him than did the rough and craggy contours of
inhospitable hills. And to the accomplishment of this end he
decided to follow the line of least resistance, seeking always
the easiest avenues of descent.

Below him, in various directions, he could see the timber line
and toward this he hastened to make his way. As he descended the
way became easier, though on several occasions he was again
compelled to resort to his rope to lower himself from one level
to another. Then the steep crags gave place to leveler land upon
the shoulders of the mighty range and here, where earth could
find lodgment, vegetation commenced. Grasses and shrubs, at
first, then stunted trees and finally what was almost a forest,
and here he came upon a trail.

It was a trail that offered infinite variety. For a while it
wound through a forest and then climbed to a ledge of rock that
projected from the face of a cliff and overhung a stupendous
canyon.

He could not see the trail far ahead for it was continually
rounding the shoulders of jutting crags.

As he moved along it, sure-footed, silent, alert, Tarzan of
the Apes became aware that somewhere ahead of him other feet were
treading probably the same trail.

What wind there was was eddying up from the canyon below and
carrying the scent spoor of the creature ahead of him as well as
his own up toward the mountain top, so that it was unlikely that
either might apprehend the presence of the other by scent; but
there was something in the sound of the footsteps that even at a
distance assured Tarzan that they were not made by man, and it
was evident too that they were going in the same direction as he
for they were not growing rapidly more distinct, but very
gradually as though he was slowly overhauling the author of
them.

The trail was narrow and only occasionally, where it crossed
some ravine or shallow gulley, was there a place where one might
either descend or ascend from it.

To meet a savage beast upon it, therefore, might prove, to say
the least, embarrassing but Tarzan had elected to go this way and
he was not in the habit of turning back whatever obstacles in the
form of man or beast might bar his way. And, too, he had the
advantage over the creature ahead of him whatever it might be,
since he was coming upon it from behind and was quite sure that
it had no knowledge of his presence, for Tarzan well knew that no
creature could move with greater silence than he, when he elected
to do so, and now he passed along that trail as noiselessly as
the shadow of a shadow.

Curiosity caused him to increase his speed that he might learn
the nature of the thing ahead, and as he did so and the sound of
its footsteps increased in volume, he knew that he was stalking
some heavy, four-footed beast with padded feet--that much he
could tell, but beyond that he had no idea of the identity of the
creature; nor did the winding trail at any time reveal it to his
view. Thus the silent stalker pursued his way until he knew that
he was but a short distance behind his quarry when there suddenly
broke upon his ears the horrid snarling and growling of an
enraged beast just ahead of him.

There was something in the tone of that awful voice that
increased the ape-man's curiosity. He guessed from the volume of
the sound that it must come from the throat of a tremendous
beast, for the very hills seemed to shake to the thunder of its
roars.

Guessing that it was attacking or was about to attack some
other creature, and spurred, perhaps, entirely by curiosity,
Tarzan hastened forward at a brisk trot, and as he rounded the
shoulder of a buttressed crag his eyes took in a scene that
galvanized him into action.

A hundred feet ahead the trail ended at the mouth of a great
cave, and in the entrance to the cave stood a boy--a lithe,
handsome youth of ten or twelve--while between the boy and Tarzan
a huge cave bear was advancing angrily upon the former.

The boy saw Tarzan and at the first glance his eyes lighted
with hope, but an instant later, evidently recognizing that the
newcomer was not of his own tribe, the expression of hopelessness
that had been there before returned to his face, but he stood his
ground bravely, his spear and his crude stone knife ready.

The scene before the ape-man told its own story. The bear,
returning to its cave, had unexpectedly discovered the youth
emerging from it, while the latter, doubtless equally surprised,
found himself cornered with no avenue of escape open to him.

By the primitive jungle laws that had guided his youth, Tarzan
of the Apes was under no responsibility to assume the dangerous
role of savior, but there had always burned within his breast the
flame of chivalry, bequeathed him by his English parents, that
more often than not found him jeopardizing his own life in the
interests of others. This child of a nameless tribe in an unknown
world might hold no claim upon the sympathy of a savage beast, or
even of savage men who were not of his tribe. And perhaps Tarzan
of the Apes would not have admitted that the youth had any claim
upon him, yet in reality he exercised a vast power over the
ape-man--a power that lay solely in the fact that he was a child
and that he was helpless.

One may analyze the deeds of a man of action and speculate
upon them, whereas the man himself does not appear to do so at
all--he merely acts; and thus it was with Tarzan of the Apes. He
saw an emergency confronting him and he was ready to meet it, for
since the moment that he had known that there was a beast upon
the trail ahead of him he had had his weapons in readiness, years
of experience with primitive men and savage beasts having taught
him the value of preparedness.

His grass rope was looped in the hollow of his left arm and in
the fingers of his left hand were grasped his spear, his bow and
three extra arrows, while a fourth arrow was ready in his right
hand.

One glance at the beast ahead of him had convinced him that
only by a combination of skill and rare luck could he hope to
destroy this titanic monster with the relatively puny weapons
with which he was armed, but he might at least divert its
attention from the lad and by harassing it draw it away until the
boy could find some means of escape. And so it was that within
the very instant that his eyes took in the picture his bow
twanged and a heavy arrow sank deeply into the back of the bear
close to its spine, and at the same time Tarzan voiced a savage
cry intended to apprise the beast of an enemy in its rear.

Maddened by the pain and surprised by the voice behind it, the
creature evidently associated the two, instantly whirling about
on the narrow ledge.

Tarzan's first impression was that in all his life he had
never gazed upon such a picture of savage bestial rage as was
depicted upon the snarling countenance of the mighty cave bear as
its fiery eyes fell upon the author of its hurt.

In quick succession three arrows sank into its chest as it
charged, howling, down upon the ape-man.

For an instant longer Tarzan held his ground. Poising his
heavy spear he carried his spear hand far back behind his right
shoulder, and then with all the force of those giant muscles,
backed by the weight of his great body, he launched the
weapon.

At the instant that it left his hand the bear was almost upon
him and he did not wait to note the effect of his throw, but
turned and leaped swiftly down the trail; while close behind him
the savage growling and the ponderous footfalls of the carnivore
proved the wisdom of his strategy.

He was sure that upon this narrow, rocky ledge, if no obstacle
interposed itself, he could outdistance the bear, for only Ara,
the lightning, is swifter than Tarzan of the Apes.

There was the possibility that he might meet the bear's mate
coming up to their den, and in that event his position would be
highly critical, but that, of course, was only a remote
possibility and in the meantime he was sure that he had inflicted
sufficiently severe wounds upon the great beast to sap its
strength and eventually to prove its total undoing. That it
possessed an immense reserve of vitality was evidenced by the
strength and savagery of its pursuit. The creature seemed
tireless and although Tarzan was equally so he found fleeing from
an antagonist peculiarly irksome and to be a considerable degree
obnoxious to his self esteem. And so he cast about him for some
means of terminating the flight and to that end he watched
particularly the cliff walls rising above the trail down which he
sped, and at last he saw that for which he had hoped--a jutting
granite projection protruding from the cliff about twenty-five
feet above the trail.

His coiled rope was ready in his left hand, the noose in his
right, and as he came within throwing distance of the projection,
he unerringly tossed the latter about it. The bear tore down the
trail behind him. The ape-man pulled heavily once upon the end of
the rope to assure himself that it was safely caught above, and
then with the agility of Manu, the monkey, he clambered
upward.


X
ONLY A MAN MAY GO


IT REQUIRED no Sherlockian instinct to deduce that Jana was
angry, and Jason was not so dense as to be unaware of the cause
of her displeasure, which he attributed to natural feminine
vexation induced by the knowledge that she had been mistaken in
assuming that her charms had effected the conquest of his heart.
He judged Jana by his own imagined knowledge of feminine
psychology. He knew that she was beautiful and he knew that she
knew it, too. She had told him of the many men of Zoram who had
wanted to take her as their mate, and he had saved her from one
suitor, who had pursued her across the terrible Mountains of the
Thipdars, putting his life constantly in jeopardy to win her. He
felt that it was only natural, therefore, that Jana should place
a high valuation upon her charms and believe that any man might
fall a victim to their spell, but he saw no reason why she should
be angry because she had not succeeded in enthralling him. They
had been very happy together. He could not recall when ever
before he had been for so long a time in the company of any girl,
or so enjoyed the companionship of one of her sex. He was sorry
that anything had occurred to mar the even tenor of their
friendship and he quickly decided that the manly thing to do was
to ignore her tantrum and go on with her as he had before, until
she came to her senses. Nor was there anything else that he might
do for he certainly could not permit Jana to continue her journey
to Zoram without protection. Of course it was not very nice of
her to have called him a jalok, which he knew to be a
Pellucidarian epithet of high insult, but he would overlook that
for the present and eventually she would relent and ask his
forgiveness.

And so he followed her, but he had taken scarcely a dozen
steps when she wheeled upon him like a young tiger, whipping her
stone knife from its sheath. "I told you to go your way," she
cried. "I do not want to see you again. If you follow me I shall
kill you."

"I cannot let you go on alone, Jana," he said quietly.

"The Red Flower of Zoram wants no protection from such as
you," she replied haughtily.

"We have been such good friends, Jana," he pleaded. "Let us go
on together as we have in the past. I cannot help it if--" He
hesitated and stopped.

"I do not care that you do not love me," she said. "I hate
you. I hate you because your eyes lie. Sometimes lips lie and we
are not hurt because we have learned to expect that from lips,
but when eyes lie then the heart lies and the whole man is false.
I cannot trust you. I do not want your friendship. I want nothing
more of you. Go away."

"You do not understand, Jana," he insisted.

"I understand that if you try to follow me I will kill you,"
she said.

"Then you will have to kill me," he replied, "for I shall
follow you. I cannot let you go on alone, no matter whether you
hate me or not," and as he ceased speaking he advanced toward
her.

Jana stood facing him, her little feet firmly planted, her
crude stone dagger grasped in her right hand, her eyes flashing
angrily.

His hands at his sides, Jason Gridley walked slowly up to her
as though offering his breast as a target for her weapon. The
stone blade flashed upward. It poised a moment above her shoulder
and then The Red Flower of Zoram turned and fled along the rim of
the rift.

She ran very swiftly and was soon far ahead of Jason, who was
weighted down by clothes, heavy weapons and ammunition. He called
after her once or twice, begging her to stop, but she did not
heed him and he continued doggedly along her trail, making the
best time that he could. He felt hurt and angry, but after all
the emotion which dominated him was one of regret that their
sweet friendship had been thus wantonly blasted.

Slowly the realization was borne in upon him that he had been
very happy with Jana and that she had occupied his thoughts
almost to the exclusion of every other consideration of the past
or future. Even the memory of his lost comrades had been
relegated to the hazy oblivion of temporary forgetfulness in the
presence of the responsibility which he had assumed for the safe
conduct of the girl to her home land.

"Why, she has made a regular monkey out of me," he mused.
"Odysseus never met a more potent Circe. Nor one half so lovely,"
he added, as he regretfully recalled the charms of the little
barbarian.

And what a barbarian she had proven herself--whipping out her
stone knife and threatening to kill him. But he could not help
but smile when he realized how in the final extremity she had
proven herself so wholly feminine. With a sigh he shook his head
and plodded on after The Red Flower of Zoram.

Occasionally Jason caught a glimpse of Jana as she crossed a
ridge ahead of him and though she did not seem to be travelling
as fast as at first, yet he could not gain upon her. His mind was
constantly harassed by the fear that she might be attacked by
some savage beast and destroyed before he could come to her
rescue with his rifle. He knew that sooner or later she would
have to stop and rest and then he was hopeful of overtaking her,
when he might persuade her to forget her anger and resume their
former friendly comradeship.

But it seemed that The Red Flower of Zoram had no intention of
resting, though the American had long since reached a state of
fatigue that momentarily threatened to force him to relinquish
the pursuit until outraged nature could recuperate. Yet he
plodded on doggedly across the rough ground, while the weight of
his arms and ammunition seemed to increase until his rifle
assumed the ponderous proportions of a field gun. Determined not
to give up, he staggered down one hill and struggled up the next,
his legs seeming to move mechanically as though they were some
detached engine of torture over which he had no control and which
were bearing him relentlessly onward, while every fiber of his
being cried out for rest.

Added to the physical torture of fatigue, were hunger and
thirst, and knowing that only thus might time be measured, he was
confident that he had covered a great distance since they had
last rested and then he topped the summit of a low rise and saw
Jana directly ahead of him.

She was standing on the edge of the rift where it opened into
a mighty gorge that descended from the mountains and it was
evident that she was undecided what course to pursue. The course
which she wished to pursue was blocked by the rift and gorge. To
her left the way led back down into the valley in a direction
opposite to that in which lay Zoram, while to retrace her steps
would entail another encounter with Jason.

She was looking over the edge of the precipice, evidently
searching for some avenue of descent when she became aware of
Jason's approach.

She wheeled upon him angrily. "Go back," she cried, "or I
shall jump."

"Please, Jana," he pleaded, "let me go with you. I shall not
annoy you, I shall not even speak to you unless you wish it, but
let me go with you to protect you from the beasts."

The girl laughed. "You protect me!" she exclaimed, her tone
caustic with sarcasm. "You do not even know the dangers which
beset the way. Without your strange spear, which spits fire and
death, you would be helpless before the attack of even one of the
lesser beasts, and in the high Mountains of the Thipdars there
are beasts so large and so terrible that they would devour you
and your fire spear in a single gulp. Go back to your own people,
man of another world; go back to the soft women of which you have
told me. Only a man may go where The Red Flower of Zoram
goes."

"You half convince me," said Jason with a rueful smile, "that
I am only a caterpillar, but nevertheless even a caterpillar must
have guts of some sort and so I am going to follow you, Red
Flower of Zoram, until some goggle-eyed monstrosity of the
Jurassic snatches me from this vale of tears."

"I do not know what you are talking about," snapped Jana; "but
if you follow me you will be killed. Remember what I told
you--only a man may go where goes The Red Flower of Zoram," and
as though to prove her assertion she turned and slid quickly over
the edge of the precipice, disappearing from his view.

Running quickly forward to the edge of the chasm, Jason
Gridley looked down and there, a few yards below him, clinging to
the perpendicular face of the cliff, Jana was working her way
slowly downward. Jason held his breath. It seemed incredible that
any creature could find hand or foothold upon that dizzy
escarpment. He shuddered and cold sweat broke out upon him as he
watched the girl.

Foot by foot she worked her way downward, while the man, lying
upon his belly, his head projecting over the edge of the cliff,
watched her in silence. He dared not speak to her for fear of
distracting her attention and when, after what seemed an
eternity, she reached the bottom, he fell to trembling like a
leaf and for the first time realized the extent of the nervous
strain he had been undergoing.

"God!" he murmured. "What a magnificent display of nerve and
courage and skill!"

The Red Flower of Zoram did not look back or upward once as
she resumed her way, following the gorge upward, searching for
some point where she might clamber out of it above the rift.

Jason Gridley looked down into the terrible abyss.

" 'Only a man may go where goes The Red Flower of Zoram,'" he
mused.

He watched the girl until she disappeared behind a mass of
fallen rock, where the gorge curved to the right, and he knew
that unless he could descend into the gorge she had passed out of
his life forever.

"Only a man may go where goes The Red Flower of Zoram!"

Jason Gridley arose to his feet. He readjusted the leather
sling upon his rifle so that he could carry the weapon hanging
down the center of his back. He slipped the holsters of both of
his six-guns to the rear so that they, too, were entirely behind
him. He removed his boots and dropped them over the edge of the
cliff. Then he lay upon his belly and lowered his body slowly
downward, and from a short distance up the gorge two eyes watched
him from a pile of tumbled granite. There was anger in them at
first, then skepticism, then surprise, and then terror.

As gropingly the man sought for some tiny foothold and then
lowered himself slowly a few inches at a time, the eyes of the
girl, wide in horror, never left him for an instant.

"Only a man may go where goes The Red Flower of Zoram!"

Cautiously, Jason Gridley groped for each handhold and
foothold--each precarious support from which it seemed that even
his breathing might dislodge him. Hunger, thirst and fatigue were
forgotten as he marshalled every faculty to do the bidding of his
iron nerve.

Hugging close to the face of the cliff he did not dare turn
his head sufficiently to look downward and though it seemed he
had clung there, lowering himself inch by inch, for an eternity,
yet he had no idea how much further he had to descend. And so
impossible of accomplishment did the task that he had set himself
appear that never for an instant did he dare to hope for a
successful conclusion. Never for an instant did any new hold
impart to him a feeling of security, but each one seemed, if
possible, more precarious than its predecessor, and then he
reached a point where, grope as he would, he could find no
foothold. He could not move to right or left; nor could he
ascend. Apparently he had reached the end of his resources, but
still he did not give up. Replacing his torn and bleeding feet
upon the last, slight hold that they had found, he cautiously
sought for new handholds lower down, and when he had found
them--mere protuberances of rough granite--he let his feet slip
slowly from their support as gradually he lowered his body to its
full length, supported only by his fingers, where they clutched
at the tiny projections that were his sole support.

As he clung there, desperately searching about with his feet
for some slight projection, he reproached himself for not having
discarded his heavy weapons and ammunition. And why? Because his
life was in jeopardy and he feared to die? No, his only thought
was that because of them he would be unable to cling much longer
to the cliff and that when his hands slipped from their holds and
he was dashed into eternity, his last, slender hope of ever again
seeing The Red Flower of Zoram would be gone. It is remarkable,
perhaps, that as he clung thus literally upon the brink of
eternity, no visions of Cynthia Furnois or Barbara Green impinged
themselves upon his consciousness.

He felt his fingers weakening and slipping from their hold.
The end came suddenly. The weight of his body dragged one hand
loose and instantly the other slipped from the tiny knob it had
been clutching, and Jason Gridley dropped downward, perhaps
eighteen inches, to the bottom of the cliff.

As he came to a stop, his feet on solid rock, Jason could not
readily conceive the good fortune that had befallen him. Almost
afraid to look, he glanced downward and then the truth dawned
upon him--he had made the descent in safety. His knees sagged
beneath him and as he sank to the ground, a girl, watching him
from up the gorge, burst into tears.

A short distance below him a spring bubbled from the canyon
side, forming a little brooklet which leaped downward in the
sunlight toward the bottom of the canyon and the valley, and
after he had regained his composure he found his boots and
hobbled down to the water. Here he satisfied his thirst and
washed his feet, cleansing the cuts as best he could, bandaged
them crudely with strips torn from his handkerchief, pulled his
boots on once more and started up the canyon after Jana.

Far above, near the summit of the stupendous range, he saw
ominous clouds gathering. They were the first clouds that he had
seen in Pellucidar, but only for this reason did they seem
remarkable or important. That they presaged rain, he could well
imagine; but how could he dream of the catastrophic proportions
of their menace.

Far ahead of him The Red Flower of Zoram was clambering upward
along a precarious trail that gave promise of leading eventually
over the rim of the gorge to the upper reaches that she wished to
gain. When she had seen Jason's life in imminent jeopardy, she
had been filled with terror and remorse, but when he had safely
completed the descent her mood changed, and with the perversity
of her sex she still sought to elude him. She had almost gained
the summit of the escarpment when the storm broke and with it
came a realization that the man behind her was ignorant of the
danger which now more surely manaced him than had the descent of
the cliff.

Without an instant's hesitation The Red Flower of Zoram turned
and fled swiftly down the steep trail she had just so laboriously
ascended. She must reach him before the waters reached him. She
must guide him to some high place upon the canyon's wall, for she
knew that the bottom of this great gorge would soon be a foaming,
boiling torrent, spreading from side to side, its waters,
perhaps, two hundred feet in depth. Already the water was running
deep in the canyon far below her and spilling over the rim above
her, racing downward in torrents and cataracts and waterfalls
that carried earth and stone with them. Never in her life had
Jana witnessed a storm so terrible. The thunder roared and the
lightning flashed; the wind howled and the water fell in blinding
sheets, and yet constantly menaced by instant death the girl
groped her way blindly downward upon her hopeless errand of
mercy. How hopeless it was she was soon to see, for the waters in
the gorge had risen, she saw them just below her now, nor was the
end in sight. Nothing down there could have survived. The man
must long since have been washed away.

Jason was dead! The Red Flower of Zoram stood for an instant
looking at the rising waters below her. There came to her an urge
to throw herself into them. She did not want to live, but
something stayed her; perhaps it was the instinct of primeval
man, whose whole existence was a battle against death, who knew
no other state and might not conceive voluntary surrender to the
enemy, and so she turned and fought her way upward as the waters
rising below her climbed to overtake her and the waters from
above sought to hurl her backward to destruction.

Jason Gridley has witnessed cloudbursts in California and
Arizona and he knew how quickly gulleys and ravines may be
transformed into raging torrents. He had seen a river a mile wide
formed in a few hours in the San Simon Flats, and when he saw the
sudden rush of waters in the bottom of the gorge below him and
realized that no storm that he had ever previously witnessed
could compare in magnitude with this, he lost no time in seeking
higher ground; but the sides of the canyon were steep and his
upward progress discouragingly slow, as he saw the waters rising
rapidly behind him. Yet there was hope, for just ahead and above
him he saw a gentle acclivity rising toward the summit of the
canyon rim.

As he struggled toward safety the boiling torrent rose and
lapped his feet, while from above the torrential rain thundered
down upon him, beating him backward so that often for a full
minute at a time he could make no headway.

The raging waters that were filling the gorge reached his
knees and for an instant he was swept from his footing. Clutching
at the ground above him with his hands, he lost his rifle, but as
it slid into the turgid waters he clambered swiftly upward and
regained momentary safety.

Onward and upward he fought until at last he reached a spot
above which he was confident the flood could not reach and there
he crouched in the partial shelter of an overhanging granite
ledge as Tarzan and Thoar and Tar-gash were crouching in another
part of the mountains, waiting in dumb misery for the storm to
spend its wrath.

He wondered if Jana had escaped the flood and so much
confidence did he have in her masterful ability to cope with the
vagaries of savage Pellucidarian life that he harbored few fears
for her upon the score of the storm.

In the cold and the dark and the wet he tried to plan for the
future. What chance had he to find The Red Flower of Zoram in
this savage chaos of stupendous peaks when he did not even know
the direction in which her country lay and where there were no
roads or trails and where even the few tracks that she might have
left must have been wholly obliterated by the torrents of water
that had covered the whole surface of the ground?

To stumble blindly on, then, seemed the only course left open
to him, since he knew neither the direction of Zoram, other than
in a most general way, nor had any idea as to the whereabouts of
his fellow members of the O-220 expedition.

At last the rain ceased; the sun burst forth upon a steaming
world and beneath the benign influence of its warm rays Jason
felt the cold ashes of hope rekindled within his breast.
Revivified, he took up the search that but now had seemed so
hopeless.

Trying to bear in mind the general direction in which Jana had
told him Zoram lay, he set his face toward what appeared to be a
low saddle between two lofty peaks, which appeared to surmount
the summit of the range.

Thirst no longer afflicted him and the pangs of hunger had
become deadened. Nor did it seem at all likely that he might soon
find food since the storm seemed to have driven all animal life
from the higher hills, but fortune smiled upon him. In a water
worn rocky hollow he found a nest of eggs that had withstood the
onslaught of the elements. The nature of the creature that had
laid them he did not know; nor whether they were the eggs of fowl
or reptile did he care. They were fresh and they were food and so
large were they that the contents of two of them satisfied his
hunger.

A short distance from the spot where he had found them grew a
low stunted tree, and having eaten he carried the three remaining
eggs to this meager protection from the prying eyes of soaring
reptiles and birds of prey. Here he removed his clothing, hanging
it upon the branches of the tree where the sunlight might dry it,
and then he lay down beneath the tree to sleep, and in the warmth
of Pellucidar's eternal noon he found no discomfort.

How long a time he slept he had no means of estimating, but
when he awoke he was completely rested and refreshed. He was
imbued with a new sense of self-confidence as he arose,
stretching luxuriously, to don his clothes. His stretch half
completed, he froze with consternation--his clothes were gone! He
looked hastily about for them or for some sign of the creature
that had purloined them, but never again did he see the one, nor
ever the other.

Upon the ground beneath the tree lay a shirt that, having
fallen, evidently escaped the eye of the marauder. That, his
revolvers and belts of ammunition, which had lain close to him
while he slept, were all that remained to him.

The temperature of Pellucidar is such that clothing is rather
a burden that a necessity, but so accustomed is civilized man to
the strange apparel with which he has encumbered himself for
generations that, bereft of it, his efficiency, self-reliance and
resourcefulness are reduced to a plane approximating the
vanishing point.

Never in his life had Jason Gridley felt so helpless and
futile as he did this instant as he contemplated the necessity
which stared him in the face of going forth into this world
clothed only in a torn shirt and an ammunition belt. Yet he
realized that with the exception of his boots he had lost nothing
that was essential either to his comfort or his efficiency, but
perhaps he was appalled most by the realization of the effect
that this misfortune would have upon the pursuit of the main
object of his quest--how could he prosecute the search for The
Red Flower of Zoram thus scantily appareled?

Of course The Red Flower had not been overburdened with
wearing apparel; yet in her case this seemed no reflection upon
her modesty, but the anticipation of finding her was now dampened
by a realization of the ridiculousness of the figure he would
cut, and already the mere contemplation of such a meeting caused
a flush to overspread him.

In his dreams he had sometimes imagined himself walking abroad
in some ridiculous state of undress, but now that such a dream
had become an actuality he appreciated that in the figment of the
subconscious mind he had never fully realized such complete
embarrassment and loss of self-confidence as the actuality
entailed.

Ruefully he tore his shirt into strips and devised a G-string;
then he buckled his ammunition belt around him and stepped forth
into the world, an Adam armed with two Colts.

As he proceeded upon his search for Zoram he found that the
greatest hardship which the loss of his clothing entailed was the
pain and discomfort attendant upon travelling barefoot on soles
already lacerated by his descent of the rough granite cliff. This
discomfort, however, he eventually partially overcame when with
the return of the game to the mountains he was able to shoot a
small reptile, from the hide of which he fashioned two crude
sandals.

The sun, beating down upon his naked body, had no such effect
upon his skin as would the sun of the outer world under like
conditions, but it did impart to him a golden bronze color, which
gave him a new confidence similar to that which he would have
felt had he been able to retrieve his lost apparel, and in this
fact he saw what he believed to be the real cause of his first
embarrassment at his nakedness--it had been the whiteness of his
skin that had made him seem so naked by contrast with other
creatures, for this whiteness had suggested softness and
weakness, arousing within him a disturbing sensation of
inferiority; but now as he took on his heavy coat of tan and his
feet became hardened and accustomed to the new conditions, he
walked no longer in constant realization of his nakedness.

He slept and ate many times and was conscious, therefore, that
considerable outer earthly time had passed since he had been
separated from Jana. As yet he had seen no sign of her or any
other human being, though he was often menaced by savage beasts
and reptiles, but experience had taught him how best to elude
these without recourse to his weapons, which he was determined to
use only in extreme emergencies for he could not but anticipate
with misgivings the time, which must sometime come, when the last
of his ammunition would have been exhausted.

He had crossed the summit of the range and found a fairer
country beyond. It was still wild and tumbled and rocky, but the
vegetation grew more luxuriantly and in many places the mountain
slopes were clothed in forests that reached far upward toward the
higher peaks. There were more streams and a greater abundance of
smaller game, which afforded him relief from any anxiety upon the
score of food.

For the purpose of economizing his precious ammunition he had
fashioned other weapons; the influence of his association with
Jana being reflected in his spear, while to Tarzan of the Apes
and the Waziri he owed his crude bow and arrows. Before he had
mastered the intricacies of either of his new weapons he might
have died of starvation had it not been for his Colts, but
eventually he achieved a sufficient degree of adeptness to insure
him a full larder at all times.

Jason Gridley had long since given up all hope of finding his
ship or his companion and had accepted with what philosophy he
could command the future lot from which there seemed no escape in
which he visioned a lifetime spent in Pellucidar, battling with
his primitive weapons for survival amongst the savage creatures
of the inner world.

Most of all he missed human companionship and he looked
forward to the day that he might find a tribe of men with which
he could cast his lot. Although he was quite aware from the
information that he had gleaned from Jana that it might be
extremely difficult, if not impossible, for him to win either the
confidence or the friendship of any Pellucidarian tribe whose
attitude towards strangers was one of habitual enmity; yet he did
not abandon hope and his eyes were always on the alert for a sign
of man; nor was he now to have long to wait.

He had lost all sense of direction in so far as the location
of Zoram was concerned and was wandering aimlessly from camp to
camp in the idle hope that some day he would stumble upon Zoram,
when a breeze coming from below brought to his nostrils the acrid
scent of smoke. Instantly his whole being was surcharged with
excitement, for smoke meant fire and fire meant man.

Moving cautiously down the mountain in the direction from
which the wind was blowing, his eager, searching eyes were
presently rewarded by sight of a thin wisp of smoke arising from
a canyon just ahead. It was a rocky canyon with precipitous
walls, those upon the opposite side from him being lofty, while
that which he was approaching was much lower and in many places
so broken down by erosion or other natural causes as to give
ready ingress to the canyon bottom below.

Creeping stealthily to the rim Jason Gridley peered downward
into the canyon. Along the center of its grassy floor tumbled a
mountain torrent. Giant trees grew at intervals, lending a
park-like appearance to the scene; a similarity which was further
accentuated by the gorgeous blooms which starred the sward or
blossomed in the trees themselves.

Beside a small fire at the edge of a brook squatted a bronzed
warrior, his attention centered upon a fowl which he was roasting
above the fire. Jason, watching the warrior, deliberated upon the
best method of approaching him, that he might convince him of his
friendly intentions and overcome the natural suspicion of
strangers that he knew to be inherent in these savage tribesmen.
He had decided that the best plan would be to walk boldly down to
the stranger, his hands empty of weapons, and he was upon the
point of putting his plan into action when his attention was
attracted to the summit of the cliff upon the opposite side of
the narrow canyon.

There had been no sound that had been appreciable to his ears
and the top of the opposite cliff had not been within the field
of his vision while he had been watching the man in the bottom of
the canyon. So what had attracted his attention he did not know,
unless it had been the delicate powers of perception inherent in
that mysterious attribute of the mind which we are sometimes
pleased to call a sixth sense.

But be that as it may, his eyes moved directly to a spot upon
the summit of the opposite cliff where stood such a creature as
no living man upon the outer crust had ever looked upon before--a
giant armored dinosaur it was, a huge reptile that appeared to be
between sixty and seventy feet in length, standing at the rump,
which was its highest point, fully twenty-five feet above the
ground. Its relatively small, pointed head resembled that of a
lizard. Along its spine were thin, horny plates arranged
alternately, the largest of which were almost three feet high and
equally as long, but with a thickness of little more than an
inch. The stout tail, which terminated in a long, horny spine,
was equipped with two other such spines upon the upper side and
toward the tip. Each of these spines was about three feet in
length. The creature walked upon four lizard-like feet, its
short, front legs bringing its nose close to the ground,
imparting to it an awkward and ungainly appearance.

It appeared to be watching the man in the canyon, and
suddenly, to Jason's amazement, it gathered its gigantic hind
legs beneath it and launched itself straight from the top of the
lofty cliff.

Jason's first thought was that the gigantic creature would be
dashed to pieces upon the ground in the canyon bottom, but to his
vast astonishment he saw that it was not falling but was gliding
swiftly through the air, supported by its huge spinal plates,
which it had dropped to a horizontal position, transforming
itself into a gigantic animate glider.

The swish of its passage through the air attracted the
attention of the warrior squatting over his fire. The man leaped
to his feet, snatching up his spear as he did so, and
simultaneously Jason Gridley sprang over the edge of the cliff
and leaped down the rough declivity toward the lone warrior, at
the same time whipping both his six-guns from their holsters.


XI
THE CAVERN OF CLOVI


AS TARZAN swarmed up the rope the bear, almost upon his heels
and running swiftly, squatted upon its haunches to overcome its
momentum and came to a stop directly beneath him. And then it was
that there occurred one of those unforeseen accidents which no
one might have guarded against.

It chanced that the granite projection across which Tarzan had
cast his noose was at a single point of knife-like sharpness upon
its upper edge, and with the weight of the man dragging down upon
it the rope parted where it rested upon this sharp bit of
granite, and the Lord of the Jungle was precipitated upon the
back of the cave bear.

With such rapidity had these events transpired it is a matter
of question as to whether the bear or Tarzan was the more
surprised, but primitive creatures who would survive cannot
permit surprise to disconcert them. In this instance both of the
creatures accepted the happening as though it had been planned
and expected.

The bear reared up and shook itself in an effort to dislodge
the man-thing from its back, while Tarzan slipped a bronzed arm
around the shaggy neck and clung desperately to his hold while he
dragged his hunting knife from its sheath. It was a precarious
place in which to stage a struggle for life. On one side the
cliff rose far above them, and upon the other it dropped away
dizzily into the depth of a gloomy gorge, and here the efforts of
the cave bear to dislodge its antagonist momentarily bade fair to
plunge them both into eternity.

The growls and roars of the quadruped reverberated among the
mighty peaks of the Mountains of the Thipdars, but the ape-man
battled silently, driving his blade repeatedly into the back of
the lunging beast, which was seeking by every means at its
command to dislodge him, though ever wary against precipitating
itself over the brink into the chasm.

But the battle could not go on forever and at last the blade
found the spinal cord. The creature stiffened spasmodically and
Tarzan slipped quickly from its back. He found safe footing upon
the ledge as the mighty carcass stumbled forward and rolled over
the edge to hurtle downward to the gorge's bottom, carrying with
it four of Tarzan's arrows and his spear.

The ape-man found his rope lying upon the ledge where it had
fallen, and gathering it up he started back along the trail in
search of the bow that he had been forced to discard in his
flight, as well as to find the boy.

He had taken only a few steps when, upon rounding the shoulder
of a crag, he came face to face with the youth. At sight of him
the latter stopped, his spear ready, his stone knife loosened in
its sheath. He had been carrying Tarzan's bow, but at sight of
the ape-man he dropped it at his feet, the better to defend
himself in the event that he was attacked by the stranger.

"I am Tarzan of the Apes," said the Lord of the Jungle. "I
come as a friend, and not to kill."

"I am Ovan," said the boy. "If you did not come to our country
to kill, then you came to steal a mate, and thus it is the duty
of every warrior of Clovi to kill you."

"Tarzan seeks no mate," said the ape-man.

"Then why is he in Clovi?" demanded the youth.

"He is lost," replied the ape-man. "Tarzan comes from another
world that is beyond Pellucidar. He has become separated from his
friends and he cannot find his way back to them. He would be
friend with the people of Clovi."

"Why did you attack the bear?" demanded Ovan, suddenly.

"If I had not attacked it it would have killed you," replied
the ape-man.

Ovan scratched his head. "It seemed to me," he said presently,
"that there could be no other reason. It is what one of the men
of my own tribe would have done, but you are not of my tribe. You
are an enemy and so I could not understand why you did it. Do you
tell me that though I am not of your tribe you would have saved
my life?"

"Certainly," replied Tarzan.

Ovan looked long and steadily at the handsome giant standing
before him. "I believe you," he said presently, "although I do
not understand. I never heard of such a thing before, but I do
not know that the men of my tribe will believe. Even after I have
told them what you have done for me they may still wish to kill
you, for they believe that it is never safe to trust an
enemy."

"Where is your village?" asked Tarzan.

"It is not at a great distance," replied Ovan.

"I will go there with you," said Tarzan, "and talk with your
chief."

"Very well," said the boy. "You may talk with Avan the chief.
He is my father. And if they decide to kill you I shall try to
help you, for you saved my life when the ryth would have
destroyed me."

"Why were you in the cave?" demanded Tarzan. "It was plainly
apparent that it was the den of a wild beast."

"You, too, were upon the same trail," said the boy, "while you
chanced to be behind the ryth. It was my misfortune that I was in
front of it."

"I did not know where the trail led," said the ape-man.

"Neither did I," said Ovan. "I have never hunted before except
in the company of older men, but now I have reached an age when I
would be a warrior myself, and so I have come out of the caves of
my people to make my first kill alone, for only thus may a man
hope to become a warrior. I saw this trail and, though I did not
know where it led, I followed it; nor had I been long upon it
when I heard the footsteps of the ryth behind me and when I came
to the cave and saw that the trail ended there, I knew that I
should never again see the caves of my people, that I should
never become a warrior. When the great ryth came and saw me
standing there he was very angry, but I should have fought him.
Perhaps I might have killed him, though I do not believe that
that is at all likely.

"And then you came and with this bent stick cast a little
spear into the back of the ryth, which so enraged him that he
forgot me and turned to pursue you as you knew that he would.
They must indeed be brave warriors who come from the land from
which you come. Tell me about your country. Where is it? Are your
warriors great hunters and is your chief powerful in the
land?"

Tarzan tried to explain that his country was not in
Pellucidar, but that was beyond Ovan's powers of conception, and
so Tarzan turned the conversation from himself to the youth and
as they followed a winding trail toward Clovi, Ovan discoursed
upon the bravery of the men of his tribe and the beauty of its
women.

"Avan, my father, is a great chief," he said, "and the men of
my tribe are mighty warriors. Often we battle with the men of
Zoram and we have even gone as far as Daroz, which lies beyond
Zoram, for always there are more men than women in our tribe and
the warriors must seek their mates in Zoram and Daroz. Even now
Garb has gone to Zoram with twenty warriors to steal women. The
women of Zoram are very beautiful. When I am a little larger I
shall go to Zoram and steal a mate."

"How far is it from Clovi to Zoram?" asked Tarzan.

"Some say that it is not so far, and others that it is
farther," replied Ovan. "I have heard it said that going to Zoram
is much farther than returning inasmuch as the warriors usually
eat six times on the journey from Clovi to Zoram, but returning a
strong man may make the journey eating only twice and still
retain his strength."

"But why should the distance be shorter returning than going?"
demanded the ape-man.

"Because when they are returning they are usually pursued by
the warriors of Zoram," replied Ovan.

Inwardly Tarzan smiled at the naivete of Ovan's reasoning,
while it again impressed upon him the impossibility of measuring
distances or computing time under the anomalous condition
obtaining in Pellucidar.

As the two made their way toward Clovi, the boy gradually
abandoned his suspicious attitude toward Tarzan and presently
seemed to accept him quite as he would have a member of his own
tribe. He noticed the wound made by the talons of the thipdar on
Tarzan's back and shoulders and when he had wormed the story from
his companion he marvelled at the courage, resourcefulness and
strength that had won escape for this stranger from what a
Pellucidarian would have considered an utterly hopeless
situation.

Ovan saw that the wounds were inflamed and realized that they
must be causing Tarzan considerable pain and discomfort, and so
when first their way led near a brook he insisted upon cleansing
them thoroughly, and collecting the leaves of a particular shrub
he crushed them and applied the juices to the open wounds.

The pain of the inflammation had been as nothing compared to
the acute agony caused by the application thus made by Ovan and
yet the boy noticed that not even by the tremor of a single
muscle did the stranger evidence the agony that Ovan well knew he
was enduring, and once again his admiration for his new-found
companion was increased.

"It may hurt," he said, "but it will keep the wounds from
rotting and afterward they will heal quickly."

For a short time after they resumed their march the pain
continued to be excruciating, but it lessened gradually until it
finally disappeared, and thereafter the ape-man felt no
discomfort.

The way led to a forest where there were straight, tough,
young saplings, and here Tarzan tarried long enough to fashion a
new spear and to split and scrape half a dozen additional
arrows.

Ovan was much interested in Tarzan's steel-bladed knife and in
his bow and arrows, although secretly he looked with contempt
upon the latter, which he referred to as little spears for young
children. But when they became hungry and Tarzan bowled over a
mountain sheep with a single shaft, the lad's contempt was
changed to admiration and thereafter he not only evinced great
respect for the bow and arrows, but begged to be taught how to
make and to use them.

The little Clovian was a lad after the heart of the ape-man
and the two became fast friends as they made their way toward the
land of Clovi, for Ovan possessed the quiet dignity of the wild
beast; nor was he given to that garrulity which is at once the
pride and the curse of civilized man--there were no boy orators
in the peaceful Pliocene.

"We are almost there," announced Ovan, halting at the brink of
a canyon. "Below lie the caves of the Clovi. I hope that Avan,
the chief, will receive you as a friend, but that I cannot
promise. Perhaps it might be better for you to go your way and
not come to the caves of the Clovi. I do not want you to be
killed."

"They will not kill me," said Tarzan. "I come as a friend."
But in his heart he knew that the chances were that these
primitive savages might never accept a stranger among them upon
an equal or a friendly footing.

"Come, then," said Ovan, as he started the descent into the
canyon. Part way down the trail turned up along the canyon side
in the direction of the head of the gorge. It was a level trail
here, well kept and much used, with indications that no little
engineering skill had entered into its construction. It was by no
means the haphazard trail of beasts, but rather the work of
intelligent, even though savage and primitive men.

They had proceeded no great distance along the trail when Ovan
sounded a low whistle, which, a moment later, was answered from
around the bend in the trail ahead, and when the two had passed
this turn Tarzan saw before him a wide, natural ledge of rock
entirely overhung by beetling cliffs and in the depth of the
recess thus formed in the cliffside he saw the dark mouth of a
cavern.

Upon the flat surface of the ledge, which comprised some two
acres, were congregated fully a hundred men, women and
children.

All eyes were turned in their direction as they came into view
and on sight of Tarzan the warriors sprang to their feet, seizing
spears and knives. The women called their children to them and
moved quickly toward the entrance to the cavern.

"Do not fear," cried the boy. "It is only Ovan and his friend,
Tarzan."

"We kill," growled some of the warriors.

"Where is Avan the chief?" demanded the boy.

"Here is Avan the chief," announced a deep gruff voice, and
Tarzan shifted his gaze to the figure of a stalwart, brawny
savage emerging from the mouth of the cavern.

"What have you there, Ovan?" demanded the chief. "If you have
brought a prisoner of war, you should have disarmed him
first."

"He is no prisoner," replied Ovan. "He is a stranger in
Pellucidar and he comes as a friend and not as an enemy."

"He is a stranger," replied Avan, "and you should have killed
him. He has learned the way to the caverns of Clovi and if we do
not kill him he will return to his people and lead them against
us."

"He has no people and he does not know how to return to his
own country," said the boy.

"Then he does not speak true words, for that is not possible,"
said Avan. "There can be no man who does not know the way to his
own country. Come! Stand aside, Ovan, while I destroy him."

The lad drew himself stiffly erect in front of Tarzan. "Who
would kill the friend of Ovan," he said, "must first kill
Ovan,"

A tall warrior, standing near the chief, laid his hand upon
Avan's arm. "Ovan has always been a good boy," he said. "There is
none in Clovi near his age whose words are as full of wisdom as
his. If he says that this stranger is his friend and if he does
not wish us to kill him, he must have a reason and we should
listen to him before we decide to destroy the stranger."

"Very well," said the chief; "perhaps you are right, Ulan. We
shall see. Speak, boy, and tell us why we should not kill the
stranger."

"Because at the risk of his life he saved mine. Hand to hand
he fought with a great ryth from which I could not have escaped
had it not been for him; nor did he offer to harm me, and what
enemy of the Clovi is there, even among the people of Zoram and
Daroz who are of our own blood, that would not slay a Clovi youth
who was so soon to become a warrior? Not only is he very brave,
but he is a great hunter. It would be well for the tribe of Clovi
if he came to live with us as a friend."

Avan bowed his head in thought. "When Carb returns we shall
call a council and decide what to do," he said. "In the meantime
the stranger must remain here as a prisoner."

"I shall not remain as a prisoner," said Tarzan. "I came as a
friend and I shall remain as a friend, or I shall not remain at
all."

"Let him stay as a friend," said Ulan. "He has marched with
Ovan and has not harmed him. Why should we think that he will
harm us when we are many and he only one?"

"Perhaps he has come to steal a woman," suggested Avan.

"No," said Ovan, "that is not so. Let him remain and with my
life I will guarantee that he will harm no one."

"Let him stay," said some of the other warriors, for Ovan had
long been the pet of the tribe so that they were accustomed to
humoring him and so unspoiled was he that they still found
pleasure in doing so.

"Very well," said Avan. "Let him remain. But Ovan and Ulan
shall be responsible for his conduct."

There were only a few of the Clovians who accepted Tarzan
without suspicion, and among these was Maral, the mother of Ovan,
and Rela, his sister. These two accepted him without question
because Ovan had accepted him. Ulan's friendship, too, had been
apparent from the first; nor was it without great value for Ulan,
because of his intelligence, courage and ability was a force in
the councils of the Clovi.

Tarzan, accustomed to the tribal life of primitive people,
took his place naturally among them, paying no attention to those
who paid no attention to him, observing scrupulously the ethics
of tribal life and conforming to the customs of the Clovi in
every detail of his relations with them. He liked to talk with
Maral because of her sunny disposition and her marked
intelligence. She told him that she was from Zoram, having been
captured by Avan when, as a young warrior, he had decided to take
a mate. And to her nativity he attributed her great beauty, for
it seemed to be an accepted fact among the Clovis that the women
of Zoram were the most beautiful of all women.

Ulan he had liked from the first, being naturally attracted to
him because he had been the first of the Clovians to champion his
cause. In many ways Ulan differed from his fellows. He seemed to
have been the first among his people to discover that a brain may
be used for purposes other than securing the bare necessities of
existence. He had learned to dream and to exercise his brain
along pleasant paths that gave entertainment to himself and
others--fantastic stories that sometimes amused and sometimes
awed his eager audiences; and, too, he was a maker of pictures
and these he exhibited to Tarzan with no small measure of pride.
Leading the ape-man into the rocky cavern that was the shelter,
the storehouse and the citadel of the tribe, he lighted a crude
torch which illuminated the walls, revealing the pictures that
Ulan had drawn there. Mammoth and saber-tooth and cave bear were
depicted, with the red deer, the hyaenodon and other familiar
beasts, and in addition thereto were some with which Tarzan was
unfamiliar and one that he had never seen elsewhere than in
Pal-ul-don, where it had been known as a gryf. Ulan told him that
it was a gyor and that it was found upon the Gyor Cors, or Gyor
Plains, which lie at the end of the range of the Mountains of the
Thipdars beyond Clovi.

The drawings were in outline and were well executed. The other
members of the tribe thought they were very wonderful for Ulan
was the first ever to have made them and they could not
understand how he did it. Perhaps if he had been a weakling he
would have lost caste among them because of this gift, but
inasmuch as he was also a noted hunter and warrior his talents
but added to his fame and the esteem in which he was held by
all.

But though these and a few others were friendly toward him,
the majority of the tribe looked upon Tarzan with suspicion, for
never within the memory of one of them had a strange warrior
entered their village other than as an enemy. They were waiting
for the return of Carb and the warriors who had accompanied him,
when, the majority of them hoped, the council would sentence the
stranger to death.

As they became better acquainted with Tarzan, however, others
among them were being constantly won to his cause and this was
particularly true when he accompanied them upon their hunts, his
skill and his prowess winning their admiration, and his strange
weapons which they had at first viewed with contempt, soon
commanding their unqualified respect.

And so it was that the longer that Carb remained away the
better Tarzan's chances became of being accepted into the tribe
upon an equal footing with its other members; a contingency for
which he hoped since it would afford him a base from which to
prosecute his search for his fellows and allies familiar with the
country, whose friendly services he could enlist to aid him in
his search.

He was confident that Jason Gridley, if he still lived, was
lost somewhere among these stupendous mountains and if he could
but find him they might eventually, with the assistance of the
Clovians, locate the camp of the O-220.

He had eaten and slept with the Clovi many times and had
accompanied them upon several hunts. It had been noon when he
arrived and it was still noon, so whether a day or a month had
passed he did not know. He was squatting by the cook-fire of
Maral, talking with her and with Ulan, when from down the gorge
there sounded the whistled signal of the Clovians announcing the
approach of a friendly party and an instant later a youth rounded
the shoulder of the cliff and entered the village.

"It is Tomar," announced Maral. "Perhaps he brings news of
Carb."

The youth ran to the center of the ledge upon which the
village stood and halted. For a moment he stood there
dramatically with, upraised hand, commanding silence, and then he
spoke. "Carb is returning," he cried. "The victorious warriors of
Clovi are returning with the most beautiful woman of Zoram. Great
is Carb! Great are the warriors of Clovi!"

Cook fires and the routine occupations of the moment were
abandoned as the tribe advanced to await the coming of the
victorious war party.

Presently it came into sight, rounding the shoulder of the
cliff and filing on to the ledge--twenty warriors led by Carb and
among them a girl, her wrists bound behind her back, a rawhide
leash around her neck, the free end held by a brawny warrior.

The ape-man's greatest interest lay in Carb, for his position
in the tribe, perhaps even his life itself might rest with the
decision of this man, whose influence, he had learned, was great
in the councils of his people.

Carb was evidently a man of great physical strength; his
regular features imparted to him much of the physical beauty that
is an attribute to his people, but an otherwise handsome
countenance was marred by thin, cruel lips and cold,
unsympathetic eyes.

From contemplation of Carb the ape-man's eyes wandered to the
face of the prisoner, and there they were arrested by the
startling beauty of the girl. Well, indeed, thought Tarzan, might
she be acclaimed the most beautiful woman of Zoram, for it was
doubtful that there existed many in this world or the outer who
might lay claim to greater pulchritude than she.

Avan, the chief, standing in the center of the ledge, received
the returning warriors. He looked with favor upon the prize and
listened attentively while Carb narrated the more important
details of the expedition.

"We shall hold the council at once," announced Avan, "to
decide who shall possess the prisoner, and at the same time we
may settle another matter that has been awaiting the return of
Carb and his warriors."

"What is that?" demanded Carb.

Avan pointed at Tarzan. "There is a stranger who would come
into the tribe and be as one of us."

Carb turned his cold eyes in the direction of the ape-man and
his face clouded. "Why has he not been destroyed?" he asked. "Let
us do away with him at once."

"That is not for you to decide," said Avan, the chief. "The
warriors in council alone may say what shall be done."

Carb shrugged. "If the council does not destroy him, I shall
kill him myself," he said. "I, Carb, will have no enemy living in
the village where I live."

"Let us hold the council at once, then," said Ulan, "for if
Carb is greater than the council of the warriors we should know
it." There was a note of sarcasm in his voice.

"We have marched for a long time without food or sleep," said
Carb. "Let us eat and rest before the council is held, for
matters may arise in the council which will demand all of our
strength," and he looked pointedly at Ulan.

The other warriors, who had accompanied Carb, also wished to
eat and rest before the council was held, and Avan, the chief,
acceded to their just demands.

The girl captive had not spoken since she had arrived in the
village and she was now turned over to Maral, who was instructed
to feed her and permit her to sleep. The bonds were removed from
her wrists and she was brought to the cook-fire of the chief's
mate, where she stood with an expression of haughty disdain upon
her beautiful face.

None of the women revealed any inclination to abuse the
prisoner--an attitude which rather surprised Tarzan until the
reason for it had been explained to him, for he had upon more
than one occasion witnessed the cruelties inflicted upon female
prisoners by the women of native African tribes into whose hands
the poor creatures had fallen.

Maral, in particular, was kind to the girl. "Why should I be
otherwise?" she asked when Tarzan commented upon the fact. "Our
daughters, or even anyone of us, may at any time be captured by
the warriors of another tribe, and if it were known that we had
been cruel to their women, they would doubtless repay us in kind;
nor, aside from this, is there any reason why we should be other
than kind to a woman who will live among us for the rest of her
life. We are few in numbers and we are constantly together. If we
harbored enmities and if we quarreled our lives would be less
happy. Since you have been here you have never seen quarreling
among the women of Clovi; nor would you if you remained here for
the rest of your life. There have been quarrelsome women among
us, just as at some time there have been crippled children, but
as we destroy the one for the good of the tribe we destroy the
others."

She turned to the girl. "Sit down," she said pleasantly.
"There is meat in the pot. Eat, and then you may sleep. Do not be
afraid; you are among friends. I, too, am from Zoram."

At that the girl turned her eyes upon the speaker. "You are
from Zoram?" she asked. "Then you must have felt as I feel. I
want to go back to Zoram. I would rather die than live
elsewhere."

"You will get over that," said Maral. "I felt the same way,
but when I became acquainted I found that the people of Clovi are
much like the people of Zoram. They have been kind to me; they
will be kind to you, and you will be happy as I have been. When
they have given you a mate you will look upon life very
differently."

"I shall not mate with one of them," cried the girl, stamping
her sandaled foot. "I am Jana, The Red Flower of Zoram, and I
choose my own mate."

Maral shook her head sadly. "Thus spoke I once," she said;
"but I have changed, and so will you."

"Not I," said the girl. "I have seen but one man with whom I
would mate and I shall never mate with another."

"You are Jana," asked Tarzan, "the sister of Thoar?"

The girl looked at him in surprise, and as though she had
noticed him now for the first time her eyes quickly investigated
him. "Ah," she said, "you are the stranger whom Garb would
destroy."

"Yes," replied the ape-man.

"What do you know of the man who was with me?"

"We hunted together. We were travelling back to Zoram when I
became separated from him. We were following the tracks made by
you and a man who was with you when a storm came and obliterated
them. Your companion was the man whom I was seeking."

"What do you know of the man who was with me?" demanded the
girl.

"He is my friend," replied Tarzan. "What has become of
him?"

"He was caught in a canyon during the storm and he must have
been drowned," replied Jana sadly. "You are from his
country?"

"Yes."

"How did you know he was with me?" she demanded.

"I recognized his tracks and Thoar recognized yours."

"He was a great warrior," she said, "and a very brave
man."

"Are you sure that he is dead?" asked Tarzan.

"I am sure," replied The Red Flower of Zoram.

For a time they were silent, both occupied with thoughts of
Jason Gridley. "You were his friend," said Jana. She had moved
close to him and had seated herself at his side. Now she leaned
still closer. "They are going to kill you," she whispered. "I
know the people of these tribes better than you and I know Carb.
He will have his way. You were Jason's friend and so was I. If we
can escape I can lead the way back to Zoram, and if you are
Thoar's friend and mine the people of Zoram will have to accept
you."

"Why do you whisper?" asked a gruff voice behind them, and
turning they saw Avan, the chief. Without waiting for a reply, he
turned to Maral. "Take the woman to the cavern," he said. "She
will remain there until the council has decided who shall have
her as mate, and in the meantime I will place warriors at the
entrance to the cavern to see that she does not escape."

As Maral motioned Jana toward the cavern, the latter arose,
and as she did so she cast an appealing glance at Tarzan. The
ape-man, who was already upon his feet, looked quickly about him.
Perhaps a hundred members of the tribe were scattered about the
ledge, while near the opening to the trail which led down the
canyon and which afforded the only avenue of escape, fully a
dozen warriors loitered. Alone he might have won his way through,
but with the girl it would have been impossible. He shook his
head and his lips, which were turned away from Avan, formed the
word, "Wait," and a moment later The Red Flower of Zoram had
entered the dark cavern of the Clovians.

"And as for you, man of another country," said Avan,
addressing Tarzan, "until the council has decided upon your fate,
you are a prisoner. Go, therefore, into the cavern and remain
there until the council of warriors has spoken."

A dozen warriors barred his way to freedom now, but they were
lolling idly, expecting no emergency. A bold dash for freedom
might carry him beyond them before they could realize that he was
attempting escape. He was confident that the voice of the council
would be adverse to him and when its decision was announced he
would be surrounded by all the warriors of Clovi, alert and ready
to prevent his escape. Now, therefore, was the most propitious
moment; but Tarzan of the Apes made no break for liberty; instead
he turned and strode toward the entrance to the cavern, for The
Red Flower of Zoram had appealed to him for aid and he would not
desert the sister of Thoar and the friend of Jason.


XII
THE PHELIAN SWAMP


AS JASON GRIDLEY leaped down the canyon side toward the lone
warrior who stood facing the attack of the tremendous reptile
gliding swiftly through the air from the top of the, opposite
cliff side, there flashed upon the screen of his recollection the
picture of a restoration of a similar extinct reptile and he
recognized the creature as a stegosaurus of the Jurassic; but how
inadequately had the picture that he had seen carried to his mind
the colossal proportions of the creature, or but remotely
suggested its terrifying aspect.

Jason saw the lone warrior standing there facing inevitable
doom, but in his attitude there was no outward sign of fear. In
his right hand he held his puny spear, and in his left his crude
stone knife. He would die, but he would give a good account of
himself. There was no panic of terror, no futile flight.

The distance between Jason and the stegosaurus was over great
for a revolver shot, but the American hoped that he might at
least divert the attention of the reptile from its prey and even,
perhaps, frighten it away by the unaccustomed sound of the report
of the weapon, and so he fired twice in rapid succession as he
leaped downward toward the bottom of the canyon. That at least
one of the shots struck the reptile was evidenced by the fact
that it veered from its course, simultaneously emitting a loud,
screaming sound.

Attracted to Jason by the report of the revolver and evidently
attributing its hurt to this new enemy, the reptile, using its
tail as a rudder and tilting its spine plates up on one side,
veered in the direction of the American.

As the two shots shattered the silence of the canyon, the
warrior turned his eyes in the direction of the man leaping down
the declivity toward him, and then he saw the reptile veer in the
direction of the newcomer.

Heredity and training, coupled with experience, had taught
this primitive savage that every man's hand was against him,
unless the man was a member of his own tribe. Only upon a single
occasion in his life had experience controverted these teachings,
and so it seemed inconceivable that this stranger, whom he
immediately recognized as such, was deliberately risking his life
in an effort to succor him; yet there seemed no other
explanation, and so the perplexed warrior, instead of seeking to
escape now that the attention of the reptile was diverted from
him, ran swiftly toward Jason to join forces with him in
combatting the attack of the creature.

From the instant that the stegosaurus had leaped from the
summit of the cliff, it had hurtled through the air with a speed
which seemed entirely out of proportion to its tremendous bulk,
so that all that had transpired in the meantime had occupied but
a few moments of time, and Jason Gridley found himself facing
this onrushing death almost before he had had time to speculate
upon the possible results of his venturesome interference.

With wide distended jaws and uttering piercing shrieks, the
terrifying creature shot toward him, but now at last it presented
an easy target and Jason Gridley was entirely competent to take
advantage of the altered situation.

He fired rapidly with both weapons, trying to reach the tiny
brain, at the location of which he could only guess and for which
his bullets were searching through the roof of the opened mouth.
His greatest hope, however, was that the beast could not for long
face that terrific fusillade of shots, and in this he was right.
The strange and terrifying sound and the pain and shock of the
bullets tearing into its skull proved too much for the
stegosaurus. Scarcely half a dozen feet from Gridley it swerved
upward and passed over his head, receiving two or three bullets
in its belly as it did so.

Still shrieking with rage and pain it glided to the ground
beyond him.

Almost immediately it turned to renew the attack. This time it
came upon its four feet, and Jason saw that it was likely to
prove fully as formidable upon the ground as it had been in the
air, for considering its tremendous bulk it moved with great
agility and speed.

As he stood facing the returning creature, the warrior reached
his side.

"Get on that side of him," said the warrior, "and I will
attack him on this. Keep out of the way of his tail. Use your
spear; you cannot frighten a dyrodor away by making a noise."

Jason Gridley leaped quickly to one side to obey the
suggestions of the warrior, smiling inwardly at the naive
suggestion of the other that his Colt had been used solely to
frighten the creature.

The warrior took his place upon the opposite side of the
approaching reptile, but before he had time to cast his spear or
Jason to fire again the creature stumbled forward, its nose dug
into the ground and it rolled over upon its side dead.

"It is dead!" said the warrior in a surprised tone. "What
could have killed it? Neither one of us has cast a spear."

Jason slipped his Colts into their holsters. "These killed
it," he said, tapping them.

"Noises do not kill," said the warrior skeptically. "It is not
the bark of the jalok or the growl of the ryth that rends the
flesh of man. The hiss of the thipdar kills no one."

"It was not the noise that killed it," said Jason, "but if you
will examine its head and especially the roof of its mouth you
will see what happened when my weapons spoke."

Following Jason's suggestion the warrior examined the head and
the mouth of the dyrodor and when he had seen the gaping wounds
he looked at Jason with a new respect. "Who are you," he asked,
"and what are you doing in the land of Zoram?"

"My God!" exclaimed Jason. "Am I in Zoram?"

"You are."

"And you are one of the men of Zoram?" demanded the
American.

"I am; but who are you?"

"Tell me, do you know Jana, The Red Flower of Zoram?" insisted
Jason.

"What do you know of The Red Flower of Zoram, stranger?"
demanded the other. And then suddenly his eyes widened to a new
thought. "Tell me," he cried, "by what name do they call you in
the country from which you come?"

"My name is Gridley." replied the American; "Jason
Gridley."

"Jason!" exclaimed the other; "yes, Jason Gridley, that is it.
Tell me, man, where is The Red Flower of Zoram? What did you with
her?"

"That is what I am asking you," said Jason. "We became
separated and I have been searching for her. But what do you know
of me?"

"I followed you for a long time," replied the other, "but the
waters fell and obliterated your tracks."

"Why did you follow me?" asked Jason.

"I followed because you were with The Red Flower of Zoram,"
replied the other. "I followed to kill you, but he said you would
not harm her; he said that she went with you willingly. Is that
true?"

"She came with me willingly for a while," replied Jason, "and
then she left me; but I did not harm her."

"Perhaps he was right then," said the warrior. "I shall wait
until I find her and if you have not harmed her, I shall not kill
you."

"Whom do you mean by 'he'?" asked Jason. "There is no one in
Pellucidar who could possibly know anything about me, except
Jana."

"Do you not know Tarzan?" asked the warrior.

"Tarzan!" exclaimed Jason. "You have seen Tarzan? He is
alive?"

"I saw him. We hunted together and we followed you and Jana,
but he is not alive now, he is dead."

"Dead! You are sure that he is dead?"

"Yes, he is dead."

"How did it happen?"

"We were crossing the summit of the mountains when he was
seized by a thipdar and carried away."

Tarzan dead! He had feared as much and yet now that he had
proof it seemed unbelievable. His mind could scarcely grasp the
significance of the words that he had heard as he recalled the
strength and vitality of that man of steel. It seemed incredible
that that giant frame should cease to pulsate with life; that
those mighty muscles no longer rolled beneath the sleek, bronzed
hide; that that courageous heart no longer beat.

"You were very fond of him?" asked the warrior, noticing the
silence and dejection of the other.

"Yes," said Jason.

"So was I," said the warrior; "but neither Tar-gash nor I
could save him, the thipdar struck so swiftly and was gone before
we could cast a weapon."

"Who is Tar-gash?" asked Jason.

"A Sagoth--one of the hairy men," replied the warrior. "They
live in the forest and are often used as warriors by the
Mahars."

"And he was with you and Tarzan?" inquired Jason.

"Yes. They were together when I first saw them, but now Tarzan
is dead and Tar-gash has gone back to his own country and I must
proceed upon my search for The Red Flower of Zoram. You have
saved my life, man from another country, but I do not know that
you have not harmed Jana. Perhaps you have slain her. How am I to
know? I do not know what I should do."

"I, too, am looking for Jana," said Jason. "Let us look for
her together."

"Then if we find her, she shall tell me whether or not I shall
kill you," said the warrior.

Jason could not but recall how angry Jana had been with him.
She had almost killed him herself. Perhaps she would find it
easier to permit this warrior to kill him. Doubtless the man was
her sweetheart and if he knew the truth he would need no urging
to destroy a rival, but neither by look nor word did he reveal
any apprehension as he replied.

"I will go with you," he said, "and if I have harmed The Red
Flower of Zoram you may kill me. What is your name?"

"Thoar," replied the warrior.

Jana had spoken of her brother to Jason, but if she had ever
mentioned his name, the American had forgotten it, and so he
continued to think that Thoar was the sweetheart and possibly the
mate of The Red Flower and his reaction to this belief was
unpleasant; yet why it should have been he could not have
explained. The more he thought of the matter the more certain he
was that Thoar was Jana's mate, for who was there who might more
naturally desire to kill one who had wronged her. Yes, he was
sure that the man was Jana's mate. The thought made him angry for
she had certainly led him to believe that she was not mated. That
was just like a woman, he meditated; they were all flirts; they
would make a fool of a man merely to pass an idle hour, but she
had not made a fool of him. He had not fallen victim to her
lures, that is why she had been so angry--her vanity had been
piqued--and being a very primitive young person the first thought
that had come to her mind had been to kill him. What a little
devil she was to try to get him to make love to her when she
already had a mate, and thus Jason almost succeeded in working
himself into a rage until his sense of humor came to his rescue;
yet even though he smiled, way down deep within him something
hurt and he wondered why.

"Where did you last see Jana?" asked Thoar. "We can return
there and try and locate her tracks."

"I do not know that I can explain," replied Jason. "It is very
difficult for me to locate myself or anything else where there
are no points of compass."

"We can start together at the point where we found your tracks
with Jana's," said Thoar.

"Perhaps that will not be necessary if you are familiar with
the country on the other side of the range," said Jason.
"Returning toward the mountains from the spot where I first saw
Jana, there was a tremendous gorge upon our left. It was toward
this gorge that the two men of the four that had been pursuing
her ran after I had killed two of their number. Jana tried to
find a way to the summit, far to the right of this gorge, but our
path was blocked by a deep rift which paralleled the base of the
mountains, so that she was compelled to turn back again toward
the gorge, into which she descended. The last I saw of her she
was going up the gorge, so that if you know where this gorge lies
it will not be necessary for us to go all the way back to the
point at which I first met her."

"I know the gorge," said Thoar, "and if the two Phelians
entered it it is possible that they captured her. We will search
in the direction of the gorge then and if we do not find any
trace of her, we shall drop down to the country of the Phelians
in the lowland."

Through a maze of jagged peaks Thoar led the way. To him time
meant nothing; to Jason Gridley it was little more than a memory.
When they found food they ate; when they were tired they slept,
and always just ahead there were perilous crags to skirt and
stupendous cliffs to scale. To the American it would have seemed
incredible that a girl ever could find her way here had he not
had occasion to follow where The Red Flower of Zoram led.

Occasionally they were forced to take a lower route which led
into the forests that climbed high along the slopes of the
mountains, and here they found more game and with Thoar's
assistance Jason fashioned a garment from the hide of a mountain
goat. It was at best but a sketchy garment; yet it sufficed for
the purpose for which it was intended and left his arms and legs
free. Nor was it long before he realized its advantages and
wondered why civilized man of the outer crust should so encumber
himself with useless clothing, when the demands of temperature
did not require it.

As Jason became better acquainted with Thoar he found his
regard for him changing from suspicion to admiration, and finally
to a genuine liking for the savage Pellucidarian, in spite of the
fact that this sentiment was tinged with a feeling that, while
not positive animosity, was yet akin to it. It was difficult for
Jason to fathom the sentiment which seemed to animate him. There
could be no rivalry between him and this primitive warrior and
yet Jason's whole demeanor and attitude toward Thoar was such as
might be scrupulously observed by any honorable man toward an
honorable opponent or rival.

They seldom, if ever, spoke of Jana; yet thoughts of her were
uppermost in the mind of each of them. Jason often found himself
reviewing every detail of his association with her; every little
characteristic gesture and expression was indelibly imprinted
upon his memory, as were the contours of her perfect figure and
the radiant loveliness of her face. Not even the bitter words
with which she had parted with him could erase the memory of her
joyous comradeship. Never before in his life had he missed the
companionship of any woman. At times he tried to crowd her from
his thoughts by recalling incidents of his friendship with
Cynthia Furnois or Barbara Green, but the vision of The Red
Flower of Zoram remained persistently in the foreground, while
that of Cynthia and Barbara always faded gradually into
forgetfulness.

This state of mental subjugation to the personality of an
untutored savage, however beautiful, annoyed his ego and he tried
to escape it by dwelling upon the sorrow entailed by the death of
Tarzan; but somehow he never could convince himself that Tarzan
was dead. It was one of those things that it was simply
impossible to conceive.

Failing in this, he would seek to occupy his mind with
conjectures concerning the fate of Von Horst, Muviro and the
Waziri warriors, or upon what was transpiring aboard the great
dirigible in search of which his eyes were often scanning the
cloudless Pellucidarian sky. But travel where it would, even to
his remote Tarzana hills in far off California, it would always
return to hover around the girlish figure of The Red Flower of
Zoram.

Thoar, upon his part, found in the American a companion after
his own heart--a dependable man of quiet ways, always ready to
assume his share of the burden and responsibilities of the savage
trail they trod.

So the two came at last to the rim of the great gorge and
though they followed it up and down for a great distance in each
direction they found no trace of Jana, nor any sign that she had
passed that way.

"We shall go down to the lowlands," said Thoar, "to the
country that is called Pheli and even though we may not find her,
we shall avenge her."

The idea of primitive justice suggested by Thoar's decision
aroused no opposing question of ethics in the mind of the
civilized American; in fact, it seemed quite the most natural
thing in the world that he and Thoar should constitute themselves
a court of justice as well as the instrument of its punishment,
for thus easily does man slough off the thin veneer of
civilization, which alone differentiates him from his primitive
ancestors.

Thus a gap of perhaps a hundred thousand years which yawned
between Thoar of Zoram, and Jason Gridley of Tarzana was closed.
Imbued with the same hatred, they descended the slopes' of the
Mountains of the Thipdars toward the land of Pheli, and the heart
of each was hot with the lust to kill. No greedy munitions
manufacturer was needed here to start a war.

Down through stately forests and across rolling foothills went
Thoar and Jason toward the land of Pheli. The country teemed with
game of all descriptions and their way was beset by fierce
carnivores, by stupid, irritable herbivores of ponderous weight
and short tempers or by gigantic reptiles beneath whose charging
feet the earth trembled. It was by the exercise of the superior
intelligence of man combined with a considerable share of luck
that they passed unscathed to the swamp land where Pheli lies.
Here the world seemed dedicated to the reptilia. They swarmed in
countless thousands and in all sizes and infinite varieties.
Aquatic and amphibious, carnivorous and herbivorous, they hissed
and screamed and fought and devoured one another constantly, so
that Jason wondered in what intervals they found the time to
propagate their kind and he marvelled that the herbivores among
them could exist at all. A terrific orgy of extermination seemed
to constitute the entire existence of a large proportion of the
species and yet the tremendous size of many of them, including
several varieties of the herbivores, furnished ample evidence
that considerable numbers of them lived to a great age, for
unlike mammals, reptiles never cease to grow while they are
living.

The swamp, in which Thoar believed the villages of the
Phelians were to be found, supported a tremendous forest of
gigantic trees and so interlaced were their branches that
oftentimes the two men found it expedient to travel among them
rather than upon the treacherous, boggy ground. Here, too, the
reptiles were smaller, though scarcely less numerous. Among
these, however, there were exceptions, and those which caused
them the greatest anxiety were snakes of such titanic proportions
that when he first encountered one Jason could not believe the
testimony of his own eyes. They came upon the creature suddenly
as it was in the act of swallowing a trachodon that was almost as
large as an elephant. The huge herbivorous dinosaur was still
alive and battling bravely to extricate itself from the jaws of
the serpent, but not even its giant strength nor its terrific
armament of teeth, which included a reserve supply of over four
hundred in the lower jaw alone, availed it in its unequal
struggle with the colossal creature that was slowly swallowing it
alive.

Perhaps it was their diminutive size as much as their brains
or luck that saved the two men from the jaws of these horrid
creatures. Or, again, it may have been the dense stupidity of the
reptiles themselves, which made it comparatively easy for the men
to elude them.

Here in this dismal swamp of horrors not even the giant tarags
or the equally ferocious lions and leopards of Pellucidar dared
venture, and how men existed there it was beyond the power of
Jason to conceive. In fact he doubted that the Phelians or any
other race of men made their homes here. "Men could not exist in
such a place," he said to Thoar. "Pheli must lie elsewhere."

"No," said his companion, "members of my tribe have come down
here more than once in the memory of man to avenge the stealing
of a woman and the stories that they have brought back have
familiarized us all with the conditions existing in the land of
Pheli. This is indeed it."

"You may be right," said Jason, "but, like these snakes that
we have seen, I shall have to see the villages of the Phelians
before I will believe that they exist here and even then I won't
know whether to believe it or not."

"It will not be long now," said Thoar, "before you shall see
the Phelians in their own village."

"What makes you think so?" asked Jason.

"Look down below you and you will see what I have been
searching for," replied Thoar, pointing.

Jason did as he was bid and discovered a small stream
meandering through the swamp. "I see nothing but a brook," he
said.

"That is what I have been searching for," replied Thoar. "All
of my people who have been here say that Phelians live upon the
banks of a river that runs through the swamp. In places the land
is high and upon these hills the Phelians build their homes. They
do not live in caverns as do we, but they make houses of great
trees so strong that not even the largest reptiles can break into
them."

"But why should anyone choose to live in such a place?"
demanded the American.

"To eat and to breed in comparative peace and contentment,"
replied Thoar. "The Phelians, unlike the mountain people, are not
a race of warriors. They do not like to fight and so they have
hidden their villages away in this swamp where no man would care
to come and thus they are practically free from human enemies.
Also, here, meat abounds in such quantities that food lies always
at their doors. For them then the conditions are ideal and here,
more than elsewhere in Pellucidar, may they find
contentment."

As they advanced now they exercised the greatest caution,
knowing that any moment they might come within sight of a Phelian
village. Nor was it long before Thoar halted and drew back behind
the bole of a tree through which they were passing, then he
pointed forward. Jason, looking, saw a bare hill before them,
just a portion of which was visible through the trees. It was
evident that the hill had been cleared by man, for many stumps
remained. Within the range of his vision was but a single house,
if such it might be called.

It was constructed of logs, a foot or two in diameter. Three
or four of these logs, placed horizontally and lying one upon the
other, formed the wall that was presented to Jason's view. The
other side wall paralleled it at a distance of five or six feet,
and across the top of the upper logs were laid sections of
smaller trees, about six inches in diameter, and placed not more
than a foot apart. These supported the roof, which consisted of
several logs, a little longer than the logs constituting the
walls. The roof logs were laid close together, the interstices
being filled with mud. The front of the building was formed by
shorter logs set upright in the ground, a single small aperture
being left to form a doorway. But the most noticeable feature of
Phelian architecture consisted of long pointed stakes, which
protruded diagonally from the ground at an angle of about
forty-five degrees, pointing outward from the base of the walls
entirely around the building at intervals of about eighteen
inches. The stakes themselves were six or eight inches in
diameter and about ten feet long, being sharpened at the upper
end, and forming a barrier against which few creatures, however
brainless they might be, would venture to hurl themselves.

Drawing closer the two men had a better view of the village,
which contained upon that side of the hill they were approaching
and upon the top four buildings similar to that which they had
first discovered. Close about the base of the hill grew the dense
forest, but the hill itself had been entirely denuded of
vegetation so that nothing, either large or small, could approach
the habitation of the Phelians without being discovered.

No one was in sight about the village, but that did not
deceive Thoar, who guessed that anything which transpired upon
the hillside would be witnessed by many eyes peering through the
openings between the wall logs from the dim interiors of the long
buildings, beneath whose low ceilings Phelians must spend their
lives either squatting or lying down, since there was not
sufficient headroom to permit an adult to stand erect.

"Well," said Jason, "here we are. Now, what are we going to
do?"

Thoar looked longingly at Jason's two Colts. "You have refused
to use those for fear of wasting the deaths which they spit from
their blue mouths," he said, "but with one of those we might soon
find Jana if she was here or quickly avenge her if she is
not."

"Come on then," said Jason. "I would sacrifice more than my
ammunition for The Red Flower of Zoram." As he spoke he descended
from the tree and started toward the nearest Phelian dwelling.
Close behind him was Thoar and neither saw the eyes that watched
them from among the trees that grew thickly upon the river side
of the hill--cruel eyes that gleamed from whiskered faces.


XIII
THE HORIBS


AVAN, chief of the Clovi, had placed warriors before the
entrance to the cavern and as Tarzan approached it to enter they
halted him.

"Where are you going?" demanded one.

"Into the cavern," replied Tarzan.

"Why?" asked the warrior.

"I wish to sleep," replied the ape-man. "I have entered often
before and no one has ever stopped me."

"Avan has issued orders that no strangers are to enter or
leave the cavern until after the council of the warriors,"
exclaimed the guard.

At this juncture Avan approached. "Let him enter," he said. "I
sent him hither, but do not let him come out again."

Without a word of comment or question the Lord of the Jungle
passed into the interior of the gloomy cavern of Clovi. It was
several moments before his eyes became accustomed to the subdued
light within and permitted him to take account of his
surroundings.

That portion of the cavern which was visible and with which he
was familiar was of considerable extent. He could see the walls
on either side, and, very vaguely, a portion of the rear wall,
but adjoining that was utter darkness, suggesting that the cavern
extended further into the mountainside. Against the walls upon
pallets of dry grasses covered with hide lay many warriors and a
few women and children, almost all of whom were wrapped in
slumber. In the greater light near the entrance a group squatted
engaged in whispered conversation as, silently, he moved about
the cavern searching for the girl from Zoram. It was she who
recognized him first, attracting his attention by a low
whistle.

"You have a plan of escape?" she asked as Tarzan seated
himself upon a skin beside her.

"No," he said, "all that we may do is to await developments
and take advantage of any opportunity that may present
itself."

"I should think that it would be easy for you to escape," said
the girl; "they do not treat you as a prisoner; you go about
among them freely and they have permitted you to retain your
weapons."

"I am a prisoner now," he replied. "Avan just instructed the
warriors at the entrance not to permit me to leave here until
after the council of warriors had decided my fate."

"Your future does not look very bright then," said Jana, "and
as for me I already know my fate, but they shall not have me,
Carb nor any other!"

They talked together in low tones with many periods of long
silence, but when Jana turned the conversation upon the world
from which Jason had come, the silences were few and far between.
She would not let Tarzan rest, but plied him with questions, the
answers to many of which were far beyond her powers to
understand. Steam and electricity and all the countless
activities of civilized existence which are dependent upon them
were utterly beyond her powers of comprehension, as were the
heavenly bodies or musical instruments or books, and yet despite
what appeared to be the darkest depth of ignorance, to the very
bottom of which she had plumbed, she was intelligent and when she
spoke of those things pertaining to her own world with which she
was familiar, she was both interesting and entertaining.

Presently a warrior near them opened his eyes, sat up and
stretched. He looked about him and then he arose to his feet. He
walked around the apartment awakening the other warriors.

"Awaken," he said to each, "and attend the council of the
warriors."

When he approached Tarzan and Jana he recognized the former
and stopped to glare down at him.

"What are you doing here?" he demanded.

Tarzan arose and faced the Clovian warrior, but he did not
reply to the other's question.

"Answer me," growled Carb. "Why are you here?"

"You are not the chief," said Tarzan. "Go and ask your
question of women and children."

Carb sputtered angrily. "Go!" said Tarzan, pointing toward the
exit. For an instant the Clovian hesitated, then he continued on
around the apartment, awakening the remaining warriors.

"Now he will see that you are killed," said the girl. "He had
determined on that before," replied Tarzan. "We are no worse off
than we were."

Now they lapsed into silence, each waiting for the doom that
was to be pronounced upon them. They knew that outside upon the
ledge the warriors were sitting in a great circle and that there
would be much talking and boasting and argument before any
decision was reached, most of it unnecessary, for that has been
the way with men who make laws from time immemorial, a great
advantage, however, lying with our modern lawmakers in that they
know more words than the first ape-men.

As Tarzan and Jana waited a youth entered the cavern. He bore
a torch in the light of which he searched about the interior.
Presently he discovered Tarzan and came swiftly toward him. It
was Ovan.

"The council has reached its decision," he said. "They will
kill you and the girl goes to Carb."

Tarzan of the Apes rose to his feet. "Come," he said to Jana,
"now is as good a time as any. If we can cross the ledge and
reach the trail only a swift warrior can overtake us. And if you
are my friend," he continued, turning to Ovan, "and you have said
that you are, you will remain silent and give us our chance."

"I am your friend," replied the youth; "that is why I am here,
but you would never live to cross the ledge to the trail, there
are too many warriors and they are all prepared. They know that
you are armed and they expect that you will try to escape."

"There is no other way," said Tarzan.

"There is another way," replied the boy, "and I have come to
show it to you."

"Where?" asked Jana.

"Follow me," replied Ovan, and he started back into the remote
recesses of the cavern, which were fitfully illumined by his
flickering torch, while behind him followed Jana and the
ape-man.

The walls of the cavern narrowed, the floor rose steeply ahead
of them, so that in places it was only with considerable
difficulty that they ascended in the semi-darkness. At last Ovan
halted and held his torch high above his head, revealing a small,
natural chamber, at the far end of which there was a dark
fissure.

"In that dark hole," he said, "lies a trail that leads to the
summit of the mountains. Only the chief and the chief's first son
ever know of this trail. If my father learns that I have shown it
to you, he will have to kill me, but he shall never know for when
next they find me I shall be asleep upon a skin in the cavern far
below. The trail is steep and rough, but it is the only way. Go
now. This is the return I make you for having saved my life."
With that he dashed the torch to the floor, leaving them in utter
darkness. He did not speak again, but Tarzan heard the soft falls
of his sandaled feet groping their way back down toward the
cavern of the Clovi.

The ape-man reached out through the darkness and found Jana's
hand. Carefully he led her through the stygian darkness toward
the mouth of the fissure. Feeling his way step by step, groping
forward with his free hand, the ape-man finally discovered the
entrance to the trail.

Clambering upward over broken masses of jagged granite through
utter darkness, it seemed to the two fugitives that they made no
progress whatever. If time could be measured by muscular effort
and physical discomfort, the two might have guessed that they
passed an eternity in this black fissure, but at length the
darkness lessened and they knew that they were approaching the
opening in the summit of the mountains; nor was it long
thereafter before they emerged into the brilliant light of the
noonday sun.

"And now," said Tarzan, "in which direction lies Zoram?"

The girl pointed. "But we cannot reach it by going back that
way," she said, "for every trail will be guarded by Carb and his
fellows. Do not think that they will let us escape so easily.
Perhaps in searching for us they may even find the fissure and
follow us here."

"This is your world," said Tarzan. "You are more familiar with
it than I. What, then, do you suggest?"

"We should descend the mountains, going directly away from
Clovi," replied Jana, "for it is in the mountains that they will
look for us. When we have reached the lowland we can turn back
along the foot of the range until we are below Zoram, but not
until then should we come back to the mountains."

The descent of the mountains was slow because neither of them
was familiar with this part of the range. Oftentimes, their way
barred by yawning chasms, they were compelled to retrace their
steps to find another way around. They ate many times and slept
thrice and thus only could Tarzan guess that they consumed
considerable time in the descent, but what was time to them?

During the descent Tarzan had caught glimpses of a vast plain,
stretching away as far as the eye could reach. The last stage of
their descent was down a long, winding canyon, and when, at last,
they came to its mouth they found themselves upon the edge of the
plain that Tarzan had seen. It was almost treeless and from where
he stood it looked as level as a lake.

"This is the Gyor Cors," said Jana, "and may we not have the
bad fortune to meet a Gyor."

"And what is Gyor?" asked Tarzan.

"Oh, it is a terrible creature," replied Jana. "I have never
seen one, but some of the warriors of Zoram have been to the Gyor
Cors and they have seen them. They are twice the size of a tandor
and their length is more than that of four tall men, lying upon
the ground. They have a curved beak and three great horns, two
above their eyes and one above their nose. Standing upright at
the backs of their heads is a great collar of bony substance
covered with thick, horny hide, which protects them from the
horns of their fellows and spears of men. They do not eat flesh,
but they are irritable and short tempered, charging every
creature that they see and thus keeping the Gyor Cors for their
own use."

"Theirs is a vast domain," said Tarzan, letting his eyes sweep
the illimitable expanse of pasture land that rolled on and on,
curving slowly upward into the distant haze, "and your
description of them suggests that they have few enemies who would
care to dispute their dominion."

"Only the Horibs," replied Jana. "They hunt them for their
flesh and hide."

"What are Horibs?" asked Tarzan.

The girl shuddered. "The snake people," she whispered in an
awed tone.

"Snake people," repeated Tarzan, "and what are they?"

"Let us not speak of them. They are horrible. They are worse
than the Gyors. Their blood is cold and men say that they have no
hearts, for they do not possess any of the characteristics that
men admire, knowing not friendship or sympathy or love."

Along the bottom of the canyon through which they had
descended a mountain torrent had cut a deep gorge, the sides of
which were so precipitous that they found it expedient to follow
the stream down into the plain in order to discover an easier
crossing, since the stream lay between them and Zoram.

They had proceeded for about a mile below the mouth of the
canyon; around them were low, rolling hills which gradually
merged with the plain below; here and there were scattered clumps
of trees; to their knees grew the gently waving grasses that
rendered the Gyor Cors a paradise for the huge herbivorous
dinosaurs. The noonday sun shone down upon a scene of peace and
quiet, yet Tarzan of the Apes was restless. The apparent absence
of animal life seemed almost uncanny to one familiar with the
usual teeming activity of Pellucidar; yet the ape-man knew that
there were creatures about and it was the strange and unfamiliar
scent spoors carried to his nostrils that aroused within him a
foreboding of ill omen. Familiar odors had no such effect upon
him, but here were scents that he could not place, strangely
disagreeable in the nostrils of man. They suggested the scent
spoor of Histah the snake, but they were not his.

For Jana's sake Tarzan wished that they might quickly find a
crossing and ascend again to the higher levels on their journey
to Zoram, for there the creatures would be well known to them,
and the dangers which they portended familiar dangers with which
they were prepared to cope, but the vertical banks of the raging
torrent as yet offered no means of descent and now they saw that
the appearance of flatness which distance had imparted to the
great Gyor Cors was deceptive, since it was cut by ravines and
broken by depressions, some of which were of considerable extent
and depth. Presently a lateral ravine, opening into the now
comparatively shallow gorge of the river, necessitated a detour
which took them directly away from Zoram. They had proceeded for
about a mile in this direction when they discovered a crossing
and as they emerged upon the opposite side the girl touched
Tarzan's arm and pointed. The thing that she saw he had seen
simultaneously.

"A Gyor," whispered the girl. "Let us lie down and hide in
this tall grass."

"He has not seen us yet," said Tarzan, "and he may not come in
this direction."

No description of the beast looming tremendously before them
could convey an adequate impression of its titanic proportions or
its frightful mien. At the first glance Tarzan was impressed by
its remarkable likeness to the Gryfs of Pal-ul-don. It had the
two large horns above the eyes, a medial horn on the nose, a
horny beak and a great, horny hood or transverse crest over the
neck, and its coloration was similar but more subdued, the
predominant note being a slaty gray with yellowish belly and
face. The blue bands around the eyes were less well marked and
the red of the hood and the bony protuberances along the spine
were less brilliant than in the Gryf. That it was herbivorous, a
fact that he had learned from Jana, convinced him that he was
looking upon an almost unaltered type of the gigantic triceratop
that had, with its fellow dinosaurs, ruled the ancient Jurassic
world.

Jana had thrown herself prone among the grasses and was urging
Tarzan to do likewise. Crouching low, his eyes just above the
grasses, Tarzan watched the huge dinosaur.

"I think he has caught our scent," he said. "He is standing
with his head up, looking about him; now he is trotting around in
a circle. He is very light on his feet for a beast of such
enormous size. There, he has caught a scent, but it is not ours;
the wind is not in the right direction. There is something
approaching from our left, but it is still at a considerable
distance. I can just hear it, a faint suggestion of something
moving. The Gyor is looking in that direction now. Whatever is
coming is coming swiftly. I can tell by the rapidly increasing
volume of sound, and there are more than one--there are many. He
is moving forward now to investigate, but he will pass at a
considerable distance to our left." Tarzan watched the Gyor and
listened to the sound coming from the, as yet, invisible
creatures that were approaching. "Whatever is approaching is
coming along the bottom of the ravine we just crossed," he
whispered. "They will pass directly behind us."

Jana remained hiding low in the grasses. She did not wish to
tempt Fate by revealing even the top of her head to attract the
attention of the Gyor. "Perhaps we had better try to crawl away
while his attention is attracted elsewhere," she suggested.

"They are coming out of the ravine," whispered Tarzan. "They
are coming up over the edge--a number of men--but in the name of
God what is it they are riding?"

Jana raised her eyes above the level of the grasses and looked
in the direction that Tarzan was gazing. She shuddered. "They are
not men," she said; "they are the Horibs and the things upon the
backs of which they ride are Gorobors. If they see us we are
lost. Nothing in the world can escape the Gorobors, for there is
nothing in all Pellucidar so swift as they. Lie still. Our only
chance is that they may not discover us."

At sight of the Horibs the Gyor emitted a terrific bellow that
shook the ground and, lowering his head, he charged straight for
them. Fully fifty of the Horibs on their horrid mounts had
emerged from the ravine. Tarzan could see that the riders were
armed with long lances--pitiful and inadequate weapons, he
thought, with which to face an enraged triceratop. But it soon
became apparent that the Horibs did not intend to meet that
charge head-on. Wheeling to their right they formed in single
file behind their leader and then for the first time Tarzan had
an exhibition of the phenomenal speed of the huge lizards upon
which they were mounted, which is comparable only to the
lightning-like rapidity of a tiny desert lizard known as a
swift.

Following tactics similar to those of the plains Indians of
western America, the Horibs were circling their prey. The
bellowing Gyor, aroused to a frenzy of rage, charged first in one
direction and then another, but the Gorobors darted from his path
so swiftly that he never could overtake them. Panting and
blowing, he presently came to bay and then the Horibs drew their
circle closer, whirling dizzily about him, while Tarzan watched
the amazing scene, wondering by what means they might ever hope
to dispatch the ten tons of incarnate fury that wheeled first
this way and then that at the center of their circle.

As swiftly as they had darted in all three wheeled and were
out again, part of the racing circle, but in the sides of the
Gyor they had left two lances deeply imbedded. The fury of the
wounded triceratop transcended any of his previous
demonstrations. His bellowing became a hoarse, coughing scream as
once again he lowered his head and charged.

This time he did not turn and charge in another direction as
he had in the past, but kept on in a straight line, possibly in
the hope of breaking through the encircling Horibs, and to his
dismay the ape-man saw that he and Jana were directly in the path
of the charging beast. If the Horibs did not turn him, they were
lost.

A dozen of the reptile-men darted in upon the rear of the
Gyor. A dozen more lances sank deeply into its body, proving
sufficient to turn him in an effort to avenge himself upon those
who had inflicted these new hurts.

This charge had carried the Gyor within fifty feet of Tarzan
and Jana. It had given the ape-man an uncomfortable moment, but
its results were almost equally disastrous for it brought the
circling Horibs close to their position.

The Gyor stood now with lowered head, breathing heavily and
bleeding from more than a dozen wounds. A Horib now rode slowly
toward him, approaching him directly from in front. The attention
of the triceratop was centered wholly upon this single adversary
as two more moved toward him diagonally from the rear, one on
either side, but in such a manner that they were concealed from
his view by the great transverse crest encircling his neck behind
the horns and eyes. The three approached thus to within about
fifty feet of the brute and then those in the rear darted forward
simultaneously at terrific speed, leaning well forward upon their
mounts, their lances lowered. At the same instant each struck
heavily upon either side of the Gyor, driving their spears far
in. So close did they come to their prey that their mounts struck
the shoulders of the Gyor as they turned and darted out
again.

For an instant the great creature stood reeling in its tracks
and then it slumped forward heavily and rolled over upon its
side--the final lances had pierced its heart.

Tarzan was glad that it was over as he had momentarily feared
discovery by the circling Horibs and he was congratulating
himself upon their good fortune when the entire band of snake-men
wheeled their mounts and raced swiftly in the direction of their
hiding place. Once more they formed their circle, but this time
Tarzan and Jana were at its center. Evidently the Horibs had seen
them, but had temporarily ignored them until after they had
dispatched the Gyor.

"We shall have to fight," said Tarzan, and as concealment was
no longer possible he arose to his feet.

"Yes," said Jana, arising to stand beside him. "We shall have
to fight, but the end will be the same. There are fifty of them
and we are but two."

Tarzan fitted an arrow to his bow. The Horibs were circling
slowly about them inspecting their new prey. Finally they came
closer and halted their mounts, facing the two.

Now for the first time Tarzan was able to obtain a good view
of the snake-men and their equally hideous mounts. The
conformation of the Horibs was almost identical to man insofar as
the torso and extremities were concerned. Their three-toed feet
and five-toed hands were those of reptiles. The head and face
resembled a snake, but pointed ears and two short horns gave a
grotesque appearance that was at the same time hideous. The arms
"were better proportioned than the legs, which were quite
shapeless. The entire body was covered with scales, although
those upon the hands, feet and face were so minute as to give the
impression of bare skin, a resemblance which was further
emphasized by the fact that these portions of the body were a
much lighter color, approximating the shiny dead whiteness of a
snake's belly. They wore a single apronlike garment fashioned
from a piece of very heavy hide, apparently that of some gigantic
reptile. This garment was really a piece of armor, its sole
purpose being, as Tarzan later learned, to cover the soft, white
bellies of the Horibs. Upon the breast of each garment was a
strange device--an eight-pronged cross with a circle in the
center. Around his waist each Horib wore a leather belt, which
supported a scabbard in which was inserted a bone knife. About
each wrist and above each elbow was a band or bracelet. These
completed their apparel and ornaments. In addition to his knife
each Horib carried a long lance shod with bone. They sat on their
grotesque mounts with their toes locked behind the elbows of the
Gorobors, anomodont reptiles of the Triassic, known to
paleontologists as Pareiasuri. Many of these creatures measured
ten feet in length, though they stood low upon squat and powerful
legs.

As Tarzan gazed in fascination upon the Horibs, whose "blood
ran cold and who had no hearts," he realized that he might be
gazing upon one of the vagaries of evolution, or possibly upon a
replica of some form that had once existed upon the outer crust
and that had blazed the trail that some, to us, unknown creature
must have blazed from the age of reptiles to the age of man.

Nor did it seem to him, after reflection, any more remarkable
that a man-like reptile might evolve from reptiles than that
birds should have done so or, as scientific discoveries are now
demonstrating, mammals must have.

These thoughts passed quickly, almost instantaneously, through
his mind as the Horibs sat there with their beady, lidless eyes
fastened upon them, but if Tarzan had been astounded by the
appearance of these creatures the emotion thus aroused was
nothing compared with the shock he received when one of them
spoke, addressing him in the common language of the gilaks of
Pellucidar.

"You cannot escape," he said. "Lay down your weapons."


XIV
THROUGH THE DARK FOREST


JASON GRIDLEY ran swiftly up the hill toward the Phelian
village in which he hoped to find The Red Flower of Zoram and at
his side was Thoar, ready with spear and knife to rescue or
avenge his sister, while behind them, concealed by the underbrush
that grew beneath the trees along the river's bank, a company of
swarthy, bearded men watched the two.

To Thoar's surprise no defending warriors rushed from the
building they were approaching, nor did any sound come from the
interior. "Be careful," he cautioned Jason, "we may be running
into a trap," and the American, profiting by the advice of his
companion, advanced more cautiously. To the very entrance of the
building they came and as yet no opposition to their advance had
manifested itself.

Jason stopped and looked through the low doorway, then,
stooping, he entered with Thoar at his heels.

"There is no one here," said Jason; "the building is
deserted."

"Better luck in the next one then," said Thoar; but there was
no one in the next building, nor the next, nor in any of the
buildings of the Phelian village.

"They have all gone," said Jason.

"Yes," replied Thoar, "but they will return. Let us go down
among the trees at the riverside and wait for them there in
hiding."

Unconscious of danger, the two walked down the hillside and
entered the underbrush that grew luxuriantly beneath the trees.
They followed a narrow trail, worn by Phelian sandals.

Scarcely had the foliage closed about them when a dozen men
sprang upon them and bore them to the ground. In an instant they
were disarmed and their wrists bound behind their backs; then
they were jerked roughly to their feet and Jason Gridley's eyes
went wide as they got the first glimpse of his captors.

"Well, for Pete's sake!" he exclaimed. "I have learned to look
with comparative composure upon woolly rhinoceroses, mammoths,
trachodons, pterodactyls and dinosaurs, but I never expected to
see Captain Kidd, Lafitte and Sir Henry Morgan in the heart of
Pellucidar."

In his surprise he reverted to his native tongue, which, of
course, none of the others understood.

"What language is that?" demanded one of their captors. "Who
are you and from what country do you come?"

"That is good old American, from the U.S.A.," replied Jason;
"but who the devil are you and why have you captured us?" and
then turning to Thoar, "these are not the Phelians, are
they?"

"No," replied Thoar. "These are strange men, such as I have
never before seen."

"We know who you are," said one of the bearded men. "We know
the country from which you come. Do not try to deceive us."

"Very well, then, if you know, turn me loose, for you must
know that we haven't a war on with anyone."

"Your country is always at war with Korsar," replied the
speaker. "You are a Sarian. I know it by the weapons that you
carry. The moment I saw them, I knew that you were from distant
Sari. The Cid will be glad to have you and so will Bulf.
Perhaps," he added, turning to one of his fellows, "this is
Tanar, himself. Did you see him when he was a prisoner in
Korsar?"

"No, I was away upon a cruise," replied the other. "I did not
see him, but if this is indeed he we shall be well rewarded."

"We might as well return to the ship now," said the first
speaker. "There is no use waiting any longer for these
flat-footed natives with but one chance in a thousand of finding
a good looking woman among them."

"They told us further down the river that these people
sometimes captured women from Zoram. Perhaps it would be well to
wait."

"No," said the other, "I should like well enough to see one of
these women from Zoram that I have heard of all my life, but the
natives will not return as long as we are in the vicinity. We
have been gone from the ship too long now and if I know the
captain, he will be wanting to slit a few throats by the time we
get back."

Moored to a tree along the shore and guarded by five other
Korsars was a ship's longboat, but of a style that was
reminiscent of Jason's boyhood reading as were the bearded men
with their bizarre costumes, their great pistols and cutlasses
and their ancient arquebuses.

The prisoners were bundled into the boat, the Korsars entered
and the craft was pushed off into the stream, which here was
narrow and swift.

As the current bore them rapidly along Jason had an
opportunity to examine his captors. They were as villainous a
looking crew as he had ever imagined outside of fiction and were
more typically piratical than the fiercest pirates of his
imagination. What with earrings and, in some instances, nose
rings of gold, with the gay handkerchiefs bound about their heads
and body sashes around their waists, they would have presented a
gorgeous and colorful picture at a distance sufficiently great to
transform their dirt and patches into a pleasing texture.

Although in the story of Tanar of Pellucidar that Jason had
received by radio from Perry, he had become familiar with the
appearance and nature of the Korsars, yet he now realized that
heretofore he had accepted them more as he had accepted the
pirates of history and of his boyhood reading--as fictionary or,
at best, legendary--and not men of flesh and bone such as he saw
before him, their mouths filled with oaths and coarse jokes, the
grime and filth of reality marking them as real human beings.

In these savage Korsars, their boat, their apparel and their
ancient firearms, Jason saw conclusive proof of their descent
from men of the outer crust and realized how they must have
carried to the mind of David Innes an overwhelming conviction of
the existence of a polar opening leading from Pellucidar to the
outer world.

While Thoar was disheartened by the fate that had thrown them
into the hands of these strange people, Jason was not at all sure
but that it might prove a stroke of fortune for himself, as from
the conversation and comments that he had heard since their
capture it seemed reasonable to assume that they were to be taken
to Korsar, the city in which David Innes was confined and which
was, therefore, the first goal of their expedition to effect the
rescue of the Emperor of Pellucidar.

That he would arrive there alone and a prisoner were not in
themselves causes for rejoicing; yet, on the whole, he would be
no worse off than to remain wandering aimlessly through a country
filled with unknown dangers without the faintest shadow of a hope
of ever being able to locate his fellows. Now, at least, he was
almost certain of being transported to a place that they also
were attempting to reach and thus the chances of a reunion were
so much the greater.

The stream down which they floated wound through a swampy
forest, crossing numerous lagoons that sometimes were a size that
raised them to the dignity of lakes. Everywhere the waters and
the banks teemed with reptilian life, suggesting to Jason Gridley
that he was reviewing a scene such as might have been enacted in
a Mesozoic paradise countless ages before upon the outer crust.
So numerous and oftentimes so colossal and belligerent were the
savage reptiles that the descent of the river became a running
fight, during which the Korsars were constantly upon the alert
and frequently were compelled to discharge their arquebuses in
defense of their lives. More often than not the noise of the
weapons frightened off the attacking reptiles, but occasionally
one would persist in its attack until it had been killed; nor was
the possibility ever remote that in one of these encounters some
fierce and brainless saurian might demolish their craft and with
its fellows devour the crew.

Jason and Thoar had been placed in the middle of the boat,
where they squatted upon the bottom, their wrists still secured
behind their backs. Close to Jason was a Korsar whose fellows
addressed him as Lajo. There was something about this fellow that
attracted Jason's particular attention. Perhaps it was his more
open countenance or a less savage and profane demeanor. He had
not joined the others in the coarse jokes that were directed
against their captives; in fact, he paid little attention to
anything other than the business of defending the boat against
the attacking monsters.

There seemed to be no one in command of the party, all matters
being discussed among them and in this way a decision arrived at;
yet Jason had noticed that the others listened attentively when
Lajo spoke, which was seldom, though always intelligently and to
the point. Guided by the result of these observations he selected
Lajo as the most logical Korsar through whom to make a request.
At the first opportunity, therefore, he attracted the man's
attention.

"What do you want?" asked Lajo.

"Who is in command here?" asked Jason.

"No one," replied the Korsar. "Our officer was killed on the
way up. Why do you ask?"

"I want the bonds removed from our wrists," replied Jason. "We
cannot escape. We are unarmed and outnumbered and, therefore,
cannot harm you; while in the event that the boat is destroyed or
capsized by any of these reptiles we shall be helpless with our
wrists tied behind our backs."

Lajo drew his knife.

"What are you going to do?" asked one of the other Korsars who
had been listening to the conversation.

"I am going to cut their bonds," replied Lajo. "There is
nothing to be gained by keeping them bound."

"Who are you to say that their bonds shall be cut?" demanded
the other belligerently.

"Who are you to say that they shall not?" returned Lajo
quietly, moving toward the prisoners.

"I'll show you who I am," shouted the other, whipping out his
knife and advancing toward Lajo.

There was no hesitation. Like a panther Lajo swung upon his
adversary, striking up the other's knife-hand with his left
forearm and at the same time plunging his villainous looking
blade to the hilt in the other's breast. Voicing a single
blood-curdling scream the man sank lifeless to the bottom of the
boat. Lajo wrenched his knife from the corpse, wiped it upon his
adversary's shirt and quietly cut the bonds that confined the
wrists of Thoar and Jason. The other Korsars looked on,
apparently unmoved by the killing of their fellow, except for a
coarse joke or two at the expense of the dead man and a grunt of
approbation for Lajo's act.

The killer removed the weapons from the body of the dead man
and cast them aft out of reach of the prisoners, then he motioned
to the corpse. "Throw it overboard," he commanded, addressing
Jason and Thoar.

"Wait," cried another member of the crew. "I want his
boots."

"His sash is mine," cried another, and presently half a dozen
of them were quarreling over the belongings of the corpse like a
pack of dogs over a bone. Lajo took no part in this altercation
and presently the few wretched belongings that had served to
cover the nakedness of the dead man were torn from his corpse and
divided among them by the simple expedient of permitting the
stronger to take what they could; then Jason and Thoar eased the
naked body over the side, where it was immediately seized upon by
voracious denizens of the river.

Interminable, to an unknown destination, seemed the journey to
Jason. They ate and slept many times and still the river wound
through the endless swamp. The luxuriant vegetation and flowering
blooms which lined the banks long since had ceased to interest,
their persistent monotony making them almost hateful to the
eyes.

Jason could not but wonder at the superhuman efforts that must
have been necessary to row this large, heavy boat upstream in the
face of all the terrific assaults which must have been launched
upon it by the reptilian hordes that contested every mile of the
downward journey.

But presently the landscape changed, the river widened and the
low swamp gave way to rolling hills. The forests, which still
lined the banks, were freer from underbrush, suggesting that they
might be the feeding grounds of droves of herbivorous animals, a
theory that was soon substantiated by sight of grazing herds,
among which Jason recognized red deer, bison, bos and several
other species of herbivorous animals. The forest upon the right
bank was open and sunny and with its grazing herds presented a
cheerful aspect of warmth and life, but the forest upon the left
bank was dark and gloomy. The foliage of the trees, which grew to
tremendous proportions, was so dense as practically to shut out
the sunlight, the space between the boles giving the impression
of long, dark aisles, gloomy and forbidding.

There were fewer reptiles in the stream here, but the Korsars
appeared unusually nervous and apprehensive of danger after they
entered this stretch of the river. Previously they had been
drifting with the current, using but a single oar, scull fashion,
from the stern to keep the nose of the boat pointed downstream,
but now they manned the oars, pressing Jason and Thoar into
service to row with the others. Loaded arquebuses lay beside the
oarsmen, while in the bow and stern armed men were constantly
upon watch. They paid little attention to the right bank of the
river, but toward the dark and gloomy left bank they directed
their nervous, watchful gaze. Jason wondered what it was that
they feared, but he had no opportunity to inquire and there was
no respite from the rowing, at least not for him or Thoar, though
the Korsars alternated between watching and rowing.

Between oars and current they were making excellent progress,
though whether they were close to the end of the danger zone or
not, Jason had no means of knowing any more than he could guess
the nature of the menace which must certainly threaten them if
aught could be judged by the attitude of the Korsars.

The two prisoners were upon the verge of exhaustion when Lajo
noticed their condition and relieved them from the oars. How long
they had been rowing, Jason could not determine, although he knew
that while no one had either eaten or slept, since they had
entered this stretch of the river, the time must have been
considerable. The distance they had come he estimated roughly at
something over a hundred miles, and he and Thoar had been
continuously at the oars during the entire period, without food
or sleep, but they had barely thrown themselves to the bottom of
the boat when a cry, vibrant with excitement, arose from the bow.
"There they are!" shouted the man, and instantly all was
excitement aboard the boat.

"Keep to the oars!" shouted Lajo. "Our best chance is to run
through them."

Although almost too spent with fatigue to find interest even
in impending death, Jason dragged himself to a sitting position
that raised his eyes above the level of the gunwales of the boat.
At first he could not even vaguely classify the horde of
creatures swimming out upon the bosom of the placid river with
the evident intention of intercepting them, but presently he saw
that they were man-like creatures riding upon the backs of
hideous reptiles. They bore long lances and their scaly mounts
sped through the waters at incredible speed. As the boat
approached them he saw that the creatures were not men, though
they had the forms of men, but were grotesque and horrid reptiles
with the heads of lizards to whose naturally frightful mien,
pointed ears and short horns added a certain horrid
grotesquery.

"My God!" he exclaimed. "What are they?"

Thoar, who had also dragged himself to a sitting posture,
shuddered. "They are the Horibs," he said. "It is better to die
than to fall into their clutches."

Carried downward by the current and urged on by the long
sweeps and its own terrific momentum, the heavy boat shot
straight toward the hideous horde. The distance separating them
was rapidly closing; the boat was almost upon the leading Horib
when an arquebus in the bow spoke. Its loud report broke the
menacing silence that had overhung the river like a pall.
Directly in front of the boat's prow the horde of Horibs
separated and a moment later they were racing along on either
side of the craft. Arquebuses were belching smoke and fire,
scattering the bits of iron and pebbles with which they were
loaded among the hissing enemy, but for every Horib that fell
there were two to take its place.

Now they withdrew to a little distance, but with apparently no
effort whatever their reptilian mounts kept pace with the boat
and then, one after another on either side, a rider would dart in
and cast his lance; nor apparently ever did one miss its mark. So
deadly was their aim that the Korsars were compelled to abandon
their oars and drop down into the bottom of the boat, raising
themselves above the gunwales only long enough to fire their
arquebuses, when they would again drop down into concealment to
reload. But even these tactics could not preserve them for long,
since the Horibs, darting in still closer to the side of the
boat, could reach over the edge and lance the inmates. Straight
to the muzzles of the arquebuses they came, apparently entirely
devoid of any conception of fear; great holes were blown entirely
through the bodies of some, others were decapitated, while more
than a score lost a hand or an arm, yet still they came.
Presently exhausted and without weapons to defend themselves,
Jason and Thoar had remained lying upon the bottom of the boat
almost past caring what fate befell them. Half covered by the
corpses of the Korsars that had fallen, they lay in a pool of
blood. About them arquebuses still roared amid screams and
curses, and above all rose the shrill, hissing screech that
seemed to be the war cry of the Horibs.

The boat was dragged to shore and the rope made fast about the
bole of a tree, though three times the Korsars had cut the line
and three times the Horibs had been forced to replace it.

There was only a handful of the crew who had not been killed
or wounded when the Horibs left their mounts and swarmed over the
gunwales to fall upon their prey. Cutlasses, knives and
arquebuses did their deadly work, but still the slimy snake-men
came, crawling over the bodies of their dead to fall upon the
survivors until the latter were practically buried by greater
numbers.

When the battle was over there were but three Korsars who had
escaped death or serious wounds--Lajo was one of them. The Horibs
bound their wrists and took them ashore, after which they started
unloading the dead and wounded from the boat, killing the more
seriously wounded with their knives. Coming at last upon Jason
and Thoar and finding them unwounded, they bound them as they had
the living Korsars and placed them with the other prisoners on
the shore.

The battle over, the prisoners secured, the Horibs now fell
upon the corpses of the dead, nor did they rest until they had
devoured them all, while Jason and his fellow prisoners sat
nauseated with horror during the grizzly feast. Even the Korsars,
cruel and heartless as they were, shuddered at the sight.

"Why do you suppose they are saving us?" asked Jason.

Lajo shook his head. "I do not know," he said.

"Doubtless to feed us to their women and children," said
Thoar. "They say that they keep their human prisoners and fatten
them."

"You know what they are? You have seen them before?" Lajo
asked Thoar.

"Yes, I know what they are," said Thoar, "but these are the
first that I have ever seen. They are the Horibs, the snake
people. They dwell between the Rela Am and the Gyor Cors."

As Jason watched the Horibs at their grizzly feast, he became
suddenly conscious of a remarkable change that was taking place
in their appearance. When he had first seen them and all during
the battle they had been of a ghastly bluish color, the hands,
feet and faces being several shades paler than the balance of the
body, but as they settled down to their gory repast this hue
gradually faded to be replaced by a reddish tinge, which carried
in intensity in different individuals, the faces and extremities
of a few of whom became almost crimson as the feast
progressed.

If the appearance and blood-thirsty ferocity of the creatures
appalled him, he was no less startled when he first heard them
converse in the common language of the men of Pellucidar.

The general conformation of the creatures, their weapons,
which consisted of long lances and stone knives, the apronlike
apparel which they wore and the evident attempt at ornamentation
as exemplified by the insignia upon the breasts of their garments
and the armlets which they wore, all tended toward establishing a
suggestion of humanity that was at once grotesque and horrible,
but when to these other attributes was added human speech the
likeness to man created an impression that was indescribably
repulsive.

So powerful was the fascination that the creatures aroused in
the mind of Jason that he could divert neither his thoughts nor
his eyes from them. He noticed that while the majority of them
were about six feet in height, there were many much smaller,
ranging downward to about four feet, while there was one
tremendous individual that must have been fully nine feet tall;
yet all were proportioned identically and the difference in
height did not have the appearance of being at all related to a
difference in age, except that the scales upon the largest of
them were considerably thicker and coarser. Later, however, he
was to learn that differences in size predicated differences in
age, the growth of these creatures being governed by the same law
which governs the growth of reptiles, which, unlike mammals,
continue to grow throughout the entire duration of their
lives.

When they had gorged themselves upon the flesh of the Korsars,
the Horibs lay down, but whether to sleep or not Jason never knew
since their lidless eyes remained constantly staring. And now a
new phenomenon occurred. Gradually the reddish tinge faded from
their bodies to be replaced by a dull brownish gray, which
harmonized with the ground upon which they lay.

Exhausted by his long tour at the oars and by the horrors that
he had witnessed, Jason gradually drifted off into deep slumber,
which was troubled by hideous dreams in which he saw Jana in the
clutches of a Horib. The creature was attempting to devour The
Red Flower of Zoram, while Jason struggled with the bonds that
secured him.

He was awakened by a sharp pain in his shoulder and opening
his eyes he saw one of the homosaurians, as he had mentally
dubbed them, standing over him, prodding him with the point of
his sharp lance. "Make less noise," said the creature, and Jason
realized that he must have been raving in his sleep.

The other Horibs were rising from the ground, voicing strange
whistling hisses, and presently from the waters of the river and
from the surrounding aisles of the gloomy forest their hideous
mounts came trooping in answer to the summons.

"Stand up!" said the Horib who had awakened Jason. "I am going
to remove your bonds," he continued. "You cannot escape. If you
try to you will be killed. Follow me," he then commanded after he
had removed the thongs which secured Jason's wrists.

Jason accompanied the creature into the midst of the herd of
periosauri that was milling about, snapping and hissing, along
the shore of the river.

Although the Gorobors all looked alike to Jason, it was
evident that the Horibs differentiated between individuals among
them for he who was leading Jason threaded his way through the
mass of slimy bodies until he reached the side of a particular
individual.

"Get up," he said, motioning Jason to mount the creature. "Sit
well forward on its neck."

It was with a sensation of the utmost disgust that Jason
vaulted onto the back of the Gorobor. The feel of its cold,
clammy, rough hide against his naked legs sent a chilly shudder
up his spine. The reptileman mounted behind him and presently the
entire company was on the march, each of the other prisoners
being mounted in front of a Horib.

Into the gloomy forest the strange cavalcade inarched, down
dark, winding corridors overhung with dense vegetation, much of
which was of a dead pale cast through lack of sunlight. A clammy
chill, unusual in Pellucidar, pervaded the atmosphere and a
feeling of depression weighed heavily upon all the prisoners.

"What are you going to do with us?" asked Jason after they had
proceeded in silence for some distance.

"You will be fed upon eggs until you are fit to be eaten by
the females and the little ones," replied the Horib.

"They tire of fish and Gyor flesh. It is not often that we get
as much gilak meat as we have just had."

Jason relapsed into silence, discovering that, as far as he
was concerned, the Horib was conversationally a total loss and
for long after the horror of the creature's reply weighed upon
his mind. It was not that he feared death; it was the idea of
being fattened for slaughter that was peculiarly abhorrent.

As they rode between the never ending trees he tried to
speculate as to the origin of these grewsome creatures. It seemed
to him that they might constitute a supreme effort upon the part
of Nature to reach a higher goal by a less devious route than
that which evolution had pursued upon the outer crust from the
age of reptiles upwards to the age of man.

During the march Jason caught occasional glimpses of Thoar and
the other prisoners, though he had no opportunity to exchange
words with them, and after what seemed an interminable period of
time the cavalcade emerged from the forest into the sunlight and
Jason saw in the distance the shimmering blue water of an inland
lake. As they approached its shores he discerned throngs of
Horibs, some swimming or lolling in the waters of the lake, while
others lay or squatted upon the muddy bank. As the company
arrived among them they showed only a cold, reptilian interest in
the returning warriors, though some of the females and young
evinced a suggestive interest in the prisoners.

The adult females differed but slightly from the males. Aside
from the fact that they were hornless and went naked Jason could
discover no other distinguishing feature. He saw no signs of a
village, nor any indication of arts or crafts other than those
necessary to produce their crude weapons and the simple
apron-like armor that the warriors wore to protect the soft skin
of their bellies.

On the way they passed a number of females laying eggs which
they deposited in the soft, warm mud just above the water line,
covering them lightly with mud, afterwards pushing a slender
stake into the ground at the spot to mark the nest. All along the
shore at this point were hundreds of such stakes and further on
Jason saw several tiny Horibs, evidently but just hatched,
wriggling upward out of the mud. No one paid the slightest
attention to them as they stumbled and reeled about trying to
accustom themselves to the use of their limbs, upon all four of
which they went at first, like tiny, grotesque lizards.

Arrived at the higher bank the warrior in charge of Thoar, who
was in the lead, suddenly clapped his hand over the prisoner's
mouth, pinching Thoar's nose tightly between his thumb and first
finger, and, without other preliminaries, dove head foremost into
the waters of the lake carrying his victim with him.

Jason was horrified as he saw his friend and companion
disappear beneath the muddy waters, which, after a moment of
violent agitation, settled down again, leaving only an ever
widening circular ripple to mark the spot where the two had
disappeared. An instant later another Horib dove in with Lajo and
in rapid succession the other two Korsars shared a similar
fate.

With a superhuman effort Jason sought to tear himself free
from the clutches of his captor, but the cold, clammy hands held
him tightly. One of them was suddenly clapped over his mouth and
nose and an instant later he felt the warm water of the lake
close about him.

Still struggling to free himself he was conscious that the
Horib was carrying him swiftly beneath the surface. Presently he
felt slimy mud beneath him, along which his body was being
dragged. His lungs cried out in tortured agony for air, his
senses reeled and momentarily all went black before him, though
no blacker than the stygian darkness of the hole into which he
was being dragged, and then the hand was removed from his mouth
and nose; mechanically his lungs gasped for air and as
consciousness slowly returned Jason realized that he was not
drowned, but that he was lying upon a bed of mud inhaling air and
not water.

Total darkness surrounded him; he felt a clammy body scrape
against his, and then another and another. There was a sound of
splashing, gurgling water and then silence--the silence of the
tomb.


XV
PRISONERS


STANDING UPON the edge of the great Gyor plains surrounded by
armed creatures, who had but just demonstrated their ability to
destroy one of the most powerful and ferocious creatures that
evolution has ever succeeded in producing, Tarzan of the Apes was
yet loath to lay down his weapons as he had been instructed and
surrender, without resistance, to an unknown fate.

"What do you intend to do with us?" he demanded of the Horib
who had ordered him to lay down his weapons.

"We shall take you to our village where you will be well fed,"
replied the creature. "You cannot escape us; no one escapes the
Horibs."

The ape-man hesitated. The Red Flower of Zoram moved closer to
his side. "Let us go with them," she whispered. "We cannot escape
them now; there are too many of them. Possibly if we go with them
we shall find an opportunity later."

Tarzan nodded and then he turned to the Horib. "We are ready,"
he said.

Mounted upon the necks of Gorobors, each in front of a Horib
warrior, they were carried across a corner of the Gyor Cors to
the same gloomy forest through which Jason and Thoar had been
taken, though they entered it from a different direction.

Rising at the east end of the Mountains of the Thipdars, a
river flows in a southeasterly direction entering upon its course
the gloomy forest of the Horibs, through which it runs down to
the Rela Am, or River of Darkness. It was near the confluence of
these two rivers that the Korsars had been attacked by the Horibs
and it was along the upper reaches of the same river that Tarzan
and Jana were being conducted down stream toward the village of
the lizard-men.

The lake of the Horibs lies at a considerable distance from
the eastern end of the Mountains of the Thipdars, perhaps five
hundred miles, and where there is no time and distances are
measured by food and sleep it makes little difference whether
places are separated by five miles or five hundred. One man might
travel a thousand miles without mishap, while another, in
attempting to go one mile, might be killed, in which even the one
mile would be much further than the thousand miles, for, in fact,
it would have proved an interminable distance for him who had
essayed it in this instance.

As Tarzan and Jana rode through the dismal forest, hundreds of
miles away Jason Gridley drew himself to a sitting position in
such utter darkness that he could almost feel it. "God!" he
exclaimed.

"Who spoke?" asked a voice out of the darkness, and Jason
recognized the voice as Thoar's.

"It is I, Jason," replied Gridley.

"Where are we?" demanded another voice. It was Lajo.

"It is dark. I wish they had killed us," said a fourth
voice.

"Don't worry," said a fifth, "we shall be killed soon
enough."

"We are all here," said Jason. "I thought we were all done for
when I saw them drag you into the water one by one."

"Where are we?" demanded one of the Korsars. "What sort of
hole is this into which they have put us?"

"In the world from which I come," said Jason, "there are huge
reptiles, called crocodiles, who build such nests or retreats in
the banks of rivers, just above the water line, but the only
entrance leads down below the waters of the river. It is such a
hole as that into which we have been dragged."

"Why can't we swim out again?" asked Thoar.

"Perhaps we could," replied Jason, "but they would see us and
bring us back again."

"Are we going to lie here in the mud and wait to be
slaughtered?" demanded Lajo.

"No," said Jason; "but let us work out a reasonable plan of
escape. It will gain us nothing to act rashly."

For some time the men sat in silence, which was finally broken
by the American. "Do you think we are alone here?" he asked in a
low tone. "I have listened carefully, but I have heard no sound
other than our own breathing."

"Nor I," said Thoar.

"Come closer then," said Jason, and the five men groped
through the darkness and arranged themselves in a circle, where
they squatted leaning forward till their heads touched. "I have a
plan," continued Jason. "When they were bringing us here I
noticed that the forest grew close to the lake at this point. If
we can make a tunnel into the forest, we may be able to
escape."

"Which way is the forest?" asked Lajo.

"That is something that we can only guess at," replied Jason.
"We may guess wrong, but we must take the chance. But I think
that it is reasonable to assume that the direction of the forest
is directly opposite the entrance through which we were carried
into this hole."

"Let us start digging at once," exclaimed one of the
Korsars.

"Wait until I locate the entrance," said Thoar.

He crawled away upon his hands and knees, groping through the
darkness and the mud. Presently he announced that he had found
the opening, and from the direction of his voice the others knew
where to start digging.

All were filled with enthusiasm, for success seemed almost
within the range of possibility, but now they were confronted
with the problem of the disposal of the dirt which they excavated
from their tunnel. Jason instructed Lajo to remain at the point
where they intended excavating and then had the others crawl in
different directions in an effort to estimate the size of the
chamber in which they were confined. Each man was to crawl in a
straight line in the direction assigned him and count the number
of times that his knees touched the ground before he came to the
end of the cavern.

By this means they discovered that the cave was long and
narrow and, if they were correct in the directions they had
assumed, it ran parallel to the lake shore. For twenty feet it
extended in one direction and for over fifty in the other.

It was finally decided that they should distribute the earth
equally over the floor of the chamber for a while and then carry
it to the further end, piling it against the further wall
uniformly so as not to attract unnecessary attention in the event
that any of the Horibs visited them.

Digging with their fingers was slow and laborious work, but
they kept steadily at it, taking turns about. The man at work
would push the dirt behind him and the others would gather it up
and distribute it, so that at no time was there a fresh pile of
earth upon the ground to attract attention should a Horib come.
Horibs did come; they brought food, but the men could hear the
splash of their bodies in the water as they dove into the lake to
reach the tunnel leading to the cave and being thus warned they
grouped themselves in front of the entrance to their tunnel
effectually hiding it from view. The Horibs who came into the
chamber at no time gave any suggestion of suspicion that all was
not right. While it was apparent that they could see in the dark
it was also quite evident that they could not discern things
clearly and thus the greatest fear that their plot might be
discovered was at least partially removed.

After considerable effort they had succeeded in excavating a
tunnel some three feet in diameter and about ten feet long when
Jason, who was excavating at the time, unearthed a large shell,
which greatly facilitated the process of excavation. From then on
their advance was more rapid, yet it seemed to them all that it
was an endless job; nor was there any telling at what moment the
Horibs would come to take them for the feast.

It was Jason's wish to get well within the forest before
turning their course upward toward the surface, but to be certain
of this he knew that they must first encounter roots of trees and
pass beyond them, which might necessitate a detour and delay; yet
to come up prematurely would be to nullify all that they had
accomplished so far and to put a definite end to all hope of
escape.

And while the five men dug beneath the ground in the dark hole
that was stretching slowly out beneath the dismal forest of the
Horibs a great ship rode majestically high in air above the
northern slopes of the Mountains of the Thipdars.

"They never passed this way," said Zuppner. "Nothing short of
a mountain goat could cross this range."

"I quite agree with you, sir," said Hines. "We might as well
search in some other direction now."

"God!" exclaimed Zuppner, "if I only knew in what direction to
search."

Hines shook his head. "One direction is as good as another,
sir," he said.

"I suppose so," said Zuppner, and, obeying his light touch
upon the helm, the nose of the great dirigible swung to port.
Following an easterly course she paralleled the Mountains of the
Thipdars and sailed out over the Gyor Cors. A slight turn of the
wheel would have carried her to the southeast, across the dismal
forest through which gloomy corridors Tarzan and Jana were being
borne to a horrible fate. But Captain Zuppner did not know and so
the O-220 continued on toward the east, while the Lord of the
Jungle and The Red Flower of Zoram rode silently toward their
doom.

From almost the moment that they had entered the forest Tarzan
had known that he might escape. It would have been the work of
but an instant to have leaped from the back of the Gorobor upon
which he was riding to one of the lower branches of the forest,
some of which barely grazed their heads as they passed beneath,
and once in the trees he knew that no Horib nor any Gorobor could
catch him, but he could not desert Jana; nor could he acquaint
her with his plans for they were never sufficiently close
together for him to whisper to her unheard by the Horibs. But
even had he been able to lay the whole thing before her, he
doubted her ability to reach the safety of the trees before the
Horibs recaptured her.

If he could but get near enough to take hold of her, he was
confident that he could effect a safe escape for both of them and
so he rode on in silence, hoping against hope that the
opportunity he so desired would eventually develop.

They had reached the upper end of the lake and were skirting
its western shore and, from remarks dropped by the Horibs in
their conversations, which were far from numerous, the ape-man
guessed that they were almost at their destination, and still
escape seemed as remote as ever.

Chafing with impatience Tarzan was on the point of making a
sudden break for liberty, trusting that the unexpectedness of his
act would confuse the lizard-men for just the few seconds that
would be necessary for him to throw Jana to his shoulder and
swing to the lower terrace that beckoned invitingly from
above.

The nerves and muscles of Tarzan of the Apes are trained to
absolute obedience to his will; they are never surprised into any
revelation of emotion, nor are they often permitted to reveal
what is passing in the mind of the ape-man when he is in the
presence of strangers or enemies, but now, for once, they were
almost shocked into revealing the astonishment that filled him as
a vagrant breeze carried to his nostrils a scent spoor that he
had never thought to know again.

The Horibs were moving almost directly up wind so that Tarzan
knew that the authors of the familiar odors that he had sensed
were somewhere ahead of them. He thought quickly now, but not
without weighing carefully the plan that had leaped to his mind
the instant that that familiar scent spoor had impinged upon his
nostrils. His major consideration was for the safety of the girl,
but in order to rescue her he must protect himself. He felt that
it would be impossible for them both to escape simultaneously,
but there was another way now--a way which seemed to offer
excellent possibilities for success. Behind him, upon the
Gorobor, and so close that their bodies touched, sat a huge
Horib. In one hand he carried a lance, but the other hand was
free. Tarzan must move so quickly that the fellow could not touch
him with his free hand before he was out of reach. To do this
would require agility of an almost superhuman nature, but there
are few creatures who can compare in this respect with the
ape-man. Low above them swung the branches of the dismal forest;
Tarzan waited, watching for the opportunity he sought. Presently
he saw it--a sturdy branch with ample head room above it--a
doorway in the ceiling of somber foliage. He leaned forward, his
hands resting lightly upon the neck of the Gorobor. They were
almost beneath the branch he had selected when he sprang lightly
to his feet and almost in the same movement sprang upward into
the tree. So quickly had he accomplished the feat that he was
gone before the Horib that had been guarding him realized it.
When he did it was too late--the prisoner had gone. With others,
who had seen the escape, he raised a cry of warning to those
ahead, but neither by sight nor sound could they locate the
fugitive, for Tarzan travelled through the upper terrace and all
the foliage beneath hid him from the eyes of his enemies.

Jana, who had been riding a little in the rear of Tarzan, saw
his escape and her heart sank for in the presence of the Horibs
The Red Flower of Zoram had come as near to experiencing fear as
she ever had in her life. She had derived a certain sense of
comfort from the presence of Tarzan and now that he had gone she
felt very much alone. She did not blame him for escaping when he
had the opportunity, but she was sure in her own heart that Jason
would not thus have deserted her.

Following the scent spoor that was his only guide, Tarzan of
the Apes moved rapidly through the trees. At first he climbed
high to the upper terraces and here he found a new world--a world
of sunlight and luxuriant foliage, peopled by strange birds of
gorgeous plumage which darted swiftly hither and thither. There
were flying reptiles, too, and great gaudy moths. Snakes coiled
upon many a branch and because they were of varieties unknown to
him, he did not know whether they constituted a real menace or
not. It was at once a beautiful and a repulsive world, but the
feature of it which attracted him most was its silence, for its
denizens seemed to be voiceless. The presence of the snakes and
the dense foliage rendered it an unsatisfactory world for one who
wished to travel swiftly and so the ape-man dropped to a lower
level, and here he found the forest more open and the scent spoor
clearer in his nostrils.

Not once had he doubted the origin of that scent, although it
seemed preposterously unbelievable that he should discover it
here in this gloomy wood in vast Pellucidar.

He was moving very rapidly for he wished, if possible, to
reach his destination ahead of the Horibs. He hoped that his
escape might delay the lizard-men and this was, in fact, the
case, for they had halted immediately while a number of them had
climbed into the trees searching for Tarzan. There was little in
their almost expressionless faces to denote their anger, but the
sickly bluish cast which overspread their scales denoted their
mounting rage at the ease with which this gilak prisoner had
escaped them, and when, finally, thwarted in their search, they
resumed their interrupted march, they were in a particularly ugly
mood.

Far ahead of them now Tarzan of the Apes dropped to the lower
terraces. Strong in his nostrils was the scent spoor he had been
following, telling him in a language more dependable than words
that he had but little further to go to find those he sought, and
a moment later he dropped down into one of the gloomy aisles of
the forest, dropping as from heaven into the astonished view of
ten stalwart warriors.

For an instant they stood looking at him in wide-eyed
amazement and then they ran forward and threw themselves upon
their knees about him, kissing his hands as they shed tears of
happiness. "Oh, Bwana, Bwana," they cried; "it is indeed you!
Mulungu has been good to his children; he has given their Big
Bwana back to them alive."

"And now I have work for you, my children," said Tarzan; "the
snake people are coming and with them is a girl whom they have
captured. I thank God that you are armed with rifles and I hope
that you have plenty of ammunition."

"We have saved it, Bwana, using our spears and our arrows
whenever we could."

"Good," said Tarzan; "we shall need it now. How far are we
from the ship?"

"I do not know," said Muviro.

"You do not know?" repeated Tarzan.

"No, Bwana, we are lost. We have been lost for a long while,"
replied the chief of the Waziri.

"What were you doing away from the ship alone?" demanded
Tarzan.

"We were sent out with Gridley and Von Horst to search for
you, Bwana."

"Where are they?" asked Tarzan.

"A long time ago, I do not know how long, we became separated
from Gridley and never saw him again. At that time it was savage
beasts that separated us, but how Von Horst became separated from
us we do not know. We had found a cave and had gone into it to
sleep; when we awoke Von Horst was gone; we never saw him
again."

"They are coming!" warned Tarzan.

"I hear them, Bwana," replied Muviro.

"Have you seen them--the snake people?" asked Tarzan.

"No, Bwana, we have seen no people for a long time; only
beasts--terrible beasts."

"You are going to see some terrible men now," Tarzan warned
them; "but do not be frightened by their appearance. Your bullets
will bring them down."

"When, Bwana, have you seen a Waziri frightened?" asked Muviro
proudly.

The ape-man smiled. "One of you let me take his rifle," he
said, "and then spread out through the forest. I do not know
exactly where they will pass, but the moment that any of you
makes contact with them commence shooting and shoot to kill,
remembering, however, that the girl rides in front of one of
them. Be careful that you do not harm her."

He had scarcely ceased speaking when the first of the Horibs
rode into view. Tarzan and the Waziri made no effort to seek
concealment and at the sight of them the leading Horib gave voice
to a shrill cry of pleasure. Then a rifle spoke and the leading
Horib writhed convulsively and toppled sideways to the ground.
The others in the lead, depending upon the swiftness of their
mounts, darted quickly toward the Waziri and the tall, white
giant who led them, but swifter than the Gorobors were the
bullets of the outer world. As fast as Tarzan and the Waziri
could fire the Horibs fell. Never before had they known defeat.
They blazed blue with rage, which faded to a muddy gray when the
bullets found their hearts and they rolled dead upon the
ground.

So swiftly did the Gorobors move and so rapidly did Tarzan and
the Waziri fire that the engagement was decided within a few
minutes of its inception, and now the remaining Horibs,
discovering that they could not hope to overcome and capture
gilaks armed with these strange weapons that hit them more
swiftly than they could hurl their lances, turned and scattered
in an effort to pass around the enemy and continue on their
way.

As yet Tarzan had not caught a glimpse of Jana, though he knew
that she must be there somewhere in the rear of the remaining
Horibs, and then he saw her as she flashed by in the distance,
borne swiftly upon the back of a fleet Gorobor. What appeared to
be the only chance to save her now was to shoot down the swift
beast upon which she was being borne away. Tarzan swung his rifle
to his shoulder and at the same instant a riderless Gorobor
struck him in the back and sent him sprawling upon the ground. By
the time he had regained his feet, Jana and her captor were out
of sight, hidden by the boles of intervening trees.

Milling near the Waziri were a number of terrified, riderless
Gorobors. It was from this number that the fellow had broken who
had knocked Tarzan down. The beasts seemed to be lost without the
guidance of their masters, but when they saw one of their number
start in pursuit of the Horibs who had ridden away, the others
followed and in their mad rush these savage beasts constituted as
great a menace as the Horibs themselves.

Muviro and his warriors leaped nimbly behind the boles of
large trees to escape them, but to the mind of the ape-man they
carried a new hope, offering as they did the only means whereby
he might overtake the Horib who was bearing away The Red Flower
of Zoram, and then, to the horror and astonishment of the Waziri,
Tarzan leaped to the back of one of the great lizards as it
scuttled abreast of him. Locking his toes beneath its elbows, as
he had seen the Horibs do, he was carried swiftly in the mad rush
of the creature to overtake its fellows and its masters. No need
to urge it on, if he had known what means to employ to do so, for
probably still terrified and excited by the battle it darted with
incredible swiftness among the boles of the gray trees,
outstripping its fellows and leaving them behind.

Presently, just ahead of him, Tarzan saw the Horib who was
bearing Jana away and he saw, too, that he would soon overtake
him, but so swiftly was his own mount running that it seemed
quite likely that he would be carried past Jana without being
able to accomplish anything toward her rescue, and with this
thought came the realization that he must stop the Horib's
mount.

There was just an instant in which to decide and act, but in
that instant he raised his rifle and fired. Perhaps it was a
wonderful bit of marksmanship, or perhaps it was just luck, but
the bullet struck the Gorobor in the spine and a moment later its
hind legs collapsed and it rolled over on its side, pitching Jana
and the Horib heavily to the ground. Simultaneously Tarzan's
mount swept by and the ape-man, risking a bad fall, slipped from
its back to go tumbling head over heels against the carcass of
the Horib's mount.

Leaping to his feet, he faced the lizard-man and as he did so
the ground gave way beneath him and he dropped suddenly into a
hole, almost to his armpits. As he was struggling to extricate
himself something seized him by the ankles and dragged him
downward--cold fingers that clung relentlessly to him dragging
him into a dark, subterranean hole.


XVI
ESCAPE


THE O-220 cruised slowly above the Gyor Cors, watchful eyes
scanning the ground below, but the only living things they saw
were huge dinosaurs. Disturbed by the motors of the dirigible,
the great beasts trotted angrily about in circles and
occasionally an individual, sighting the ship above him, would
gallop after it, bellowing angrily, or again one might charge the
elliptical shadow that moved along the ground directly beneath
the O-220.

"Sweet tempered little fellows," remarked Lieutenant Hines,
who had been watching them from a messroom port.

"Jes' which am dem bad dreams, Lieutenant?" asked
Robert Jones.

"Triceratops," replied the officer.

"Ah'll try most anything once, suh, but not dem babies,"
replied Robert.

Unknown to the bewildered navigating officer, the. ship was
taking a southeasterly course. Far away, on its port side, loomed
a range of mountains, hazily visible in the upcurving distance,
and now a river cut the plain--a river that came down from the
distant mountains--and this they followed, knowing that men lost
in a strange country are prone to follow the course of a river,
if they are so fortunate as to find one.

They had followed the river for some distance when Lieutenant
Dorf telephoned down from the observation cabin. "There is a
considerable body of water ahead, sir," he reported to Captain
Zuppner. "From its appearance I should say that we might be
approaching the shore of a large ocean."

"All eyes were now strained ahead and presently a large body
of water became visible to all on board. The ship cruised slowly
up and down the coast for a short distance, and as it had been
some time since they had had fresh water or fresh meat, Zuppner
decided to land and make camp, selecting a spot just north of the
river they had been following, where it emptied into the, sea.
And as the great ship settled gently to rest upon a rolling,
grassy meadow, Robert Jones made an entry in his little black
diary.

"Arrived here at noon."

While the great ship settled down beside the shore of the
silent Pellucidarian sea, Jason Gridley and his companions,
hundreds of miles to the west, pushed their tunnel upward toward
the surface of the ground. Jason was in front, laboriously
pushing the earth backward a few handfuls at a time to those
behind him. They were working frantically now because the length
of the tunnel already was so great that it was with difficulty
that they could return to the cavern in time to forestall
discovery when they heard Horibs approaching.

As Jason scraped away at the earth above him, there broke
suddenly upon his ears what sounded like the muffled
reverberation of rifle shots. He could not believe that they were
such, and yet what else could they be? For so long had he been
separated from his fellows that it seemed impossible that any
freak of circumstance had brought them to this gloomy corner of
Pellucidar, and though hope ran high yet he cast this idea from
his mind, substituting for it a more natural conclusion--that the
shots had come from the arquebuses of Korsars, who had come up
from the ship that Lajo had told him was anchored somewhere below
in the Rela Am. Doubtless the captain had sent an expedition in
search of the missing members of his crew, but even the prospects
of falling again into the hands of the fierce Korsars appeared a
heavenly one by comparison to the fate with which they were
confronted.

Now Jason redoubled his efforts, working frantically to drive
his narrow shaft upward toward the surface. The sound of the
shots, which had lasted but a few minutes, had ceased, to be
followed by the rapidly approaching thunder of many feet, as
though heavy animals were racing in his direction. He heard them
passing almost directly overhead and they seemed so close that he
was positive he must be near the surface of the ground. Another
shot sounded almost directly above him; he heard the thud of a
heavy body and the earth about him shook to the impact of its
fall. Jason's excitement had arisen to the highest pitch when
suddenly the earth gave way above him and something dropped into
the shaft upon his head.

His mind long imbued with the fear that their plan for escape
would be discovered by the Horibs, Jason reacted instinctively to
the urge of self-preservation, the best chance for the
accomplishment of which seemed to be to drag the discoverer of
their secret out of sight as quickly as possible, and with this
end in view he backed quickly into the tunnel, dragging the
interloper with him, and to a certain point this was not
difficult, but it so happened that Tarzan had clung to his rifle.
The rifle chanced to strike the ground in a horizontal position,
as the ape-man was dragged into the tunnel, and the muzzle and
butt lodged upon opposite sides of the opening, thus forming a
rigid bar across the mouth of the aperture, to which the ape-man
clung as Jason dragged frantically upon his ankles, and then
slowly the steel thews of the Jungle Lord tensed and as he drew
himself upward, he drew Jason Gridley with him. Strain and
struggle as he would, the American could not overcome the steady
pull of those giant thews. Slowly, irresistibly, he was dragged
into the shaft and upward toward the surface of the ground.

By this time, of course, he knew that the creature to which he
clung was no Horib, for his fingers were closed upon the smooth
skin of a human being, and not upon the scaly hide of a
lizard-man, but yet he felt that he must not let the fellow
escape.

The Horib, who had been expecting Tarzan's attack, had seen
him disappear mysteriously into the ground; nor did he wait to
investigate the miracle, but seizing Jana by the wrist he hurried
after his fellows, dragging the struggling girl with him.

The two were just disappearing among the boles of the trees
down a gloomy aisle of the somber forest when Tarzan, emerging
from the shaft, caught a single fleeting glimpse of them. It was
almost the growl of an enraged beast that escaped his lips as he
realized that this last calamity might have definitely precluded
the possibility of effecting the girl's rescue. Chafing at the
restraint of the clutching fingers clinging desperately to his
ankles, the ape-man kicked violently in an effort to dislodge
them and with such good effect that he sent Jason tumbling back
into his tunnel, while he leaped to the solid ground and freedom
to spring into pursuit of the Horib and The Red Flower of
Zoram.

Calling back to his companions to hurry after him, Jason
clambered swiftly to the surface of the ground just in time to
see a half-naked bronzed giant before he disappeared from view
behind the bole of a large tree, but that single glimpse awakened
familiar memories and his heart leaped within him at the
suggestion it implied. But how could it be? Had not Thoar seen
the Lord of the Jungle carried to his doom? Whether the man was
Tarzan or not was of less import than the reason for his haste.
Was he escaping or pursuing? But in either event something seemed
to tell Jason Gridley that he should not lose sight of him; at
least he was not a Horib, and if not a Horib, then he must be an
enemy of the lizard-men. So rapidly had events transpired that
Jason was confused in his own mind as to the proper course to
pursue; yet something seemed to urge him not to lose sight of the
stranger and acting upon this impulse, he followed at a brisk
run.

Through the dark wood ran Tarzan of the Apes, guided only by
the delicate and subtle aroma that was the scent spoor of The Red
Flower of Zoram and which would have been perceptible to no other
human nostrils than those of the Lord of the Jungle. Strong in
his nostrils, also, was the sickening scent of the Horibs and
fearful less he come upon them unexpectedly in numbers, he swung
lightly into the trees and, with undiminished speed, raced in the
direction of his quarry; nor was it long before he saw them
beneath him--a single Horib dragging the still-struggling
Jana.

There was no hesitation, there was no diminution in his speed
as he launched himself like a living projectile straight for the
ugly back of the Horib. With such force he struck the creature
that it was half stunned as he bore it to the ground. A sinewy
arm encircled its neck as Tarzan arose dragging the creature up
with him. Turning quickly and bending forward, Tarzan swung the
body over his head and hurled it violently to the ground, still
retaining his hold about its neck. Again and again he whipped the
mighty body over his head and dashed it to the gray earth, while
the girl, wide-eyed with astonishment at this exhibition of
Herculean strength, looked on.

At last, satisfied that the creature was dead or stunned,
Tarzan released it. Quickly he appropriated its stone knife and
picked up its fallen lance, then he turned to Jana. "Come," he
said, "there is but one safe place for us," and lifting her to
his shoulder he leaped to the low hanging branch of a nearby
tree. "Here, at least," he said, "you will be safe from Horibs,
for I doubt if any Gorobor can follow us here."

"I always thought that there were no warriors like the
warriors of Zoram," said Jana, "but that was before I had known
you and Jason;" nor could she, as Tarzan well knew, have voiced a
more sincere appreciation of what he had done for her, for to the
primitive woman there are no men like her own men. "I wish," she
continued sadly after a pause, "that Jason had lived. He was a
great man and a mighty warrior, but above all he was a kind man.
The men of Zoram are never cruel to their women, but they are not
always thoughtful and considerate. Jason seemed always to think
of my comfort before everything except my safety."

"You were very fond of him, were you not?" asked Tarzan.

The Red Flower of Zoram did not answer. There were tears in
her eyes and in her throat so that she could only nod her
head.

Once in the trees, Tarzan had lowered Jana to her feet,
presently discovering that she could travel quite without
assistance, as might have been expected of one who could leap
lightly from crag to crag upon the dizzy slopes of Thipdars'
heights. They moved without haste back to the point where they
had last seen Muviro, and his Waziri warriors, but as the way
took them down wind Tarzan could not hope to pick up the scent
spoor of his henchmen and so his ears were constantly upon the
alert for any slightest sound that might reveal their
whereabouts. Presently they were rewarded by the sound of
footsteps hurrying through the forest toward them.

The ape-man drew the girl behind the bole of a large tree and
waited, silent, motionless, for all footfalls are not the
footfalls of friends.

They had waited for but a moment when there came into view
upon the ground below them an almost naked man clothed in a bit
of filthy goatskin, which was almost undistinguishable as such
beneath a coating of mud, while the original color of his skin
was hidden beneath a similar covering. A great mass of tousled
black hair surmounted his head. He was quite the filthiest
appearing creature that Tarzan had ever looked upon, but he was
evidently no Horib and he was unarmed. What he was doing there
alone in the grim forest, the ape-man could not imagine, so he
dropped to the ground immediately in front of the surprised
wayfarer.

At sight of the ape-man, the other stopped his eyes wide with
astonishment and incredulity. "Tarzan!" he exclaimed. "My God, it
is really you. You are not dead. Thank God you are not dead."

It was an instant before the ape-man could recognize the
speaker, but not so the girl hiding in the tree above. The
instant that she had heard his voice she had known him.

A slow smile overspread the features of the Lord of the
Jungle. "Gridley!" he exclaimed. "Jason Gridley! Jana told me
that you were dead."

"Jana!" exclaimed Jason. "You know her? You have seen her?
Where is she?"

"She is here with me," replied Tarzan.

The Red Flower of Zoram had slipped to the ground upon the
opposite side of the tree and now she stepped from behind its
trunk.

"Jana!" cried Jason, coming eagerly toward her.

The girl drew herself to her full height and turned a shoulder
toward him. "Jalok!" she cried contemptuously. "Must I tell you
again to keep away from The Red Flower of Zoram?"

Jason halted in his tracks, his arms dropped limply to his
sides, his attitude one of utter dejection.

Tarzan looked silently on, his brows momentarily revealing his
perplexity; but it was not his way to interfere in affairs that
were wholly the concern of others. "Come," he said, "we must find
the Waziri."

Suddenly loud voices just ahead apprised them of the presence
of other men and in the babel of excited voices Tarzan recognized
the tones of his Waziri. Hurrying forward the three came upon a
scene that was momentarily ludicrous, but which might soon have
developed into tragedy had they not arrived in time.

Ten Waziri warriors armed with rifles had surrounded Thoar and
the three Korsars and each party was jabbering volubly in a
language unknown to the other.

The Pellucidarians, never before having seen human beings of
the rich, deep, black color of the Waziri and assuming that all
strangers were enemies, apprehended only the worst and were about
to make a concerted effort to escape their captors, while Muviro,
believing that these men might have some sinister connection with
the disappearance of his master, was determined to hold and
question them; nor would he have hesitated to kill them had they
resisted him. It was, therefore, a relief to both parties when
Tarzan, Jason and Jana appeared, and the Waziri saw their Big
Bwana greet one of their captives with every indication of
friendship.

Thoar was even more surprised to find Tarzan alive than Jason
had been, and when he saw Jana the natural reserve which
ordinarily marked his bearing was dissipated by the joy and
relief which he felt in finding her safe and well; nor any less
surprised and happy was Jana as she rushed forward and threw
herself into her brother's arms.

His breast filled with emotion such as he had never
experienced before, Jason Gridley stood apart, a silent witness
of this loving reunion, and then, probably for the first time,
there came to him an acute realization of the fact that the
sentiment which he entertained for this little barbarian was
nothing less than love.

It galled him even to admit it to himself and he felt that he
was contemptible to harbor jealousy of Thoar, not only because
Thoar was his friend, but because he was only a primitive savage,
while he, Jason Gridley, was the product of ages of culture and
civilization.

Thoar, Lajo and the other two Korsars were naturally delighted
when they found that the strange warriors whom they had looked
upon as enemies were suddenly transformed into friends and
allies, and when they heard the story of the battle with the
Horibs they knew that the greatest danger which threatened them
was now greatly minimized because of the presence of these
warriors armed with death-dealing weapons that made the ancient
arquebuses of the Korsars appear as inadequate as sling shots,
and that escape from this horrible country was as good as
accomplished.

Resting after their recent exertion, each party briefly
narrated the recent adventures that had befallen them and
attempts were made to formulate plans for the future, but here
difficulties arose. Thoar wished to return to Zoram with Jana,
Tarzan, Jason and the Waziri desired only to find the other
members of their expedition; while Lajo and his two fellows were
principally concerned with getting back to their ship.

Tarzan and Jason, realizing that it might not be expedient to
acquaint the Korsars with the real purpose of their presence in
Pellucidar and finding that the men were familiar with the story
of Tanar, gave them to believe that they were merely searching
for Sari in order to pay a friendly visit to Tanar and his
people.

"Sari is a long way," said Lajo. "He who would go to Sari from
here must sleep over a hundred times upon the journey, which
would take him across the Korsar Az and then through strange
countries filled with enemies, even as far as The Land of Awful
Shadow. Maybe one would never reach it."

"Is there no way overland?" asked Tarzan.

"Yes," replied Lajo, "and if we were at Korsar, I might direct
you, but that, too, would be a terrible journey, for no man knows
what savage tribes and beasts beset the long marches that must
lie between Korsar and Sari."

"And if we went to Korsar," said Jason, "we could not hope to
be received as friends. Is this not true, Lajo?"

The Korsar nodded. "No," he said. "You would not be received
as friends."

"Nevertheless," said Tarzan to Jason, "I believe that if we
are ever to find the O-220 again our best chance is to look for
it in the vicinity of Korsar."

Jason nodded in acquiescence. "But that will not accord with
Thoar's plans," he said, "for, if I understand it correctly, we
are much nearer to Zoram now than we are to Korsar and if we
decide to go to Korsar, our route will lead directly away from
Zoram. But unless we accompany them with the Waziri, I doubt if
Thoar and Jana could live to reach Zoram if they returned by the
route that he and I have followed since we left the Mountains of
the Thipdars."

Tarzan turned to Thoar. "If you will come with us, we can
return you very quickly to Zoram if we find our ship. If we do
not find it within a reasonable time, we will accompany you back
to Zoram. In either event you would have a very much better
chance of reaching your own country than you would if you and
Jana set out alone from here."

"We will accompany you, then," said Thoar, and then his brow
clouded as some thought seemed suddenly to seize upon his mind.
He looked for a moment at Jason, and then he turned to Jana. "I
had almost forgotten," he said. "Before we can go with these
people as friends, I must know if this man offered you any injury
or harm while you were with him, If he did, I must kill him."

Jana did not look at Jason as she replied. "You need not kill
him," she said. "Had that been necessary The Red Flower of Zoram
would have done it herself."

"Very well," said Thoar, "I am glad because he is my friend.
Now we may all go together."

"Our boat is probably in the river where the Horibs left it
after they captured us," said Lajo. "If it is we can soon drop
down to our ship, which is anchored in the lower waters of the
Rela Am."

"And be taken prisoners by your people," said Jason. "No,
Lajo, the tables are turned now and if you go with us, it is you
who will be the prisoners."

"The Korsar shrugged. "I do not care," he said. "We will
doubtless get a hundred lashes apiece when the captain finds that
we have been unsuccessful, that we have brought back nothing and
that he has lost an officer and many members of his crew."

It was finally decided that they would return to the Rela Am
and look for the longboat of the Korsars. If they found it they
would float down in search of the ship, when they would at least
make an effort to persuade the captain to receive them as friends
and transport them to the vicinity of Korsar.

On the march back to the Rela Am they were not molested by the
Horibs, who had evidently discovered that they had met their
masters in the Waziri. During the march Jason made it a point to
keep as far away from Jana as possible. The very sight of her
reminded him of his hopeless and humiliating infatuation, and to
be very near her constituted a form of refined agony which he
could not endure. Her contempt, which she made no effort to
conceal galled him bitterly, though it was no greater than his
own self-contempt when he realized that in spite of every reason
that he had to dislike her, he still loved her--loved her more
than he had thought it was possible for him to love any
woman.

The American was glad when a glimpse of the broad waters of
the Rela Am ahead of them marked the end of this stage of their
journey, which his own unhappy thoughts, combined with the
depressing influence of the gloomy forest, had transformed into
one of the saddest periods of his life.

To the relief of all, the boat was found still moored where
the Horibs had left it; nor did it take them long to embark and
push out upon the waters of the River of Darkness.

The river widened as they floated down toward the sea until it
became possible to step a mast and set sail, after which their
progress was still more rapid. Though the way was often beset by
dangers in the form of angry and voracious saurians, the rifles
of the Waziri proved adequate protection when other means of
defense had failed.

The river became very wide so that but for the current they
might have considered it an arm of the sea and at Lajo's
direction they kept well in toward the left bank, near which, he
said, the ship was anchored. Dimly visible in the distance was
the opposite shore, but only so because the surface of Pellucidar
curved upward. At the same distance upon the outer crust, it
would have been hidden by the curvature of the earth.

As they neared the sea it became evident that Lajo and the two
other Korsars were much concerned because they had not sighted
their ship.

"We have passed the anchorage," said Lajo at last. "That
wooded hill, which we just passed, was directly opposite the spot
where the ship lay. I cannot be mistaken because I noted it
particularly and impressed it upon my memory as a landmark
against the time when we should return from our expedition up the
river."

"He has sailed away and left us," growled one of the Korsars,
applying a vile epithet to the captain of the departed ship.

Continuing on down to the ocean they sighted a large island
directly off the mouth of the river, which Lajo told them
afforded good hunting with plenty of fresh water and as they were
in need of meat they landed there and made camp. It was an ideal
spot inasmuch as that part of the island at which they had
touched seemed to be peculiarly free from the more dangerous
forms of carnivorous mammals and reptiles; nor did they see any
sign of the presence of man. Game, therefore, was abundant.

Discussing their plans for the future, it was finally decided
that they would push on toward Korsar in the longboat, for Lajo
assured them that it lay upon the coast of the same landmass that
loomed plainly from their island refuge. "What lies in that
direction," he said, pointing south, "I do not know, but there
lies Korsar, upon this same coast," and he pointed in a direction
a little east of north. "Otherwise I am not familiar with this
sea, or with this part of Pellucidar, since never before has an
expedition come as far as the Rela Am."

In preparation for the long cruise to Korsar, great quantities
of meat were cut into strips and dried in the sun, or smoked over
slow fires, after which it was packed away in bladders that had
been carefully cleaned and dried. These were stowed in the boat
together with other bladders filled with fresh water, for,
although it was their intention to hug the coast on the way to
Korsar, it might not always be expedient to land for water or
food and there was always the possibility that a storm arising
they might be blown out to sea.

At length, all preparations having been made, the strangely
assorted company embarked upon their hazardous journey toward
distant Korsar.

Jana had worked with the others preparing the provisions and
the containers and though she had upon several occasions worked
side by side with Jason, she had never relaxed toward him; nor
appeared to admit that she was cognizant of his presence.

"Can't we be friends, Jana?" he asked once. "I think we would
both be very much happier if we were."

"I am as happy as I can be," she replied lightly, "until Thoar
takes me back to Zoram."


XVII
REUNITED


AS FAVORABLE winds carried the longboat and its company up the
sunlit sea, the O-220, following the same route, made occasional
wide circles inland upon what Zuppner now considered an almost
hopeless quest for the missing members of the expedition, and not
only was he hopeless upon this score, but he also shared the
unvoiced hopelessness of the balance of the company with regard
to the likelihood of their ever being able to find the polar
opening and return again to the outer world. With them, he knew
that even their tremendous reserve of fuel and oil would not last
indefinitely and if they were unable to find the polar opening,
while they still had sufficient in reserve to carry them back to
civilization, they must resign themselves to remaining in
Pellucidar for the rest of their lives.

Lieutenant Hines finally broached this subject and the two
officers, after summoning Lieutenant Dorf to their conference,
decided that before their fuel was entirely exhausted they would
try to locate some district where they might be reasonably free
from attacks by savage tribesmen, or the even more dangerous
menace of the mighty carnivores of Pellucidar.

While the remaining officers of the O-220 pondered the serious
problems that confronted them, the great ship moved serenely
through the warm Pellucidarian sunlight and the members of the
crew went quietly and efficiently about their various duties.

Robert Jones of Alabama, however, was distressed. He seemed
never to be able to accustom himself to the changed conditions of
Pellucidar. He often mumbled to himself, shaking his head
vehemently, and frequently he wound a battered alarm clock or
took it down from the hook upon which it hung and held it to his
ear.

Below the ship there unrolled a panorama of lovely sea coast,
indented by many beautiful bays and inlets. There were rolling
hills and plains and forests and winding rivers blue as
turquoise. It was a scene to inspire the loftiest sentiments in
the lowliest heart nor was it without its effect upon the members
of the ship's company, which included many adventurous spirits,
who would experience no regret should it develop that they must
remain forever in this, to them, enchanted land. But there were
others who had left loved ones at home and these were already
beginning to discuss the possibilities and the probabilities of
the future. With few exceptions, they were keen and intelligent
men and fully as cognizant of the possible plight of the O-220 as
was its commander, but they had been chosen carefully and there
was not one who waivered even momentarily in loyalty to Zuppner,
for they well knew that whatever fate was to be theirs, he would
share it with them and, too, they had confidence that if any man
could extricate them from their predicament, it was he. And so
the great ship rode its majestic way between the sun and earth
and each part, whether mechanical or human, functioned
perfectly.

The Captain and his Lieutenant discussed the future as Robert
Jones laboriously ascended the climbing shaft to the walkingway
upon the ship's back, a hundred and fifty feet above his galley.
He did not come entirely out of the climbing shaft onto the
walkingway, but merely looked about the blue heaven and when his
gaze had completed the circle, he hesitated a moment and then
looked straight up, where, directly overhead, hung the eternal
noonday sun of Pellucidar.

Robert Jones blinked his eyes and retreated into the shaft,
closing the hatch after him. Muttering to himself, he descended
carefully to the galley, crossed it, took the clock off its hook
and, walking to an open port, threw it overboard.

To the occupants of the longboat dancing over the blue waves,
without means of determining either time or distance, the
constant expectation of nearing their journey's end lessened the
monotony as did the oft recurring attacks of the frightful
denizens of this Mesozoic sea. To the highly civilized American
the utter timelessness of Pellucidarian existence brought a more
marked nervous reaction than to the others. To a lesser degree
Tarzan felt it, while the Waziri were only slightly conscious of
the anomalous conditions. Upon the Pellucidarians, accustomed to
no other state, it had no effect whatever. It was apparent when
Tarzan and Jason discussed the matter with them that they had
practically no conception of the meaning of time.

But time did elapse, leagues of ocean passed beneath them and
conditions changed.

As they moved along the coast their course changed; though
without instruments or heavenly bodies to guide them they were
not aware of it. For a while they had moved northeast and then,
for a long distance, to the east, where the coast curved
gradually until they were running due north.

Instinct told the Korsars that they had come about three
quarters of the distance from the island where they had outfitted
to their destination. A land breeze was blowing stiffly and they
were tacking briskly up the coast at a good clip. Lajo was
standing erect in the bow apparently sniffing the air, as might a
hunting dog searching out a scent spoor. Presently he turned to
Tarzan.

"We had better put in to the coast," he said. "We are in for a
stiff blow." But it was too late, the wind and the sea mounted to
such proportions that finally they had to abandon the attempt and
turn and flee before the storm. There was no rain nor lightning,
for there were no clouds--just a terrific wind that rose to
hurricane violence and stupendous seas that threatened
momentarily to engulf them.

The Waziri were frankly terrified, for the sea was not their
element. The mountain girl and her brother seemed awed, but if
they felt fear they gave no outward indication of it. Tarzan and
Jason were convinced that the boat could not live and the latter
made his way to where Jana sat huddled upon a thwart. The howling
of the wind made speech almost impossible, but he bent low
placing his lips close to her ear.

"Jana," he said, "it is impossible for this small boat to ride
out such a storm. We are going to die, but before we die, whether
you hate me or not, I am going to tell you that I love you," and
then before she could reply, before she could humiliate him
further, he turned away and moved forward to where he had been
before.

He knew that he had done wrong; he knew that he had no right
to tell Thoar's sweetheart that he loved her; it had been an act
of disloyalty and yet a force greater than loyalty, greater than
pride, had compelled him to speak those words--he could not die
with them unspoken. Perhaps it had been a little easier because
he could not help but have noticed the seemingly platonic
relationship which existed between Thoar and Jana and being
unable to picture Jana as platonic in love, he had assumed that
Thoar did not appreciate her. He was always kind to her and
always pleasant, but he had never been quite as thoughtful of her
as Jason thought that he should have been. He felt that perhaps
it was one of the strange inflections of Pellucidarian character,
but it was difficult to know either Jana or Thoar and also to
believe that, for they were evidently quite as normal human
beings as was he, and though they had much of the natural
primitive reserve and dignity that civilized man now merely
affects; yet it seemed unlikely that either one of them could
have been for so long a time in close association without
inadvertently, at least, having given some indication of their
love. "Why," mused Jason, "they might be brother and sister from
the way they act."

By some miracle of fate the boat lived through the storm, but
when the wind diminished and the seas went down there were only
tumbling waters to be seen on every hand; nor any sign of
land.

"Now that we have lost the coast, Lajo, how are we going to
set our course for Korsar?"

"It will not be easy," replied Lajo. "The only guide that we
have is the wind. We are well out on the Korsar Az and I know
from which direction the wind usually blows. By keeping always on
the same tack we shall eventually reach land and probably not far
from Korsar."

"What is that?" asked Jana, pointing, and all eyes turned in
the direction that she indicated.

"It is a sail," said Lajo presently. "We are saved."

"But suppose the ship is manned by unfriendly people?" asked
Jason.

"It is not," said Lajo. "It is manned by Korsars, for no other
ships sail the Korsar Az."

"There is another," exclaimed Jana. "There are many of
them."

"Come about and run for it," said Tarzan; "perhaps they have
not seen us yet."

"Why should we try to escape?" asked Lajo.

"Because we have not enough men to fight them," replied
Tarzan, "They may not be your enemies, but they will be
ours."

Lajo did as he was bid, nor had he any alternative since the
Korsars aboard were only three unarmed men, while there were ten
Waziri with rifles.

All eyes watched the sails in the distance and it soon became
apparent that they were coming closer, for the longboat, with its
small sail, was far from fast. Little by little the distance
between them and the ships decreased until it was evident that
they were being pursued by a considerable fleet.

"Those are no Korsars," said Lajo. "I have never seen ships
like those before."

The longboat wallowed through the sea, making the best headway
that it could, but the pursuing ships, stringing out as far as
the eye could reach until their numbers presented the appearance
of a vast armada, continued to close up rapidly upon it.

The leading ship was now closing up so swiftly upon them that
the occupants of the longboat had an excellent view of it. It was
short and broad of beam with rather a high bow. It had two sails
and in addition was propelled by oars, which protruded through
ports along each side, there being some fifty oars all told.
Above the line of oars, over the sides of the ship, were hung the
shields of the warriors.

"Lord!" exclaimed Jason to Tarzan; "Pellucidar not only boasts
Spanish pirates, but vikings as well, for if those are not viking
ships they certainly are an adaptation of them."

"Slightly modernized, however," remarked the Lord of the
Jungle. "There is a gun mounted on a small deck built in the
bow."

"So there is," exclaimed Jason, "and I think we had better
come about. There is a fellow up their turning it on us now,"

Presently another man appeared upon the elevated bow deck of
the enemy. "Heave to," he cried, "or I'll blow you out of the
water."

"Who are you?" demanded Jason.

"I am Ja of Anoroc," replied the man, "and this is the fleet
of David I, Emperor of Pellucidar."

"Come about," said Tarzan to Lajo.

"Someone in this boat must have been born on Sunday,"
exclaimed Jason. "I never knew there was so much good luck in the
world."

"Who are you?" demanded Ja as the longboat came slowly
about.

"We are friends," replied Tarzan.

"The Emperor of Pellucidar can have no friends upon the Korsar
Az," replied Ja.

"If Abner Perry is with you, we can prove that you are wrong,"
replied Jason.

"Abner Perry is not with us," said Ja; "but what do you know
of him?"

By this time the two boats were alongside and the bronzed
Mezop warriors of Ja's crew were gazing down curiously upon the
occupants of the boat.

"This is Jason Gridley," said Tarzan to Ja, indicating the
American. "Perhaps you have heard Abner Perry speak of him. He
organized an expedition in the outer world to come here to rescue
David Innes from the dungeons of the Korsars."

The three Korsars of the longboat made Ja suspicious, but when
a full explanation had been made and especially when he had
examined the rifles of the Waziri, he became convinced of the
truth of their statements and welcomed them warmly aboard his
ship, about which were now gathered a considerable number of the
armada. When word was passed among them that two of the strangers
were friends from the outer world who had come to assist in the
rescue of David Innes, a number of the captains of other ships
came aboard Ja's flagship to greet Tarzan and Jason. Among these
captains were Dacor the Strong One, brother of Dian the
Beautiful, Empress of Pellucidar; Kolk, son of Goork, who is
chief of the Thurians; and Tanar, son of Ghak, the Hairy One,
King of Sari.

From these Tarzan and Jason learned that this fleet was on its
way to effect the rescue of David. It had been building for a
great while, so long that they had forgotten how many times they
had eaten and slept since the first keel was laid, and then they
had had to find a way into the Korsar Az from the Lural Az, where
the ships were built upon the island of Anoroc.

"Far down the Sojar Az beyond the Land of Awful Shadow we
found a passage that led to the Korsar Az. The Thurians had heard
of it and while the fleet was building they sent warriors out to
see if it was true and they found the passage and soon we shall
be before the city of Korsar."

"How did you expect to rescue David with only a dozen men?"
asked Tanar.

"We are not all here," said Tarzan. "We became separated from
our companions and have been unable to find them. However, there
were not very many men in our expedition. We depended upon other
means than manpower to effect the rescue of your Emperor."

At this moment a great cry arose from one of the ships. The
excitement rose and spread. The warriors were all looking into
the air and pointing. Already some of them were elevating the
muzzles of their cannons and all were preparing their rifles, and
as Tarzan and Jason looked up they saw the O-220 far above
them.

The dirigible had evidently discovered the fleet and was
descending toward it in a wide spiral.

"Now I know someone was born on Sunday," said Jason.
"That is our ship. Those are our friends," he added, turning to
Ja.

All that transpired on board the flagship passed quickly from
ship to ship until every member of the armada knew that the great
thing hovering above them was no gigantic flying reptile, but a
ship of the air in which were friends of Abner Perry and their
beloved Emperor, David I.

Slowly the great ship settled toward the surface of the sea
and as it did so Jason Gridley borrowed a spear from one of the
warriors and tied Lajo's head handkerchief to its tip. With this
improvised flag he signalled, "O-220 ahoy! This is the war fleet
of David I, Emperor of Pellucidar, commanded by Ja of Anoroc;
Lord Greystoke, ten Waziri and Jason Gridley aboard."

A moment later a gun boomed from the rear turret of the O-220,
marking the beginning of the first international salute of
twenty-one guns that had ever reverberated beneath the eternal
sun of Pellucidar, and when the significance of it was explained
to Ja he returned the salute with the bow gun of his
flagship.

The dirigible dropped lower until it was within speaking
distance of the flagship.

"Are you all well aboard?" asked Tarzan.

"Yes," came back the reassuring reply in Zuppner's booming
tone.

"Is Von Horst with you?" asked Jason.

"No," replied Zuppner.

"Then he alone is missing," said Jason sadly.

"Can you drop a sling and take us aboard?" asked Tarzan.

Zuppner maneuvered the dirigible to within fifty feet of the
deck of Ja's flagship, a sling was lowered and one after another
the members of the party were taken on board the O-220, the
Waziri first and then Jana and Thoar, followed by Jason and
Tarzan, the three Korsars being left prisoners with Ja with the
understanding that they were to be treated humanely.

Before Tarzan left the deck of the flagship he told Ja that if
he would proceed toward Korsar, the dirigible would keep in touch
with him and in the meantime they would be perfecting plans for
the rescue of David Innes.

As Thoar and Jana were hoisted aboard the O-220, they were
filled with boundless amazement. To them such a creation as the
giant dirigible was inconceivable. As Jana expressed it
afterward: "I knew that I was dreaming, but yet at the same time
I knew that I could not dream about such a thing as this because
no such thing existed."

Jason introduced Jana and Thoar to Zuppner and Hines, but
Lieutenant Dorf did not come to the cabin until after Tarzan had
boarded the ship, and it was the latter who introduced them to
Dorf.

He presented Lieutenant Dorf to Jana and then, indicated
Thoar, "This is Thoar, the brother of The Red Flower of
Zoram."

As those words broke upon the ears of Jason Gridley he reacted
almost as to the shock of a physical blow. He was glad that no
one chanced to be looking at him at the time and instantly he
regained his composure, but it left him with a distinct feeling
of injury. They had all known it and none of them had told him.
He was almost angry at them until it occurred to him that they
had all probably assumed that he had known it too, and yet try as
he would he could not quite forgive Jana. But, really, what
difference did it make, for, whether sister or mate of Thoar or
another, he knew that The Red Flower of Zoram was not for him.
She had made that definitely clear in her attitude toward him,
which had convinced him even more definitely than had her bitter
words.

The reunited officers of the expedition had much to discuss
and many reminiscences to narrate as the O-220 followed above the
slowly moving fleet. It was a happy reunion, clouded only by the
absence of Von Horst.

As the dirigible moved slowly above the waters of the Korsar
Az, Zuppner dropped occasionally to within speaking distance of
Ja of Anoroc, and when the distant coast of Korsar was sighted a
sling was lowered and Ja was taken aboard the O-220, where plans
for the rescue of David were discussed, and when they were
perfected Ja was returned to his ship, and Lajo and the two other
Korsars were taken aboard the dirigible.

The three prisoners were filled with awe and consternation as
Jason and Tarzan personally conducted them throughout the giant
craft. They were shown the armament, which was carefully
explained to them, special stress being laid upon the destructive
power of the bombs which the O-220 carried.

"One of these," said Jason to Lajo, "would blow The Cid's
palace a thousand feet into the air and, as you see. we have many
of them. We could destroy all of Korsar and all the Korsar
ships."

While Ja's fleet was still a considerable distance off the
coast, the O-220 raced ahead at full speed toward Korsar, for the
plan which they had evolved was such that, if successful, David's
release would be effected without the shedding of blood--a plan
which was especially desirable since if it was necessary to
attack Korsar either from the sea or the air, the Emperor's life
would be placed in jeopardy from the bombs and cannons of his
friends, as well as from a possible spirit of vengeance which
might animate The Cid.

As the dirigible glided almost silently over the city of
Korsar, the streets and courtyards filled with people staring
upward in awe-struck wonder.

Three thousand feet above the city the ship stopped and Tarzan
sent for the three Korsar prisoners. "As you know," he said to
them, "we are in a position to destroy Korsar. You have seen the
great fleet coming to the rescue of the Emperor of Pellucidar.
You know that every warrior manning those ships is armed with a
weapon far more effective than your best; even with their knives
and spears and their bows and arrows they might take Korsar
without their rifles, but they have the rifles and they have
better ammunition than yours and in each ship of the fleet
cannons are mounted. Alone the fleet could reduce Korsar, but in
addition to the fleet there is this airship. Your shots could
never reach it as it sailed back and forth above Korsar, dropping
bombs upon the city. Do you think, Lajo, that we can take
Korsar?"

"I know it," replied the Korsar.

"Very well," said Tarzan. "I am going to send you with a
message to the Cid. Will you tell him the truth?"

"I will," replied Lajo.

"The message is simple," continued Tarzan. "You may tell him
that we have come to effect the release of the Emperor of
Pellucidar. You may explain to him that the means that we have to
enforce our demands, and then you may say to him that if he will
place the Emperor upon a ship and take him out to our fleet and
deliver him unharmed to Ja of Anoroc, we will return to Sari
without firing a shot. Do you understand?"

"I do," said Lajo.

"Very well, then," said Tarzan. He turned to Dorf,
"Lieutenant, will you take him now?" he asked.

Dorf approached with a bundle in his hand. "Slip into this,"
he said.

"What is it?" asked Lajo.

"It is a parachute," said Dorf.

"What is that?" demanded Lajo.

"Here," said Dorf, "put your arms through here." A moment
later he had the parachute adjusted upon the Korsar.

"Now," said Jason, "a great distinction is going to be
conferred upon you--you are going to make the first parachute
jump that has ever been witnessed in Pellucidar."

"I don't understand what you mean," said Lajo.

"You will presently," said Jason. "You are going to take Lord
Greystoke's message to The Cid."

"But you will have to bring the ship down to the ground before
I can," objected Lajo.

"On the contrary we are going to stay right where we are,"
said Jason; "you are going to jump overboard."

"What?" exclaimed Lajo. "You are going to kill me?"

"No," said Jason with a laugh. "Listen carefully to what I
tell you and you will land safely. You have seen some wonderful
things on board this ship so you must have some conception of
what we of the outer world can do. Now you are going to have a
demonstration of another very wonderful invention and you may
take my word for it that no harm will befall you if you do
precisely as I tell you to. Here is an iron ring," and he touched
the ring opposite Lajo's left breast; "take hold of it with your
right hand. After you jump from the ship, pull it; give it a good
jerk and you will float down to the ground as lightly as a
feather."

"I will be killed," objected Lajo.

"If you are a coward," said Jason, "perhaps one of these other
men is braver than you. I tell you that you will not be
hurt."

"I am not afraid," said Lajo. "I will jump."

"Tell The Cid," said Tarzan, "that if we do not presently see
a ship sail out alone to meet the fleet, we shall start dropping
bombs upon the city."

Dorf led Lajo to a door in the cabin and flung it open. The
man hesitated.

"Do not forget to jerk the ring," said Dorf, and at the same
time he gave Lajo a violent push that sent him headlong through
the doorway and a moment later the watchers in the cabin saw the
white folds of the parachute streaming in the air. They saw it
open and they knew the message of Tarzan would be delivered to
The Cid.

What went on in the city below we may not know, but presently
a great crowd was seen to move from the palace down toward the
river, where the ships were anchored, and a little later one of
the ships weighed anchor and as it drifted slowly with the
current its sails were set and presently it was moving directly
out to sea toward the fleet from Sari.

The O-220 followed above it and Ja's flagship moved forward to
meet it, and thus David Innes, Emperor of Pellucidar, was
returned to his people.

As the Korsar ship turned back to port the dirigible dropped
low above the flagship of the Sarian fleet and greetings were
exchanged between David and his rescuers--men from another world
whom he had never seen.

The Emperor was half starved and very thin and weak from his
long period of confinement, but otherwise he had been unharmed,
and great was the rejoicing aboard the ships of Sari as they
turned back to cross the Korsar Az toward their own land.

Tarzan was afraid to accompany the fleet back to Sari for fear
that their rapidly diminishing store of fuel would not be
sufficient to complete the trip and carry them back to the outer
world. He followed the fleet only long enough to obtain from
David explicit directions for reaching the polar opening from the
city of Korsar.

"We have another errand to fulfill first," said Jason to
Tarzan. "We must return Thoar and Jana to Zoram."

"Yes," said the ape-man, "and drop these two Korsars off near
their city. I have thought of all that and we shall have fuel
enough for that purpose."

"I am not going to return with you," said Jason. "I wish to be
put aboard Ja's flagship."

"What?" exclaimed Tarzan. "You are going to remain here?"

"This expedition was undertaken at my suggestion. I feel
responsible for the life and safety of every man in it and I
shall never return to the outer world while the fate of
Lieutenant Von Horst remains a mystery."

"But how can you find Von Horst if you go back to Sari with
the fleet?" asked Tarzan.

"I shall ask David Innes to equip an expedition to go in
search of him," replied Jason, "and with such an expedition made
up of native Pellucidarians I shall stand a very much better
chance of finding him than we would in the O-220."

"I quite agree with you," said Tarzan, "and if you are
unalterably determined to carry out your project, we will lower
you to Ja's ship immediately."

As the O-220 dropped toward Ja's flagship and signalled it to
heave to, Jason gathered what belongings he wished to take with
him, including rifles and revolvers and plenty of ammunition.
These were lowered first to Ja's ship, while Jason bid farewell
to his companions of the expedition.

"Good-bye, Jana," he said, after he had shaken hands with the
others.

The girl made no reply, but instead turned to her brother.

"Good-bye, Thoar," she said.

"Good-bye?" he asked. "What do you mean?"

"I am going to Sari with the man I love," replied The Red
Flower of Zoram.

THE END




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