Kraski spent a sleepless night. He understood well that Tarzan would sooner or later notice the loss of his diamond bag and return to claim an account of it from the four Londoners he had assisted. And so in the morning, as the first line of light poured into the eastern sky, a Russian rose from his bed made of dried grass in a tent the chief had shown him and Bluber, and sneaked into the village soot.
– Dear God! – he pushed to himself. – There is only one chance out of a thousand that I can reach the coast alone, but this, – he squeezed the diamond bag under his shirt with his hand, – this is worth every effort, must be preserved at the risk of death. The treasures of thousands of kings! Dear God, what could I do with it in London, Paris and New York!
Carefully, he sneaked out of the village, and soon the jungle vegetation closed after Karl Krask, a Russian, as he lost his age for the sake of his comrades.
Bluber was the first to notice Krask’s absence, for though the two did not love each other, they had teamed up to counterbalance the friendship between Peebles and Throck.
“Have you seen Karl this morning?” he asked Peebles as all three gathered around the pot where a tasteless soup had been brought for their breakfast.
“No,” Peebles said. “Probably he’s still sleeping.”
“He won’t be in the tent,” replied Bluber, “he won’t be there when I wake up.”
“Let him take care of himself,” murmured Throck, continuing his breakfast. “I miss you finding him at someone’s pickpocket,” and he grimaced acceptingly at his small ruin of Krask’s well-known weakness.
They had finished their breakfast and tried to interview a few warriors to find out when the chief was going to take them ashore, and Kraski had still not shown up. Now Bluber was quite worried, by no means about Krask’s safety, but about his own. For if something could happen to Krask in the quiet moments of the night in this friendly village, then a similar fate might await him, too, and when he uttered that idea, it gave cause for thought to others, so all three were very frightened in their efforts to speak to the master.
With the help of signs and Negro English, and speaking the language of the natives, all of whom knew a few words, they managed to inform the master that Kraski had disappeared and that they wanted to know where he had gone.
The chief, of course, was as puzzled as they were and immediately carried out a search through the village, but as a result it was only found that Kraska was not inside the enclosure and soon afterwards traces leading from the village gate corridor to the jungle were spotted.
” Mein Gott !” exclaimed Bluber. “He’ll go out there, and go all alone in the middle of the night! He must have been crazy.”
“Yeah,” said Throck, “why did he actually do it?”
“By no means are you away?” Peebles asked both others. “Maybe he’s weeded something.”
“Oh, oh! What do we have to take?” exclaimed Bluber. “Our guns and ammunition – they’re in there. He didn’t take them. And we have nothing valuable but my twenty-pound suit.”
“But why did he do it then?” wondered Peebles.
“Maybe it walked like a jerk in his sleep,” Throck said, and the three could not come up with any better explanation for Krask’s mysterious disappearance.
An hour later, they set out for the coast, with a group of chief soldiers under their protection.
Hanging the rifle from his shoulder, Kraski stubbornly stepped along the jungle path, holding a heavy automatic pistol in his right hand. He always shook his ears to hear if he might have been chased, or to get hints of the dangers that might threaten the front or either side. Alone in the mysterious jungle, he was in the grip of a nightmare of horror. And with every mile he waved, the value of the diamonds dwindled compared to the frightening ordeal he perceived himself to be enduring before one could hope to reach the coast.
Once Histah, a snake that, depending on a low branch across the path, blocked the road for him, and the sword did not dare to shoot it, fearing that he would draw the attention of potential pursuers to his whereabouts. So he had to wander through a messy subforest that grew densely on either side of the narrow path. When he again reached the path beyond the serpent, his clothes were even more torn, and the innumerable thorns he had had to penetrate had scratched and wounded his skin to blood. He bathed in sweat and gasped for exhaustion, and his costume was full of ants, whose vicious stings made him half-mad in pain.
Once again, when he reached the opening, he would tear off his clothes and fight furiously, freeing himself from the torturous spirits of temptation.
The ants swarmed so often in his clothes that he no longer dared to put them on. Only a diamond bag, his ammunition, and his weapon he snatched from a greedy flock, the number of which rapidly increased. They were pissed off seemingly by the millions as they again tried to attack him and eat him in his mouth.
Shaking most of the ants from these rebellions he regained, Kraski frantically plunged along the path as naked as when he was born, and when he stumbled half an hour later and finally fell exhausted and lying hurriedly on the damp surface of the jungle, he realized how futile his crazy attempt to reach the coast alone he is even more perfect than he would have conceived in other circumstances, for there is nothing that so weakens the courage and self-confidence of a civilized man as that he loses his clothes.
As little protection as he would have from the garments torn to shreds, he could not have felt more helpless if he had instead lost his weapon and ammunition, for to that extent we are dependent on customs and the environment. So very frightened, Kraski, already doomed to fail, fearfully crawled forward on the jungle trail.
Hungry and cold, he slept in the fork of the big tree that night, trapping the beasts roaring, coughing, and growling in the darkness of the jungle around him. Trembling with horror, he woke up awake in awe, and when he finally dozed off from exhaustion, he did not enjoy rest, but saw dreams of fear, which sudden roaring often turned into reality. Thus, long, nasty hours of a horrible night finally passed, and the morning never seemed to dawn. But it came from both, and again he continued his stumbling journey to the west.
Out of fear, fatigue, and pain in almost half-agitation, he sighed forward, becoming much weaker moment by moment, for he had been without food and water since he had escaped from his comrades more than thirty hours ago.
Noon approached. Kraski progressed, but now slowly and often resting; and once during such a rest he thought the numb be sensed to separate human voices from a relatively short distance. He shook himself quickly and tried to concentrate his declining consciousness. He listened intently, and then he got up, somewhat intensified.
There was no doubt about that. He heard voices from a very short distance, and they did not sound like the voices of the natives, but rather of the Europeans. But he was still careful and slowly crawled forward until one of the bends in the path saw a aho on the bank of a muddy creek with trees growing sparse.
Near the riverbank was a small, grass-roofed hut surrounded by high piling, which was further protected by an outer boma plowed from thorny shrubs.
From the direction of the cottage, voices were heard, and now he clearly distinguished the woman’s speech, opposing and angry, which corresponded to a deep male voice.
Slowly, Karl Krask’s eyes widened in suspicion, accompanied by fear, for the male voice he heard was the death of Esteban Miranda, and the woman’s voice was that of the lost Flora Hawkes, whom he had also long considered dead and thus lost. But Karl Kraski hardly believed in the supernatural. Spirits detached from the body do not need huts, pile equipment, or a fence. The owners of those voices were as vivid — as material — as he was.
He left for the shack, almost forgetting his anger and jealousy of Esteban for the relief he felt when he found himself once again in the company of beings like himself. However, he had stepped only a few steps from the edge of the jungle when the woman’s voice was once again heard in his ears and at the same time he suddenly found his nudity. He paused in his thoughts, looking around, and then quickly began to collect the long-leafed jungle grass, from which he put on a rough but practical skirt, fastening it to his belts with a twisted rope of the same material. Then, with renewed confidence, he walked on toward the cottage. Fearing that they would not know him at first, but would think he was an enemy and attacked him, Kraski shouted before entering the piling hole called Esteban. Immediately became a Spanish girl, followed by a shack. Had Kraski not heard and known his voice, he would have thought of him as the Monkey Tarzan, for he was so similar. For a moment, they both stared at the revelation in front of them.
“Don’t you know me?” Kraski asked. “I’m Karl, Karl Kraski.
You know me, Flora.”
“Karl!” the girl exclaimed and tried to leap forward, but Esteban grabbed her by the wrist and arrested her.
“What are you doing here, Kraski?” asked the Spaniard irritably.
“I’m aiming for the coast,” replied the Russian; “I’m half-dead from hunger and exhaustion.”
“That’s the way to go to the coast,” said the Spaniard, pointing the trail to the west. “Let’s get moving, Kraski, it’s not healthy for you here.”
“You mean you’re sending me away without food and water?”
“There’s water over there,” Esteban explained, referring to the river, “and the jungle is full of food if a man just has the courage and intelligence to get it.”
“You can’t send him away,” the girl exclaimed; “I didn’t think it was possible for you to be so cruel, either,” and then, turning to the Russian, “Oh, Karl,” he prayed, “don’t go! Save me! Save me from that beast!”
“Then step aside,” Kraski shouted, and as the girl snapped herself away from Miranda’s grip, he raised his Russian pistol and aimed very close at the Spaniard: The bullet ignored his target, an empty cartridge blocked the feeder, and when Kraski pulled the trigger again, but to no avail, he glanced. noticing its futility, he threw it cursing at him. As he frantically tried to make his rifle work, Esteban tossed his short, heavy spear, which he had now learned to use aptly, and before the other had time to press the trigger of his rifle, a raging barbed tip pierced his chest and heart. Without uttering, Karl Kraski fell dead at the feet of his enemy and rival, while the woman, both of whom had loved in his own selfish or rough way, shortened, sobbing to the ground in extreme despair. Seeing that the other one was dead, Esteban stepped forward, snatched his spear from Krask’s body, and also took his ammunition and weapon from his dead enemy. As he did so, his eyes hit a small leather bag that Kraski had fastened to his belts as a holder for his original dress with his newly braided grass rope.
The Spaniard palpated the bag and tried to find out what it contained, and concluded that it had shooting needs, but did not examine it further until he had taken the deceased’s weapons to his shack. There he had also dragged a girl who dove in the corner of the sobbing.
“Karl-parka, Karl-parka!” moaned Flora and then turned to Esteban. “What a beast!”
“Yes,” exclaimed another, laughing. “I am a beast. I am Apinain Tarzan, and that damned Russkies Tohti call me Esteban. I am Tarzan! I am Apinain Tarzan!” he repeated with a scream. “Who dares to call me anything else is death’s. Yes, I’ll show them. Yes, I’ll show them,” he chuckled.
The girl looked at him with wide and blazing eyes, and she was shaken,
– Crazy, – he thought. – Crazy! Good God … alone in the desert with a madman! – And in one respect, Esteban Miranda was really crazy; he was crazy as a fully experienced actor. For so long Esteban Miranda had now played her part and she had become so truthful in interpreting that lofty person that she thought she was Tarzan; and in his outward appearance he might have betrayed the ape man’s best friend. But in that figure dwelt the soul of the raki and the wicked coward.
“He would have kidnapped Tarzan’s husband,” Esteban yelled, “Tarzan, the spouse of the lord of the jungle! You see how I killed him with a single javelin throw. You couldn’t love a pull when you have a great Tarzan’s favorite on offer!”
“I hate you,” crocheted the girl, “you’re inferior to animals.”
“You’re both mine,” said the Spaniard, “and no one else will ever get you – I’d kill you sooner. But let’s see what the Russian had in his leather bag; a bit of its contents to the floor of the hut. As the radiant stones rolled into the sparks in front of their astonished eyes, the girl’s mouth was left open in amazement.
“Holy Virgin!” exclaimed the Spaniard; “They are diamonds!”
“Hundreds of diamonds,” the girl muttered. “Where did he get them from?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care,” Esteban said. “They are mine. They are all mine … I am rich, Flora. I am rich, and if you’re a good girl, so you get to share your funds with me.”
Flora Hawkes’ eyes narrowed. His constant greed awakened in his bosom, which prevailed in his essence, and with it now an equally intense hatred of the Spaniard flared. Unbeknownst to this, the possession of those glittering places had finally crystallized in the woman’s mind the long-considered decision to kill a Spaniard while he slept. Until now, he had been scared to be left alone in the jungle, but now he overcame the great treasure of owning the lust for his fears.
As he sampled the jungle, Tarzan invented traces of various troops on the West Coast and the fleeing slaves of the slain Arabs, and in turn, reaching each group further inquired about Luvin, frightening the Negroes to speak the truth and leaving, leaving them in fear. All the teams told the same story.
No one had seen Luvin after the night of battle and fire, and everyone was sure he had to leave with some other team. So perfectly had the monkey had been in the grip of his grief for the last few days, and so earnestly succumbed to the search that he had neglected the less important facts and thus had not noticed that the bag containing the diamonds had also disappeared. He had actually forgotten the diamonds until they just happened to come to his mind, and then he suddenly noticed they were gone. But when and under what circumstances he had lost them, he could not remember.
“Those European scoundrels,” he snarled at Jad-bal, “they must have taken them,” and that thought suddenly flashed a fiery red line brightly on his forehead as legitimate anger erupted in his chest over the deceit and ungratefulness of the men he helped. “Just as we are looking for Luvin, so are we looking for others.” And so it so happened that Peebles, Throck, and Bluber had only wandered a short distance toward the coast when, during a half-day flare, they were amazed to see the figure of a monkey moving towards them and a large, black-brushed lion stepping beside him.
Tarzan did not respond in any way to their flattering greeting, but came closer to his voice and finally stopped, arms crossed alongside, in front of them. His face had an accusing, grim look that brought a tremor of fear to Bluber’s timid heart and whitened the faces of the hardened English dudes.
“What is it now?” they asked in the choir. “Is anything wrong? What happened?”
“I came to get back the stone bag you took from me,”
Tarzan said unadorned .
Each of the three glanced suspiciously at his comrade. “I don’t understand what you’re saying, Mr. Tarzan,” Bluber muttered, rubbing his palms together. “I’ll be sure there was some mistake unless…” He secretly created a suspicious look at Throck and Peebles.
“I don’t know anything about any stone bag,” Peebles said, “but I say there is never trust in an Israeli.”
“I don’t trust any of you,” Tarzan snapped; “I’ll give you five seconds to hand over the bag, and if you haven’t given it back in that time, I’ll check you through thoroughly.”
“Yes,” exclaimed Bluber, “check me, check me all mokomin. Ka, Mr. Tarzan, under no circumstances would I take anything from you.”
“There’s confusion somewhere now,” Throck growled; “I have nothing belonging to you, and I’m sure that there are no others in this at all.”
“Where’s that fourth man?” Tarzan asked.
“Oh, Kraskiko? He disappeared the same night you brought us to that village. We haven’t seen him in that comic – so it is. Now I know… We were amazed at his departure, , he just. Since his departure, we’ve been wondering what he stole, but now it’s pretty clear. ”
“Yeah,” exclaimed Peebles, “for sure, and here it is, so that’s it.”
“We should have known it, we should have known!” admitted
“But still I will examine you all,” said Tarzan, and when the Negro chief arrived and the monkey had explained to him what he wanted, the three whites were quickly stripped and inspected. Their goods were also searched thoroughly, but no gems were found.
Without saying a word, Tarzan turned to the jungle, and at that moment the Negroes and those three Europeans saw a monkey man and a golden lion swallowing a bushy sea of leaves.
“God forbid Krask!” exclaimed Peebles.
“What is he doing with a stone bag?” wondered Throck. “I think he needs to be a little loose.”
“He won’t be loose at all,” Bluber exclaimed. “There is only one type of rocks in Africa that Kraski would steal and then run them along alone in the jungle. Diamonds!”
Peebles and Throck opened their eyes in amazement. “That damn rut,” exclaimed the previous one, “chattered us as well as chatted.”
“Very probably he saved our lives,” Throck said. “If that monkey skin had met Kraski with his diamonds among us, we would all have suffered the same fate, – he couldn’t have been made to believe we didn’t have our hands at play. And Kraski wouldn’t have done anything to help us out of trouble.”
“I hope he catches that scoundrel!” Peebles exclaimed fiercely.
They were startled in silence moments later, seeing Tarzan return to camp; but the ape paid no attention to the whites, but went straight to the chief, with whom he talked for a few minutes. Then he turned again and left.
According to information received from the head of operations, Tarza corrected through the jungle towards the village, where he had been left in the care of the four Caucasian tribal chiefs and from whom Kraski later had slipped his way alone. He moved quickly, leaving Jad-bal-ja to follow, and completed the distance in a relatively short time as he progressed almost as the crow flies in the tops of the trees, where there was no tangled bush forest cruising him.
Outside the village gate, he invented the traces of Krask, which, although already almost gone, were still noticeable to the monkey man’s sharp instincts. He followed them quickly, for Kraski had always remained on an open, westward-facing path.
The sun had almost dropped to the level of the western treetops when Tarzan suddenly found himself at a slow-flowing creek with a small rough-made shack surrounded by sheds and a hedgerow.
The monkey stopped to listen, sniffing the air with his sensitive nostrils, and then leaped silently across the opening toward the shack. Outside of piling in the grass, the white man’s soulless body crawled, and at a single glance the monkey found it was the refugee he was looking for. He immediately realized that it was pointless to look for the diamond bag from the dead, because it was obviously clear that the stones were now in the possession of the one who had killed the Russian, who he must have been then. A cursory inspection indicated to him that he was right.
Both inside the hut and outside the piling, there were signs of a man and a woman who had recently visited there, and the traces of the former matched the proportions of the person who had killed Gobu, the big monkey, and hunted Bara, the deer, in the monkey areas. But what about the woman? It was obvious that he had walked on gentle, tired feet and that he had worn rag wraps on his feet instead of shoes.
Tarzan followed in the footsteps of a man and a woman who took him from a shack to a jungle. As they drifted away, it became clear that the woman had often backed down and started to bliss more and more miserably. He had moved quite slowly, and Tarzan noticed that the man had not been waiting for him, for in a few places he had been quite ahead of the woman.
And Esteban had indeed worked far ahead of Flora Hawkes, whose wounded and bleeding legs could barely bear to support her.
“Wait for me, Esteban,” he had prayed. “Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me alone in this terrible jungle.”
“Then stay on my toes,” growled the Spaniard. “Do you think I’m in possession of this kind of property forever I’m going to stay here in the heart of the jungle until someone comes to deprive me of it? No, I’ll rush to the coast as fast as I can. If you can stay with me, that’s fine. But if you can’t, it’s your business. ”
“Of course you can’t leave me. You too, Esteban, could be the kind of beast after all you have forced me to do for you!”
The Spanish laughed. “You’re no more to me than an old glove,” he said. “With this,” and he held the diamond bag in front of him, “I can buy some of the finest gloves in the world’s capitals – new gloves.” And he laughed coldly to his little ruin.
“Esteban, Esteban,” Flora shouted, “come back, come back! I can’t walk anymore. Don’t leave me. Sure, come back and save me!” But the other just laughed at him, and as he faded from the view of Flora in the bend of the path, this one fell helpless and exhausted into the tantrum.