Challengers of God

But it was an hour before the king returned to the room, and during that time the monkey had looked at the wall sculptures and numerous specimens of Pal-ul-Don handicrafts, which together gave the shelter a sense of wealth and luxury.

While he was in that pleasant pursuit, Ko-tan reappeared to those who arrived. As Tarza turned to him due to the flicker of the door curtains, he was almost appalled by the remarkable change in the king’s gaze. His face was gray; his hands trembled as if paralyzed, and his dilated eyes seemed to reflect the fright. His appearance showed both a gnawing anger and a sneering fear. Tarzan looked at him questioningly.

“You’ve got bad news, Ko-tan?” he asked.

The king muttered an incomprehensible answer. Behind him, a large number of warriors invaded the room, blocking the entire doorway. The king slid anxiously to the right and left. He made terrified glances at the monkey man and then, raising his eyes upward, shouted, “Jad-ben-Otho be my witness that I am not doing this of my own free will.” There was still silence, after which Ko-tan interrupted. “Catch him,” he shouted to the warriors standing around him, “for High Priest Lu-don swears he is a traitor.”

Engaging in armed resistance besieged by this group of warriors and in the palace of their king would have been utterly fatal. Tarzan had already come a long way with his intelligence, and when he had already partially confirmed his hopes and doubts about the vague admission of O-lo-an, he realized it was necessary not to challenge any daring of death that he was able to dodge.

“Stop!” he denied, raising his palm towards them. “What does this mean?”

“Lu-don claims to have received testimonies that you are not the son of Jad-ben-Othon,” Ko-tan replied. “He requires you to be brought to the throne room in front of his accusers If you are what you say you are, no one will know better than you, that you have nothing to fear his demand you accept:. But remember always that in such cases the high priest tells the king, and that I only am of the order broker and not giver. ”

Tarzan saw that Ko-tan was not fully convinced of the falsehood of his part, as was clearly shown by his resignation from all responsibility.

“Let not your warrior seize me,” he told Ko-tan, “so that Jad-ben-Otho would not err on their side and strike them to death.” His words immediately had power on those at the forefront; each of these suddenly seemed to feel a new shyness that forced him to retreat from sight to the backs of those behind him — and that modesty quickly became contagious.

The monkey smiled. “Don’t be afraid,” he crocheted, “I will, of my own volition, go to the auditorium to meet the slanderers who accuse me.”

Upon entering the spacious throne room, a new dilemma emerged. Ko-tan did not want to recognize Lu-don’s right to appear at the top of the pyramid, nor did Lu-don agree to a lower position, while Tarzan maintained his high stance and insisted that no one should stand above him. But only the monkey realized the amusement of the situation.

To alleviate the position, Ja-don suggested that the three of them sit on the throne, but Ko-tan rejected his prompting, noting that no mortal other than the king of Pal-ul-don had ever sat in this exalted position, and that there was no room for three.

“But who,” Tarzan asked, “is my prosecutor and who is my judge?”

“Lu-don is your prosecutor,” Ko-tan explained.

“And Lu-don is your judge,” shouted the high priest.

“So I have to convict the prosecutor,” Tarzan crocheted. “Therefore, it would be better to leave all the formalities and ask Lu-don to declare his decision.” His tone was vulgar, and the mocking gaze directly aimed at the high priest’s eyes only made the latter’s anger boil more and more violently.

It was obvious that Ko-tan and his warriors saw the justification protested by Tarzan for this unreasonable order of justice. “Only Ko-tan can condemn his palace in the throne room,” Ja-don pointed out; “Let him hear the accusations of Lu-don and the statements of his witnesses, and then let the decision of Ko-tan be final.”

However, Ko-Tania was not particularly enthusiastic about the idea that he would be condemned to be a creature who could very well still be the son of his God, and so he made excuses in search of escape from trouble. “It is a purely religious matter,” he recalled, “and according to traditional practice, the kings of Pal-ul-don do not interfere in the affairs of the church.”

“So let the degree be held in the temple,” shouted the chief, among other things, for the warriors were as willing as the kingdom to free themselves from all responsibility. And that suggestion was originally pleasing to the high priest, who inwardly mocked himself for not having thought of it before.

“It is true,” he admitted, “this man’s sin has been committed against the temple. So let him be dragged there to be condemned.”

“Jad-ben-Othon’s son isn’t dragging anywhere,” Tarzan shouted. “But at the end of this degree, it is possible that the body of High Priest Lu-don will be dragged from the temple of the god he wants to despise. So think well, Lu-don, before you do that foolishness.”

His words were meant to frighten the high priest about his sure appearance, but they had no effect. Lu-don showed no dismay at the monkey man’s reference.

– Here is a man, – thought Tarzan, – who, knowing his religion more than any other citizen, fully understands the fragility of my demands as the inaccuracy of the faith he preached.

However, he realized that his only hope was apparent indifference to the accusations. Ko-tan and the warriors were still empowered by the creation of a recent belief, and this fact he had to resort to in the final performance of the drama prepared by Lu-don, to be saved from a jealous priest whom he already knew had condemned him to himself.

Shrugging his shoulders, he moved down the steps of the pyramid. “It doesn’t matter to Dor-ul-Otho,” he said, “where Lu-don infuriates his God, for Jad-ben-Otho reaches the shelters of the temple as easily as the throne hall of the temple.”

Enormously relieved of this comfortable solution to their problem, the king and warriors flocked toward the ballroom area of ​​the temple, and Tarzan’s carefree tone increased their confidence in him. Lu-don led them to the largest altar courtyard.

Standing behind the western altar, he pointed to Ko-Tan to go to the podium on the left side of the altar and Tarzan to a similar place on the right.

As Tarzan rose to the podium, the blades of his eyes narrowed at the anger of the vision that befell them. The pool concave on the top of the altar was filled with water, floating the naked body of a newborn child. “What does this mean?” he growled, turning to Lu-don.

The latter smiled viciously. “That you do not know,” he replied, “it is only further proof of the unfoundedness of your claim. The Son of God did not know that as the last rays of the setting sun flooded the eastern altar of the temple red the body of its Creator first looks at this western altar and rejoices every day in the death of a newborn child, whose spirit accompanies it across the heavens during the day as the spirit of an adult returns with it to Jad-ben-Othon in the evenings.

“- Even the young children of the Ho-don know these things, but the one who registered as the son of Jad-ben-Otho does not know about them; and if this is not enough as proof, there will be more. Come, waz-don,” he shouted, referring to the large slave standing in a group of other blacks and priests on the main floor of the temple to the left of the altar.

The man stepped forward in fear. “Tell us what you know about this creature,” Lu-don said, pointing to Tarzan.

“I’ve seen him before,” said Waz-don. . “I am Kor-ul-Lulin tribes, and one day recently encountered a department, to which I belonged, a few of Kor-ul-jan warriors kyliämme electrically separating the mountain brush among the enemies of this strange creature, which they called Tarzan-jad-guru; and terrible he indeed it was, fighting with the power of many men, so that it took twenty of us to defeat him, but he certainly did not fight as God fights, but fell numb to the ground like an ordinary mortal, getting a gavel to his head.

“- We carried him captive to our village, but he managed to escape after cutting off the head of the warrior left as a guard, who took him with him to the gorge and tied his tree branch to the other side of it.”

“The word of a slave against the word of God!” exclaimed Ja-don, who had previously shown a favorable interest in the false god.

“This is just a step towards the truth,” Lu-don said. “Perhaps the testimony of the only princess of the Ko-tan family is heavier than that of the great commander of the North, even though he is the father of a son who fled the offer of the holy priesthood, and thus does not listen to the testimony against another worshiper.”

Ja-don’s hand gripped the knife, but the mates lowered their fingers restrainedly to his arms. “You are in the temple of Jad-ben-Otho, Ja-don,” they warned, and the mighty chief must have swallowed Lu-don’s insult, though it left in his heart a bitter anger against the high priest.

And now Ko-tan turned to Lu-don. “What does my daughter know about this?” he asked. “Didn’t you bring a princess of my family to testify in public like this?”

“No,” replied Lu-don, “not personally, but I have here, among other things, to testify for him.” He was referring to a sub-priest. “Bring the princess’s slave here,” he said.

The priest, whose whimsical headdress created a bit of awfulness in the play, stepped forward, dragging the reluctant Pan-at-lia from his wrist.

“Princess O-lo-a was alone in the Forbidden Garden with this only slave girl,” the priest explained, “when this creature, claiming to be Dor-ul-Otho, suddenly appeared in the nearby foliage. a creature called – Tarzan-jad-guru.It was the same name that the slave of Kor-ul-Lul mentioned about her.This woman is not from Kor-ul-lul, but from Kor-ul-ja, the very tribe with which kor-ul-lul -lul says the creature was dating when he first saw it, and the princess also said that when this woman, named Pan-at-li, was brought to her yesterday, she told a strange story of how she was rescued in Kor-ul-gryf by a tor- a creature of this kind out of the hands of o-don, which he then referred to as the Tarzan-jad guru,- how they were both haunted by two horrible gryphs in the gorge and how the man lured them one after the other, causing Pan-at-li to flee, only to be captured here, trying to return to his own tribe. ”

“Isn’t it clear now,” Lu-don exclaimed, “that this creature is not a god? Did he tell you he was a son of God?” he said, almost bright, turning abruptly toward Pan-at.

The girl retreated in fright. “Answer me, slave!” cried the high priest.

“He seemed to be more than mortal,” Pan-at-li replied, avoiding.

“Did he tell you he was a son of God? Answer my question!” tightened Lu-don.

“No,” the girl admitted in a low voice, creating a look of apology at
Tarzan, who replied with an encouraging and kind smile.
“That doesn’t prove he’s not a son of God,” Ja-don shouted. “Do you think that Jad-ben-Otho goes around shouting: ‘I am a god, I am a god!’ Have you ever heard him, Lu-don? No, you haven’t. Why would his son do something that his father doesn’t do? ”

“Enough!” interrupted by Lu-don. “The testimony is clear. The creature is a traitor, and I, Jad-ben-Otho’s high priest from the city of A-Luri, will condemn him to death.” A moment of silence ensued, with which Lu-don apparently prepared for the dramatic effect of the climax of his words. “And if I’m wrong, pierce Jad-ben-Otho my breasts Salamon I am standing here in front of all of you.”

The lapping of the waves of the lake at the foot of the palace wall was clearly heard in the extreme, almost relentless silence that now petrified the audience. Lu-don stood with his face turned toward the sky and his arms outstretched as if exposing his chest to the murderer’s dagger. Warriors, priests, and slaves gathered in the holy court waited for the destructive revenge of their God.

Tarzan cut off the silence. “Your God doesn’t care about you, Lu-don,” he teased and tried with grin still to arouse the anger of the high priest; “He doesn’t care about you, and I can testify to your priests and your people.”

“Prove it, slanderer! How can you prove it?”

“You have appointed me blasphemers,” replied Tarzan, “you are your own varmistukseksesi proved that I am a traitor, that I am an ordinary mortal pretending to be the son of God. Ask, therefore, Jad-ben-Othoa to proclaim the divinity and the priests value, sending a consuming fire be in my own poveeni. ”

Again, a brief silence ensued, during which viewers waited for the destruction of the unscrupulous deceiver to be carried out, as shown by Ldo.

“You don’t dare,” Tarzan shouted, “because you know I’m not going to be beaten to death before you.”

“You’re lying,” Lu-don exclaimed, “and I would do it if I hadn’t just received a revelation from Jad-ben-Otho, which would impose a different fate on you.”

Many admiring and respectful “ah!” belonged to the choir from the group of priests. Ko-tan and his warriors were spiritually embarrassed. Secretly, they feared and hated Lu-don, but so entrenched was their respect for the office of high priest that no one dared to raise their voices against him.

Not anyone? Well, yes, Ja-don, an old fearless lion man from the north. “The proposal was in place,” he exclaimed. “Mana the lightning of Jad-ben-Otho to the death of this man, if at all the minds convince us of his guilt.”

“That’s enough,” Lu-don growled. “When has Ja-don been made high priest? Grab the prisoner,” he shouted to the priests and warriors, “and tomorrow he will die as Jad-ben-Otho ordered.”

None of the warriors immediately moved to obey the command of the high priest, but the lower priests, inspired by the fervent courage of faith, instead ran pronely as if a flock of vicious harpists, to seize their prey.

The game was over. Sen Tarzan straight. Cunning and state wisdom were no longer suitable as the weapons of defense he loved the most. So when the first horrible priest jumped on the podium, he did not encounter a gentle messenger from heaven, but a cruel, ferocious beast whose character was rather reminiscent of a horny spirit.

The altar was near the western courtyard wall. Between them there was just room for the high priest to stand during the sacrificial spending, and only Lu-don now stood behind Tarzan, while in front of him were perhaps two hundred warriors and priests.

That revelation, which sought the glory of being the first to access the blasphemous false god, attacked the monkey man with his hand outstretched. But he himself was grabbed, grabbed with steel fingers that kidnapped him like a straw, hitting his limb and back straps, and then his giant arms lifted him high above the altar. On his hocks were others ready to reach out to the traitor and grate him to the ground, and from behind the altar stepped Lu-don’s exposed knife in his hand toward him.

There was not a blink of an eye to lose, and there was no way for a monkey man to spend precious moments in the uncertainty of a belated decision. Before Lu-don or anyone else could guess what was moving in the convict’s mind, Tarzan’s strong, with the full force of his muscles, slammed the paralyzed priest into the face of his superior, and as if those two movements were just one — so nimbly he acted — he jumped to and from the altar, getting with his hand clinging to the ridge of the temple wall. Gaining a foothold from there, he turned to look at those standing downstairs.

“Who dares to believe,” he shouted, “that Jad-ben-Otho would forsake his son?” And then he would drop them from their sight to the other side.

Among those left in the enclosure were at least two, whose hearts irresistibly leaped with joy when they saw the monkey man’s successful trick; and one of them smiled openly. This other was Ja-don, and the other was Pan-at-li.

The brain of the man thrown towards Lu-don’s head had rumbled against the wall of the temple, while the high priest himself had performed with only a few scratches, bumping into the hard stone. Quickly stumbling to his feet, he glared around in fear, first in horror and then in embarrassment, for he had not noticed the ape’s escape. “Grab him,” he shouted, “catch the slanderer,” and he still looked at his victim with such ridiculous and astonished expressions that several warriors had to smile to hide their mouths with their palms.

The priests ran wild here and there, urging the warriors to chase the refugee, but these waited in silence at the command of their king or high priest. Ko-tan, who more or less secretly rejoiced in Lu-don’s embarrassment, patiently awaited the necessary instructions of that man of value, which this passage gave, while, among other things, excitedly explained to him how Tarzan had disappeared.

Immediately, the necessary orders were shouted, and the priests and warriors rushed to the door of the temple to set out to chase after the ape. The farewell words echoing from the ridge of the temple wall were somewhat ineffective in convincing the majority that Lu-don had not proved his claims false; but the warriors admired the valiant man in their hearts, and many of them felt the same sinful satisfaction of embarrassing Lu-don as their chief had felt.