For two days Werper searched for a team that had escorted him from camp to the cliffs on the border of the valley, but it was not until late in the afternoon of the third day that he found out where they were and even then in such an outrageous way that he was paralyzed.
At one opening in the woods, he met the bodies of three Negroes terribly mutilated, and not much reasoning was needed to explain their murder. Of the small party, only these three were not slaves. Others, apparently hoping to free themselves from their cruel Arab lords, took advantage of being separated from the main camp and killed three representatives of the hated force that held them in slavery. Then they had disappeared into the jungle.
Cold sweat dripped from Werper’s forehead as he considered the fate he had just avoided by chance, for if he had been present when the inches of the conspiracy were carried out, he would surely have been in the same disappearance.
In Tarzan, the discovery did not arouse the slightest wonder or interest. The inherent habit of violent death had made him insensitive in such matters. The subtlety created by his bloody civilization had disappeared in the miserable accident that befell him, and all that was left were the rudimentary imagery which the teaching he had received as a child had indelibly imprinted upon his soul.
The teachings of Kala, the examples and advice of Kertshak, Tublat, and Terkoz were now the basis of all his thoughts and actions. He retained machine knowledge of French and English. Werper had spoken to him in French, and Tarzan had answered in the same language without realizing consciously that he had deviated from the ape’s speech, which he had used to talk to Lan. If Werper had used English, the result would have been the same.
That night, with the men sitting in front of their campfire, Tarzan played again with his brilliant pitches. Werper asked him what they were and where he had found them. The monkey replied that they were Korean-colored stones from which he was going to compose a lanyard, and that he had found them deep under the sacrificial courtyard of the temple of the flaming god.
Werper felt relieved to find that Tarzan did not realize the value of the gems. As a result, it was easier for the Belgian to take possession of them. Possibly a man would give them to him if he asked. Werper held out his hand toward the small stack that Tarzan had placed in front of him on a flat piece of wood.
“Show me them!” said the Belgian.
Tarzan dropped his big palm over the treasure. He uncovered his teeth and grumbled. Werper withdrew his hand faster than he had held out. Tarzan started playing with gems again and talking to Werper as if nothing unusual had happened. He had only shown the animal’s jealous instinct to protect his property. When he got the prey, he shared the meat with Werper, but if Werper had accidentally touched Tarzan’s share, he would have raised the same wild and resentful warning growl.
From this incident, a great fear of a wild companion arose in the Belgian’s chest. He had never properly grasped the change in Tarzan caused by the blow to his head, he had explained it as a loss of memory. Werper had not known that Tarzan had once indeed been a wild beast of the jungle, and thus, of course, he could not have guessed that the man had returned to the state in which his childhood and youth had passed.
Now Werper saw in the English a dangerous houra head, the slightest unpleasant incident of which would attack him with his gnashing teeth. Werper didn’t try to lull for a moment into the idea that he could successfully defend himself against the monkey’s attack. His only hope was to get out of his comrade and hurry towards Ahmet Zek’s distant camp as fast as he could. But being armed only with a sacrificial knife, Werper hesitated to leave the same through the jungle. Tarzan was a refuge that was not at all despised — even against great beasts, as Werper was to be recognized by what he had to see in the Opar Temple.
In addition, Werper’s greedy mind was attached to the gem bag, so he was ravaged by different emotions, greed, and fear. But the strongest burned in his chest was greed, so that he would rather defy the dangers and suffer the horrors aroused in him by the perpetual company of the man he thought was mad, rather than give up hope of taking possession of the whole property that was in the small bag.
On the third day after they left Opar, Tarzan’s sharp ears heard voices indicating that there were people behind them. Werper heard nothing but the buzz of jungle insects and the rattling sound of maracas and birds.
For a moment Tarzan stood quietly like a statue and listened; the sensitive nostrils dilated whenever he felt every transient breath of the wind. He then pulled Werper to hide behind a thick bush and waited. Soon a smooth-skinned black warrior appeared on the game path used by Werper and Tarzan, attentive and alert.
He was followed by almost fifty others in a simple row, one after the other, carrying two dark yellow ingots attached to his back. Werper immediately knew the team that had escorted Tarzan on his way to Opar. He looked at the monkey man, but saw in the wild, attentive eyes no sign that Tarzan knew Busul and his other loyal wazirs.
After all had passed, Tarzan got up and dived out of hiding. He looked at the area in the direction the party had gone. Then he turned to Werper.
“We follow them and destroy them,” he said.
“Why?” asked the Belgian.
“They’re black. Black killed Kaalan too. They’re enemies of the manganese.”
Werper was not happy about the idea of having a fight with Busul and his ferocious warriors. And on the other hand, he had joyfully seen them return to the Greystoke villa, for he had begun to doubt his ability to find his way back to the Wazir area. He knew Tarzan had no idea where they were going. By staying a safe distance behind the warriors carrying their gold load, they could easily follow them to the villa. Once they were there, Werper would know the way to Ahmet Zek’s camp. There was another reason why he didn’t want to have to deal with the wazirs – they carried a heavy treasure load in the direction he wanted to carry it. The farther they took it, the shorter the journey he and Ahmet Zek would have to carry it.
Sentakia argued against the ape when he wanted to kill the blacks, and eventually he made Tarzan follow them in peace, saying he was sure they would take them out of the woods to the rich land where, there was an abundance of game.
There were many day trips from Opar to the Waziri area, but finally came the moment when Tarzan and the Belgian, following in the footsteps of the warriors, ascended the last hill and saw in front of them a wide Waziri plateau, a meandering river, and distant forests to the north and west.
Tarzan glanced at the familiar view, but there was not the slightest glimpse in his gaze to indicate that he felt it. He noticed the game animals, and his mouth watered, but he did not look toward the villa. However, Werper looked. There was a startled look in the Belgian’s eyes. He shadowed them with his hands and stared long and hard at the place where the villa had been. He couldn’t believe his own eyes – there was no villa in sight – no barns – no outbuildings. The cattle fences, the haystacks were all gone. What did it mean?
And then Werper gradually became aware of the accident that had befallen the peaceful valley since he had last seen it – Ahmet Zek had been there!
Busuli and his warriors had noticed the destruction at the same time as they had exposed the farm. Now they hastened their course, speaking fervently and pondering the cause and significance of the upheaval.
When they finally had time to cross the trampled garden and stood in front of the charred ruins of their master’s villa, their worst hints came true based on what they saw around them.
On the ground, the remains of dead people, half-eaten by predatory hyenas and other predators that had troubled the area, and there was so much rubbish among the bodies of the clothes and ornaments of the dead, that Busul learned the terrible story of the accident to his master’s house.
“Arabs,” he said as his men gathered around him.
The Wazirs stared around for several minutes in silent rage. Everywhere they met, more evidence of the ruthlessness of the cruel enemy that had come in the absence of the great Bwana and destroyed his property.
“What did they do to the ‘lady’?” asked one of the blacks.
The Negroes had always appointed Lady Greystoke in this way.
“The women they’ve probably taken along,” Busuli said. “Our wife and her.”
Elsewhere, the giant raised his spear over his head and let out a wild cry of rage and anger. Others followed his example. Busuli silenced them with a handshake.
“Now is not the time to let go of unnecessary howls,” he said. “The great Bwana has taught us that deeds accomplish something and not mere words. Let’s save our lungs, for we need all our strength to follow and destroy the Arabs. If the lady and our wives are alive, the greater urgency is needed and lungs. ”
Werper and Tarzan watched in a black reed shelter by the river. They saw them digging a pit with their knives and fingers. They saw them lowering their yellow burdens into it and piling up the soil on the blocks again.
Tarzan seemed to show little interest when Werper had assured him that the goods buried by the blacks were not good to eat. But Werper was very enthusiastic about it. He would have given much if he could have seized the treasure as soon as the blacks left, for he was sure that they would leave this scene of destruction and death as soon as possible.
Once the treasure was buried, the blacks moved a short distance from the stinking body above the wind, and there they made a camp so that they could rest before they began to chase after the Arabs. Twilight had already come. Werper and Tarzan sat, swallowing a few pieces of meat they had brought from their previous camp. The Belgian considered what he would mainly do now. He was sure that the Wazirs would chase Ahmet Zek, for he knew enough of the wild warfare and the character traits of the Arabs and their poor companions to guess that they had taken the Waziri women into slavery. On the basis of this fact alone, it was certain that a warlike nation like the Wazirs would go after them.
Werper realized that he should come up with some way to get ahead of the Negroes to warn Ahmet Zek of Busul’s result and also to announce the location of the buried treasure. Werper did not know or care to know what an Arab would now do to Lady Greystoke when Tarzan was in such a state. It was enough that the gold treasure buried in the place of the burned villa was infinitely more valuable than any ransom that would flash even to the greedy mind of an Arab, and if Werper got a robber hiker to give him even a part of it, he would be very pleased.
But Werperille was the most greatest cause for concern invaluable treasure in a small leather pouch Tarzan kupeella. If only he could get it! He had to get it! He would get it!
His eyes shifted to the object he coveted. They measured Tarzan’s giant body and stopped at the round muscles of his arms. The company was hopeless. What can he hope to achieve other than his own death in an attempt to deprive the wild owner of the gems?
Werper threw himself reluctantly to his side. His head was on one arm, and the other was on his face so that his eyes were hidden from the ape, even though one of them was aimed at Tarzan under the shadow of his arm. For a moment he lay that way, staring at Tarzan and considering ways to plunder the treasure, but whatever he came up with, he was forced to immediately abandon it as unworthy.
Soon Tarzan opened his eyes to Werper. The Belgian saw that he was being watched, and lay very quiet. After a few moments, he pretended to breathe regularly like a deep sleep.
Tarzan had been thinking. He had seen the Wazirs bury his treasure. Werper had told him they were hiding their property so no one would find it and take it away. This seemed to Tarzan to be a great way to preserve valuables. Ever since Werper had expressed a desire to take possession of his flickering flint, he was skeptical as a wild at least guarded toys whose value he did not know at all, as eagerly as if his life or death had depended on them.
For a long time the monkey man sat closely watching his companion. Eventually, being sure Werper was asleep, he pulled out his hunting knife and began digging a pit in front of him on the ground. He removed the soil with a knife blade and lifted it off with his hands until he had made a small cavity, a few inches in diameter and five or six inches deep. There he put a gem bag. Werper almost forgot to breathe like a sleeper when he saw what the monkey man was doing — he could barely stop the exclamation of satisfaction.
Tarzan suddenly became immobile when his sharp ears noticed that the comrade’s regular breathing had stopped. His gaping eyes were directed directly at the Belgian. Werper felt lost – the success of it all depended on his ability to continue his cheating. He sighed, held out both his arms, and turned on his back, mumbling as if plagued by a bad sleep. After a moment, he began to breathe regularly again.
Now he couldn’t keep an eye on Tarzan, but he was sure the man was sitting for a long time watching him. Werper then heard faintly how the other’s hands scratched the mold and then again leveled it in place. That’s when he knew the gems were hidden in the ground.
It took an hour before Werper moved again. Then he turned around to
Tarzan and opened his eyes. The monkey slept. By extending his
hand, Werper can touch the place where the bag was buried.
For a long time he lay watching and listening. He moved, causing an unnecessary amount of noise, but Tarzan did not wake up. He pulled the sacrificial knife from his belt and pushed it to the ground. Tarzan didn’t move. The Belgian gently pressed the knife blade down through the loose soil above the bag. He felt the tip touch soft soft tough leather. He then twisted the knife handle to the side. The loose pile of soil rose slowly and disintegrated. A moment later, the corner of the bag appeared. Werper would pull the object he was looking for from his cache and stuff it under his shirt. He then filled the cavity again and carefully pressed the soil into the same position as it had been.
Greed had led him to such an act that if his comrade had noticed it, it would have had the worst consequences for him, Werper. He could already almost feel his strong, white teeth sinking into his neck. He shivered. Far across the plain was the roar of a panther, and in a dense reed behind him stepped a great beast with his soft feet.
Werper feared these night robbers, but he feared infinitely more of the legitimate anger of the human animal sleeping next to him. Werper took a few steps toward the plateau and the forest far to the northwest, then stopped and hopped the handle of a long knife on his belt. He turned to look at the sleeper.
– Why not? – he said. – Then I’d be safe.
He returned and bowed over the monkey man. His hand squeezed tightly from the sacrificial vessels of the high priestess of the flaming god.