And a pact was sealed between Ja-don and Om-at that would ever make his tribe and the Ho-don allies and friends. It was here that Tarzan learned the cause of Ta-den's failure to attack at the stipulated time. A messenger had come from Ja-don carrying instructions to delay the attack until noon, nor had they discovered until almost too late that the messenger was a disguised priest of Lu-don.
Ta-den's explanation of the Ho-don methods of house construction accounted for the ofttimes remarkable shapes and proportions of the buildings which, during the ages that must have been required for their construction, had been hewn from the limestone hills, the exteriors chiseled to such architectural forms as appealed to the eyes of the builders while at the same time following roughly the original outlines of the hills in an evident desire to economize both labor and space.
Already he knew the names of his companions and the common names of the fauna and flora with which they had most often come in contact. Ta-den, he of the hairless, white skin, having assumed the role of tutor, prosecuted his task with a singleness of purpose that was reflected in his pupil's rapid mastery of Ta-den's mother tongue.
I would have them spread around my couch tonight that I may carry away with me in the morning the memory of the fragrance that I love best and which I know that I shall not find in the village of Mo-sar, the father of Bu-lot. I will help you, Pan-at-lee, and we will gather armfuls of them, for I love to gather them as I love nothing else they were Ta-den's favorite flowers."
He turned toward Tarzan and the Ho-don. "And you, my friends," he said, "are free to go among my people; the cave of my ancestors is yours, do what you will." "I," said Tarzan, "will go with Om-at to search for Pan-at-lee." "And I," said Ta-den. Om-at smiled. "Good!" he exclaimed. "And when we have found her we shall go together upon Tarzan's business and Ta-den's. Where first shall we search?"
But Pan-at-lee! it is she I seek first even before a chieftainship." "We three, then, shall travel together," said Tarzan. "And fight together," added Ta-den; "the three as one," and as he spoke he drew his knife and held it above his head. "The three as one," repeated Om-at, drawing his weapon and duplicating Ta-den's act. "It is spoken!" "The three as one!" cried Tarzan of the Apes.
Unslinging his club which had hung down his back from a thong about his neck he stood upon the level floor of the entrance-way effectually blocking Ta-den's ascent. From all directions the warriors of Kor-ul-ja were swarming toward the interlopers. Tarzan, who had reached a point on the same level with Ta-den but a little to the latter's left, saw that nothing short of a miracle could save them.
"First," whispered Om-at, "I will go to the cave of Pan-at-lee. Then will I seek the cave of my ancestors to have speech with my own blood. It will not take long. Wait here I shall return soon. Afterward shall we go together to Ta-den's people." He moved silently toward the foot of the cliff up which Tarzan could presently see him ascending like a great fly on a wall.
"I know nothing of the future," he replied, "other than what Jad-ben-Otho tells me. But I think you need have no fear for the future if you remain faithful to Ta-den and Ta-den's friends." "You have seen him?" asked O-lo-a. "Tell me, where is he?" "Yes," replied Tarzan, "I have seen him. He was with Om-at, the gund of Kor-ul-ja." "A prisoner of the Waz-don?" interrupted the girl.
Now, again, one of them found his voice and his head and straightway, shrieking invectives at the strange intruder, started upward for the ape-man, urging his fellows to attack. This man was the closest to Tarzan. But for him the ape-man could easily have reached Ta-den's side as the latter was urging him to do.