What was it that had attracted Numa's attention and taken him soft-footed and silent away from the scene of his discomfiture?
The first intimation the black man had that he was in danger was the crash of twigs as Numa charged through the bushes into the game trail not twenty yards behind him.
The ape-man had advanced well into the gulch as he investigated his surroundings and now as he stood near the tree, satisfied that the tunnel would prove a dry and quiet retreat for the night, he turned to retrace his way to the outer end of the entrance that he might block it with boulders against Numa's return, but even with the thought there came something to his sensitive ears that froze him into statuesque immobility with eyes glued upon the tunnel's mouth.
"Brother of Dango!" shouted Tarzan, angered that Numa's return should have been so timed as to frustrate his plans for a comfortable night's repose.
Not an instant too soon did Tarzan reach the tree and swing himself into its branches and there he squatted, hurling insults at the king of beasts while Numa paced a circle beneath him, growling and roaring in rage.
"Numa is watching us," replied Akut, "but we are in little danger, unless we approach too close, for he is lying upon his kill.
They had passed but a short distance to the rear of Numa when the boy caught the unpleasant odor of the carnivore.
His finger tightened upon the trigger, and as he fired Numa sprang.
No ordinary man could have escaped those frightful claws when Numa sprang from so short a distance, but Tarzan was no ordinary man.
In sudden fury Numa
hurled himself toward the ape-man, but the wiry creature eluded the blundering charge, side-stepping quickly only to rush in upon his foe.
Here the ape-man unloosed his grass rope from about his neck, and as Numa stood above the body of the boar, challenging head erect, he dropped the sinuous noose about the maned neck, drawing the stout strands taut with a sudden jerk.
Quickly he made the rope fast to a stout branch, and as the panther, in answer to his summons, leaped into sight, Tarzan dropped to the earth beside the struggling and infuriated Numa, and with a long sharp knife sprang upon him at one side even as Sheeta did upon the other.