The rustling in the distance attracted his attention first. When he heard the disturbance, the jungle man stood up and peered as far as he could see.
He had been resting on a branch, and now he stood on the same branch to try to see what was coming. He had a pretty good idea, though. Whatever it was walked on two legs. Not many things in the jungle walked on two legs. It basically boiled down to the man himself, the woman asleep higher in the tree in a hidden nook, and the intruders.
They were back.
The man leapt to a higher branch, which he caught in his hands, swinging his body up until he was crouching on the branch. He leapt to a branch above and another. He kept heading up until he was at the highest branch in the tree. He moved into a standing position and looked in the direction he had heard the noise.
He could see the men, moving in single file through the tall grass. They hadn't yet reached the edge of the jungle itself. They were about forty-five minutes from the man's present position. He saw there was quite a few men. If he could count, he would have known there was a squad on the way to rescue the woman. They were back again to rescue someone who didn't need to be rescued. The man sighed.
A soft voice from below called, “Tarzan? Are you up there?”
He swung down from the branches to the hollow nook in the tree that they had made their home and stood before his mate.
Jane was a lovely woman, a soft British lilt to her voice. She looked up at him and could see the worry in his face. “What's wrong?” she asked, “Did something happen.”
He looked at her and said, “They're coming again. They're coming for you.”
“Oh, not again.” she said, her hand moving to her mouth.
“I have to get rid of them.” he said, looking down. “I can't let them take you?”
“Oh Tarzan. They cannot take me. I promise, I will not leave you.” She moved to him and embraced him. His powerful arms wrapped around her, making her feel safe and warm.
She thought back to the times this had happened before. Almost immediately after she chose to stay with the man she had fallen in love with, the Crown sent soldiers to take her back. They were chased off by Tarzan, but they had come back two more times. She had no idea why they were investing so much time, money, or manpower to simply drag her back to a place she didn't want to be. She had no use for the life she would have been consigned to in her home country. Marrying some lawyer or politician, afternoon tea with other wives, having children to be cared for by nannies, and eventually dying of boredom in her old age. She wanted her life here, the life she had now with the man she loved.
“I will get rid of them.” he said, bringing her back to reality.
“I want to see them.” she said, pointing up to where he had been in the upper part of the tree.
He grabbed her and swung up through the branches, her holding tightly around his thick neck. She felt the leaves slap her softly as they moved up through the tree. When they reached the highest branch possible, he stood on the branch and held her as she looked out. She didn't have the keen vision he did to see them clearly, but she could see some movement in the distance.
Sighing, she said, “Yes, you have to get rid of them. Just please be careful.”
He nodded and carried her back down to the nook.
“Stay here.” he commanded and swung down a vine, landing on the ground with a soft thud.
He moved through the jungle, crouched down, as swiftly and quietly as a panther. He knew exactly where he was going, and he had no time to waste.
He reached the gorilla enclave and moved quickly to Grokk, the alpha male. He spoke with the male in gorilla language and explained the situation and what he needed them to do. He made a point of telling them to be very careful of the fire sticks the men carried and that none of the men were to be killed, but disabled and frightened were acceptable.
There had been an altercation between Grokk and Tarzan shortly after Jane and he became mates. Tarzan had been accepted among the gorillas as a child, but adding another human was not something Grokk was willing to do. He had challenged Tarzan with every intention of beating him and killing Jane. Other humans in the jungle were a danger to everyone. Tarzan and Grokk fought, and Tarzan defeated him. Grokk had expected Tarzan to kill him. Grokk would have if the situation had been reversed. Tarzan however, had shown mercy and just simply explained that Jane was his mate, and he would do anything to protect her. He had no intention to kill, but he would if he was forced to protect himself or her.
Grokk agreed to help. He didn't want any more humans in the jungle.
Tarzan left the gorillas and moved back into the jungle. The apes would be good, but he needed help from one more source as well. He needed something that could cause so much havoc, the men would never want to come back. He leapt into a tree and, grabbing a vine, began swinging from vine to vine, headed for a distant area. Once he was at the edge of the jungle, he leapt down into the grass and sprinted like a gazelle to his destination.
He reached the elephant herd, grazing softly in the grass and moved quickly to their leader. He spoke to the leader and in the most basic way possible, he explained what was going on and what help was needed. He knew they wouldn't have as much to worry about from the guns the men carried.
Once the elephants agreed to help, he left them. He still had to prepare for what was coming. He moved back into the jungle, leaping up to a vine and swinging back to the other side again. He went back to his tree and gathered up his knife, which went into his belt, and a staff, which he attached to his back with a harness.
“I want to come with you.” she said, as he was about to leave.
He turned to her. “No.” he said sharply, “It's too dangerous.”
“They're coming because of me.” she said, “I have to try to end this. I have to try to make them understand not to come back.”
He shook his head, “They have guns. I don't want you there.”
“They're not going to shoot me.”
“Not on purpose.” he said, looking intently at her, “”But they may shoot, and I won't let anything happen to you.”
She sighed. She could see he wouldn't be argued with, so she turned away, angry.
He turned and leapt out of the tree. He headed in the direction from which the men were coming. When he came to the edge of the treeline, nearest the sea, he moved into the chest high grass. He kept going until he was just a few hundred yards from the men. He was moving low in the tall grass, so they couldn't see him yet. He could still hear them, though, their footfalls loud to the sensitive hearing he possessed.
He moved within a couple of yards of the men, and then he stood up so he could be seen clearly.
They were obviously shocked. A couple of them raised their weapons. The commander signaled for them to lower their guns.
The commander walked toward Tarzan, stopping a few feet from the jungle man. “You know why we're here.”
“You're not taking her.” Tarzan said, standing upright, his full height dwarfing even the tall commander.
“I have my orders.” the commander said, “We're not leaving without the girl. We can do this the hard way or the easy way.”
“She's staying.” Tarzan replied, “I don't want to hurt anyone, but she's not going anywhere.”
The commander signaled his men, and they raised their weapons.
Tarzan eyed the line of men and could tell that most of them had no idea why they were there and no real idea of what was going on. They were young and mostly scared to be in such a strange place. He shook his head. This had to stop.
“Take us to her.” the commander said, “Let's just end this as peacefully as possible.”
“No man is setting foot in that jungle.” came the answer.
The man signaled again and the troops cocked their weapons.
Tarzan sighed and he gave a loud cry. Suddenly the whole area exploded and gorillas leapt out of the tall grass and hurled themselves at the troops. The apes began grabbing men and hurling them away. Some of the men still standing tried to take aim at the gorillas, but everything was happening so quickly, they had no idea where to aim.
Then Tarzan gave another loud bellow and what sounded like low thunder started. Moments later, huge shapes appeared and began running through the column of them, routing them from where they stood.
The helpless commander watched as a herd of full grown elephants began to rampage through his soldiers, scattering them to and fro. Occasionally an elephant would pick a man up with it's trunk and fling him away.
Some of the soldiers found their wits enough to fire at the elephants, but their rifles were nowhere near powerful enough to pierce the thick hides and the bullets just bounced helplessly off.
The scene was pure chaos as animals and men scurried around, each one trying to either grab or get away from the other.
Tarzan looked sadly at the scene, then turned to the commander. “Will you leave before someone gets hurt? These are just some of the animals at my command. I could have brought tigers or panthers. Don't make me do something like that.”
“I have my orders.” the commander said, “I can't let you keep the girl here. Her family wants her back home.”
“I'm not keeping her here.” Tarzan said, angrily, “She chose to stay. She's not a prisoner here.”
“I can't believe that.” the commander said, “I have my orders.”
“ENOUGH!” came a female voice from nearby.
Tarzan and the commander spun toward the voice and saw Jane standing there, her hands on her hips. The commander looked at her and saw her, dressed in animal skins, her skin dark and tanned from the sun. She looked healthy and well cared for. She didn't have rope burns or look like she'd been locked in a cage. She looked like she was very well treated and very healthy.
She walked over to them and surveyed the scene of the battle a few yards away.
“Leave!” she commanded, “Leave and don't come back. Tell them not to come back...ever.”
“But my lady...”
“No. I want to stay here. I love him. I love this place. I will not go back there.”
“But they won't give up.” the commander said, “If I go back without you, they will just send someone else.”
She thought for a moment, then she said, “Tell them I’m dead.”
Tarzan's eyes widened at that.
“Tell them I'm dead. Tell them you found me dead, and you killed Tarzan. Tell them anything, just make sure they don't come back. Stop this senseless battle. Take your men and go home.”
She turned and walked slowly back to the treeline, back home.
Tarzan turned and gave a loud cry. The animals stopped their part of the battle, and the gorillas and elephants raced back into the jungle.
The men picked themselves up and looked to their commander for orders. The commander looked at Tarzan. Then he turned to look in the direction Jane left in. He surveyed the scene where seconds before his men had been in fierce battle with animals of the jungle. Just a few of the animals that the man before him could summon.
He walked over to the men and said, “We're going home. The girl is dead. The jungle man is dead.”
The men all turned to look at Tarzan, who was standing there very much alive.
“They're both dead. That is what you will tell anyone who asks. Pick up your things. We're going home.”
The men started to move around, gathering their belongings from the tall grass.
The commander turned to look at Tarzan for a moment, then he turned back to help his men.
Tarzan turned and walked back into the jungle without another word.