Weaken him .. that would be Mtwala’s plan. A reward for his warriors’ patience and hard training .. seeing him beaten till he could not stand. Each evening Mtwala’s fighters were to be given a party. With Tarzan centre-stage. Taking a beating. Whipped till he cried.
Four nights Tarzan had been granted to live. Nights to placate the warriors’ impatience .. feeding them with Tarzan’s pain. Four nights before Mtwala was done with him. Would finally deal with him. Each night the pain building on already bruised muscle. Fresh beatings setting the flames of old punishments alight. With each night it would get worse.
Mtwala had left Tarzan hanging upside down .. the soles of his feet on fire. The warriors had cheered as he’d been sent revolving .. a pair of warriors giving their all .. lashing out at the spinning top.
Revenge on his old enemy had had to be put aside. Mtwala still had his higher purpose .. slaughter, annihilation. Chambers was running his first instruction. The chief and his warriors had left to get the hands on the guns. Only Tarzan was left .. hanging .. feet burning .. torso stinging front and back. And his four attendant muscle-guards seated around. Just to make sure he didn’t get it into his head to up-and-run.
Tarzan’s situation looked dire. In a tight corner. But Tarzan had one thing on his side. Motivation. He had to get a warning out. He just had to put the tribes on the other side of the river on the alert. Prepare themselves for Mtwala’s deadly strike. Ideally get in a blow before Mtwala was ready. A mission like no other. To forestall a deadly blood-bath. To stop the jungle descending into a gory quagmire of death and destruction.
A charge like no other to fortify Tarzan’s resolve. No matter how much they hurt him .. whatever they threw at him .. Tarzan had to stay strong. Strong to break free. He just had to …. That drive to warn the other tribes .. that would fortify Tarzan’s strength of will.
First problem .. he had to free himself of Chamber’s damned plastic ties. They were impossible to break. Tarzan’s every effort to wriggle free some movement had only given him burning wrists. Tarzan guessed Mtwala had no more ties. Once Tarzan got himself out of these plastic strips, he’d be back in more conventional ropes. And Tarzan had got free of those plenty of times before ….
Viewing his guards from upside down, Tarzan wondered …. Mtwala had refused to Tarzan’s challenge to take him on. Tarzan had dared Mtwala to face him like a man. He laughed back in Tarzan’s face. But if Tarzan goaded him into setting Tarzan up against one of these muscle-heads …? As part of these four nights of “entertainment”. What better temptation? Tempting the warriors with the idea of Tarzan getting his come-uppance from one of their own? From their best?
Looking at them .. they’d not be a push-over. Hand-picked by Mtwala .. thinking they could keep Tarzan tied down. A tempting fight with one of Mtwala’s champions? Tarzan stupidly thinking h could pitch himself against their best. What better entertainment? How much better did it get? Assuming the warriors would see Tarzan having the shit beaten out of him. His men roaring on one of their own. Cheering on every punch that knocked Tarzan down into the dirt.
Tarzan would be making himself take that risk .. allowing himself to have the shit beaten out of him .. deliberately. Worth it? Worth taking that risk? To get himself out of these plastic strips.
Tarzan didn’t fool himself. Men looking that good .. physiques like those didn’t come without work. Getting selected to nurse-maid Tarzan .. that had to be a mark of Mtwala’s respect for these men. The blows he had taken .. the lashings with the cattle whip .. they had been delivered with teeth-clenching hurt. By the look of them Mtwala had hand-picked the best of the bunch to mind him. There was no doubt in Tarzan’s mind. They’d fight as well as they looked.
And there was no telling .. if Tarzan looked like he was getting the upper-hand .. if he had his opponent on the ropes .. what was stopping a buddy stepping in .. fresh to the fight .. ? Moving in to take Tarzan on. Taking over to take an exhausted Tarzan down?
Of course .. Tarzan had to reckon on Mtwala out-thinking him. Accepting the challenge. But putting Tarzan up against all four. What would get the blood going better? What better way to give his warriors that release? Laughing at Tarzan going up against four of their own. Going crazy as they cheered Tarzan being taken apart .. systematically having the crap beaten out of him? By four of their own? Doing what every single warrior there would want to do himself.
And with his feet like this .. it was madness. Fighting them on bruised and agonised feet ..hobbled .. his speed crippled by the pain of each-and-every step. There would be carnage. The warriors would be screaming like mad men at every devastating body-blow. Was that a temptation Mtwala could not resist?
It was a daunting thought. It COULD happen. More likely, it WOULD happen. Mtwala was a tricky customer. He could come up with that response. Accepting Tarzan’s challenge. But putting him up against all four of them at once. Tarzan could almost hear the roar of approval from his warriors. At their chief out-thinking Tarzan .. playing him at his own game.
It was a risk, a big one. But Tarzan would be free of these damned plastic ties. It was a risk but Tarzan was feeling increasingly anxious about Mtwala’s men, fired up and trained to use those deadly weapons. He had to break free. Tarzan’s challenge to take on one of his guards could be turned back on him. One of them might be a challenge. Taking on four would be a massacre. The thuds into his belly from shredded shoulders like those hammered into his guts as the others held Tarzan down. Evil-minded muscle cut to the finest shape .. brute force smacking the body-strength out of his lower back as he was held immobilised by others. No way would Tarzan come out of that on his own two feet.
A desperate move. But he’d be free of these damned plastic ties! Then his chances of getting free and warning the others increased. A risk worth trying ……?