The Monster Men
Chapter 3. Beauty And The Beast
One day, about two weeks later, von Horn and the professor were occupied closely with
their work in the court of mystery. Developments were coming in riotous confusion. A
recent startling discovery bade fare to simplify and expedite the work far beyond the
fondest dreams of the scientist.
Von Horn's interest in the marvellous results that had been obtained was little short of the
professor's-- but he foresaw a very different outcome of it all, and by day never moved
without a gun at either hip, and by night both of them were beside him.
Sing Lee, the noonday meal having been disposed of, set forth with rod, string and bait to
snare gulls upon the beach. He moved quietly through the jungle, his sharp eyes and ears
always alert for anything that might savor of the unusual, and so it was that he saw the
two men upon the beach, while they did not see him at all.
They were Bududreen and the same tall Malay whom Sing had seen twice before--once
in splendid raiment and commanding the pirate prahu, and again as a simple boatman
come to the Ithaca to trade, but without the goods to carry out his professed intentions.
The two squatted on the beach at the edge of the jungle a short distance above the point at
which Sing had been about to emerge when he discovered them, so that it was but the
work of a moment or two for the Chinaman to creep stealthily through the dense
underbrush to a point directly above them and not three yards from where they conversed
in low tones--yet sufficiently loud that Sing missed not a word.
"I tell you, Bududreen, that it will be quite safe," the tall Malay was saying. "You
yourself tell me that none knows of the whereabouts of these white men, and if they do
not return your word will be accepted as to their fate. Your reward will be great if you
bring the girl to me, and if you doubt the loyalty of any of your own people a kris will
silence them as effectually as it will silence the white men."
"It is not fear of the white men, oh, Rajah Muda Saffir, that deters me," said Bududreen,
"but how shall I know that after I have come to your country with the girl I shall not
myself be set upon and silenced with a golden kris--there be many that will be jealous of
the great service I have done for the mighty rajah."
Muda Saffir knew perfectly well that Bududreen had but diplomatically expressed a fear
as to his own royal trustworthiness, but it did not anger him, since the charge was not a
direct one; but what he did not know was of the heavy chest and Bududreen's desire to
win the price of the girl and yet be able to save for himself a chance at the far greater
fortune which he knew lay beneath that heavy oaken lid.
Both men had arisen now and were walking across the beach toward a small, native
canoe in which Muda Saffir had come to the meeting place. They were out of earshot