The Monster Men HTML version

Chapter 14. Man Or Monster?
When Muda Saffir turned from the two Dyaks who had brought him news of the treasure
he hastened to the long-house and arousing the chief of the tribe who domiciled there
explained that necessity required that the rajah have at once two war prahus fully
manned. Now the power of the crafty old Malay extended from one end of this great river
on which the long-house lay to the other, and though not all the tribes admitted allegiance
to him, yet there were few who would not furnish him with men and boats when he
required them; for his piratical cruises carried him often up and down the stream, and
with his savage horde it was possible for him to wreak summary and terrible vengeance
upon those who opposed him.
When he had explained his wishes to the chief, the latter, though at heart hating and
fearing Muda Saffir, dared not refuse; but to a second proposition he offered strong
opposition until the rajah threatened to wipe out his entire tribe should he not accede to
his demands.
The thing which the chief demurred to had occurred to Muda Saffir even as he walked
back from the river after conversing with the two Dyak messengers. The thought of
regaining the treasure, the while he administered punishment to the traitorous Ninaka,
filled his soul with savage happiness. Now if he could but once more possess himself of
the girl! And why not? There was only the sick old man, a Chinaman and von Horn to
prevent it, and the chances were that they all were asleep.
So he explained to the chief the plan that had so suddenly sprung to his wicked mind.
"Three men with parangs may easily quiet the old man, his assistant and the Chinaman,"
he said, "and then we can take the girl along with us."
The chief refused at first, point-blank, to be a party to any such proceedings. He knew
what had happened to the Sakkaran Dyaks after they had murdered a party of
Englishmen, and he did not purpose laying himself and his tribe open to the vengeance of
the white men who came in many boats and with countless guns and cannon to take a
terrible toll for every drop of white blood spilled.
So it was that Muda Saffir was forced to compromise, and be satisfied with the chief's
assistance in abducting the girl, for it was not so difficult a matter to convince the head
hunter that she really had belonged to the rajah, and that she had been stolen from him by
the old man and the doctor.
Virginia slept in a room with three Dyak women. It was to this apartment that the chief
finally consented to dispatch two of his warriors. The men crept noiselessly within the
pitch dark interior until they came to the sleeping form of one of the Dyak women.
Cautiously they awoke her.