The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 131

he must do, for none other
could so surely go forth and return with meat as he. Sometimes Mugambi
spelled him at the hunting; but the black's spear and arrows were never
so sure of results as the rope and knife of the ape-man.

Finally the men shirked their work, going off into the jungle by twos
to explore and to hunt. All this time the camp had had no sight of
Sheeta, or Akut and the other great apes, though Tarzan had sometimes
met them in the jungle as he hunted.

And as matters tended from bad to worse in the camp of the castaways
upon the east coast of Jungle Island, another camp came into being upon
the north coast.

Here, in a little cove, lay a small schooner, the Cowrie, whose decks
had but a few days since run red with the blood of her officers and the
loyal members of her crew, for the Cowrie had fallen upon bad days when
it had shipped such men as Gust and Momulla the Maori and that
arch-fiend Kai Shang of Fachan.

There were others, too, ten of them all told, the scum of the South Sea
ports; but Gust and Momulla and Kai Shang were the brains and cunning
of the company. It was they who had instigated the mutiny that they
might seize and divide the catch of pearls which constituted the wealth
of the Cowrie's cargo.

It was Kai Shang who had murdered the captain as he lay asleep in his
berth, and it had been Momulla the Maori who had led the attack upon
the officer of the watch.

Gust, after his own peculiar habit, had found means to delegate to the
others the actual taking of life. Not that Gust entertained any
scruples on the subject, other than those which induced in him a rare
regard for his own personal safety. There is always a certain element
of risk to the assassin, for victims of deadly assault are seldom prone
to die quietly and considerately. There is always a certain element of
risk to go so far as to dispute the issue with the murderer. It was
this chance of dispute which Gust preferred to forgo.

But now that the work was done the Swede aspired to the position of
highest command among the mutineers. He had even gone so far as to
appropriate and wear certain articles belonging to the murdered captain
of the Cowrie--articles of apparel which bore upon them the badges and
insignia of authority.

Kai Shang was peeved.

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