The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 104

Twelve.

"Then let us live by ourselves," suggested Number Three.

"We hate each other," retorted the pessimistic Number Twelve. "There
is no place for us in the world, and no companionship. We are but
soulless things."

"Stop!" cried Bulan. "I am not a soulless thing. I am a man, and
within me is as fine and pure a soul as any man may own," and to his
mind's eye came the vision of a fair face surmounted by a mass of
loosely waving, golden hair; but the brainless ones could not
understand and only shook their heads as they resumed their feeding and
forgot the subject.

When the three had satisfied the cravings of their appetites two of
them were for lying down to sleep until it should be time to feed
again, but Bulan, once more master, would not permit it, and forced
them to accompany him in his seemingly futile search for the girl who
had disappeared so mysteriously after he had rescued her from the
ourang outangs.

Both Number Twelve and Number Three had assured him that the beasts had
not recaptured her, for they had seen the entire band flee madly
through the jungle after hearing the report of the single shot which
had so terrorized Bulan's antagonists. Bulan did not know what to make
of this occurrence which he had not himself heard, the shot having come
after he had lost consciousness at the foot of the tree; but from the
description of the noise given him by Number Twelve he felt sure that
it must have been the report of a gun, and hoped that it betokened the
presence of Virginia Maxon's friends, and that she was now safe in
their keeping.

Nevertheless he did not relinquish his determination to continue his
search for her, since it was quite possible that the gun had been fired
by a native, many of whom possessed firearms. His first concern was
for the girl's welfare, which spoke eloquently for the chivalry of his
character, and though he wished to see her for the pleasure that it
would give him, the hope of serving her was ever the first
consideration in his mind.

He was now confident that he was following the wrong direction, and
with the intention in view of discovering the tracks of the party which
had rescued or captured Virginia after he had been forced to relinquish
her, he set out in a totally new direction away from the river. His
small woodcraft and little experience in travelling resulted in his
becoming completely confused, so that instead

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