The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 26

and plucked a blossom, tenderly, he
wondered that it did not flutter in his hand. On and on he walked, but
slowly, for he must not miss a single sight in the strange and
wonderful place; and then, of a sudden, the quiet beauty of the scene
was harshly broken by the crashing of a monster through the underbrush.

Number Thirteen was standing in a little open place in the jungle when
the discordant note first fell upon his ears, and as he turned his head
in the direction of the sound he was startled at the hideous aspect of
the thing which broke through the foliage before him.

What a horrid creature! But on the same instant his eyes fell upon
another borne in the arms of the terrible one. This one was
different--very different,--soft and beautiful and white. He wondered
what it all meant, for everything was strange and new to him; but when
he saw the eyes of the lovely one upon him, and her arms outstretched
toward him, though he did not understand the words upon her lips, he
knew that she was in distress. Something told him that it was the ugly
thing that carried her that was the author of her suffering.

Virginia Maxon had been half unconscious from fright when she suddenly
saw a white man, clothed in coarse, white, native pajamas, confronting
her and the misshapen beast that was bearing her away to what frightful
fate she could but conjecture.

At the sight of the man her voice returned with returning hope, and she
reached her arms toward him, calling upon him to save her. Although he
did not respond she thought that he understood for he sprang toward
them before her appeal was scarce uttered.

As before, when Sing had threatened to filch his new possession from
him, Number One held the girl with one hand while he met the attack of
this new assailant with the other; but here was very different metal
than had succumbed to him before.

It is true that Number Thirteen knew nothing whatever of personal
combat, but Number One had but little advantage of him in the matter of
experience, while the former was equipped with great natural
intelligence as well as steel muscles no whit less powerful than his
deformed predecessor.

So it was that the awful giant found his single hand helpless to cope
with the strength of his foeman, and in a brief instant felt powerful
fingers clutching at his throat. Still reluctant to surrender his hold
upon his prize, he beat

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