"Good-night, again," both she and Niâbon cried, and Tematau also called out Tiâkâpo! "Good-night, good-night," I shouted, swaying our boat lantern in farewell. "Tiâkâpo, Tematau. May you all sleep well." They made some merry laughing response, in which they were joined by their hosts, and then Tepi and I were alone.
And when the captain of the fighting-ship questioneth, and sayeth to the people, 'Where is my countryman? the people will shake their heads and say, 'We know not. He and his wife, and the Englishman, and Tepi, and Tematau, and the witch woman Niâbon have gone. They have sailed away to beyond the rim of the sea and the sky we know not whither."
Canst see? Canst see, Tematau?" Niâbon placed her hand on mine. "Have no fear, Simi. The wind is fair and the passage through the reef is wide, and the ship on the right hand is a good guide. See, her masts stand out clear against the sky. And give me the tiller, for thou and Lucia are tired. So sleep sleep till the dawn, and Tematau and Tepi and I shall keep watch through the night.
They went down the beach together, with arms around each other's waists, and their footsteps guided by the still-burning torch lying on the sand. I followed, and in another minute I had the tiller in my hand, and told Tepi to push off, as Tematau ran up the jib. "How now for the passage?" I cried, as I slipped my arm around Lucia's waist, and her lips met mine, "how now for the passage, Tepi?
However, I was too ill and wearied at the time to think anything more of the matter, so after thanking her for her offer to sit up and attend the unfortunate Tematau I lay down on a cane lounge in the room and watched her making a cigarette.
"Tematau and I together each stabbed him twice." As soon as I was able to pull myself together, I desired all the natives but three of the head men to leave, and then, after the unfortunate German's body was covered from view by a large mat, I asked the principal man of the village to tell me what he knew of the tragedy. "I know nothing," was his reply. "Niâbon can tell thee."
Then without telling either Tematau or Niâbon the reason for my purchase, I bade them open my trade-room door, and in a few minutes we were engaged in paying the late owners their tobacco, guns, ammunition, and bolts of turkey twill.
Tematau and the natives made a rush at the boxes of stores, bundles of sails, water breakers, and everything else, and tumbled them on board anyhow, Lucia and Niâbon taking the lighter articles from them and dropping them into the cabin, so as to give us more deck room, whilst I ran up the jib, and big Tepi the mainsail.
Tepi and Tematau would stick to me they had sworn to do so had told me so in whispers one bright night, as we three kept watch together and Lucia and Niâbon slept. Niâbon! What a strange strange girl she was! I should find it hard to say goodbye to her, I thought; and then I felt my cheeks flush. Say goodbye to her part from her! Why should we part?
Tepi and Tematau joined her in her assertion that Tully meant mischief and would seize the boat for the king, who would have no compunction in resorting to violence or murder to achieve his object, especially with a man like Tully to cany out his wishes. Tepi also said that once the king knew that Niâbon was on board he would use every effort to gain possession of her.