The Mystery Boys and the Secret of the Golden Sun
THE MYSTERY BOYS
Secret of the Golden Sun
By VAN POWELL
“The Mystery Boys Series,” etc.
WORLD SYNDICATE PUBLISHING CO.
Cleveland, Ohio New York City
THE WORLD SYNDICATE PUBLISHING CO.
Printed in the United States of America
- CHAPTER PAGE
- I. The Man Who Could Smell Money 5
- II. The Mystery Boys Get News 17
- III. Henry Morgan’s Story 25
- IV. Tom Breaks the Trail 37
- V. Storm and Stress 46
- VI. Stranded! 57
- VII. Turtles and Trouble 67
- VIII. An Unpleasant Trip 76
- IX. Magic and Madness 86
- X. Henry Turns Savage 95
- XI. A False Message 105
- XII. The Facts! 112
- XIII. Toosa’s Vengeance 120
- XIV. The Porto Bello Puzzle 128
- XV. Modern Magic 142
- XVI. Part of the Secret 151
- XVII. A Cold Reception 159
- XVIII. The Jungle Opens Its Arms 174
- XIX. Wasted Effort 185
- XX. Trailed by a Jaguar 190
- XXI. Where No White Men Go 201
- XXII. In the Closed Circle 210
- XXIII. Magic Against Magic 220
- XXIV. A Tight Corner 229
- XXV. Where Wits Count! 237
- XXVI. Two Men Disappear 248
- XXVII. Against Odds 258
- XXVIII. Golden Bait 265
- XXIX. The Rats Come 272
- XXX. Sunset! 282
THE MYSTERY BOYS AND THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN SUN
THE MAN WHO COULD SMELL MONEY
“That fellow is watching us again!” whisperedTom Carroll to his companions, Nickyand Cliff, as he adjusted a pack strap on theMexican burro behind which he sheltered hisface as he spoke.
“If he keeps on, I’m going over and ask himwhat’s next!” Nicky said, “I’ll find out what hemeans by it or know the reason why.”
Nicky was impulsive and quick: he preferredaction to reasoning, and was usually more willingto meet trouble than to avoid it. Tom, whowas generally as cool and as level headed asCliff, the oldest of the trio, seemed inclined toagree with the youngest chum; but Cliff, cinchingup his pony’s saddle, shook his head atNicky.
“We came out here to try to learn somethingabout Tom’s sister, not to court trouble,” heurged. “I guess that chap is simply curiousabout us and is watching to see that we saddleup properly.”
“Is it any of his business?” demanded Nicky.“He’s just one of the miners having his lunch.What business is it of his what we do or howwe do it?”
“He looks pretty mean,” Cliff admitted.
Tom, having taken a moment to consider, ashe generally did, came to a conclusion. “I’mnot so sure that he is mean,” he told his twofriends. “That scar across his face, and hisbleary eyes, make him look pretty fierce; buthe may be perfectly innocent of any wrongthoughts. As long as he only watches, he isn’tbreaking any law or hurting us. Are you fellowsready?”
“All set!” answered Cliff, patting his pony’sflank.
“Then, let’s not bother about a rough lookingminer who has hardly taken his eyes off ussince we came here this morning. Nicky, runover to the mine office building and tell Mr.Gray we’ve got everything ready to start back.”
Nicky dropped his own pony’s rein over itshead, while Tom, with his lithe movements apparentin the ease with which he mounted hisown animal, caught the bridle of an extra mountand Cliff took the burro’s leading rope. Nickyambled across the flat ground toward a zincsheathed shack at a little distance.
Cliff and Tom sat on their ponies, watchingcovertly as the man they had been discussingfinished the remnants of his chili con carne,wiped his mouth on a ragged coat sleeve, roseand strolled with a seemingly aimless airtoward the upper level on which stood the enginehouse, the mouth of the mine and othertimbered and metal covered buildings.
Nicky, on his return, looked around, saw thatthe man was gone and voiced a proposal.
“Mr. Gray says he won’t be ready to go formore than an hour,” he informed his chums.“The mine superintendent is telling him aboutsome old Aztec curios he owns, and you knowhow that will chain Cliff’s father in his chair.What do you say if we take a little gallop downthe trail—a race, maybe?”
Tom vetoed the race: they had a good ridebefore them and he did not want to start onwinded ponies: however, he agreed to a shortride on a trail that they had not explored andthe trio rode off, tying their burro to awaittheir return.
The extra pony, also left standing, may havewondered why his own rider, the older one, hadnot come; but he waited with the patience of awell trained animal.
As the boys rode along, the trail became rapidlysteeper and the small plateau narrowedinto a rough, rocky coulee.
“It certainly is too bad,” Nicky said, with asidewise glance of rueful sympathy towardTom. “After we came all the way to MexicoCity and then rode out here to the old mine, itis too bad that we can’t get even a trace of yourmissing sister.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “You’d think the authoritieswould know something, after all theseyears, or that we could pick up some clues.”
“It would have been different in the UnitedStates,” said Nicky, with a sense of pride in hisnative land. “Our detectives don’t let the grassgrow under their feet.”
“And yet,” broke in Cliff, “many girls, andmen and women, too, disappear in America andnever are found.”
“There were no eye-witnesses, except theones they found dead, after the bandits madetheir raid—that’s why there were no clues,”Tom added.
“Well,” he finished, sadly, “I guess my ownprivate mystery will never be solved.”
“You can’t tell,” Nicky said, with his usualoptimism. “You know, it seemed as thoughCliff’s father would never be heard from again,after he went to Peru—but we got a letter, orCliff did, and we went down there with Mr.Whitley, our history instructor—and not onlyrescued Mr. Gray from the hidden Inca city,but we saw a lot of adventure and got some ofthe Inca treasure.”
“And your mystery seemed as though itwould never be solved, Nicky,” Cliff remindedhis friend. “With only half of a cipher messageleft to your family by Captain Kidd, it was possiblefor us to find the hidden treasure in theFlorida keys and have a lot of excitement inthe bargain.”
“And both adventures started out verytamely,” Nicky was trying hard to brighten uphis comrade; but Tom only shook his head.
“This is different,” he said.
Nicky and Cliff referred to two excitingescapades in which all three had participated.Because each of them had had a mystery in hislife the three had drawn very close in the bondsof friendship, and had formed themselves intoa secret order which they called the MysteryBoys. They had secret gestures by which theycould communicate with one another in thepresence of others without divulging the factthat they did so: also, they had initiation ritesand binding oaths and strict codes which heldthem together and bound them to help eachother in every way to solve their individualmysteries.
Cliff’s mystery, as Nicky said, had beencleared up in the summer past: the followingwinter the trio, while in Jamaica, had run ontosome information which had begun the adventurethrough which the hidden treasure mysteryof Nicky’s family had been brought to asuccessful end.
While in Cliff’s case the reward had notbeen financially large, he had found his father.In Nicky’s adventure no life had been involvedin danger, but a buried mass of gold bars hadbeen recovered and distributed fairly so thateach of the three was, in a modest way, providedfor as far as riches went: they were notmade millionaires, because the treasure had tobe shared with others involved in CaptainKidd’s legacy, but they were “well fixed.”
But in Tom’s case, the mystery was of adifferent kind, and there was in it not only theelement of tragedy, but, as well, the element ofuncertainty.
Hardly more than five years ago Tom, confinedto his bed by a bad attack of measles, hadbeen thus prevented from going with his fatherand his sister, a year older than he, to Mexico.That saved his life, which is a curious thing tothink about—that sickness saved him from aworse fate.
Mr. Carrol, an engineer and mining expert,sent to inspect some mining property, had leftTom under the care of an older cousin; but soeager had eleven-year-old Margery been to seethe strange country that Mr. Carrol had takenher with him.
That farewell, looking out of a darkenedroom at the bright hair and half-smiling, half-tearfulface, had been Tom’s last sight of hisbeloved sister; and that clasp of hands betweenfather and son had been the last they couldever exchange.
For, shortly after the arrival of the engineerand his daughter at a remote mining property,bandits had descended from the mountains ina raid, seemingly because they knew that goldto a high value had been amassed and storeduntil time to load it on burros and with armedguards take it to the railway shipping point.
In the news, meagre and disjointed, whichTom had received, it was supposed that thebandits had come to the mine during the night,had been seen and attacked by the engineer andseveral other Americans who were in charge ofthe property. A fight must have ensued, butone disastrous to the defenders, because thegold was gone and the mine was deserted whenthe workmen came from their hovels far downthe trail the next day. According to what Tomheard, they had found his father and the otherAmericans, all past any earthly aid.
But there had been no news of Margery!
With his heart torn by his bereavement andwith terror gnawing at his mind day and night,even at the tender age of ten, Tom had beggedhis father’s cousin to use every effort to learnwhat had happened to his sister. All thatcould be done, had been done.
But the family had little money and althoughthe Government made inquiries and State departmentsexchanged notes and the Mexicanauthorities declared that soldiers had scouredthe neighborhood of the mine and the passes inthe sierras—and some of the bandits had beencaught and punished!—there was no trace ofthe little girl.
No wonder that Tom suffered anguish everytime he thought of her. Was she wanderingabout in the mountains, alone, starved? Wasshe a captive among the bandits? Those whohad been caught declared by everything theyreverenced that they had not seen her at anytime nor after the retreat had they seen her intheir camp among the cordilleras. Even thegold was gone! A renegade white man—theyhad not known his nationality—had incited theattack, seeming to guess that there was moneyto be had. But he had disappeared during thefighting—and so, they averred, had the goldbags and the burros.
Was the little, sunny-haired Margery hisprisoner also? Tom never had learned, for notrace of him—or of her—had ever been found.
Naturally, even after five years, the pain wasdeep and the scar still burned; that is why hehad been so anxious to see the summer vacationarrive at Amadale Military Academy, where heand his chums were students. Cliff was glad inone way, also, because the end of the term sawhis graduation. That meant that he could devoteall of his time, for the summer and as longas might be necessary, to his father, Mr. Gray,a great scholar and student of old civilizations.Mr. Gray wrote books on the subject of ancienthistory, and went to many strange places to gethis facts. Cliff looked forward to the experiencesand the knowledge he would gain; butmostly he was glad to be able to help his fatherwhose health was not of the best since his yearsof captivity among the hidden Inca survivorsin the Peruvian cordilleras.
Nicky, in the same class with Tom, and witha year yet to be passed in study and trainingof an athletic and disciplinary sort, looked forwardto the vacation, because he knew that Mr.Gray was going to Mexico to study the Azteccivilization of a time long past, and to collectIndian relics and other material for a Museumin