Oh! you miserable wretch! exclaimed Ned, gritting his teeth. I'd give a whole lot to get my hands on you for about five minutes, and that's just what I'm going to do, too.

All unconscious of the concealed watcher, Kenworth sketched on. He actually appeared to take a pride in his work, from time to time holding it at arm's length as if to get a better perspective upon it. Then from his pocket he took a small camera, and made some pictures of the two forts and the stretch of water between.

Great heavens! He's risking the loss of his commission, exclaimed Ned to himself as he saw. There must be some uncommon motive behind all this to make him take such chances. What can it be?

The tug was moving now, crawling like some ungainly black bug across the shimmering water.

Once more the anchor rumbled down, and[Pg 118] again the crane poised, swooped, and deposited another of the globular black objects, piled on the fore-deck, in the water.

Ned, watching Kenworth intently, saw him place a surveyor's instrument to his eye, no doubt to make a rough calculation of the exact spot of the planting. Following a few seconds' observation through this, he jotted down some more notes in his book.

He's taking pains to be quite accurate, thought Ned. He goes about his work as if it were some honorable duty he was engaged upon. I wonder how he knew about the mine planting, though? Can it be possible that he heard the message coming over the wireless, or in some manner gained access to a copy of it?

Loyalty to his flag and country was the Dreadnought Boy's ruling passion. The sight of Kenworth, engaged upon what Ned was certain could only be treacherous work, sent a flame that seethed like a white-hot blast through his frame.


Again he moved forward, but faster now. Kenworth, all unconscious that another was creeping up on him, resumed his seat in the hollow and went on with the touching up of his rough drawings.

Ned was close upon him now. Through the grass he glided along like a snake.

But the rustle of some of the stiff grass behind him, or the fall of a miniature cascade of sand into his hollow, must have suddenly apprised Kenworth that somebody was in the vicinity.

He sprang to his feet and looked about him. At the same instant something leaped through the air with the speed of a thunderbolt.

With a roar of rage, Ned had sprung the instant that he saw that discovery was inevitable.

A sharp exclamation broke from Kenworth.

You fool, I was prepared for you!

Simultaneously something flashed bright in his hand, glinting in the sunlight.

The next instant Ned felt a hot flash of fire[Pg 120] in his face and the stinging of a shower of needles. He staggered back, his hands to his eyes, as Kenworth, with a cry of triumph, sprang toward the Dreadnought Boy's reeling figure.