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When they reach the place of the beast, Ralph realizes he has to be the one "to go forward" and face the unknown. This is the right and responsibility of a leader, and Ralph knows he must expose himself. "There was nowhere to hide, even if one did not have to go on." And he discovers what he believed all along: there is no beast.
Jack, acting as though he's concerned about Ralph, comes up behind him. He thinks the spot would make a great fort because of its height. His enthusiasm for hurling rocks over the edge recalls the earlier exploration and promises that other rocks will be hurled over a cliff.
Ralph wants to return to the mountain to start up the fire. "The beast won't be there," Jack says. But that's exactly where it is.
The other boys who have come along decide they want to play on this part of the island, and an argument brews. Ralph wants to return to tend the fire; Jack and the boys want to play in the fort. The tension builds between Jack and Ralph. "I am chief," Ralph says, insistent upon returning.
Like Samneric, the boys have little regard for Ralph's concerns and only want to play. They are annoyed; Ralph is acting too much like an adult or a leader. The last sentence of the chapter begins, "Jack led the way"; more and more the boys are siding with Jack. Ralph is losing his command.