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The arrival of Brown and his men in Patusan create a stir amongst the natives, who try to overcome the invaders. Unfortunately, Jim is away in the interior, and Dain Waris has to mastermind the attack. Though they love and respect him, the Bugis do not believe that he has supernatural powers like Jim. They think that Dain Waris will be defeated; therefore, they refuse to fight and wait for Jim to return, crowding into the fort that he has built. They send messengers out to look for Jim.
Jewel, who has the key to the supply room, takes command at the fort. She urges Dain Waris to attack, but Doramin goes against her. He is afraid for his son. Doramin tells Dain Waris to go down the river and cut off the robbers' retreat.
Kassim, Raja Tungku Allang's spokesman, has a desire to become the ruler of Patusan. To gain his end, he thinks it may be wise to side with Brown. He seeks out the villain and opens communication with him by using Cornelius as an interpreter. Cornelius tells Brown that he can become lord of Patusan if he kills Jim. Kassim is trying to manipulate Brown to murder Jim and clear a path for himself. He has no intention of allowing Brown to become the lord of the island.
The novelist has set the stage for the final catastrophe. The intrigues and counter-intrigues between different groups of people in Patusan are realistic and graphic, for Conrad had full knowledge about the intrigues and double-dealings of Malay communities. Tungku Allang, Doramin, Kassim, and Cornelius are all depicted as scoundrels with their own agendas. Tungku Allan wants to seize power once again on the island; Doramin wants to protect his son, Dain Waris, so he can rule the island; and Kassim wants to become ruler of Patusan himself. Cornelius just wants to rid himself of Jim.
It is important to note that the Bugis will not fight against Brown and his men because Jim is not present. It is ironic that they trust him so fully that they will not protect themselves if he is not there to give the order. Even though Dain Waris and Jewel urge them to battle, they ignore their pleas and simply send out messengers to search for Jim. There is even greater irony in the fact that when Jim returns he does not order the death of Brown, a fact that leads to several deaths, including his own.