Chapter 32-The Treasure Map Revealed
Rollie woke as if from a bad dream with sudden thoughts of Alaya. Spending Memorial Day at the dedication of the World War II Memorial had been a joyous occasion, but now he stood there with the seemingly broken locket in his hands feeling terribly inept and responsible for causing the coin and the cross to fall from the locket. “My clumsy hands,” he said out loud causing Ami and Laurel to look in his direction to see what had happened.
“James Rolland Marclay!” Laurel said with an outburst of emotion. “What have you done?” Rollie sat there with a numbness ebbing over him watching Ami looking at him with tears forming in her eyes. “I’m not sure what happened,” Rollie said in his defense. “I guess the soldering that had kept them in place all these years just wore out.” He didn’t know what else to say. “It doesn’t appear that anything is broken other than the soldering. A good jeweler will be able to fix this, at my expense, of course,” he said sensitively trying to quell further anxiety.
Ami quickly responded, “That’s not necessary. You didn’t break it on purpose. It was bound to break sooner or later.” “I insist on getting it fixed properly. The locket has a lot of history. When we get back to Indiana, I know just the jeweler to fix it, and when you get back from your speaking engagement next weekend it will be good as gold,” Rollie said not intending the pun. Not giving Ami a chance to argue the point, he slipped the locket into his suit pocket; later moving it to his duffle bag before loading up the car.
The trip home was exhausting, but after dropping Ami and her family off at the Yorkton Cottage Estates, he drove on to his office at the university. The Yorkton Cottage Estates were dwellings used by missionaries on furlough, and it was just a few blocks from the college campus. Being so close and still early afternoon he decided to take time to answer some mail and make a call regarding his getting the locket repaired.
Placing the locket and the pieces that had fallen out of the locket back into his pocket he set out to his office by way of the loading dock at James Westerly Memorial Hall. He detoured to check his campus mailbox before heading up to his new office on the fifth floor. While away on Sabbatical his department had moved from the 2nd floor of Jenson Warner Hall to the 5th floor of James Westerly Memorial Hall. The only advantage, if there was one, was the elevator access just opposite his office door, although most times he still tried to take the stairs. “It was good to get exercise where one could,” he laughed out loud, “but five flights?”
He chose the elevator instead of the stairs to give him a moment to thumb through his mail. Not seeing anything real important he shuffled from the elevator. Once inside his office he rearranged some boxes so he could sit at his desk. Taking the locket from his pocket, he rolled the coin in his fingers feeling the smooth edges of the engraving of what they had all come to accept as an image of Alaya’s mother. When it had been logically assumed that the engraving was in all probability Alaya’s mother from information Jacob had found, Alaya had given Amiko the middle name, Kayusha, from her presumed birth mother.
“That coin is a one and only,” Tony had concluded years earlier when he first looked at the locket on Ami’s first visit. The other coins found had the raised engraved image of a Japanese woman, but there was no lettering on those coins. Tony determined that the goldsmith must have been giving special honor to his wife by fashioning out a special template for the coin to go in the locket.
The same was true of the cross that fit perfectly over the coin in the locket. Looking at the cross he could barely see the fine print inscribed on the cross. Taking a magnifying glass he had in his desk drawer he once again looked at the inscription under the light of his desk lamp. “The treasure is under the cross,” Rollie read. The cross was so dainty, and the thought of how anyone could inscribe anything on the beams of the cross were beyond his comprehension.
Thoughtfully thinking about the message inscribed he paused to reflect upon the man who inscribed the words. “How true that is,” Rollie said after taking a moment reflecting on how much his family meant to him. He sat back thinking deeply about the past weekend trip, digging in his coat pocket to make sure he still had the address and phone number of his dad’s friend from the army, Command Sergeant John Manusca. Finding it he turned his attention once again to the inscription on the cross.
“The cross placed over Enrique Salazar Bocani’s wife, if that was indeed who was engraved on the coin, summed up his feelings exactly,” Rollie thought silently. “There is no greater gold treasure than one’s family.” Tears welled up suddenly in his eyes as he thought of Laurel. He was going to miss her while she was away. “She would be gone fifteen more days before he picked her up from the airport,” he dejectedly thought. He said a short prayer for his wife and family thanking God for them.
“Life was just too short not to be ready for the end,” he thought suddenly. After praying he picked up the coin once again and carelessly started to spin it like a top as he reached for the phonebook to find the phone number of the jeweler he had in mind to fix the locket. The coin spun off his desk and rolled onto the floor. Getting down on hands and knees he searched around until he finally found the coin. Brushing some dust off the coin from where it had fallen under his desk he noticed something he hadn’t seen before.
As he stood back on his feet, he detected that there was not an ESB inscription on the back of the coin as he had always observed on the other coins discovered realizing the coin had always been attached. “So this coin was different in more ways than just the raised print of the name on the facing,” he said out loud. “Hey guy—what’s going on? I thought I saw you come into the building?” Tony said as he came through the office door. “Some office you have here, huh! I saw you on your knees there, buddy. Are you confessing something I should know about?”
With a start, hearing Tony’s teasing, Rollie jumped to his feet bumping his head on the desk as he stood up. The last thing he had expected was an intrusion. He welcomed Tony’s presence, but his sudden appearance all but took his breath away. “I didn’t mean to startle you. If this is a bad time, I can come back another day,” Tony said although he had no intentions of leaving until he discovered what Rollie was up to in his office and why he was appearing so secretive.
“Come on in Tony. You are always welcome! You just scared the living daylights out of me is all!” Pausing for a moment after adjusting his glasses Rollie continued, “While we were in Washington I broke that locket I showed you awhile back; the one that belongs to Ami.” Knowing Tony’s pungent drive for a good mystery at any time of the day, it seemed to Rollie, Tony perked his ears and said nonchalantly, “Oh yes, I remember.”
“I dropped the coin from the locket onto the floor. That is why I was on the floor so don’t start counting on a confession here.” Tony boisterously laughed. “I thought I smelled a mystery brewing but I realize there was no mystery there after all.” Rollie looked straight into Tony’s eyes. Tony sensed a sudden seriousness in Rollie’s tone of voice. “There is an inscription on the back of the coin that I did not see before since the back had been hidden. When I picked up the coin I noticed something on the back where the author’s inscription has been on the other coins we found. It is in the same finely scripted print as is found on the cross.”
Rollie picked up the cross and handed it to Tony. Tony squinted and said, “Okay, I do remember the script. I used that inscription; the treasure is under the cross, in a series of lectures last winter.” Putting the coin directly under his desk light Rollie positioned his magnifying glass over the print with Tony leaning over his shoulder straining to see. To Rollie it looked like land coordinate readings and landmarks with the bottom part of the coin displaying a crude map. “The treasure is under the cross,” took on a whole new meaning to Rollie at that moment as a tinge of gold fever touched his brow. Tony regained his appetite for the earlier mystery.
Wiping the bead of sweat from his forehead, he suddenly realized the adventure was beginning once again. On a hunch Rollie placed the locket directly under the desk light. The portion previously covered by the coin also had a finely scribed print. Tony hungrily took the coin in his hands examining the inside of the locket with Rollie’s magnifying glass. “This is a treasure map,” Tony declared with surprise. “It exposes a continuation of coordinates and a detailed map, of sorts.” Rollie couldn’t quite make out some of the details with his magnifier.
“It would take a stronger magnifier than what he had.” Thinking the same thing Tony said, “I have a much stronger one in the archives.” Excitedly Rollie dialed Tony’s number. As the phone rang he looked at the picture inscribed under the map and coordinates. “Who are you calling Rollie? Do you think it is a good idea to tell a whole of people?” Laughing Rollie said, “I must have got caught up in a fever or something. I was calling you I got so excited.”
Like two young school boys on a Hardy Boys adventure, Rollie and Tony headed out the door to the Archives Library. Once there Tony placed the locket and backside of the coin side by side under the archives magnifier which was connected to a viewing screen. Under that map they saw a small inscription of what looked like a fire pit with a minuscule cross (U) marked under the fire. Beneath the (U) inscription the words, “The treasure is under the cross,” appeared.
“There was more to it than just the lockbox,” Rollie solemnly now understood although he still had not comprehended that he stumbled onto something his father nor did the government know anything about. They both sat back in their chairs dumbfounded by the discovery. “We have a real treasure hunt here, Rollie, I hope you know! By some fluke we are onto something that will take more than just us to solve.” Not quite understanding, Rollie questioned Tony’s response. “What do you mean?” “What I mean is we have to get the State Department involved in this because that is the agreement I made with them regarding the codebook which kept me free and clear from any possible prosecution earlier.”
“The feds were going to press charges against me for withholding possible contraband from the Government. I didn’t withhold contraband, but the FBI was very explicit about that point.” Interrupting Tony, Rollie said, “But we are not talking about the codebook, are we?” “Yes and no Rollie is the only answer I can give. Last week I came very close to cracking the codebook. Many of the symbols and coordinates on the coin and locket are similar. They are not the same, but they are similar,” Tony reemphasized. Getting a couple enlarged copies of the coin and locket inscriptions from the magnifier viewer, Tony told Rollie, “We may be able to keep this separated; the codebook and the locket that is! Let me spend some more time on this. Before school starts next fall I will have the answers we need.”
Looking at his watch Tony hurriedly expressed to Rollie that he was going to be in big trouble with Cyndi. They were going out tonight. “We have tickets for the Indianapolis Symphony which starts in two hours. I have an hour to get home, cleaned up and back out the door or Cyndi will have my head.”
Rollie rode home silently somewhat relieved that Laurel was not there right now. “If so,” he thought, “We would be on our way to the symphony with Tony and Cyndi.” He remembered his wife talking to Cyndi about that earlier in the spring, but she had already committed to being a trip advisor for the medical mission trip overseas. He liked the symphony and being with Tony and Cyndi, but tonight he was too tired to think about amusement. After the locket, coin, and cross were safely tucked away in his safety box at the bank which closed just as he exited it, he drove home with his copy of the inscriptions from the coin and locket. Once home he crashed.
Waking before sunrise he got his cup of coffee and sat on the balcony off their bedroom to watch the sunrise. With the inscriptions before him and scrap paper to write his ideas he started the process of analyzing the inscriptions. After spending two hours looking at the inscriptions with no avail he went inside to get cleaned up for a meeting with the Book Review Committee.
The main topic for the 1:00 p.m. appointment at the university was his Sabbatical’s focus of writing and completing a scholarly book to be used for university promotion and recognition of the university. The book was preliminarily published by University Press associated with the university. Talks were underway and close to being determined that the rights to the book would be sold to a major distributor which offered greater visibility and sales; which ultimately meant more recognition and money for Midstate. Rollie, of course, was okay with the deal although he was going to see very little as far as royalties.
Most of the royalties were designated to Midstate. The small portion remaining he elected to separate into two areas. Carrying on in his father’s tradition, Rollie and Laurel had picked up a partial support of the Mission Foundation Orphanage. The Mission Foundation was in the middle of a fundraising effort to relocate and build on the site Tony and his crew had excavated in Japan. Most of his personal royalties from the book were assigned to that effort. The rest of the royalties were placed into his retirement account. Overall, Rollie had been pleased with the book. Somewhat limited by the distribution perimeters of the University Press, it had hampered his book from becoming a best seller. Since he had not seen much financial gain from its sales, recent developments broadening the scope and distribution of his book were welcomed. “It gives me a wider platform than what I had previously,” Rollie noted as he reached for the shower head.
Turning the water on he realized too late that he had the shower turned too hot. When the water hit him he jumped back in surprise when the scalding water hit him in the chest. It was at that moment of rubbing his chest in pain and hurriedly turning the water down to a more tolerable temperature that it dawned on him that the fire pit in the inscription on the locket had to be the fire pit where Enrique the goldsmith had smelted the gold. “It was so obvious,” he thought as he finished up in the shower. Rollie thought about calling Tony. Looking at the time he thought better to wait, knowing they had got in late from the symphony concert the night before.
Tony and Cyndi slept in after their big night out in Indianapolis. Instead of staying over at the Columbian Hotel in downtown Indy they decided to head on home. At sunrise Tony woke before Cyndi, dressed, and stretched as he prepared for his morning run. Tony had been a runner on the Track and Field Team while in college. It became an almost daily routine for him since then. He had tried to get Rollie into running, but he had to admit, Rollie was not much of a runner. “Rollie was one of those plodding along sort of runners,” Tony humorously pictured his friend the last time they went jogging at the Field House Track. Tony always left Rollie in the dust.
Taking advantage of the beautiful sunny day, he began his run in the neighborhood and then across a field to an old cow path not used anymore. His understanding was that the farmer had died, and the farm was just sitting waiting for a buyer. Since most of the farm had been dairy cattle, the land had been used primarily for grazing and haying. Now the one hundred acres sat vacant. The wife still lived in the old farmhouse, but the barns and other storage facilities were empty and decaying. Tony just enjoyed the quiet from running along the old path conjuring up in his mind, as he ran, stories of all the historical things that may have happened down that path.
Tony came to a spot surrounded by three enormous Oak trees. It was at that spot several years before that he had found an arrow head along the fence row in a little rise in the land. After getting permission from the farmer to do an archeological dig on the rise of land under the trees he had discovered a Delaware Indian burial ground. Although not noted on most maps as an historical point of interest, Tony had been instrumental in having a historical marker placed at the site and the area marked off as public domain. The three giant Oak trees were now sacred ground and would remain so for generations.
In one way or another, the trees and history surrounding that ten foot area were protected by law. The farmer was paid a pretty good sum, as well, if Tony remembered correctly. Tony ran by the trees closing his eyes for a moment serenely caught up in the moment.
Catching his foot in a rut during his optimum point of meditation Tony went flying; feeling lucky that he missed his head from bashing into a fence post surrounding the trees by just a few feet. He tumbled into the grass at the side of the path, and landed in the middle of a leftover mud puddle from the previous day’s rain. He had mud all over his hands and running clothes. Disgustedly he got up wiping the mud on the grass. Shaking his head to clear the gravel and dust that had found a resting place in his hair “You tripped me up on purpose didn’t you,” he said loudly looking back at the Oaks. “I woke you up from your slumber,” his sentiment unusually humble because of the fall.
Suddenly his thoughts turned to one of the Japanese references in the codebook. “One of four stands alone.” Forgetting his fall for a moment his mind began to click. “One of four stands alone. In the Philippines on Luzon, if I remember correctly, there are four main types of trees on the island. Three out of every four of the trees are tropical in nature known as dipterocarps, but the one that stands alone are the mighty Pine trees. How could he have missed that?” he sat with a frump under the largest of the Oak trees. Hurrying home he rushed to get showered and dressed, and headed to the university kissing Cyndi with a quick peck on the cheek. “I’ll explain later,” he told her as he drove away.
Cyndi knew her husband well. When Tony got into one of these modes it was no use trying to interrupt him. “He was on another quest. What would she do without him? Boys would be boys. She better call Laurel,” she thought abruptly, “because it wouldn’t be long before Rollie would be involved. Laurel is gone.” Frowning as she remembered that, Cyndi rolled her eyes and closed the front door stopping by the laundry room to pick up Tony’s muddy running clothes from the floor. “Humph! Men!” she uttered. Smirking she speculated to what the adventure was this time that got Tony so excited.
Once at the university library Tony stretched out a map of Luzon across the reference table. It was a detailed 1939 Atlas from the library archives. It was the latest pre-World War II atlas the library possessed. Tony believed that the most reliable map would be one that would have been used as a reference in that day. With his codebook in hand he began anew in his interpretation of the numbers. Whenever he found a pattern with the numbers he would write it down.
Concentrating his search in an area mainly covered by the giant pine trees of Luzon led him to a mountainous area about seventy five miles north of Manila. That is when the numbers started to fall into place. Three sets of numbers (9613, 7408, and 5517) Tony determined were mountain peaks. Through a series of mathematic equations commonly used by engineers working to scale, Tony triangulated each of the numbers crisscrossing the lines until finally they pointed to an area approximately five miles west of Palali, a mountain peak just south of Solano.
The final page of the codebook was a little trickier, but Tony was unwavering that he had broken the code. The final two pages would have to be deciphered on site following clues from location. One of the pages he was sure would lead to the mouth of the cave where the treasure was hidden. The last page was a series of dots, dashes, and occasional x’s. His first reaction was to get out a Morse code book, but after looking for the past year at the codebook he affirmed it had nothing to do with the Morse code. He determined it was an onsite necessity to have this page to make it through whatever maze and booby traps the Japanese had planned for this site.
A week passed before Tony finally broke the code on the final page. Elated yet surprised he was blown away how simple the strategy actually was once a person would get inside the cave wherever it was near Palali Peak.
It would still be a dangerous mission, but if the maze was followed correctly the cache of treasure would be found, if it was still there. Tony suddenly burst into Rollie’s office with the news. Rollie had been quietly reading doing some preparation for a July class he was to teach.
“I’ve done it Rollie. I’ve done it. I broke the codebook.” Rollie could tell that Tony was about to go into orbit. In fact, he had never seen Tony quite so exuberated. “I almost have the inscriptions on the locket and coin solved, but they are mostly coordinates based on landmarks from the area. It will be harder to track that one down not knowing if those landmarks are still there. Despite that Rollie, I believe we are going on a treasure hunt partner.”
“Just for the record though, I did contact the State Department because of my earlier agreement with them. If they found out and I hadn’t told them I would be subject to jail time as I told you before. I don’t believe Cyndi would appreciate that too much. Regardless, they are sending a special ops agent along with a couple FBI agents associated with this Golden Lily thing to meet with us in the next couple days. I’ll clue you in. I thought about what you said regarding separating the coin and locket map with the codebook. I did not, nor do I intend, to tell them of the inscription on the coin and locket unless it is absolutely necessary.”
Tony said all this looking sternly at Rollie. “I trust that is okay?” he stated matter of fact as he smiled and left out the door tapping him on the forearm on his way out the door. Tony knew they would have to reveal that search once they were there, but he would be able to use it as a leverage tool to ensure a possible finder’s fee of sorts since it seemed to be separate from the gold the government was after. He didn’t fill that part in when he left Rollie.