(Picture source: http://www.ancient-art.com)
It all started with 22 ancient coins from China and Russia (well not from the country but from the wide area where we now know as China and Russia).
It was on a lonely night when I was approached by a weary looking monk – he was alone but looked nervous. He said something to me but I could hardly hear him. All that I can recall hearing was the words “it is yours to get the treasures”.
Before I could ask him further, the monk was gone and I was left with 22 ancient coins in my hands. As it was late in the night, I did not think much about the coins and when I got into my car, I threw the coins into the glove compartment and drove back to the house. When I reached home, there was a note on the door – “give us the coins or else you won’t see him alive”. For the time being, I had almost forgotten about the coins and I did not know who was “he” but I realized that “he” has been kidnapped and in exchange for his release, I need to give the coins but to who?
There was map attached to the note and I realized that it was pointing to the local mob’s place. The criminals wanted the coins but I wondered how they knew about me. I was back in my car and on the way to the place; I was left to wonder whether I should give all or some of the coins. I needed insurance, so I decided to take only 2 of the coins to see the criminals, leaving the rest as my “insurance”.
I got down from the car with 2 coins in my hands – I held it tightly as I got more nervous. I was greeted by a fat man at the door step. He took me to see his “boss”, an old man who looked suspiciously at me. He asked for the coins but I wanted to see the person who has been kidnapped. I wanted to make sure that he is alive and well before I hand over anything to the criminals. Someone was brought him in front of me – his hands were bound and he looked tired. I did not recognise him but the kidnapping was not faked as well.
“Hand over the coins, now!” shouted the old man, waking me up from my thoughts – by now, I have been surrounded by more criminals, some armed with long knives. Without any hesitation, I said “I don’t have it with me now – I suppose to get one coin every month and the first coin is due in 2 months time”. Something inside me pushed me to try my luck. The old man was not convinced and walked towards me but then someone stepped in and whispered something to him.
The old man’s expression changed – he was in deep thoughts. Then he said “Alright, I will believe you for now but don’t you ever think of double crossing me. No one double crosses me and had remained alive”. The person who was kidnapped was released immediately and as we were walking out from the room, the old man said with an evil smile “We will see you in 2 months time”.
I was back at home with the coins spread on the table – why the criminals wanted these coins and what did monk meant by “it is yours to get the treasures”? Someone else was in the room too and he took one of the coins and said that it looks like a map. Then I realized that there are tiny maps sculptured on the face of the coins – were they clues to hidden treasures?
The criminals will not be bothering me for the next 2 months – what if I use these 2 months to get the treasure and then hand over the worthless coins to them? By now, there are more people in the room and they were eager to start the hunt for the hidden treasures.
Should I go for it, was my thoughts as I looked at the coins on the table.