Treasure Hunters--Quest for the City of Gold, страница 1
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Copyright © 2018 by James Patterson
Illustrations by Juliana Neufeld
Cover design by Catherine San Juan
Cover illustration by Juliana Neufeld
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Quick Note From Bick Kidd
PART I: PIRATE TREASURE
Part II: TREASURE PIRATES
About the Author
Jimmy Patterson Books For Young Readers
For Will Hunt, who found his own treasure: Reading
QUICK NOTE FROM BICK KIDD
Before we dive into our next adventure—and I mean literally dive, because it starts with Beck and me swimming for our lives—I just want to remind everybody that I, Bickford “Bick” Kidd, will be the one telling this tale.
My twin sister, Rebecca “Beck” Kidd, will be handling the drawings.
I’m the author, she’s the illustrator.
I’m the narrator, she’s the picture scribbler.
Fine. Beck says I’m also the stinky one and she’s the one who doesn’t smell like ancient cheese stuffed into gym socks.
It’s time to jump into the story.
And the shark-infested waters.
Okay, to start, I have to admit that I’m seriously impressed by my twin sis Beck’s ability to draw that picture, because at the time, we were maybe ten seconds away from being chomped on by a family of hammerhead sharks.
(Beck says she drew that illustration later on, from memory, not while we were in the water. I’m doing the same thing with the storytelling. It’s hard to write or draw while you’re swimming for your life. The ink gets all runny and splotchy.)
Where were we?
Oh, right. In the ocean. Off the coast of Costa Rica. Being chased by hammerhead sharks as we swam our way to Cocos Island, a Costa Rican national park also known as “the Island of Sharks.”
(Yes, Beck, that should have been a hint as to what might be lurking beneath the waves.)
We furiously paddled our arms and kicked our legs and tried to outrun the swarm of hungry sea monsters. Good thing hammerheads have eyeballs where their ears should be. Maybe they couldn’t see us—swimming right in front of them.
Why weren’t we in a rowboat or a motorized raft?
Because Mom, Dad, and our big brother, Tommy, had taken all available landing craft when they decided to do a little treasure hunting on Cocos Island without me, Beck, or our big sister, Storm.
“You three need to stay with the ship,” Dad had said when they loaded up the boats. “There are secrets belowdecks in the Room you need to guard.”
Yes, whenever Dad talks about the Room, it sounds like he’s capitalizing it, because the Room is this super-secret high-security walk-in vault on our ship, the Lost. The Room is off-limits to all of us. It’s where Mom and Dad keep their rare and valuable treasure-hunting maps locked up behind the Door. The Door gets the capital-letter treatment, too, because it’s made out of three-inch-thick solid steel. It’s so heavy I sometimes wonder how the Lost can stay afloat with that much deadweight in its hull.
I was pretty sure Beck and I had remembered to double-check the lock on the Door to the Room before we jumped into the Ocean. Pretty sure. We were kind of in a rush.
“How dare they go looking for the Treasure of Lima without us!” Beck had said as we prepared to dive in.
“Yeah,” I’d said. “How dare they!”
Yes, we sometimes think and say exactly the same stuff. It’s a twin thing.
So we jumped overboard and started swimming. Don’t forget, we Kidd kids have lived on the ocean most of our lives. We’re excellent swimmers and scuba divers. Except Storm. She doesn’t do water sports. Maybe because she has a photographic memory, which means that she never forgets that the ocean is full of scary creatures like, oh, hammerhead sharks!
But Beck and I were determined to join Mom, Dad, and Tommy on the island. Hey, we Kidd
Now they were searching for buried treasure in the jungles of Cocos Island with just Tommy? Since when did the Kidd Family Treasure Hunters Inc. become a three-person operation instead of a six-person one?
Actually, it was dangerously close to becoming a four-person crew. Because the hungry hammerheads were much faster swimmers than me and Beck.
They were close and moving closer.
With a couple swift chomps of their jaws, they could definitely subtract two from six—permanently!
I heard a rush of water behind me!
The hammerheads breathing down our butts had just thrown open their jaws. I could smell their stinky fish breath. I believe they had recently enjoyed the all-you-can-gobble shrimp buffet at the nearest coral-reef diner.
“So long, Beck!” I shouted, thrashing against the waves. “You’re the best twin I ever had!”
“I’m the only twin you ever had!” she shouted back.
“This is no time to get all technical, Rebecca. We’re both about to die!” As the storyteller of the family, I decided to wax poetic with my dying words. “I guess it’s only fitting that since we came into this world together, we should leave it together, too!”
“Oh, no, you’re not!” cried the heroic voice of our (you won’t believe this) big sister, Storm!
She zoomed between us and the hammerheads on a Jet Ski!
“Where’d you find a Jet Ski?” I hollered.
“Tommy had it stowed in a secret compartment in the bow of our ship!” Storm shouted back. “He might’ve forgotten that he told me about it, but I never did!”
The thing to remember about our big sister, Storm, is that she remembers everything. She’s also the smartest Kidd kid. So why was she doing something as dumb as attempting to herd sharks on a Jet Ski? Because that’s what we Kidds do. We look out for one another—even if we look ridiculous doing it.
“Whatever you do, Bick,” Storm shouted, “don’t pee! Sharks can smell human urine in the ocean.”
Great, I thought. Now she tells me.
Storm circled the sharks, churning up a white, foamy wake to fence them in. More or less.
“Swim to shore, you two,” she told us. “I’ll keep these bad boys busy. I brought along one of Dad’s golf clubs!”
As I frantically swam for the beach, I chanced a glance over my shoulder to see what Storm was doing with Dad’s driver, the biggest club from his bag.
She jabbed at all of the sharks who dared snap at her as she zipped around and around them in dizzying circles. That’s Shark-Attack Defense 101: Poke ’em in their gills.
Or their eyes!
“What are you looking at, M. C. Hammerhead?” Storm yelled at the lead shark.
One-handing the Jet Ski throttle, she used her free arm to line up the golf club’s head with the shark’s big, bulging eyeball as if it were sitting on a tee!
Storm faked like she was going to rear back with the driver. The alpha shark, who seemed dead set on eating us a moment earlier, turned tail and headed out to sea. Guess he didn’t want to see one of his eyeballs ending up on the seventeenth green. It would make for a messy putt. The other sharks took off with him.
A couple minutes later, Beck and I dragged ourselves ashore. We were exhausted but alive, barely able to catch our breath.
When she landed her Jet Ski on the beach and hauled it up on the sand, Beck and I raced down to give her a huge hug. We were both sooooo lucky to be part of the most incredibly awesome family in the world!
“Thank you, Storm!” said Beck.
“You’re the best big sister we could ever have!” I added.
Storm didn’t seem to be quite as happy as Beck and me.
I could see her eyes darken as she narrowed them at us.
Yep. That’s why we call her Storm.
Like a thundercloud billowing up in the tropics, she can get very, very angry very, very quickly.
“Mom and Dad told us to stay on board the Lost!” roared Storm. “It was a direct order. Stay on the ship, guard the Room.”
“But we’re treasure hunters!” I told her.
“So we’re this close to the legendary Treasure of Lima and we’re supposed to just sit on the sidelines twiddling our thumbs while Mom, Dad, and Tommy have all the fun?”
“Yes,” said Storm, who can be as blunt as a hammer even when she’s nowhere near hammerhead sharks. She says exactly what she’s thinking, no matter what.
“But Mom and Dad need us,” said Beck.
“To help them figure out clues and junk!”
Storm raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Clues and junk?”
“You know,” said Beck. “Stuff.”
As you can probably tell, Beck’s talents are more visual than verbal. (Fine. She says my BO is extremely visual, too—it’s why she sometimes draws me with stink lines.)
“We have to help them,” I pleaded. “This island is teeming with treasure!”
Even though I was pretty sure Storm had already memorized the whole entire history of Cocos Island, I launched into a swashbuckling tale of pirates and plunder from days past.
“For centuries,” I proclaimed as dramatically as I could, “this island served as a buccaneers’ bank! One daring pirate captain buried three hundred and fifty tons of gold he stole off Spanish royal galleons! His crew had to dig a really, really big hole!
“Then,” I said, “there’s the treasure Mom and Dad and Tommy think they’ve found.” I took a long pause and sort of hoped there’d be an enormous thunderclap when I uttered my next words: “The long-lost Treasure of Lima!”
“Dun-dun-dun!” quipped Beck.
“We’re talking a whole boatload of Incan gold and artifacts the Spaniards shipped from Peru to Mexico for safekeeping, way back in 1823.
“But, arrr!” I said in my best talk-like-a-pirate voice. “The captain of that ship got greedy, me hearties. He went rogue and slit the throats of the guards traveling with the Incan gold. He threw the dead bodies overboard and brought the treasure here to Cocos, where he hid it high in the craggy hills! The captain and his scurvy mates planned on lying low, then coming back to retrieve their treasure. But they were captured and tried for piracy, and their buried booty has never been found!”
“I’m fully aware of the historical significance of this island,” said Storm, who’s usually the one giving the history lectures. “But the true moral of your pirate story is that when teams don’t stick together and do what they’re supposed to do, everybody loses!”
“That’s exactly Bick’s point!” said Beck.
Since I hadn’t realized I’d been making a point, I couldn’t wait to hear what Beck would say next!
“Mom and Dad might need Bick and me,” Beck told Storm, “to do our jobs on the team.”
“Riiiiight,” said Storm. “I almost forgot. You guys are in charge of junk and stuff.”
“No. The team needs us for crawling in tight spaces.”
“Beck’s right,” I said. “She and I are the youngest and, therefore, the smallest and wiriest members of the family! Getting into tight spots is what we do best.”
Storm rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it.”
“It’s like you said, Storm,” added Beck. “If we don’t stick together, if everybody on our team doesn’t do exactly what they’re supposed to do, then we could lose the Treasure of Lima.”
Storm exhaled. Loudly. “But you two were supposed to stay on board the Lost with me and guard the Room. That was our job!”
“Only because Mom and Dad forgot they might need us to crawl into a cave!” I told her. “If I were a pirate, that’s where I would hide my treasure. Some
“Then how’d the pirates get it in there in the first place?” demanded Storm, because, let’s face it, she’s way more logical than me.
“Cabin boys,” said Beck.
“And monkeys,” I added. “Pirates always have monkeys riding on their shoulders. Unless they go with parrots instead.”
“Fine!” said Storm, sounding totally exasperated. “Whatever. Let’s go find Mom and Dad and Tommy!”
She trudged up toward the jungle.
Beck and I high-fived. We’d totally double-teamed our big sister into submission. It’s another twin thing.
Storm planned on using her photographic memory to lead us to the treasure site that Dad had pinpointed on a map in the Room. He had all sorts of rare maps in there. Some were so old, they even showed where you’d find sea serpents and other mysterious monsters.
One map—a recent discovery that Dad made in, believe it or not, Rome, Italy—might take us to the Lost City of Paititi deep in the Amazon rain forest. The map was an antique (dating all the way back to the 1600s) and cost Dad several hundred thousand dollars.
Legend says the Lost City of Paititi is filled with all the gold and precious gems that the last Incas of ancient Peru wanted to hide from the Spanish conquistadors looting their land.
“We have to hike up Mount Iglesias,” announced Storm, gesturing to the leafy green peak in front of us.
“No problem,” I said, even though I was huffing and puffing and sweating like I had a leaky bilge pump under each arm. (Look for Beck to start adding stink lines to my pits.)
“Um, how high is the summit?” asked Beck.
“Two thousand and seventy-nine feet,” reported Storm.
“Oh,” I said, as if it were no big deal. “At least it’s not two thousand and eighty.”
We had to cross a rickety bridge that park rangers had made entirely out of gear confiscated from fishermen working illegally in the protected waters around Cocos Island. We knew the backstory of the bridge because Tommy had, a day earlier, fallen hopelessly in love with one of the Costa Rican park rangers living on the island.