Notes: Sequel to Alfred Jones and the Curse of the Pharaoh, the 2nd story in my Indiana Jones-esque adventure universe. Reading the other story first would be advised, as elements of it will be referenced, but it's not completely necessary. This story takes place about four months after the first story. Thanks to everyone who commented on the first story and I really hope you enjoy this one!
Alfred Jones and the Lost City of Gold
It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
His heart was hammering in his ears, eyes wide and muscles taut in wait. It was a very dire situation and if he didn't act carefully, everything he'd been working towards would be in vain. And he was almost there! So close he could practically taste it.
Checking his gun, he realized that he had just one shot left. The helicopter would reach the designated pickup zone in one minute and if he wasn't there, it was too late. He'd be left behind.
He had no choice but to make a run for it and hope and pray that his single bullet would be enough to make it.
Okay, let's do this, he thought to himself, taking a deep breath. As he opened his eyes, he made a dash for it.
It was almost easy, too easy, he realized as the helicopter hovered overhead. They were unfurling the ladder right now, and with outstretched finger tips he just barely grabbed it.
That's when it grabbed him from behind.
Forgetting his limited ammo, he shot wildly at his assailants. The single bullet struck one of them, but the hollow clicks did nothing to stop the others.
He'd come so close. So, so close.
"Fucking zombies!" A voice swore next to him, as a barrage of shots fired into the crowd.
America's eyes lit up as he turned to his gaming companion. "Tony! I thought they got you!"
"Like a few infected humans can compare to my intellect. Fucking bullets need to be stronger."
As Tony's player in the game successfully took out the horde of zombies and rescued America's player, the two of them grabbed onto the helicopter's ladder and were pulled to safety.
The screen flashed a triumphant: MISSION COMPLETE, and America let out a cheer.
"Tony, you're the best!" He exclaimed, giving his alien companion a hug around the middle. "I can never get through these zombie games without you."
Tony rolled his eyes, or at least that's what America suspected the strange movement of his pupils was. "It's fucking simple if you keep your head."
America gave him a sheepish grin, but patted him on the head nonetheless. "Yeah well, maybe someday zombies won't completely freak me out. But come on, you gotta admit- that last level was fucking intense!"
The alien seemed to consider this before giving America a quirk of a smile in return. "It was enjoyable for a mere simulation of a zombie apocalypse. But now I require more fucking hot chocolate."
Grinning, America looked at the alien's empty mug and pointed towards the kitchen. "I left the mix out on the counter, so just make yourself some more."
"He isn't in there, is he?"
Sighing, America glanced up at the ceiling. "No, England isn't in the kitchen. And I told you to stop calling him he. He has a name you know! We're going to be leaving on an adventure soon and he's jet lagged, so he's taking a nap." The alien seemed to perk up at that and America added. "And don't you bother him, okay? Come on Tony, you two promised that you'd try to get along for me…right? I mean, it's almost Christmas…"
Between the big blue eyes and the pout, even the alien was unable to fight back. "I will uphold that agreement for your sake, America."
"Thanks Tony." He gave the alien another hug, and was about to follow him into the kitchen when a knock sounded on the front door.
The country and the alien exchanged a look as the knock sounded again.
"Looks like I'm getting the door while you're getting us more hot chocolate, buddy."
Tony reached up and took the mug America had clasped in his hands. "Marshmallows?"
"Fuck yeah!" America grinned back. "Loads of 'em, please!"
Tony snickered, grumbling under his breath as he went into the kitchen. "Fucking loves those marshmallows."
The knocking continued as America wove his way down the hallway and to the front door. Peering out the peephole, he grinned. He'd been hoping that this would come in time.
"Hey!" He said, opening up the door and smiling.
"Here's the information you requested, Mr. Jones."
America beamed down at the plain manila envelope, before launching himself forward to give the secret agent a one-armed hug. "Thanks, Harrison. This is so awesome! Oh, and I've told you a million times, when no one else is around you can call me America."
"But Sir, there is…" He paused as the odd shadow in the doorway revealed none other than Tony.
"Oh that's just Tony. You know him, right?"
"Of course, I did his clearance paperwork in 2000 that was forwarded to all relevant governmental agencies. It's just…." Harrison's stoic face cracked a smile. "I was a bit surprised by his rather festive sweater."
America regarded the tacky Christmas-themed sweater the alien wore and shrugged. "Oh he loves Christmas, dontcha Tony?"
"Better get that fucking game I want this year," Tony grumbled before taking a sip from the cocoa mug in his left hand.
"He's very subtle about hinting for gifts, I see," the agent remarked. America just laughed.
"Yeah, Tony's really taken to the Christmas spirit. Anyways, I know you're busy, so thanks for the info"
The agent inclined his head. "I'm glad I could be of help on such short notice."
"Wish your family Merry Christmas for me," America said, holding up the envelope. "Because it looks like I might be pretty busy."
"I will. Good evening, Mr. Jones."
"Night Harrison! See you when I get back from my trip!"
As he closed the door, a voice spoke up from the staircase behind him. "Is that the information I think it is?"
America closed the space between them, sweeping the groggy looking Brit into his arms. "I got it England, all the classified information we could dig up on Blake and Chapman."
Sleepily, England threaded his fingers up into America's hair and leaned his forehead against America's. "Brilliant. We should be all set then for tomorrow." He yawned, burying his face into America's shoulder. "Terribly sorry I'm so out of it; my body is telling me it's one in the morning."
"Well, why don't we…"
"Your fucking cocoa is getting cold," Tony's voice cut in, nudging America in the leg with the warm mug.
America frowned, looking between his alien friend and his boyfriend. He knew whoever he didn't chose would be furious with him.
Hoping that this worked out all right, America wrapped an arm around England's waist and turned to Tony.
"Why don't we all three go warm up in front of the fireplace? I'm pretty chilled since I was standing in the doorway so long, and England, you can curl up and nap if you want."
While America ushered the two into the sitting room, he didn't notice the glare they shot one another behind his back.
After dozing off again next to America on the couch, England had only woken up twice. The first time, he'd started awake as a loud explosion sounded from the big screen TV and both America and Tony had cheered on the other end of the couch.
Prodding America's side where his head was propped, England remembered muttering out a sleepy, "What the bloody hell are you watching?"
Much to his chagrin, England merely wished he had dreamed up the answer.
"We're watching Indiana Jones for inspiration!"
"Figures," he vaguely remembered replying before he'd fallen back asleep.
The second time he'd awoken though, it was much more somber. The TV had been turned off and the room was lit only by the flickering light of the fireplace. England could feel America's hand absently rubbing up and down his arm and he allowed himself a small smile at that.
Tony, who had previously been seated on the other side of America on the couch, had moved to the nearby armchair and fallen asleep there. It appeared as if America had tucked him in with a small fleece throw blanket, while he'd covered England with a warm quilt.
As for America himself, he was focused entirely on the plethora of maps laid out on the coffee table before them. Some of the maps were brand new, spit out by a high tech computer using satellite imagery. But others were old, quite old, and their yellowed edges and stains stood out starkly in the dimly lit room.
"You awake?" America murmured, his hand stilling on England's arm.
"Yes. You didn't wake me, so don't worry."
"Ah, good. Just…looking over everything," America's eyes drifted back over to the maps. "Hey England, you really think we can do this?"
England sat up a bit at that, leaning in against America's side as he too glanced down at the maps. "Having second thoughts?"
He shook his head vehemently at that. "No just… I mean, look at this! Months and months of compiling information and what have we found out?" America pulled out one large map of the west coast of South America and ran his fingers over three large green squares. "Each of these regions has been searched and searched for Paititi, the legendary lost city of the Inca and…"
"It's always dead ends. Or they'll find something but…"
America frowned, "Yeah, something, but not Paititi. Machu Picchu is the closest they've found, but it's the city without the gold."
England's eyes darted northward, towards a mountain region they'd highlighted in yellow. "And all the journals and notes and history we've found tells us that when the last Sapa Inca, Atahualpa, was murdered his general hid the ransom gold instead of giving it over to the captors."
"Yeah, and I just have this gut feeling England. That Paititi and that lost gold are in the same place. If the Inca were going to go into hiding, they wouldn't go without their gold. Gold to them wasn't like money, it was religious."
Patting America's hand where it rested over the largest green square around Cusco, Peru, England gave him a smile. "I have to agree. As we've discussed, it would be one thing to run into hiding and leave your wallet behind. But quite another to leave the symbols of your gods that you believe will protect you and help you rise again to power."
"So you still think the key is the Llanganates?"
England looked back up to the yellow-highlighted mountains. "They crop up too often in the history of the treasure not to be significant somehow. And when educated men like Richard Spruce get drawn into that sort of legend, it has to have some meaning."
America nodded, reaching out and delicately picking up a bundle of old notes. "I still can't believe they let you just borrow Spruce's notes and Guzman's map from your National Archives at Kew."
"He's a famous botanist, only a few people go looking him up for treasure hunting. Plus, well…" England smirked, "Being the country does have its advantages when it comes to these sorts of things."
Laughing, America picked up the manila envelope, "Tell me about it. I had all our agencies run a deep scan on Barth Blake to get these. Turns out, I was able to pull up a lot of little notes here and there that might help us get in and out of the Llanganates in one piece."
"And considering that Spruce apparently tipped off Blake and Chapman…"
"The information combined should lead us where it supposedly led Blake- to the treasure in the Llanganates mountains!"
England frowned at this, his eyes once again on the mountains on the map. "Let's just hope it doesn't also lead to where it led Chapman and later on Blake- mysterious deaths."
"England, come on. Is this that old magic thing again? I mean, last time around you kept swearing to me that the Pharaoh's curse wasn't real and it turned out it wasn't. Why should Atahualpa's curse be any different?"
Pressing his hand over the Llanganates on the map, England chanted softly under his breath. "I seek the answers hidden in your past. Reveal to me your magic, your powers, your story. Show us what you hide within your depths and keep no secrets from us."
A swirl of purple mist started oozing out of the map's paper, burbling and gurgling as it glowed white-hot in the dark fire-lit room. A magic circle formed, pulsating with light.
"Reveal yourself!" England shouted and jets of light from the circle shot upward towards the ceiling of the room, slowly scrawling out something in the air.
When it finished, he looked over to America who was staring up at it in shock. "E-England, what is that?"
England looked up at the cryptic symbols burning bright red in the air of the room. "That's just it America….I don't know. It's revealing something to me, but it's something I cannot read or decipher. I've been through countless books since we decided on this trip and nothing can tell me what it means."
"And you didn't want to show me this unless I brought it up because you thought I'd get worried?"
England reached out towards the writing and as he drew his hand closed in the air, the symbols disappeared into smoke. "I didn't want to concern you over something I couldn't prove scientifically or even magically. But the fact is, there is something in those mountains. Something that is letting me read their message. It could be a curse; it could be our answer as to where Paititi is hidden. There's only one way to find out…"
America clutched England's hand and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Then it looks like the Llanganates it is! You can keep me safe from any ancient voodoo going on and I'll be the awesome hero who keeps you safe from all the other stuff those mountains can throw at us. Together, we'll crack this mystery yet!"
"Glad to see you're not freaked out over that," England teased.
"Pfft. That's nothing after the zombie horde Tony and I had to fight off in the video game earlier. Give me eerie writing over zombies any old day!"
"You're so weird, you know that?"
America nuzzled into England's side. "Awww, but who loves my weirdness? I think that someone is you." He punctuated the last word with a kiss on England's nose.
"You're in an awfully good mood for it being…" England glanced at the clock on the mantle. "Three in the morning."
America shrugged. "You know how I am the night before an adventure; I'm always too excited to sleep."
That statement triggered something else in England's mind and he glanced over to the calendar. "And you're quite all right with us possibly not getting home before Christmas?"
"December's the best time to risk the Llanganates and well," America flushed, his rosy cheeks quite noticeable in the firelight, "as long as I get to spent Christmas with you, that's all I need."
England blushed, clearing his throat before leaning in and pressing a light kiss to America's lips. "Well then, I suppose that settles it, since I'm quite content to be in your company as well."
America grinned and was about to lean in for another kiss when a voice interrupted them. "Please fucking get a room."
Jerking apart, America sighed and looked over to where Tony was glaring at them from the armchair.
The alien crossed his arms. "I said please."
Giving England an apologetic glance, he gave his hand a squeeze and quietly murmured, "I'll be up in a second, okay?"
Shooting the alien a glare over his shoulder, England picked up the quilt and headed upstairs to the bedroom. America ran a hand through his hair and knelt down next to the chair where Tony sat.
"Tony, what's up?"
The alien averted his eyes, before grumbling out, "Fucking spending Christmas without me."
America's eyes went wide and he pulled the small grey alien into a hug. "Tony, you're one of my best friends, you know that? You've been there for me a lot. Heck, you even time traveled to visit me back in the 20s before I first found you in New Mexico. But England, he's…"
"Special," Tony finished.
"Yeah. But I'll miss you tons, you and Whale both! Look, how about this…since I'll need someone to make sure Whale gets fed and I don't want you to be lonely, how about I have Lithuania and Poland stay over?"
Tony brightened at that. "Liet? For Christmas?"
America nodded. "I'd have to check with them in the morning before we fly out."
Reaching out his shorter arms, the little alien wrapped America in a hug. "Better be fucking safe without me."
"Aww, you worried about me?"
Pulling back, Tony gave him a serious stare. He glanced to where the cryptic writing had floated in the air, and for a moment, America wondered how long he'd been awake and listening in.
"I need to see your cell phone before you leave. Fucking need a way to call out no matter what."
America nodded. "That would be pretty awesome if you could fix it like that for me."
"Promise me, America," Tony said, his face stern, "that if you come up against something that even he cannot deal with, that you will fucking call me."
Walking over to the end table, America snatched up his phone and walked over to hand it to his friend. "Okay, I promise. And I'll call Lithuania in the morning to see what they have planned for the holidays, all right?"
Taking the phone from him, Tony held out his hand. "Good luck, America. You and him."
America took it to shake, but also leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the alien's forehead. "Thanks for worrying about me and England, Tony." He smiled down at him then. "Goodnight."
"Have a satisfactory night, America."
"I still can't quite believe it, you know." England said, adjusting the straps on his parachute pack.
They were flying high above Peru, getting closer and closer to their drop location. After going over and over their belongings to make sure that they had all they needed in the two singular backpacks they could take with them, they'd rendezvoused with their pilot for this adventure. Namely, the only other country adventure-crazy enough to be willing to drop two of his fellow nations into such a deadly mountain range by themselves.
"Almost there, mates!" Australia called back to them, "Get your gear in order!"
"All right!" America called back, before turning back to England. "I'm telling you England, Tony's worried about us. You saw how fussed he was about my phone this morning right?"
England frowned, not liking to admit it, but unable to deny it after the exchange he'd had with the alien before leaving. "I suppose. He did insist I knew how to use it to contact him should you come into harm I couldn't use my magic on."
"See. I don't know if he's just worried about me or there's something he knows that he's not telling us, but well… he wished us both good luck. That's a vast improvement for him towards you, you know?"
England chuckled. "Well, it has been awhile since he tried to cuss me out in my mind at least."
America grinned. "See! You'll be best buddies in no time!"
"I wouldn't count on that, America."
"Old Bushybrows is quite right." ("Bushybrows is rich coming from you!" England had shot back.) Australia remarked with a laugh. "That alien of yours is as mad as a cut snake when it comes to you."
"Save it, mate, we're nearing your drop point. You said anywhere in this region that isn't covered in clouds and looks flat right?"
"That's right," England put in, looking out the door over the landscape.
The Llanganates were beautiful from here, even if they did look a bit intimidating with their foggy mountain peaks and dense vegetation.
"Thanks again for dropping us off, Australia. Didn't think anyone else would be up to it," America remarked, tugging at all the harnesses on his parachute to make sure it was snugly on.
"No worries. Just make sure you leave your normal packs on the red square in the back so I can drop it down once you land." The plane jolted at that, and Australia frowned. "Well then, there's some right nasty weather in that cloud up ahead, so best be saying our goodbyes for now."
Walking over to the sliding door of the plane, America and England glanced out at the rugged landscape below.
"We'll be in touch once we land!" America yelled over the rush of the wind as he checked over his equipment one last time and pulled his goggles down over his eyes. "Ready England?"
England checked over his equipment, tugged his goggles down and gave America a nod. "Quite. Let's do this."
"Jump in 3….2…1!"
America and England jumped out, both arching back to stabilize their fall as they started their decent towards the ground. The blurs of the clouds, the mountains and the vegetation gained some clarity as they flipped forward into their freefall positions.
Reaching out a hand, America grabbed England's hand and gave it a squeeze. "Hey England!" He yelled out. "Guess what?"
"What?" He yelled back.
"I love you!"
England flushed, turning his head away and sputtering indignantly. "Bloody hell America…"
"What's that? You love me too?"
Turning back towards him with every intention of telling him what for, England felt the words die on his lips as he saw America's dorky grin silhouetted by the sun off to their left.
With a sigh, he gave America's hand a slight squeeze and muttered back so softly the wind almost carried it away. "Love you too, you git."
If possible, America's dweeby grin grew wider and he used his grip on England's hand to tug himself in the air towards him. Their noses bumped and both of them laughed a bit as they attempted to maneuver their freefalling forms so they could kiss.
They finally managed it, goggles clattering together as they leaned in and claimed each other's lips.
"Okay, gotta let you float off a bit so we can get these things open. Meet you on the ground, England!" America called out, reaching back to deploy his chute.
It opened without a hitch, jerking him upwards slightly as the chute caught the air. Beside him, England did the same, his chute lifting him back up to where America was floating.
"Well then Llanganates, here we come!" America whooped out.
England let himself smile at that, and was just about to call back over to him, when a gust of wind came at them out of nowhere.
"Must be that weather front Australia mentioned," he called over to America. "Think we can still make our drop point all right?"
"Yeah, we're gonna be…"
But whatever America was about to say was cut off as the sharp winds cut upward, pushing England and his parachute up and twisting America's parachute into a knot. As the air was quashed out from under the chute, he began to plummet towards the ground.
"No! America!" England yelled out, his eyes wide in horror as he realized that the reserve chute would do no good unless the first chute was cut loose.
Knowing it was extremely risky at this altitude, but seeing no other way to help him; England reached into the side of his pack and pulled out his hook knife.
Reaching back, he severed the cords to his parachute, allowing him to freefall towards America. If he could get to him, he could deploy his reserve chute and they'd both land safely. If not…
He clenched his eyes shut at the thought, for in this terrain, there was little hope of a safe landing even with a working parachute.
Steeling his nerve, England continued his drop, calling out as if it was his last hope of seeing his partner safe and unharmed.
 In the late 1700s, a miner named Don Atanasio Guzman, who worked the old Inca mines in the Llanganates, manages to draft a detailed treasure map. But before he can claim his prize he too disappears in the mountains. The treasure is forgotten until…
 The gold trail went cold until the 1850s, when English botanist Richard Spruce traveled to Ecuador in search of the cinchona tree, the seeds of which were used to produce the antimalarial drug quinine. Spruce, when he finally returned to Britain, reported that he had uncovered Valverde's Guide and a related map, made by Guzman.
 In 1886, working with Spruce, a pair of treasure hunters reportedly solve the riddle of Valverde's Guide and find the treasure. Their names are Captain Barth Blake and Lieutenant George Edwin Chapman. So, why didn't Blake and Chapman claim the treasure? Because Chapman didn't survive the journey out of the mountains and Blake fell overboard on a trip to North America to sell the gold they'd taken from the cave.
 Paititi is a legendary Incan lost city, or an utopian rich land, said to lie east of the Andes, hidden somewhere within the remote rain forests of southeast Peru, northern Bolivia, or southwest Brazil.
 Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", it is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World.
 Atahualpa was the last Sapa Inca (sovereign emperor) of the Inca Empire.
 The Treasure of the Llanganates refers to a huge sum of worked gold and other treasures supposedly hidden deep within the Llanganati mountain range of Ecuador by the Inca general Rumiñahui.