The Mystery of Angkor Wat
The year was 1993. In the city of Phnom Penh, there lived three best friends: John Benjamin, Susan Wright and Sam Witwicky, who were all about twelve years of age. John was a handsome boy who was skilful at mathematics, and Susan was a good-looking girl being good at runes and ancient scriptures. As for Sam, he was not as very smart as both of them. He was very fat, short and low on general knowledge. However, he was very friendly and his family was very wealthy as well. All three of them had been close friends since their childhood.
Today was the last day at school and was also the day that every student was looking forward to. The three friends were walking home, hands in hands, singing together.
‘At last I could take a long break from all the hard work at school and those strict teachers,’ Sam exclaimed happily.
‘Don’t be so happy,’ Susan said. ‘We still have lots of homework to do for the vacation.’
‘Oh, shut up, will you? I’m just beginning to be happy and now you’ve ruined everything!’ Sam rebuked.
Here we go again. They have always had something to quarrel about, John thinks.
‘Hey, come to think of it, why don’t we go somewhere together during this vacation?’ John suggested.
They two stop arguing suddenly and turned to John, who looked surprised by this reaction.
‘That’s really a great idea!’ Susan exclaimed excitedly.
‘Well, yeah, I was just going to say that,’ Sam said bitterly.
‘OK then, where do you think we should go?’ John continued.
‘I don’t know…Oh! I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we make a trip to Angkor Wat temple?’ Susan recommended.
‘Oh, please! Give me a break. I’ve been there hundreds of time.’ Sam argued.
‘Only that every time you went there, you didn’t bring your brain along,’ said Susan.
‘You…,’ Sam began.
‘That’s enough, you two.’ John interrupted. ‘I think Angkor Wat is a good choice as well. There are still lots of mysteries over there. What’s the matter visiting there once more, Sam?’
‘Alright, alright, I’ll go. If it hadn’t been you, I’d rather stay home than traveling with a nagging girl.’
‘What did you say? Me, nagging?’ Susan asked furiously.
‘He didn’t mean anything, Sue. Forget it.’
So the plan was made…although rather roughly. They and their parents all agreed to go to Siem Reap, in Sam’s family’s private airplane. They arrived there at about eleven in the morning and had lunch at Sam’s father’s restaurant, The Cook. In the afternoon, they made a trip to the temple, which was around seven kilometers away from the central provincial town of Siem Reap. Soon, they reached the gate of one of the World Wonders, the world-renowned Angkor Wat temple.
The temple was famous for its perfect geometrical location and its stone-construction that remained a mystery till these days, let alone the other significant mysteries. Archaeologists had claimed that the stones used of the building were made from twelve chemical substances, and neither the archaeologists nor the scientists had yet to discover these mysterious elements; they could only speculate the ideas. These showed that the Khmer technologies in those times were great beyond our imagination and the question was where this precious knowledge was hidden after all these centuries, or was all the knowledge lost in times?
‘Well, here we are.’ John said.
‘It is very beautiful.’ Susan admired the temple whole-heartedly.
‘Whatever.’ Sam groaned with disgust.
They went in through the gate which seemed to take them away from the real world into a mysterious ancient world before time. They started searching throughout the whole temple at every corner as if making sure that they didn’t miss anything, except for Sam, of course, who still seemed depressed and regretted about his decision. Every part of the temple was actually far more beautiful then they saw in the pictures. Each Apsara shows every behavior and personality of the ancient Khmer women in those times. Each inscription on the stones described in detail about each rein of the Khmer Emperors who ruled Kampuchea in the Angkor Era.
When they walked into a quiet area, they stopped at once, for they saw a newly-built fence surrounded one part of the temple closely. On the label attached to the fence read:
‘This is an ancient site. Why do they have to ban this area?’ Susan wondered.
‘Aha!’ Sam shouted with delight, as though he was jerked awake from a long sleep. ‘Eventually there’s something I know about that you don’t. I knew I could surpass you in some ways. Bravo!’
‘Oh really? Then why don’t you genius explain us?’ Susan asked sarcastically.
‘If you really want to know, this area has been prohibited since the end of World War II by the Corporation, which is the company that’s been given full priority to be in charge of the preservation and activities in this temple. They said this region was too old and was ready to collapse at any moment. Now you understand, lazy pupils?’ He described it word by word proudly.
‘I think something’s not right in there.’ John said thoughtfully. ‘This area must be containing something secret or something. I think we should come back here…and sneaked in tonight. What do you guys think?’
‘Well, if you want to, but like I said, there shouldn’t be anything captivating in there. It will be just as boring as the other parts of the temple.’ Sam said coldly.
‘Er, doesn’t that mean trespassing?’ Susan said, hesitated.
‘You can stay at the hotel with your parents, if you’d prefer,’ John began.
‘No! I’ll come with you guys.’ She changed her mind at once.
After their parents were all asleep, the three of them put on their sweaters and shoes and walked out of their separated bedrooms on the tips of their toes. When they were safely out of the hotel, they walked up the side of the streets and call a cab to take them to Angkor Wat temple. The driver seemed surprised at first, but after Sam offered him more money, he remained silent, thinking it was none of his business. They stopped a little far away from the temple so that the guard patrolling the temple’s gate wouldn’t remark their presence. They ran up and hid behind a big tree near the gate.
‘OK, here’s the plan. When the guard turns away, we will run as fast as our feet can carry us pass the gate into the temple. We have to keep our voice down, and we must not be caught.’
‘Agreed.’ Susan and Sam replied approvingly.
When the guard was half way to the post at the end of the gate, the three kids broke into a run toward the gate. John got pass into the inside first, and he turned back to wait for his two friends. This night there was no moon, so it was hardly to see in the dark. He heard footsteps and saw Susan afterwards.
‘Where’s Sam?’ John asked.
‘I don’t see him.’ Susan replied nervously.
Sam, due to his fatness, barely got to his friends when the guard turned back and noticed his shadow.
‘Who’s there?’ The guard shouted.
‘Oh, no’ Susan whispered, trembling.
They hid themselves behind the gate in the shadow of the darkness. They couldn’t run, or they would give themselves away. They didn’t know what to do. The guard approached nearer, withdrawing his stick, and in the moment they would be caught. There was no way out now.
‘Come out from there, or you will be in serious trouble. Do you hear me?’ The guard called out once more, only three meters from them now.
Two meters. One meters. Half a meter.
Then, there was a rat running passes the guard outside. The guard stopped, laughing at himself, and got back to the patrolling work.
The three friends sighed with relief.
‘Man, that was close.’ Sam said.
‘Wow! It’s really dark in here. I couldn’t know whether my eyes are closed or opened.’ Sam noticed when they finally made it to the restricted area. ‘Lucky I’m smart enough to bring my flashlight along.
‘So how are we going to get through this gate?’ Susan asked, ignoring Sam.
‘Let’s see,’ John thought out loud, looking around. Finally his eyes met the ground. ‘Over there, look!’ He saw a little gap there between the ground and the fence which could possibly let a kid through, even if with some difficulty.
‘I don’t see how that gap can possibly let you through, though, Sam,’ Susan mocked at Sam, ‘I mean, look at you! You’re as fat as a big pig.’
‘If you’re quiet for a moment, no one will mind you being mute, Sue.’ Sam replied, pretty annoyed by her this time (or all the time).
‘Boss, I can see three kids getting into the restricted area. Two boys and a girl.’ The guard who patrolled at the gate reported.
‘Very well, then.’ The man the guard called Boss replied. ‘Watch them closely. I’ll be there at a suitable time to finish it once and for all.’ Then he hung up.
The Boss, named Dr. Freak, was seating on a sofa in his mansion, two severe-looking men in black suit stood at his side.
‘Our business here is almost done. I’ve been waiting for this for many years. Now I can fulfill my ancestors’ wish. The prophecy about the three kids doesn’t lie. It’s true, and it’s happening now! Those stupid Kings really thought they could hide it from us forever, huh? Not ANYMORE!’ he shouted fiercely that it echoed in the hall three to four times continually.
Long time ago his ancestors tried to steal it from them but were unsuccessful. Nevertheless, their effort wasn’t in vain after all; they learned the prophecy, and they preserved this prophecy for their later generations to finish their one and only desire. Then he would be invincible, and even the most powerful countries like The United States and Japan and China would be at his mercy. All those leaders would kneel before him, and ruling the entire world would be just a piece of cake. Now the time had come, it wouldn’t be long. What was important right now is patience. Those kids would fall into the trap that would devastate their own country…..The new future was near. The New World Order was about to happen in the very near future.
They found it very hard crawling under the narrow gap, but they managed it at last and got through to the other side of the fence safely. Their clothes and faces were now stained with dirt.
They continue walking a long way straightforward into the dark and cold temple, seeing nothing remarkable but ruins and some runes over here and over there, until they came to a dead end.
‘I told you,’ Sam said. ‘There are only ruins in here.’ He accidentally leaned his hand on one of the stone in the wall nearest to him, and then, something strange happened unexpectedly. The wall began to turn around and revealed another passageway.
‘Wow…,’ John was shocked by this.
‘Ah…Ah…’ Susan immediately screamed to the peak of her voice, covering her eyes with her hands. She went on screaming and screaming deafeningly that the other two had to cover their ears. Then Sam put one of his hands on her mouth to stop her.
‘What are you doing? Trying to get us caught or something?’ Sam asked angrily.
‘There’s something over there.’ Susan whispered, pointing shakily to a corner, to which Sam pointed his flash light. Instantly he broke into an unstoppable laughter.
‘It’s just a rat.’ He said, after recovering from his laughter. ‘That’s what I like about girls. They are easily frightened.’
‘Oh, shut up.’ Susan rebuked. Her face turned from white to red with anger.
‘Come on, we’ve got work at hand here.’ John said, with also a grin on his face.
‘Not you, too.’ Susan said to John.
‘What?’ John said, trying to hold his laughter.
Then she walked straight into the darkness of the chamber furiously, not waiting for them. John and Sam grinned at each other, and then followed her, not knowing what kind of evil waiting for them.
As they were walking, Susan started explaining the detail history of Angkor Wat to them along the way.
‘The construction of this temple began in the first half of the twelfth century in the reign of King Suryavarman II and was finished in the reign of king Jayavarman VII, who also established a new capital and state temple, Angkor Thom and Bayon. It was first called Vrah Vishnulok, for it was devoted to the God Vishnu. The interesting fact which fascinated the archaeologists most is about King Jayavarman VII, who was believed to be the greatest king of all time in Khmer history.’
‘Yeah, I know that.’ John said. ‘And there’s also a statue of the King but with no arms. How come?’
‘Khmer people believe that the building of the arms of the King statue can change the destiny of Cambodia, either into good or bad. They fear that if they build the arms incorrectly, the whole country will collapse; Cambodia will vanish from the world map.’ Susan explained.
‘You sound like a guide now.’ Sam remarked. ‘So your two years learning of Khmer history and ancient scripture wasn’t a waste of time after all.’
‘I also found out that there weren’t any records about when the King died.’ John went on discussing.
‘They believe he was buried here in Angkor Wat temple, but they don’t know where exactly.’ Susan said. ‘And there’s also a legend around here about something called the Holy Sword, which is also believed to be hidden in this temple. They said this Sword had the power to change the destiny of the entire universe. But like I said, it’s just legend.’
‘But doesn’t legend have basis on the facts?’ John asked eagerly.
Suddenly Sam stopped. John and Susan, who were busy talking, didn’t notice and hit him, making him off balance and almost stumbled to the ground.
‘Hey, watch your steps.’ Sam said, irritated.
John and Susan didn’t listen to him. They were staring at a big door stood out right in front of them. They tried to push the door, but no matter how they tried, the door stood still. After some efforts in vain, they gave up. Suddenly, Susan noticed something, and on the far side wall, there was a message written in ancient language.
‘It’s a riddle. It says:
What has four feet in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?
‘Sounds like nothing to me.’ Sam said blankly, scratching his head.
‘It also says here that if we shout the answer out right, the door will be opened.’ Susan added.
‘Chicken?’ John guessed.
‘How about this, Elephant?’ Sam said.
‘It’s got to be the right answer. Otherwise, it will not be opened.’ Susan confirmed, considering what might be the correct answer.
So, readers, these kids need your help. Can you help them solve the riddle? What page shall it be?