Chapter 13.

Andahuaylas to Abancay

The road from Andahuaylas to Abancay was in good condition but it was non-asphalted and it continued its ascent, making its way through small towns until it crossed the mountain pass of Crusccassa. There it begins a steep descent until it reaches the colonial bridge of Pachachaca and after passing many other small towns’ one reaches finally Abancay.

They decided to stay at the Hostal Samy, located on a street filled with restaurants and bars. “Well, this is not high class but it will do,” said Maria. “At least we will rest for the night and then go on.”

Pierce looked at the others and saw that they did not seem to relish the idea of staying overnight but the prospects of visiting the bars seemed more enticing.

“Well I think that I will go and sample the local brew, “ said Pedro. “maybe we can all go there as the night is young, right Mr. Pierce? ”

“Well…” Pierce was tempted but Maria looked at him and he could see that she did not approve. “No in fact, I think that I will rest.”

“Well we will go.” said Jorge and Luis. Pedro had expected that both of them would follow his lead and this is what he wanted. He needed to have a private conversation with them relating to the possibility of finding gold and how to proceed later on. Luckily a pub was located not too far away from where they were staying called Bambu Pub. The upstairs had cool llama wool benches and tables made out of solid tree trunks and as the beers were ordered the talking began.

“Well now,” said Pedro. “how about if we talked about this little expedition of ours.”

“Okay.” said Luis. “We can talk.”

“About what, the fact that we are just helpers in this thing and nothing else?” said Jorge.

“Now, we can be much more than that.” replied Pedro. “I have it on good account that what they are really looking is for gold, under the pretext of finding long lost artefacts.” Both Luis and Jorge looked at him in a quizzical way.

“You mean to tell us that it’s really gold that they’re after?” said Luis. Luis was young and the prospect of gold made him salivate He was not rich and more money than just a pay check would be welcomed. “But you know that we are bound to help Maria and Mr. Pierce who are after all our employers. wouldn’t we be cheating them?” said Luis.

“There is no way that I would cheat Maria.” solemnly declared Jorge.

Pedro knew all about that little thing called a conscience. He had one too, but he kept it well hidden and tucked away and it did not interfere with something called “making money”. “Who is talking about double-crossing anyone here?” he asked in a sarcastic way. “Don’t we have the right to make money on the side and still help them too? Haven’t you all worked enough for someone else and gotten only a slim pay out of it?

“Well, you know, a day’s pay for a day’s work, and that was I got for many years,” said Jorge. Jorge was older than Luis and as old as Pedro, and his employment experience had usually been with expeditions such as the one organized by Maria and Jake Pierce. His pay was normal wages and he had never thought of getting more in other ways. Honor was important to him. For Pedro it was another matter.

“Look, my job experience has been non-existent so far as I was a student until recently. But I do need money and if there is a way of making more of it legally then count me in your little plan.” said Luis firmly.

Pedro smiled at Luis and understood that he had him on his side, but Jorge was still unconvinced.

“I still don’t like the idea of causing trouble to Maria and the gringo. How could I look myself in the mirror if I did something that was dishonorable?” Jorge said in a despondent way. Once again, honor was rearing its saintly head.

“I am telling you, no harm will be done to the gringo and to Maria, I promise you that much. I simply say that we should be open to the idea of going on our own, forming a small company of three using any good information that we get from the gringo and Maria and with the information finding the gold for ourselves and keeping it. Okay Jorge? Can I count you in?”

Pedro knew that everything hinged on Jorge. He could well spill the beans to Maria. He would deny everything but the harm would be done and he needed Maria and Pierce to trust him. “Here’s what I propose to you. Say you will go along and before we do anything I will consult with you. And if you don’t like it then we won’t do it, how’s that?” Pedro did not like the idea of giving veto power to Jorge but the fear of him talking to Maria was too strong. All he needed from him was a qualified yes.

“Fine, I can live with that.” said Jorge, not looking too happy but liking the idea of keeping his options open . “ But let’s be clear, no physical harm shall be done to our employers.”

“I agree and let’s drink to that.” said Pedro as he lifted his glass along with the two others, drinking to a successful agreement. And from then on Jorge would act as the unofficial conscience of the threesome.

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