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The Mysterious Cities of Gold Episode Guide

This page last updated 31-Dec-01

Author's note, 2022: Many years ago I found an unofficial list of French episode titles online and translated them with the aid of an early online translator, probably AltaVista's Babel Fish, which is why some of them are a bit odd. I have no idea, for example, how episode 3 ended up as Heroes Again. These names ended up on the official R2 DVD release of the series, which I find both amusing and slightly embarrassing.
I also guessed the spelling of a lot of the names, don't take them as canon.
Anyone who wants to copy this content is welcome, plenty have already!

1. Esteban, Child of the Sun
2. Crossing the Atlantic
3. Heroes Again
4. Adrift on the Endless Sea
5. The Abduction of Zia
6. The Ship Solaris
7. Secret of the Solaris
8. The New Continent
9. The End of the Solaris
10. Secret of the Temple
11. Messangers of the Region.
12. Secret of the Medallions
13. Mystery of the Parents
14. Esteban's Medallion
15. The Subterranean Secret
16. The Urubus
17. The Great Condor
18. Maiden Flight of the Great Condor
19. The Nazca Plateau
20. The Spaniards' Cannon
21. The Amazons
22. The Mirror of the Moon
23. The Jade Mask
24. The Manuscript
25. The Lake of Gold
26. The Swamps
27. The Doors of Night
28. The Forest of Statues
29. The Burning Shield
30. The Escape
31. The Village of the New Sun
32. Attack of the Olmecs
33. The Reunion
34. Revolt of the Mayas
35. The Olmec Machine
36. Aeriel Pursuit
37. The City of Gold
38. The Great Legacy
39. The End of the City of Gold

Top of page1. Esteban, Child of the Sun

The year 1532, Barcelona, Spain, in the rain.
Living in that very city is young Esteban, an orphan raised by Father Rodriguez, Dean of the Cathedral. He often hides in local taverns listening to the sailors' tales of adventure. In one such den, two sailors, the corpulent Sancho and the monkey-faced Pedro, try to interest others in their search for legendary Cities of Gold in the New World. Their ship, the Esperanza, is due to leave the following day. They are interrupted by a crowd of locals searching for Esteban, whose alleged ability to call out the sun makes him an invaluable part of the festival honouring a departing ship. When offered a reward, the sailors eagerly leave the tavern to join the search, leaving Esteban alone with Mendoza, the Esperanza's navigator. Mendoza recognises the gold medallion Esteban wears, but the frightened boy leaves before Mendoza can say why. Running back to the cathedral, Esteban is finally caught and taken to the dockside to be ceremonially hoisted up the ship's mast. Sure enough, the rainclouds overhead clear and the sun shines down. Then Esteban is summoned to Father Rodriguez's side, where before the Father's death he learns how he was rescued as a baby from a sinking ship in a Pacific. The ship vanished into the waves with one other on board, a man who may have been Esteban's real father. While Esteban grieves, Mendoza introduces himself as the man who rescued him as a baby. As proof he offers the centre section of Esteban's medallion, which he removed at the time. His researches have suggested a connection between the medallion and the Cities of Gold, and he invites Esteban to join their expedition. Spurred on by the suggestion that his father may still be alive and living in the New World, Esteban agrees. That night Mendoza takes him on board and hides him in the ship's hold. There Esteban meets Zia, a young Inca girl snatched from her homeland for her knowledge.

Top of page2. Crossing the Atlantic

Amid much celebration, the Esperanza departs on its five month journey to the New World. Esteban and Zia discover that they wear identical medallions. Mendoza discovers the poor state of the ship. Esteban becomes seasick, and he and Zia are discovered by Gaspard, Captain of the Guard. He tries to throw them overboard but is thwarted by Mendoza, who points out that Zia's presence was known to the ship's Captain Perez and his associate Commander Gomez, and that Esteban's reputation as Child of the Sun makes him too valuable to lose, especially considering the poor condition of the ship. The children are placed in Mendoza's care. When waking up on deck late that night (after a very nicely-executed dream sequence), Esteban overhears Gomez telling Gaspard how they need Zia to help them find the Cities of Gold, and that the too-clever Mendoza can be disposed of once he has navigated them through the dreaded Straits of Magellan. After encounters with whales and butterflies, the ship approaches the treacherous storm-swept straits.

Top of page3. Heroes Again

Mendoza, as navigator, spends four days and nights steering the ship through the (well-animated) straits, with the aid of Sancho and Pedro's dubious steering. Much to the delight of the crew, they clear the Straits successfully. Esteban is reminded that his father was last seen near the ship's position. When Zia is made ill by drinking water, Esteban tries to steal some from the officers' private supply. Panicked by rats, he is caught by Gaspard and the two children are locked away in the hold, despite Mendoza's protests. The navigator's usefulness seems at an end until flying fish herald the appearance of a typhoon.

Top of page4. Adrift on the Endless Sea

As the Esperanza is pulled toward the typhoon, the crew tie themselves down. The ship is drawn into the eye of the storm and pulled into the air by the fierce winds. It lands heavily back into the water. Under the stress the ship's rotting timbers finally give in and the ship begins to sink. Mendoza leaves Captain Perez at the (broken) rudder and sneaks off to rescue the children, unaware that Gaspard has been sent to free the invaluable Zia. The two clash en route, Mendoza escapes unscathed and frees the children. After a swim through the flooded ship's hold, they discover that everyone else has already abandoned ship, the waiting Sancho & Pedro excepted. They run to the ship's bow as she breaks in two. For a while the surviving part of the ships floats them away. While the three sailors sleep that night, Esteban and Zia talk. She tells him she comes from a land called Shimon, where her father is the High Priest. Following an ominous appearance of St Elmo's Fire and a thick sea mist, the remains of the ship are caught in a fast current and begin to break up. The group build a raft and abandon the sinking remnants of the good ship Esperanza. Lost in open sea, they lose their remaining provisions to a shark attack. Seeing a seagull — indicating nearby land — Mendoza leaps into the water, fights off another shark, and tows the raft to a nearby island.

Top of page5. The Abduction of Zia

Having landed safely on the seemingly deserted island, the group catch a giant turtle to cook and eat, but Sancho & Pedro don't like the look of it so they wander off to find their own food. While trying to extract water from a cactus, they are frightened by a giant lizard, and in their flight come across chicken roasting on a spit. Before they can tuck in, they faint with fear from the appearance of a strange creature to which the food apparently belong. When the others find them unconscious there is no sign of food nor creature. While our heroes sleep, the creature enters their camp and steals Mendoza's sea chart and pistol. Esteban gives chase by is eluded. The creature kidnaps Zia and takes her off the island by boat. Esteban swims after them and reaches another island where the "creature" lives in a magnificent treehouse. Here he finds Zia asleep on a bed, and hearing footsteps he hides only to discover that the "creature" is a boy of his own age, named Tao.

Top of page6. The Ship Solaris

Mendoza and the others cross to Tao's island on their raft. While showing Esteban and Zia around, Tao explains that he has lived there alone since his father died. But before dying, his father had told him of a prophecy which predicted the children's arrival. Tao shows them a collection of relics of the lost Hiva empire. Hiva was an immense continent in the Pacific, home to an advanced civilisation which long ago vanished beneath the waves. The King of Hiva had foreseen this catastrophe, and ordered the construction of seven Cities of Gold in distant lands to preserve their technology. Tao is descended from that King. The prophecy also states that one of the Cities of Gold would be destroyed by white men; Tao suspects Mendoza and the others. When he accidentally discovers the pistol's purpose ("Loaded? What does that mean?"), he believes his suspicions confirmed. Fearful of Esteban and the sailors, Tao runs off with Zia, taking her into a complex of man-made tunnels, leading to a huge room with a massive picture of Viracocha on the wall. Meanwhile Tao's accidental firing of the pistol has attracted Mendoza, Sancho & Pedro, who join Esteban in pursuit. Tao shows Zia a mysterious jar which legend says can only be opened by the High Priest of the Cities of Gold, and a khipu, a string holding an encoded message in the pattern of its knots, which he needs Zia to decode. She translates the message, which reads: "Solaris the sailing ship, of the Kingdom of Hiva, sleeps inside the mountain. When thunder rumbles in the depths of the earth, the seals will break and the Solaris of Hiva will be born again in the sea." Esteban and the others catch up, and Tao pulls a lever releasing a giant lizard to ward them off. Mendoza shoots at the lizard, the pistol shot echoes and reverberates round the room. A thunderous roar fills the chamber, and the wall collapses, revealing the Solaris. An entire section of the island sinks into the sea, and the mighty ship emerges onto the water.

Top of page7. Secret of the Solaris

Mendoza and his sailors offer their services to "Captain Tao", who reluctantly accepts. While they set about figuring out the ship's controls, Tao destroys his treehouse; he has no intention of returning. After setting sail, Mendoza explores the ship, finding a room which contains a large, mysterious gold cube. Tao admits to being similarly perplexed regarding its function. A Spanish galleon approaches, carrying Gomez and Gaspard, and fires a warning shot. The huge Solaris cannot hope to escape with its inadequate sail. Mendoza and Tao decide that they have no choice but to break open the golden cube in the hope of finding something which can help them, but brute force fails to so much as scratch it. Esteban decides an ornament on the cube (curiously unnoticed until now) may be a lever. He pulls it and sliding doors open in the ceiling, exposing the cube to sunlight. The sail furls itself up and is replaced by a huge metal one, which uses the sun's energy to drive mechanical oars. The Spanish galleon opens fire, but the Solaris accelerates out of range. As the sun sets, the New World comes into sight.

Top of page8. The New Continent

The Solaris reaches land, only for the party to be captured by European guards. Mendoza introduces himself and explains his mission to bring Zia to the gold-obsessed Governor Pizarro. They are led into a native fortress claimed by Europeans, where Pizarro seizes Zia and gives her a khipu to read. It tells that there is a City of Gold near her homeland, so to protect her people she pretends to be unable to read it. Knowing she is holding back, Pizarro leaves Mendoza to extract the information from her gently, and imprisons the others with some natives. A native Inca elder, seeing Esteban's medallion, hails him as a saviour God. Mendoza distracts the Europeans by setting fire to the fort's gunpowder store, and runs off with Zia in the confusion. The soldiers, unwilling to risk their own lives, send out the prisoners to fight the blaze. The released Incas promptly escape to the sea. Esteban and Tao, unaware that Zia is already safe, escape into the fort's sewers in the hope of finding a way to rescue her. They end up under the fort's drawbridge, are chased by guards, but rescued by the Incas. While the Incas return to their village, our friends regroup at the Solaris.

Top of page9. The End of the Solaris

The soldiers reach the Solaris, the sun rising just in time to power the ship's launch. Unable to capture the ship and its crew, the soldiers attack the Inca village instead. The galleon finally arrives, and opens fire on the Solaris. Esteban accidentally pulls an untested lever, and the solar sail focuses the sun's rays on the galleon, setting fire to it. Seeing the Inca village under attack, the children turn the ray on the soldiers, forcing them to retreat. Then they rush to the village. Gomez, with the galleon's cannon trained on the village, threatens to have the villagers killed if they don't hand over Zia. She floats out to the galleon in a small boat while the villagers quietly sneak away. Tao meanwhile sneaks back to the Solaris to protect it from the galleon. Zia escapes to the Solaris and Gomez gives the order to fire on the village. Tao reluctantly self-destructs the ship, taking the galleon with it. Fortunately, he and Zia escape unharmed.

Top of page10. Secret of the Temple

Mendoza asks Zia what the message was that she read, but she refuses to tell him. The children agree to make their way south to Zia's village, and the sailors join them in the hope that she will tell them sooner or later. However, Pizarro's fortress blocks the narrow route south. Apo, the Inca elder, knows of no other route, but tells them that the exceedingly old and wise Pasha might know. Sadly Pasha was long ago taken prisoner by Pizarro and no-one knows if he is even still alive. Pizarro himself, meanwhile, is angered at the apparent death of Zia and sends Gomez and Gaspard to search for the other children. The children decide to return to the tunnels beneath the fortress in the hope of finding a route to the other side, accidentally alerting Gomez and Gaspard to Zia's continued wellbeing in the process. Pizarro leads Gomez and Gaspard into the tunnels, to an ancient underground temple where he imprisoned the old man Pasha, and wait there in the hope of capturing the children. Sure enough, the party reach the temple and meet Pasha, who shows them a tunnel leading to the south, but Pizarro & co are waiting there for them. With Pasha's knowledge of the temple's booby-traps, the party evade their pursuers, and come to a massive chamber the ceiling of which is supported by a pillar of ice. Pasha instructs the children to use a wall tile puzzle, which activates a mechanism that projects a beam of concentrated sunlight at the pillar of ice. The pillar melts, bringing the temple roof crashing down. Pasha chooses to stay and die with his temple, but the children escape through a secret passage and continue their journey south.

Top of page11. Messangers of the Region

The children, still en route to Zia's village, find themselves pursued by two men wearing panther skins. They run away, sliding downhill on an old log and landing in a cactus patch. Pizarro orders Gomez and Gaspard to head for Zia's village. The children stop by a murky river to catch their breath, only to find that the two men have caught up with them, and once again the chase is on. They find themselves on a mist-shrouded hillside which Zia doesn't recognise, and she fears she may have led them the wrong way. Esteban tries to cheer her up, and the mist lifts, revealing the village nearby. However, the village turns out to be deserted, except for Pachu, Zia's pet condor... and Gaspard's soldiers. The children seek refuge in the village temple, but Gomez is waiting there with more soldiers. Desperate to extract information from Zia, he first threatens to burn down the village, then to feed Esteban and Tao to ravenous ants. Reluctantly she reveals the message. "Go to the High Peak, north of the village of Puna." The children are locked up for the night, only to be rescued by their two strange pursuers. They introduce themselves as Wayna and Ketcha, sent by Kraka, chief of the High Peak. They escape via a secret passage from the temple. Attempting to give chase, Gaspard's soldiers trigger a booby-trap which causes the temple to collapse (another one?!), preventing them from giving chase. Wayna and Ketcha, meanwhile, lead the children to the High Peak.

Top of page12. Secret of the Medallions

Gomez gives the order to head for the High Peak, but the soldiers are reluctant, since the High Peak is a forbidden area reputed to be haunted by evil spirits. Mendoza, with Pedro and Sancho in tow, arrives to offer his services as a guide. The children and their two new companions, trek through a forest, narrowly escape capture by Gomez and Gaspard when Esteban wanders off to chase butterflies, and finally climb a mountain to the Fort of the Black Eagle. There the children are introduced to Yupani, the Fort's Chief. Gaspard wants to storm the Fort, but Mendoza advises against attacking an enemy of unknown strength. The three sailors approach the fort. Esteban begs Yupani not to hurt them, so his men only fire warning shots to frighten them off, but not before Mendoza hints that Gomez will stage a night attack. Tao devises a parachute flare launched by a catapult, to light up the area so the Fort's defenders can see the Europeans attacking. Pelted with rocks and arrows, the Europeans are forced to retreat. At dawn the children are led along a mountain trail, over a bridge and behind a waterfall, to the City of the High Peak. There they meet the city's Chief, Kraka, who recognises Esteban's and Zia's medallions as the keys to the Cities of Gold.

Top of page13. Mystery of the Parents

Kraka announces the children as messengers of the gods. While looking around the city, the children find a sundial, a celestial chart, and a mysterious design on the floor of a shallow well. Chief Kraka is unable to explain its meaning, adding that the only man who might know is the local old & wise man, Mayuca. The children are shown to their rooms. The boys bathe in a nearby pool. The next day the children set off to find Mayuca. The locals hide from them, awed by the presence of supposed messengers of the gods, until Esteban plays the fool to reassure them. After some searching, they find Mayuca at the top of Machu Picchu (however you spell it), a nearby mountain. He tells them of a mysterious foreigner who had once shown much interest in the mysterious design. Esteban believes that this man may have been his father. Twelve or thirteen years earlier, this man arrived from across the western sea, and fell in love with an Inca priestess. They had a child, angering the sun god who plunged the land into darkness. The frightened priests sacrificed the woman and set the man and child adrift at sea on a boat. The foreigner had once said that the design represented the point in the sky where the paths of the sun and a particular star cross, which indicates the direction of the first City of Gold.

Top of page14. Esteban's Medallion

Before they can journey onward, Esteban needs the other half of his medallion. He plans to go back and get it from Mendoza, but Chief Kraka will not allow this and instead sends Wayna & Ketcha to get it. The Europeans, meanwhile, are marching toward the Fort of the Black Eagle with a cannon. Chief Kraka decides that his people will retreat if necessary. Concerned that Wayna & Ketcha will kill Mendoza, Esteban sneaks off to find Mendoza himself. Zia and Tao follow, catching up when Esteban's vertigo overcomes him on a bridge. The children soon find themselves hopelessly lost, but Zia's pet condor appears on the scene and shows them the way to the Fort. Mendoza and his companions run across Gomez and Gaspard again, steal their cannon and run off. They find themselves at the bottom of a cliff. They offer the cannon to Wayna & Ketcha, who haul them up just in time. But when they arrive at the Fort, Chief Yupani is not convinced, and orders the sailors killed. However Esteban arrives just in time to stop the execution, and Mendoza is forced to hand over the other half of Esteban's medallion.

Top of page15. The Subterranean Secret

Mendoza tries to warn the people of the Fort about Gomez' coming attack. They ignore him until Esteban persuades them that Mendoza can be trusted. Using the stolen cannon, he fires two warning shots at the approaching Europeans but misses his mark by a very wide margin. The third shot combs Gaspard's hair, while the fourth and final shot lands inches in front of him. While battle ensues, Tao grabs the rest of the gunpowder. The children make bombs from earthenware jars, which hold off the attackers for a short while. When the Fort is breached, the defenders retreat to the High Peak. The children are cornered and escape into a cave, pursued by Gaspard and some soldiers. Tao tries out the echo, accidentally waking some vampire bats which slow down Gaspard and his men. The cave ends at a pool of water, but Tao finds an underwater passage through which they swim to safety, leaving Gaspard puzzled. The children are caught in a strong current, and finally find themselves at the foot of the waterfall near the High Peak.

Top of page16. The Urubus

Mendoza and his companions cut the rope bridge to stop the Europeans following them to the High Peak. Meanwhile the children approach Chief Kraka and tell him they plan to journey to a city to the south. Kraka allows Mendoza, Sancho & Pedro to accompany them, but insists on sending Wayna and several other Incas with them. After three days' walk through barren country the party find giant bronze arrows of the type used by the fierce giants of the Urubu tribe. Moments later, the giants ambush them from the clifftops. Mendoza leads the others through a cave, too narrow for the giants to fit through, but Wayna and the other Incas are presumably lost in the battle. Our heroes find an unconscious girl, Lana, from the floating village of Tetola. She explains that she escaped from the Urubu, who wished to sacrifice her. She leads them to her village, built on a floating island of reeds on Lake Titicaca. The grateful villagers welcome them, but have no useful knowledge of the cities of gold. The Urubu appear at the lakeside, building rafts to attack the island and retrieve their intended sacrifice. Under Tao's instruction, the party build a small submarine out of old boats. At dawn the following day, the Urubu launch their attack. Esteban and Tao in the submarine cut apart their rafts from below. The Urubu, thinking the submarine is a lake monster, retreat hastily. The captured Urubu chief promises to end the attacks on the village, and points them to the sacred mountain of Pachamama, the earth goddess.

Top of page17. The Great Condor

The party walk through rocky desert, towards the mountain. Sancho and Pedro fight over their small supply of water. Finally they stop in the shade of some rocks for a rest and a drink. The children are about to drink their share when the Urubu chief, Kuruga, staggers into view and collapses. Esteban and Zia give him their share of the water. He explains that he was banished for his failure in attacking the village, and warns them that the Urubu plan to ambush them and take Zia as a sacrifice. The points them to the Valley of the Dead, the only safe route, then leaves them. Tao feels guilty for not offering his water ration, and shares it with Esteban and Zia. The party continue, unaware of the Urubu watching them from the clifftops. When they open fire, the party run to the Valley of the Dead, filled with sulphurous gas, which the Urubu are afraid to enter. The gang make their way out of the valley. The rays of the setting sun shine between two peaks, reflecting off something up a nearby mountain. They climb up to investigate, and find a large statue of the earth goddess, Pachamama. Esteban and Zia place their medallions upon the statue's breasts, and the nearby rock face slides open, revealing a hidden, abandoned city. Searching for gold, they investigate a huge temple with a gold sun emblem on the wall. Esteban removes the centre piece. Light shines from the hole he opens, reflecting off the ceiling onto the floor. The room is filled with a brilliant light and a huge gold statue of a condor emerges from the floor.

Top of page18. Maiden Flight of the Great Condor

While the party sleep, a tremor shakes the city. Zia interprets it as Pachamama's anger. Sancho and Pedro are sceptical, and suffering from gold on the brain. The sailors go to look for a passage beneath the temple to see where the condor might have come from, while the kids wait. Tao believes the condor to be a Hiva artefact, wondering if the Hiva people were ancestors of the Incas? Kokapetl finds a khipu in the condor's beak. Esteban climbs up to get it, but has an attack of vertigo and Tao goes up after him. They find a cockpit with three seats and controls like those in Tao's ship, the Solaris. Tao goes to get the khipu, slips, and winds up dangling from the condor's beak. Esteban tries to rescue him but fails, Tao falling from the beak... into the arms of Mendoza, who returned just in time. Zia paraphrases the message of the khipu: "A great danger will threaten the city. All the people have run away to the land of the Maya. In the time of danger the condor is supposed to help them." Sancho and Pedro return, babbling about a passage under the temple. Everyone goes to look. The passage is hot, with a sulphurous smell. They discover that the city is built in a volcano, which is about to erupt. When the passage begins to cave in, they run back to the temple. Tao warns them that the explosion will be a particularly violent one. They run to the city entrance, but discover that the Urubu giants are coming to kill them. Mendoza grabs the medallions from the Pachamama statue, and the mountain walls begin to close around the city. The party get inside just in time, leaving the giants shut out. The earth tremors get more violent. The party, trapped in the city, seek shelter in the temple. Part of the roof collapses, sunlight shines on the gold emblem on the wall, and is reflected from there to the emblem on the ceiling, to the condor, which glows brilliantly and lowers its head. As the temple collapses they all climb into the cockpit. The volcano finally erupts, hurling the condor into the sky. It plummets to the ground. The controls fail to respond, until they discover that the gold emblem Esteban took from the temple can be slotted into the control panel. The condor, in reality a flying machine, goes into autopilot.

Top of page19. The Nazca Plateau

The condor, still on autopilot, flies west. It passes over a village being ransacked by Europeans, scaring them greatly. They run to inform Governor Pizarro. The condor lands on the Nazca plateau. Mendoza and the children examine the mysterious giant markings which cover the plain. They decide that the condor landed because it uses the power of the sun, and the approaching sunset would have caused it to crash. Sancho and Pedro fiddle with the controls and a snake-shaped lever emerges from the panel. The children discover that it controls the bird's movements. Pizarro's men tell him about the condor, and leaves immediately to capture the children. While the party sleep by the condor, Pizarro reaches the nearby village, and with soldiers rides to the plateau. They arrive just before sunrise and surround the condor. Mendoza decides it would be prudent to surrender rather than be killed. Pizarro demands to see Esteban fly the condor. As the sun rises, the condor powers up, glowing blindingly. The party, their eyes closed against the glare, run to the condor. The condor leaves the ground, Mendoza leaping on just in time. Esteban flies around, trying out the condor's controls.

Top of page20. The Spaniards' Cannon

The party agree to fly in the condor to the land of the Mayas. First they set off for the High Peak, to seek directions from Chief Kraka. On the way, Zia's pet condor approaches, and they follow it. The Europeans are rebuilding the rope bridge to get to the High Peak. Kraka is warned and orders his men to block the entrance behind the waterfall. The condor arrives on the scene. Esteban sees the cannon being moved across the bridge and flies at it, breaking the bridge. Cannon and soldiers alike plummet down the canyon. The others note that Esteban seems quite recovered from his fear of heights. Gomez, Gaspard and a group of soldiers are already across the bridge, and find the cave behind the waterfall blocked. They remove the obstruction with gunpowder, but the explosion causes a landslide. Gomez and Gaspard fall into the river and are carried away. The cave is left sealed for all time, leaving the people of the High Peak secure in their isolation. The condor lands there, but no-one there knows the whereabouts of the land of the Mayas. According to old Mayuca, the only man who would know is the Papacamayo of Puna; Zia's father, who left to find the sacred fountain of the Mayas. The party leaves the following morning, seeing Pachu's chicks en route.

Top of page21. The Amazons

The condor flies over a jungle, following a broad river. A huge black stormcloud gathers, but Esteban, piloting the condor, fails to evade it in time. The cloud blocking the sun, the condor loses power and goes into a dive, crash-landing next to the river. There are too many trees blocking the sun for it to take off again. A giant snake emerges from the river. Mendoza delays it with a tree branch in the face, while the party arm themselves with sticks and head into the jungle. While running from a jaguar, they dive into a tunnel amongst the roots of a giant tree, and find themselves in a flower-filled paradise. They hear distant drums, and have warning arrows fired at them by a pair of Amazon women, who violently resist the amorous advances of Sancho and Pedro. More women arrive, breaking up the fight, and take the party to see their Queen. Taken to the women's city, they are confronted by a bizarrely-masked priestess, Omoru, who plans to sacrifice them to appease their rain god. Mendoza tells them that Esteban can call out the sun. The priestess refuses to listen, but the Queen is curious and gives Esteban a chance to prove the claim. Wind and lightning springs forth, but as the priestess prepares to kill him, the rain stops and the sun emerges. The impressed Queen welcomes them as guests.

Top of page22. The Mirror of the Moon

The party are shown to their room and told they must stay there until the women can be sure of their intent. The three sailors sneak out to explore. The priestess, Omoru, is still demanding their deaths, but the Queen refuses, so the priestess demands the Queen's handmaiden, Morca, as an alternative sacrifice. Morca brings the children some water, and tearfully tells them of Omoru's plans to sacrifice her, and that the priestess is plotting to depose the Queen, but cannot be removed because she alone can talk to the rain god. Tao is suspicious of this claim and wants to see the rain god's temple. The children go there, and Tao discovers that Omoru forecasts the weather using a Hiva barometer rigged to raise and lower a mask on a totem pole. The children return to their room and meet with Mendoza. The party escape to the riverside and build a raft, but while they row away the snake emerges from the water and attacks. Before it can harm them, the serpent is killed by a spear thrown by Paola, a woman who is also aware of Omoru's evil plans. The priestess Omoru tells the Queen that Paola killed the sacred anaconda which protects the village, demanding that Paola be sacrificed to prevent the violent tempest predicted by her mask. Morca warns the Queen of Omoru's plans but can offer no proof. Mendoza dismisses Omoru's dire warnings, claiming that Esteban's powers will prevail. A deal is struck: if the tempest comes that night, the Queen must leave; if not, Omoru will leave. Omoru returns to her temple, only to discover that her mask was rigged by Tao go give a false prediction. Realising that there will be no tempest, she flees to the belligerent tribes downriver, telling them that the sacred anaconda is dead and they can attack without fear. At dawn, there has been no tempest. The tribes make their way upriver to attack. The women use the Queen's sacred mirror to reflect sunlight onto the condor, enabling it to take off and force the attacking tribes into retreat. In the air once more, the party fly north.

Top of page23. The Jade Mask

The condor continues on its flight north. When the party see a rainbow ahead, lots of coloured lights spring into life in the cockpit. The condor goes into autopilot, dives <grits teeth> through the rainbow, lands at the bottom of a very deep hole in the ground, and refuses to take off. Its nose moves, gouging a hole in the rock wall. The gang follow the stairway it opens up, which ends at a solid stone ceiling. On careful examination Mendoza manages to move a large slab, letting them all out into a ruined city. The party explore the city. Sancho and Pedro are disappointed by the lack of gold. Kokapetl leads Tao to a statue of a winged serpent, with Hiva-like inscriptions on it. It tells that the statue represents an ancient god. Tao goes off exploring. Kokapetl leads the others after him, down a stairway leading to an underground chamber with another winged serpent statue. A secret passage behind this statue leads to another room where Tao is examining hieroglyphics on the wall. He interprets them thusly: "A long time ago in the land of the Mayas, there lived a man who was very intelligent, and he understood the heaven and the earth. He was called the winged serpent". This man built a gigantic furnace. "Everything can be found in the city of gold". Meanwhile, Sancho and Pedro try to remove a valuable jade mask which is mounted on the wall. Their efforts activate hidden machinery which thrusts stone beams out of the walls, sealing the entrance and opening an exit in the floor. The party follow it back to the city.

Top of page24. The Manuscript

The following morning, before the sailors awake, the children decide to go back down to the underground chamber again. On waking, the sailors look around for them. Meanwhile, three mysterious figures creep towards the city. In the underground chamber, the children discover that the entrance has reopened and the machinery stopped dead. Looking carefully at the jade mask, Tao finds tiny symbols on its eyes. When they press the wall tiles matching the symbols, the stone beams retract back into the walls, and another hole opens in the floor, leading to a brightly lit room containing a stone sarcophagus. The children open it, finding a statue and half a manuscript. When they emerge, they discover that the three strangers have captured Mendoza, Pedro and Sancho. The strangers are: Doctor Fernando la Guerra, a friend of the conquistador Cortez; Marinche, a native woman of evil intent; and the musclebound native Teteola. They too are searching for the Cities of Gold. They have the other half of the manuscript, and also take Tao's jar, leaving the party tied up in an old building. Kokapetl flies in and unties Tao's ropes. Tao unties the others and Mendoza knocks out the guard. The children go to get Tao's jar back but are caught in the attempt. While the Doctor shows off his whip, Mendoza overcomes him, allowing the children to escape. The children run off into the jungle, with the three sailors somewhere behind.

Top of page25. The Lake of Gold

The children climb onward, finding a lake with a spring. Esteban sees something shining at the bottom of the lake, which Tao suggests could be gold. Esteban dives in and finds golden sand. A group of Indians — allied with the Doctor — capture them, angry that their sacred fountain has been defiled. The children are locked away. A kindly woman sneaks them some food and tells them that a ceremony is to be held to purify the lake. Zia asks after her father, the Papacamayo, and is told that he passed through some years ago on his quest for the Cities of Gold. Tao sends his bird Kokapetl to find Mendoza, who is walking through the jungle with Sancho and Pedro. They see the Doctor's footprints, hear drums, and go to investigate. They come to a sheer rock face, but Kokapetl lowers a rope ladder for them to climb up. The three children are taken to the lakeside by the priest. The three sailors watch from their hiding place. A man is ceremonially covered in oil and gold dust, and steps into the lake. The people cheer and throw valuables into the water. Marinche quietly suggests to the Doctor that they poison the villagers so they can grab the valuables in safety. The children are taken to the temple to await their sacrifice the following day. They spend the night scraping away mortar in the hope of opening a hole in the wall. Marinche reads the manuscripts in her possession: they tell of three ruined cities. Mendoza sees that the lake is artificial, held back by a dam, and plans on breaking the dam to keep the villagers busy and drain the lake. While the sailors work on destroying the dam, Marinche approaches with the poison, quietly plotting to kill the Doctor and keep the gold for herself. She sees the sailors at work and raises the alarm. Mendoza breaches the dam and runs. Floodwater fills the village, but carries the gold away with it. The temple walls are broken by the force of the water, and the children float out on a conveniently placed altar boat. Kokapetl brings them the manuscript.

Top of page26. The Swamps

The party trek eastward through the mountains, tired and hungry. They stop and rest, and Tao rereads the now-complete manuscript. It reads: "The winged serpent, covered with a cloth of gold, crossing mountains and prairies, reaches the swamp of the rain god, to build a new capital". They chase an iguana, catch and eat it. Meanwhile, the Doctor, Marinche and Teteola are following their trail, and take a different route to get ahead of them. They are attacked by a giant eagle, forcing them to fall from the mountain path and get trapped on a ledge. The party, following the same path, are attacked by the bird. Spears are of little help, but the Doctor shoots the bird from the ledge below. In return he asks for his rescue, but Mendoza refuses, so he asks again with his gun pointed at Mendoza's head. Esteban throws down a rope and they climb up, Mendoza taking the Doctor's gun for safekeeping. They reach the prairie. The Doctor and his associates are exhausted and choose to stop and rest while the party go on ahead. Marinche knows that the prairie is actually a swamp, but the party don't, though they find out soon enough. They find themselves surrounded by alligators, but escape by crossing the water on giant lily leaves. They reach firm ground, and as a storm brews overhead, find a statue of the rain god.

Top of page27. The Doors of Night

They head east from the swamp towards what the manuscript calls "the two tunnels". While walking through a forest they hear a strange moaning sound which turns out to be a fierce wind roaring through a narrow mountain pass. They make their way through against the wind, narrowly avoiding an avalanche of rocks which blocks the exit. They find a small tunnel which leads to the far side of the mountains, overlooking another ruined city. Here they find another winged serpent statue. A rock falls from a nearby building, nearly crushing Mendoza. While the others run to find whoever pushed it, the Doctor and Marinche capture Zia. Mendoza is forced to hand over his pistol to the Doctor. While the sailors are guarded by Teteola, the Doctor takes the children to a temple guarded by a jaguar statue. Tao is forced to read the hieroglyphs below the statue, which read: "When he calls out, face the sun and the doors of night will open". They decide that the temple doors will open when sunlight is reflected onto the statue. Esteban does so with his medallion, and the statue slides aside, revealing a descending stairway which they follow. When Teteola tires in the heat, Mendoza overpowers him, and Sancho & Pedro tie him up. Back in the temple, the children, the Doctor and Marinche find another manuscript. When the Doctor picks it up, the floor descends, trapping him in a hole. Kokapetl grabs the manuscript and Tao pushes Marinche into the hole. The party regroup. Tao examines the second manuscript, which reveals that once they retrieve the third manuscript from near a forest of terracotta statues, all will be revealed.

Top of page28. The Forest of Statues

The party leave the city, heading north. The Doctor and his associates escape, but without the second manuscript they don't realise that they're heading the wrong way. The party trek through more forest, until Kokapetl finds them a river. Mendoza has them build a raft to take them north more quickly. They manage to ride through a stretch of rapids, but the raft begins to break up. Moments later they realise that they're heading towards a waterfall. As they try to paddle to the riverbank, the raft breaks up completely. Sancho & Pedro make it out of the water. Zia is carried off, clinging to a log, while the others try to rescue her. They're carried over the edge but survive, emerging from the water at the bottom of the fall. In the forest nearby they see terracotta statues. Sancho & Pedro, meanwhile, have found a stream of water laden with golden sand, coming from a cave which leads to the underground third ruined city. There too is a statue of the winged serpent, but like the rest of the city it has been damaged by intense heat. Esteban uses his medallion once again to reflect sunlight onto a pair of doors, which try to open but collapse due to their damaged state. Behind them, a gold statue holds the third manuscript, which reads: "That day, the sky began to blaze. Clouds of dust fell back on the earth, and greater clouds sprang up over the sea, on that day". The message seems to make no sense, but when a frustrated Tao throws the manuscripts away they get wet, and they realise that certain letters are written in waterproof ink. When they wash away the rest, a new message is formed: "To the west of the land of the Mayas, look for the Burning Shield".

Top of page29. The Burning Shield

After more travelling, the party find the Burning Shield, a mountain. From its summit shines a strange light, which causes Tao's jar to glow. Eager to investigate the mountain, they find a cave where a stream emerges. The cave turns out to be a dead end, the water emerging from a small hole. More water gushes through, threatening to flood the cave. They seek refuge climbing rocks, and find a passage which the follow. A stairway leads to a massive chamber in the heart of the mountain, centred by a massive crystal spire. Strange-looking people, the Olmecs, are operating machinery beneath the crystal, which is apparently some kind of power source. The crystal glows, Tao's jar glowing with it. The Olmecs shut down the system due to a malfunction. A security device signals a disturbance, and they commence a search. The party hide in a room filled with what we would recognise as electrical generators. The children wait there while the sailors scout around. One of the Olmecs, Commander Kalmec, finds soil from the spillage cave. When the generator room is searched, the children run to a room with a huge carved face on the wall. A voice welcomes them, claiming to be the god and soul of the Olmecs. When the children try to leave, a strange beam of light from the face's eyes knocks them out. They awake to find themselves undergoing medical examination by the Olmecs, who plan to transplant cells from the children's bodies to their own, to slow down their aging process. The Olmec chief, Menator, introduces himself. Zia notices dozens of dead bodies behind glass panels, but is told that they are merely Olmecs in a deep sleep. The children are taken elsewhere, but rescued by Mendoza en route. They run, emerging near the top of the mountain with no way down. Mendoza realises from the lay of the land that the three ruined cities are all nearby, within a day's walk, and concludes that the Cities of Gold must also be nearby. However, the Cities of Gold will have to wait, as the party are cornered and forced to surrender to the Olmecs.

Top of page30. The Escape

Kalmec shows the captive party their giant crystal, explaining that it was created by an ancestor of the Olmecs to transform light and geothermal energy into usable energy. The party are taken to Menator. He calls in Maïna, an enslaved Maya girl, who brings him Tao's jar. Menator asks the party about the Cities of Gold. Mendoza claims to know little of them. Esteban tries to get Tao's jar back but is hit by a stun ray. The three sailors are put to work cleaning out a reservoir tank, while the children are taken to the Olmec doctors. Menator orders that the children be placed in suspended animation to avoid them being injured trying to escape, and discusses with Kalmec the importance of finding the Cities of Gold. The sailors plan to escape through reservoir waste pipe. Mendoza overcomes their guard and they run for it. Maïna gives them Tao's stuff and tells them that the children are to be frozen. Kokapetl helps Mendoza distract guards, and he messes with the controls of the power system. The children are placed in the refrigeration room. The power fails due to Mendoza's tampering. In the confusion Mendoza rescues the children. The party run, finding a dead end. A fight with the Olmecs ensues, but an Olmec spear breaks open a thin rock wall, making an exit. From there they return to the reservoir and escape — along with Maïna — via the drainage channel they found earlier.

Top of page31. The Village of the New Sun

The party make their way along a narrow mountain ledge, with the Olmecs in pursuit. Once onto flat ground, they're surrounded by the Olmecs, but the Olmecs are ambushed by a group of Maya. Esteban saves Maïna from an attacking Olmec, and the Olmecs retreat. The attacking Maya are led by Wynacocha, Maïna's husband-to-be. He takes them back to the village of the Maya of the New Sun, a tribe dedicated to fighting the Olmecs. Wynacocha goes to see the village Chief, a traveller who arrived there five years ago, who is also Maïna's adopted father. Now that they have Maïna back, they have no reason not to attack the Olmec base in the mountain. But the Chief is ill and begs Wynacocha to wait for his recovery so that he might lead the attack. The Olmecs, meanwhile, capture the Doctor, Marinche and Teteola. They prove their "good intentions" to the Olmec Chief, Menator, by offering him a gold condor statue they know the whereabouts of. Esteban, Zia and Maïna gather herbs to make medicine for the sick Maya Chief. Zia laments the loss of her own father. The Doctor leads a group of Olmecs to the whole where the golden condor landed. In the Maya village, Sancho & Pedro escape from their locked room, and go exploring. They find the Chief's house and try listening down the chimney, but fall through the roof and are caught. Wynacocha is angry and has them locked up again. The imprisoned party overhear a Maya scout reporting that the Olmecs have found a gold condor statue. When Maïna tells the old Chief about the children, he recognises Zia's name, revealing that he is Zia's father, the Papacamayo of Puna. Maïna rushes to fetch Zia, but the children have already escaped to get the condor back.

Top of page32. Attack of the Olmecs

The Olmecs are on the march, having found out the location of the Maya village. The children see a shadowy figure, from which they run only to be confronted by another. They turn out to be Gomez and Gaspard, whom they had thought to be dead. Gomez and Gaspard cannot return to Pizarro because of their various failures in the past, and are now searching for the Cities of Gold. The children tell them that Mendoza, Sancho and Pedro are dead. They join forces to get the condor from the Olmecs, who are preparing to lift the condor with ropes. Olmec forces surround the Maya village. The three sailors help prepare the village's defences. The children, with Gomez and Gaspard, build a "monster" out of an old wagon, furs, and torches... and gunpowder. It explodes in the Olmecs' faces, temporarily frightening them off. While Gomez and Gaspard hold off the Olmecs, the children climb into the condor. The sun rises just in time, and the condor takes off with Gomez and Gaspard clinging onto the beak. Esteban accidentally flies the condor through some trees, leaving Gomez and Gaspard hanging from the upper branches. The children fly the condor over the Maya village, which is being set aflame by the Olmecs. The Papacamayo drags himself from his bed to fight, but is critically wounded by an Olmec arrow. The condor's arrival scares the Olmecs away.

Top of page33. The Reunion

The condor lands in the village. The wounded Papacamayo is finally reunited with his daughter Zia. He tells her that after Pizarro captured her and took her away to Spain, he went on a quest to find the Cities of Gold, and finally found the gates to just such a city at the intersection of the diagonals of a square formed by the three ruined cities and the Burning Shield. He warns that in the City lies a priceless treasure which would place the world in great danger if it fell into Olmec hands. Then he dies. The Olmecs, discovering that the condor statue is actually a flying machine, believe that they have been tricked by the Doctor and his associates. The Olmecs in suspended animation are starting to die; the Olmecs power source is no longer sufficient to maintain their refrigeration, and retrieving the great treasure from the Cities of Gold becomes an urgent priority. Wynacocha travels to other villages to seek help in fighting the Olmecs, but the other tribes are too frightened to fight. Sancho and Pedro, meanwhile, plan to leave now that they know where the Cities of Gold are. Mendoza, angered by their reluctance to stay and fight, thumps them and tells Esteban that the three of them will help fight the Olmecs. Meanwhile, the other tribes meet and decide to join forces and fight after all.

Top of page34. Revolt of the Mayas

In the early hours of the morning, Kokapetl wakes Esteban and Tao. They find Zia at her father's grave. Tao explains his plan to arm the condor with weapons. As the sun rises, the Maya attack the Olmec mountain. The Olmecs defend themselves with spears, swords and various booby-traps. Back at the village, Mendoza supervises the construction of two wheeled siege towers. The Doctor and his associates are thrown in prison by the Olmecs. The Maya, faring badly, are forced to retreat and regroup. The mountain seems impenetrable, until Mendoza's two battle towers are hauled into position and battle resumes. Gomez and Gaspard reach the Maya village, and see the condor, which is now being loaded with baskets full of rocks. They corner the village women in a hut and grab Zia. Esteban, Tao and the women overcome them. The children take off in the condor, but Gomez and Gaspard escape, grabbing hold of the wooden framework supporting the baskets on the condor. The battle takes a turn for the worse when the Olmecs set fire to one of the battle towers. But the condor arrives, dropping rocks — and Gaspard — on the Olmecs. The Maya force the Olmecs to retreat into the mountain, chased all the way. The condor lands, Gomez leaping off. Menator, the Olmec Chief, is not frightened, for he still has a secret weapon. Gomez rejoins Gaspard, and points out that if Mendoza and the children are here, the Cities of Gold can't be far away.

Top of page35. The Olmec Machine

Tao ponders his jar; why does it react to the Olmecs' crystal? Is their power source similar to the sun-power with which the Hiva people destroyed themselves? Gomez and Gaspard turn up, forcing the children to go into the mountain with them. Wynacocha announces that the main body of the Olmec army has been defeated. The three sailors hear about the children being taken into the mountain and look for a way to follow them inside. Gomez, Gaspard and the children are coaxed down a corridor and a long staircase by a projection of Menator. The children manage to escape and run ahead. Gomez and Gaspard give chase, and they all end up in the cryochamber where the suspended Olmecs are kept. Menator makes another holographic appearance, explaining the the plight of his people: Long ago a terrible war broke out, most of the world's population wiped out. The Olmecs took refuge in the mountain, the Earth poisoned by the war. Over generations, their bodies changed. No longer able to bear children, they seek immortality through their cell-transplant experiments. Menator pretends to know the location of the Cities of Gold to trick Gomez and Gaspard into cooperating. It works, and they follow him, dragging the children along. The three sailors, meanwhile, enter the mountain via the cave with the stream. Gomez, Gaspard, and the children, are led to the room with the huge face on the wall. It slides open from the centre, and Menator invites them to enter the darkness beyond. The children try to escape but are cornered. Mendoza, Sancho and Pedro burst in, and a fight ensues. Menator drags Zia into the darkness. The wall slides closed. Menator looks down from one of the face's eyes, threatening to hurt Zia. Rather than allow this, Esteban tells him where the Cities of Gold are. Light fills the room. A strange Olmec machine burrows its way through the mountain, bringing ceilings crashing down all over the base. The Doctor and his companions escape from their cell only to be killed by the machine's passing. The machine emerges into the open air, revealing itself to be a bizarre flying machine.

Top of page36. Aeriel Pursuit

The Olmec flying machine attacks the Maya, vaporising some with a heat ray. Esteban heads back to the condor to chase the Olmec machine in the hope of rescuing Zia. Tao and Mendoza go with him. An aerial game of cat and mouse ensues between the two craft. The Olmec machine rams the condor, trying to force it to land. That fails, so the Olmecs fire warning shots with the heat ray. Esteban takes the condor above the Olmec machine, upside down; opening the canopy he jumps onto the top of the Olmec machine, Tao following and leaving Mendoza to roughly land the condor. The Olmec machine lands near the condor, and Mendoza slips away. Esteban and Tao, on the roof of the Olmec machine, find an way in, and once inside follow a guard to the control room. Once there they knock out the machine's pilots. Tao tries to figure out the machine's controls, causing chaos as it hurls itself around. Kalmec comes to the control room to investigate, and while Esteban runs off to find Zia, he captures Tao. Esteban finds Zia with Menator on the command deck. Zia closes the door. Kalmec fetches a portable heat-ray gun to cut open the door. Esteban breaks the window and he and Zia jump out into the lake below. Esteban swims, carrying Zia, to a nearby island.

Top of page37. The City of Gold

Sancho and Pedro meet Mendoza at the condor. He has figured out where the Cities of Gold are: on the island in the middle of the lake. The Maya have wiped out the Olmec army and now control the land. Menator, meanwhile, has also figured out the location of the Cities of Gold. Esteban and Zia, washed up on the island, are found, and wake up in comfortable beds where they meet the High Priest of the Cities of Gold. He explains his duty to guard the gates of the Cities from attack. Gomez and Gaspard see the Olmec machine circling the island and, concluding that the Cities of Gold must be there, swim to it. As night falls, the Olmecs are still unable to find the gates to the Cities. The three sailors swim out to the island while Wynacocha goes to fetch reinforcements. The High Priest, beneath the mountainous terrain of the island, shows Esteban and Zia two things: a library which apparently holds a copy of every document ever written, and the gates to the Cities of Gold. The Olmecs, meanwhile, find the entrance to the underground chamber. These doors open, and the High Priest and his servants emerge. Menator emerges from the Olmec machine and demands that the High Priest open the gates to the Cities of Gold. When the High Priest refuses, the Olmecs dangle Tao from their machine by a rope and bash him against the mountainside. The High Priest tells Esteban and Zia that the decision is theirs alone, and at their behest he agrees to open the gates. Kalmec leads a small group to the underground chamber containing the gates, and the outer doors are closed. The High Priest explains all to the children: Long ago existed two mighty and prosperous empires; Hiva to the west, in the Pacific, and Atlantis to the east. Both knew the secret of harnessing the power of the sun. Finally a terrible war broke out between them, and the weapons of the sun which they used destroyed both their islands, sinking them in catastrophic earthquakes. But the Emperor of Hiva had foreseen this catastrophe, and had ordered the construction of seven Cities of Gold around the world, each containing a power source. Over the centuries, the two lost empires were forgotten. Finally the two medallions which open the Cities both reappeared, one passed down through Zia's family, the other found by Esteban's father. Thus both medallions came into the possession of children, as was the Emperor's wish: that the fate of the Cities of Gold and the awesome power they contain should be in the hands of innocent children. With Tao's life in the hands of Kalmec, Esteban and Zia agree to open the gates with their medallions, and a magnificent, underground City of Gold is revealed.

Top of page38. The Great Legacy

At dawn, the Olmec machine takes off, separating into five parts which proceed to attack the outer doors in the mountainside. Gomez and Gaspard see it and charge towards it, angry that the Olmecs might beat them to the Cities of Gold. The machine's efforts distort the doors, making a big enough gap for Mendoza to sneak through with Sancho & Pedro. Inside, Tao escapes from Kalmec with the help of Mendoza who arrives just in time. The Olmec flying machine breaks through the outer doors, passing through the open gates into the City, where it reassembles. Kalmec and his men slip away to the tower at the centre of the City to seek the great treasure. The High Priest is waiting for him at the entrance to the tower, and suggests finding a peaceful solution to the Olmecs' problems. At first Kalmec appears to agree, but then stabs the High Priest and runs into the tower. Consulting various ancient documents he finds the great treasure, a sun-power unit, but dismisses the jar-shaped hole in its centre. When he picks up the power unit, a security system is activated. The domed roof of the underground city opens. Huge solar panels appear, encircling the city and focussing the sun's light on the central tower, which uses the energy to shoot down the Olmec flying machine. Menator survives, however, and returns to the Burning Shield with Kalmec. Esteban asks the High Priest about the travelling prophet who foretold the arrival of himself and Zia. The High Priest explains that the prophet travels the world searching for all seven Cities of Gold, and no-one knows where to find him.

Top of page39. The End of the City of Gold

Gomez and Gaspard reach the now-exposed city and start gathering gold. At the Burning Shield, Kalmec installs the power unit beneath the crystal spire, under Menator's instructions. It functions, but then overheats and sinks into the ground. Back at the City, Tao's jar glows once again. The High Priest realises that the Olmecs have activated the device. He explains that the jar is actually a vital part of the power unit, without which the power unit will overload and sink into the earth's core, causing a catastrophe of global proportions. The High Priest sets out for the Burning Shield in the hope of shutting down the power unit. As the malfunctioning power unit begins its descent into the earth, the City is shaken by seismic tremors, and the Olmec base at the Burning Shield is utterly destroyed. Mendoza, back at the City of Gold, asks the High Priest's servants why they have not accompanied their master. They explain that the real High Priest died three years earlier. At the Burning Shield, the so-called High Priest prepares to follow the path of the descending power unit. Esteban asks him once more about the travelling prophet, but the High Priest cannot tell him where the prophet went. Mendoza, meanwhile, has just discovered that the so-called High Priest is the travelling prophet, Esteban's father, but decides that it would be easier for Esteban if he isn't told. Further tremors shake the earth. Gomez and Gaspard disappear into the lake as the City of Gold is swallowed by the earth. The High Priest finds the reactor deep underground. He installs the jar, shutting the power unit down, averting the catastrophe but apparently dying in the attempt. Mendoza shows Sancho & Pedro the gold he grabbed from the City earlier. The children return to the condor, determined to cross the Pacific in search of the other six Cities of Gold. They agree to meet Mendoza, Sancho & Pedro someday at the little tavern in Barcelona where they first met. Then the condor takes off, and the three children fly into the sunset.

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