Vitamins, Supplements, Sport Nutrition

CHAPTER 106

Mal’akh wore only his silk loincloth as he dashed up the ramp, through the steel door, and out through the painting into his living room. I need to prepare quickly. He glanced over at the dead CIA agent in the foyer. This home is no longer safe.

Carrying the stone pyramid in one hand, Mal’akh strode directly to his first-floor study and sat down at his laptop computer. As he logged in, he pictured Langdon downstairs and wondered how many days or even weeks would pass before the submerged corpse was discovered in the secret basement. It made no difference. Mal’akh would be long gone by then.

Langdon has served his role . . . brilliantly.

Not only had Langdon reunited the pieces of the Masonic Pyramid, he had figured out how to solve the arcane grid of symbols on the base. At first glance, the symbols seemed indecipherable . . . and yet the answer was simple . . . staring them in the face.

Mal’akh’s laptop sprang to life, the screen displaying the same e-mail he had received earlier-a photograph of a glowing capstone, partially blocked by Warren Bellamy’s finger.

The

secret hides

within The Order. ^^MFranklin Square.

Eight . . . Franklin Square, Katherine had told Mal’akh. She had also admitted that CIA agents were staking out Franklin Square, hoping to capture Mal’akh and also figure out what order was being referenced by the capstone. The Masons? The Shriners? The Rosicrucians?

None of these, Mal’akh now knew. Langdon saw the truth.

Ten minutes earlier, with liquid rising around his face, the Harvard professor had figured out the key to solving the pyramid. “The Order Eight Franklin Square!” he had shouted, terror in his eyes. “The secret hides within The Order Eight Franklin Square!”

At first, Mal’akh failed to understand his meaning.

“It’s not an address!” Langdon yelled, his mouth pressed to the Plexiglas window. “The Order Eight Franklin Square! It’s a magic square!” Then he said something about Albrecht Dürer . . . and how the pyramid’s first code was a clue to breaking this final one.

Mal’akh was familiar with magic squares—kameas, as the early mystics called them. The ancient text De Occulta Philosophia described in detail the mystical power of magic squares and the methods for designing powerful sigils based on magical grids of numbers. Now Langdon was telling him that a magic square held the key to deciphering the base of the pyramid?

“You need an eight-by-eight magic square!” the professor had been yelling, his lips the only part of his body above the liquid. “Magic squares are categorized in orders! A three-by-three square is an ‘order three’! A four-by-four square is an ‘order four’! You need an ‘order eight’!”

The liquid had been about to engulf Langdon entirely, and the professor drew one last desperate breath and shouted out something about a famous Mason . . . an American forefather . . . a scientist, mystic, mathematician, inventor . . . as well as the creator of the mystical kamea that bore his name to this day.

Franklin.

In a flash, Mal’akh knew Langdon was right.

Now, breathless with anticipation, Mal’akh sat upstairs at his laptop. He ran a quick Web search, received dozens of hits, chose one, and began reading.

THE ORDER EIGHT FRANKLIN SQUARE

One of history’s best-known magic squares is the order-eight square published in 1769 by American scientist Benjamin Franklin, and which became famous for its inclusion of never-before-seen “bent diagonal summations.” Franklin’s obsession with this mystical art form most likely stemmed from his personal associations with the prominent alchemists and mystics of his day, as well as his own belief in astrology, which were the underpinnings for the predictions made in his Poor Richard’s Almanack.

52

61

4

13

20

29

36

45

14

3

62

51

46

35

30

19

53

60

5

12

21

28

37

44

11

6

59

54

43

38

27

22

55

58

7

10

23

26

39

42

9

8

57

56

41

40

25

24

50

63

2

15

18

31

34

47

16

1

64

49

48

33

32

17

Mal’akh studied Franklin’s famous creation—a unique arrangement of the numbers 1 through 64—in which every row, column, and diagonal added up to the same magical constant. The secret hides within The Order Eight Franklin Square.

Mal’akh smiled. Trembling with excitement, he grabbed the stone pyramid and flipped it over, examining the base.

These sixty-four symbols needed to be reorganized and arranged in a different order, their sequence defined by the numbers in Franklin’s magic square. Although Mal’akh could not imagine how this chaotic grid of symbols would suddenly make sense in a different order, he had faith in the ancient promise.

Ordo ab chao.

Heart racing, he took out a sheet of paper and quickly drew an empty eight-by-eight grid. Then he began inserting the symbols, one by one, in their newly defined positions. Almost immediately, to his astonishment, the grid began making sense.

Order from chaos!

He completed the entire decryption and stared in disbelief at the solution before him. A stark image had taken shape. The jumbled grid had been transformed . . . reorganized . . . and although Mal’akh could not grasp the meaning of the entire message, he understood enough . . . enough to know exactly where he was now headed.

The pyramid points the way.

The grid pointed to one of the world’s great mystical locations. Incredibly, it was the same location at which Mal’akh had always fantasized he would complete his journey.

Destiny.