Without seeking direction from her father, Tiani hurried away and returned from her tent holding an envelope, which she handed to Levi. “Je’ela wáaj u páajtal a xook le ba’ala’?”
“She wants to know if I can read this,” Levi said, taking the envelope. Nicholas and Timothy both peered over Levi’s shoulder.
“It’s in Spanish,” Timothy said. “Most of us should be able to read Spanish.”
“I wonder if she can read the letter.” Levi looked up at her. “Je’ela wáaj u páajtal a xook le ba’ala’?”
“Ma’.” Tiani shook her head.
“Can you speak Spanish?” Levi chuckled, probably realizing he needed to ask her in Yucatec. “Ba’ax je’el u páajtal a t’aan kastláan t’aan?”
“Si, puedo hablar español,” Tiani answered in perfect Spanish.
“She speaks Spanish,” Levi called out to the group with a giant smile on his face. “I wonder if all of them speak Spanish. Ba’ax je’el u páajtal a t’aan kastláan t’aan?” He waved his hand around, pointing to the warriors and the tribal chief.
Tiani again answered in the affirmative, explaining they spoke Spanish when they traded with the local villages.
For the rest of the evening, most everyone conversed in a broken combination of Spanish, Yucatec, and English. Nicholas sensed the team and the tribe relax into the common language with a mutual gratitude to understand one another without the need for a translator.
Eventually they circled back to the strange letter that Tiani had handed Levi. He read aloud to the group in Spanish, then read it again, translating into English to offer clarification for those in the group who were only mildly fluent in Spanish.
“This is a final will and testament,” Levi explained. “I, Prince Marcos Sayid of Mada’in Saleh do hereby bequeath my blessing to my wife, Akna Sayid, and our son, Emir Sayid, along with twenty-three million Mexican pesos, to be held in perpetuity until at which time they should wish to draw from the account.”
“Your little Mayan princess is a millionaire,” Nicholas mumbled. “Probably several times over if it’s been gathering interest for three generations.”
“There’s also information here about the local bank where the funds are being held,” Levi said. “The account is in Flores.”
Nicholas felt compelled to offer a formal greeting to the princess and tell her he was honored to meet her. “Princesa Tiani, me siento honrado de conocerte.”
Others of the team also bowed their head in respect. There were murmurs among the tribesmen. Her elevated status was news to them as well.
“Su Alteza”—Nicholas bowed to the tribal chief addressing him as Your Highness— “Me siento honrado de conocerte.” Nicholas wanted to make the message clear. The American scientists held the Mayan royal family in high esteem. This turn of events could actually go a long way to improving relations between the two groups.
They would use this to their advantage.