He blinked. Ryan could feel the light falling on his eyelids. His head still hurt, so he kept his eyes closed.
Birds were singing. “That’s a good sign,” he thought.
There was a whiff of musty damp earth. He clenched his hands, and clutched a handful of leaves. Ryan took a deep breath, and coughed. Blinking his eyes slowly open, he surveyed his surroundings. He was propped sitting up against a tree. Slivers of sunlight slipped through the leafy canopy above. This was definitely not the city.
Panic gripped Ryan and he scrambled up. He coughed again.
“Where am I?”
“You couldn’t find anyone else?”
“It has to be him.”
Trying to calm down, Ryan hazily recalled the events of the evening before. Something about a taxi and the driver turning around to face him and spraying something into his face.
He had to start moving. In the distance, he could see a massive stone structure. He started walking. There was a soft crackling to his right. He only caught a glimmer of bluish light before it faded together with the sound.
After what seemed like an eternity, he reached what appeared to be the entrance to some ruins. Aztec, or maybe Incan. It didn’t matter. It looked pretty run-down. There was a tall white totem pole on the left of the ruins. At an equal distance reflected to the right, an ebony statue stood in stark contrast to the surroundings.
And straight ahead in the centre, sat a curiously squarish structure. Ryan moved closer and saw 2 stairways set in the structure, leading downwards, like twin nostrils of a slumbering giant. Brushing aside the unpleasant feeling of venturing into the nasal stone passages, he noticed some carvings above the stairways.
51 82 68 87 65 89
66 69 72 73 78 68
83 84 65 84 85 69
Ryan was still thinking about which of the two uninviting routes he’s going to try when he looked at those carvings again. Smiling again, he chose his route.
What was Ryan’s choice?
The answer will be published in a comment here after a week (on 23 May). Or if some genius reader adds in a comment. Whichever is earlier.
[UPDATE: Christopher has already solved the puzzle. View answer.]