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This is an entry to the Fortnightly Topic Challenge #27: .

Last weekend was fun. We went on a trek to a nearby place located in the middle of a huge jungle. We decided to set up camp there. Though a couple of my friends argued with the idea, the rest of us were excited.

It was almost midnight when we decided to check out our surroundings. We had walked only a little way when we saw some carvings made on a tree. We were not sure what they were, but they seemed interesting. We lit up our torches and started examining the art more carefully.

enter image description here

We noted it down on a piece of paper and tried to solve it. It took us some time to figure out what was hidden there. But what we found out was - EXCITING!

We moved ahead with that note and came upon a similar tree right nearby, pointing to the tree we had just visited. This time we knew what we needed to do.

enter image description here

It was not exactly the same, but well, upon observing more, we got what we needed and why those trees were right next to each other.

We went ahead. There was a cave nearby. We went in and to our surprise, we found a locked locker with a note. The note had one readable line followed by some nonsense characters; it looked like this -

DO YOU HAVE THE TWELVE? GO AHEAD AND FETCH THE NEXT NINE(4,5)!
Bh fs csdw, Zp rc fwxykw.
Ezj ltif im mfyvvd, tnor yho rvm elurey.
Yho texlfzj ql whluw, paom rc rmhnzsvk,
T kfr soex psc, lz ufor a vujxtw. /\

Once we had decoded the note, we found a riddle hidden inside it. We were sure the combination for the locker was hiding somewhere in this final riddle.

Can you help us break this final twist to find the treasure?

zgjwHrpx

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    $\begingroup$ Yeah the last part is imgur $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Feb 21 '17 at 13:59
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Since no one else has done so, here's the complete solve:

The symbols on both tree trunks are

Flag Semaphore

The first tree, as TheGreatEscaper realized reads:

If you can read this you are close to treasure.

The second one (which I decoded) is numeric. Parsing it yields:

twelve numbers in two rows: 8 7 13 5 9 10 and 1 16 24 1 2 10, which corresponds to "the twelve" in the riddle.

TheGreatEscaper's next step:

Taking the sentence from the first tree (without spaces), if you take the letter that corresponds to each number, you get:

  8 = n
  7 = a
 13 = t
  5 = u
  9 = r
 10 = e
  1 = I
 16 = s
 24 = l
  1 = I
  2 = f
 10 = e
NATURE IS LIFE

This can then be used to decrypt the riddle by using it as a vigenere key, resulting in:

Oh my love, Oh my sweets.
Why does it sounds, like you are mammal.
You capture my words, hide my emotions,
I can fold you, to make a castle. /\

In the comments, Gareth McCaughan realized that the riddle

lead to the words DEAR DIARY.

Which can be used as another Vigenere key on the final letters. Preserving the original captitalization, we get an imgur link:

wcjfEjpg -> wcjfE.jpg -> https://i.stack.imgur.com/wcjfE.jpg

Which is

enter image description here

We've found the treasure, and are victorious!

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  • $\begingroup$ You have chosen the right track there. +1 Observe the carvings carefully and see how you can relate things. $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Feb 21 '17 at 17:49
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Partial:

The first one is simply:

semaphore

Which translates to:

If you can read this you are close to treasure

Working off Bobsons findings, presented here in copy paste (go upvote Bobson!)

COPY: The second tree trunk is also

semaphore,

but this time

it's numeric.

Parsing it yields

Twelve numbers in two rows: 8 7 13 5 9 10 and 1 16 24 1 2 10, which corresponds to "the twelve" in the riddle. No luck using these numbers to decipher it yet, though.

PASTE

Back to my findings after Bobson got stuck.

You should:

Take the letters in the numerical positions in the first sentence

You get:

NATURE IS LIFE

Using this as a vigenere to decrypt the riddle:

Oh my love, Oh my sweets.
Why does it sounds, like you are mammal.
You capture my words, hide my emotions,
I can fold you, to make a castle. /\

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  • $\begingroup$ I updated your answer with the second semaphore. I tried using this as a vigenère key (even tried deciphering it 12 times) without any luck... $\endgroup$ – Mike Limburg Feb 21 '17 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeLimburg Instead of editing other answer, you can work on your own. $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Feb 21 '17 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ Ah! I kept trying to use the numbers sequentially in some way. (Take the 8th, then 7 beyond that, etc). I missed the completely obvious option of taking them literally. Nor did I apply it to the plaintext line. Well done. $\endgroup$ – Bobson Feb 22 '17 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I can't reproduce how you got that from the numbers. Can you elaborate on that step? $\endgroup$ – Bobson Feb 22 '17 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ The riddle leads to the words DEAR DIARY. Using this as Vigenere key for the final string of letters takes you to an imgur image of some emeralds (I assume that's what they are) and the words "You are victorious!". $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 22 '17 at 16:23

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