OR THE RATH OF TWO PRINCESSES...
As related by the Princess Mennehotep in her new time, the Twentieth Century....
Disclaimer: This is a work of Fan Fiction. The Characters of Mummies Alive are the Property of DIC Inc. The character of Lyris and Avaris are property of "the Goddess Mia, which I used out of joy for the complexity of the Muse's character. The characters of Princess Kara and Princess Mennehotep are my own creations. If you wish to use them, I have no reservations, save that you give credit where it is due. Thank you. :) -Theresa E. Meyers
Late afternoon in California fell as it normally did. The gentle lull of traffic swelled into full rush hour. Normal commuters honked their horns, and hoped that they could coax the inexorable slowing to a fast rush. However, as nighttime approached, three strange vehicles struggled to avoid the column of traffic. A glistening mini-craft hurtled only a few hundred feet from the pavement. If one caught a glimpse, they could see the definite Egyptian motif displayed in the vehicle's. And if one noticed more closely the occupant, it would seem as if a large cobra were at the controls. A cobra with arms and legs, that is.
And roaring below to keep pace was a motorcycle. One couldn't help but notice the glittering gold and turquoise jackal behind the handlebars as it sped just beneath the air craft.
Shortly behind followed a bizarre street roadster, with a powerful engine. It too displayed the Egyptian design elements of the previous two vehicles. Its occupants were hidden by the tinting of the dome cabin.|
From high above, the scribe peered with penetrating green eyes beneath his cobra headdress. Over the radio crackled the voice of his leader.
"Can you see it yet?"
"Unfortunately I'm not blessed with your eagle eyes," the scribe grumbled. "But wait, I think I am homing onto a strong trace of Magic...."
"Keep your course straight and true, and we cannot fail," came Ja-Kal's answer. Now, in the corner of his vision, the Scribe, named Rath, could glimpse the glimmer of gold as his leader soared nearby. Ja-Kal had no need for the aircraft, with his armored wings to carry him.
"When I get my hands on the young prince," muttered Rath. "Of all the idiotic places to go by oneself! A city... oh...what was it called?"
"Los Angeles," said Nefer-Tina's sprightly voice over the radio channel.
"But the Pyramid said 'The city of Angels'," muttered Rath. "I simply must design a translator for modern phraseology.."
"Didn't it say something about the Wood of Holly?" asked a lyric voice, from the Jackal riding the motorcycle. "It would be so nice to see a forest again..."
"Hollywood," corrected Nefer-Tina. "You know, bright lights, big city... home of the stars.."
"Why in the Name of Osiris would the stars live in a forest?" wondered Ja-Kal. "This time is truly full of wonders..."
"Not that type of star..." giggled Nefer-Tina. "It's the home of those people in the Spirit Box!"
"I hope they have good food there," boomed yet another voice. "We need to stop for a snack!"
The down to earth desires of his friend never ceased to elicit a sense of irritation to the Scribe. Armon was forever feeding his massive strength with a constant supply of the food from this strange time of the Reborn Prince.
"I've fixed our destination..." Rath announced with some pride. "It is in that city ahead!"
"The City of Angels," murmured the fifth and most recent guardian. "Such a lovely name for such a grey place." If Ja-Kal had his lungs he would cough at the filthiness of the air. It was like flying into a desert sandstorm. Quickly the Osiran guardian dipped beneath the haze. Rath followed his example, with his new craft. At last they could comfortably see.
A sight caused the scribe to gasp, "Great Ra, what a city!" Far below them stretched an expanse worthy of Memphis itself. Small scale pyramids rose gracefully from the landscape, amidst a grand temple. It was a large scale version of the museum they'd left far behind in San Francisco.
"Are we back in our fair mother land?" wondered the Scribe.. He could almost believe himself there. A chiming shriek brought him out of his brown study. "I've got it! Rapses' amulet must be inside the great temple!"
"Well done, Rath," said Ja-Kal. Nodding with self approval, Rath smiled.
"When do we move in?" asked Nefer-Tina.
"When do we have dinner?" asked Armon.
"We must wait till the Goddess Net hides us," commanded Ja-Kal. Then we will move in. Nefer Tina, Armon, you will come with me, into the front of the Palace. Rath, take Lyres and see if you can approach our enemy from behind..." "Are you certain you will not require my skills to confront...."
"We cannot be certain that it is Scarab who holds the Prince," said Ja-Kal. "You did say that it was difficult to explain the source of the magic that blocks the Prince's thoughts from us..."
"Let me get this straight," said Lyres. You can still hear the Amulet of the Prince, but you say the other magic blocks it..."
"What I mean is, that even thought I can >home in= on the amulet's Magic, a stronger Magic is preventing young Rapses from talking to us in words..."
"Oh, that makes it so clear," muttered Nefer- Tina.
"Hey, Nefer- Tina..." Armon interrupted. "What do the words >Jack-in-the-Box mean?"
Armon gestured towards a strange sign covered in bizarre hieroglyphs. That image of the clown coming from the square doorway made little sense to the fighter, even though he could read.
"I smell eggs... and... it smells like what my mother used to make!"
"Time for a rest..."
"I hope Jack is generous..."
It had been the chance of a lifetime. To visit the set of the new movie. It was set for Ancient Egypt, and his mother had been called in as an advisor for historic accuracy. The museum would get good publicity for their input. Several artifacts had been unearthed from museums around the world, for the set and props department to copy into Hollywood property. It was to tell the story of one of the grandest stories of all. The love between Cleopatra, and the roman general Julius Caesar. And the bizarre love triangle that was completed by Marc Anthony. And one of Presley's favorite movie stars was playing the part of Cleopatra's other lover...
And not to mention the actress playing Cleopatra herself. But now as Presley looked back on the trip, he could kick himself. Here he was now, bound hand and foot in the strange darkness. Only the light from skylights far above gave any sense to his surroundings. Long forgotten, the autograph book lay several feet away, from his backpack.
Stretching out his foot, he could just reach the strap. "Just... at little further..." Presley Carnarvon grunted to himself. At last his sneaker toe hooked the strap, and Presley pulled. Slowly it slid across he cement floor. Presley rolled over onto his back, taking the pack with him. Something flat and metallic bounced off his back. Straining with his hands, he felt the triple prongs of his faithful boomerang. Presley made short work of the ropes that bound him. Just how had he gotten into this mess anyway? He had been bored out of his mind with his mother's lecture to the technicians, and excused himself to go stargazing. That is, till he heard muttering coming from a nearby set...|
Two men talked eagerly. Something about the gold in the borrowed parts to the exhibit. Were they common thieves? The spirit of the Pharaohs son inside of him made him suspect otherwise. Then as he reached for his amulet to summon help, he was approached from Roman candles exploded in his brain, and he awoke to voices.
"It's not here," snapped a woman's voice.
"WE looked everywhere, after we shut the power off.
"It's not good enough," snapped the woman again. "I must find it."
"There's all sorts of artifacts here!" said another woman's voice, lower this time. "Enough to make several million dollars..."
"Don't be stupid," muttered the man's voice. "That's not what..."
"Oh, why must I do everything myself?" asked the first woman's voice.
"What exactly are we looking for again?"
"An amulet. A talisman with the image of a sacred lion," clarified the first speaker.
"It was stolen from my family ages ago. I seek to return it to it's rightful status."
"But the British museum is returning the entire collection to the Egyptian government..." said the other man's voice.
"Those fools. They don't know it's true value. They'd lock it in a box in another museum, and its true use would be denied my family another thousand years..."
"And supposedly only you know its true value?" smirked the woman. "Great."
"What about the kid?" asked the man.
"If it becomes necessary, we can use him to get the influence needed..."
"Don't you know who that is?" asked the woman. "It's the son of the Advisor to this stench of a movie.
"Oh yeah. Hostage and all?"
"Sometimes Mohammed, you surprise me."
"Hoo boy," muttered Presley as he recalled. He had never seen her face. But inside, he felt the chiming of a fellow ancient spirit. Not as ancient as his, but still ancient Egyptian.
Net covered the sky with her lovely spangled body. Under her shade they could assess the situation. Rapses was not hurt, or Rath may no longer sense the vibrations of his soul. Under her shade they could assess the situation. Rapses was not hurt, or Rath may no longer sense the vibrations of his soul. That was why Ja-Kal had waited.
However, Lyris and Nefer-Tina were not so patient. They'd taken the food from Jack-in the Box, which Armon had all but as Presley would say, 'scarfed down.' Now they sat outside, beneath Net's splendor, while Lyris told a story to pass the time. The gentle bard fingers strummed her lyre. In verse unfolded the legend of Osiris, and his wife Isis. How they had conquered death with their love and devotion. Ja-Kal slipped away from the others, Rath noticed. As many times before he'd slip into a reflective mood and disappear.
From beneath his wrappings, Ja-Kal removed that familiar scrap of cloth. A tiny baby's hand-print was traced on its fibers. If he could cry, tears would be forming in his blue eyes.
Lyris's gentle ballad caressed his ears. But he wished he could shut it out. And now, if they didn't find Presley.
"Ahem," said a voice. Ja-Kal broke his musing to look at the slender figure of the Scribe. "You are missing the end of Lyris's tale"
"You're actually listing to her this time?"
"Ahem! one does not receive all his learning from the side of science!" coughed Rath.
"Hey, Ja-Kal," chimed in Armon. "There's still some bacon left! Don't miss out!"
"Or Armon will eat it all," came Nefer-Tina's sprightly laughter.
"I'm not hungry," Ja-Kal sighed.
"Do you know what day it is?" asked Rath, trying to distract his distressed leader.
"I had not noticed!"
"Is it any wonder you are so somber? It's the festival of Osiris when in the Great Pyramid."
"I know," said Ja-Kal sadly.
"Are we ready to go yet?" asked Lyris, who had just joined the two. She took in the sad despondent form of Ja-Kal, and crossed over to her leader. Her turquoise eyes met that of Rath, questioning. He shook his head, and sighed.|
Nefer-Tina also came over. In the light of the full moon she glanced at Lyris, who nodded towards Ja-Kal. Slowly she lay a hand on the first guardian's shoulder. "Ja-Kal, is it time?" she asked.
"Yes, the prince!" said Ja-Kal, straightening up. He hastily slipped the cloth in amidst his wrappings. "Prepare yourselves."
"With the strength of!" blurted out Armon before Ja-Kal covered his mouth and hissed for silence.
"What? Was it something I said!"
"We must wait till we are closer!" said Ja-Kal. "We are far from our sarcophagi. We'll need every ounce of strength to confront the unknown. We do not yet know who our adversary is!"
"But what if!" began Nefer-Tina! before a nod from Lyris cut her off.
"We'll have plenty of time for transforming once we know what we're up against!" said Rath. "Ja-Kal is right."
"Very well, I will wait," said Armon, satisfied with the explanation.
"Rath, Lyris, prepare to move out."
"B-but wait, there's no back door!" said Rath.
"Those windows in the roof will do for doors," said Ja-Kal. "Hurry now!"
Rath grumbled, annoyed he hadn't thought of the obvious alternative. Lyris chucked, and nudged Nefer-Tina. He glanced away quickly.
"What's so interesting!"
"I ..er! was looking at the stars!" Rath said hastily, as he climbed into his aircraft.
"They are beautiful," said Lyris, settling in the seat behind him. Although she didn't breath, she still took in air to speak And the force of the outrushng air hit him right on the back of his neck. And that lead to a rather uncomfortable chilling sensation throughout his mummified body. One he hadn't felt since Chandra had come under his tutelage. And she had left him. Dare he try again? As they took off towards the temple, his eyes glimpsed the stars. They had slightly shifted in their position in the time he'd been dead. "There's Isis!" said Lyris, pointing to a bright object near the horizon.
"Yes! correct. But where is mighty Osiris!" mumbled Rath. Then the telltale three stars blared into view. The sky craft swerved, in his momentary excitement. As he gasped and overcompensated, Lyris was almost thrown into his lap.
"Are you all right?" she asked, brushing herself off as Rath straightened the craft out. "Your mind seems to be far away!"
"Er! I'm just worried about the Prince."
"But didn't you say he was still alive?"
"Er! yes! but my spells tell me we are on the verge of a conjunction! If only I knew more about the heavens."
"What?" laughed Lyris. "Is there a subject in science you don't know about?"
"Ahem. Quite!" he coughed, avoiding her laughing eyes. How they sparkled with amusement, framed with that silvered hair that once was auburn.
"Saturn is crossing near Pluto," she said.
"How did you know that!"
"I! prefer not to say," she admitted, shoving memories of Avaris back into her mind. "there's the temple!."
"Coming into land!" said Rath. "Get ready!"
It was the time of the year for the great festival, to honor Osiris. Gathering around Mennehotep were the usual retinue of serving woman. She sighed. And glanced at herself in the mirror. Just why for this once could she not dress herself?
A white cotton dress was wrapped about her tanned skin. Practiced hands plaited over her obsidian hair as Mennehotep sat patiently. How is this, my mistress?" asked Memnet, her favorite serving girl. Memnet held up a mirror of polished bronze. In its flawless surface, the Lady glanced at her reflection. "Could you not use less Kohl?" she sighed.
"But your eyes are so lovely. It brings out the lovely glistening of the midnight in them..."
Again she sighed. She'd been chosen, of all the daughters of the House, to be the Maiden. Each daughter from her family had held the honor. Each had prospered. Yet Mennehotep had not the desires for her life that society dictated for a woman of her stature. She was to marry an important member of the Pharaoh's court, or a powerful nobleman. However, Mennehotep had little desire to be a lady. In fact, she had other desires. During her schooling, which was permitted for women of her stature, she'd learn the ways of writing and reading hieroglyphics. And in the special times she'd sneak off to learn what she really wanted.
The ways of an alchemist were her desire. Mennehotep wished to heal people with the special elixirs and potions at the alchemist's disposal. But a daughter of her father was not expected to do such a lowly task as healer and Alchemist. Still, she had her garden. And her scrolls. "Memnet, what hour is it?"
"The fifth of the day, mistress..."
"Bring my scrolls. I wish to occupy my time."
"Why not send for your musicians? A legend from the scrolls of Lyris might soothe your troubled nerves..."
"No. Not tonight...."
Memnet fetched what she was asked to. She handed the flat sheet of papyrus to her mistress. Eagerly Mennehotep seized the scroll. And began to read from the wisdom of Rath, one of the greatest wizards from the dynasty of Ammonhotep....|
Rath quickly took in the room in the dimness around them. His eyes narrowed as he tried to read the inscriptions on the jars. Upon a table lay a sarcophagus. Lyris wondered at the design.
"It's not like any I have seen," murmured Rath.
"How can you be sure it's not from a later period in our history... after we..."
"Oh, nonsense," sniffed Rath. "I have seen my share of sarcophagi..."
"Sh..." hissed Lyris, cutting him off. "Someone's coming."
Behind a glass case containing four canopic jars they hid. Rath watched as a dark haired woman with green eyes entered the room, clad in a long white dress. Behind her a man carried a tray of lit candles, which he placed at intervals around the sarcophagus. The woman lifted a small green box which rattled as she set it on the floor.
"Shall we begin, mistress?" asked the other woman, who carried a surgical tray.
"Yes, it's about time," said the first woman, green eyes eager. Lyris thought they looked like those of a hungry cat before it was about to pounce on a mouse.
The man removed a small length of metal rod, with one flat end. It descended towards the sarcophagus. Grunting, he jammed it between the two halves.
"They... they're trying to open it!" gasped Rath, shocked. They opened the outer casing. Lifted out another nested box, covered in bright gold leaf.
"Whoever it was, it must have been a princess..." said Lyris.
Squinting in the dark, Rath glanced at the hieroglyphics on the discarded boxes. "Life and health... to Mennehotep... daughter of..."
"Rath," Lyris pulled at his bandaged cuff.
Now the mummy itself was visible. Fine scissors approached the outer shroud. A lovely face cover traced the aristocratic features of the princess's mummy. Lacquered black traced the eyes and other facial feature. Carefully Karen cut the bandages wrapping the outer part of the chest area, without disturbing the headpiece. Eager fingers slipped between the ancient wrappings.
"She must be looking for the sacred jewelry," gasped Rath. "This is scandalous! Disturbing the dead!"
"Why won't they let her rest in peace?"
Silence fell over the muttering. Karen's eyes gleamed eagerly as she slipped her fingers around the mummy's left hip. "I have it," she whispered.
"That's quite enough," snorted Rath. "I must stop her... before the curse is invoked..."
"Curse?" asked Lyris. "What curse..."
"The one that protects us from robbery," snapped Rath. "You should know all about that! You're a muse, for Osiris' sake."
Lyris couldn't hold him back as he dashed to the rescue. "Stop right there, defiler!" Rath shrilled. "How dare you disturb the rest of a sacred ruler!"
Karen gasped, in anger more than fear. "So the princess has her guardians..." she snorted.
"Stop right now... or face the wrath of..."
"You cannot stop me, animate dead," Kara snapped. Lyris stepped out, from behind Rath.
"Want to bet?" she chimed in.
"Two guardians?" wondered Karen. "No matter. I have what is rightfully mine!"
Gold glittered in her long fingers. A sparkling blue energy emanated from the charm as she held it aloft. "Stop, don't!" Rath shouted as she chanted an ancient incantation.
"With the strength of Ra!" he shouted, transforming into his cobra persona. Green energy flashed from his serpentine blade.
"By the power of Hapshutset, I claim that which is mine by birthright!" screamed Kara, and blazed into fire. What stood before them was a much different figure. Eyes as green as Rath's blazed like emeralds from beneath the tall crown of a Princess. A long gauze gown encased her shapely form. A glittering collar glinted from her neck. She crossed her arms, brandishing her charm.
Rath advanced, and the space between them did not diminish as the transformed woman stepped backwards. "I know who you are, fool," snapped Kara.
"Who are you?" hissed Rath, advancing another step.
'The rightful heir to the south kingdom!" she cried. "I was to be the Pharaohs wife. But you are before my glorious time!"
"Glorious time... whatever do you mean..."
"Where is the young prince..." Lyris chimed in.
"He is safe..." said Kara. "But you are in my way, Scribe. I will not permit any interruptions..."
"Give up the prince..." cried Lyris, brandishing her staff.
"Out of my way..." Kara ordered. She released a blue blast of energy from her fingertip. Just in time, Rath threw up his hands in a defense gesture. Most of the energy he managed to ward off.|
Unnoticed, Lyris phased from sight. She materialized behind Princess Kara, hoping to attack. But Kara noticed. With but a gesture a wind roared up, and threw Lyris off her feet. Kara's attention again turned to Rath, who hurled his sword at her. A serpent twined around the princess's hands.
"Mighty goddess, assist me in my cause," chanted Kara, facing the statue of Bastet. "Lend me your power! Animate!"
Rath shivered, knowing the power of the goddess he'd encountered. But then he recalled, smiling.
"She cannot help you. I destroyed her crystal of power..."
"Ah, you are wrong, ancient one..."
Lyris was almost on top of Kara. Brandishing her staff, she swung. Kara came full around, and faced her. The serpent flew towards Lyris, hissing.
"Stop!" Rath commanded, and the snake clattered lifeless to the ground.
For now she stood further transformed. A gleaming lion's head crowned her brow, complete with clawed gauntlets and boots. Unlike Nefer-Tina's armor, she carried no whip. "Is that the best you can do?" sneered Kara.
"You men are all pathetic weaklings... like my dear brother..."
"Of all the arrogant..." hissed Rath. "I will stop you..."
Gesturing he loosed an energy bolt. She simply deflected it back to him, knocking him off balance. Lyris could not land a solid blow on the princess Kara. With catlike leaps the princess dodged her every blow. "Why do you fight me?" she asked, green eyes fixing into Lyris.
"I must defend the prince..."
Rath picked himself up. The statues on the wall began to move inexorably closer. The guardians of the princess Mennehotep had been summoned by that last incantation to Bastet. And he in his foolishness had not remembered the delay in the animate spell. The great stone lions on either side of the Hollywood set growled, and leapt from their pedestal...
Glancing back and forth, Rath could not decide where to strike first. From the corner of one eye he watched in horror as Lyris fell upon Kara. But there was one chance. Summoning his instinct he recalled the curse. If only he could remember the calling spell. Perhaps Mennehotep herself could help them:
Sweep the anger from your sister's eyes
Preserve with wisdom and no fear
Beyond the Western Gate Appear!"
But his energy was fast depleting.
But she had all the energy one could want!"
"Lyris! Sutech and the deep sea!" he shouted, and leapt. The two lions came close to obliterating each other. But one simply swatted at Rath as he tumbled through the air.
Lyris wrestled the princess around. She loosed a bolt at Rath. He jumped over her, and Lyris swung the princess over. Grasping his blade, Rath deflected the charge towards the sarcophagus. To no avail.
Screaming, a lion threw him down. the other jumped towards Lyris, who let go of Kara. Kara rolled out of the way as the massive statue crumbled upon impact. "Cheap Hollywood plaster," she snapped in disgust.
Lyris phased to Rath, and slammed her staff into the other lion. It too shattered. Kara roared again, and aimed the charm at them. Within mere feet of each other, Rath and Lyris could not move. In the radiance of the stone they were bathed. Rath shoved Lyris behind him, and parried the brunt of the blast himself. He crumpled to the ground.
Lyris screamed, and attacked the unknown figure in white. "You won't get away with that..." she cried.
Whirling her staff, it connected with the figure. The light vanished in a fit of laughter. "You cannot extinguish the light of Princess Kara..." it said.
"Your prince has been rescued by the other guardians, by the way," said Kara, as she temporarily materialized.
"You sought to stop me. Time is short. I am patient I will wait for my sisters to join... Lyris..."
Again the light faded from view. Across the dark her voice chimed. "Rath... Rath... speak to me..."
"Oh, what hit me," he groaned, putting a hand of his head. The blast had interfered with the enchantment of his armor, leaving him in his tall headdress and mystic bracelets.
"Are you all right?" asked the voice. The loveliest voice he'd heard. From beneath a jackals head he saw the pools of perfect blue. That shivering came over him as she slid a hand under his shoulders to help him up.
"It was Kara..." said Lyris, helping him to his feet. "At least that was what the voice said. Can you move..."
"With you as inspiration," he said. "I can do anything."
"What?" asked Lyris, deactivating her armor. Now her lovely face was visible.
Rath shook his head. What was he saying? "I mean... with your help we can do anything to save the prince."|
Disappointment spread over her face. "Oh. I suppose we had better go."
"Wait. I just realized... you saved my life..."
"What? You were hit... by the mystic ray..."
"But you destroyed the statue in time... before... it tore my throat out. You saved me..."
"You saved me..." she said. "Again. Thank you..."
Gently she lay a hand on his shoulder. She was so much smaller than he. "You must be mistaken!" he said again. "You saved me! with your skills!."
"You have it all wrong. What you did was selfless. I never thought since!"
"Please, Rath! are you feeling all right?"
"You were the paragon of courage! your' timing was excellent! you were a hero!" he said, hardly believing the tenderness in his once haughty voice. His long fingers, the delicate hands of a scribe, enclosed around those of the muse.
"Rath! are you feeling all right?" Lyris asked softly. It was more than she dared hope. She'd seen a movie on the spirit box, about a man who changed personalities after he ingested a potion.
"You are unhurt... I trust..."
"I'm fine... now," she said softly.
"How can I repay your kindness?" he asked. "Your patience... your strength..."
Shocked, Lyris didn't know what to think. He looked like Rath, that same imposing figure that frowned at the least sight of foolishness. With his headdress towering far above her, and the glistening of the enchanted arm ring at the level of her cheek. But it was as if the green eyes had lost their sharpness, and been replaced by a softness that rivaled the green in her garden.
"We must make sure the prince is safe," said Lyris, shaking her head.
"Kara said herself the others saved him. Please, stay and speak with me a while. Charm me with your legends... I wish to hear all that you say..."
"Rath... I don't know what to say... Didn't you say you had a duty to the prince... when you sent Chandra away.."
"Bother Chandra... and bother this predicament," he sniffed. "What I want stands right here before me..."
Lyris wasn't certain if this was Kara's enchantment. She didn't know the nature of the Princess's powers. Could Rath simply be affected temporarily? Or had he at last realized how special she was... how she held his favor. Still he gripped her shoulders, green eyes imploring her to face him. "Please..."
"Rath," she sighed, and gave into the longing. Timidly she pressed her lips to his cheek. As she had seen in the many places she'd been.
"You call that a proper display of affectation?" he chuckled. He stooped to reach her, and their faces were mere inches apart. Lyris closed her eyes, and tried to steady her heart. It was the only piece of her not removed in the mummification process.
Their amulets cried out in the darkness. Both scribe and muse jumped apart in surprise and shock. "Rath, Lyris! This is Ja-Kal. Are you well and unharmed?"
"Ahem, yes," coughed Rath, regaining his composure. "Is the Prince safe with you?"
"I'm fine!" chimed Presley's voice. "you got here in the nick of time!"
"Where are you?" asked Lyris, pulling on the ends of her hair in an attempt to put it in order.
"In the main gallery. The statues themselves came to life, and attacked,"
"But we kicked Tut!" cried Presley. "you should have seen Armon..."
"Where are you?" Ja-Kal asked.
"Err, in some sort of antechamber," Rath said. "you wouldn't believe what just happened..."
"Rath," gasped Lyris. "Look..."
"I'll get back to you Ja-Kal..."
"Something's come up," said Lyris.
From the sarcophagus came a rustling, as a swathed figure sat up. They could see the glistening of an amulet shaped in the form of a sacred ibis, bearing an amethyst stone. Lyris gripped Rath's arm so tightly he winced.
"Something's come up, you said?" he sniffed.
"Well, I couldn't exactly say..."
A melodic voice filled the chamber. Ancient Egyptian, with a twist of words that both mummies had to strain to understand hit their ears.
"Let me," said Lyris, as she stepped forwards. Reaching out to the new arrival, she took its hand, and bowed gracefully. Rath did the same.
"Don't worry," said Lyris. "Everything will be all right. You're safe..."
"To whom am I addressing?" said the mummy in ancient Egyptian.
"Er, I am Rath, scribe to Ammonhotep. And this is Lyris..."|
"Great Isis, I cannot believe it!" cried the mummy. She stepped towards Rath, and herself dropped to her knees. "Are you the mighty wizard, whose scrolls of knowledge serve to educate the students of..."
"Please, it's not proper to bow to me," he coughed. "You are a princess after all."
"I am Mennehotep, daughter and princess, though not through my choice. I have read your fabulous writings, oh great Scribe..."
"Really?" asked Rath, truly flattered. "Which, err particular tome?"
"Alchemy of course," said Mennehotep. Lyris lit a torch, and they saw her clearly for the first time. She pulled off the golden mask, to reveal a head of jet black hair. The purplish wizened skin still bore the beauty of some youth. Two impossibly black eyes took in Rath, glittering like onyx. That same light that shone in his eyes blazed in hers. The intense light of a learned soul.
Lyris cut some of her outer shroud, so she could walk. "Easy now, your majesty. You only just woke from the dead..."
"Am I in the afterlife?"
"Well, it's difficult to explain..."Began Rath.
"Who are you, maiden?" asked the princess, turning to Lyris. "You are kind to help me so..."
"I'm Lyris. The muse and bard to..."
"Mighty Osiris protect me," gasped Mennehotep, backing away. "Are you here to punish me for not mastering your ballads..."
"No, of course not... I just..."
"I am sorry I valued the scrolls of Rath over your teachings... my mother warned me..."
"I don't understand," said Lyris. "Am I a legend to you?"
"A legend to all who know of the dynasty of Ammonhotep."
"Er, I'm afraid you have us at a disadvantage, your majesty," admitted Lyris.
"Have I not crossed the sacred gate to the afterlife..." "Not really. You have waken from the dead... and I'm afraid it's my fault..." said Rath, rubbing his chin. Lyris raised an eyebrow. Not like him to admit he'd made a mistake to a stranger. The Princess shuffled about the chamber, glancing at the painted replica walls in wonder. "Is this not my tomb?" she asked.
"Er, this is a replica," explained Rath.
"Who dared bring a daughter of Egypt to this place..." she wondered. Pride glittered for a moment in her onyx eyes.
"Please, your highness," said Lyris. "We will tell you all, in time. But we must find Prince Rapses..."
"Yes. You must fulfill your duties," said Mennehotep. "As I must mine." So saying she reached into an ornate trunk, painstakingly painted with the ibis motif. Reaching inside, she withdrew a long purple cloak and golden headdress. Over her arm she draped a long white dress. Instantly Lyris was at her side, taking the cloak and holding it up as a private screen. Rath pretended not to notice, and proceeded to examine the room in greater detail. In the fight a mass of plaster and support beams had blocked the only entrance. Sighing, he folded his arms about his chest.
"The only problem now is, that we're sealed in here," muttered Rath.
"All obstacles crumble before the wisdom of Isis," said the princess. Walking over to a small side table, she pushed a hidden stub. A small drawer popped out, with a neatly arranged row of vials. Carefully she selected one, and hurled it at the blocked door. The wall exploded inwards. Ja-Kal and the other guardians were now visible. Armon stood before them, golden arm upraised in the rubble. "I only gave it a little tap," he said.
"Rath... at last we found you... great Ra, who is this?"
"All bow before the princess Mennehotep. Though not of our time, she is part of the royal linage after our own glorious dynasty..."
Everyone except Presley prostrated themselves before her. Quite striking she appeared in her white gauze dress and amethyst collar with a matching belt. A segmented diadem encircled her head, with the serpent crowning the front, traditional of many princesses of her time.
"Somebody care to explain just what is going on here?" asked Presley. "First we get attacked by statues, than this looney lady nearly fries me with lightening..."
"What?" asked Mennehotep. "Lightening, did you say?"
"Yeah that's it."
"Kara!" snapped Mennehotep, onyx eyes flashing with anger. "I should have known she'd find a way back to the land of the living! How did she cross the western gate?"
"A young lady took a talisman from your sarcophagus, and suddenly Kara was before us..."
"No, It can't be," gasped the princess, mummified flesh turning visibly pale. "Her warning... it was true."
"I am afraid so," said Rath, still prostrate on the floor with the rest of Rapses guardians. Even though he didn't know what in the name of Ra she was talking about.
"Please don't bow," begged Mennehotep. "I want to see your faces."
"Whoa! Are you who I think you are?" gasped Presley, at last taking her appearance in. Her height, though equaling Nefer-Tina's seemed imposing. Especially with the spread of feathers that curled up from her serpent headdress. The onyx eyes glistened softly into his with a pleasant light.|
"You know my name?" she smiled, amused.
"He is the reborn Prince.... Rapses," Rath explained eagerly.
"So the legend is true. You are reborn..."
"I saw your picture on the wall, of the museum my mom works at. Sure looks like you."
"Just as pretty too," murmured Armon.
"I thank you, gentle fighter. But I am confused. Young Prince, who was it that attacked you?"
"She called herself the Princess Kara," said Nefer-Tina. "And by Ra was she mean! She was angry at me for something."
"We just had a visitation with her," said Lyris. "And the same thing happened. She almost destroyed us..."
"If not for Lyris' timely intervention," Rath said hastily.
"I am sorry I did not rise sooner to help, Great Scribe," Mennehotep apologized. "But the animate dead spell has its limits."
"Yes, I am painfully aware of that," sighed Rath.
"Guys, can I go home?" asked Presley.
"Of course, young prince," said Ja-Kal. "I will take you myself."
Rath moved over to Ja-Kal. "What about the princess?" he whispered, hiding his mouth with one hand. By now, Nefer-Tina and Lyris stood near the new mummy, eagerly exchanging questions. The stately princess now let her hair down with the two other mummy girls. "We cannot just..."
"I am not blind, Rath. She is welcome to remain with us..."
"I should hope so," sniffed Rath. "I shall escort her myself..."
Bowing his head to Mennehotep, Ja-Kal followed Presley. "Bye, your majesty," called Presley..
"Till we meet again, young prince," she said.
"Permit me to escort you to a place of rest," Rath said, bowing to Mennehotep. "It is not far."
"Thank you, good Scribe. But the Charioteer has offered to take me instead... There is so much to see and learn..."
"Indeed. I shall be anxious to hear of what has happened in our land since our departure," Rath smiled.
"Armon, would you be so kind as to take her things?" Carefully Armon hefted her sarcophagus to his shoulder, and stacked the trunk upon the top expertly balancing everything.
"C'mon highness, let's roll!" laughed Nefer-Tina. The princess trotted off behind the charioteer.
"Of all the nerve," muttered Rath. "A princess of fair Egypt mixing with that influence?"
Lyris sighed and shook her head.
"Presley Carnavon, where on Earth have you been," scolded his mother, tears glistening in her eyes.
"Aw, Mom," he groaned, as she enfolded him in her arms tightly. "'M okay now. Some crazy lady was trying to steal the jewelry from that Princess Mennehotep mummy... and she captured me."
"Who was it?" asked Officer Joe.
"Said her name was Karen Romano," said Presley.
"Karen Romano," breathed Presley's mother, anger building in her eyes. "I should have never trusted her..."
"Mom, what's wrong."
"Nothing dear," she sighed. "Just tell us everything you know."
Presley sighed. "Okay. It all started when I went to get Cleopatra's autograph..."
All five guardians arrived at the outside of the building. There remained no trace of the elusive Kara. However, Lyris was definitely noticing every trace of her lovely sister. And she couldn't help but notice how Rath practically fell over himself trying to help her.
"Lyris," Nefer-Tina said. "What's wrong."
"Oh, nothing," sighed Lyris. "How do we know that this princess is on our side?"
"How can you say that?" asked her friend. "Kara was the one that attacked us."
"But she did say that Mennehotep stole something from her long ago. For all we know she could be the one who needs our help..."|
"I don't believe I'm hearing this," sighed Nefer-Tina. "You know what..."
Before she could finish her sentence, a voice interrupted, "Hey you lot!"
"Who, us?" said Ja-Kal. A crew of men carrying strange black boxes clustered around the mummies.
"You were supposed to be on camera two hours ago! The whole schedule's thrown because you extras weren't in place..."
"Extras?" asked Ja-Kal.
"Oh yeah!" laughed Nefer-Tina. "Well, we were uh..."
"We were wrapped up for the moment," said Rath, before he realized just what he said. A low groan emanated from the crowd.
"I saw that coming," sighed the leader, scratching his head. He was an impatient man, with thick glasses and a thinning hairstyle.
"Look you clowns, the last thing the Director needs is a bunch of smart aleck..."
Rath covered the Princess' ears at what he thought was shocking language. "Now look here, sir, is that any way to talk in front of a princess..."
"Rath," snapped Ja-Kal.
"We just stopped for lunch," Armon chimed in, holding up a bag from Jack in the Box.
"Fine, fine whatever," snapped the other man. "But get this. Any more stunts like that and you're fired. Sheesh, extras..."
"Excuse me sir, but why are you treating these people in this manner," said Mennehotep, stepping forwards. "It's hardly fair to accuse them of something when they are simply helping me..."
"Oh, excuse me ma'am," gasped the Director. "I didn't notice you there, Miss Crawford. I... I'm so sorry for my assistant director's comment..."
"I don't see what you..."
"Please, if you need anything don't hesitate to ask..."
"Don't back out of the project now. I promise we'll give you..."
Helplessly confused she looked towards her new friends. Rath suddenly coughed, and came to the rescue, "Come on now, everything's all right, miss," he said to the Princess. "You were just going back to your trailer to rest... let's go back now..."
"Yeah. You don't want to disturb her beauty sleep," said Nefer-Tina. Despite herself, Lyris giggled.
"And who the blazes are you, sir?" asked the flustered assistant, turning to Rath.
"I sir, am her...."
"He's her agent," said Nefer-Tina.
"Why is he dressed like that..." demanded the assistant.
"Comes with the job, my good man," said Rath. Sticking out his chin, he escorted the princess behind him. "Come along now, your majesty... I mean... Ms. Crawford."
The director scratched his head and stared daggers at his assistant. The man in question promptly turned a bright shade of red. "Takes all kinds I guess," muttered one camerawoman to her friend.
"At least she doesn't keep a pet monkey on the set," he answered.
Presley quietly slipped some items into his backpack. A history book, his boomer-ra, and a stack of comic books and videos. On the way home from Los Angeles, his Mom had bought him a huge ice cream sundae, and put him promptly to bed before retiring herself. As many nights before he carefully crawled out the bedroom window, and slipped to the awning over the front door. Jumping for the nearest street lamp, he slid down its slick curvature.
He leapt onto his bike, and raced off. He did not notice a blaze of blue energy as it crackled from a nearby tree. There came a low growling, like that of a lion. Two green eyes shone in the darkness.
"There can only be one Pharaoh," said the voice of Kara, from behind its cat mask.
Presley reached the sphinx, gleaming in the moonlight. Carefully he parked his bike outside the gate. He slipped over the fence, tossing his backpack over on the other side.
He froze, sitting on the top of the wall. Was that a lion he heard roar? He shivered in the light of the stars. High above he could look at the three stars of Orion's belt. They didn't form a straight line. What was that his father told him?
The three pyramids at Giza had the same configuration. And according to some Egyptologists this was no coincidence.
"Make way for the Daughters of Hapshutset!" cried the captain of the guard. Inside the great chariot rode Princess Kara. Her mighty features blazed with authority. IF she looked behind her she could see the column of followers as they wound their way after her retainers.
In another chariot rode the priests and scribes. Another back rode Princess Mennehotep, garbed in pure white. A headdress of Isis crowed her features. |
"Make way for the Goddess! May she go to greet her husband Osiris in the Great Pyramid!" cried the chief Priest.
In the daisy field of stars the great pyramid rose. Its perfect capped point stabbed its way into Osiris' belt. To his left was fair Isis, blazing blue fire.
The procession entered the temple complex. Bronze trumpets echoed amidst the ancient pillars. Hieroglyphics saluted in silent testimony to a festival that had been repeated for countless years. As her chariot bounced over the gravel road, Mennehotep gazed at the stars. Countless ancestors smiled down on her. She hoped this festival would bring favor on her dynasty.
Already the priests had gathered in the King's chamber of the great Pyramid of Khufu. A large sarcophagus was tugged into place by a large number of servants. How many more had labored years ago to erect this ceiling of stone?
"Not long now, majesty," said the Chief Priestess to Princess Kara.
"Tell me, Priestess. How many years has this ceremony ran?"
"Perhaps a thousand or more. And for a hundred years I have seen it each time."
"Surely you jest," laughed Kara, facing the wizened crone. "You look hardly as if you've seen your fiftieth year.
Violet eyes fixed into hers. "There are powers that are yet to be seen," she smiled simply.
"Powers that you day by day have introduced me to," smiled Kara.
"You are a good student. The best I have yet the privilege to teach. Soon you can take your rightful position... after the Pharaoh..."
"I owe you much, Lady Chandra. Without your help I could not hope to remove that excuse of a man who claimed my Mother's throne."
"Careful," smiled the Priestess, hushing her. "There are many ears to listen. Take this. It is time for you to have it..."
She held out an amulet. A bright sapphire glistened in the mouth of a roaring lion. Eagerly the Princess reached for it.
"All bow to the Goddess Isis!" shouted the High Priest. Kara bowed as did all others. But she kept her eyes on her sister, clad in pure white linen as they lead her into the main chamber.
At a signal from the Pharaoh flail, a pyre was lit. Corresponding arrows of fire rose from eh summit of the pyramid. Huge levers were drawn aside.
"My lady, is it time?" asked the High Priest of the Priestess Chandra.
"Osiris is in position."
"Release the passageway to the stars!"
Deep inside the pyramid, Mennehotep shivered. High in the ceiling above she could glimpse the holes, int eh flickering torch light. A grinding noise softly ensued. All eyes lifted to the square as starlight poured through.
She moved into position, before the sarcophagus. "Let me be one with my husband," she spoke loudly.
In the heavens Lady Isis blazed. A shaft of starlight stabbed into her. She writhed. For the next few minutes there was silence from inside the Great pyramid...
Presley inserted his amulet into its slot. Turned it as he had many times before. Deep inside the Sphinx, it was all but silent. Armon's powerful voice echoed over the noise of the television.
Nefer-Tina sat, cheering as the horses dashed across he flickering box. "Come on, come on... go!"
"Hi Nefer-Tina," said Presley.
"Oh, I didn't see you there," she said, turning around. "I was just watching the horses race.. without the chariots."
"Yeah," laughed Presley. "By the way, where is that Princess you found?"
"She is talking to Ja-Kal, and Rath. I do not know what they are saying. Did you bring dinner?"
"Got it right here."
Armon eyed the flat white box in his hands. "What is that, my Prince. It smells wonderful."
"Gaze upon perfection," Presley said, opening the box.
Armon and Nefer-Tina stared at the strange flat food inside. "Voila. Armon, meet a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese."
"Pleased to meet you..." he smiled.
Presley put the box down, and backed away. "I think he's in love," laughed Nefer-Tina as Armon made short work of the new food.
"And I've brought your videos," he said to Nefer-Tina, as they walked along. "But where's Lyris. I got the tapes she wanted. Y-know. Of the Spice girls..."|
Inside Rath's laboratory, they clustered around a small stone pyramid. Princess Mennehotep stared in wonder. "Oh mighty Pyramid, tell us where to find Princess Kara," he said, gesturing respectfully with his hands. With a series of turns it spelled out its message. But no sooner had it stopped than it turned again. "What does it say, Rath?" Ja-Kal asked.
"I... I don't understand," said Rath, looking confused. "It won't stop on one destination. It's as if it can't make up it's mind..."
"What do you mean?"
"He means, that perhaps my sister is traveling so fast that the pyramid cannot answer your question," said Mennehotep.
"How is that possible..."
"She is a master of some magic," explained Mennehotep.
"We do know that," said Ja-Kal. "But what exactly are her strengths, her weaknesses?"
"There are many. I cannot ask you to fight my battles for me, great Hunter. I do not wish to endanger the Prince."
"Now how would that happen?" asked Presley.
"Young Prince, I didn't see you there," said Rath, turning.
"Shouldn't you be home, in bed?" asked Ja-Kal, putting his hands on his hips.
"I just had to meet the Princess," he explained.
"I agree," she said, inclining her head. "There is much about this time I do not know..."
"While we are on that subject, what was it you meant when you said the Prince's life may be in danger..."
"What?" asked Presley.
"My sister may want to dispose of Rapses. Her one ambition was to be Pharaoh, after our mother's death. And anyone who stood in her way..."
"Whoa, wait a minute, I've heard that one before," interrupted Presley, waving his hands.
"As if Scarab wasn't enough of a problem," muttered Ja-Kal.
"She may be persuaded not to harm him," said Mennehotep. "But we must find her first."
"I may be able to change the pyramid's ability," murmured Rath, resting his chin on his folded hands. "But it may take a bit of doing."
"I will help in any way I can," said Mennehotep.
"I hardly see why you should soil your hands..."
"Please, Great Scribe," she said, drawing to her full height and looking him straight in the eyes. "I was able to free you from the inner chamber. That did show some ability."
"Alchemy is quite different from..."
"May I also say that most of your spells are known to me. After all, I did study them myself," she added, hands on her hips.
"Rath, show her to your lab, already," said Presley, tapping his foot impatiently. "The sooner we find that Kara creep the sooner I will go to bed."
"I can't argue with that, Rath," said Ja-Kal.
"Very well,"Rath sighed. "This way, your majesty."
From behind a pillar, Lyris watched. Still she couldn't shake the suspicion from her thoughts about Mennehotep. All of them were so trusting of her, just because she was a princess. Especially Rath.
"There you are, Lyris," said a voice. She jumped.
"Nefer-Tina, you scared years off of me," she gasped, clasping her chest. "Don't do that!"
"Sorry. I was just going to ask you, do you want to go out tonight."
"Not really," she said.
"Come on, it'll be fun. We can take the Princess. Show her the twentieth century... and how it rocks." Lyris brightened at the prospect. "Yes, we could, couldn't we," she smiled.
Inside the lab, Rath argued fiercely with the princess. "No, no, no, and for the last time, no!" he said, emphatically.
"What would be the harm. If you combine this spell here... you can overstep the limits of your energy limit..."
"But that goes against logic...."
"Not if you compensate with the quartz. It sinks the energy, and balances the order of transfer. And the wires draw out the power from here to here..."
Rath glanced down at the contraption they'd pieced together. Still he shook his head.
"Let me show you," she said, moving closer. Her hip touched his, rather close. The onyx eyes peered downward. "That power source is all wrong. All you need is the right brew for the two pieces of metal..."|
She then crossed the room, and picked up a bowl of grapes. Crushing them, she added some mixtures from a few of his vials. Rath nearly tripped as she brushed past. She immersed the gold wires into the mix, and added a copper bar. Both she connected to the contraption.
It sparkled into life. Rath's eyes widened in amazement. "I don't believe it," he said.
"Now let's take this to the pyramid," she said, reaching down.
"Oh, allow me," he said, grasping the unit and carrying it for her.
As they exited, they walked past Lyris and Nefer-Tina. "Hey, your Highness," Nefer-Tina called.
Rath and the princess stopped. She turned her dark haired head. "Hi 'Tina. How's it hanging?"
"It's hanging fine," she laughed.
"How's my grasp of your Pharaoh's tongue?" Mennehotep asked. Rath frowned.
"Coming along," said Lyris. "By the sound of it."
"We were just going out to party. Want to come dancing?"
"Did you say dancing?" asked Mennehotep.
"Yeah. Come along. Great chance to see the new world..."
"I'd love too..."
"Ahem, I think she has much better things to do with her time than traipsing around a city with you..." coughed Rath.
"Did I give you leave to speak on my behalf, Scribe?" she snapped, glaring at him.
Lyris watched, interested as she stood up to the haughty scribe. Only she had ever given him any back talk. "She's right, you know," the Fifth guardian added. "You're not responsible for her..."
"And who made you judge, may I ask?" sniffed Rath, sticking out his chin.
"Stop it, both of you," sighed Mennehotep. "There is no occasion for this bickering. I will join you both soon, after I find out where my sister is."
"Fair enough," nodded Nefer-Tina. Both Rath and Lyris glared at her. "What did I say?"
On the back of the cycle, Presley rode home. Armon had offered to take him back, just as long as they could stop at the local Beefy-Burger on the way.
Presley shivered. Inside, the Prince's soul squirmed uncomfortably. "Ugh," he muttered.
"Are you all right, my Prince?" Armon shouted over the motorcycle engine.
"It... it's nothing, Armon," he said.
"Was it something you ate?" he asked, stopping the cycle.
"No, it's nothing. It's just cold out. If you don't step on it, we won't get there before the drive through window closes... at twelve."
Again he heard a low growl, like the ones Nefer-Tina made when she was in her armor, transformed. But it couldn't be her. She was going dancing with Lyris.
"It's probably just a dog," he muttered.
Rath stared in amazement as she asked the Pyramid its question. "Tell me, where will my sister most likely be in the ext few turns of the sand?"
Lyris and Nefer-Tina watched as the unit rotated. Energy crackled from the device connected nearby. As Mennehotep's amulet glowed, it absorbed the power. Her eyes fixed shut.
"I... I'm getting it..." she gasped, straining.
Rath gestured inches from the pyramid, amulet blazing green as his power crackled forth. "Tell us where to find her..." he urged, voice loud and commanding.
At last it came to rest. Rath leaned over, and read in a confused phrase, "Night dance, high fire, enclosed chamber behind..."
Lyris and Nefer-Tina looked at each other in confusion. Then, Lyris shut her eyes. "Hmm. Night dance. Could mean the dance club. High fire. Means Inferno. That's also the name of the club. And enclosed chamber behind..."
"Means a back room?" suggested Nefer-Tina.
"That's it!" said Lyris.
"All right!" cried her friend, giving her a curious gesture that Presley called a 'high five.' Meanwhile, Rath rested his hand on Mennehotep's shoulder.
"Speaking of such, are you well, your majesty?" he asked.
"I... I'm fine. Just a bit drained," she breathed, leaning against the table. |
"You did it. You actually did it," he said, astonished.
"Way to go princess!" cheered Nefer-Tina. "Yeah Ra!"
"It was simple. My sister has a power to jam any means of looking for her. It's a spell that her high priestess taught her..."
"Her high priestess," asked Rath, hands on his hips. "And who exactly had that distinct honor?" Lyris caught the look of jealousy in his green eyes. The mere notion of a person who's powers rivaled his invoked his ire. Rath wanted to be the best wizard.
"I don't think you'd know her," she said. "She was after your time."
"Try me..." said Lyris. "After all, how old was she?"
"Close to one hundred or so. It was rumored she took a special elixir of youth...."
Lyris eyes widened. "She taught Kara all my sister knows. I think her name was the Lady Chandra."
At the mention of that name, Rath grew decidedly pale. "What... did you say?"
"Her name was Chandra. I think. I didn't much care for her methods. My sister tried to get me apprenticed to her when she knew I had the gift for magic... But I refused..."
Lyris went over to Rath, her turquoise eyes blazing with anger. "I should have known she creep up again. After what she put me through... The words I cannot say..."
"I cant... believe it.." he muttered. "Even back then she mocks me..."
"But I refused. The wisdom of Rath was my guide..." said the Princess, resting her hand on his. Still, Rath only managed a weak smile.
"Come on. You look like you could use a break," said Lyris, to Rath. "Why don't we go out for a walk in the garden. Nefer-Tina, take her majesty without us..."
"Are you sure?" asked Mennehotep, concern in her eyes for Rath. Absently he wandered away from Lyris' grasp.
"I can sing you a song... to ease your troubled nerves..." she offered.
"Let him go," said Nefer-Tina. "He'll be okay."
Mennehotep rushed after him. "I'll meet you there," said Lyris to her friend. "Don't worry. I know the way."
At the Beefy Burger, both Presley and Armon chowed down. A whole pile of hamburgers still sat in their white wrappings. Armon devoured them whole, while Presley slurped down a chocolate milk-shake.
"Do you want the rest of that..." he asked, eyeing Presley's extra fries.
"Go ahead, Armon. Scarf it down," he sighed. Another monthly allowance, down the drain. He put his milk-shake aside.
Tipping the paper container, Armon let the fries drop into his mouth. A look of extreme happiness and satisfaction came over him. He then noticed that Presley seemed a million miles away. "Y'know Armon," he said. "I was just wondering..."
"That princess. Is she related to me, if her mother was a pharaoh..."
"Her mother could not be pharaoh..." said Armon.
"But Hapshutset was unusual," Presley said. "She dressed up like a man. And people thought it was cool. Ruled a long time."
"But did they not know..."
"Oh C'mon," said Presley. "Don't be a dweeb. You never, like noticed Nefer was a girl, did you? Back in Ancient Egypt... you know?"
"Oh. That is right," Armon admitted. "Did any one ever find out..."
"They must have. She disappeared. And her advisor became Pharaoh..."
Presley's milk shake sat to one side. Armon eyed it longingly. "Hey, I'm still drinking that," Presley protested, swiping it away. With a mighty slurp he downed the last bit.
"But Prince, why did her son not rule?"
"She had no son. Just two daughters. That's what my mom told me, anyway."
"Kara and Mennehotep," said Armon. "One was kind, and the other was mean."
"Minnie's sure the nice one," said Presley. "She seems cool."
"Lyris did not agree so."
"Aw man, she's just jealous."
"Jealous? Of what?"
"Look, like I know I'm only 12, but I know girls. See, Rath had a think for her... and now he acts like he's got a crush on Princess Minnie..."
"I did not see..."|
Presley coughed and choked. "My prince... what is wrong..."
"I... don't feel so hot," he coughed, and turned a decided shade of green. Armon slapped him on the back, but it did no good. Presley collapsed.
"Help us someone!" Armon shouted. "He is not moving!"
When Princess Mennehotep found Rath, he was pacing in a small garden. The once proud scribe stooped over, his spirit broken. Just what had troubled him so? In her compassion she wished to heal whatever pain he must carry.
"Great scribe, what is troubling you?" she asked, touching him lightly on the arm.
"Oh, your majesty," he apologized. "I did not notice you are here..."
"Please, tell me."
Rath sighed, and sat down on a small bench near the middle of the garden. His hands found a small papyrus scroll, wrapped around two sticks. Absently he unrolled it, and glanced over its hieroglyphs.
"If you do not explain this bizarre behavior this instant, I shall be forced to take drastic action," she warned, sitting beside him. A hint of amusement glinted her onyx eyes.
"If it is necessary, I suppose," he said, looking down at the hibiscus.
"What does the name Chandra mean to you?"
"A long time ago... it was..." he admitted.
"It was rumored that she lived many years. That in your time she was a young maiden."
"She was my student," he admitted, folding his hands. The scroll crumpled between them as he remembered.
"And she disagreed with your teachings?" added Mennehotep. "I know the story well, Rath. It is told me when I was young. A classic example of how a student outgrows her master..."
"That was not the reason," he snapped, turning on her.
"Then what? Did you love her..."
"By Ptah I did, and she held me in her thrall," he hissed. "She said I'd end up a withered husk of an old man, a slave to duty. So she left. I said I had no more to teach her..."
"Because you had to serve the prince," said Mennehotep. "You could have no hope of a normal live. I have heard that song too many times, great scribe."
"And even now she mocks me," he continued, crushing the scroll further in his hands.
"Through my sister Kara," snapped Mennehotep. "Strange it is. I followed your teachings, and Kara followed Chandra. What a vicious cycle history takes. And we are bitter enemies, though we once loved one another."
"And part of me still loves her, after all the evil she has done."
"I still love Kara, for she is my flesh and blood. Once she loved me. It is a powerful affectation."
"One we could do without... but cannot," gritted Rath. His eyes squeezed shut, as if to block the pain.
Lightly she rested a hand on his, and pulled the scroll from his grasp. "Let it go, Rath. She has tormented you all these years. Will you grant her this final victory."
Rath whirled on her, eyes blazing. "You have no knowledge of what you say, majesty. Have you ever been so enchanted by a person, you would give everything you had, even your life itself..."
"Yes. For my sister," completed the Princess, equally angry. "But I don't sulk about it in my garden. I am here, and I will face her. She will know of my sorrow, for I have already released it. And Chandra has infected your soul. It gnaws for many years."
"And yet I no longer always feel the attraction. I loathe and despise her..."
Lyris watched, from behind the hibiscus bush. Her blood froze.
"Rath, forget her. Heal your heart, and love another. Only then, you will forget."
"That, is impossible," he said.
Lyris tensed. Here it came. Would she finally know?
"Until now. But the one I seek is unreachable."
"And who pray tell would that be?" asked Mennehotep, teasingly. "Some maiden of the twentieth century. Presley's mother, perhaps?"
"A daughter of Egypt. One whose soul is beautiful as the stars, and kind as the length of the day. Whose eyes are like jewels before me..." Lyris choked as the words of her ballad slipped from his lips.
But he didn't mention the turquoise.
"How can I repay your kindness?" he asked. "Your patience... your strength..."
How bold this scribe was being! Her heart leapt with the thought that the famous Raath of legend was speaking this way to her! With his headdress towering far above her own, and the glistening of the enchanted arm ring at the level of her cheek. But it was as if the green eyes had lost their sharpness, and been replaced by a softness that rivaled the green in her garden.
"The wonder of this century never ceases to amaze me," she said. "That spirit box, and the chariots that move without horses. It's a dream come true."|
"There are even greater wonders in this time," said Raath softly. "Your majesty, I wish to ask a favor."
"Name it, great Scribe."
"Would you sit... for a time, and tell me of the Egypt of your time..." he asked.
"But of course," said she. "There is much that had changed before I died..."
He dared not hope that she would return his favor. After all, he was a scribe, and she was a princess. Even if she did consider him a legend. " I wish to hear all that you say..."
"Raath... I don't know what to say... Didn't you say you had a duty to the prince... when you sent Chandra away.."
"Bother Chandra... and bother this predicament," he sniffed. Was he dazzled by the fact she was a princess? Or did he truly care for her as a being.
"Raath, if I wasn't a princess, and just an alchemist, do you think that people would still like me for who I am."
"But you are a princess," he said. "You cannot change that fact."
"Oh," she said, and rose from the bench. She tried to mask the disappointment in her face. Still he gripped her hand, green eyes imploring her to face him. "Please don't be offended, your majesty. What I meant to say is... is..."
Gently he pressed his lips to her hand, a gesture of devotion to royalty. "What in the name of Isis does that mean?" she asked, amused.
"I admire your keen mind, my lady," he said. "For few can master the art of alchemy as you have so displayed."
"Please, stand up, dear Raath, holder of ancient knowledge," she sighed. "In the arts of Magic, we can be equals."
"I did not think the affliction would pass. But it has. For good reason," he said softly.
The Princess gasped, and sat one the bench once more. She gave into the longing in her own bosom and brushed her cheek against his. He stooped to reach her, and their faces were mere inches apart. Minnehotep closed her eyes, and tried to steady her heart. It was the only piece of her not removed in the mummification process.
For good reason. She felt the caress of his nose against hers, and shivered with the delight of a stolen moment alone. In the dark, scribe and princess embraced, as their noses caressed in the ancient Egyptian form of a passionate kiss.
If she opened her eyes slightly she could see a strange glimmer from one side of the room. The skylight let the rays of the moon in, and its silver played across her sarcophagus.
Their amulets cried out in the darkness. Both scribe and alchemist jumped apart in surprise and shock. "Forgive me, your majesty," spluttered Raath, backing away in fear when he realized what he had done. That invisible line of duty had been crossed.
"No Raath, it's all right," said Minnehotep, taking his wrist. Her hand enclosed around the green bracelet on his right and. "You have no need for shame..."
Lyris burst out of the bushes, coughing. "Nefer-Tina's waiting," she said. Rath stood up from the bench, brushing himself off.
"Have... a good time," he said, haltingly. Lyris lead the princess away. "I must speak to Ja-Kal about something..."
"Now what on Earth was she doing in that bush," he wondered, fingering his chin.
Mennehotep clung tot he rear of the bike as Nefer-Tina roared down the asphalt. Beside them, Lyris rode an identical vehicle. All three were dressed in 90's street clothes. Between the two of them, they'd managed to find something for the Princess to wear. Already the blur of lights and noise astounded the Princess. Never had she seen such light.
Except in the stars that night at the Great Pyramid.
The craft stopped, and Nefer-Tina whooped, "We're here, gals. The night is just to about to rock."
Lyris laughed, the peals sounding like a little bell. "Don't over do it tonight," she warned.
Between the two of them they bustled Mennehotep inside. Past the bouncer at the door, and into a pulsing throbbing roar that pierced her eardrums. Many people crammed into a small space, thick with flashing stars in the ceiling. People in strange clothes.
Nefer-Tina whirled out onto the dance floor, striking up a pose worthy of a frieze in a temple. Lyris dragged Mennehotep after her, whirling her into the mass of sweating jiving bodies. "But I don't know how to..."
"Watch me," said Lyris. Her fluid movements to the wailing shrieks seemed strange and sinuous. Graceful as a jackal.
Lightly Mennehotep stepped on her shapely legs, following the moments of the other two women. Her black hair whirled about her as she spun. The blaring lights, and the cheering crowd thronged around her.
"Whoa! Who let that diva in here!" gasped one man.
"Hey, shake it baby! Break it down..."
In the confusion, Lyris slipped away. Somewhere there was a back room. In the edge of her vision she saw a dark haired woman, who could be a dead ringer for Mennehotep. Except that her eyes were emerald green, and her hair was a cascade of brown.
And she looked right at Lyris. At a distance, Lyris followed. It was her...|
Down a hallway, into an enclosed tight hallway. She shivered, feeling a creeping sensation wash over her. But she forced to her mind the image of Rath in the garden. The embrace, the exchange. And compared it to Mennehotep's display on the dance floor. Being ogled by all those men...
Chandra could dazzle any man. Perhaps Mennehotep was her disciple, not Kara. For who else had that power?
"Come in, Lyris," said the voice, as she opened a door. Beside a dressing table sat the figure of Kara, in full leather and short mini-skirt. Her green eyes were heavily made up, like an Egyptians, and a dazzling amulet set with sapphire and lapis lazuli glittered on her chest.
Cautiously Lyris sat down. "I knew you would come."
"Then you know why I'm here."
"It's about my dear sister, isn't it. Mennehotep. How is she doing."
"Very well, by the look of things," gritted Lyris.
"I can see your mistrust. She so easily wins the trust of Rapses other guardians. Yet you are different in your opinion."
Lyris said nothing. Her eyes told all. "You can help me. And help me save the prince, too."
"My dear girl. My sister wishes to steal this back. After so long I have tried to recover it."
"And why are you here?"
"To restore the memory of my mother, Hapshutset to its rightful position in history. So all the world will know her deeds and name. The name scratched out by the world of men."
"I know..." said Lyris. "Presley gave me the history paper that... Karen Romano wrote."
"Dear Kate. She sought the truth. While Mennehotep married the Pharaoh, I was exiled. Stripped of my title and reputation. And now she's returned, to take her position as pharaoh."
"What do you mean?" asked Lyris, on the edge of her chair.
"There is only room for one Pharaoh, even in this time," smiled Kara.
"No. But wait. How do I know that you're telling me the truth?"
"You care about your dear scribe, do you not?"
"She has him right where she wants him. And you hate her for it."
"How did you..."
She laughed, smiling as she gestured at the mirror before them both. "Do you think my sister can sneeze with out me so much as not knowing? Look here..."
In the glass she saw an ambulance flickering with its emergency lights. Outside stood Presley's mother, frantic with worry as her son was loaded onto a stretcher. Nearby stood Armon, pulling his hat over his face to hide it from the public.
"Hold on, baby," sobbed Mrs. Carnavon. "Please just hang in there..."
"The prince is in dire peril. And she distracted Rath in the garden, so he would not know."
"The amulets," she gasped, realizing why Rath's and hers had screamed. But Rath was so absorbed in the Princess Mennehotep he didn't realize it.
"What can I do to help?"
"My sister has an elixir that can save him. You must get close to her... and take either the formula, or the vial itself. Only it can save him now."
"How long till..."
"Mere days. Mere hours. Be quick."
"And what will you do?"
"Stop my sister. Lead her to where I say. I will give you a signal. You will know. And Rath will be freed from her enchantment, I promise."
In the club, things were shaking. Nefer-Tina laughed with glee as she saw Mennehotep dancing the night away. Never had she looked so alive and happy. Men crowded about her, and the women clapped her on.
"Hey Cleo, what's shakin," one brave man said, stepping in front of the princess.
"I beg your pardon..." she said, stopping breathless.
"How about gettin it in the groove with me, sister..."
"I don't think so..." said Nefer-Tina, tapping him on the shoulder.
"Well, ain't it my lucky day," laughed the man. His two friends came by, encroaching awfully close.
"We're waiting for our boyfriends, thank you," said Mennehotep.
"Ah, then your wait is over," laughed the man in the leisure suit. "So baby, we were having a bet. Just what do you do for a living..."|
"I said supermodel. But Dave here told me I was wrong. He said... she's a scientist man..."
"Excuse me, but what has this to do with spoiling my dance," pouted Mennehotep, pushing the man in the backwards baseball cap and jersey aside.
"Whoa, down Cleopatra," he laughed. "Take it easy."
"Come on, we're going," said Nefer-Tina, taking her friend's hand.
"Hey baby, don't look back in anger," said the man in the leisure suit. Alcohol laced his breath.
"Excuse me," said Nefer-Tina, but he blocked her way.
"You dance with us. Give us a try, Cleo baby," said the other man.
"All right," smiled Mennehotep. "I will."
"You don't have to..." started Nefer, but stopped when Dave pulled out a chair and pushed her into it.
Onto the floor they moved. But no sooner had they started, when Mennehotep's foot got in the way of the man's leg. He crashed flat on his face. "Oh, I am so sorry sir," she said, stooping to help him up."
"No... problem," he gritted, as she extended her hand. Quickly, she slapped hers down on it, hard.
"High five," she laughed.
"You know something Cleopatra, that's not funny," he snapped, jumping to his feet. "Now are we going to try this again, or what?"
Nefer-Tina tried to get up, but was pinned down. "Sit, sister. I don't think you heard what we were saying..."
"But you will hear what I'm saying..." said a stern voice. Over them stood a blue eyed man, in a sports jacket zipped up to his collar. He wore a baseball cap jammed down around his eyes. The trace of bandages were visible on his hand. "Leave her alone..."
"Ja-Kal," said Nefer-Tina. "Am I glad to see you."
"This your boyfriend?" laughed the man in the sports get up. "What is he, a boxer?"
"She is glad to see me, and we are leaving now. If you will kindly move away..."
Blue eyes glared at him, and he crumpled. "S-sure pal. Go right ahead..."
Ja-Kal took her arm. "There's been an emergency."
"Wait, Minnie!" gasped Nefer-Tina. Out towards the dance floor, a couple danced. But the way the man in the leisure suit grabbed her wrist and tossed her around wasn't characteristic of a love ballad.
"Stop this at once, you insolent dog!" she snapped, and broke away.
"Look here, sweetheart, nobody talks back to me like that," he said, pushing her away. She slammed right into the arms of the third man of the bunch.
"She has every right to, you unworthy underling," said a distinct voice. Green eyes peered out from beneath a tall green hat. It was Rath, dressed in the same sort of garb as everyone else. His long trenchcoat and scarf hid his mummified frame well. But at that moment he looked like a cobra, ready to strike.
"Want to make something of it," asked the man, as Rath helped Mennehotep to her feet.
"I think not," he sniffed, and they turned to leave.
"Hey pal, I'm talking to you," he snapped, grabbing Rath's arm.
Rath spun round, twisting his arm and jerking it sharply. The offender was hurled back onto the dance floor. He recovered, fists ready. But Rath brought up his hands before him, and one after the other they connected.
With spectacular results. Grabbing hands, the scribe and the alchemist slipped through the crowd to safety. They bumped right into Ja-Kal and Nefer-Tina. She couldn't resist shouting back, "I told you so!" to the fighting mass of people.
Back at the Pyramid the five guardians gathered. Over a table Mennehotep worked fiercely against time. "Is it done yet?" asked Ja-Kal impatiently.
"Give her some space," urged Rath, pushing past him with a heap of scrolls. "It's delicate work."
"Is the elixir formula written down anywhere?" asked Lyris, standing near the Princess.
"Does the scroll bear the recipe?" she asked.
"Yes. But few know it exists."
"I hope it works. For if it doesn't..." said Lyris, fixing the Princess's gaze in hers. Onyx met turquoise, but did not falter.
"It will," said Mennehotep. From a glass vessel she pored a green liquid into a small phial. "I have made this many times."
"Do give her some space to work, Lyris," said Rath as he pushed past the Muse.
"Whatever you say, Rath," she said, sweetly.|
Ja-Kal faced Armon and Nefer-Tina. "Someone must take the elixir to the prince, and remain at his side till he is well. I know each of you yearns to bear this burden, but I have made up my mind. Nefer-Tina..."
"Get the Hot-Ra ready to go. Armon, I'm depending on you. Protect the prince..."
"And what will you do?"
"We will find Kara, and make her pay. Either way the Prince will be avenged."
"I will not fail you, Ja-Kal," said Armon. Mennehotep carefully handed him one of the vials she'd filled.
"Go. And Ra be with you, Armon," said Ja-Kal. So saying, he turned to the others. Armon hurried away, picking up hat and coat as he ran.
Lyris came over. "I know where she is," she said.
"I saw her at the night club, when I was out with Nefer-Tina and Mennehotep. I followed her, and listened to her speak. She said she was headed back to where it all started."
"The movie lot?" said Nefer-Tina.
"Hurry. We can still make it before dawn," said Ja-Kal. "Prepare to leave."
"But Ja-Kal, we have not recharged," said Rath. "To leave now would be suicide."
"We will rest. And leave at sunset. By then the prince will be alive, and we can stop her at our leisure. Or he will be dead, and we will avenge him."
All the remaining mummies wandered over to their sarcophagi. Mennehotep's had been brought from the film studio. It rested off to one side, near Lyris's. Covered with the ibis motif, it gleamed in the torchlight. Ja-Kal and Nefer-Tina slipped into the hawk and panther sarcophagi. Rath remained, talking to Lyris.
"I think I'll turn in as well," she said. "Good night, Rath."
"It's what the living say when they are ready to sleep," she said, and squeezed his shoulder affectionately before tripping off to the jackal sarcophagus.
"Rath, I want to thank you for coming to my aid in the hall of dance."
"Really I don't know what Nefer-Tina was thinking when she took you there..."
"Don't start now, Scribe," she said, raising a hand to his lips. "For the first time in ages I felt alive. I embraced the new time. I cannot hide from it forever, in this stone building."
"But you were put in danger..."
"And I will be again. Let me draw my courage from you, not my ire," she said.
He bowed, and kissed her hand. "Sleep well, your highness," he said. Somberly Mennehotep went to her own sarcophagus. Anxious, she glanced towards the casket of the Jackal.
"She's gone!" exclaimed Ja-Kal, the next night.
"Wake up everybody!" cried Nefer-Tina.
"Where could she possibly go?" asked Rath.
"To Kara," murmured Mennehotep.
"What?" they all demanded.
"Let us hurry. We have little time. Your friend is in grave danger.
Within two hours they arrived at the dark movie lot. They crept inside, quiet as could be. Mennehotep lead the way, holding aloft her amulet. As it glowed brighter she grew more serious. Ja-Kal walked right along side of her, anxiously awaiting the final meeting.
"In there. The temple," gestured Mennehotep.
"Ra be with us all," said Ja-Kal, gripping his friends arms one last time. "For the Prince."
"For the prince," Mennehotep said, sadness in her eyes.
"With the Strength of Ra!" they cried in unison. Three mummies blazed into armor. She stood aside, and watched as they completed their transformation.
"This way, brave guardians," said Mennehotep, leading again.
Darkness blotted out Nut, and they were inside. Suddenly the walls were aglow with torches. Huge spotlights blinded them with their radiance.
Low growling ensued. A plaster lion strode out from the shadows. Nefer-Tina growled back. And from the left came a griffon, shrilling a loud wail. Ja-Kal raised his bow, emitting a low eagle shrill.
A huge rattling shook them. Rath raised his sword as an enormous snake slithered out from beyond. Instinctively the three mummies surrounded the princess, fronts facing out as their adversaries hemmed them in.
"Kara! Stop this game!" cried Mennehotep.
"This is no game," said a lyric voice that shook with anger.
"Lyris!" gasped Rath.
"Yes, I'm here," she said, striding out into the pool of light. "Just give me the elixir, and step away from the princess, and no harm will come to you."|
"Lyris, why?" asked Rath.
"You should ask her," spat Lyris, pointing tot he princess with her staff.
"Ever the accuser," laughed Kara. The darkness vanished. They all stood in the center of a high ceilinged chamber. Large windows in the ceiling let the stars peek through. Two huge sphinxes guarded a large central throne. And upon it sat Princess Kara, in full Pharaoh's glory.
"Fitting I should have you brought to my court. I am sorry the reception is unfriendly. But I assure you it is necessary."
"What have you done to the Prince!" shouted Mennehotep.
"You should ask, sister dear," said Kara, standing up. She raised her hands, and the guardians fell upon the mummies. Before they could fight back, Kara raised her amulet, bathing them all in a blue light. Their armor fizzled, and crackled away. Ja-Kal shouted as the gryphon grasped him in its talons, and flew away. Nefer-Tina kicked at the lion, who simply swatted her down with one stone paw, and grabbed her by the scruff of the bandages on her neck. As for Rath, the serpent coiled around him, pulling him towards the wall.
Mennehotep raised her hands, and tossed down a vial. It exploded. The animals froze in place. But still they held the mummies. "Oops," she groaned.
"You have made my task easier, sister," said Kara.
"Release them at once!" she shouted. "Or I'll...I'll"
"Do this!" shrilled Mennehotep. Instantly she raised her amulet, and directed an energy blast at her sister on the throne. Kara countered with an equally strong blast that canceled hers out. Hissing, she flung wide her arms, sending another bolt. Mennehotep crossed her wrists over her chest, and a purple sphere of light encased her body. The bolts reflected harmlessly off.
Kara summoned a mighty wind, hammering at the barrier. Mennehotep uncrossed her arms, and purple fire exploded from her fingers at Kara. With but a gesture, a sluice of water crashed down on the alchemist. Rath gasped at the display of sorcery. All his tricks were here in front of him, with perfect precision. Such a display of power they had not seen since the duel between Chandra and Rath.
"Enough games!" snapped Kara. "We are too evenly matched in the arts of sorcery."
"Yes, Chandra taught you well. But all she learned she learned from Rath!" laughed Mennehotep. "And I know all the tricks."
"There are a few things my mistress learned since his demise," smiled Kara, and fingered her chin. A mist rose around her sister, and started to coat her entire body. Mennehotep could barely move as the cloud stuck fast.
"By the unnamed God of the Earth!" she choked, and there was a rumbling as the ground split in two. Small pebbles pelted her as she stood there. A small scale sandstorm tore away the mist till she was free.
Kara stood in disbelief. "How..."
"And here is another trick you didn't know. For I went inside the great pyramid, and not you..."
Lyris suddenly took a hand in things. "Wait, let them go! You have your sister, now release us..."
Kara shouted, "Enough games! With the power of Bastet!" and blazed with blue energy. This time she was covered in full golden lion armor. Roaring, she leapt from her mighty throne towards her defenseless sister. Bound to the walls with mystic shackles, all Rapses guardians could do was watch as sister attacked sister.
Lyris barred her way. "Foolish Muse. Out of my way," Kara growled, and brushed her aside like so much of an insect. The muse tumbled to the foot of the stairs, and lay still. A jackal at the seat of the throne came to life, pinning her down.
"With the wisdom of Isis!" cried Mennehotep. In a blaze of purple energy she transformed. Over her dark hair rose the headpiece of the sacred ibis, till her head was sheathed in its mask. Gold and purple decorated a breastplate conforming to her bosom. Her long graceful skirt now hung to her knees, with a frontspiece of violet. On her hands glistened claws of amethyst. And upon her back flowed a winged purple cloak. As Kara landed, she leapt into the air.
With her cloak she had limited flying ability. While not the equal of Ja-Kal's golden wings, her cloak did allow her to jump and hang momentarily suspended in thin air. Kara, meanwhile, could climb the walls and leap great distances. Sharp blue claws gleamed brightly in the torchlight as they connected with the ibis's cloak. Mennehotep coundered with a mighty kick from her powerful legs, sheathed in half length boots tipped in amethysl claws. Both women dropped to the ground, yards apart.
Kara leapt, and Mennehotep jumped to safety again. But this Kara rolled over and leapt at he wall near the ibis. Mennehotep pulled in her cloak, and dropped suddenly. Kara overcorrected and tumbled from the wall. Feet above she twisted over like a cat and dropped safely on all fours. Nefertina could not help but admire Kara's skills with the lioness armor.
"Let us stop this game," Kara snapped. "You cannot run from me forever, dear sister."
"I did not run. I choose not to waste my energy when it can be better applied."
"Did you choose those words from the scroll of your beloved scribe?" sneered Kara.
Mennehotep gave no answer, for she saw where Kara's hands were going. For the short claws suddenly grew two feet in length on Kara's hands. Screaming like a angry cat she hurled herself at Mennehotep. However, her sister was not unprepared. Mennehotep reached beneath her cloak, and flung something at her sister. Smoke exploded from the capsule, filling the room.
"Coward, you would hide in smoke as you sought to hide from me in death!"|
"That was only to buy me time... to do this!" cried Mennehotep, as she severed the Prince's bonds. "Get out of here..."
"Now sister, this is it. I will no longer run..."
So saying, she produced her curved staff and flail, so similar to the scepters of office seen in the hands of a pharoah. As Kara swung her claws, Mennehotep used the hook to block, while using the flail to snare the other arm. Kara sailed overhead as Mennehotep dropped, planted her foot into her sister's belly, and threw. Armor and all she crashed into the far wall, stunned.
Mennehotep cautiously backed away, and produced yet another vial. Carefully she poured it on Ja-Kal's bonds.
"Behind you!" cried Lyris.
It had taken less time for Kara to recover. Mennehotep saw her in mid pounce. She swung round, clawed boot ready. Lyris gritted her teeth as the claws raked ineffectively against Kara's armor. Guilt racked the poor muses' conscious. It was all her fault for this mess. Coming between the feuding sisters had cost her her friends.
All for the love of Rath.
Who now closed his eyes in deep concentration. Ja-Kal worked at his own bonds, managing to loose them. "With the strength of Ra," Rath whispered.
Over and over the sisters rolled. Kara's claws slashed closer and closer to Mennehotep's throat, while the beak of the ibis mask drove closer and closer to Kara's own neck. Hissing and spitting, Kara rolled on top of her sister. The claws raised high. And slashed. Lyris and Nefer-Tina screamed.
Aloft she held a sheet of papyrus, torn from Mennehotep's skirt. "I have it," she sneered. "And now one more chance. Will you join me, or will you join our family beyond the Western gate..."
"And live as you are... in a stolen body?"
"You know nothing," snapped Kara. "Karen Romano is my direct descendant. For countless eons mother spirit has passed to daughter. I have lived subconsciously for many years, in a body that was bred for me. Only now I know who I really am. While you exist as a wizened mummy!"
"At least I don't steal," she snapped.
"You could join me. Rule at my side, as my true sister, and bring back the glory of our mother!"
"Nothing would please me more... but you would enslave all those who had the smallest complaint..." grunted Mennehotep.
"It is for the good of womenkind," she hissed. "As a ruler you should know..."
"I never wanted to be a princess," snapped Mennehotep.
"Then give me the birthright that is mine..."
"No. The price is too high. I would rather live as a mummy than in a stolen body!"
So distracted, her magic bonds temporarily weakened. Rath squeezed out of his bonds courtesy of his serpent armor. He grasped his sword, and approached Ja-Kal.
"No," snapped Kara. "That's not allowed."
She freed her hand, and aimed a blast of magic towards Rath. He simply gestured, and sent the energy hurtling towards Nefer-Tina. Her own bonds disintegrated. At last she could strike. Her first action was to free Lyris from beneath her Jackal snare.
Mennehotep broke free, and kicked hard. Kara roared, and sailed backwards. Still Rath struggled with Ja-Kal's bonds. They'd grown stronger. "Never mind me," he gritted. "Protect the princess..."
Lyris and Nefer-Tina advanced, staff and whip in respective hands. Nefer-Tina struck first, whip snaking towards Kara. She simply dodged and pounced on Lyris. Jackal and Lioness rolled over in a snarling mass. Nefer-Tina tried to help, but was cuffed back by a stray blow.
"Animate!" screamed Kara at the walls.
Rath headed towards Mennehotep. Anxiously she stood over the two feuding women. Lyris snarled in her jackal mask as Kara's claws slashed toward her. Then she vanished from Kara's grasp, to materialize behind her. Her scythe flashed downward. Only to contact a massive stone paw. One of them had worked its way from the large pedestal. It was a large marble sphinx from beside the throne. Protectively it stood over its mistress.
Rath threw his sword at its neck. Harmlessly the snake weapon bounced off, and hurtled away. Meanwhile, the stone paw swatted at Lyris as if she were a harmless mouse, and she went flying toward the wall, half stunned.
Mennehotep flew across the room, and blocked Lyris' descent. Both women crashed into the floor unceremoniously in a heap of turquoise and amethyst. Lyris did not move as Mennehotep tried to pick herself up. The Jackal lay limp in her lap, her mask cracked and shattered.
Not forgotten, Nefer Tina nimbly darted between the back legs of the sphinx towards Kara. Snarling, she pounced. Kara was ready, blocking her blow for blow. Lioness met panther in a brutal melee.
Rath recovered his sword. He looked towards Lyris and Mennehotep, anxious. Both women were still trying to recover their wits. "Back," he shouted, gesturing in a strange pose, with both hands outstretched. The sphinx responded with a low snarl, and swung at him. Then, he brought his hands across his chest with lightening speed. With a thud and sizzle the paw impacted a mystical shield surrounding the Scribe. Angrily it hammered at Rath's barrier. His green eyes narrowed in concentration as he struggled to keep it up. The barrier then spread to block both Lyris and Mennehotep.
Mennehotep recovered her wits. Gently she ministered to Lyris. "Are you all right?" she asked softly, taking the Muse's head and shoulders into her lap. The turquoise eyes looked stunned up into the onyx ones. "Rest easy now..."
"But Rath..." she gasped in horror as she saw him falter.|
Mennehotep closed her eyes and ran her hands across the Muse's prostrate form. "Be whole," she chanted. "By the strength of Ra, by the wisdom of Isis let all broken bones be knit, let all wounds be sewn! Lyris, fifth Guardian, be thou whole!" Mystic purple energy seethed through Lyris, channeling new strength into her body. The numbness vanished, and the cracks in her armor sealed as if they never had been. She stood on her own two feet, and raced to help Rath. The scribe winced in pain as he reached deep inside to protect them, the princess and the muse. Who both held claim to his favor... and his heart.
He dropped to his knees. Still the sphinx hammered, relentlessly. "By Ptah, I will not yield..." he gritted.
Lyris phased up to the lion's face. She swung her scythe at its neck, hard. The enchanted blade, made of the alloy of Rath sank deeply into the marble. Fine cracks snaked along its surface. "Strike harder!" Mennehotep shouted. Momentarily weakened from saving Lyris, she huddled on the floor.
Rath collapsed. The paws sailed down. Only to contact a purple blast from Mennehotep. Holding her one hand aloft, she crawled over towards the Scribe. Now Lyris hammering weakened the marble. Another blow crashed into her own mystical barrier, and the sphinx disintegrated.
Mennehotep then repeated her chant to the scribe. Lyris raced over, but hung back as Rath was cocooned in purple light. Slowly he shook his head. Smiling, Lyris moved to help him up. Kara threw Nefer-Tina towards the wall, at Ja-Kal. He had just managed to break free when he jumped to catch her.
"Rath, Lyris, look out!" shouted Mennehotep as Kara pounced. Rath threw Lyris to the floor as the ibis took flight. In midair the women hovered, continuing their savage dual. But now Mennehotep faltered.
"You are weak, sister," she jeered. "Your help to your friends will unmake you..."
"Give me the formula back," screeched the ibis. "Or I must..."
Her purple cloak ripped, and both sisters slammed into the floor. Kara pinned her, claws upraised. "The hunt is over, sister," she snapped, and the claws flashed down. Lyris threw her staff. Nefer-Tina leapt. But Kara twisted, and rolled over and over out of their way, with Mennehotep still managing to kick. Ja-Kal grabbed his bow, and aimed.
"Stop, or she rejoins her ancestors!" cried Kara.
Everyone froze. Aloft Kara held a vial. There was a ripping sound as the claws on her other hand descended.
"Release her!" shouted Rath.
"She's yours, scribe," laughed Kara, and hurled Mennehotep towards him. Staggering under her weight he caught her. "But she is nearly ready to cross the Western Gate!"
"What have you done to her!" demanded Ja-Kal, arrow still aimed at her.
"You were foolish to place yourselves between us. To choose sides. Your own duties to protect the Prince I can understand. But there will soon only be one Pharaoh around here."
"You witch," cried Nefer-Tina.
"Thank you," smiled Kara. "My mentor would be proud of me this day. All of your pathetic little lives are in my hands. I will spare you guardians, if you let me leave."
"And what about Mennehotep."
"This vial contains the elixir of which she invented. It may cure her..."
"Rath," said Ja-Kal, moving his head so slightly.
"Her life force is fading," he shook his head.
"N-no Rath," she gasped weakly. "Don't listen to her... she is wrong. Remember the Prince..."
Ja-Kal nodded. In her hands the vial shattered, as his arrow hit its mark. "No!" cried Lyris, racing toward Kara.
"Why do you attack me," she asked, hurling her back toward the wall. Nefer tina supported her friend. "You have your wish. The scribe is yours for the taking..."
"Not like this," she said. "Not like this."
"Farewell Guardians of Rapses," said Kara, as she leapt from the floor to a lighting fixture. "You have destroyed my sister's last hope of survival. But I still have the formula."
Lyris phased out. There was just enough energy left. As Kara leapt for the skylight, Lyris grabbed the scroll tucked into her belt. Kara snarled, and cuffed her off. The scroll ripped in half, one piece in Lyris' hand. Ja-Kal soared up on falcon wings and caught her as she fell.
Silence fell instead. Gently Rath cradled the princess in his arms. He slipped one arm under her knees, the other beneath her neck, and lifted. The others crowded around anxiously. "Here is the formula Rath," Lyris said, handing him the scroll. He shook his head.
"Even if I could read it, we haven't the time..."
"If we took her back to her sarcophagus," said Ja-Kal. "I could fly her."
"It's too late," said Nefer-Tina. "Look!"
Already the light in her eyes vanished as she closed them. The glittering amethyst flickered weakly. Energy blazed as her armor vanished. Slowly the light died within the ibis head.
"Oh no," gasped Nefer-Tina, and buried her head in her hands. Ja-Kal solemnly gripped her shoulder.
Rath looked up at Lyris. The green eyes penetrated her turquoise ones as he turned away. "I did try to save her," she began. "Really I did..."
"You did your best," he said, flatly.|
Outside the movie lot they raced. Alarms clanged all around them. Ja-Kal lead the way to the same truck they'd hid behind before. Police swarmed the lot, shouting and talking in many voices at once. News vans whirred by.
Still Rath carried the princess' body. He said not a word to anyone, especially Lyris. The muse miserably kept to herself. Nefer tina approached her, and slipped an arm around her friend. Ja-Kal kept a look out. "We must wait..." he said. "The Hot-Ra is across the lot..."
Suddenly their amulets flared. "Anyone there?" asked Armon's voice.
"Armon?" sniffed Lyris. "What?"
"It's the Prince! He is all right!"
"Thank Ra," sighed Ja-Kal.
"He's awake and wants to know why I am standing here beside a hospital bed."
"Tell him we are all right... for now," said Ja-Kal. "There is something we must do first."
"Rath," said Nefer-Tina, crossing over to him. "You must say something to Lyris."
"What is to be said?" he said flatly. "It is over. Kara has escaped. The prince is alive..."
"But we're your friends. Lyris saved your life back there..."
"I know," he said again. "But we all didn't have the privilege of seeing ourselves outside here..."
Suddenly they heard a groan. Rath was so surprised, he almost dropped her. Onyx eyes fluttered open. "Where... is Kara," gasped Mennehotep, weakly looking up at Nefer-Tina and Rath.
Lyris rushed over. "She's alive!" she cried, tears in her eyes.
"How?" gasped Ja-Kal.
"What?" stammered Rath, in extreme shock and surprise. "How, where... who?"
"Your amulet went out," said Lyris...
"I told you not to worry about me," said Mennehotep, managing a weak smile. "There was a potion she didn't know about."
"One that stopped the claws. They ripped through the armor... but I didn't die again..."
"I get it. When your armor fizzled out, the energy released healed you?" asked Nefer-Tina.
"Right," said the Princess.
"But I never... I... Don't ever scare me like that again!" Rath scolded, despite the fact she technically outranked him.
"I'm so sorry," Lyris apologized. "I almost destroyed you... joining your sister."
"It was not your fault. Many have made that mistake," said Mennehotep, with a kind look in her black eyes.
"You saved my life, even after what I did... I cannot repay you."
"You loved your prince, and your allegiance was with him. I have learned that in matters of the heart, it is best to treat impulse with patience."
"How... did you know?"
"You wrote those words, fair Muse of Ammonhotep," said Mennehotep. "And you should know the power of forgiveness. Can we be friends?"
"Yes, I would like that very much," said Lyris, breathing a sigh of relief. Somehow the sight of Rath holding her that way didn't seem to hurt so much. It would only be a matter of time.
"I can't ask your help in finding my sister, and defeating her," said Mennehotep, addressing them all.
"We'll discuss that later, back at the Sphinx," said Ja-Kal. "The coast is clear. Let us go."
One by one the mummies ran after him. Still Rath carried the princess in his arms. "Er, Rath, you can put me down now," she said to him.
"What, and risk another injury?" he snorted. "One accident is more than enough, your majesty..."
Lyris looked to Nefer-Tina, and both girls winked at the Princess. "Enjoy it while it lasts," giggled Lyris. Mennehotep cast them a helpless look, before at last smiling herself.
DISCLAIMER: The layout for this page was inspired by Stargate SG-1: Unauthorized
It was not intended to copy or resemble that site. Any similarities are purely accidental and
coincidental especially after the discovery that I cannot draw or edit for beans.
Mummies Alive! is the property and trademark of Dic Inc. and the
producers of that show. The images on these pages were created by me for informational and
display purposes without their knowledge or permission. It is hoped that I will not
have to remove them. This site is here to provide information and to promote a great new
cartoon, and is not intended to infringe on any copyrights.
Copyright © 1998 Anubis