The Inheritance Ch 5
William tried to adjust to the light once the bag came off his head. It was just about sunrise. It took a while but he realized he was in a SUV.
“If you’re rescuing me, was that really necessary?,” he protested.
“We’re only here so you can help us stop your man at Ahm Shere,” the old man said.
“You mean Nasir? Is that all?,” he said. “Well, hand me a phone and I’ll call him.”
“Is this him?,” the old man said showing him the picture on his phone of Nasir and Ajalise.
“Yes. How long have you been following her?”
“He is part of the cult.”
“Ajalise gave the impression you were ambitious, not stupid.”
The driver interrupted their conversation.
“What did he say?,” William asked.
“We go in after her,” the old man said.
“After her. Lissi? She’s here?”
“Do you know how to use this?,” the second in command asked.
“Of course,” William as he took the gun. “But is this necessary?”
“Yes,” he said.
Ajalise sat on the ground inside the tunnel quietly. Her captor kept his gun on her. She smiled once she noticed he was leaning against the wall, too. Nasir’s frustration was palpable as he looked at the screens, not understanding why they weren’t making any progress.
“Your satellite isn’t the problem. You’re looking at the map wrong. North is on the right. We’re uh,” she tilted her head, “on the south.”
Nasir walked over to her and knelt down in front of her. “What else do you know, Medjai?”
“Ugghhh,” she groaned. “Yeah, I still have a headache from when I first got here, so you know what I know.”
Nasir shouted some orders at people and the rest of the armed men herded them around.
Ajalise sighed and sat back against the wall. “Um…so. Mummy worship. How’s that work?”
“We just want the books. We understand the ramifications of the cursed one. And you’re right. It was an Egyptian hell hole,” he said as he took her hands again. “What else do you know about this place?”
She sighed again, “Nothing else is here but the books.”
“What makes you certain?”
“I see what I see. And they aren’t exactly made of indestructible materials. You read how this place was lost, right?”
“Then why do I need to explain anything to you? If either of those things are in one piece, it would be a miracle.”
“You can read the books, too, can’t you?”
“Yes. So could anyone here that can read ancient Egyptian, I know I’m not the only one.”
“Good. Then we’ll continue to look for the second book.”
“Stubborn ass men,” she muttered. “Fine,” she said as she stood up, “Let’s go.”
“What are you not saying?,” Nasir sad as he pushed her against the wall.
“The Medjai think the books may have an ending. A way to cancel themselves out. And I think by the time you chisel out that gold one, it should be pretty damaged.”
Nasir let her go then let his attention go towards the workers. Ajalise noticed the large box they were carrying. The signature star shape for a key. The sacks with items for a ritual.
“Um…that key thing is probably going to be an issue as well.”
“An oversight of our group, I admit. But I can be patient.”
His goon pushed her forward. They cleared a path into the great hall. Flashes of a fairly short battle stopped her in her tracks.
“What did you see,” Nasir asked.
“No new information. Although that big ditch there should be glowing a little brighter and full of the damned.”
“Why do you think there were no rocks outside?”
“Damn. I really needed to prove William right on that one,” she replied. “I figured it would be bottomless.”
“Nasir!” Someone shouted from a far corner of the great hall.
Ajalise looked in that direction. The glint of gold was unmistakable.
“But it is locked,” she taunted.
“I have faith the key will present itself,” Nasir said. He walked towards Ajalise and turned down the cuff in her shirt and pulled what looked like a thread with a flat knot at the end. “I know enough to know the Medjai found you twice. Something tells me they are close and probably devised a way to get these books open, were they to ever be discovered again.”
Ajalise just stared at him as he smiled at her. There was no sense in lying.
“Did you look at my gift?,” he asked.
“No. Should I?” Nasir said nothing. She put her hand in her pocket and took out the wad of linen and took out the necklace. The engraving in the gold on the back was a name.
“Nefertiti?,” Ajalise said in awe. “Why give this to me now?”
“I had hoped to have enough time to persuade you to play a different role in this some years ago. I just never got around to it,” he said.
“Nasir, we found them in the tunnels,” another armed man shouted. The man in black was knocked out. William was being dragged in.
“My hero,” Ajalise said, shaking her head. She watched as the others were dragged in but her heart sank when she saw the old man. The replica key in the hand of one of Nasir’s men nearly brought her to her knees.
Unarmed workers were setting up a ritual. Flashlights took the place of torches, but creating a circle around coffin meant to be locked, a table full of items of torture, and yards of gauze, were unmistakable.
“What is this?,” William shouted.
“A simple ritual,” Nasir replied, “But not for you. I would see that you live. Both of you.”
“You’re going to willingly endure the curse?,” Ajalise said.
“You’re smart. And you are the only one that can read from the book.”
Ajalise looked at William. The looked quieted his fears. There was just about as many Medjai as Nasir’s men in the room.
A scream rang out. The sound of breaking rubble, the strange hissing and screeching of the scarabs echoed in the chambers. Silence gripped all of them until a sudden burst of heat filled up the room again.
“Problem solved,” Nasir said.
Ajalise was forced over to where the gold book was laid out. “What makes you think I’ll read this as they are torturing you? Or read the other one to wake you up?”
“Well, a lot of people can be killed to persuade you.”
She looked around the room. Each Medjai had their own armed cult member. Even her captor was still with her. There were plenty of innocent people in the room.
“And if I refuse, even after they’re all dead.”
“William wouldn’t want to see you die. And I do believe I can persuade him to reading the book with very little effort.”
Just as her captor was raising his gun, she moved quickly and stripped him of his weapon. The few Medjai followed her lead, quickly killing a few of Nasir’s men. Unarmed workers scattered out of the fight. Nasir stood still, watching. Ajalise shot her man in his leg, forcing him to his knees. And quickly took aim at a man behind the elder. But it wasn’t enough. More men in red were entering the chamber. She tossed William one of her blades. He caught it and threw it, hitting Nasir in the middle of his back.
The men in red stood still.
“Put your weapons down,” Ajalise said. They only complied once she put the gun to Nasir’s head.
“They can bring me back,” Nasir hissed. “From the knife, sure. Maybe even from the bullet to the head.” She signaled to her people, and they took the guns from the men in red. All fell quiet. Ajalise closed her eyes and nodded her head. The elder did the same, which set off a chain reaction of gunshots. A spray of gunfire dissuaded the men in the tunnel. The second in command took a few of his people and began to escort the workers out of the temple. The elder approached and recovered his fallen sword.
“I think we’ve finished this,” she said.
The elder said nothing and offered her his sword. It was shaped like the ancient khopesh. She refused it.
Nasir looked up at her, “Death is only the—”
He didn’t finish his words. He didn’t die of his wound. Ajalise too the sword and swung hard in a fluid motion. His head hit the floor. Tears threatened to well up, so she took a deep breath and slowly released it. She returned the sword to the elder with a respectful bow. They exchanged a look before he turned and ordered his men out of the temple. The books were secured.
William stared at her blankly, “Since when did you become a sniper and a swordsman?”
“Me, Medjai. You, idiot. Were you not listening?,” she said as she searched the dead men.
“I guess not.”
“Go,” she yelled as she pulled the pins on a few grenades and tossed them at the back of the room.
Everyone was into the tunnels as the blast went off. The rubble from the blast offered an obstruction but not a full seal of the room.
“Yeah. So, you guys own a smelter? Cursed book gold jewelry sounds like something I can sell,” William yelled after them. “I mean, we’re going to destroy that, right?”
The elder looked at Ajalise with a smile and shook his head. She shrugged in response, “A necklace made out of that thing would be kind of cool.”
Following the men, she rested at the edge of the slope and threw and stared at William.
“The hell hole was real, by the way,” she said. He laughed at her, following all of the people out of the slanted tunnel, back into the sunlight.
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