A/N: Wow, this is scary.
Hi everyone! I'm back with the sequel I promised, oh, a year and a half, two years ago? It took much, much longer than expected, but I'm glad because the version I was originally writing was a bit terrible. I deleted the four chapters I had written for it, and wrote ten chapters of this, and now I'm ready to upload. I've written ten chapters in advance in the hopes that we won't have another Isis fiasco and I'll actually get this fully uploaded within the next year, especially since it's a shorter story than the previous one.
If you're confused, then the chances are pretty good you didn't read Isis, which makes sense since it's been a few years since it had a proper update (or you're confused because I'm confusing. That's possible, too). I strongly recommend reading that one first, or you'll just be all the more confused. Fair warning that Isis is a bit strange, for a Mummy fanfiction. It was one of my first fanfics ever, and though I rewrote it a couple times it's still a bit off-the-wall, but I still think it's a lot of fun with some very emotional parts, and it's worth a read if you don't mind a bit of Mary-Sue-ness with a side of unrealistic situations. But then, fanfiction is fun because you get to explore things that might be a bit unrealistic in the canon universe.
Hey, I'm off track already. Let's get back on track.
There are a few plot holes in this sequel, I'm just going to come out and say that. They're there because 1. Isis wasn't the best base to work with, as it created quite a few plot holes all on it's own, 2. My own inability as a writer (though it's my ultimate goal, I am by no means a professional novelist and therefore my writing will be imperfect) and 3. …I'm not giving you this reason just yet. There will be a third story to finish off this trilogy (as well as a companion piece, if I ever get around to it), and a few plot holes will be explained there.
This fanfiction is no masterpiece. It's here just for fun. But it does have more of a solid plot than the previous story. In Isis there was a lot of running around and getting sidetracked. And though I kept some of the light hearted fun of the previous story, this story has an actual structure, and the side tracking is at a minimum. Our heroes are done running away from danger.
So, for the important stuff: The Mummy animated series was a bit of an inspiration for part of this, mostly just in this chapter (er, okay – mostly just the name of a thing). Also mentioned in this chapter are the Anubis Warriors, however I did change their name just because it bothered the hell out of me that the movie called Anubis the dark Egyptian god, when more realistically it was Set, Osiris's brother. So I just replaced the name and fixed a pet peeve that's been bothering me since I saw The Mummy Returns in theaters.
If you haven't read Isis and stubbornly refuse to go back and read it, keep in mind that this story is AU, as it takes place in modern times. Originally a mistake by thirteen-year-old me, so it doesn't change a whole lot of the original movies as backstory.
Other quick mentions: I am still looking for a beta for this story, so if you're interested please let me know. I'm going to try to upload chapters once a week to once every other week, depending on how much time I have to write new chapters. Plus with NaNoWriMo coming up and a big roadtrip in November, I won't have a ton of time at a computer that isn't spent on a novel, so at least for the next month expect one chapter every two weeks. Still better than the months and months it took me before, right?
Wow, I've written a lot here, so one last thing: If you're interested in seeing bonus material for this fanfic, such as fashions or recipes or playlists, please check out the link to my fanfiction writing blog in my profile. Thanks!
Disclaimer: The Mummy was produced by Universal Studios. I am merely a fan playing in their world: I own nothing but my own concepts, and I am making no money from this.
Wow, it's finally time. Okay. Enjoy, everyone!
THREE YEARS LATER
The sun appeared in a fiery burst of orange and gold as it rose over a seemingly endless desert. The blue sky was covered by a film of white clouds, adding smoke to the appearance that the sky was aflame. The bright beams of the sun had first touched the mountains far to the east, and then the vast expanse of sand and cacti, and then the ruins of an ancient city, and slowly it reached a high cliff.
Atop this cliff sat a spiral of black tents, and in the center of this spiral a fire was just starting to be made. Women of the Medjai tribe were preparing for the day, starting the breakfast cooking and feeding the horses and carrying laundry to their water source, as well as washing the two cars the tribe owned. The children started on their chores, the boys cleaning the weapons and the girls weaving blankets to be used or baskets to be traded with other desert tribes. A few men in long black robes with the hoods drawn over their faces to keep them safe from the heat of the sun stood by a table set near the fire, pointing at maps and talking animatedly. Each person had their own duty to fulfill, or the rest of the tribe would suffer for it.
The majority of the men were gathered in the largest tent, set closest to the fire pit. Inside this tent sat Ardeth Bey, the leader of all Medjai, surrounded by his most trusted advisors, maps of ancient cities…and various bridal magazines.
"The truth is," said a wizened man, gone grey around the temples. "You failed us three years ago, Ardeth. You failed us, and now we pay the price."
Ardeth opened his mouth to speak, but Kyan, his oldest friend, spoke for him. "Have we all forgotten what Ardeth did for us thirteen years ago? He led the charge against Set's army, and ultimately prepared the way for the Scorpion King to be defeated! And you question his judgment now?"
"We all know what Ardeth Bey did for us then," said a man a few years Ardeth's senior, who sat across the circle from Kyan. "We do not question that. He became the leader of all Medjai after that, and rightfully so. But perhaps it is time for a new leader. He has grown distracted-"
"Distracted!" Kyan exclaimed.
"And he let our one true enemy slip through his fingers."
"After defeating him twice! What did you ever do to stop the Creature?"
Ardeth put his hand on Kyan's shoulder in warning. "Calm, my friend. Do not question the worth of your elders."
Kyan's jaw locked, but he nodded. Ardeth turned to address his advisors.
"I know that it was my duty to defeat the Creature when he awoke again three years ago," he spoke as calmly as he could when his leadership was threatened. "At the time, however, my greatest concern was protecting the innocent, particularly the young girl who seemed to be his target."
"That has never been our way!" shouted the old man, one hand curling into a fist. He slammed it down on his knee as he spoke sharply, "It is not for us to protect the innocent, but to protect the world by whatever means necessary. You focused your efforts on protecting that girl, and the Creature slipped away! Three years, Ardeth, and still we cannot locate him! You had him in your sights and let him escape!"
Ardeth closed his eyes and breathed in deeply, not wishing to lose his temper before the most important men in his tribe. He understood their frustrations, as he felt them, as well. Years of searching, searching the City of the Dead and other ancient ruins, of looking into every natural disaster, of keeping in constant contact with other tribes for any whisper of the Creature, and nothing. Imhotep had disappeared, almost as though into thin air. Ardeth held onto the hope that what the Creature had told Paige Woods was true, and he had found some way to return to the Underworld. But his tribe was not satisfied with this, and to be honest, he wasn't either. He found it very difficult to believe that Imhotep would ever tell the truth, or give up his immortal existence so easily. He had done it once before, it was true…but those were under different circumstances. He was near death already, mortal and without Anck-Su-Namun. Now…
Alice always told him he wasn't trusting enough.
"Afzal," Ardeth finally began to reply, after fighting his anger back below the surface. "I do admit that I made a mistake in letting the Creature escape. However, perhaps it is time that we changed our tactics. Being willing to let the innocent die makes us no less evil than the Creature – for we have not been cursed."
The tent was deathly silent for a moment as these old men of the tribe tried to comprehend what Ardeth was suggesting – changing their ancient, time-honored ways, and to a tactic that had let the Creature escape. This idea was a dangerous one. Change could not be allowed in their position; they had a duty to fulfill. Only Kyan nodded in agreement.
"Ardeth Bey," Afzal replied, his voice now soft. "Your thinking is radical and flawed. Allowing mercy and focusing on protecting the innocent rather than punishing the guilty is what caused this problem. The Creature is gone, and you suggest that we change our ways to the flaw that allowed him to escape?"
"I am merely saying that a change-"
"You bring all sorts of change, don't you?" Afzal stood, and towered over the rest. Even as Ardeth stood, Afzal was still taller than any of them. His arms, legs, torso may be thinner, but age would not take away his height. "You want to allow mercy for those who bring the Creature back to this earth. You choose to marry a woman not a Medjai and half your age. What has become of you, Ardeth? You were once a great leader, with such focus. Has the woman changed this? Perhaps you ought to reconsider attending your wedding."
Ardeth's mouth set in a grim line. "The woman's name is Alice, and she is wise beyond her years, has courage in the face of dangers she never imagined, and is as reliable and strong as the Nile. I will not hear you speak ill of her, Afzal."
"Love can bring great comfort, Ardeth, but it can also bring blindness and weakness," Afzal replied, his dark eyes aflame. "If you feel that you cannot-"
The door of the tent was flung aside, and a young man collapsed on the ground before the tribe counsel. He lay there, gasping for air for a moment, before looking to Ardeth with fear in his eyes.
"Hadi?" Ardeth quickly moved to the scout, helping the small man to his feet. "What has happened?"
"Found…Parsons…the scroll…" Hadi couldn't catch his breath. Ardeth glimpsed outside and saw Hadi's horse wandering aimlessly before a woman grabbed hold of its reins. Hadi must have just arrived, and wasted no time coming into the tent. Whatever his message was, it could not be good news.
"Breathe," Ardeth said, leading Hadi to the back of the tent. The rest of the advisors stood and watched after them, but Ardeth lifted a hand to keep them back so the scout could have enough air. After a moment or two and a few gulps of water from Ardeth's canteen, Hadi finally seemed capable of speech.
"We found James Parsons," he said, wiping the sweat off his dark brow. "The man Imhotep used as a servant three years ago. We found him."
"Where is he?" Kyan asked, but stepped back when Ardeth gave him a sharp look.
Hadi shook his head, as though he could not believe the words he had to speak. "We researched him. He is used to gaining power…he has done it all his life, rising to the top of student governments, local governments and businesses. When he disappeared from England, he was the CEO of a major company as well as the head of his community. We used the information we gathered to track him to Cairo, but could not find him. We discovered, however, that the Scroll of Thebes had been stolen from the museum."
"The Scroll of Thebes is in the hands of a servant of the Creature's?" whispered Afzal in horror, but Ardeth silenced him with a wave of his hand.
Ardeth took Hadi by the shoulders. "James Parsons is in possession of the Scroll of Thebes? Are you certain?"
Hadi swallowed, and nodded hard. "He was in the city at the time, and gone when it was discovered missing."
"That scroll has powers…" Ardeth whispered, his eyes roving over Hadi's face, hoping to find some trace of jest. "He could use it to resurrect any single soul he wished."
Hadi nodded again, and Ardeth remembered to release the boy. Hadi continued, turning to pace in the tent, his hands behind his back, shaking. "First we discovered that on this trip to Cairo, he hired travel experts and transportation and supplies for a long journey through the desert. Then we found that for the last three years he has been hiring teams of diggers, paying them to dig with great haste with gold and ancient artifacts he must have stolen from the City of the Dead."
"…In which direction has he been going with these diggers, Hadi?"
The small scout was unusually pale as he stopped and looked Ardeth in the eye. "Ahm-Shere. Knowing that he has a thirst for power, no qualms with working with evil, immortal beings and has the Scroll of Thebes in his possession – which makes our keeping the bracelet and the great Books hidden useless – I believe…"
Slowly, Ardeth breathed in the hot, humid air deep into his lungs, not wanting to hear Hadi's next words, not wanting to say what he must say. "What do you believe, Hadi?"
Hadi closed his eyes. "I believe he has gone to Ahm-Shere to resurrect the Scorpion King and take control of the Army of Set."
Quiet, and then every advisor spoke at once. Each voice fought to be heard over another, causing the commotion to grow louder and louder as Ardeth and Hadi stared at one another, both defeat and determination filling their eyes.
"Silence!" Ardeth finally cried out. He turned to his advisors, who looked simultaneously fearful and courageous. Unquestioningly, they waited for their leader's orders. "If indeed James Parsons has the ability to raise the Scorpion King once again, we must stop him on his way to Ahm-Shere, or all is lost."
"He was sent to the Underworld, though, wasn't he?" Kyan asked hesitantly, trying desperately to cling to hope. "It can't be possible for him to be raised."
Ardeth shook his head. "The Creature, too, was dragged to the Underworld. And he has also returned."
He waited for Afzal to speak up again, to blame him for letting Imhotep escape, for not finding James Parsons before it was too late. But the elderly man stood still in the back, awaiting orders the same as the advisors who still felt loyalty to Ardeth Bey. If anything, Afzal was an honorable man.
Ardeth cleared his throat, quickly trying to form some plan. "It has been many years since we rode from Ahm-Shere. Does any man recall how to get back?"
There were faint whispers, but they were all stating the negative. Some had never been to Ahm-Shere, some were too old to recall the path they had traveled there. It had been a long and complicated march. Ardeth hadn't joined the march, and all he could recall was stopping at Giza, the Great Temple at Abu Simbel and Karnak, but he could not even put those in order.
He held a hand up to once again halt the chatter. "Very well. The O'Connells await me in Cairo. They were all on the same path that I was, perhaps they will recall the way. Rick O'Connell defeated the Scorpion King last time, and I will want him on this journey again," Ardeth spoke loudly to his advisors. If any objected to the inclusion of the O'Connells in the Medjai mission once again, they did not say anything. "Prepare for a long march. Purchase more horses, send messages to our other tribes and build more weapons. If the army does arise, we will need every sword we can get."
Each advisor nodded and left the tent, knowing beforehand what their duty was in times of war. Kyan approached Ardeth before leaving, shaking his hand.
"I am sorry that your wedding will have to be postponed," he said softly, a sincerely sad look in his eyes.
Ardeth sighed and nodded. "As am I…though Alice will be the most disappointed of all."
Kyan gave Ardeth's hand a reassuring squeeze, and knowing that there was nothing more he could say to comfort his friend, turned and left.
Ardeth looked to Hadi, who had collapsed on the ground and held his head in his hands. Ardeth moved forward and bent down to Hadi's level.
"You have done well," he said to the scout, who looked to Ardeth with a weak smile in appreciation. "Not many could have put together James Parsons' plans the way you did."
Hadi shrugged. "I did what I had to do."
Ardeth patted the scout on the shoulder, and helped the man to his feet.
"I need your help once more, Hadi," he said to the smaller man. "I need you to prepare the truck for me. I have a lot of ground to cover, and very little time to waste."
Artificial: Since my opening author's note was obnoxiously long, I'll just leave that there. I hope you all have fun going on this adventure with me!