The explorers had been walking through the jungle for a solid hour now. Challenger had seen an unusual artifact yesterday, which he wanted to explore further. He was wise enough this time to walk back to the tree house and let the others know about this. None of them were that eager to go in this immense heat. Challenger however hadn't told them what they were going to see. He had simply said he wanted to explore a certain artifact.
Finally they were there and everyone's mouth opened in surprise. They never had expected to find a pyramid here in the jungle. Or as Marguerite pointed out another pyramid. She remembered their encounter with Ramses all too well and it was something she sure didn't want to encounter again.
They all stood in front of the pyramid, not sure whether or not to enter. Finally Finn made the decision for them and entered. Everyone followed her quietly, even Marguerite. Roxton looked behind him to the lady. He saw the uneasiness in her eyes and stopped a minute. When she was close enough he grabbed her hand, assuring her it all will be alright.
Marguerite didn't know what to do with this little gesture. It gave her a warm feeling to know that Roxton knew something was bothering her, but it also made her feel even more uneasy than she already had been. It frightened her that Roxton knew how to get to her heart, it frightened her even more that she was more than willing to give him the passage to her heart. Her thoughts got interrupted by Finn yelling something to Challenger. She looked up at Roxton and he smiled, than bent into her direction.
"We better go see what the lass has found this time." He whispered.
When they arrived, Marguerite's eyes grew wide. They were standing in this enormous room, full of gold and treasures. Seeing Marguerite's eyes widen brought a grin to Finn's face. She knew Marguerite would like this room she found. Veronica had told Finn how much the heiress loved all those shiny stones and three years ago she would have done everything in the world to get as much as possible. But the Marguerite Finn knew, was someone who even gave away gems to save them.
Veronica walked around. She had never seen this much gold in one single room. She let her fingers slide over a large box. She stopped when she had reached some strange symbols. She took a better look at them, but she had never seen symbols like these.
"Marguerite, can you figure out what is written here?"
Marguerite turned to Veronica, seeing her standing besides the large box. Slowly Marguerite made her way towards Veronica. The other explorers joined them as well. Marguerite let her fingers slide over the symbols as well. She recognized the ancient Egypt writing and carefully she started to translate the words in her head.
Everyone looked anxious at the heiress, not quite sure what she was reading. They saw Marguerite's features relax a bit and they all sighed in relief when she told them there were no curses. It simply said that this was the tomb of Nefertiri, queen of the Nile...
"Wife of Ramses." Challenger added.
Marguerite nodded. "I'm positive that it wasn't the Ramses we met. They told us they were brother and sister."
"Ahh, my dear. You forget that it was quite normal in that time to marry your brother or sister." Challenger replied. "However I do think you are right about this though, It's highly doubtable that they are the same. There have been so many Ramses' and Nefertiri's over the past years."
Finn walked to Marguerite, asking if she could lteach her some of the symbols. Marguerite showed her the easiest ones and Finn soon knew them by heart. Martguerite walked away from the tomb, it gave her the creeps and it reminded her of that day in the cave where she and Roxton had found that body, which had the same birthmark as she had.
Finn had walked to one of the walls. On it she saw some of the symbols Marguerite had taught her and she softly spoke them. After she had done that, they all heard a rumble and soon stones came falling down, closing them in.
"You really did it this time, Finn!!" Marguerite fumed.
Finn had a retort on her tongue, but as soon as she saw the heiress shaking, it died. "I'm sorry."
"It's alright, Finn." Challenger said. "We better start looking for a way out."
Marguerite stood numbly, while the others started digging their way out. Veronica was going to make a comment on that, when she saw that Roxton was walking towards Marguerite. Then Veronica remembered what she had been told about the day she and Finn found Challenger with amnesia. Roxton and Marguerite had been trapped. Quickly Veronica continued trying to get them out of this pyramid.
Roxton had made his way over to Marguerite. "Hey, we'll be okay. We'll get out of here."
This seemed to bring Marguerite to her senses and quickly she started digging as well. After almost an hour the first ray of light came through. When they finally got out, they stood still in shock. Where once the jungle had been, now lay a dessert. All they could see was sand. Sand in front of them, sand behind them. Sand to their left and sand to their right.
"Could this day get any better?" Marguerite asked to one in particular. Roxton couldn't help but smile on this comment, while the others rolled their eyes.
"Where are we?" Finn asked.
"My child," Challenger said. "I think that's something we all would like to know. Look there's a camp. Let's see if there are people who can tell us more about this place."
"Evelyn Carnahan, you are the most inconsiderable woman I ever met!" Rick O'Connell sighed.
The woman, turned around, anger flashing in her beautiful eyes. "You know, Richard O'Connell, I really should have left you hanging!"
Jonathan Carnahan, Evelyn's older brother, sighed. "Here they go again," he muttered.
After they had defeated Imhotep, they went back to Caïro. Jonathan was irritated by the two love birds. He had never been one for romance and all the little things that occured between his sister and O'Connell made him sick. Not that he wasn't happy for his little sister, she deserved a man like O'Connell.
Once back in Caïro, Evelyn had tried to get her job back, to no avail. On her way back to the house the three of them stayed in, she stumbled into an old woman. The woman had given her a little box and had quickly walked further. She came walking into the house, trying to open it. Irritated she couldn't open in, she had put the little box on the table. By doing so, somehow a hidden switch which cause the little box to open. In it was a drawn map.
Of course Evy had wanted to check the map and that had let them to this pyramid. Now they had found another locked book. Evy wanted to open it, while Rick and Jonathan tried to talk some common sense into her, to no avail.
"Perhaps that would have been a wise choice!" Rick said, his voice getting louder with every word.
Neither of them, saw the group of people coming nearer, except for Jonathan. He tried to get the attention of Rick and Evelyn and after a few tries he had their attention.
"We've got company." He said, while he pointed towards the explorers.
The group had watched the fight between Rick and Evelyn and Veronica couldn't help but comment that this fighting reminded her of another couple. She got rewarded with two icy glares of Roxton and Marguerite.
Challenger walked towards the three people and Rick instinctively drew his gun. Challenger backed off, saying that it wasn't necessary to draw a gun at all. He and his friends only wanted to know where they were.
Rick looked from the group of explorers to Evelyn and Jonathan and back. "You people have no idea where you are?"
Marguerite came standing besides Challenger. "Mr ..."
"Mr, O'Connell, I assure you, we have no idea where we are. We were completely surprised to find out that when we came out of a pyramid, we are standing in a dessert. Not to mention that we found the pyramid in the middle of a jungle. I know it sounds strange..."
"Nothing sounds strange to me anymore, after what happened last week." O'Connell said.
"Miss Krux," Evelyn had walked towards Marguerite and Challenger. "You want us to believe, you entered a pyramid in the middle of a jungle and when you got out you all of a sudden found yourselves here."
Finn nodded her head, but Evelyn didn't notice the young woman. She only had eyes for Marguerite. Something told her this woman would give them a lot of trouble. The way Rick looked at her, was something she didn't like at all. Little did she know about the relationship Roxton and Marguerite had and how it had developed in front of their friends.
Evelyn started speaking again. "Well, somehow I find that hard to believe in comparison to what he said." With that she turned on her heel and walked to one of the tents standing a few meters away.
"Evy!" Rick said, walking after her.
Jonathan apologized for their behaviours. "It seems the events from three months are affecting them more than they are willing to admit.
Marguerite nodded her head. She had a knowing smile on her face. Roxton turned his head to Marguerite and saw that smile. He took Marguerite by her elbow and escorted her away from everyone so they could talk in private. 'No need for the others to hear this.' He thought.
Roxton looked surprised. Too be honest he had expected a tirade from the woman he loved about why he had the nerves to take her apart like that. But instead his Lady simply and calmly stated that the other woman was jealous.
"Now tell me Marguerite, why would she be jealous? Because of the way that O'Connell man looked at you?" Roxton couldn't help that the sarcasm dripped of it.
Marguerite looked into his eyes with hurt floating in hers. Roxton immediately regretted what he had said and apologized. Though it didn't take away all the agony he had caused. He walked closer and with his hand he cupped her face.
"Perhaps that woman isn't the only one being jealous." He said.
This seemed to bring back the sparkles in her eyes, he loved so much. He leaned in and let his lips brush against hers. Then he kissed her forehead. Marguerite had closed her eyes, savouring this moment.
"I love you." she softly said.
"And I love you. Never forget that."
Marguerite looked up into Roxton's face, seeing nothing but honesty and love. 'Love for me. What did I do to deserve a man like him'.
"I think it's a wise idea to go back to the others and see who the those people are."
Roxton nodded his head. He still didn't like that O'Connel man much. He had noticed by the way the woman and that other man spoke, they were British. O'Connell, however, had no British accent. 'He sounded more like Ned, so he probably is from America'.
Rick had followed Evelyn back to her tent. She had closed it, making clear she didn't want to speak to anyone. 'But that has never stopped me before'. Rick thought. He walked into the tent and saw something he probably shouldn't have seen. Evelyn was sitting on her bed, knees under her chin, tears gliding down her face.
Rick quickly walked to her and sat down besides her. He put his arms around her and pulled her close. Evelyn didn't object and she buried her face into his chest. Rick, however, wanted to know what has made her cry. He tilted up her face to look into her eyes. 'I could drown in those eyes.'
Evelyn tried to avoid Rick's eyes, which was practically impossible. Every time she looked into his eyes, she melted and would do anything for him. That was why it was so hard to see him looking at that woman.
She sighed. "Remember when we first met three months ago? That kiss in prison and later when I asked you why you did it ..."
"I lied. Sure, it seemed a good thing at the time. But there was something about you. That night, I couldn't sleep. Images of you kept floating through my mind."
Evelyn looked up surprised. Rick was never one to show his feelings and to be honest, since they were back in Caïro she started to doubt, Rick really loved her. She felt his head coming closer and when she looked she saw that their lips were just inches away. Her heart skipped a beat when she felt Rick's lips on hers. Instinctively she wrapped her arms around his neck, while Rick puts his arms around her waist to pull her closer to deepen the kiss. Evelyn moaned softly and broke the kiss, to breath in some air. Rick had put his forehead against hers and smiled.
"Perhaps it's a good idea to join Jonathan, before he starts telling things he shouldn't."
Evelyn nodded and couldn't help but chuckle at that comment. Jonathan sure told way too much for his own good. That got him in trouble most of the time. Trouble in which she had to get him out.
Evelyn grabbed Rick's hand and together they walked back to the group, who was sitting around the fire. Too their surprise Jonathan hadn't told a single thing about their encounter last week. He had merely been talking about their guests.
"Ahhh, I see you got old-mum back out of that tent, Rick. Good for you, she should be here. We were having the most interesting conversation." Jonathan said.
Marguerite couldn't help but comment that she had a completely different view of an interesting conversation. Guessing how that pyramid ended up in the jungle and than when they finally got out after that cave-in, finding themselves standing in a desert in who-knows-where they were.
Evelyn suddenly realised they probably still didn't know where they were. "I guess my brother has only sweet talked to you and not giving you any information."
"On the contrary, Miss." Challenger said.
"Yeah, he told us much about the three of you." Finn added.
"I think, Finn dear," Marguerite said. "That Miss Carnahan means that her dear brother hasn't told us where we are."
Evelyn nodded, while her brother got a guilty expression on his face, which made her laugh. Evelyn quickly told them they were in Egypt, near Caïro.
"Egypt?" Finn asked. "Cool, I always heard about this land."
Marguerite sighed. "Great, just when I thought I would never be here again."
Evelyn saw the woman sigh and noticed Lord Roxton look at her. Suddenly something dawned her, which made her feel really stupid. 'That I didn't think of that!'
Evelyn stood up and walked back to her tent, needing to be alone. Roxton had rejoined the conversation, while Marguerite followed Evelyn.
"Miss Carnahan, may I come in?"
Evelyn shrugged. "Do whatever you please." She continued translating the hieroglyphs on the small box she had gotten.
Marguerite took a closer look at the box and she could read some words. "You better not open that." Marguerite pointed out.
Evelyn looked up. "Now why shouldn't I open it?"
"Queen Nefertiri herself has written this text and let her high priest curse the box. Personally I don't believe in that crap. Though some people do." Marguerite started to walk back when Evelyn called her. She stopped and turned around.
"How do you know?" Evelyn asked. "How do you know what has been written here? You are correct about everything."
"Just say I simply can read every language I see and I always loved ancient Egypt and it's language."
"The pyramid you found, what did it hold?"
Marguerite told Evelyn they had found the tomb of Nefertiri, daughter of Seti I. Evelyn's eyes grew wide in disbelieve, then she put the little box away and walked to the entrance of her tent. She carefully looked to see if Rick or her brother would notice her leaving.
"Could you ... could you show me?"
Marguerite nodded. They quickly left camp and made their way to the pyramid. When they got there, they crawled through the small opening the explorers had made to get out. Soon Evelyn and Marguerite stood in the grave chamber.
Evelyn walked to the tomb and read the inscription. It really said it was Nefertiri's tomb. Evelyn knew it was impossible. Nefertiri had been buried in a pyramid near her father's, which was a thousand miles away from Caïro. Still the tomb looked very real.
Marguerite had walked further into the room,when she fell over something. She cursed under her breath and then looked what had made her fall: a book. Marguerite picked it up and walked back to Evelyn, who gave a quick glance at Marguerite when she laid the book on the tomb, opening it with the key which she had found besides the book.
"What have you found?"
"It looks like a book to me." Marguerite replied and she started reading aloud. Evelyn paled when she heard the words.
"Miss Krux," she warned, but it was too late. Marguerite had read from the book of the death. "I think it is for the best we leave this place." Evelyn's voice trembled.
Marguerite looked up. "Don't tell me you believe this crap I just read."
Evelyn nodded her head and Marguerite had a retort on her lips. The ground began to shake and both quickly made their way out of the pyramid.
Meanwhile Roxton had noticed Marguerite was missing. He looked around and then his eyes rested at O'Connell, who came walking back from Evelyn's tent.
"Jonathan, did you see Evelyn leave?"
"She isn't in her tent?"
Rick shook his head. Then his eyes rested on Roxton. It looked like he was searching for something, or maybe someone. Then Rick remembered he had seen Miss Krux walking into Evelyn's tent and a thought crossed his mind. 'They didn't!'
He walked up to Roxton and told him his suspicion. Roxton nodded his head and told him it would be typically Marguerite to check things out. They gathered the rest of the people and made their way to the pyramid. When they arrived, what they saw scared them. The pyramid had collapsed again.
Roxton felt his heart sink. "Marguerite!"
The same time O'Connell yelled for Evelyn. Everyone was relieved when Marguerite said back there was no need to yell. Both women sat on a rock near the pyramid, completely covered in sand and dust.
O'Connel hurried to Evelyn and asked her what happened. The look on her face was enough to see she was scared and that she was thinking about the events at Hamunaptra again. Especially now that they were somewhere near the City of the Death. When he heard her answer to his question, his eyes widened in shock. Then he hurried over to Marguerite.
"You did what! How can you be so stupid!"
The five explorers looked up in surprise, not knowing what had gotten into O'Connell. Roxton moved protectively in front of Marguerite, while she stood up.
"I only read from a very old book." She said matter-of-factly.
"That book, that very old book you read from is the book of the death. And since Hamunaptra is somewhere near, you probably might have woken up your worst nightmare!" O'Connell hissed.
"What would you know about my worst nightmare!" Marguerite got angry. How dare this man talk to her like this.
"Believe me Lady, Imhotep will be your worst nightmare."
Chapter 2: Meeting Ardeth Bay
"That's a true word Mr. O'Connell." A voice said. Everyone looked up to see Ardeth Bay sitting on his horse with some of his people. "I had hoped the encounter at Hamunaptra would have made you smarter." Ardeth Bay looked at Evelyn, who turned red.
The five explorers were curious who the men with all the tattoos were and how O'Connell and the Carnahans knew them. And what all the taking about Hamunaptra and Imhotep held. Then Ardeth Bay looked straight into Marguerite's eyes and knew she had read from the book.
"Know what you have done, Miss. Imhotep is the most dangerous creature on earth. Now that you have read from the book, it won't take long before it will come after you."
If Ardeth Bay had thought he would frighten Marguerite he really was mistaken. The woman simply told him she would be able to handle it. Ardeth sighed. This woman reminded him so much of Miss Carnahan when he first met her: ambitious and knowing what she wanted where the main words to describe both.
Ardeth was on his way back to his tribe, when he had seen two women walking to a pyramid which was completely out of place in this area. When he recognized one of the women as Evelyn Carnahan, he decided to follow them and see what would happen. Unfortunately, he lost them half way. And when he came close he had seen Rick and Jonathan among other people. He had presumed they belonged with the other woman and he had been right.
"Excuse me. But who is Imhotep, expect for being our worsed nightmare and what is Hamuaptra?" Finn asked.
"I can answer one question for you, Finn." Marguerite said. "The myth goes that Hamunaptra is the City of the Death."
"And that is what it is, a myth. There is no such thing as Hamunaptra nor Imhotep, there have never been found any records on the excistence of both." Challenger added.
"It's not a myth." Evelyn spoke softly.
Marguerite looked up surprised. She thought Evelyn wouldn't believe in that crap. 'Now that I think of it, it isn't that strange she believes it isn't a myth. She also got scared when I had read from that book I had found.'
The explorers didn't know what to believe. They never heard of Hamunaptra, well except of Marguerite and Challenger. Though none of them had taken the time to read books about the history of Egypt.
Veronica was curious about Imhotep and asked about him. Just when Ardeth wanted to give the answer, this enormous face appeared in the sand, just like it had done three months ago. Challenger wanted to try to find a rational explanation for it, but O'Connell said there wasn't one and that they needed to get out of this place. Soon the creature would stand up from his grave again and all hell would break loose.
Quickly the made their way to the camp of the Carnahan's and O'Connell. Once there, they took the camels and made there way back to Caïro. Since there weren't enough camels for everyone, six people had to share.
"Mmmm, this reminds me of our way back from Hamunaptra." Evelyn said.
O'Connell couldn't help but smile and he planted a soft kiss on Evelyn's forehead. Then he looked back, taking a look how the others were faring. He could see Miss Krux wasn't that pleased, ulike Lord Roxton, who seemed to enjoy himself quite well. The two other women really had fun. Both Veronica and Finn looked a bit strange to him. 'They were both wearing less clothes than Evelyn or Miss Krux.' He thought. 'Or than any other woman I have seen.'
Than he took a look at professor Challenger. The professor was looking from his left to his right and back. He was asthounded by all the creatures that lived here.
"It ain't that far anymore. If you take a good look, you can see Caïro at the horizon." O'Connell said.
An hour later the 9 people were in Caïro. They went to the Carnahan residence and decided to go to bed. There wasn't much that they could do now anyway, for Imhotep hadn't risen. Evelyn showed their guest their rooms before she went to her own. O'Connell quickly followed her and put his arms around her waist, leaving soft kisses on her neck. Evelyn moaned softly.
"Call me Rick."
Evelyn giggled. "Rick, it isn't proper for us to do this."
"I don't care." Rick said while he kept nuzzling at Evelyn's neck.
"Alright, alright. I hope it is okay for us to simply hold each other?"
Evelyn nodded, but said with a little smile "I think so."
After Evelyn had shown everyone their rooms, Roxton opened the door and looked in the hallway. When he was sure everyone was in their room, he made his way towards Marguerite. He softly knocked on her door and went in after he had heard Marguerite softly saying he was allowed to come in. His heart skipped a beat when he saw her in that white nightgown which she had borrowed from miss Carnahan.
Marguerite looked up and saw Roxton staring at her. She smiled and asked him if he liked what he saw. He nodded his head and then made his way towards her, claiming her lips in a passionate kiss. Marguerite eagerly returned the kiss and let her hands travel on Roxton's chest, to finally let them rest on his shoulders.
Roxton's hands had gone wandering as well. He let them travel from her waist to her hips, then to her breasts to finally let them rest at her back. Then he broke the kiss, so they both could get some air. He was breathing heavily as well was Marguerite, who surprised him by pulling at his belt, trying to open it. He decided to help her and soon they fell on the bed.
The next morning everyone was in the dining room early, having some breakfast. Marguerite would have liked to have slept longer, but Roxton was right. It was time ti get up and get dressed.
"Breakfast is delicious, Evelyn. I may say Evelyn, isn't it?" Marguerite said.
Evelyn nodded. "I think that would be a good idea, since we need to get rid of Imhotep we'll be spending a lot of time together."
"There is that we again!" O'Connell muttered.
Then the group was startled by an enormous sound. O'Connell felt Evelyn tense immediately and he put his arms around her. Ardeth Bay, who had sent his men back to camp while he joined O'Connell and the Carnahans, stood ready with his sword, though if it was who he feared, his sword was useless. They would need the book of Amun-Ra again, to make the creature mortal.
The explorers looked from Rick to Ardeth, from Ardeth to Jonathan and finally at Evelyn. The door burst open and there stood the creature. Marguerite, Veronica and Finn gasped, while Roxton and Challenger simply looked bedaffled. The creature made it's way towards Marguerite and started to speak in ancient Egyptian. Evelyn remembered those words all to well, he had said them to her too. Ardeth Bay looked to O'Connell and they instantly knew that the creature hadn't noticed them. O'Connell quickly took Evelyn's cat and threw it at the creature, who disappeared immediately.
"Whoa, what the frell was that?" Finn said. "I may not know that much about ancient Egypt and all, but that sure looked like a mummy to me. And if I am not mistaken, those things should be dead."
"That was Imhotep." Ardeth said. "Once the high priest of Seti I. Until he and the pharaohs wife to be, killed him, so they could be together. Nefertiri has seen it happen and warned the medjai to no avail. Anck-Sunamun took her own life. She had been mummified and buried. Imhotep however wanted to bring her back to life, with the book of the death. He almost succeeded though the medjai were just in time. Anck-Sunamun never made it back. Imhotep and his priests suffered the Hom-Dai. A ritual which never got given, because it is feared."
Marguerite looked at Evelyn and O'Connell and said that they were right about Imhotep being her worsed nightmare. Roxton looked to his love. He wanted to know what that creature had said to her. Marguerite brushed it of, saying it was nothing. Evelyn however was not helping and told he had said the exact same words to her, two and half moths ago.
"Back then he wanted to sacrifice me and use my body to bring back Anck-Sunamun. He didn't succeed in that, we made him mortal and put him back to his grave. Now he wants to do the exact same thing."
"Over my dead body!" Roxton said.
Then he turned to Marguerite, who had built up the walls again. Roxton walked towards her and lifted her chin up, so she had to look him in the eyes. "You are not alone in this, remember. We all will help you." He sincerely whispered. All Marguerite could do was nod.
"I think it's a good idea to get the book of the living, the book of Amun-Ra." Ardeth said.
Jonathan hadn't spoken much this morning. He was suffering a hangover. He did remember the events at Hamunaptra well enough, even with a terrible headache. "As you know, the city collapsed completely. The book of Amun-Ra was in the pyramid when that happened. There is not a chance we can get to that."
"I can try to remember the words. Though I am not sure how long it will take me." Evelyn said determinedly.
Rick looked down at her. The things she did made him love her more every day and he wanted to show her that so she would know there never would be another woman in his life now but her. There wasn't anytime at this moment however to show her, so it had to wait.
"In that case I think we need to try to get the book of Amun-Ra." Ardeth said.
"We need to go back to that hell hole?" O'Connell said unbelieving.
Ardeth nodded and O'Connell knew he was right. Hamunaptra would probably be the only place they could vanquish Imhotep. Not to mention it held, for now, the only solution to make Imhotep mortal.
O'Connell remembered Imhotep did everything he could, to get Evelyn. He explained that he surely would try that with Marguerite as well and that they needed to be careful.
Ardeth Bay made his way to the door, letting the rest of the people know it was time for them to go. All of them quickly took their stuff and soon they were on their way back to Hamunaptra.
Chapter 3: Hamunaptra – City of the Death
After a three day journey all they saw was sand. Finn had been complaining for almost the whole journey, which was not like her. She had never been the one to believe in myths, not even after what had happened in the Carnahan Manor and she thought this journey would get them nowhere.
Marguerite had been unusually quiet. Roxton knew she was thinking of the words that creature had said to her. He let his hand cover hers to reassure her. Marguerite looked up and gave a little, but genuine smile to Roxton.
Evelyn had been quiet as well. O'Connell knew she was thinking about what happened three months ago. 'Hell, I'm even thinking about three months ago.' O'Connell remembered all to well that day Imhotep had taken Evelyn with him and there had been nothing he could do about it. His heart had shattered when he heard Evelyn's cries after Imhotep had told his mummy servants to kill them. His heart had shattered again when he saw her lying on that altar. He hadn't hesitate and had made his way towards her, while Jonathan had Imhotep coming after him. He thanked god every day, that they all had made it out.
O'Connell was so lost in his thoughts he didn't noticed that Ardeth Bay had stopped. Finn looked from Challenger to Veronica with questioning eyes. Ardeth told them they were there and let his camel down, so he could step of. Challenger, Veronica and Finn followed him as well as Roxton, Marguerite, O'Connell and Evelyn.
"We are at Hamunaptra?" Finn asked skeptically.
"Yes. And the reason you only see sand is because the city collapsed three months ago."
All of a sudden big waves of sand where coming at them. O'Connell and Ardeth Bay knew this was the work of the creature. They tried to get away and as sudden as the waves of sand had come they were gone.
Challenger couldn't believe his eyes. First there was this mummy and now these waves of sand. Science couldn't solve this mystery, that was one thing he knew for sure. He looked up and saw Ardeth Bay looking around. He reminded himself he really had to talk to that man.
O'Connell walked to Ardeth Bay and told him there was not a chance they would find the book of the living. It would be somewhere under the sand along with all those treasures they had seen in the temple. Ardeth however kept searching for something and O'Connell sighed and made his way back to Evelyn.
Veronica, Finn and Roxton started to make camp. Jonathan had been making his way to Ardeth after O'Connell left and Marguerite made her way to Evelyn. She thought the two of them really needed to talk things through.
Apparently Evelyn had thought the same, because she made her way to Marguerite. She too thought the two of them needed to talk. Evelyn felt it her duty to inform Marguerite about three months ago. She knew O'Connell wouldn't approve of that, even though they had told some things.
Both women started talking at the same time with the same sentence. They laughed softly and looked at each other. Much more at ease being in each others presence than the first time they met.
Evelyn remembered that day all to well and all of a sudden she found the need to apologize for her behaviour. Marguerite simply waved it away and told her she probably would have done the same thing, if it had been the other way around. Evelyn knew Marguerite said this to make her feel better.
"Well, what was it you wanted to say, before I apologized?" Evelyn asked.
"Oh ... euhm ... yes, this creature, you met him before?"
Evelyn nodded, still doubting whether or not to tell what happened three months ago. She decided to tell what happened. Perhaps it would ease her mind a bit, when she talked about it with someone, other than Jonathan or O'Connell.
Marguerite listened to what Evelyn told her, never once interupting the young woman. It sounded all a bit unbelieving to her, but the four years on the Plateau and taken the fact they actually saw that creature, made her actually believe.
When she was finished, Evelyn looked to see if Marguerite believed her. But the look on Marguerite's face didn't gave anything away. Little did she know that it took a long time to read Marguerite's face. She sighed, it would have been good to be true if Marguerite actually would believe her. Evelyn stood up, ready to leave. It did had eased her mind, able to talk about the events at Hamunaptra to someone else than Jonathan and O'Connell.
Marguerite still needed to let everything sink in. A mummy, a dead person coming back to life. Killing everyone who had anything to do with the matter. 'Well not everyone. O'Connell, Mr. Carnahan and Evelyn still are alive.'
Marguerite was pulled back to reality when she heard someone standing up. She saw Evelyn making her way back to camp. Marguerite stood up quickly, asking Evelyn why she was leaving.
"Well, apparantly you don't believe me."
Marguerite looked surprised at the young woman. "Now why would you think that?"
"Other than the fact that it sounds completely ridiculous? Even to me?" Evelyn however didn't got the chance to finish her sentence, for Marguerite told her that she did believe the story.
Then two voices called them. O'Connell called Evelyn, while Roxton called Marguerite. They thought it wise to make their way back to camp, especially since it was getting dark. Once back, Marguerite made her way towards her friends, while Evelyn made her way to O'Connell, her brother and Ardeth Bay. Each group of people were sitting at one side of the campfire, talking about the book of the dead and how to retrieve it from the city under the sands of the desert.
One by one they fell asleep, until O'Connell and Roxton were the only ones left awake. Both were keeping watch, not wanting anything to happen to the people they silently had swore to protect for a liftime.
Neither of them spoke for a long time. Then O'Connell asked how the explorers met each other and Roxton laughed softly, telling O'Connell he wouldn't believe it. O'Connell told Roxton he really wanted to know how they met and Roxton started.
When he was finished, he asked how O'Connell met the Carnahans and now it was O'Connells time to grin. He thought it more than fair to tell Roxton how they met. Afterall, he had just listened to the story the hunter had told him about their meeting. When O'Connell told his tale, he saw that Roxton had a hard time believing it. He smiled, he knew that would happen. O'Connell did feel relieved talking about the events at Hamunaptra other than with Jonathan and Evelyn.
"So you told me how you all met, what is going on between you and Ms Krux?" O'Connell asked.
"Well, we're friends."
O'Connell had to settle for that answer. Both men fell silent again. Roxton looked up when he felt a hand on his shoulder. To his surprise Marguerite sat beside him.
"Come to release you from your duty. Get some sleep." Marguerite said while looking from Roxton to O'Connell. She saw that Evelyn had made her way over to O'Connell and tried to convince him to get some sleep. Both men finally gave in, knowing that they indeed could use some sleep. Little did they know the two women had ushered them to sleep so they could talk. When Marguerite and Evelyn were sure the men were asleep, they sat beside each other and started making plans on how to bring Imhotep back to where he belonged.
They only could come up with one solution: They needed the book of Amun-Ra and they needed bait, which would have to be Marguerite. Evelyn threw her hands up in frustation.
"I can't believe we can't come up with a better solution than the one we have now. If O'Connell hears what we have planned..."
Marguerite looked up at the young woman. 'She can't be older than 25 and yet she looks older in the way she acts.'
"You love him, don't you?"
"Wh- what?" Evelyn looked up in utter shock to Marguerite.
"O'Connell, you are in love with O'Connell."
"How would you get that idea? I told you how we met. He's a scoundrel!"
Marguerite chuckled and muttered: "Definately in love with him."
"I am not!" Evelyn replied a bit too quickly. Then she added: "Or maybe I am ... a bit." Evelyn just had admitted to herself and O'Connell she was in love with him. She wasn't ready yet to let anybody else know about that.
Marguerite really tried not to laugh, but even if she didn't, she would have stopped laughing after Evelyn had asked her about the relationship she was having with Roxton and if she was in love with him.
"That's none of your bussiness." Marguerite said airily.
Evelyn knew she had asked something she shouldn't have asked and apologized. "I really thought ..."
Marguerite however waved it away, saying it was alright. Evelyn still wasn't convonced that it was alright, but she thought it was for the best not to talk about it anymore and she changed the subject back to Imhotep.
Soon it was dawn and everyone was slowly waking up and joining the two women at the fire which was almost out. They easily joined them in making plans to put Imhotep in his grave. All of a sudden they heard a man yelling O'Connell's name. Evelyn saw O'Connell clenching his jaw and looked up to where the yelling came from. She saw Beni standing on the other side of the river.
"I thought ..." she stammered. Then Evelyn closed her mouth for beside Beni appeared the creature they were planning to get rid of.
Both, the creature and Beni, walked acrosse the water to the other side of the river. Not one of the 9 people took their eyes of them. Roxton moved in front of Marguerite, while O'Connell moved in front of Evelyn.
Imhotep's eyes never left Marguerite's, who was beginning to feel really uncomfortable. When Beni and Imhotep arrived at the base of the camp, the 9 people slowly walked backwards. All that time, not even when Beni yelled towards O'Connell, was Imhotep aware that Evelyn, Jonatan, Ardeth and O'Connell were there as well. However, when he looked over Marguerite's shoulder, he bellowed out a: "You!". He had seen them, and vividly remembered what had happened three months ago.
Then Imhotep saw Evelyn standing behind O'Connell and he smirked. O'Connell's eyes blazed like fire. He knew Imhotep was thinking about that moment he had taken away Evelyn and he made sure Evelyn was safe behind him. Imhotep said something in ancient Egyptian and Beni made his way towards Evelyn, while Imhotep himself made his way towards Marguerite.
Chapter 4: Trouble for Marguerite and Evelyn
While Imhotep made his way towards Marguerite, he ordered Beni to get Evelyn.
Roxton never let go of Marguerite's hand and kept her behind him. Imhotep was now close to Roxton and Marguerite and he smiled evilly. He lifted his hand and with one single move Roxton flew through the air.
Imhotep grabbed Marguerite and ordered Beni to follow him with Evelyn. O'Connell was perplexed, Beni had never been this strong, O'Connel had always beaten him when they fought. Both Evelyn and Marguerite screamed, but there was nothing the others could do but see them taken away in a whirwind of sand. After half an hour the whirlwind stopped.
"Ouch!" Evelyn said. Marguerite had landed on top of her.
Quickly Marguerite stood up and while looking around she asked Evelyn where they were. Evelyn had stood up as well and she knew exactly where they were. She saw the temple Imhotep had taken her to the first time. The temple which should have been burried underneath the sands of the dessert stood there in full glory.
Imhotep grabbed both women this time and took them with him into the temple. When they were at their destination, Beni tied Evelyn up, while Imhotep took Marguerite to the altar. When they passed Evelyn and Beni, Imhotep stopped shortly to say how pleased his love would be to get the chance to kill her. Evelyn tried very hard to get free, but to no avail.
After the two women had dissappeared into the whirlwind of sand, the 7 people remaing quickly started packing up and moving towards the temple they saw standing a few miles further.
Finn sighed. "What I don't understand is why make the whirlwind, while you -she pointed to Ardeth- are so sure he made his way over to that temple."
Ardeth explained to her that Imhotep didn't want to waste any time to resurrect his love. He had failed two times already and he wouldn't allow himself to fail a third time.
"But why take Evelyn? That doesn't make any sense, miss Krux had been the one who resurrected him." O'Connell said. He quickly added that he didn't want any harm to her, since Roxton had been looking his way with blazing eyes.
Ardeth Bay didn't know why the creature –he kept referring to Imhotep as the creature- had taken Evelyn with him as well. He had a idea, but he didn't dare to tell O'Connell Evelyn might had been taken for revenge.
It still took them an hour to walk to the temple and Finn told them she now knew why Imhotep had made the whirlwind, because it's still a very long and boring walk. When they arrived, they carefully made their way into the temple, expecting danger around every corner. That, however wasn't the case and the group arrived quite fast in the main area.
It was as if O'Connell, Jonathan and Ardeth had gone back in time, only this was Marguerite lying on the altar. Evelyn was nowhere to be seen. O'Connell frantically looked for her, as did Jonathan.
The explorers were trying to figure out how to get Marguerite of that altar. They saw she was trying hard to get free. Roxton saw the fear in her eyes when Imhotep held the dagger above her chest.
Ardeth quickly made a decission. He told O'Connell to search for Evelyn, Jonathan would try to find the book of Amun Ra and the rest of them would free Marguerite. O'Connell nodded and left the main area of the temple. Jonathan wasn't that happy he had to look for the book of Amun Ra all by himself. Muttering words like; why am I always the one, he went on his way to find the damned book as he called it. The rest of them started to make a plan, but all Roxton could do was look at Marguerite and how Imhotep held the dagger high up to bring it down fast. He knew he had little time left and ignoring the others he made his way towards the altar.
Unexpected help came when Jonathan yelled to them he had found the book of Amun Ra. Imhotep made his way towards Jonathan and Roxton ran towards the altar to free Marguerite. At the sound of a sword coming down at the stone of the altar -Roxton had taken the sword out of a statue when he made his way towards Marguerite-, Imhotep turned around.
O'Connell let out a frustrated sigh. 'Where is she, she can't have vanished like that.' He turned around the corner and then he saw her; tied up against a wall. Her head was hanging and for the first time in his life, O'Connell was afraid, really afraid. He ran towards Evelyn and tilted her head up. What he saw made him boil with anger. Her right eye was closed, a bruise forming around it, one of her lips had split and her wrists where covered with blood, due to the ropes around it.
"You're a dead man, Beni Gabor." O'Connell swore. He had recognized the tying. Beni was good in knots.
"Too bad for you, I already am dead."
O'Connell spun around and faced Beni. He only asked 'why'. Beni told him, Imhotep wanted to keep her for revenge. When Anck-Su-Namun would live again, she could revenge the failure of three months ago. However, he had wanted to have a little fun with her first. So he had brought her far out of Imhotep's reach.
O'Connell paled hearing this. Then he lunged for Beni, who was to quick and got away, like the little snake he had always been. O'Connell didn't follow him, he turned around and went back to Evelyn. He cut her free, trying not to hurt her. Evelyn moaned softly and tried to open her eyes.
"Shhh, it's ok. Keep your eyes closed." O'Connell softly stroked her cheek.
"Rick? You're really here?"
"Yeah, I'm here. Come, let's get you outta here."
"The others are trying to get her free. You and I are going to get outta here. And you are in no position to argue with me."
They were almost outside, when Evelyn tried to stop O'Connell. She didn't know that Jonathan had found the book of Amun Ra. "Rick, I remember."
O'Connell looked down at Evelyn, not knowing what she was talking about. Evelyn noticed this and explained she remembered the words, she had said three months ago to make Imhotep mortal. She convinced O'Connell they needed to go back to help the others.
There was nothing O'Connell could do. Once Evelyn had made her mind up to something, there was not a chance in the world she would change it. He had noticed that when he wanted to get out of Egypt, while she wanted to stay and bring Imhotep back where he belonged.
When Imhotep had turned around to see Roxton save Marguerite, he knew he was too far away to do anything about it. He once again ordered his priests to take care for the matter that happened at the altar, while he focused on Jonathan and the golden book. Jonathan knew he was in serious trouble now and started to walk back. Then he quickly turned around and made a run for it. Imhotep followed him.
Roxton was having a hard time to keep all the mummies away, but soon his friends and Ardeth Bay were helping him. They fought of the mummies, while he cut Marguerite free from the altar.
"Are you alright?" He asked, while he tenderly put a string of hair behind her ear.
Marguerite nodded. She knew they needed the book, Jonathan had to vanquish Imhotep. She looked around and then spotted him, running. However, a mummy had made his way over to her and she had to duck.
Soon the mummies were gone and they saw Jonathan running towards them. Then he tripped over a mummiefied leg. The book flew out of his hands, right into the water. The golden book of Amun Ra sank to the bottom.
Imhotep grinned. He knew they didn't know how to make him mortal without using the book. What he didn't know was the O'Connell and Evelyn saw the book of Amun Ra fall into the pool. When he heard the words he feared so much, he turned around, seeing O'Connell and Evelyn standing in the entrance. He made his way to them, but suddenly he stopped. He remembered exactly what had happened the last time he made his way towards O'Connell. Imhotep knew he had lost. The body of his beloved still lay on the altar. He made his way over to her and took her in his arms. Then he jumped into a pit full of souls, and made his way over to the underworld.
Ardeth Bay, O'Connell, Jonathan and Evelyn were asthonished. They never would have thought Imhotep would give up without a fight, it would always remain a mystery.
Jonathan looked at his baby sister and what he saw startled him. "Evy, what happened?" He cried out.
Evelyn however didn't want to talk about it. All she wanted to do was sleep. O'Connell felt Evelyn stiffen and knew she didn't want to tell Jonathan what happened. At least not at this moment. He said it would be a good idea to go back to the fort in Caïro. They all could use some sleep. Making his point clear that Evelyn and Marguerite were the ones who needed it the most. He looked at Marguerite, who was surrounded by her friends, then at Evelyn who leaned against him tiredly.
Roxton was holding Marguerite, giving her support to stand, while Challenger quickly examined her to see if she was hurt. Finding nothing, they began to question her. Marguerite really didn't want to talk about all that happened right now and she brushed away every question they asked her saying she was too tired.
She looked up, searching around the room. Then her eyes rested at O'Connell who was holding Evelyn. By the way Evelyn stood against O'Connell, Marguerite could tell she must have been beaten badly by that rat Beni. She then looked at Challenger and he immediately understood.
Challenger made his way over to their new found friends. He convinced O'Connell that it would be a good idea to let him examine how severe Evelyn's wounds were. Luckily they looked worse than they were. Challenger put some salve -he was always prepared- on her wounds and told that sleep needed to do the rest. The same would be the case for Marguerite.
O'Connell stated they could stay once again in Evelyn's home and then tomorrow they could find a way to get them back to where they belonged. Marguerite looked at Roxton. Roxton knew what she was thinking. From Caïro they easily could go back to London.
Chapter 5: Back to normal
When the 9 people got at the house, it was time for Ardeth Bay to say his goodbye. He had to go back to his own people. He hoped to see them again in better times, and not to vanquish the creature again. He and O'Connell shaked hands and after a nod to the Challenger expedition, he turned his horse and rode away.
On the way back, Evelyn had fallen asleep. O'Connell carried her to her room and laid her in bed. Then he pulled up a chair and sat down besides her. Roxton did the same to Marguerite. She too had fallen asleep on the journey back, and he too stayed with her.
Jonathan vanished to his part of the house, while Challenger, Veronica and Finn decided to make something to eat. They had built up an appitite on their way back. Sitting at the table, they talked over the things that happened the last few days.
"You know," Challenger spoke. "From Caïro we easily could go to ..."
"London" Roxton said. "When O'Connell said we would look for a way back tomorrow, Marguerite looked up at me and I knew she was thinking of getting back to London."
Challenger nodded. "I must admit I was thinking the same thing. But the question is: Is London the same London? I mean, we have dealt with those Shifting Planes of Reality more than once. I don't think we should risk going back to London here."
"You know, I think you are right George."
Veronica, Finn, Roxton and Challenger looked up to see Marguerite standing in the doorframe. Roxton hurried to her, saying she should have stayed in bed. Marguerite said she had slept enough and continued what she wanted to say.
"How tempting it is to go back to London and how badly I want to go back, I don't think it's the London we know."
Veronica looked at the heiress. "What do you mean?"
"In this 'reality' the name Carnahan is quite famous apparently. Evelyn told me her parents were involved in the dig where they found Tutankhamen. That dig had been their last one, every member had been killed. It has been in the papers for quite some time, it was front page news."
"But I never heard of the Carnahans." Challenger said. "I have read all about it, but never read their names."
"Exactly, neither have I." Marguerite said.
"So this is indeed another reality." Roxton finally spoke.
"Well, I don't know what you all are going to do, but I'm going to bed. I'm exhausted." Finn stated.
Veronica and Challenger found that a very good idea and headed off to bed as well. Roxton was standing at the other end of the table, looking at Marguerite. He couldn't stop thinking about the fear he had seen in her eyes when she was lying on the altar and Imhotep had the dagger above her. And he saw something was bothering her right now.
"Want to talk about it?"
Marguerite looked up. "Talk about what?"
Roxton sighed. He should have known it would go like this. "Marguerite, I know something is bothering you. It can help to talk about it."
Marguerite knew he was right, but it still was hard to confine in people. She doubted for a moment and as Roxton made a move towards the door, she spoke.
"You remember when the Plateau got plagued by all those shifting realities? When we stumbled into those conquistadors?" Marguerite didn't wait to hear Roxton's answer and quickly continued. "When we lost each other there, I got to this place where druids captured me."
Marguerite shivered at the thought of it. Roxton didn't say anything at all, but sat down on a chair close to Marguerite, letting her know he was listening and wanted her to continue. Marguerite smiled at him, while Roxton grabbed her hand. She continued softly.
"These druids ruined one of my last best blouses. And when they saw my birthmark they kept speaking of me being Morrighan. They brought me to that cave. You know, the one where we got trapped and found that body. It was then I realized who's body it was. Before I knew what was happening they had tied me down to the altar and the druid leader held this dagger above me and let come it down."
Roxton pulled her close to him. He had always wondered what happened with her when they got seperated due to those shifting things. When they found her 2 days later near that cave, she had been so upset and confused, he didn't dare to ask her what happened. When they got back into their normal routine of life, he had forgotten all about asking it.
Roxton looked down and saw that Marguerite had fallen asleep. He picked her up and brought her back to bed. Then he sat down in the chair which still stood besides the bed.
The next morning O'Connell woke up finding the bed empty. He frantically turned around in his chair, looking for Evelyn. When he saw her standing in front of the window, he stood up and slowly made his way towards her.
"Hey." He softly whispered. But he still made Evelyn jump. "Sorry, didn't mean to scare you."
Evelyn turned around and brought her hand to his face. "You have said that to me before."
"I did?" O'Connell frantically searched his mind and then a smile came over his lips. "I did!"
He took Evelyn's hand into his and brought it to his lips. Evelyn couldn't help but quiver. O'Connell wasn't stupid at all. He had seen behavior like this before, from his little sister. "Shh, it's okay."
Evelyn looked up at him, and what she saw scared her. She had never seen so much love for her in a man's eyes. Oh, she had dated, she had kissed, but in the end every man had turned his back on her. They had found her too educated and told her they wanted a wife who stood behind them and didn't have an opinion different than theirs. They wanted a wife who would stop working once they were married, so she could bare children and take care of them. Evelyn did wanted to have a family, children of her own and a husband. But she never wanted to quit working and what kind of husband wanted his wife to work?
"None." Evelyn muttered softly.
O'Connell looked up confused. He'd swear he had heard Evelyn saying something, but he couldn't place it. Evelyn saw O'Connell's confused look and quickly turned around and walked back to the window, blushing because she knew he had heard her.
"Evelyn, what do you mean by none?"
O'Connell walked back to Evelyn, turned her around and lifted her head up to look at him. Than he started to speak quickly, afraid he might loose his nerves to spill out his heart to the woman he had fallen deeply in love with.
Evelyn looked with wide, big eyes at O'Connell, she couldn't believe what he was saying. "You ... you ... love me?" O'Connell nodded. "You ... you can't!" And once again Evelyn turned away.
"Why can't I love you?"
"Because ... because ..."
"Because you're the smartest, most sweetest, most insufferable woman I have ever met? Because you know what you want? Because you don't give in? Evelyn, those are the reasons I fell in love with you."
At this time tears streamed down Evelyn's face. She turned to look at O'Connell and saw the sencerity in his eyes. She made a slow move towards him and before she knew it, she was in his arms.
O'Connell kept his arms strongly around Evelyn's waist, not wanting to let her go. However Jonathan barging in made them breaking their close contact.
"We need to help them back to their own place." he stated.
Roxton, too, woke up finding an empty bed. He turned around and saw Marguerite sitting in a rocking chair, softly rocking herself. He made his way towards her and kneeled down. Marguerite looked up and smiled. Then Veronica, Finn and Challenger came walking into the room.
"Good morning you two!" Finn said happily.
Veronica couldn't help but smile. Of everyone who lived in the treehouse, Finn always was the one who was this cheery in the morning. Well, Ned had been cheery as well in the mornings. I miss him.
Challenger told Marguerite and Roxton what the three of them had spoken of early this morning. They needed to go back to the plateau, the question was how to get back. Challenger said it would be wise to talk to O'Connell and Evelyn. Perhaps they had an idea how they could go back.
They all went downstairs where they saw O'Connell, Jonathan and Evelyn standing in the common room. Though Evelyn still had bruises and still hurted everywhere her body could hurt, she took control. She asked if they could remember what happened before the pyramid collapsed.
The explorers looked at each other and then Finn remembered she had been reading hieroglyphics on a wall. Evelyn nodded an encouragement. This would get them somehwere.
"Do you remember what you read?"
Finn nodded. "I think I do."
"Than all we need to do is go back to the place where we met." O'Connell stated.
Within the hour O'Connell, Evelyn, Jonathan and the explorers where back at the place where they first met. O'Connell and Roxton walked at the front, looking out for any danger. They were followed by Jonathan, Challenger and Finn with Evely and Marguerite bringing up te rear.
When they were at the exact same spot where the pyramid had stood. They said there goodbyes, in good faith the explorers would make it back when Finn repeated what she had said before.
"Don't forget what we talked about." Evelyn told Marguerite.
Marguerite shook her head. She wouldn't forget it. "You keep that man." She whispered to Evelyn, who blushed at that comment.
"I think I will." Evelyn told her with a grin. Than both women laughed, drawing the attention of the others.
"Marguerite, are you ready?" Roxton called.
Marguerite joined her fellow explorers and all of a sudden, a pyramid rose out of the desert sands. After one last glance at their new found friends, the explorers walked into the pyramid. In the same room as before, Finn spoke the words she had read on the wall. Stones came falling down and they hurried to the entrance. When they got out of the pyramid, sand had been replaced with a jungle. A loud roar made them realize they were back where they belonged.
"Let's head home." Marguerite said.
Veronica looked surprised. She had never heard Marguerite reffer to the treehouse as 'home'.
"Home, that's a word I like to hear." Finn said smiling. "I like the way you think Marguerite."
Finn's comment resulted into fits of laughter from the rest of the group and soon Finn joined into the laughter.
"Do you think it worked?" Jonathan asked his sister.
Evelyn shrugged her shoulders. "They are not here anymore. For them I do hope it has worked."
O'Connell put his arm around Evelyn. He had noticed she had got tired. "For them I do hope it has worked too." He softly said.
Jonathan, O'Connell and Evelyn kept looking at the pyramid which was disappearing into the sands of the desert, where it came from.