CONGRATULATIONS!!! You readers have finally gotten to Chapter 16, the last chapter of Book One!

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Key

Of

Eternal

Darkness

-¤-

Book One:

The Weapons of Osiris

Chapter Sixteen:

Failure

-¤-

The hallway leading to the Mayor's room is dark with the exceptions of some torches hanging on the walls. Voices from up ahead are carried down the hallway allowing the apprentices to hear the conversation clearly.

"Alas, what a tragedy! The Mayor is dying!" Amsu says as his voice carries down the hallway.

"Yes." Isis mumbles softly giggling afterwards.

"Isis!" Sphinx says in a harsh low whisper.

"What? After everything she put me through." She replies walking down the hallway.

"We should not delay, the succession ceremony should be performed immediately. Yes, a successor should be chosen immediately and given the Sacred Crown of Abydos." Amsu continues addressing everyone in the room.

Sphinx and Isis walk up to the Herbalist, "What's going on here?" Isis asks the medicine lady.

"Amsu look, it's that cat. The one that's marrying Ralix." Amsi says in a very low whisper.

Amsu discreetly looks over at the apprentices, his eyes resting upon Isis. "She's better looking than Femi. Ralix certainly has good taste."

"She is pretty. And that guy must be Sphinx." Amsi continues looking at the demi-god.

Amsu's gaze falls on Sphinx, "He seems to be standing a bit too close to her. Maybe he likes her too."

"That could be why Ralix wants him dead. They both want her." Amsi answers back while straightening up so nothing looks suspicious.

"I'm afraid we have a terrible crisis here in the Council Chambers. The Mayor has come down with a mysterious illness – I have never seen anything quite like it before. I need 5 healing herbs to prepare a cure, but I must stay here and ensure her condition does not deteriorate." The Herbalist responds to Sphinx and Isis.

"Next time, just tell us you need our help. Let's go." Isis says turning around and walking to the door.

"Please, take this note to Kemmet the Inventor. He should be able to help you locate the healing herbs. But you must hurry: the Mayor does not have much time." The Herbalist says holding a Physician's Note in her hand.

Sphinx lightly sighs as he takes the note, "We'll be back."

-----

The two use a zip line to get to Kemmet's place on the docks near the second bridge. Once on the docks they walk over to a lone door.

"Kemmet?" Isis asks knocking on the door.

"If you don't have any official business here then leave." Kemmet's voice replies from inside the house.

"This is official business."

There's a moments pause before Kemmet opens his door, "At last, someone on official business! What can I do for you Isis?"

She holds up the note, "The Mayor is ill and the Herbalist told us you would be able to help us locate the herbs."

The Abydosian takes the note and reads it over, "Oh dear, this is unwelcomed news indeed. Healing Herbs, hmm…"

"What can you tell us about them?" Sphinx asks making himself known.

"Ah yes, the Rue Herbs --"

"Rue Herbs? Who had the time to name them?" Isis interrupts Kemmet as she snickers a bit.

An awkward silence fills the air around them for a brief moment, "I did." Kemmet answers a bit offended.

"Sorry." The demi-cat whispers while biting her bottom lip.

"Anyways, Rue Herbs are very fragile plants that have been created by the great God Onuris."

"Onuris?" Sphinx asks raising his eyebrow.

"Onuris is the great Sky-God of Abydos. He brings rain to our city when she needs it."

"But this place is surrounded by water already."

"Just listen to the story." Isis says turning to her partner to silence him.

"We used to get our water from the ocean until those electric eels came twelve years ago. Those creatures forced us to use the water in the well in the Plaza but there wasn't enough for everyone in the city and soon there was no water left. Our city went without water for days and everyone was dying of thirst. Then one day the sky grew dark as mysterious gray clouds approached our city. They released purified water upon her bringing relief to the entire city and to all of the citizens. The well was quickly filled and soon it over flowed onto the cement foundation in the waterway underneath the Plaza. The water seeped into the cement and spread throughout the entire city. Five Rue Herbs have grown since the last rain fall and they live off of the purified water that still runs through the city walls to this day. That is why they are very fragile and will die the very moment they are picked." Kemmet explains finishing his story.

"So how are we supposed to get the Rue Herbs to the Mayor?" Sphinx asks growing a bit impatient.

Isis stops to think about that as well, "Yeah, I mean it's not like Onuris left a magical bag to store these plants in."

"No he didn't. But over the years I have worked on a bag that could keep the herbs alive after they are picked." Kemmet responds thinking of where he last placed it.

"Where is it?" The apprentices ask in unison.

"I do not have it. It was stolen from me."

The demis groan and smack their foreheads, "Great."

"The only thing I have that might be of some interest to you," The Abydosian inventor begins walking into his house. He comes back out holding a Canopic Vase, "is this."

"Where did you get that?" The demi-cat asks in wonder.

"The person who stole that bag dropped this on accident."

Bas-Ket appears beside the trio and opens the lid.

"Give it to him." Sphinx says motioning from the vase to Bas-Ket.

"Of course I have no idea what it is or what it's for." Kemmet replies giving the vase to Bas-Ket and watching it disappear.

"It's best you don't know." Isis answers looking up at the crystal clear skies.

-----

The sun travels throughout the sky and starts to finally set beyond the horizon. Sphinx and Isis are sitting on the docks watching the sunset while Kemmet is inside working on a few things. Bas-Ket finally returns to the gang and walks up behind Sphinx nudging his back. The apprentices turn around to look at the small creature.

"What did you find?" Isis asks trying to open the lid but Bas-Ket clamps it shut. "Alright I get it." She says withdrawing her hand.

The small basket opens the lid and gives Sphinx a pouch containing the items the Mummy found.

"Let's see, we have the third stolen jewel, some onyx scarabs and Kemmet's Medical Bag." Sphinx says as he examines everything in the pouch.

At the words 'Kemmet's Medical Bag,' Kemmet rushes out of his workshop, "Where's my medical bag?"

"Right here." Isis responds holding up the bag.

"Ah! My bag!" Kemmet says happily and takes it from her hugging it. "Oh my Onuris Bag of Miracles you have returned."

"Onuris Bag of Miracles. You've named the bag too?!" The female apprentice asks in surprise.

"Of course. All of my inventions have names."

'Okay. I knew you were weird … but not this weird.' The demi-cat thinks while crossing her arms.

Kemmet hands his bag back to Isis, "Here, take the bag with you to collect the five Rue Herbs around the city. They should be preserved within the bag."

"Thanks Kemmet." The apprentices reply in unison with a slight bow of the head before turning around getting ready to leave.

"You're welcome. Oh and Isis, congratulations on your marriage."

Sphinx and Isis both freeze and abruptly turn to him and reply in unison, "What marriage?"

"With Ralix, dear. Now you best be off."

Sphinx and Isis look at each other dumbfounded before rushing over to the zip line and zipping up to the second bridge.

"Come on we need to hurry." Isis calls out as she starts running across the bridge.

"Wait! Don't get too far ahead!" Sphinx calls to her as he runs to keep up with her.

Being a few feet behind the demi-cat, Sphinx sees her rounding a corner; but when he rounds the corner a couple seconds later, he doesn't see Isis anywhere.

"Isis!" He calls out looking all around him for a sign of her. She couldn't have just disappeared. "Isis!" He shouts again. "Maybe she's already at the first herb." Sphinx says softly as he makes his way to the first herb on the small balcony that over looks the Abydos Plaza.

-----

Sphinx stands outside the Mayor's Chamber with Kemmet's medical bag in his hand. He had found the five Rue Herbs but hasn't spotted Isis at all. By now he was filled with worry and can't help but feel that something bad has happened to her.

"All I need to do is deliver these herbs to the Herbalist and then I can go back searching for Isis. Just go in, drop these off, get the crown, and leave. Simple as that. Things can't get much worse than this." He mumbles to himself as he takes a deep breath and opens the doors running down the hallway. Once at the end of the hall he slows his pace and walks the rest of the way until he's standing in front of the Herbalist. "Here they are." The demi-god says holding up the bag of herbs.

The Herbalist takes them from him and slightly opens the bag counting the herbs, "One, two, three, four, five … Excellent! You found them all! If we hurry there still may be time to save the Mayor." She says as she quickly prepares the medicine in a bowl. She walks over to the Mayor and puts the bowl to her lips, "Come now Mayor, you must take this. It will make you better." The Herbalist says slightly tipping the bowl so the Mayor can drink the liquid.

The Mayor slowly drinks the liquid until it is gone. Once the bowl is empty she becomes aware of everything around her and stands up, "Oh! What happened? Where am I? Oh, I feel so dizzy! Who is this? What is he doing here?" The Mayor asks glancing at the strange demi-god standing in her room.

"Mayor, this is Sphinx. He and the thief are the ones who found the ingredients I needed to cure you. They are our heroes; they saved your life." The Herbalist says assuming Isis is waiting outside because she doesn't want to confront the Mayor.

"What? The thief saved my life? I … well … um …" She sighs and turns to the demi-god, "thank you to you and Isis for saving me." She then looks over Sphinx, "You're a strange looking fellow, aren't you? What brings you to our beautiful city of Abydos?"

"I am here on behalf of Anubis. He has sent me to bring him the Sacred Crown of Abydos."

"The Sacred Crown of Abydos for Anubis? Hmm, that is indeed a significant request…"

"He is lying! He's the imposter who poisoned you! He wants to steal the crown! Anubis would never consort with such a creature! Don't trust him!" Amsu and Amsi protest in unison.

"Silence!" The Mayor shouts turning to her advisers. "You leeches have been seeking the crown ever since you joined the Council. This Sphinx guy has already proved himself more trustworthy than you two!" Sphinx gently rubs the back of his neck at his accomplishment. "Hmm, this difficult decision requires some deliberation … why is everyone so interested in the crown these days? I must think … the best course of action …" She mumbles to herself and then turns back to Sphinx. "Sphinx, join me in the Main Council Chamber in a few moments and I will inform you of my decision. I need to think … and I'm so tired." The Mayor complains as she and her advisers walk out of the room.

Sphinx heavily sighs and uses this time to talk to himself, "Isis, where could you be?" He whispers as he turns around and walks out of the room. Once in the main Council Chamber he walks down a flight of stairs and goes over to the Mayor and other Council Members that are standing near a statue.

"Above all, the people of Abydos express their sincerest thanks for the good deed you have done for this city. Our fair city has been going through a most turbulent time recently. It seems that some higher power is determined to bring misfortune and misery to our lives. Your arrival and heroic actions have been like a ray of hope to the people of Abydos. Thus the council has decided that the Sacred Crown of Abydos will be entrusted to you … on the condition that you deliver it safely to our lord Anubis and express our warmest regards to him." The Mayor says ending her speech and presenting the Sacred Crown of Abydos to the male apprentice.

"WHAT?!?!" Amsu and Amsi shriek in surprise.

"You cannot give him the crown, he is clearly an imposter! Anubis would never endorse the actions of one such as him! The crown is ours!" Amsu says taking the crown from the Mayor. "You are not going to give it away to anyone, you stupid fool!" Suddenly the ground begins to quake as the statue moves aside to reveal a hole. "Come, brother, the crown is ours. As for you, Mayor, your short sightedness has secured the fate of this city once and for all!" Amsu finishes as he and Amsi run to the statue and jump down into the hole.

"Oh, Ra almighty. Someone must stop them! The traitors are escaping! Please, Sphinx, I implore you and Isis to retrieve the crown!" The Mayor pleads to the demi-god.

Sphinx sighs and looks away, "I wish she could, but she can't."

"Why can't she?" The Mayor asks a bit suspiciously.

"She's gone. Vanished. And I have no idea where she is. I've looked everywhere."

"Why don't you turn around?" A voice calls out to them.

Sphinx immediately turns around to see Ralix holding Isis against her will in his arms near the stairs to the Council Chamber doors.

"Ralix." Sphinx growls with venom as he slowly walks towards his enemy.

"What will it be Sphinx? The girl or the crown? You can't save both."

"Watch me." Sphinx summons his sword and charges at Ralix only to be repelled by an unknown force. He shakes his head and looks up at the demi-tiger to see his arm outstretched. "What the --"

Ralix chuckles as he tightens his hold on Isis, "You can't win Sphinx."

Sphinx stands up and prepares himself to fight, "I never fail."

"You just did." The tiger responds with an evil smirk as he snaps his fingers causing demi-god's arms to fall to his side tightly bound to his body. "Now watch me walk away victorious." Ralix turns around and walks up the stairs to the Council Chamber doors with Isis.

She manages to remove Ralix's hand from her mouth, "Sphinx!" She shouts struggling to free herself.

"Isis! NO!" He screams struggling in the unknown binds around his body.

Once Ralix is at the doors he snaps his fingers again releasing the demi-god from the binds and casually walks out of the Council Chamber with his wife-to-be. Enraged, Sphinx starts sprinting after Ralix but gets stopped by the Mayor when he's half way to the doors.

"Sphinx! The crown! There still may be time to retrieve it!" She says pointing to where Amsu and Amsi went.

The demi-god stops and stares at the doors with a few tear brimming in his eyes. This seems like a lose/lose situation that will end terribly. He stands in one spot, frozen, as he's torn between his love for Isis and his duty to retrieve the crown. The last thing he wanted to do was betray Isis and he vowed many years ago he would never abandon her. But here he is years later abandoning her when she really needs him. Looking down the apprentice fights back his tears and runs for the statue. Climbing up onto the stone wall he jumps into the dark hole and falls deep beneath the Council Chamber. Soft sand meets his feet and hands at the bottom as he looks up at his surroundings.

The large island is covered in sand with only four crystals sticking out of the middle. Other than that there seems to be no possible way to escape this place unless they exited the way they came in. Keeping this in mind he circles around the island perimeter in extreme caution with his sword in hand.

"I know you two are here! Show yourselves!" Sphinx shouts but nothing responds to him. After walking around the island with no response to his calls, he comes to the conclusion that he's the only one here. Falling to his knees the apprentice punches the sand with his fist in anger.

"The crown … gone." He says angrily scolding himself for not going after the crown first. "She's gone." He continues scolding himself for not being able to rescue Isis. "I … I failed."

A beam of white light appears a couple feet away from the demi-god. "Even though you failed. You tried to do the impossible." Imhotep's voice says as he approaches his apprentice.

"In other words I failed."

"We'll discuss this more on Sun Shrine Island. There's nothing you can do now to change what has happened." Imhotep answers gently holding out his hand.

Sphinx stands up on his own and avoids his Master's gaze by keeping his head down as Imhotep transports them to Sun Shrine Island.


REVIEW BECAUSE:

1) They're very much appreciated! (My goal is to reach 100 reviews for this Book. Please help me out)

2) Whoever does will get an update from me (the author) of when Book 2: Isis will be posted!

SNEAK PEAK AT BOOK 2: ISIS!!! Ralix is holding Isis hostage until the wedding while Sphinx is back on Sun Shrine Island with Imhotep discussing some important issuses that have arised. Imhotep will finally explain Isis's past, why Set is after her, and how she became this Key of Eternal Darkness. A dark past will be revealed, but will Set gain what he has been after for years? READ TO FIND OUT!!!