Chapter 16: A Hot Dog Skewer Decides our Fate

I felt stupid for jumping into a pitch black whole without a flashlight. It took me a few minutes to feel through the things in my bag trying to figure out by touch where mine was. Although Anubis had a few things like a flashlight on him, I don't remember seeing him use it. Anubis wasn't a cat god like Bastet who could probably see in the dark. However, my strange ability to see glowing organs didn't help me at all where there wasn't any light. I turned my flashlight on and looked into the tunnel ahead.

The tunnel didn't look like it was made as part of the temple. After all the care to detail the creators of that building put into its making, this passage lacked any sort of grandeur. It even didn't have anything in the path to help you from falling or places for torches to keep the path lit. I wasn't sure how or who had made it, but it felt as though I had left one world and entered another.

The only sound was a soft hum of air moving. Every step I took crunched loudly under my feet. The path was bare without any differentiation. I couldn't mark how long I had been walking or how far I had gone. The steady decline was enough to tell me I was going deeper and deeper. My only faith in where I was going was seeing the glow of the jar grow closer as I moved.

My anticipation grew as I went further. My heart was quickening its pace as I moved closer. I was so focused on the green glow I was caught off guard by a sudden flash of light right next to me. I screamed. My back slammed into the opposite wall of the tunnel trying to get away from what instantly appeared beside me. My eyes had to adjust to the light to see what it was. But all I saw was Anubis leaning against the other wall with one arm crossed and the other flashing his flashlight at me.

"That scared the shit out of me!" I exclaimed.

"I knew it would," he replied. I had to keep myself from rolling my eyes. Ha ha, jumpy Anubis learned a new trick, I thought. Anubis pointed his flashlight to the ground and closed the gap between us. It was still dark, but the light was just enough illumination to see the sternness in his expression.

"You don't listen very well, do you?"

"I don't like being left alone."

He wavered a bit, uncertain of how to react. He broke eye contact and stared at the ground as he tapped his flashlight against his leg. "I should have left you with Paws."

"Look, I get it. You don't want me walking into more hell holes." Anubis scowled, but I merely shrugged. "I just don't think being alone in some temple is a great idea. We're nearly there. Let's get the jar and get out of here."

Anubis sighed and continued down the path calling "Stay close," as he did. I followed behind him. I trained my light on the ground to be sure I didn't trip while Anubis illuminated the path ahead. I expected the path to curve. The glow of the jar, as we got closer, was more to the right than straight ahead. But the path didn't deviate. It wasn't until the jar was completely east from us that the tunnel ended with a doorway on the right wall.

"Turn off your flashlight," Anubis commanded. I did as he said. With the lights off, it was immediately apparent that someone else had been, or was, down here. A light poured out from the doorway; a kind of light that flickered like fire. We stood standstill, not daring to make a sound or look inside.

"Still want to come?" Anubis asked.

"Let's get it over with," I said tepidly.

The doorway was ornate despite the bare tunnel that led to it. Two columns surrounded each side with decorated motifs around the opening. I could smell the burning oils as we cautiously entered.

The room was the size of a stadium. The floor was engraved with an ancient drawing of a woman dressed in a long flowing dress. Embedded in the wall at different parts of her body were statues of buildings, a replica of the one we entered in at the woman's left shoulder. Where her heart would be was a raised platform also engraved with the features of a temple. On its center was a pedestal holding a glowing canopic jar on top of it.

"Nevermind," I whispered. "I guess it would be sitting on a pedestal in plain sight."

Both Anubis and I jumped as the sound of clapping echoed in the chamber. A man appeared stepping out from behind a statue. He was tall and dressed very modestly with a buttoned up shirt and scarf, black slacks, and polished shoes. His hair was slicked back but still had messy locks of hair falling out here and there. I couldn't see any color so I could only guess his hair was perhaps brown, but I could tell he had a tan complexion.

He continued to clap, benignly smiling as he did, until he was in the center of the room. He stopped and held out his hand in a welcoming gesture that instead made me want to bolt out the room. A staff materialized in his right hand. I thought it resembled a reaper's scythe but with a much shorter blade. The opposite end was forked like a skewer you use at a campfire. I guessed you could reap your corn and cook it over a fire with one tool; the ultimate cookout utensil.

"Welcome Anubis, and friend," his voice rang, pausing to bow in my direction as he spook. "Congratulations on finding the place. Did you have any difficulties getting here?"

"What are you doing here?!" Anubis exclaimed. He sounded completely flabbergasted, his expression of clear disbelief and confusion.

The man stumbled aside gesturing to the pedestal. "Do you see? I found one of your jars. Ha! You've been looking for them, am I right?"

Anubis stood transfixed, unable to respond through his surprise. I had no idea who this was or his relation to Anubis, but his voice sent a chill through me the same way Apep's had. In a dramatic gesture, the man backed away inviting Anubis to walk by. "Go ahead. By all means, take it."

Anubis teetered between each foot, still not sure of what to do. He finally took a deep breath and moved forward, muttering, "Stay here," to me. He walked across the room not looking at the man as he passed him. He didn't make it to the platform. Halfway there a wall of light appeared where Anubis walked. Sparks shot out, and Anubis was violently thrown across the room. The stone ground cracked where his body bounced and he crashed into the western wall, a cloud of dust hiding where he landed.

I couldn't speak. My breath had stopped. I was dumbfounded trying to take in how quickly the situation had changed. I was startled by a sharp laugh. The man seemed beside himself in his hysteria, but he pulled himself together to say, "Oh my! Ha ha! I completely forgot to mention this. There's a seal there," he pointed unnecessarily to where the wall of light had appeared. "Over there. Did you see it?" I wondered if he was addressing me, but he was talking to the cloud of dust enveloping Anubis. However, from his tone, you would think the man was having a casual conversation with someone directly in front of him. I couldn't tell if he could see Anubis or if he was truly insane.

"The seal won't let a god take the jar. Only a human can. But look here!" he exclaimed turning in my direction. "You brought one with you!"

He started towards me, grinning and holding his arms out as though for a hug. My knees were shaking and I could only manage a small step back before he reached me. His expression contorted in dismay and I thought he was reacting to my frightened expression. Instead, he said, "Now how can you possibly see with that blindfold on. Here."

I couldn't move at all. I had no choice but to stand there as he reached behind my head to remove my blindfold. His closeness made my mouth go dry. Even though I could still see with my eyes covered, when he took off my bandana, my surrounding took a drastic change.

The fire torches that lined the walls didn't burn like regular fire as I had imagined. They glowed with a red light that seeped into every crevice of the room. Everything was dyed in red, even the man before me. That's why it took me a moment to take him in.

I couldn't be sure if his hair was really a dark red color or if it was only the light. I knew, though, that lighting alone wouldn't make his eyes such a brilliant shade of crimson. It flashed me back to several spells I had seen: the spell Khonsu used to seal Anubis, the boyish figure of the young magician made of red light, the magic that same magician used in the barren field in Australia…


"Now you can see me. What a twisted habit Anubis has putting a… blindfold on you. I hope you will excuse my neph… my step-son's behavior."

Anubis was behind me and pulled me away from Set, putting himself between us. I was momentarily startled he was there having not heard him approach. Besides the dust on his clothes, you wouldn't be able to tell he had been thrown into a wall.

"I don't like you touching her," Anubis scolded.

"And I don't like you blindfolding young maidens, not that it's any of my business. You know, I believe that –"

"Why did you send a magician to capture me?" Anubis interrupted.

"Why, to bring you here; to your jar," Set replied like it was the most obvious answer. "I realize it turned into a fiasco, and I do feel sorry for that. Se-Osiris turned out to be… more volatile than I had anticipated. He betrayed me in more ways than one, which is why we have this seal here. It was placed here by his doing."

"…how do I know you're telling the truth?" Anubis said with slow uncertainty.

Set's demeanor completely changed. His face softened and he looked at Anubis with a terrible compassion like a mother to a child. "I could never wrong you. You are the closest to a child I could ever have." He stretched his hand and brushed his fingers through Anubis' hair. Anubis still looked uncertain of Set but didn't pull back. Set added, "Have I ever done ill towards you, Anubis?"

Anubis furrowed his brows and cast his eyes down. He then looked into my eyes and I could practically see the internal battle going on behind them. He finally mumbled a barely audible, "Fine." With his hand to my back, he guided me away from Set and toward the jar.

"As soon as you get the jar, run back so we can leave."

"You're going to trust him?" I asked. It was more curiosity than disbelief that compelled the question from me. Even though I knew Set to be an evil god, I could sense from their interaction a complex relationship I didn't really understand.

Anubis shrugged. "He's right. Set has never acted out against me, and I think my mother has something to do with that. I'll just have to trust her on this."

We stopped halfway through the room. I couldn't see the seal, but I knew from this point Anubis couldn't continue on. He nodded to me. I took a step forward holding my breath, but nothing happened. I kept walking, my feet the only sound in the room like a solitary heartbeat. I walked over the belly of the woman engraved on the floor and up to the pedestal. Even though my body was anxious to take the jar, I felt reluctant to touch it. But Anubis was behind me waiting, so I shifted myself to be ready to run and took the jar.

There wasn't enough time for me to react. The stone floor I stood on turned to sand. Everything sunk into it including myself. My legs were swallowed into the ground up to my knees. I had to steady myself on the half sunken pedestal to keep from falling.

I could hear in the distance behind me some commotion but couldn't make out what the sounds were. I twisted my body soon enough to see Set walking towards me and Anubis throwing his own body out of the sand to catch him. But again Anubis struck the sealed wall that bursted into being to stop him. He was more prepared this time and moved his body so he landed, although roughly, on his feet quite some feet away.

Set took no notice of Anubis' struggle. He seemed giddy with a skip in his feet as every step he took brought him closer to me. I was frozen and couldn't even bring my mind to think of escape. The only thing that stopped Set was Anubis' cry.

"You lied!"

Set spun on his heels and replied, "Did I?"

"You said the seal keeps out a god."

"No, no, no. I said it keeps a god from getting the jar. I asked if you saw it. You see, Anubis…" As Set spoke, the sand by his side began to swell and rise. He reached his hand into the mass and grabbed hold of something. The sand fell away revealing some blackish lump of fabric. I couldn't tell what it was until I saw the hand with crimson threads twisting around it. But the threads were dripping and making a small pool in the sand. Like the pool Anubis' crippled body laid in from that ancient memory Amun had made me live through before.

It wasn't until then I understood that I was looking at a corpse.

"See, this magician here," Set said holding up the small body higher while leaning on his staff. "Remember him? He put a seal on that jar to keep gods from touching it. It was his dying act you could say." He threw the body to the side and it hit with a sickeningly loud crack against the wall before crumpling to the ground. I couldn't get over how disturbing it was that it wouldn't move.

"Then what about the seal on the room?" Anubis brusquely retorted.

"Oh, that?" Set remarked with an apathetic wave of the hand. "I made that specifically to keep you out."

In a manner like he was bored with the conversation, Set turned his back to Anubis and approached me. As he came closer, I noticed that his staff wasn't like a reaper scythe like how it looked from a distance. The end wasn't sharp at all. Instead it was shaped like an elongated animal head. Set seemed comfortable with the staff, spinning it in his hand with great ease. He stopped directly before me with a hungry yet delighted stare that chilled me.

"And that leaves us with you; the human Se-Osiris believed would bypass the seal for Anubis. What are you? His concubine perhaps?"

"Fuck you," I swore. Although I had been frozen in my fright, his insinuation lit a spark that brought me out from it. I was still terrified, being stuck in the ground without any way to protect myself. But I was also burning with anger for this whole set up.

"Ooooh~,"Set cooed with glee. "I like you. You have some bite." He slapped my face with enough force to make my ears ring. I fell, but having my feet trapped in the sand I couldn't control it. The side of my head hit the edge of the pedestal. The pain slammed into me and I hit the ground not able to think. I tried to grapple with my senses, aware there was talking but my ringing ears drowned it out. A shadow fell on me and I looked up to notice Set crouched beside me.

"I am not here to hurt you, sweetheart. I just want the jar. Now give it here and I will let you leave."

I had only become aware of it now that I had managed to keep the jar clutched close to me. My grip tightened. I only managed to find a small ounce of my fire from before to retort, "I told you to go fuck yourself."

His good humor was gone, and I knew I wouldn't be able to stop the inevitable pain that was to come. I wasn't ready for it, but I resigned myself to it. His staff began to glow red and he held the skewer to my face. My vision suddenly went black and I thought I had fainted. Yet I could hear Set shouting before my vision returned, or rather the black thing blocking my sight moved out of the way.

I could now see that Set was being held back by a hand, one that was pitch black. The midnight black figure grew out of the ground. My shadow, the sheut that had helped me before, stood between Set and me. It pulled Set to itself and used the other arm to elbow him in the chest. The force of the blow was so great it threw him across the room until he landed at Anubis' feet.

"I will not forgive you," Anubis stated without any anger but merely stating a fact.

"Well, that's good," Set replied as he used his staff to pull himself to his feet. "I don't need any frivolous things like forgiveness."

Set's figure erupted into sand that began to turn the grains of sand around it. In no time at all the entire room was a chaotic sand storm. I couldn't see where Anubis was anymore. I had to keep my eyes closed to keep the blowing sand from getting into them, but because of the jar clutched to me my closed eyes didn't prevent me from seeing.

My legs were still stuck within the ground, but the storm was loosening its grip on me. I put the jar in my sling bag before digging my fingers into the ground. I began to pull as hard as I could. Slowly my legs began to come out. I kept digging my hands into the sand trying to keep my grip even as the sand slipped through my fingers.

When I was nearly out, I saw something tunneling under the sand was coming towards me. I tried to move out of its way but my feet were still trapped. Out from the ground came a large, black beast with tall yet strangely square ears and a tail that spilt into two. The creature dove for my bag, its red eyes fixated on it. I tugged it away. The creature only managed to tear the sack before diving back into its beige sea. The gusts of wind quickly took the jar from the rip of my bag. As it rolled away from me, I frantically clawed at the ground trying to break free.

I finally managed to free my feet from my trap, but I was struggling to see where the jar went. The bright red lights of the room had burned a green afterimage in my sight camouflaging the jar's glow. I stumbled through the storm barely able to keep to my feet. The dust distorted my vision. There was a moment through my struggling that I thought I had stepped on a scorpion, but it was only a trick of the storm. When I looked again there was nothing there.

Through it all the only sounds I could here were the howls and whistling of the wind. My throat was raw as I couldn't keep from inhaling the blowing sand. It took a strong strength of will to keep myself moving despite my burning lungs.

I saw the black beast before I saw the jar. The creature was half emerged in the sea of sand, yet tore at a high speed in order to reach the jar. I broke into a sprint, fully realizing I wouldn't make it in time. I moved by instinct, not thinking of what I would do confronting this beast by myself. Yet I didn't have to confront it. As the creature opened its jaws to take the jar, another creature, a much smaller one, leapt at it. Despite his size, the sand colored animal was able to throw the beast off its path before they both disappeared within the storm. I grabbed the jar without stopping and continued to sprint.

I didn't know where I was going. I pushed my feet against the sand all the while growing more exhausted with each step. I eventually came to one of the temple statues that lined the walls of the room. It had fallen over to its side but still provided protection from the wind. I took refuge behind it, trying to catch my breath which turned into a fit of coughing. I could taste blood in my mouth but I wasn't sure where I was bleeding from. I thought perhaps it was from the blow Set dealt me to the face, or the sand I had inhaled had rubbed my throat raw. Whatever it was from was enough to remind me I was alive, and I was in danger of losing my life.

When it hit me, I was terrified. My breathing became more labored the more I valued that I could still breath. Even if I wanted to run and escape this nightmare, I couldn't bring my legs to move. I was stuck in my fright like a weak, terrified animal. I hated myself for being so helpless.

I jumped when one of the creatures came from above the statue I was hiding behind and landed before me. I gasped, and then fell into another fit of coughing. I had half a mind to get away from the beast, but a hand stopped me. I looked up to see the creature wasn't here, but Anubis stood next to me. He had some cuts here and there but looked okay.

"Are you okay?" he shouted over the sound of the storm. I merely nodded, not certain I would be able to speak. He gave a nod, then looked over the statue to examine the situation. Satisfied with whatever he saw, he shouted, "We're leaving! You have the jar?" I held it up as confirmation. Showing it to him reminded me why we were here to begin with. My fear ebbed a bit when I had something to protect, but I also knew that that beast, the monster of Set, wasn't going to let us leave so easily with it.

"Let's go," Anubis said.

"Wait," I croaked grabbing Anubis' jacket. He turned to me and I cleared my voice before shouting, "Drink it now!" I held the jar offering it to him.

"There is no time! We have to get –"

"Your heart is what he wants, but he can't take it if it's inside you."

He looked me in the eye for a split second, but seemed to come to the conclusion that arguing with me will take longer than swallowing a heart piece. He had time to take the jar and break the head off before our surprise guest arrived. It came from under the sand. Exploding from the ground, it launched itself into the arm that I had been holding the jar in seconds before. The pain was excruciating as I felt every tooth in its muzzle pierce into my skin and muscles. I saw an arm swing at the beast. Anubis lodged the broken jar into the eye of the creature. It did more than just stab it. The skin around the infliction began to change, but I couldn't tell if it was melting or rotting away. The beast cried out, releasing its hold on me. I curled into myself, grabbing at my injured arm. Between the pain, I noticed a shadow from above us as the beast made its escape. Anubis had an arm around me as support.

"Nakia? Can you hear me? Can you move?"

I lifted myself up to show I could still move. When I did, the storm that had raged the room immediately dissipated. The room was still and deadly silent. It made me more nervous than the storm had.

"Are we hiding now?" chimed Set whimsically. I squeezed my eyes closed at his voice, wishing I was anywhere but here.

"Stand," Anubis softly commanded. I complied without a thought, letting him support me as he led us away from our sheltered spot. Set stood where the pedestal had been, now broken off and strewn several feet away. He also had some injuries scattered about, and the skin around his right eye had rotted away. The exit was just behind us and there seemed to be a good chance we could make a break for it. But Anubis didn't try for escape. Instead, he stopped to face Set.

"I'm done with your game. We're leaving," Anubis said sternly.

"Of course you are. You won this game. You retrieved your heart before I could. You have every right to leave." I could feel Anubis relaxing and shifting to turn before Set continued, "It's just a shame Little Horus and the young lady had to get hurt during our game."

Anubis stiffened and shouted, "What did you do to Horus?"

Set started to chuckle and replied, "It's silly, really. See, there's this large hole in the Karakum Desert that some stupid humans lit on fire and has been burning for decades. Since they call it 'the gates of hell' I figured it's pretty deep, but I wanted to know just how deep. So I threw Horus in to see if he could find out for me. Oh, don't make that face! For a sun god the fire shouldn't hurt him, that much."

I could feel Anubis start to shake which confused me. I wanted to look at his face but my eyes couldn't leave Set as he began to leisurely walk towards us.

"Let me just say how deeply sorry I am for hurting your little concubine. And I know my butting heads with Horus has been causing you problems. In all honestly, there are many things I should make amends for."

Set stopped his pace. He stood confidently with his hand resting on his staff, smiling as he intently stared into Anubis' eyes. "However, killing your father; that is something I'll never be sorry for."

Anubis' grip under my arm tightened to the point it was nearly painful. Now that I was sure Set wasn't coming for us, I took my chance to steal a glance at him.

The only emotion that showed on Anubis' expression was rage. It frightened me not only to see his anger for the first time but the intensity of it. He still had blood running down his chin from swallowing his heart that, with the deep lines on his normally relaxed expression, made him look like a feral animal. A low growl erupted from his chest as he began to loosen his grip on me. "Anubis…" I cautiously uttered, worried that the boy next to me wasn't the same god I had entered this underground chamber with.

But in an instant he was no longer beside me. Anubis tore himself from me to go after Set. I fell to my knees at the loss of his support but was too stunned to try and stand again. I watched as Anubis quickly ran across the room with murderous eyes focused on Set. I could sense something was wrong when I saw Set's grin grow wider. My heart dropped to my stomach.

Then came a roaring crash from the ground as tons of sand and stone erupted into the air just a few feet from me. The air filled with dust. I couldn't see what was happening other than the obscure shapes of giant stones breaking away as a giant figure rose from the floor. I squinted my eyes to see through the dust, desperate to know what had happened but still frozen in place. I heard Set's hysteric laughter before the dust finally settled.

What had emerged from the floor was a creature with the body of a scorpion so huge it reached to the ceiling in this cavernous room. Where its head should be the body extended into the torso of a woman. I recognized her as the scorpion goddess we had encountered in Australia almost a month ago. She even wore the same black biker jacket she had worn then. Her tail extended up to the ceiling ending in a stinger as long as my body.

And affixed to the end of the stinger was Anubis.

I gazed motionless as the weight of the horror I saw sank into me. The tip of the stinger had pierced through his back. Anubis' eyes were wide; staring blankly as his hands searched for something to grab that could free him from the pain. His body began to slip. The tip of the stinger was distinguishable as it pushed from inside Anubis' stomach before his skin gave way and tore open with a grotesque sound that showered the ground with blood. The goddess smirked and tipped her stinger. Anubis' body fell lifelessly with a thump and did not move.

All that seemed to exist in the room was Anubis' bleeding body and the piercing laughter of Set. I should have been screaming, but the sound wouldn't come out. I curled into myself as though hiding from what was happening would make it not exist. I was shaking uncontrollably, tears streaming down my face as I knew this was the end. We were both going to die here.

In some distant place I couldn't see, I heard Set praise, "Well done, Uhat! Just fantastic!"

"Thank you, my lord," a female voice replied. "It felt good to get back at the mutt."

There was a moment of silence before Set said, "Now to take care of the human."

My body started shaking violently. I hugged myself in a tight grip. I was more terrified than I had ever been. There was an instinct in me that said to fight, yet after seeing the cruel power these gods held, I had no will in me to keep fighting anymore. I was so vulnerable, so helpless and weak, that there wasn't anything I could do to change things.

Then an odd sensation slammed into my mind. I felt as though my brain was being squeezed into one side of my head, yet this feeling wasn't physical. It was like a part of myself I was never aware of was suddenly being pushed aside.

Don't give up on me, we thought.

The shaking of our body lessened and we pulled ourself up from the ground. Set was approaching us with his staff in hand followed closely by Uhat, now in a human form and normal sized.


"Please don't kill me," our voice quivered. "I'll… I'll do anything, just don't kill me."

Set stood over us and seemed to contemplate before asking, "And what could you do for me if I let you live?"

We froze, one half wanting to lie while the other wanted to say anything to earn his trust. The latter won over and we replied, "I can help you find the rest of Anubis' heart. I can… I can sense them."

"Hmm?" Set didn't move from his imposing position over us, but we didn't dare lift our head to look at him. There was a heavy silence before he commanded, "Stand."

We complied, half relieved to get on our feet and half still frightened of what Set was planning. We looked him in the eyes. Set seemed to be both curious and amused as he regarded us. He smiled and said, "Your offer is very sweet, but as you can see Anubis is as good as dead. What use can some fragments of his heart be? I could care less about those."

One half knew this wasn't true and knew we could argue this point. When the other half understood this truth, it became fearful of sharing that knowledge with Set. However, the former half had a strong will and, despite conflicting emotions, pressed on, "He won't be completely dead. Not if parts of him still survive."

Set furrowed his brow. Behind him, Uhat crossed her arms and gave us a suspicious look. We averted her gaze, keeping our focus on Set.

Once again, Set's demeanor made a 180, going from gravely serious to flirtatious. He took a step forward, closing any space between us, and played with a stand of our hair. We stood still but willed our body to keep shaking even as a detached calm was washing over us. We made a note that Set's was scepter, the name of the staff one half of us supplied, was only a short distance from our hand.

"I suppose you could prove to be useful after all."

"Then you'll let me live?" we pleaded.

"For now." Set smiled and let the strand in his fingers fall from his grasp.

Let go.

At first the meaning wasn't clear. Then there was a sensation of one half taking complete control of the other. It instinctually resisted this alien presence. Then it felt a link to the other. It was scared, scared of dying just as much as the other half was. The half didn't fight and let him take over for them.

As Set opened his mouth to say something, he grabbed hold of Set's was scepter. One touch was enough for him to feel the red, chaotic power swirling within it. But that power was quickly diminished by his own. Red turned to black and the was scepter was his to control.

He wasted no time pulling the scepter from Set's grasp and using the amplified power to throw him from his feet. Uhat reacted immediately closing in on him with her own power bleeding out from her. He let her come, baiting her. He stepped away at the last second, opening a bridge into the 34th nome, 19th hall of the duat; a relatively out of the way section of the duat but a bitch to get out of. Uhat saw the trick and tried to evade, but he called on her sheut and willed it to be taken in. Uhat had no choice but to follow her shadow in suit.

However, he was pulled into the ground as well. His surroundings once again turned into a dust storm. The sand below his feet encased him. But the sand rushed at him in an unnatural way. They acted as one coming at him like thousands of blades. His instinct was to fight through their power with his own, but he reminded himself that the body he was in was much more vulnerable. Instead, all he could do was hold his power protectively close to him as the sand pulled him deeper into its embrace.

A figure appeared through the torrents of the storm. With the face of a beast this figure tried to grab him, but he still held his will as a shield. Set's will clashed with his as his fingers tried to close in those few centimeters that prevented Set from touching him. He still wanted to retaliate, but it was too dangerous. He kept his defense, but also started seeping a fraction of his power into the was scepter.

Set glowered down at him as their wills battled in the storm. He knew Set was giving his all. He had taken the form of the old times. To have the best advantage, Set kept the strength of his human form, yet his head took his other form to have the senses of an animal. Set could take this form but he couldn't, being confound in a mortal body. His best chance was to wait for the right moment no matter how much he wanted to attack at Set immediately.

Their wills continued to rage and become more chaotic as they fought against one another. Set leaned forward with a roar and stared deeply into his eyes. It was then he seemed to come to a realization and narrowed his gaze. "Anubis!" he growled.

He didn't dare wait a second longer. He slashed downward with the was scepter with a speed that was greater than the sand the continued to try and pierce at him. The power he had collected threw itself like a blade. Set evaded enough to miss most of it, but not all. His power took hold of Set's shoulder and he willed it to spread out like an infection. The skin deteriorated as well as the muscle underneath. Gold bones showed from beneath but began to turn to calcium and crack. Set hissed at the pain and retreated.

Even with his attack, he was still trapped in the storm. It began to grow and he had to pull more of his power into him, making sure his mortal host wouldn't be injured. I can see when I am at a disadvantage, said a voice. A flare of anger burned his heart. His enemy was trying to slip away. He wanted to break free and tear Set apart before he had the chance to weasel his way out. It wasn't an option, though. It would surely destroy the body he used, which would be what Set wanted… what Set wanted…

Until we meet again, my dear, dear son. The storm instantly dissolved. He was inside a hole, marking the one place the sand storm had been concentrated. He knew there was no point looking for Set. He was already gone; he could sense that much. Now that he had no one to focus his anger on, a plethora of emotions raged in his, or was it her, heart. There were so many hitting him at once, he didn't know how to handle them. He stumbled up the hill, slipping in the sand as he used the scepter as a cane to pull him up.

He saw himself lying at his feet. He saw himself covered in red, and could only think of how his mother had been wearing a red dress the day he lost his heart.

Then I was alone; a shaking teenager with a bloody shoulder, leaning on some magical scepter with a dying boy lying at my feet. I wretched, dropping the scepter in my hand but nothing came up. My mind was at a loss, not really understanding what had happened, if I was me or someone else or everyone at once. I fell to my knees.

I couldn't focus on my own disorientation, though. Anubis was lifeless in front of me, his abdomen completely missing and spilling blood. Under the flow of blood was his exposed spine and ribs, damaged but still holding together. It didn't strike me odd that his bones were shining the color of precious gold. I knew it was a common trait of gods only because he had thought that during his fight with Set. But now that presence was gone. I was alone and unless I did something, Anubis was surely going to die.

Author's notes in my profile ^^