YAY CHAPTER TWO!
... Please enjoy.
Jennifer was working away, looking through a section of one of the walls. She'd been assigned by Panya to search through this remaining area of the so-called false room, in case there were any more undiscovered artifacts hidden as the other ones had been.
She was rather happy that she wasn't really in the hot sun much, though she'd remembered her sunscreen today. Dramatic irony much? But it still wasn't pleasant out there with the high temperature, so she was glad to be underground in the cooler atmosphere, even if she had put sunscreen on. Huh, and all alone down here too. She could still hear them playing "Walk Like an Egyptian" all the way down here though.
"The blonde waitresses take their trays, they spin around and they cross the floor," she sang out, moving several bricks. "They got the moves, oh wey oh, you drop your drink then they bring you more - all the school kids so sick of books, they like the punk and the metal bands, when the buzzer rings, oh wey oh, they're walkin' like an Egyptian, all the kids in the marketplace say... wey oh, oh wey, oh wey, ohhh... walk like an Egyptian... walk like an Egyptian..."
She danced around as she sang, shaking her hips and banging her head from side to side.
"Hey! Dancing Queen, you get any real work done down here, helwa?"
Jennifer spun around, halting her amazing powers of dance even as the song kept playing. "Panya! Um, helwa, did you have something else for me to do now?"
Panya grinned, showing her dazzling white teeth set in the middle of exotic, beige flesh. "Ohh, cutie, you are so special. Miss Ishtar, she wants you in her office."
"Uh, you mean you need me to deliver some news to her?"
"No, no. She ask for you specifically. Jennifer, the American who is sixteen."
"She knew my name?"
"Yes. You better go, she does not like being kept waiting." Panya shuddered. "Oh dear Ra, wrath of Ishizu Ishtar is worse than wrath of Khepri! Definitely not helwa."
Jennifer nodded. "I guess I better get going then, huh? Alright, I'm coming."
She followed Panya up out of the tomb, practically dragging her feet to climb with each step, neither ready nor willing to face the blinding sun and blistering heat she knew lay outside. Oh, she did love Egypt so - but that didn't mean she wouldn't be just as happy to love it from the air-conditioned indoors.
She'd neglected to put on her hat today, so she threw an arm up to block the shining light of the sun. She also though that, for a moment, she'd be baked alive. If she'd been looking, she knew there would be waving heat lines over the entire desert. "Whoo! Oh, so hooooot," she complained, picking up her sandaled feet and shuffling after Panya. "Are we almost there?"
Panya chuckled. "You are, ah, very funny, my friend. It must be the American accent," she teased. "It makes everything that come out of your mouth sound funny."
Jennifer stuck out her tongue. "You only think so because you're meeeeaaaan," she retorted, haughtily brushing off the front of her shirt as if this somehow signified that she was far awesomer than her companion. "Hmmph, that's what I say, hmmph."
Panya snickered again. "Yes, helwa, you are so hilarious. You are, how you say, a riot." She shrugged. "Though I do not know what spears and daggers and fire have to do with your humor. But I hear you Americans talk about this - you and Jake and the others. I am using the right phrase, yes?"
Jennifer resisted the urge to laugh. "Yeah, that's the right one. Are you coming with me to Miss Ishtar's office?"
"Yes! She wanted my presence as well. I do not know why, but perhaps she will explain." She shrugged. "For now, Alim will have to make do without my lovely self."
Jennifer snorted. "Okay, because that's why he runs every time your name is mentioned."
Panya scoffed as they walked inside the building, and once inside she flipped her short, Cleopatra-styled hair at Jennifer. "Yes, and this is also what happens when you show off your Duel Monster cards to Jake. Why you Americans have such an obsession with it?"
Jennifer rolled her eyes. "Okay, it's so not just us. It's Japan, and Europe, and even you guys."
"Yes, but they come from our country. This is why we love them."
"Uh, wrong." Jennifer pushed up the strap on her tank top. "Industrial Illusions is run out of California."
Panya scowled. "The idea came from hieroglyphics in the pyramids. Pegasus, he turn them into a card game. And he should not have messed with the gods, let me tell you, Ra was quite angry..."
"Oh, that's what happened? Didn't know the actual history of it." Like she really couldn't live without this lesson, but oh well. At least it wasn't min-numbingly boring like real history classes.
"Typical. You hate the researching, yes, helwa?"
"Got that right, helwa." Jennifer stopped at the door of Ishizu Ishtar's office and swallowed. "Alright. We better go in, then. Like you said, her wrath is worse than Khepri's."
"Much, much worse!" Panya reiterated with a shudder as they stepped inside.
Ishizu was sitting quietly at her desk, shuffling through paperwork, but her expression conveyed anything but peace or boredom. She definitely looked like she was troubled by something. "Come in," she spoke up, in her soft, calming voice, not even glancing up from the papers. "Panya, please lock the door. This meeting must be completely private."
Jennifer stole a quick glimpse at Panya. The other Egyptian woman had put on a face that said she knew now what Ishizu was talking about, what this meeting would pertain to, and she made haste to shut and bolt the door.
In a flash, Jennifer turned her attention back to Ishizu, who had put her pen down. "M-Miss Ishtar? What's all this about?"
"You will see in a moment, Jennifer." She gestured to the chairs. "Please, both of you, take a seat. This won't be long, but I'm afraid it will be longer than five minutes."
Jennifer blinked, and Panya had made herself comfortable in a chair - though her face certainly didn't speak of comfort. She was tense, rigid almost, gripping the arms of the chair as hard as possible. Her lips were set in a straight line, and her eyes were pinned to the gold choker around Ishizu's neck.
It was like they both knew something she didn't know, and wanted to put her through a bit of mystery before letting her know what it was.
Slowly, Jennifer lowered herself into the empty chair, sinking down a little, though she knew it wasn't any use. She could slide down all she wanted, but they could both still see her. Just like her seventh grade science teacher when she didn't know the definition of a pioneer species. "C-Could someone explain this to me?" she muttered, feeling herself suddenly go cold. "Any of it?" Her eyes flickered to each woman. "Panya? Miss Ishtar?"
"All will be revealed momentarily, Jennifer," Ishizu answered coolly, without really answering anything.
Jennifer squirmed in her seat, not quite sure of this and in fact very uneasy. The clock ticked for a few more seconds, doing nothing to help her racing heart. She was just about to plead for a bathroom break when her peripheral vision caught a movement.
She quickly brought her head up, and saw that now Ishizu's slender, moderately tanned fingers were over her necklace, just barely resting on the Wadjet's eye in the center. "Jennifer," she whispered, or at least that was what it sounded like, and her voice was weary, worn, as if she'd reached the edge of the Earth and didn't know what to do now. "I... need your help desperately."
Jennifer's eyes widened, and she leaned forward. Most of the nervousness and maladroit had melted away now. She just needed help! But the question, of course, was with what? "What can I do for you, Miss Ishtar?"
She shook her head. "No, not 'Miss Ishtar'. I give you permission to address me by my first name."
Jennifer nodded, sitting back just a little. "Okay. Ishizu, then... how do you need me to help you? Is it something that needs done in one of the tombs? Do you need me to crawl somewhere because I'm the only one who can fit since I'm so freakishly small-boned?"
Ishizu sighed, hanging her head slightly but still keeping her hand against her necklace. She closed her eyes before speaking. "Jennifer, this is not very simple to... it is hard for me to do. To let someone else so close into my life and to trust that you will do what you know is best. I need your help with... my... my..."
Panya noticed that Ishizu was having trouble finding the words to explain, so she held up a hand to her boss and turned to Jennifer. "I believe she is trying to say... her brother." She glanced back at the other woman. "Yes, Ishizu? You have seen Marik getting out of hand?"
Jennifer crossed her arms. "Your English is better now that it's just the three of us, Panya."
Panya scowled but said nothing.
Ishizu nodded. "Yes... Yes, Marik. This is what I need your assistance with, Jennifer."
Her brother? Now instead of being uncomfortably cold in the room, it had become stifling hot, and Jennifer swallowed hard. Well, this was quickly turning from interesting to frightening. Why did she need help with her brother? "Please tell me this is some kind of babysitting gig and that your brother is, like, six?"
She looked rapidly from Ishizu over to Panya, then back to Ishizu. They both looked sober, solemn, as if they didn't want to tell her but knew they had to. "That's a 'no', huh?"
Ishizu sighed. "Jennifer, you are the same age as my younger brother, Marik. You are both sixteen years old. And I have foreseen a dark future ahead for us all if what he is doing comes to fruition. That cannot happen, and I believe that you are a key factor in stopping him."
Jennifer blinked a few times, then her eyes bugged out. "What... What do you mean, 'you have foreseen'? You had some kind of vision - you can see into the future? Oh my God, you're a psychic!" She waved her hands around. "Oh my God, my boss is a psychic!"
"Jennifer, calm down, please," Ishizu requested, not appearing the least bit worked up herself.
"Yeah, helwa, cool down, will you?" Panya agreed, reaching over to grab Jennifer's wrist.
Jennifer shrunk back, prepared to listen and not freak out until maybe the very end. "Okay, okay, I'm calm. Now will someone tell me why I'm here?"
Ishizu finally took her fingers off her choker, and folded her hands on top of her desk. "Jennifer, have you noticed my necklace?"
"Yes, ma'am, it's very beautiful."
"It is not simply a trinket. This artifact is called the Millennium Necklace, and grants me the power to see into the future, as well as the past and present. All that has been, and all that will be. It is one of seven Millennium Items - long ago, each one belonged to a high priest in the royal court of the Egyptian Pharaoh."
Panya elbowed the American in the side. "Following so far, yes, helwa?" she spoke up.
Jennifer nodded. "Yeah, I get it. Seven, and you have one... wait, no, let me guess, Ishizu. I've always been good at guessing." She pointed at the woman in front of her. "Your brother's got one of them too?"
Ishizu nodded as well. "He stole it from its resting place when we were young. It was fate that he should possess it, but he took it before he was ready to wield it. The Millennium Rod."
"Okay. If yours gives you visions of the future... what does his do?"
"It allows the user to override others' minds and force them to do his bidding."
"So, like... brainwashing people."
"Yes. And as you can imagine, it is potentially lethal in the wrong hands."
"... And he's just causing trouble now? How long has he had the thing?"
"Six years. His plan has been forming inside his mind since he was ten years old. It's simply that now, he has a chance to fulfill it. Six years ago... when he escaped our tomb. Shortly after the... I... I will allow you to see why for yourself, Jennifer. But I warn you, it is shocking. Please, brace yourself for what you are about to witness."
She held her hands on either side of her necklace, and there was a blinding glow. A scene then began to play out right there in front of them; a horrifying, terrible scene.
helwa = modern Egyptian for "beautiful" (the ancient version is "nefer")
Also, Panya's name means "mouse" in Egyptian, though I think she's far from it.
And, uh, sorry about the little cliffhanger there... but hey, you probably all know what scene I picked for Ishizu to show her, yes yes? Maybe? XD
Also, I loved Jennifer's mini freak out about how her boss is psychic. LOL
I hope you liked it, and reviews are much appreciated! ^^