Chapter 5: Work at dawn, celebration at dusk
The morning sun was rising upon the sandy horizon of Egypt, hitting the pyramids casting long shadows on their sides. As more beams of light sped across the sands, the light had finally reached the palace. The first beams to hit the palace was in Pharaoh Atem's room. Atem slowly opened his eyes only then to see his room flooded in the morning shine.
“Morning already?” he yawned as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes, put a cream colored kilt on, and placed the Sennen puzzle around his neck. Atem walked out to his balcony and saw the quiet and empty stone courtyard, letting out a sigh. His eyes shifted from the courtyard to the city, and then to his hands that rested upon the edge of his balcony.
“They are my people and I am there Pharaoh,” he whispered to himself. “Father I miss you dearly. I wish you were alive to see your son as ruler of this great country,” Atem said in his mind as he looked at the golden puzzle hanging motionlessly.
Inside the slave quarters, Yugi, Ryou, and Malik were still asleep not aware of the beams of lights shooting through the opening. Suddenly there was a knock at the door, neither of the boys woke up. The knock became louder and still not one boy woke up. Finally the knock became even louder. At that moment all of them fell out of there beds; Yugi fell on his side, Ryou on his bottom, and Malik almost on his face.
“Alright we're awake already!” Malik screamed. The loud knocks were silenced. Ryou went to open the door and there stood Nefertiri holding three kilts, three rags, and a bucket of water.
“Nefertiri must you knock so loudly?” Ryou asked as he rubbed his bottom.
“Sorry guys but all of the slaves need to wake up at the crack of dawn today, since tonight is the celebration,” said Nefertiri.
“Celebration?” Yugi asked rubbing his side.
“Tonight we all celebrate the Pharaoh's birthday,” Nefertiri reminded.
“Oh. I thought you woke us up for something important,” Malik said nonchalantly.
“Malik!” Yugi scorned.
“What!?” Malik asked. Nefertiri rolled her eyes.
“Come on you three you have chores to do, but before you guys start you need to wash up and change into these,” Nefetiri explained as she placed the bucket of water in the middle of the room and threw the kilts and one rag to each of them.
“Meet me in the courtyard when you guys are ready,” said Nefertiri as she closed the door.
“So what kind of work do you think we might do?” Yugi asked as he washed his face.
“Probably washing, cooking, maybe gardening,” said Malik as he took off his blood stained clothing and put the kilt on.
“Isn't gardening the womens' chore?” asked Ryou as he washed his arms.
“I was just spouting out possible jobs that we have to do Ryou,” Malik explained sound a little irritated.
Ryou said nothing, instead he took off his clothing and put the kilt on. Ryou couldn't help but blush, because he never enjoyed wearing nothing but a kilt.
As they all walked outside they saw Nefertiri sitting under a statue of Anubis. She saw the boys and walked towards them.
“Well you three certainly look good,” Nefertiri joked.
“Why exactly do we have to wear nothing but a kilt?” Yugi asked feeling embarrassed.
Nefertiri shrugged. “All right as I told you before tonight we are going to celebrate the Pharaoh's birthday celebration, so all of the slaves and workers are going to be busy today.” Nefertiri informed once again.
“Now do any you three know how to cook?” she asked.
All of them looked at each other, then Ryou stepped forward.
“I can cook and am actually pretty good at it,” Ryou said with a small smile.
“All right then you are coming with me to the kitchen,” said Nefertiri as she grabbed Ryou's wrist.
“Wait what about us?” Yugi asked.
“You two need to wait here until Seto comes and gives you your chores.”
At the mention of his name Malik could feel rage building within him towards that cold hearted priest. Yugi saw Malik's expression from the corner of his eye.
“Oh yes one more thing, when we are are done we should meet here under this same statue because I need to tell you more about tonight,” Nefertiri said pointing to Anubis, and then walking away with Ryou's wrist still in her hand.
“Alright you two, now you can begin your work,” said a cold, familiar voice.
Malik and Yugi turned around and saw none other than Seto blocking their view of the sun.
“Both of you come with me,” Seto ordered.
Seto led both Malik and Yugi through the palace and stopped at a door.
“Malik you are going to arrange the scrolls in the scroll room,” Seto said as he opened the door. The room was dimly lit, there were scrolls everywhere on the floor, on the stone tables, and some were in slots but the scrolls looked as if someone had shoved them in carelessly. “Now I expect this room to be clean before sundown,” Seto demanded as he pushed Malik inside and glared at him.
“Follow me Yugi,” he ordered.
Seto and Yugi walked down a long hallway. As they walked Yugi noticed something long and shiny glowing from Seto's belt. He was unable to see what it was since Seto's long cape was blocking the shining object. Finally they entered a large and somewhat decorated room. Dark purple drapes hung upon the pillars, golden statues of dogs stood in a row on both sides of the room, and Yugi could have sworn he smelt incense in the air.
“And Yugi you are going to wash the floor of the dining hall,” Seto commanded.
“This doesn't really look like a dining hall,” Yugi stated as his purple eyes explored the bare room.
“The floor needs to be washed, so the table and chairs had to be removed for now,” Seto explained.
“The bucket and rag are next to that statue,” Seto said pointing to the golden dog closest to the pillar.
“Now start working I also expect this floor to be clean before sundown,” Seto ordered again in his cold tone as he walked off.
Yugi looked at the floor and then back at Seto who was walking away. As Seto was walking, a small breeze blew his cape and this time Yugi caught a small glimpse of a golden rod shaped item hanging upon Seto's belt, but he only saw the back of the golden object.
“I wonder what is that thing is? Is it a rod or something else? Where did Seto get it?” Yugi wondered. Finally Yugi's eyes went straight back to the floor.
“This going to take me forever to finish,” Yugi complained as he walked towards the statue and picked up the bucket and rag.
“Well I guess I'll start here,” sighed Yugi getting down on his knees and started scrubbing.
“Nefertiri their you are we have been waiting all morning for you!” exclaimed a slave girl.
“Sorry I'm late girls,” Nefertiri apologized as Ryou and her entered the kitchen.
The kitchen was different than what Ryou expected, this kitchen looked more cleaner and a little bigger, plus the walls were made of tile not wood.
Once Ryou was in all eyes were upon him once more. Ryou felt uncomfortable since he was in a kitchen filled with eleven other girls and he was the only boy. Some of girls eyed him suspiciously and some whispered into each other's ears. Nefertiri noticed this and finally cleared her throat loudly turning the girls' attention away from Ryou.
“Now girls this is going to be a busy night, so we must all create a great feast for tonight. And I recommend that our newest member can help us with some new kinds of dishes,” Nefertiri explained.
“Ryou do you have any suggestions?” Nefertiri asked.
Ryou looked at her. He didn't want to be the center of attention. Nefertiri bit he bottom lip slightly and took Ryou towards a table that had spices, meat, lamb, vegetables, fruit, and many more ingredients.
“Well I suggest we should make Greek salad to start out, then I can teach you all how to make gyros,” Ryou suggested.
“Are gyros delicious?” asked another slave sounding interested.
Ryou nodded his head. At that moment all of the girls surrounded the table and watched as Ryou made a single gyro. All of the slave girls watched with interest as Ryou's talented cooking hands made a small, yet delectable looking food. Soon Ryou taught the girls how to make Greek food and at the same time they taught him how to make Egyptian food. Ryou felt happy to be with other people yet he still felt uncomfortable, not only because he was the only male, but also some of the girls were still talking about him behind his back and a couple began flirting with him.
Nefertiri grabbed Ryou's wrist and whispered in his ear, “Ignore them Ryou and stick with me. You can trust me right?” Nefertiri asked.
Ryou nodded his head with a smile on his face.
Within the scroll room Malik looked at the messy room.
“My God. Either a sand storm blew in here or those damn soldiers, priests, or whoever uses this room doesn't know how to put away a simple scroll!” Malik said angrily kicking an open scroll that was next to his foot.
Malik bent down and picked up the same scroll he kicked, then another, and another until his hands were filled with rolled or slightly opened scrolls. Malik searched everywhere to find a slot to put the scrolls, but it was difficult since more than half of the slots were stuffed with scrolls. Many of scrolls he recognized as stories and legends about the Egyptian gods and goddesses, some were recipes to make different meals, and some were written about the history of Egypt eons ago.
Some time passed and Malik sat down on one of the wooden chairs. He looked at the room and let out a sigh.
“Rooms like these bring back such dark memories,” he whispered to himself.
Malik remembered having to do his studies in rooms like this with only one light candle. Studying about the gods and the great pharaohs.
Time passed, and Yugi had finished washing the floor of the dining hall. His fingers were red from the hard scrubbing and his back felt strained from staying bent down for too long.
“I'm done,” Yugi said as he stood up and looked at his red hands.
“I better get to the courtyard,” Yugi said as he walked out of the room.
Ryou, Nefertiri, and the slave girls finished the marvelous feast for tonight. The food looked amazing, a mixture of Greek and Egyptian truly it was a feast for any celebration. Ryou tugged on Nefertiri's shoulder.
“Come on we need to get to the courtyard,” Ryou said hastily.
Nefertiri nodded and they were about to get ready to leave until one of the slave girls put her hand on Nerfertiri's shoulder.
“You can't leave yet. You still need to help us Nefertiri!” the slave girl exclaimed sounding annoyed.
Nefertiri sighed. “You go meet with them maybe I'll come later,” said Nefertiri.
Ryou made a face like that of a begging puppy, but Nefertiri motioned Ryou to go. And so he left.
Malik walked out of the scroll room coughing up the smell of old scriptures.
“Well not too bad for few hours work,” he said placing his hands on his hips letting out a sigh of relief.
“Off to the courtyard,” he said to himself closing the door and walking away.
Yugi was the first to meet at the rendezvous point under the Anubis statue. He looked around and he saw no one, but some guards standing at their posts near the temples in the courtyard.
“Where are they?” Yugi asked taking a seat under the ebony statue.
“Young slave what are you doing here?” asked a voice.
Yugi swallowed, he did not want to talk to Seto again but what choice would he have. He was a slave and he had to answer. He turned his head and instead of Seto it was a different official. He was a much older man with gray hair and whiskers, he was about as tall as Yugi, he wore the same cream colored clothing like everyone else at the palace, he wore a purple hat that had a golden cobra on it, and he had the same color eyes as Yugi.
Yugi bowed down to the official.
“I'm sorry if I wasn't allowed to be here I-”
“Oh you must one of the new slaves,” the old man interrupted.
“I... um,... I'm Yugi,” he finally said still bowing in respect.
“I'm Shimon. I am the advisor to the pharaoh. You don't need to worry I just thought you were one of the slaves that wasn't working, I didn't mean to startle you,” Shimon chuckled.
Yugi sighed with relief.
“Yugi! Yugi!” Ryou and Malik screamed running towards Yugi.
“Guys where were you?” Yugi asked impatiently.
“Sorry we got lost coming. I mean this palace is so big,” Malik stated.
“Yugi who is he?” asked Ryou.
“I'm Shimon. And I presume you two must also be the new slaves to our Pharaoh?” Shimon asked.
Ryou and Malik nodded.
“Well it's good to meet you two Ryou and Malik,” Shimon said happily.
“Well it'-- wait how did you know our names!?” Ryou asked sounding shocked.
“Ever since you got here everyone has been talking about you three,” Shimon said as he crossed his arms across his chest.
“Also why are you three here shouldn't you be working?” he asked.
“Well actually we are done with our work and we are waiting for Nefertiri to come,” Yugi answered.
“By the way where is she Ryou? Wasn't she with you?” Yugi asked turning his head towards Ryou.
“Well she had to stay and help with the food,” Ryou replied.
“Still!?” Malik exclaimed.
Ryou nodded his head.
“What was Nefertiri going to tell you?” Shimon asked.
“She was going to tell more about tonight, but she didn't say what specifically though,” said Yugi.
“Well maybe I can tell you three about what you need to do tonight,” said Shimon.
“But what exactly?” Yugi asked hastily.
“Don't worry Yugi, many of our slaves have asked the very same question. Besides I'm the royal advisor to the Pharaoh,” Shimon said boastfully.
Shimon told and showed Yugi, Ryou, and Malik the basics when you are confronted to a high official such as the Pharaoh himself; like when one walks in front of the Pharaoh one must walk with your left foot first. Walking with your left foot first showed your loyalty and respect towards the Pharaoh, since he is a God. Shimon explained who the other priests and priestess were and what they looked like. Finally, Shimon told them about the list of events that would happen tonight. All of them listened especially Yugi because for some reason Shimon was almost like a grandfather Yugi never had.
“Well that's all I can tell you about tonight,” Shimon finished.
“But you haven't told us about the pharaoh himself!” Yugi exclaimed.
Shimon turned his head to Yugi.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid me!” Yugi screamed in his head since he raised his voice to the advisor. “Forgive me I didn't mean to raise my voice Shimon-sama,” Yugi hastily said as he quickly bowed his head.
Shimon couldn't help but laugh. “Oh Yugi. Yugi, Yugi, Yugi... my goodness I've seen this much spirit in a boy so young,” Shimon said making a small chuckle.
Yugi looked at Shimon with confused eyes and then to Ryou and Malik who simply shrugged their shoulders.
“Shimon-sama,” said a new voice.
They all turned around and there stood a woman. She looked to be around the age of 20, she wore a long dress that reached down to her ankles, she had black hair, but her head was covered in a headdress that had a golden bird on the forehead of the headdress, and her serious eyes were a very dark blue.
“Isis what is it?” Shimon asked sounding serious.
“The decorators are in need of your assistance,” Isis said.
“Alright. I must go, but if I see Nefertiri I'll tell her that I gave you three information,” said Shimon.
All of them nodded their heads. Shimon and Isis left the boys in the courtyard.
Ra's lights were beginning to fade on the horizon. Upon the banks of the Nile, Atem was riding his horse enjoying the feeling of the wind in his crimson and black hair. Finally stopping near the river and letting his horse take a drink, he knelt down by the bank and splashed his face with the cool river water, allowing the drops run down his cheeks and neck. Atem looked at his reflection in the sparkling water, a sigh escaping his lips.
“I feel so lonely,” he quietly said to himself.
Suddenly his horse nudged his master's back with his nose and making grunting noise as if he disagreed. Atem looked up at his silver horse and hugged him.
“Oh Imhotep, you always try to cheer me up don't you?” Atem asked with a smile.
Imhotep nodded his head and nuzzled Atem's chest, again with his nose. Atem couldn't help but laugh, he loved Imhotep he raised him since Imhotep was small and helpless. Atem got upon his horse's back and looked at the horizon.
“The sun will set soon. Come on boy let's get home, my birthday celebration is tonight and it's best that I shouldn't arrive late,” Atem said as he patted Imhotep's neck.
And so they rode for home.
“Now remember you three must walk with your left foot first,” Shimon reminded as he placed the boys in a straight line by height.
The boys were standing in front of a large stone door that had to lead to the throne room.
“Shimon-sama are we to walk in with or without an escort?” Malik asked.
“With an escort,” said Seto as he walked in from the hall.
Malik turned his head away from Seto and looked at the carvings on the door instead.
“Now you three are to follow my lead once we step in, and you are not to say a word unless you're spoken too,” Seto explained as he stepped in front of Yugi.
As Seto got in front of Yugi, Yugi once again saw the strange golden rod only this time he was able to get a good view of it. The item was a rod and it was made of gold, but it had a strange carving of an eye. Yugi's mind wondered about the likeness of the bizarre rod.
When the doors opened Yugi, Ryou, and Malik marched behind Seto.
“God this guy walks so slowly,” Malik complained in his mind.
As Yugi, Ryou, and Malik marched their eyes widen at the site of the throne room. The throne room was very large, the floor was made of shining alabaster, blood red drapes hung upon the wide pillars, tapestries of Egyptian gods and goddesses hung on the walls; one tapestry that Malik saw was depicting the three mighty gods Obelisk, Osiris, and Ra fighting side by side, and there was small pool near some steps that led to a golden throne. The boys looked and saw the Pharaoh himself sitting tall upon his throne. He wore a cream colored shirt and kilt, golden ankhs earrings pierced his ears, he wore a long purple cape that reached his ankles, and a large golden collar rested upon his neck. All of them looked at the Pharaoh for a brief moment then their eyes went to Seto's flowing cape.
“My Pharaoh, I give to you these slaves for a present. May these three work hard for you and know there place within this palace!” Seto exclaimed.
Everyone looked at the boys and as always they felt uncomfortable.
“So many eyes. Why must they stare?” Ryou asked in his mind.
“Damn you Seto! Why do you have to announce us? Everyone can see us, they're not blind like you!” Malik angrily yelled in his mind.
Yugi looked at the people from both corners of his eyes and then his eyes went back to the Pharaoh. Yugi thought it was strange that this Pharaoh almost looked like him, it was true they both had the same hair, but he looked a little older and more serious. Yugi also noticed a golden upside down pyramid pendant hanging from the the Pharaoh's neck. Like Seto's weird rod, the puzzle too had the same carving of the eye. What he also noticed were five other people standing beside the Pharaoh.
“They must be his high priests and that must be the girl we saw, Isis,” he quietly whispered to himself.
Yugi saw that they all had strange golden items all of them with the same carving of the eye.
“What could those things possibly be?” Yugi asked again his mind still bombarding himself with questions.
Atem did not listen to Seto's ranting instead he just simply nodded his head, even though he wasn't paying attention. Atem's eyes shifted from Seto to the shorter slave at the very front. The slave notice this and his quickly averted his eyes.
“Poor him, he shouldn't be a slave. He doesn't even look Egyptian, where does he come from? And the other one behind where does he come from too?” he asked in his mind as he looked at his 'presents' finally stopping again at the one in front.
Atem thought it was odd that the shorter boy looked almost like him. In a way they could have looked like long lost brothers, yet this slave was much different. For one thing his eyes looked more innocent and he looked a year or two younger than Atem. 'Odd' was the only thing the pharaoh said.
“Now my Pharaoh shall we begin?” Seto asked.
Atem turned his head towards Seto and nodded. Seto turned around and faced the audience, “Let Pharaoh Atem-sama's birthday celebration commence!”
You are probably thinking "Wait where is the celebration?!" Well I'm currently working on it right now. I promise that the long expected party will finally begin in ch. 6, I promise.