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Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part Six


by rookina

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Art by rookina

Aubrise, the Lost Desert Expert at the Neopia Central Museum, was invited to Sakhmet to help a team of archaeologists discover more about the ancient Geb culture. The Cybunny soon found an enemy in Sarina Salen, the world-famous archaeologist, who resented her being there, but before they could try to resolve their disagreements, Sarina had fallen victim to one of the many traps inside the Gebmid. Princess Amira ordered a rescue operation, and they found Sarina, but their escape wasn't going according to plan...

     ~ * ~

Water was still rushing into the chamber from holes set high in the wall. Aubrise kicked the door in frustration but it refused to budge.

     On the other side of the door Tehuti scrambled to his feet, safe in the passage with the Palace Guards. He cupped his hands and shouted through the solid stone door.

     "Aubrise! Sarina!"

     "It's still coming in!" Sarina called back, a note of panic in her voice.

     "Try the scarab," Tehuti shouted.

     Sarina ran back down the long chamber, stumbling a little as the rising water caught her feet and slowed her progress. Aubrise watched as the Aisha tried twisting and moving the ornate scarab sitting on its pedestal at the far end of the room, but nothing she did had any effect on the still-rising water.

     She turned back to the wall. "It's not working, Tehuti!" she called.

     In the passage Sekhani kicked the door fiercely, berating himself in Sakhmetian for not being able to do anything to help as he paced the floor outside the sealed chamber.

     Aubrise gave a wry smile as her Cybunny ears picked up his muttering. "It's not your fault, Sekhani," she called through the wall. "We escaped from the first trap, and we'll get out of this one...."

     She trailed off suddenly, turning around to stare at the ceiling, looking as if she were daydreaming. Sarina waded up to her and poked her to get her attention.

     "Hey!"

     "Ow... what?" Aubrise blinked.

     "Scarab didn't work," Sarina said, scowling at the door.

     "We'll look at the hieroglyphs and see if we can find a way to stop the water from out here," Tehuti called through the wall.

     "No, it's alright, I've got an idea!" Aubrise replied as Sarina stared at her. "You find a way out - we'll be ok, don't worry!"

     "We can't just leave you in there!" Tehuti yelled back.

     "You have to!" Aubrise replied, the water now almost as high as her waist. "Just make sure you get Sekhani and Tomek out safely."

     "But Aubrise..."

     "It's okay," she told him again. "We'll see you back outside... I hope..." she added quietly, shouldering her backpack and wading towards the centre of the room.

     "What's your idea?" Sarina asked.

     Silently, Aubrise pointed up at the roof. They could just make out the end of the rope dangling down from the hole they had entered the room through.

     "Oh, of course! We'll get out the same way we got in!" Sarina exclaimed, then she frowned. "But how are we going to get up there?"

     "Easy." Aubrise smiled. "We'll float!"

     ~ * ~

     In the passage, Tehuti checked his pack. He wouldn't have admitted it to the Tonus, but he was worried. Even if Aubrise and Sarina made it out okay, he had to find another way out for himself and the guards, and although he knew the basics of the Geb language, there was no doubt that Aubrise was the expert. On top of that it was clear that Sekhani was still tired from the effort of holding back the door, and Tomek was an accident waiting to happen.

     Sighing, he pulled on his pack, picked up his torch, and looked down the passage, stretching away into darkness in both directions. With a confidence he didn't feel, he turned left.

     "Come on, let's get moving."

     ~ * ~

     The water was now up to Aubrise's shoulder and she and Sarina were holding their packs on their heads to try to keep their notes and matches dry. Sarina was trying to hold a torch as well, but as the water reached her chin she realised it wasn't going to work.

     "I can't hold the pack and the torch and swim at the same time!" she grumbled. "I'd need to be a Maraquan Acara!"

     "Put the torch away then," Aubrise suggested.

     "We need it to find the rope," Sarina snapped back.

     "If we stay in the centre of the room we'll be able to find it easily enough," Aubrise retorted.

     Muttering under her breath, Sarina opened her pouch. "On your own head be it, then," she growled, extinguishing the torch and leaving them in complete darkness as the water continued to pour in.

     ~ * ~

     "We're lost!" Tomek complained.

     "We're not lost," Tehuti told him testily. "I know exactly where we are. We're directly underneath the main entrance passage. I'm just not sure how to get up there..."

     "Then that's the same as being lost," Tomek scowled sulkily, leaning against a wall.

     Sekhani grabbed him and pulled him into the middle of the passage. "If you want to rest, sit on the floor," he suggested. "Remember what happened last time you touched the wall?" he added pointedly as Tomek's scowl deepened.

     Tehuti tried to ignore them as he studied his notes. After a few minutes he put his notebook back in his pack and sighed. Sekhani looked at him and raised an eyebrow.

     "Well?"

     "We need to find the main passageway on this floor," he told him. "If we can find that, then finding the way out is fairly straightforward. It should be that way." He pointed down the corridor into the darkness.

     "Come on then, let's go," Sekhani said, raising his torch and setting off down the passage. Tehuti sighed, wishing he had the same confidence the big Tonu had.

     As it turned out, his directions were good, and after a few minutes' walk they found themselves in a wide corridor running straight through the heart of the Gebmid.

     Tehuti took his notebook out and consulted some hieroglyphs he had copied from the Sutek Scroll. "It should be just straight down this corridor now and up the steps," he said, trying to hide the relief in his voice. "That should bring us out in one of the passages we followed on the entrance floor."

     They set off down the passage and had just reached a bend when Tomek stopped suddenly. "Did you hear that?" he asked nervously.

     "What?" Tehuti asked.

     "It sounded like a footstep," Tomek whispered.

     "Don't be silly, there's nothing there," Sekhani told him.

     They were just about to continue again when they all heard a noise - a soft crunching noise, like someone stepping on sand. Sekhani spun round, drawing his sword. Holding his torch up high, he crept slowly down the passage. Tomek had drawn his sword too, looking around cautiously, half-expecting something to jump out at him from the solid stone walls.

     "It must have been a Wadjet or a Selket," Tehuti said in a hushed voice. Sekhani had reached the corner and turned back to face Tomek.

     "Nothing," he said confidently.

     A second later an arm shot out from around the corner knocking Sekhani off-balance and into a wall and making him drop the torch. Tomek let out a loud yell of fright as he watched, eyes wide with fear, as a shadowy figure came slowly around the corner towards the Fire Tonu, who was on his hands and knees shaking his head slowly.

     Tehuti raised his torch to try to illuminate the scene better and almost dropped it when he saw what had attacked Sekhani. Standing in the corridor, arms outstretched and moving with a slow, relentless stride towards the Tonu was a tall figure wrapped in bandages from head to toe.

     "Mummy!" Tomek yelled, grabbing Tehuti's arm. Sekhani was scrambling to his feet, angry flames flickering in his eyes as he pushed himself up. He wasn't quick enough, though, as the mummy reached out and with no apparent effort pulled him up and threw him heavily down the corridor as easily as if he were a plushie.

     Tehuti was amazed that anything could do that to the Tonu, who gave the impression of being as immovable as the Gebmid's walls. He watched as he got unsteadily to his feet, leaning heavily on Tomek, with the mummy still coming towards them.

     "Run!" he yelled.

     ~ * ~

     "I thought Aishas could see well in the dark," Aubrise spluttered, treading water and trying to feel her way along the roof of the cave, feeling for the rope.

     "We can, but this isn't just dark - there's no light source at all," Sarina spluttered back. "Anyway, you're the one who said we'd be able to find the rope."

     "Then I admit it, I was wrong, okay?" Aubrise snapped back. "Happy now? I was wrong. There, I've said it! But if you hadn't been so pig-headed as to try to explore in here when you'd only translated half the scroll..."

     "Okay, OKAY!" Sarina shouted. "So I was wrong too. I'm sorry you had to come and find me, and I'm sorry I poked the blasted scarab! Are you happ..."

     "Hey," Aubrise interrupted her. "I've found the rope!"

     "Fantastic," Sarina muttered sarcastically, splashing over to the Cybunny.

     "You go first," Aubrise suggested.

     "Why?" Sarina asked suspiciously.

     "Because you can see in the dark, so you'll be able to see to get the torch out and light it better, and I have big Cybunny feet so I can tread water and stay in the same place better than you can," Aubrise explained logically.

     Sarina grunted and groped around in the dark until she found the rope. She grabbed it firmly and started to climb up into the tunnel above. Aubrise waited until she was sure Sarina was far enough up the rope that she wouldn't get kicked then shinned up the rope after her.

     ~ * ~

     "I've had enough of this!" Sekhani panted as they rounded another corner. He stopped in the middle of the corridor as Tehuti watched him carefully, unsure as to whether he was fully recovered yet. The Tonu had a very determined expression on his face, and as they heard the mummy's footsteps get closer, he took a deep breath and drew himself up to his full impressive height, eyes blazing fire. As the mummy came around the corner he drew back his arm and swung as hard as he could, hitting the mummy directly between the eyes.

     For a moment it looked as if it would have no effect as the mummy stood still and shook its head as if it were confused. Then, slowly, its eyes crossed and it slowly fell backwards, landing in a cloud of dust on the floor.

     Sekhani dusted off his hands and looked down at it. "Never could stand ghost stories," he muttered, but then started as they heard another footstep in the corridor.

     "There's another one!" Tomek whispered.

     "Not for long," Sekhani told him with a determined glint in his eye. "Stay there," he ordered, extinguishing his torch and creeping silently around the corner.

     Tehuti and Tomek stood nervously as the footsteps got closer, until another finally another mummy came into view in the flickering torchlight. Tomek drew his sword as he and Tehuti backed away from the bandaged figure. Finding a wall at their back, Tehuti looked around, his eyes widening in fear as the figure kept coming, arms outstretched.

     Tomek stepped in front of the Techo and held his sword out in front of him. Tehuti couldn't help but be impressed by this previously uncharacteristic show of bravery, but it didn't last long. The mummy took hold of the sword, apparently oblivious to the sharp edge, and twisted it out of his hand. The sword tumbled from his grip and he held out his hands in front of him to protect himself as the mummy kept coming towards him.

     His back pressed up against the wall as he tried to get away, and he closed his eyes as the mummy raised its hand to strike a blow. As the fist flew towards him, Tehuti pushed him hard and he fell to the floor as the mummy planted a blow into the wall where his head had been. It slowly withdrew its fist and turned its attention to Tehuti. It raised its hand again, and the Techo closed his eyes and waited for the fatal blow to fall, but it never came. Cautiously he opened one eye, then the other. Sekhani was standing there grinning, holding a tattered bandage in his hand.

     "Did you... unravel it?!" he exclaimed.

     "Yep," Sekhani grinned.

     "Brilliant!" Tehuti exclaimed. "And now I really think we should get out of here... before any more of their friends drop in!"

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part One
» Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part Two
» Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part Three
» Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part Four
» Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part Five
» Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part Seven



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