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Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part Three


by rookina

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Art by rookina

Aubrise, the Lost Desert Expert at the Neopia Central Museum, was invited to go to Sakhmet to help a team of archaeologists discover more about the ancient Geb culture. But the Cybunny soon found an enemy in Sarina Salen, the world-famous archaeologist, who resented her being there. Aubrise found herself arguing with Sarina over certain aspects of her work, but before they could try to resolve their disagreements, Sarina had disappeared...

     ~ * ~

Under any other set of circumstances, Aubrise would have been thrilled to see inside the beautiful Royal Sakhmetian Palace. However, as they were escorted through the corridors and past windows overlooking immaculate gardens full of fountains and exotic plants, the only thought running through her head was 'where is Sarina?'

     As they entered the throne room, it was immediately obvious the same thought was occupying the Princess too. She rose from her throne, brushing aside the two advisors she had been speaking with, and came down the steps to meet them. As Aubrise made her curtsy, she felt the Princess giving her an appraising glance.

     "Tehuti, what can you tell me?" she asked, with a concerned expression.

     The Techo shrugged. "Not very much I'm afraid, your highness," he replied. "We know Sarina was at the Archives this morning and that she left there at around lunchtime to go into the Desert. We know she went there because she mentioned to one of my staff that that was where she was going. She took an Apis with her, but that returned without her an hour ago - that was what raised the alarm. We don't know anything else yet, I'm sorry."

     "I see." Amira frowned and slowly went back to her throne. Tehuti and Aubrise followed to the bottom of the steps and waited.

     The Princess sat down, still frowning. Then she brought her fist down hard on the arm of the throne. "She must be found!" she cried. "What if she gets caught in a sandstorm? What if the winds come? They can last for days and she would be totally lost! If she's lost in the desert, she will die!"

     Silence followed this last statement as no one could contradict the truth in the Princess's words. After a few moments, someone broke the silence.

     "Your highness?"

     She looked at the small yellow Cybunny curiously, and inclined her head to grant her permission to continue.

     "Your highness, perhaps she isn't in the desert." Amira arched an eyebrow, and Aubrise continued. "You see, I've been looking at the same scrolls and documents that she has, and I think she may be somewhere inside the Gebmid."

     Amira fixed her with a regal stare. "And you are...?"

     "My name is Aubrise, your highness," Aubrise replied. "I'm a historian. I've been studying the history of the Lost Desert for the last fifteen years. I know Tehuti would consider me an expert in your history, your highness."

     "And what do you base your assumption on?" Amira was now regarding the Cybunny with a curious expression.

     Aubrise glanced across at Tehuti, who nodded his approval for her to continue. She took a step closer to the throne and took a deep breath. "Well, the hieroglyphs we studied earlier today speak of the Gebmid being full of traps and riddles. If that is true - and I believe it is - then Sarina could well be caught in one of these traps and be unable to get herself out."

     Princess Amira ran a finger over her lips thoughtfully. "Do you think you could unravel the secrets to the traps?" she asked eventually.

     "Yes, highness," Aubrise replied immediately. "I'm sure the answers are in one of the scrolls Sarina found in one of the outer chambers of the Gebmid. I'm convinced she thought so too..." She trailed off.

     "Go on," Amira urged.

     Aubrise hesitated, and Tehuti spoke up. "Your highness, Aubrise and Sarina disagree over the translation of one of the scrolls. If Sarina was incorrect with her translation, it is almost certain that she is trapped in the Gebmid."

     "And you believe she was incorrect."

     "Highness, I have nothing but respect for the work Sarina has done since she's been here, but I would trust Aubrise's interpretation of an ancient language over hers every time." Tehuti's emphatic declaration made Aubrise blush and the Princess smile.

     Amira looked puzzled. "But weren't you were at the Gebmids all day?" she asked him. "Wouldn't you have seen her if she went back there?"

     Tehuti nodded. "We were, highness, but we were so engrossed in our work I suspect a herd of Elephantes could have entered the tomb and we wouldn't have noticed."

     "I see." Amira frowned again. "Very well then. Aubrise." She turned to the Cybunny. "I would like to place every resource we have available to you. Our historians will work with you if you require their help, and I will assign some of the Palace Guards to accompany you to the Gebmid once your translation is complete. No--" She held up a hand, seeing Aubrise was about to object to the offer of the guards. "You don't know what you might encounter there, and even if you make a perfect translation it's very likely the designer of the Gebmid liked to keep some traps secret.

     "But," she added, "try to work quickly. Sarina is an old friend, and I want to see her back here safely very soon."

     ~ * ~

     Back in the Archive, every historian and librarian in Sakhmet had been called in to help translate the hieroglyphs and scrolls that had been recovered from the Gebmid. Tehuti was supervising them while Aubrise collected together all Sarina's notes on the Gebmid.

     As soon as possible, Tehuti excused himself and went to find her. Opening a cupboard, he pulled out a locked box. He placed it on the desk in front of Aubrise, took a key from his pocket, unlocked it, and opened it. Inside lay a faded, dusty, very old scroll.

     Tehuti carefully removed it from the box and lay it delicately on the table in front of Aubrise. "This is the most recent scroll Sarina found at the tomb," he said. "She believed it held the key to finding her way into the heart of the Gebmid. She was working on a translation, but she was struggling a bit."

     He rummaged in the pile of documents and papers on the desk and pulled out a large pad of paper. "This is her notebook containing her most recent notes," he said, handing it to Aubrise. "She made notes on her translation in here. Perhaps you can find something out from there?"

     "Thank you," she said, gingerly opening the scroll. She gasped as she read the first line. "But... this is the Sutek Scroll!" she exclaimed. "Since the tomb was uncovered people have speculated about its existence. It's supposed to contain the history of Sutek - the Geb in the tomb!"

     "I thought you'd find it interesting," Tehuti replied, taking the seat opposite her. "Would you like any help?"

     ~ * ~

     The next time either of them looked up it was almost dawn. The rest of the team had long since retired to bed after Aubrise had identified the scroll and it became clear that this was going to be the key to the Gebmid. They had managed to translate most of the writing, which they had discovered to be a mix of ancient Qasalan mixed with a little ancient Sakhmetian, a lot of the lost Geb language - which meant creating a new dictionary based on the context and usage of the Geb words - and a healthy sprinkling of pictures, which seemed to form an important part of Geb literature.

     Tehuti yawned and stretched his arms out above his head. Aubrise looked up from her notes. "You look all in," she commented. "Maybe we should get some sleep."

     He hesitated. "I don't know," he replied. "Sarina's probably stuck in that Gebmid somewhere and we're going to go to sleep?"

     "She's not stupid," Aubrise retorted. "She'll have been well prepared. I bet she took a bag full of food and drink with her, and if she's inside there's no need to worry about her getting too much sun. She's probably only locked in a room somewhere too - not in a life-threatening situation."

     Tehuti stifled another yawn. "Hmm, maybe you're right," he conceded, getting up and stacking his books on the table. "I suppose we should get some rest if we're going to have to translate more of this stuff in the tomb."

     Stuffing her notebook in her bag, Aubrise got up and followed him out of the Archives.

     ~ * ~

     In a small room at the heart of the Gebmid, Sarina Salen stared at her lamp. It would go out again soon and she only had one flask of oil left. She still had a spare candle, but she didn't have any matches, and that Wadjet in the corner was eyeing up her food and water supplies greedily...

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 Four
» Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part Five
» Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part Six
» Aubrise and the Gebmid Mystery: Part Seven



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