The next day, Asher brought Maya to the palace. When she saw the Pharaoh’s palace, Maya suddenly felt that in comparison with the palace, the vizier’s house seemed small and plain.
Next to the beautiful palace was a granary so tall that it seemed to reach beyond the clouds. There were leafy acacia and fig trees all around the palace. The palace entrance was decorated with glazed blue tiles while the palace gleamed with gold and turquoise stones.
They walked into the palace and entered a magnificent great hall decorated with yellow, brown, blue, red and black spotted glazed tiles. There was a small square in the center surrounded by round columns. Each column was with the Pharaoh’s name. The four surrounding walls were exquisitely painted with scenes of nude women swimming, birds flexing their wings and lush green fields. They were a delightful sight.
Asher left her in the great hall while he went away by himself.
Maya looked around curiously while waiting. The maids looked at Maya curiously as they had never seen Asher bring a woman into the palace. Maya felt uncomfortable with their staring and left the great hall.
There was a spacious garden right outside the great hall. It was planted with many types of trees including palm, fig, Persea, pomegranate, and willow trees. She walked along the garden path and discovered a large pood with aquamarine waters and blooming white lotuses. The breeze carried the gentle lotus fragrance in the air.
She found herself admiring her surroundings. Before this, she thought that Babylonian palace was the most beautiful in the world. She did not expect the Egyptian palace to be even more beautiful. “The Pharaoh knows how to enjoy life,” she thought. As she was engrossed with the beautiful scenery, she heard a conversation between a pair of maids.
“There’s a lot of strange insects in the palace recently. While I was sleeping last night, quite a few of them crawled onto my bed. It was scary!”
“Yes. I heard that the Queen was also bitten many times, but no one could get rid of them…”
“The Great Priest Fehketi should have a way…”
“What should we do if this goes on…”
Maya said to herself as the maid’s voice trailed away, “Expeling insects? That should be quite easy.”
“Can you tell me about them?” A gentle voice suddenly appeared behind her.
“I can’t. I shouldn’t intrude.” She answered without thinking.
The voice laughed, “Who are you? Why are you here?”
Maya realized that there was someone behind her. She turned around and saw a brown haired man standing behind her. He had a handsome face and a pair of light brown eyes which reminded her of the gleaming Nile in the sunset. His mouth formed a gentle smile more beautiful than the lotus she had just seen.
She was even more surprised with the golden pectorals hung from his neck. This symbol… Isn’t it, isn’t it the symbol of an Egyptian prince?
“Maya, why are you here? Oh, Prince Teran, you’re here too.” Asher’s voice appeared from nearby. Although Maya did not like him, she was relieved to have him here.
Prince Teran? This means that the man before he is really an Egyptian prince… “I was just wandering and somehow…” Maya turned to Asher as she was speaking. She suddenly noticed a stern middle-aged man standing beside Asher. He wore a pschent, a double crown of red and white, symbolizing the unification of the upper and lower Egyptian kingdom. He wore a schenti around his waist, and scarab armlets and cuffs on his arms.
“Maya, why are you still standing there? This is the Pharaoh.” Asher glared at her.
Maya stepped forward and bowed down. She had heard of Pharaoh Seti I while she was in Babylon. Sure enough, he looked majestic and authoritative in person.
The Pharaoh glanced at her and turned to Asher. He seemed doubtful about the woman before him and asked, “This young woman is the person you recommended?”
Without waiting for Asher to answer, Prince Teran came forward and said with a smile, “Father, Asher seems to have a good eye for people. Just now, I heard her say that ridding the palace of insects is a simple matter.” He even placed a special emphasis on the word ‘simple’.
Maya glared at the prince. This fellow, is he deliberately… “Oh?” The Pharaoh seemed interested, “Then tell me, how would you get rid of them?”
Maya could only nod and say, “Your Majesty, may I see what type of insects they are?”
At the Pharaoh’s command, the maids caught a few of the insects and brought them to her. Maya looked at them carefully and a confidant smile appeared on her face. She pointed at the insects and said, “Your Majesty, please arrange for someone to splash soda water on the walls and the floors. Then, apply a mixture of carbon and Inula flowers. After that, mix mastic, myrrh, camphor and honey together and smoke the mixture to disinfect the whole palace. After that the insects will be gone.”
“Is that so…” The Pharaoh was still somewhat doubtful of her method.
“Father, let’s do as she says. If it is successful, we would be more at ease with letting her treat my younger brother. We should trust Asher’s judgment.” Prince Teran sent a glance in Maya’s direction. His smile reminded her of the gentle flow of the river.
As he had spoken on her behalf, Maya now had a better perception of him. Eh? Wait. Didn’t he say letting me treat his younger brother? Does this mean that the person Asher wanted her to heal is… She looked at Asher with confusion, but he was looking at Prince Teran with an unreadable expression.
Soon after, the method prescribed by Maya came into effect. The pesky insects fled the palace in drones.
The Pharaoh was very happy and became more confident in Maya’s abilities. Just as he was about to reward her, a maid rushed in urgently, stammering as she said, “Your Majesty, the second… Second Prince has a toothache again!”
As she was walking towards the Second Prince’s palace, Maya couldn’t help asking, “Did you bring me here just to heal the Second Prince’s toothache? This is a common ailment. You Egyptians are very adept at this too…”
Asher gave her a meaningful glance. “You will understand once you see him.”