Chapter 4. Warrior

Maya looked at the lion which was eyeing her like a prey. She gathered courage and took a couple of steps towards the prince. The Lion growled at her, as if issuing a threat. She furrowed her brows. So, it is not just the Egyptians who like to issue threats, even their lion likes to do that too… Asher and Ramses have already threatened me. Now, even a lion is threatening me? This is too much! At this thought, she gritted her teeth and continued to walk forward.

Thankfully, Warrior didn’t pounce on her. It kept glancing at her with disdain.

She felt annoyed. Why is it behaving just like its master?

She took a close look at Ramses’ eyes and was secretly shocked by what she saw. Such an eye condition is rare, furthermore it is caused by… Her thoughts became unsettled. She felt that she was about to be dragged into conspiracies. 

 

Ramses’ eye condition was not as simple as it seemed.

However, she was Babylon’s greatest healer, so she believed that there’s a way.

“How is it? Can you cure him?” Prince Teran asked.

“There may be a way, but I can’t promise anything yet.” That was the truth as she was fully not fully confident that she could really heal him. 

Prince Teran smiled and said, “As long as there’s a way, there’s still hope!”

On the other hand, Ramses’ expression was cold, and he seemed to have distanced himself from this matter. In other words, it meant that he did not believe her.

“Every healer said this in the beginning, but they all failed in the end.” His indifferent expression extinguished all kindling hope.

Before Maya could reply, Asher said, “Prince Ramses is right. Whether it can be cured, only the results could tell.”

However, Prince Teran still smiled and said, “You are right. But as your elder brother, I truly hope for your recovery.”

Prince Teran left immediately after speaking and the room fell silent. After a while, Asher broke the silence and said, “What are you planning to do?’

“This is not a simple condition. He seemed to have gotten a very unusual poison.” She could see that Asher’s expression changed slightly at the word ‘poison’ before recovering.  

“I have no interest in the cause of the illness. I just want results.” He smiled but his thoughts were unreadable.

“I can only try my best for now. I can make a medicine with realgar, tree gum, and mandrake roots for him to drink for thirty days. It may improve his eye condition.” She explained calmly.

“Sounds good. During these thirty days, you shall stay in the palace,” Asher said.

“What?” Maya was shocked.

“You shall brew the medicine and take it to Prince Ramses yourself. Do not ask anyone else to do it for you, understood?”

Maya looked at the demanding prince and groaned internally. As she was still hesitating, Asher whispered, “If you cure the prince, the Pharaoh will surely reward you well. Then, you can have many things you desire.”

Many things I desire? Her heart skipped a beat. I came to Egypt for… If I cure the prince, then I can have a better chance of…

“Alright, I agree.” She nodded.

“Prince Ramses, what do you think?” Asher turned to glance at Ramses.

Ramses growled and said, “I don’t care if you want to waste your time. But you should know that if there’s no improvement after thirty days, she will meet the same end as the previous healers.”

Once she left Ramses’ place, Maya couldn’t help but ask Asher what was the consequences Ramses said. However, Asher only gave a cryptic smile and this made her feel uneasy.

She glanced behind and saw that Ramses, who was cold and arrogant a moment ago, was now hugging Warrior and burying his face against its thick fur. Illuminated by the blood red light of the setting sun, the man and the lion, the wind and the sand, as warm desert breeze stirred his hair, floating and entangling it in mid-air, bring to mind a black thorn apple flower blooming rapidly, forming an awe-inspiring painting, but it also carried a sense of unexplainable loneliness and hopelessness.

Maya felt a hint of compassion from Ramses. A prince who lost his sight and was forgotten by many seemed like a pitiful child.

Warrior seemed to sense her gaze and turn to her revealing its sharp teeth, threatening her once again. She quickly turned away and patted her racing heart. A shiver travelled down her spine as she thought about the consequences Ramses mentioned. Did he mean turning her into Warrior’s dinner?

The challenging days had begun.

Although Maya had expected that it would be difficult, that infuriating prince still gave her the intense urge to throw the medicine at his face, and she wanted to scream that she quit!

“This is too hot. Are you trying to scald me to death?” The prince shouted and threw the bowl of medicine to the floor before she could even turn around.

She took a very deep breath and reminded herself to be patient again and again. Then, she left the room, mashed the realgar, tree gum, and mandrake roots into a paste, brewed it over a fire, and waited until the medicine had cooled before serving it.

“It should be alright this time.” She served the medicine to him dourly.

Ramses took the bowl from her indifferently. His mouth quirked the moment his fingers touched the bronze bowl, and just as he was about to throw it again, Maya was ready and immediately tightened her grip on the bowl, stopping him.

“This… Is too cold!” He said.

“What’s wrong with you!” She finally understood what it feels like to be pushed to the edge.

He sneered, “I have met too many people like you. You always trumpet your abilities, but in the end, you can’t do anything. If you’re here just to deceive the Pharaoh for rewards, I advise you to get out now.”

“Deceive the Pharaoh for rewards?” Those words wounded her dignity tremendously.

“Isn’t that the truth?” He said with a cynical smile.

“Ramses, don’t you dare underestimate me!” She finally burst out after holding her anger for so long.

He seemed a little surprised by her outburst, “How dare you address me by my name?”

“I will not only address you by your name; I will also give you a good scolding!” She did not care that Warrior was looking at her from the side and reached out, grabbed his shirt and said, “You think that I am here because I want to? Do you think that I really want to treat someone as rude and barbaric as you? You should at least give me a chance! If you don’t want to see for the rest of your life and spend your remaining years in the dark, fine! Just threw that bronze bowl! If you give up on yourself, no one is able to save you! No one!” She let out all of her anger at once and felt relieved. However the relief was very brief. She realized that she had committed a grave mistake.

Ramses’ expression was very strange, it seemed as though he was restraining his anger.

She felt her heart sink and believed that she was doomed. I have burst out at him, Ramses must be bearing grudge against me. Argh, he might even send Warrior to eat me… “Prince…”

“Get out!” He shouted.

“I…”

“Didn’t you hear me? Get out now!”

“I understand.”

 

She scuttled out of the room quickly and leaned against the wall to catch her breath. Ramses looked really scary just now… 

“Are you alright?” A gentle voice came from beside her.

Upon hearing the familiar voice, she calmed down a little and turned to the speaker. “Prince Teran… I’m alright.”

“How can you be alright? I can tell that something unhappy happened with Ramses.” He came up to her and said, “But don’t worry. He had always been like this. He had chased out many healers before.”

Maya nodded gratefully. Prince Teran was truly a kind person. She wondered how the two brothers have completely different personalities… “I have good food prepared at my place, why don’t you have dinner with me. Then, you can tell me about my brother’s condition.” He smiled sincerely, making it difficult to decline him.

The Egyptian royalty dined with luxurious food. There was foie gras, fresh vegetable salad with olive oil, fresh beans, pomegranate, desserts, and a fruit bowl containing figs, grapes, jujube, and watermelon. There was also red wine pressed at the Nile Delta, the year Pharaoh Seti I ascended the throne.

Maya enjoyed the food while answering Prince Teran’s questions. Almost all of the questions concerned Ramses’ condition.

“You said Ramses refused to take any medicine in the past seven days?” Teran looked worried.

“Yes, he’s unwilling to take the medicine, so I can’t see any improvement.” When Maya remembered what happened just now, she felt angry, but somehow she felt a little worried for him.

As Maya was returning to her room after dinner, she saw a maid come out from Ramses’ door with an empty bowl. When the maid saw Maya, she happily informed her that the Second Prince had finished the medicine.

Maya looked at the empty bowl in disbelief. Then a gleam flashed in her eyes, and she did not realize that she was smiling. 

Turns out… He has not given up on himself.

Notes

N/A

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