A month flew by quickly. Throughout that month, Maya not only brewed the medicine herself, she also redecorated Prince Ramses’ somber residence whenever she was free. She changed all the dark colored drapes to light colored ones that were painted papyrus flowers. She placed freshly cut lotuses in the room. The lotus flower petals were still dewy, and they gleamed under the sunlight.
During this period, Prince Teran also invited her to have dinner with him frequently. They got along very well.
Today, the moment Maya stepped into Ramses’s room, she felt that something was off about Ramses. She looked at Warrior beside him and noticed that it also seemed listless. Recently, she and Warrior had mostly gotten used to each other’s presence. Although Warrior still frequently looked at her with disdain, it no longer intimidated her. Sometimes, Warrior even allowed her to touch its fur gently.
She reached out to touch its back as usual. However, unexpectedly, Warrior suddenly became infuriated. It growled and bit her wrist!
“Warrior!” Ramses also sensed that something was off and shouted immediately.
Warrior’s fangs scratched the back of her hand. Upon hearing Ramses’ shout, it realized that it had done something wrong, and retreated into a corner.
“Are you alright?” Ramses asked softly.
“I’m fine…” Maya looked at the scratch on her hand with a lingering fear. “What happened? Warrior is behaving strangely today.”
“I’m not sure. Warrior started behaving strangely ever since it came back from a walk in the garden.” Ramses paused for a moment before saying worriedly, “I asked the attendants, but none of them knew what happened.”
This was the first time Maya saw an unconcealed worry on Ramses’ face. But it was understandable. Since Ramses had lost his sight at a young age, Warrior was his most loyal companion and perhaps even his best friend. Throughout his reclusive and lonely days, Warrior was the only one who remained with him.
Maya felt a little sad for him. She suddenly felt the urge to help him dispel his sadness.
“Perhaps, Warrior is unwell. Let me have a look.” She walked forward a few steps until she stood before Warrior and said softly, “I know that you’re unwell, so I want to see what’s wrong. I don’t have ill intentions, so you must behave and don’t bite me, alright?”
Warrior seemed to understand her and whimpered softly. She patted its back and felt it gradually relaxed and became a lot tamer.
She looked at it closely and finally discovered that one of its front paws seemed odd.
“Oh, turns out there is a thorn from the acacia tree on its paw. No wonder Warrior is agitated.” She turned around and said to Ramses.
“Acacia tree thorn? Then you must find a way to pull out quickly.” Ramses ordered worriedly.
She hesitated for a moment. Pulling off the thorn was not difficult by itself. The problem was that she had to pull it off a lion’s paw. She had never had to do this before.
“Warrior, there is a thorn on your paw. It is this that caused your discomfort. Now, I’m going to help you to pull it off. You must sit here obediently, alright?” Maya kneeled down and patted its head as she explained professionally and in detail. When she saw a plea for help in Warrior’s eyes, only then did she feel safe to hold its paw. Warrior seemed to know that she was going to help, so it didn’t move and allowed her to help.
Ramses sat nearby and listened to the movements in his surroundings. Although he couldn’t see, he couldn’t help turning to where Maya and Warrior were.
There was still only darkness before his eyes.
However, as he was feeling down, something incredible happened!
The darkness before his eyes shed layer by layer into blurry shadows of movements. He started to make out some vague outlines, then colors gradually appeared in his vision, and his vision grew clearer… He widened his eyes bewilderedly. He could see what Warrior looked like. Then he saw the foreign girl… Rays of sunlight shone on the side of her face, causing it to gleam faintly. She reminded him of a blue lotus under the light of the setting sun, lovely and pure. She was looking down, completely focused and gentle as she was treating Warrior. This gave him an unfamiliar sense of feeling moved, and he was temporarily distracted from the joy of recovering his sight. Then, he saw her looking up excitedly and shouted, “Ramses, see, I have pulled out the thorn. Warrior is fine now!”
Warrior purred and rubbed its head against her thigh like a cat.
Ramses stood up gradually and walked step by step towards her. Before she could react, he enveloped her and Warrior into his embrace and whispered, “I can see now.”
At first, Maya was stunned. Then, she ignored everything, hugged him back and kept asking happily, “Really? Ramses, is this true? Can you really see?”
“I can see. I can even see the woman who kept nagging me…” A humorous gleam appeared in his eyes, “Is actually just a small brat.”
His eyes were as black as night. The sunset caused them to shine, making them gleam mysteriously and brilliantly like the surface of a great lake. Maya was mesmerized by his eyes and felt as if she could hear butterflies fluttering in her heart… “Small brat, how long are you going to hug me?” Ramses narrowed his eyes and asked.
Only then did Maya realize that she was still hugging him and pushed him away immediately. She said in a panic, “I’m just happy for you. And… and it was you who hugged me and Warrior first.”
“I was just celebrating, but someone here refused to let me go…” He put up an act of helplessness as if he was taken advantage of.
“Who hugged you and wouldn’t let go…” She retorted and felt a little frustrated as Ramses seemed even more infuriating after he regained his sight.
But she couldn’t understand why her heart was still beating rapidly, and there was a trace of unconcealable joy.
The news that Prince Ramses could see again quickly spread throughout the palace. The Pharaoh happily called for Maya to see him.
“Young lady, you have healed my son’s eyes. What rewards do you desire? Tell me and I will definitely grant them to you.”
Maya’s heart soared when she heard the Pharaoh. She glanced at Ramses and saw that he was completely different from before. His whole body seemed to exude a light as brilliant as the sun. He wore a golden crown carved with eagle and cobra on his smooth and shiny black hair. His eyes were black as obsidian were looking at her confidently and with good humor.
Ever since Ramses recovered his sight, he had also recovered his vigor for life. All the previous sullenness and dejection were now replaced with hope. The only thing that did not change was his arrogance and the wicked glint at the corner of his eyes.
“Yes, Maya. What do you desire?” Asher said with a smile.
She hesitated for a moment. “Am I allowed to request anything?”
Queen Tuya who was seated beside Pharaoh Seti also smiled and said, “You can ask for anything as long as it is within our power.”
“Maya, since you came a long way from Babylon, and haven’t found a place to stay, why don’t you ask for a position in the place.” Prince Teran advised her kindly.
“Prince Teran, thank you. I have decided.” Maya glanced at Teran gratefully. But as she looked away, she noticed that Ramses seemed annoyed. She didn’t linger on it and hesitated for a moment before voicing her request, “Your majesties, I have a request. I wish to work in the temple.”
Everyone was shocked by her request. Women rarely enter the temple, what more to say a foreign woman.
Even Pharaoh Seti was troubled by the request, “This…”
“Seti, although the request seems a bit too much, but previously you have promised to grant her any request. If you go back on your words now, it will not reflect well on you.” She reminded him calmly.
“The queen is right, your majesty. You have to grant her this request.” Asher added, “You can’t break a promise to a girl. Let her handle some scribe work. Women are sometimes assigned to this work too.”
“But, she is a foreigner…” Someone mentioned.
“That’s not completely true.” Teran smiled and said, “Maya mentioned that her father is a Babylonian but her mother is an Egyptian. This is also why she can speak the Egyptian language so fluently. As such, she can be considered half Egyptian.”
Maya pursed her lips slightly. She didn’t expect that Teran remembered their casual conversation so well.
Pharaoh Seti considered for a moment and nodded. “Alright, Maya, with the power vested by Amon, I permit you to work in the Great Temple.”
Maya nearly jumped up in joy but she forced herself to calm down. She bowed to the Pharaoh and said, “Thank you, Pharaoh.”
“When you are working in the temple, if you wish, you can continue to live in the palace.” Queen Tuya said with a smile. She had good feelings towards the girl who had cured her son’s eyes.
Maya was stunned for a moment. She accidentally met Ramses’ eyes when she looked up. As their eyes met, she couldn’t help recall the time she hugged him and blushed slightly. She quickly looked away and said, “No, it’s alright. Your majesty, I would like to live in Asher’s residence as before, if that is alright with Asher…”
“Of course, I welcome you to stay in my residence.” Asher interrupted her quickly.
She didn’t look up to see Ramses’ reaction. Even she herself didn’t understand why she was feeling nervous. However, her nervousness was quickly overrode by happiness.
That’s great! All my efforts are not wasted. I can finally enter the temple. How can I not be excited?
The thing I’m looking for is in the temple!