It was nearly evening. Maya was working in the temple when Fehketi, the Great Priest, appeared and told her that she could leave early. He also informed her that someone was waiting for her outside the temple.
Maya walked out of the temple doubtfully and saw a young man riding his horse towards her.
His long hair and cape flew in the wind. He moved gallantly and seemed to gleam under the sunlight… He was very eye-catching. He looked like he was born to be great, to be a ruler… Maya was stunned and kept staring at the young man. It was only when the young man stopped his horse before her that she broke out of her daze and called out stutteringly, “Ramses?”
Ramses did not reply and reached down to pull her up onto his horse.
“Hey, what happened? Did your illness recur? Is your tooth painful again? Are you feeling unwell?” Maya did not understand why he was here, so she kept making wild guesses.
“Woman, stop cursing me! I don’t have to be sick to see you!” He sounded a little angry. He hugged her tightly and whipped the horse, making it galloped speedily.
The wind rushed past her ears as the horse galloped. Maya could feel the accumulating heat from behind her hot like fire. Her face was reddened from the heat.
After riding for some time, Ramses finally got the horse to stop. He got down from the horse first and reached up to carry Maya down.
When Maya found her footing, she realized that Ramses had taken her near the Great Pyramid.
The tip of the Great Pyramid gleamed under the sunlight. The Great Pyramid formed a straight line with two smaller pyramids built by Pharaoh Khafre and Pharaoh Menkaure. At night, these three pyramids would correlate to the location of the stars in the Orion Belt, the majestic body of the god Osiris.
“This Great Pyramid was built by Pharaoh Khufu a thousand of years ago. It is still standing here now,” Ramses said softly. “There is a saying among us Egyptians – time defeats men, but the pyramids overcame time.”
“This is a good saying. Perhaps even a few thousand years from now, the Great Pyramid would still be here, while we have all turned to dust.” She replied.
He looked at her with an unusually gentle gaze. “The sun will set soon. The pyramids are most beautiful at this time.”
Her heart skipped a beat. She had heard about this even while she was in Babylon. People said that the pyramids were most beautiful at sunset. Did he bring me here just to look at the scenery?
“Look, the sun has set.” He pointed to the west horizon.
On the wide Giza Plateau, the sun had set beyond the west horizon. The brown walls of the pyramids looked as if they were dusted with a layer of gold. However the beauty of the pyramids remained even after the sun had set. They never lost their majestic appearance. They remained through numerous sunrises, sunsets and seasons. They remained anchored in the flowing waves of time and through changes in the world around them.
This beauty is transcending and everlasting.
Nearby the Great Sphinx of Giza stood guarding the pyramids behind it. The desert stretched into the horizon. From the dark horizon, camels gradually came into sight with their human riders perched quietly on top. The breeze blew at them, they seemed mysterious as they moved quietly like travelers journeying through the ages.
“This is beautiful,” Maya sighed wistfully. “When I return to Babylon, I will still remember this beautiful scenery.”
Her gaze was focused on the horizon where the sun set, so she did not notice the changes on Ramses’ expression.
After the sun had set, the moon gradually rose in the sky. A warm breeze blew from the desert and carried sand and the smell of dryness from being under the sun.
“I think we should return. Ramses?” She looked at him with concern. “Your tooth is still healing, so it is better that you return to the palace and rest.”
He looked up at the full moon as if he did not hear her and said suddenly, “Maya, have you heard of a legend about the moon?”
“What is it about?”
“The legend says that there was a sword wielding rabbit on the moon. It was a good fighter that would not rest until it has killed all evil beings.”
“That is a really strange legend.” She looked at him with a surprised expression. Ramses met her gaze with a smile. The night breeze ruffled his smooth hair. It was a sight more stunning than the stars in the sky. His black eyes shone like a wolf’s during a night hunt. They were also gentle, and he kept gazing at her warmly with an amused smile.
“Oh, this is for you.” He seemed to recall something suddenly and took out an item. He grabbed Maya’s hand and placed the item on her palm.
Maya unfurled her fingers and saw that it was an intricate talisman. The talisman was a statue of a goddess with beautiful wings. Her eyes were dark. It was carved on silver which gleamed like moonlight and was dusted with fine gold. It was embedded with black obsidian, carnelian stones, turquoise and blue crystals. It gleamed dazzlingly, making it seem life-like.
She felt an unexplainable warmth gushing from her heart. It felt nice but confusing that even Maya was not sure what it was.
“This is too precious, I can’t keep this…” She wanted to return it back to him.
“What I have given can’t be returned!” His expression darkened, and he seemed angry.
Maya knew his temper well, so she knew that he would lose his temper if she continued to refuse. As such, she had no choice but to accept it. Sometimes, she couldn’t understand his moods. He would be gentle at one moment, and be angry the next moment. He was a little unruly sometimes.
By the time Maya returned to Asher’s residence, it was some time into the night.
She was surprised to find Asher waiting for her.
“I heard that the Second Prince was with you. Is that true?” He asked her directly.
Maya nodded and couldn’t help but feel impressed with his ability to gain information.
“He brought me to see the pyramids at sunset.”
“Pyramids at sunset…” Asher’s expression was a little strange but he recovered quickly. “Maya, do you think that the Second Prince had changed a lot?”
Maya nodded, “Nowadays, he seemed as bright as the sun.”
“Bright as the sun seems like a good way to describe him. But I guess you don’t know that he was this bright before he lost his sight.” Asher smiled as if remembering something. “When I first met him, he was just five while I was only a lowly official. I was scolded by my superior due to a mistake and was hiding in the garden to cry. At the time he suddenly appeared before me, bright like the sun. Although he was very small, he comforted me.”
“Who knew that he had such a gentle side to him from such a young age.” Maya felt a gentle warmth in her heart as she imagined a young Ramses.
“However, everything changed during his tenth birthday banquet. He suddenly lost his sight and refused to come out of his room. His temper also turned unpredictable. The palace healers and priests couldn’t find out what was wrong. But I was unwilling to give up. All this time I had been waiting for a miracle to happen and you appeared.”
“No wonder you are always concerned about him.” Maya gasped at the sudden realization. In the past, Ramses must have warmed Asher’s heart like sunlight.
“I thank you sincerely from my heart.” He said with a warm gleam in his eyes.
“Don’t… There’s no need to thank me. I am a healer, so it’s my duty.” She felt embarrassed before suddenly remembering something, “But how did he suddenly lose his sight during the birthday banquet? Did you find out about it?”
The smile disappeared from Asher’s face and he said seriously, “I have always suspected that it was someone in the palace, but I can’t find any evidence.”
“Someone in the palace?” She felt a chill down her spine. If that is true, doesn’t this mean that Ramses is in more danger now that he regained his sight? Who wants to harm him?
“By the way, I heard that a few lions had been transported to Egypt. The Pharaoh wants to give these lions to Ramses for training. He plans to use them on the battlefield in the future.” Asher suddenly changed the topic of conversation.
“Training lions! Isn’t that dangerous?”
“Ramses was able to tame a lion as fierce as Warrior, so this shouldn’t be a problem.” Asher did not seem worried.
Maya remembered how Warrior behaved like a kitten and licked Ramses’ hand. She couldn’t help smiling at the memory. “I guess you’re right.”
“It’s getting late. You should rest since you have to go to the temple again tomorrow.” Asher turned around to leave. After taking a few steps, he suddenly turned back to look at her but did not say anything. Then, he continued walking away.
When Maya returned to her room, she took out the intricate talisman. After some consideration, she decided to wear it around her neck.
The talisman felt cool on her chest, yet somehow, it also gave her a warm feeling.
The warmth was like being under a gentle sunlight.