Early morning on the next day, Maya came excitedly to a temple in the east of Memphis city.
Outside the temple, there were a couple of sphinx statues guarding the front entrance. There was also a willow tree covered with dense leaves. The temple had giant stone walls which had a warm hue. It had green bronze at its front door which cast a dazzling gleam.
Maya walked into the temple and saw giant pillars lining the deep hall. The pillars took up most of the space, leaving only a labyrinth of pathways between the pillars. The early morning sun was now higher than the tall tower gate. It bathed the hundreds of lily white columns in a red gleam which reflected onto the majestic temple. Gradually, the sunlight moved onto the neat row of statues of a beast with a goat head and lion body. This was one of the many forms of Amon. A small statue of a pharaoh stood beneath each of those statues, appearing as if they were receiving Amon’s blessings. The pillars were decorated with paintings of pharaoh offering sacrifices to the gods. Depending on the position of the sunlight, a different vibrant scene would be revealed. As such, only those who were in the temple all year round could see the light moving gradually from one pillar to another and see the complete religious ceremony that few could see.
Maya looked up at the ceiling and was made aware how small she was. She suddenly understood why Babylonian, Egyptian, or other nations sought to build their temples at a magnificent scale. It was so that people would feel how minute they were in this world and worship the gods.
She was assigned to do simple paperwork in the temple. Her work involved tidying the She was to tidy religious scrolls, and it was quite easy. The great priest Fehketi, who was in charge of the whole temple, seemed to dislike Maya and was cold to her. But Maya was not surprised as she entered here through connections. Now, she hoped that she could complete her mission quickly and return. The mission was the reason she came to Egypt.
Time passed gradually. Maya used her work in the temple as a cover and searched many places. However, she still could not find what she was looking for. My father said that it is in this temple, but where could it be?
“Maya? Why are you in a daze?” Asher’s voice woke her from her reverie.
“Ah? What? What did you say?” She did not hear what he was talking to her about.
“I was asking you about your work in the temple.” He passed her a bowl of figs. “By the way, you haven’t been to the palace for a long time, right?
“Oh, the Second Prince… Is he well?” She pretended to sound casual as she asked.
“The Second Prince seems much happier now and is very proactive. The Pharaoh gave him some work to do, and he did much better than I expected.” There was a gleam of pride in Asher’s eyes.
“Is he very busy nowadays? Previously, he stayed in his room all year round, so he might not have much stamina. If he exhausts himself too much, his toothache may reoccur…” She listed out the list of possible illnesses and did not notice the gleam in Asher’s eyes.
“However, compared to other matters, this doesn’t matter much.” Asher drank a mouthful of the wine. “Prince Teran recently sent Prince Ramses many courtesans. He said that they are gifts to congratulate him on regaining his sight. So, he’s definitely busy.”
Concubine? Maya couldn’t understand why this word left a discomfort in her heart, and she replied angrily, “If he tires himself with so many courtesans, he’s bound to get ill soon…”
Right after she had spoken, someone arrived from the palace to deliver urgent news. He said that Prince Ramses’ toothache recurred and wanted Maya to go to the palace immediately.
Asher smirked and said, “Maya, you should be a seer.”
“Don’t laugh at me!” She sighed in frustration and immediately followed the man into the palace. Is my mouth cursed? I was just saying, and his toothache recurred again?
Before she even stepped into Ramses’ room, she could hear women’s high pitched voices coming from there and smell various perfumes in the air. She couldn’t help sneezing a few times.
My goodness! She grumbled with a headache. Why are there so many beautiful women here at this time!
“Hey! Give way! Give way!” The beautiful women surrounded Ramses’ bed. Maya tried to squeeze past them but none of them would budge. She was scrawny, so she was unable to push these voluptuous women away.
“All of you get out!” She finally burst out angrily.
The group of beautiful women did not heed her and acted as if she wasn’t there.
“Don’t you know that the prince is dying? Get out now!” Maya had no choice but to shout.
The group of women was surprised by her shouting and all turned around to look at her with a stunned expression. One of the braver women grumbled softly, “Who are you to tell us to get out?” A few other women around her immediately grumbled in agreement.
“I’m his doctor. If you all still won’t leave, I will immediately report to the Pharaoh. It will be your fault if something happened to the Second Prince!” She said seriously.
The group of beautiful women exchanged glances. They hesitated for another moment before leaving the room.
Maya sighed in relief after all the beautiful women had left. When she turned around, she finally noticed that Ramses was leaning against his bed, looking at her with an amused smile. “Just now, I thought I heard someone say that I’m dying.”
She grimaced. Oh no, I was just saying that to chase them away. I’m doomed this time! Is that considered cursing a royal family member?
She cleared her throat and explained quickly, “You know that you have not recovered completely and had just regained your sight. It is not good for you to exhaust yourself with so many women!”
Ramses wanted to say something but he suddenly seemed to be in pain and placed his hand against his cheek. It seemed that his tooth was very painful.
“Didn’t I cure it last time? Why does it reoccur again?” She indicated to him to open his mouth. She observed his tooth carefully and frowned. “Didn’t I tell you not to eat tiger nut sweets? You ate so much, no wonder your tooth aches again! If you continue this way, your tooth has to be pulled out!”
As she was speaking, she took out ingredients from her medicine box with practiced hands and mixed them into a paste before carefully applying them to his right cheek.
Ramses didn’t really hear what she was saying because he was thinking about something else.
Ever since she left the palace, he felt as if something was missing. Previously, she would always be nearby to feed him foul tasting medicine. However, without her around, he had an unexplainable frustration which could not be removed, and it kept bothering him.
He could only be free from that frustration when he was eating something sweet, especially tiger nut sweets.
Just now, he felt suffocated when he was surrounded by all those beautiful women. However, they were gifts from his elder brother, so he could not reject it upfront. He had no choice but to find a way to send them away.
In actuality, he had seen Maya when she tried to force her way through the crowd of beautiful women. He wanted to laugh at the sight and realized that the frustrating feeling in his heart disappeared when he saw her.
“You must remember to eat these medicines. Also, you must not eat tiger nut sweets again! Do you hear me? If you continue to eat them, I’ll have to pull out your tooth!” She waved her hand over his face.
He pushed away her hand impatiently and looked away, “So noisy. Women are troublesome.”
“You’re annoying as usual. Alright, it’s up to you. It’s your own problem anyway. I’m going back.” Just as she was standing up, she felt a wave of dizziness and remembered that she had not eaten dinner. Her legs suddenly gave way, and she fell down.
“Be careful! Idiot.” Ramses quickly grabbed her.
Maya stood unstably. She fell backwards, knocked Ramses back onto his bed, and landed on top of him. This placed them in an intimate position.
His eyes shone like the Polaris in the dark sky. His warm breath sprayed onto her neck and her face blushed. She immediately got up and climbed off the bed.
“I, I’m going back. You must remember what I said!” She forced herself to appear calm as she spoke before rushing out of the room. The moment she left his room, she leaned against the wall and patted her chest to calm down.
Meanwhile, Ramses did not move from his position and stared at the ceiling. His expression displayed complicated emotions that he himself had never expected.