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Chapter 10 : Discoveries
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Suddenly, the sound of the camel’s hooves pounding against the sand could be heard. Rose turned her head to the side and saw that Edward was wiping beads of sweat off his face while panting loudly. “Come on folks,” he cried. “We aren’t going to let Lorcan see it before us, are we? Let’s see who can get there first.”
Edward tugged on the reins of the camel, and it began to trot off, joining Lorcan in the pursuit for Acanthus. His brown hair soon merged into the monotonous colour of the sand, and Rose found it hard to keep her eyes fixed upon him. She looked ahead again, trying to see if there was any sign of Acanthus but all there was barren wasteland. So much for an ancient civilisation sleeping peacefully before me, she thought, with the noise Lorcan and Edward are making it will soon be awoken.
Not knowing whether to follow the others in the chase for the city or to maintain a normal pace and not risk death through heat exhaustion, Rose turned to the others. “What shall we do? Shall we follow them?”
For once, Anthony cracked a smile at her. “Why ever not? It’s not every day that we get to make a historical breakthrough.”
“There will be no we in it, Anthony, if we don’t get a move on,” Charlotte jested, patting her camel to ready him for the race. “Now, come on. Edward and Lorcan will get there hours before us at this rate!"
She, too, encouraged her camel along, though its pace was considerably more sedentary than Edward’s. With one final wave, Charlotte was on her way. Her sun hat nearly fly away with the change in pace caused a shrill sound of laughter to emanate from her.
“I suppose we should follow them, though at a slower pace. Dying before we reach there wouldn’t be a good idea,” David added, a stern nod being given too.
“Ever the pragmatic one, David,” Anthony laughed. “But I suppose in a case like this it is always best to heed caution.”
“Pragmatism is a good thing!” David retorted, earning a groan from the others.
“Indeed it is,” Anthony jested, face grinning. “But in moments of celebration one must forget that. Isn’t that right, Rose?”
“It is,” she agreed. Wandering back over to her camel, she raised her legs and mounted it, the camel giving a grunt in return as her body sank onto it. “See you soon, David.”
Not even having one last look back, Rose pulled on the reins and encouraged the camel on. Her body slowly rose and fell in flow with the camel, the waves of movement quickening as the distance they travelled grew greater. The more she tugged on the camel, more flicks of sand flew up at the back of her legs causing a soft grazing sensation. All of this was barely noticed by her though, as the small, mirage like thing, was the sole thing which occupied her vision.
She could hear the thump of another camel’s hooves beside her and saw that Anthony had caught up. “Where are George and David? Have they decided to come yet?” Rose's cry was a throttled one, getting swept away in the wind.
“They should be coming along soon. They’re just having a final sweep of the area to ensure we didn’t leave anything behind. With David being the planner and George the worrier I’m not too surprised by them doing that.”
Rose gave him a little nod in return. She didn’t bother to lengthen the conversation. Getting him to say this much to her was a big enough step and getting him to say more might be unwise. Baby steps would do for now.
Three black, stationary dots flickered in the distance. With the heat of the day and the excitement of finding Acanthus, Rose couldn’t be all that sure that it was the three of them who had reached the famed city, and all she could do was hope. Hope that her feeling of hope would mask the fear floating beneath her. Rashidi's tales of no one surviving this route must have originated from somewhere.
Surging forwards, she didn’t even pay attention to her surroundings anymore. Only on what lay ahead of her. Flecks of beige, cream, brown and orange flew up in her face as the wind danced around her. The sun’s beams radiated down upon without stopping. It was as if the weather was urging her on, congratulating her on this great feat. That it had finally decided to stop trying to kill her.
As the three blacks dots drew closer and closer, Rose’s pace slowed, and she could see Anthony slow himself down beside her, the camel's braying in annoyance at the change of speed.
“It’s amazing, truly amazing,” Rose could hear Charlotte trill loudly from the mound of sand above them.
“Astounding, astounding,” Edward added on and gave several approving nods of his head.
“If only my camera was working,” Lorcan grumbled. “Then I could really capture this place instead of relying on memory.”
As the three of them stood on raised ground of sand, Rose could only take their comments as a sign of good news. Her camel suddenly slowed, came to a stop and didn’t look as if it was going any further. Too impatient to wait for it, Rose slid off its back and hurried over to the three of them.
Panting heavily and covered in copious amounts of sweat wasn’t the arrival to the ancient city Rose had planned, but there wasn’t much she could do to prevent it from being any different with the ascent she was forced to grapple with. Ignoring the cries of support from the others and Anthony who had now managed to get his camel up there, Rose carried on running and running, one thing on her mind.
Once she had finally reached the top of the hill, she almost thought she was going to keel over from either heat related exhaustion or heart failure. If she ever made it back from Acanthus she swore she would be fitter both mentally and physically. Anyone who told her women weren't allowed exert themselves in the olden days would be corrected with the use of forceful measures.
Raising her eyes, she gazed around. Hundreds of sandstone coloured houses lay below her, some topped in gold, others in silver, the odd one in its natural hue. Each house built in a perfect square, forming a larger one collectively. It was a labyrinth, with the Temple of Osiris in the middle with the treasure. Rose tried to take in every detail, as if she was gasping for air, but there was too many to things to look out from the odd sprouting of a tree, to the small stream which ran around the outskirts of the town.
The one certain thing she managed to get from it was its beauty.
Hardly believing that she had even made it here, Rose promptly burst into tears.
Hermione ran around her room in a state of panic. She had approximately twenty eight minutes until her portkey left for Cairo, and all manner of things were strewn across her room. Clothes, shoes, emergency supplies, a tent, a Muggle torch for just in case and the rucksack which she was attempting to put everything in.
“Hermione, are you sure you want to do this?” Ron asked, strolling into the room.
“Ronald Weasley!” Hermione cried out, jabbing her wand into the air. “If you want our daughter to be left stranded and in need of our help in Merlin knows where in Egypt, so be it. But I won’t let it happen!”
“Calm down,” Ron soothed her. “I was just checking. I’ve already packed my bag, so I wondered whether you needed any help with yours. Hugo’s sending an owl to Harry and Ginny to ask them to feed the cat, and we should be ready to go.”
“You mean, you’re coming with me?”
“I can see why everyone refers to you as the Brightest Witch of the Age, because seeing that feat of logic was really impressive.”
“Shut up, Ron.” Hermione’s words were drowned out by the wail she let out when wrapping her arms around Ron. She raised her head, and through her glistened eyes she could just make out the well-known merge of red hair and freckles.
Hermione leaned in and placed her lips against Ron’s, but the moment was soon broken off by the arrival of Hugo.
“Ew, Mum, Dad, what have I told you about kissing in the house? Even if I have left Hogwarts and supposedly am an adult, I don’t want to witness torturous events like that.”
Hermione broke free of her embrace from Ron, turned to her son and attempted to stride over to him, knocking the piles of clutter on the floor over while doing so. Hugo, noting what his mother was about to attempt to do, backed away.
“Also, what have I told you about my body being a contamination free zone?” he moaned. “Working in science means that I need to be in a constant germ-free environment. While I realise this isn’t always possible, I would like to refer you to the document you signed on my ninth birthday stating that contact would be limited at all times, so no hugs.”
Ron stood there chuckling, while Hermione sighed.
“Hugo, I’ve told you before that the contract wasn’t valid under wizarding law due to you not having a lawyer present. And no, I do not count as your lawyer so you will have to accept contact from me such as hugs.”
Hermione glanced at her watch before beginning to run around the room.
“Now come on, we only have twenty minutes until the Portkey leaves, and that’s not nearly enough time for me to get ready in.”
Hugo and Ron looked at each other and sighed before beginning to trudge around the room. It looked as if their Hermione Weasley was finally coming back to them.
The body of the man lay on the floor, untouched.
“What do we do with him?” Dalila asked Scorpius.
“I have no idea,” he murmured. He knew he would be forced to act quickly, yet again. Stunning someone only lasted for twenty minutes at best, and his spell wasn’t particularly strong given the circumstances. Scorpius reckoned he had about ten minutes before the man woke and did Merlin knows what to them.
“I have an idea.” Dalila shuffled over to his body before pointing her wand at him and muttering a spell. Thick, black ropes snaked around his wrists, binding his arms together. She then wandered down to the other end of his body before completing the same process on his ankles and feet.
“Excellent, Dalila,” Rashidi wheezed behind them, causing Scorpius to startle because he had almost forgotten about Rashidi also being present. “If you can, could you undo the binds on my own wrist, They have begun to rub.”
Dalila let out a little cry of shock before scurrying over to him. “I am so sorry, Grandfather. I had meant to have done it straight away. Is there anything else I can get you?”
Scorpius eyed the pair of them at this point, and the look they were sharing with one another was so tender it seemed hard to break it. He had never shared anything like that with his own family. Though they loved him, they were never open in affection like those two. Then again, after this ordeal, Scorpius had found his own family in them. Something he never thought would happen.
“A glass of water. The coughing has taken its toll.”
Dalila hurried out of the room, murmuring something about finding a kitchen while Scorpius took the chance to eye the only other piece of furniture in the room other than the chairs. A small, grey bureau, so indistinct in its design, Scorpius wasn't surprised it had escaped his eye beforehand.
Scorpius could hear Rashidi’s heavy, exhausted breaths as he made his way over there. The sound emanated loudly, meaning the decaying state of his health was hard to miss. He pulled on the top drawer, nothing happened. The same result was given for the second, third and fourth. Even spells such as Alohorma didn’t yield anything. The doors remained firmly shut. There was only way to go about this -- he would have to resort to the spells he learnt through being a Curse Breaker.
Murmuring charm after charm in Coptic Egyptian, the old language of the country before its replacement by Arabic, and it was only after his tenth attempt did he hear the long yearned for click of the lock. Scorpius quickly rifled through the papers. The search for the truth about the man had to begin somewhere, and a private bureau seemed a good place to start.
A waving arm in shades of black and white quickly caught his attention. Pulling the photo out from the crowd of papers, Scorpius stared at it. It was a small group, about five or six people in it, but there was one face which made him stop and stare. The face of Rose Weasley.
She beamed at the camera, her arms looped around Lorcan’s and a woman standing on the other side of her. She waved now and then before going back to looking around her surroundings. She looked alive, something Scorpius hadn't viewed her as for a while now.
Turning the photo over, Scorpius trying to decipher the squiggly hand writing at the bottom of the page.
Acanthus, Egypt. 13th May, 1923.
The photo was dropped to the ground due to Scorpius running after Dalila, yelling, “I’ve found them! I’ve found Rose and Lorcan!”
Author's Note: Yay, another quick update! I will attempt to make them a regular, perhaps every other week, it's just school gets in the way all the time :(
I hope you enjoyed this chapter because everything is sort of coming together now, and a hint here, Rose and Scorpius will be reunited soon! How did you like the reappearance of Hermione? I hope all these perspectives aren't getting confusing! Thanks for being lovely and reading, and if you want to be lovelier, please leave a review as it would mean a lot! ♥
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