+ Title: The Eye of Horus - Part 2
(Full Title: Heero Yuy and the Eye of Horus)
+ Author: Vinyl Koneko (Emily)
+ See Prologue for warnings, pairings...

The Eye of Horus + Part 2

Cairo, Egypt

Tall, blond, and regal, Zechs Marquise strode through the Egyptian marketplace, trying his hardest to remain inconspicuous but failing miserably since the majority of the local population bore darker complexions and weren't quite as tall. He didn't even know why he bothered to take precautions against being recognized. Yuy would catch on to what he was doing sooner or later, and Zechs preferred the competition the other archaeologist provided.

It was only six in the morning, so the ferocious heat of the desert sun didn't come to full force for another several hours. It was morning and dusk when he preferred to be out at the digsites, spending the muggy afternoons in the cool bellies of the pyramids, reading ancient hieroglyphs that could hold knowledge of the scepter's whereabouts. A feeling deep inside told Zechs that he wouldn't find any recorded information on the Eye, but some hope kept him driving forward. Afterall, if information on the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail had been uncovered, surely there was something on the Eye of Horus.

Zechs removed the white, wide-brimmed hat from his head, wiping the sweat from his forehead on the sleeve of his shirt. The day ahead was going to be a scorcher, already in the mid-eighties with a disturbingly high humidity level and no promise of rain. He pulled his hair up into a ponytail, hoping to cool off the back of his neck, which is did, but it was still oppressively hot out.

Movement pulled Zechs's attention to the tent ten meters off to his right. Treize Khushrenada stood, silhouetted against the rising sun. He looked cool. The General always seemed to look cool, sapphire eyes holding strategic knowledge as well as a calm that rivalled even Yuy's.

"Good morning, General Khushrenada."

The older man focused his attention on the archaeologist. "Zechs, how many times must I tell you, call me Treize. We've been working together long enough to drop the formalities."

Zechs nodded his head slightly in a bow. "Yes, Ge-...Treize."

The copper-haired man seemed satisfied. "How is the excavation doing this morning?"

"If the teams knew that they were doing a blind excavation, I am sure they would have mutinied by now, but as far as they can tell, we know exactly where we are supposed to be digging."

"Anything else?"

"We should allow them more access to water. They might start some trouble if peers start dying from the heat."

Treize seemed to consider this, tapping his cheek with an index finger. "Whatever it takes to keep them congenial."

The two men continued walking along the way towards the digsite, leaving the city grounds in a jeep to cross the windswept sand that was a constant presence in Northern Africa. Treize had the driver stop the vehicle at the top of a dune, allowing Zechs and Treize to overlook the excavation.

They had started with five hundred locals, volunteering out of desperation for money, but as word got out that there was cheap labor needed, more and more people seemed to come out of the desert itself. Zechs had long ago lost track of how many workers were going through the sand around the pyramids, digging up ancient burial sites of slaves that were buried by their pharaoh. Men did the digging, women brought the water, and children ran messages between the supervisors. Watching the entire scene from a viewpoint, Zechs was reminded of images in his Egyptology textbooks, slaves swarming to finish the city and tomb for the pharaoh who wanted to be remembered as a great man through an even greater monument.

"Isn't this unethical?" Zechs tried to keep the disgust out of his voice.

"Maybe to your ethics, but not to mine. They all volunteered for this work, and if their country cared they would have been employed in the first place." Treize motioned for the driver to continue forward to the site. "Besides, it's only temporary, and families are being fed."

The rest of the ride was in silence. Zechs caught the gaze of a child, barely seven and hardly more than skin and bones, looking with fear and sorrow at everyone around him before the supervisor's hand hit him across the face, causing the young boy to go hurdling to the ground.

"They asked for this," Treize said, keeping his gaze forward at the top of the pyramids.

"General...General!" A soldier ran next to the jeep, hitting the door to get the driver to stop. Treize looked at the man questioningly, silently telling him to say what was so urgent. "General, the Maganac Corp knows we're here, so Doctor Yuy should be notified of our activities shortly."

"Very good," Treize said, climbing out of the jeep. The soldier saluted sharply and went back to his duty.

Zechs hurried after his superior. "Why did you let the information leak?"

Treize gave a look that seemed to say are-you-really-that-stupid. "It's a little hard to keep our operation a secret, so he was going to find out sooner or later. Besides, he might know something that we don't, and we will be able to take that information from him. Understand?" The General walked towards the main camp without waiting for an answer.

"Yes, sir," Zechs muttered dryly, a stern gaze fixed on his superior's back.


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