+ Title: The Eye of Horus - Part 8
(Full Title: Heero Yuy and the Eye of Horus)
+ Author: Vinyl Koneko (Emily)
+ See Prologue for warnings, pairings...

The Eye of Horus + Part 8

Cairo, Egypt

Despite the fact that the heavy canvas tent did a good job protecting General Khushrenada from the intense rays of the sun, the heat of the day was not evaded altogether. Treize was sipping a glass of ice water and reading current reports from his officer when Doctor Marquise came barging in, looking more excited than he had in weeks.

"Treize, we've stumbled upon something that might interest you."

The general arched an elegant eyebrow in interest. "Involving the Eye?"

"Yes. It's remarkable how we bypassed this countless times before only to brush it off, but once we translated the hieroglyphs next to the image, we saw that it was clearly a lead."

Treize stood up, straightening his uniform. "Show me."

They walked out over the sand dunes and into a small, boxy building that had been dug up decades ago by a wandering explorer. The room had actually been a shrine of some sort, a highly sanctified one in which only the pharaoh himself and the high priests could enter. The interior walls were vastly decorated with intricate murals, each which told a story. On the farthest wall from the entrance, there was a simpler image of a scarab with an ankh dangling from its back. The scarab and ankh were silhouetted against an image of the sun, with hieroglyphs beside the picture.

"The text reads, 'Whoever holds the jade scarab holds the key to the power of Ra.'"

Treize looked around the room as if he were searching for something but unable to find it. "Well, then, where is it?"

Zechs was too pleased with the discovery of the mural to catch his short-sightedness. "Where's what?"

"The jade scarab," the general replied evenly, knowing that losing his temper in the heat would not be the wisest thing to do.

"Ah," the blond man cleared his throat, "we haven't figured that part out yet, but it would appear that..."

Treize toned out whatever excuse he was being fed. One part of the image was sticking out, literally, from the wall. From a distance it appeared to be a piece of the scarab's shell, but when looked at closer, one could tell that it was a shape of a wadjet eye actually protruding from the wall. Treize blew at the shape to get some of the sand cleared away, only to notice cracks tracing the edges. He reached out cautiously, not knowing if it were a trap or not, and applied a small amount of pressure to the eye. It got pulled into the wall until it was flush with the surface, and then a light click was heard followed by a rumbling that seemed to be coming from under the floor. Marquise was stunned speechless at Treize's little discovery and seemed to be unsure as to whether or not he should flee or stand around and watch.

The rumbling opened up a hole in the middle of the room that couldn't have been any more than a square foot. Out of the hole was rising a pedestal with a preserved wooden box resting on the top. The column stopped rising when it reached five feet in height, all motion stopping altogether, and both men seemed unsure as to whether it would be safe or not for them to proceed. Treize stepped aside and let Zechs take over. He wasn't the archaeologist and wasn't sure if a certain process should be followed or not, and watching made him feel a little safer in case they stumbled upon a trap the Egyptians made to prevent anybody from learning the secret of the Eye.

Zechs opened the lid on the box easily, surprised that the lock was already opened, a simple lockpick still lying in the keyhole. Someone had already been to the shrine and discovered whatever was in the box, but whether the other's discovery was accidental or intentional, Treize did not know. Zechs continued to open the box anyway, and Treize allowed himself to hope that whatever the box's original contents were still remained within. He didn't like the idea that anyone in the world could possess the key to finding the Eye of Horus.

Treize moved to stand behind Zechs, his curiosity getting the better of him. When the box was open enough to view whatever may have been inside, the general wasn't surprised at how anti-climatic the whole situation was. The box was empty.

Feeling miffed, Treize made as if he was going to leave the shrine. "The contents are long gone, now, and based on the inscription, there is no doubt in my mind that it *was* the scarab we need."

"We could send a letter out to National Geographic and the major newsreels announcing that we are searching for the scarab...to see if anybody comes forward," Zechs was still staring at the box, eyes narrowed on the bottom surface. "Or maybe whoever took the item in question left something for us to find him by." Treize turned around to see the doctor prying a leather journal from the case. "I'll check the last entry."

Treize waited patiently for Zechs to find the last page that had been written on. It took him towards the end of the journal, and the general felt almost relieved knowing that it couldn't have been Yuy that secured the scarab because he wouldn't have been so careless with his notes.

"Oh, here it is. 'April 21, 1939 - My health isn't improving, mentally or physically, in the search for the answer of this mystery. I need to spend some time relaxing. Australia would be nice around this time of year. I don't know how long I'll take, but to guarantee my return, I will leave this journal hidden in the very place where I discovered the scarab years ago. No one else will be able to find it there. I must leave before I change my mind. Until I return, Duo Maxwell'." Zechs looked up at Treize. "Didn't you send some men to Australia?"

"Yes...I told them to trail Yuy but local authorities told me they were shot and killed... Damn it! There is no way Yuy could have gotten that lead before us!"

Zechs looked apprehensive in the face of his general's sudden rage. "Well, sir, we might have to accept that possibility that he does."


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