Ripples

Bless the Children

Soon four months came and went and Tima was soon due to give birth any day. Everyone in the castle and town was anticipating the arrival of the new prince or princess; the one who was most excited was Heba, who was helping prepare the baby room and constantly asking if the baby would come that day. Mesu was excited himself but for another reason.

That day, Tikali was looking at herself in a reflective glass, glowing at what she was seeing: she was four months pregnant with her second child. With Itami watching from her perch, Tikali kept looking at herself from the side and the front while touching her stomach and giggling. Shaking her feathery head, Itami noted, You are so interesting when you do that, Tikali.

Tikali giggled again and looked at the phoenix. "I can't help it: I'm four moons pregnant and, this time, it's really showing. I'm just so happy that we're having a second child."

Itami agreed and added with a mischievous glint in her eye, Funny how things turn out…especially with how you found out.

Tikali chuckled a little, agreeing that God had a little sense of humor when it came to revealing this pregnancy. A few months ago, the palace was hit with a bad case of the flu but what was odd was that everyone got better and Tikali did not. After being sick for two weeks longer than anyone else, she went back to the medicine woman to figure out what was going on. The medicine woman made a joke that Tikali could be pregnant and they laughed at that until the medicine woman performed some tests and discovered that Tikali really was pregnant. Tikali started to smile when she remembered how happy Seth and Mesu were about the news and her smile widened when she felt strong hands reach around her and touch her stomach. Touching his hands, she looked up. "Hi."

Seth smiled and rubbed her stomach. "Hi. What are you up to?"

Tikali looked at the glass, seeing the two of them. "Just thinking…and looking."

Seth put his head on top of hers. "You look absolutely beautiful."

Tikali blushed a little. Looking around and seeing that only Itami was there with them, Seth got on his knees in front of her and laid his head on her stomach. Smiling, she touched his neck. "You are so romantic."

Seth looked up at her. "That's because I love you so much, my love."

Tikali's smile widened. "And I love you too, my darling."

Seth closed his eyes as he kept his head on her stomach, feeling the little movements of their baby. He was about to stand up and kiss her when they heard giggles at the door. The couple looked up just in time to see Mesu and Heba hide behind the door to not get caught. Shaking his head with amusement, Seth gestured towards the door to Itami. Catching on, Itami flew out the window, intending to sneak up on the kids. Crouching behind the door, Heba and Mesu thought that Mesu's parents did not notice them until Itami flew up behind them and screeched loudly, frightening the boys into crashing through the door and at Seth and Tikali's feet. Seeing the feet, the children slowly looked up with sheepish looks on their faces. Seth was about to scold them for spying when the kids got up and hid behind Tikali, who giggled. "Am I your hiding place now?"

Mesu hugged Tikali from behind. "Mommy safe place!"

Seth chuckled as Tikali turned around to hug the boys. From his angle, Mesu was able to feel the baby's movements and his eyes widened with wonder. Heba gave a quick hug before leaving to see his own mother. Once at the bedchambers, he quietly opened the door and peeked in, seeing Tima sleeping on her side. The child's eyes immediately zeroed in on Tima's stomach, which was very swollen and ready to pop out a baby any day now. Grinning, the child snuck up to the bed and climbed up to cuddle with Tima. He intended to nap with her but she wrapped her arms around him, her eyes still closed. Feeling his hair, she playfully wondered, "Mm…I wonder who this is. Hmm…it can't be Atem; this one has no extra bangs." Hearing Heba's giggles, Tima added with a smile, "And that cute giggle…there's only one person who this can be." She opened her eyes and kissed Heba's forehead. "Hi, sweetie."

Heba giggled and hugged her. "Hi. How's the baby?"

Tima sat up and let Heba rest his head on her stomach. "The little one is fine."

Heba's eyes widened with wonder. He did not feel any kicks but he did hear his little brother or sister's heartbeat. "I hear the baby, Mommy! I hear it!"

Tima smiled and started to stroke her son's hair. "The baby will be with us soon. Are you getting excited?"

Heba nodded and turned his head to tell Tima that he was impatient when he noticed Tima wincing. "Mommy? Are you okay?"

Tima nodded. She suspected that what she felt was a contraction but she had experienced false labor all week so she did not want to explain to Heba if this was false labor as well. "I'm all right, Heba…but I am hungry. What do you say to getting something to eat?"

A little hungry himself, Heba nodded.

---

Minutes later, they reached the kitchen, Heba leading the way. To their luck, the now-couple Jouno and Kiko were there with the Cetria fixing the captain of the guard a snack. Looking up, the blonds smiled and Kiko teased, "I know why you're both here."

Heba giggled. "The baby hungry!"

Tima smiled as Kiko started to make a bowl of nuts, knowing that was the food that Tima had been craving. While they waited, Jouno reached over and ruffled Heba's hair. Even though Heba was the prince and technically above him, Jouno liked the prince and saw him as the little brother he never had. "Hey, kid."

Heba giggled. He liked Jouno as much as the captain liked the prince, seeing the blond as the playful uncle. "Hi! What'cha doing, Uncle Jouno?"

Jouno held up an apple that had a bite in it. "Having a snack before I go to my duties as captain of the guards."

Curious about the duties, Heba tilted his head and asked, "Is that a hard duty?"

Taking another bite, Jouno thought about the answer before deciding to be truthful. "It is sometimes. But I get to help your father and make sure that everyone is protected."

Heba smiled at the idea of his older friend protecting his family. As Kiko gave Tima the bowl of nuts, Tarra flew in from the window and landed on Heba's shoulder, nuzzling him gently. And how's my favorite prince?

Heba giggled at the affection. He really liked Tarra and was always glad to get a nuzzle from her. He was about to answer when Tima winced, making Kiko a little worried. "My Queen?"

Tima tried to say that she was all right when she froze with wide eyes. Kiko was about to ask what was wrong when Heba said quite loudly, "Mommy just peed!"

Though whimpering from a contraction, Tima chuckled at her son's innocence; even Tarra gave a little chirping laugh since she knew what was about to happen as well. Putting two and two together, Jouno pulled Heba back a little so Kiko could help Tima keep standing. "Let's get you to the birthing room."

Heba started to get worried at Tima's look and whimpers of pain. "Mommy…?"

As Tarra nuzzled the child to try and calm him down, Tima smiled. "Go get Daddy…the baby is coming."

Hearing that, Heba broke away from Jouno and went to find Atem with Tarra. While he was scared by Tima's pain, he was very excited to meet his little sibling. At the throne room, he burst in, startling the Royal Court and concerning Atem: they knew that Heba would never interrupt a meeting unless it was an emergency. Standing up a little, Atem asked, "Heba? What is it?"

Heba just managed to stutter out, "Mommy…baby…coming…"

Hearing this, the Royal Court moved out of the way as Atem went to Heba and Tarra with wide eyes and took him to the birthing room. They arrived with perfect timing as Tima was about to enter the birthing room with help from Kiko. At that point, Tima was clearly in a lot of pain. Seeing her family, she smiled in pain. Seeing Heba looking at him with fear, Tima went over and hugged her son. "It's all right, Heba…I'll be fine."

Heba hugged her close, especially after she winced from a contraction. Atem looked at Tima and smiled; he was not afraid anymore because she survived giving birth to Heba. So, when Tima moaned at a contraction, Atem pulled Heba back and Tima went into the birthing room. Excitement replaced with fear, Heba started to cry so Atem went down and hugged his son. "Ssh…it's okay, Heba."

Heba looked up at Atem with tears in his eyes. "Mommy gonna be okay?"

Atem smiled and hugged his son again. "Yes she is, my son. Your mother is very strong."

Tarra added with a little humor, After all, she gave birth to you.

Heba started to smile but it quickly faded when they started to hear Tima moan loudly in pain. Hearing that and see Heba's look, Atem took his son's hand. "Heba, would you like to join me in the meeting? You get to see how your father works."

Heba nodded a little so Atem started to take his son to the meeting room. But he paused when Tarra squeezed his shoulder. While he was going with Atem, Heba kept looking back at the birthing room so Atem stopped and got down to Heba's level. "Heba, listen to me: your mother will be just fine. She is a very strong woman and has survived through worse things than this. I guarantee you: everything is all right and you'll be a big brother before you know it."

Heba nodded and hugged Atem. While he was still scared, he would have to believe his father.

---

A few hours later, Tarra was praying to her god at the window and Atem was playing Senet with Heba. He was impressed that Heba was able to stay still and behave during the meeting. The Royal Court was surprised that Atem had allowed his son to be involved since the child was still young and they tried to say that maybe Heba would rather be playing with Mesu; however, Atem knew that Heba was scared about what Tima was going through so the Pharaoh put his foot down and said that Heba would stay by his side. Seeing that Atem meant business, the Royal Court consented. Winning the current game, Atem brought up, "I am very proud of you for behaving yourself in the meeting."

Heba pouted at losing and admitted with a whine, "The meeting was boring. Do I really have to do those when I become Pharaoh?"

Atem chuckled and nodded. "Yes. But it is for the good for the kingdom. To tell you the truth, I sometimes get bored in the meetings as well…but that thought keeps me going."

Tarra looked back at the two males with a twinkle in her eyes. You should have seen your Father when he first became Pharaoh. I had to keep him awake a few times.

Heba giggled at Atem's glare to Tarra and started to set up another game when Tikali opened the door with Mesu by her side. "My Pharaoh…it's time."

Hearing that, Atem took Heba and Tarra back to the birthing room. At the sight of the door, Heba got really nervous, not wanting to hear her scream. Atem could understand the fear but knew that it was best that Heba be here. To their surprise, Tima was crying in pain but she was also singing in her native tongue, as if trying to distract herself from the pain. As the Royal Court (including Aknadin who had to keep up the accepting charade) and their friends came to the birthing room, Tikali heard the song and smiled. "She's singing…"

Seth looked at his wife and asked, "What song is that?"

Tikali touched her stomach and explained, "It's the prayer of birthing. In my faith, mothers sing it to their newborns to tell them that the hardship of labor is over and it is time to be born."

The Royal Court, sans Aknadin, smiled at the thought of that but Atem found something odd. "I don't recall Tima singing that song when she gave birth to Heba."

Tikali chuckled, knowing that she herself did not sing the song because she had no idea she was giving birth. "Well, I must admit…first time mothers always have trouble singing that song."

Atem smiled and looked at the door, hearing the singing interwoven with the screaming. Heba was still nervous so Atem took his hand to make him feel better. Minutes later, the song and screams stopped and were replaced by newborn cries, making everyone look up in anticipation. Heba wanted to rush to the doors but Atem held him back, knowing that the women inside had to make sure that everything was all right before letting anyone in. Two minutes later, the door opened and Heba flew in before Atem could stop him. Chuckling in amusement, Atem and Tarra went in and saw that Tima was in a night-dress and laying on the mattress with a bundle on her chest. She was out of breath and covered with sweat but she was happy, to Heba's relief. "Mommy! Are you okay?"

Tima nodded and reached up to stroke her son's hair with a wink. "Mommy is okay, my sweet. "

Heba smiled, feeling better. As Tima sat up with the bundle, Atem joined them and his eyes immediately zeroed in on the bundle. "So…?"

Tima pulled back the blanket a little to show the newborn. "Meet the new princess."

Atem, Tarra, and Heba looked down at the baby and their eyes shone. The newborn girl looked a lot like Tima, especially with the little patch of brown hair on her head. But there was something interesting about her hair: upon a closer look, her bangs were a little color, almost like a red. Atem smiled and kissed his wife's temple. "She's beautiful, Tima…a spitting image of you."

Tarra looked at Heba. What do you think, big brother?

Heba's eyes were wide with awe. His want for a little brother vanished the moment he saw the infant girl. "Sister…love baby sister!"

The newborn whined a little at the loud noise. Hearing that, Heba felt guilty and apologized. Knowing that Heba did not mean to upset his newborn sister, Atem rubbed his son's back. "It's all right, Heba. Just be careful from now on; babies don't like loud noises."

Tima nodded with a smile. Hearing her daughter continue to fuss, she reached down and kissed the newborn's forehead. "It's all right, Aziza."

Atem nodded and then looked at Tima in surprise. "That her name?"

Tima nodded and adjusted little Aziza in her arms. "Yes. I trust you know what it means."

Atem nodded: Aziza was a name in his native tongue and it meant precious. He smiled with another nod. "She's perfect. Can I hold her?"

Tima silently agreed and passed the newborn to her father. Aziza fussed at being moved but settled down in Atem's arms. Heba kept a close eye on her and asked, "Mommy, can I teach her to play games?"

Tima giggled and pulled Heba into her lap. "When she's a little older, Heba. For now, you must be very gentle with her; babies are very fragile."

Heba nodded, his eyes glued on her. "Me be gentle."

Knowing that Heba wanted a good look at his sister, Atem adjusted his sitting position and put Aziza in a position where Heba could really study her. Wanting a good look herself, Tarra went to Tima's shoulder and looked at the newborn. Heba smiled, still wrapping his head around how small she was. Just then, her eyes started to open, revealing blue eyes much like Tima's. Heba's eyes grew wider with awe. "Pretty…"

Atem smiled and looked at Tima. "Just as beautiful as her Mother."

Tima smiled. Not noticing Tarra yet, Aziza stared up at her big brother, almost surprised that there was another face besides her parents in the room. Heba stared back as Tima told the newborn, "This is your brother, Heba."

For another minute, Aziza stared at Heba before smiling. Seeing this, Heba smiled back. "Hi, Aziza."

Aziza continued to smile, her eyes already showing love for her big brother. Their parents were relieved that there was a connection between the two siblings. Remembering that everyone else wanted to meet the new member of the royal family, Atem told the midwife to let them in. She bowed in obedience and opened the door to let everyone in. Standing before the royal family, they waited for the first glimpse of the newborn; when Atem revealed her, they all smiled and bowed their heads to the new princess. Atem and Tima could tell that Aknadin's smile was fake but they decided to not say anything as long as Aknadin did not create complications. Kiko and Tikali cooed at how adorable the newborn was as Jouno looked at Heba. "How's it feel, kid?"

Too focused on the baby to hear his friend/uncle, Heba reached over and touched Aziza's hand, making her immediately grasp his finger. Heba giggled. "Sister…"

Being curious, Mesu took a step forward and looked at Aziza. Knowing that he would be a big brother very soon, he looked up at his parents and asked, "Will my brother or sister be as cute?"

Seth chuckled and nodded as Tikali answered, "Of course." Mesu smiled at the idea.

---

Five months later, Tikali was sitting in the garden, patching a big rip in one of Seth's priestly robes. Though it was high noon and hot, she decided to do her sewing in the gardens because it was a beautiful day and because she felt like she needed to be there for some reason. She continued to sew until she felt a little kick. Smiling, she paused her work and touched her swollen stomach with her eyes closed; she could hardly wait to meet her second child, especially since she was due to give birth any day now. As she thought on the upcoming birth, she heard a little rustling off to the side. Opening one eye to peek, she did not see anyone; however, she did feel someone lay their wild-haired head on her stomach. Giggling, she looked down and saw that it was indeed Mesu. "Hi, sweetie."

Mesu smiled and listened. "I can hear my brother. Hi, brother."

Tikali smiled and stroked Mesu's hair. For the last month, her family had predicted that she would have a boy because of how strong the kicks were. Taking a moment, they stayed still, not realizing that Heba was watching from the entrance with a small but sad smile on his face. He knew that his best friend was happy with the prospect of being a big brother; Heba himself was happy with being a big brother himself. Still, since Aziza was born, all the attention went to her either from their parents or from everyone else in the palace. Though a little jealous, Heba was a bright boy for his young age and he understood that babies needed a lot of care and attention, especially since his parents had told him throughout Tima's pregnancy that a lot of the attention would go to Aziza to make her alive and happy. He himself loved his little sister to the point where he spent his free time showing the little infant all his games and trying to make her smile and giggle. But, after all was said and done, he was still feeling jealous of the attention Aziza was getting and wanted some as well. Having inherited his mother's inner torturous voice, he was beginning to think no one loved him. As he looked over at his friend, he could see that Mesu was full of cheer; maybe the wild child would not go through this. Knowing deep down that there was no reason to feel this way, Heba started to head to his play room and, in doing so, started to pass his parents' bedchambers. Peeking in, he could not help but giggle: Aziza was laying on the bed and Tima was over her, smiling and giving her a little massage. Looking around, Aziza's eyes fell on Heba and immediately squealed with delight. Looking up, Tima smiled at Heba. "Hi, sweetie. Care to join me?" When Heba stayed quiet, she found it a little odd. "Heba? Are you okay, sweetie?"

Heba did not answer, his eyes locked on his little sister. Whining a little, Aziza started to reach out, as if wanting her big brother. Seeing that, Heba started to feel guilty. Feeling tears forming, he quickly ran away. Surprised, Tima wanted to go after him but she had to stay with Aziza, who started to cry from her brother running away. Continuing to run down the halls, Heba felt bad for thinking bad thoughts, especially the idea that no one loved him when it was very clear that the truth was the opposite. Passing someone, he did not stop until he reached his playroom and hid in the corner to cry. But he was not alone for long: a couple of minutes later, Atem came into the room, having been the one that Heba passed. Seeing his son in tears, he went up to him and hugged him. Equally worried, Tarra reached down and nuzzled the prince. What's wrong?

Amidst sniffles and hiccups, Heba said against Atem's chest, "Heba…bad…"

Not understanding, Atem focused on soothing his son first with back rubs in the hug. When Heba finally settled down, Atem wiped Heba's eyes with his cape. "All right, Heba. Tell what happened. Why do you think you're bad?"

Seizing the chance, Tarra asked, Did you finally kick Aknadin?

Heba did giggle before he could stop himself. Silently thanking Tarra, Atem looked at Heba, who explained, "I've been jealous…of Aziza…"

Atem was a little surprised at this admission. "Your sister? Why?" Heba hid his face again, still feeling guilty, so Atem hugged his son again. "Heba…you know you can tell me."

Sniffling, Heba said, "She gets all the attention…I was starting to think…no one loved me…"

Atem and Tarra finally understood what was going on: the child was feeling a little unwanted because Atem was busy with his duties as the Pharaoh and Tima was busy taking care of Aziza. Picking up his son, Atem started to take him to the main bedchambers. "I am sorry, Heba. I guess we have been too busy to notice."

Wiping his eyes, Heba shook his head. "I understand…Mommy and Daddy are busy…"

Atem looked at his son. "Still, we are sorry and will try better. You deserve as much attention as your sister."

Feeling like he was stealing some of the time that Aziza needed, Heba protested, "But she needs the attention."

Tarra interjected with, So do you.

Heba hugged Atem close as the two males made it back to the main bedchambers, where Tima was holding a now calm Aziza. "Heba, are you all right?"

Heba looked down for a moment, unsure about telling the truth. Setting his son down, Atem rubbed his son's back to comfort him. Heba peeked up at Tima. "I sorry, Mommy…"

Tima tilted her head. "About what, sweetie?"

Heba lowered his head again. "Being jealous…"

Tima smiled gently at that: she understood what Heba was going through, knowing that her own older sister admitted that she felt the same way when Tima was born. Burying the thought of Yima, Tima went over to Heba. "Was that why you ran off?" Off Heba's nod, Tima smiled and winked at Atem before saying, "Well, I know what you can do to make up for it."

Heba looked up with curious eyes. Having an idea of what Tima wanted, Atem picked up Heba and set him on the bed before putting a pillow on his lap. Tima then put Aziza on the pillow. The infant immediately squealed at the sight of her brother, making Heba smile. "Hi, Aziza…"

Continuing to squeal happily, Aziza reached for him and Heba let her grip his finger. Heba felt his doubts wash away, especially about being unloved: he could clearly see that his little sister alone loved him. Tima smiled and stroked Heba's hair. "Don't you worry, Heba: we will give you as much attention as Aziza. Feeling better?"

Heba nodded, keeping his eyes on the baby. Chuckling, Atem kissed Tima's temple. "I should warn Seth about this for when Tikali gives birth."

Tima nodded. Tarra added with a joke, Better do that soon: Tikali looks like she's ready to pop. The royal couple chuckled at the truthful statement.

---

Back in the gardens, Tikali was alone again as Mesu had gone to get himself a snack. Moaning a little, she adjusted herself against the palm tree. "Maybe I've been outside for too long…"

She wanted to go inside, especially since her body was in discomfort, but she wanted to finish fixing Seth's priestly robes. But it soon became clear that she could not because of the increasing pain she was feeling. She wanted to get up and get some help but her legs refused to work. The truth of her pain was that she was in labor but she did not know because Mesu's birth was so unusual. Feeling stuck, she started to call out to anyone who could hear her. Thankfully, two servants were passing by and came to see what was wrong. After Tikali described the pain, one of the servants took off to find the midwives as the other tried to keep Tikali calm. "Milady, I believe you are in labor."

Tikali looked up at the servant and could only utter, "What?!"

Remembering Tikali's last mysterious pregnancy, the servant just shrugged and continued to try to keep Tikali calm. Tikali wanted to go to the birthing room but her legs remained locked up from the pain. By the time the midwives arrived, Tikali's water had broken and she was crying out in pain. The servant who got the midwives asked, "How are we going to transport her?"

The head midwife checked Tikali's body out and shook her head. "There's no time: the baby is coming now."

Again shocked, Tikali yelped, "What?!"

---

Having found a carrot in the kitchen, Mesu was heading back to the garden but he was sidetracked by finding Seth and Itami in the scroll room. Smiling with the carrot between his teeth, he got down on his hands and knees and started to crawl in. But he froze when he heard Seth say, "You need to work on your sneaking up abilities, Mesu."

Mesu giggled and stood up. Putting away a scroll, Itami's eyes sparkled. Give him some credit, Seth: he's only five.

Seth smirked and looked up at his son. "Keeping your Mother company?"

Mesu nodded before swallowing a bite of carrot. "Yep! Keeping her and baby brother company."

That caught Seth's attention. "Did Tikali give birth?"

Mesu shook his head as a servant came in. Having heard Seth's question, the servant bowed his head and said, "Actually, my Lord Priest…she just did."

The two humans and the phoenix's six eyes grew extra wide before they flew out of the room to find Tikali. Sure enough, when they came upon the garden, Tikali was there with the midwives surrounding her. Worried, Mesu ran forward and tried to push the midwives away. Though he understood his son's behavior, Seth wanted him to still behave so he went forward and stopped Mesu before telling the midwives, "Move."

They bowed in obedience and moved away, revealing an exhausted Tikali holding a bundle. Recognizing the cloth as the priestly clothing Tikali was working on, Seth asked, "Is that my…?"

Tikali did not answer, too focused on the bundle, but one of the young midwives bowed her head. "Please forgive us, my Lord Priest. It happened so fast…we couldn't get a blanket in time."

While he was a little annoyed that his robes were being used, he was still understanding: they were just robes and the lives of the child and mother were more important. Itami pointed out privately, Oh well. You can always get them cleaned or have new ones made.

Seth nodded. Unaware of Itami's closed-off comment, Tikali looked up and smiled tiredly. Mesu sniffled and wiped his teary eyes. "Mommy…are you okay?"

Tikali nodded and looked down at the bundle. "Yes…better than okay, in fact. Seth…Mesu…"

With that, she revealed a baby boy in the bundle. With blue eyes and brown hair, the newborn was almost a clone of Seth. Itami chirped with happiness and Mesu smiled brightly. "Baby brother!"

Tikali nodded. As the midwives left to give them space, Seth sat down next to Tikali and his heart melted at the sight of his new son. Itami looked down and wanted to nuzzle the newborn but knew that it was too soon after birth. Tikali looked at Seth and smiled. "He looks just like you."

Seth nodded and touched the baby's head. With Mesu continuing to smile, the Priest asked, "You like him?"

Mesu nodded. "Yes! I love him! Can I hold him?"

Tikali chuckled. "Maybe later. Babies are fragile, especially after being born."

Seth nodded and, looking around, made note, "We should probably go inside."

Itami nodded. Absolutely. We don't want the little one to get too hot.

With Tikali still holding her newborn, Seth helped her stand up and led his family inside, Mesu bouncing around with excitement. Looking down at Mesu, Seth got an idea. "Do you want to name him?"

Everyone looked up at Seth in surprise. Thinking that Seth would want to name his son, Itami asked, You sure?

Seth nodded. Mesu was very excited but he had no idea what name to come up with so Tikali suggested, "How about from one of your favorite stories?"

With that, Mesu immediately thought of his favorite story from Tikali's faith and said, "Noa!"

Seth looked at the newborn and nodded with a smile. "Noa…it suits him perfectly."

Seeing that Mesu wanted to take a look, Tikali paused against the pillar and lowered down to show Mesu his new brother. The wild child smiled. "Hi, Noa. I hope you like your name."

Noah cooed gently. His eyes sparkling, Itami started to sing a little song to the newborn as the royal family came by. Trying to rock Aziza to sleep, Tima started to say hi to Tikali when everyone noticed the bundle and their eyes widened. Atem asked, "Is that…?"

Tikali nodded and stroked Noa's head. "Yes…I gave birth a few minutes ago in the gardens. This little one was eager to come out."

Tarra chirped with happiness as Heba joined Mesu's side and smiled down at Noa. "Cutie…"

Atem smiled and shook Seth's hand. "Congratulations, my friend."

Seth nodded. He and Atem knew that their families were finally complete with their wives and two children each and that the future would be nothing but bright days from here on out.
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