Ripples

By Alexis Leeper

Romance / Drama

Friendships and Farewells

The day after Heba invited Merina to the palace, Heba was working on preparing some games and toys in his playroom. Seeing that the sun was almost at its highest, he knew that the Scorpion Clan would be coming to the palace very soon and he wanted everything to be perfect. He was so focused at the task at hand that he did not know he was being watched until he heard a familiar voice speak up: "You seem very excited about this visitor."

Heba looked up and saw Atem standing there. He nodded with a smile. "Yep. This is a chance to have another friend so I want everything to be perfect."

Atem chuckled and teased, "And the fact that she's a pretty girl means…'no, never mind' to you?"

Heba blushed at his father's teases. Flying into the room, Tarra landed on Heba's shoulder and nuzzled his cheek. Come on, Atem. Let's not tease him about the fact that he's about to have a very special visitor.

Heba looked away, his blush remaining on his face. "You're not helping, Tarra."

Atem smirked and reached up to scratch his phoenix's chest. "You best be ready for the teases. When she becomes yours, she will tease you when she can."

Heba nodded softly, knowing that inheriting the throne also meant inheriting Tarra and the Sennen Pendant. With that thought, he looked at the Pendant and asked, "Will the Sennen Pendant accept me as its new owner?"

Atem smiled and went up to touch Heba's shoulder. "Of course it will. You have a strong heart, a strong sense of justice, and don't have darkness in you. I know that the Pendant will be honored to be called yours."

Heba smiled as a servant knocked on the door and said while bowing, "Excuse me, my Pharaoh. The Scorpion Clan has arrived."

Atem thanked the servant and looked at Heba. "Come join me."

Heba nodded and followed his father out to the courtyard where Scorpio and his family were there with a few members of the clan, some of whom Heba recognized from the day before. To his delight, Merina was there with Caeris and, to his surprise, another Amazonian woman. Seeing the Pharaoh, everyone got down on one knee and Scorpio said to him, "My Pharaoh, we are here to serve you."

Atem smiled and nodded. "Thank you, Scorpio." He then looked at Caeris. "Thank you for bringing your daughter so she and my son can play."

As everyone stood up, Caeris smiled and gestured to the Amazonian next to her. "I hope you don't mind, my Pharaoh; I asked my little sister Harmonia to watch over my daughter."

Heba looked at Harmonia and first noticed just how muscular she was, especially compared to her older sister, and her unusual shoulder-length hair: her sharply shaped face was outlined with black hair, as if she colored it with mud, while the rest of her hair was its natural blond. The same height of Caeris, Harmonia carried an air about her that showed she was playful and innocent but also a fierce fighter in battle. Atem smiled, especially when Merina hugged Harmonia's waist. "Not at all. After all, our children are our future and must be protected when they are going to unknown places."

Heba blushed a little at that comment, as if Atem knew that he and Mesu went into the village alone the other day. Harmonia smiled and chirped in a playful voice, "Yes, indeed, which is why my sister put me in charge of the little one."

With that, Scorpio looked down at Merina and told her, "While we are here, I expect you to be on your best behavior. You understand, my Desert Rose?"

Merina nodded and walked up to Heba with a smile. "Hi!"

Heba smiled back. However, before he could ask her anything, there was a phoenix screech above them. They looked up and saw a red phoenix fly down and land on Merina's shoulder. The blond smiled and scratched her phoenix's chest. "About time you found us, Torru."

Torru's eyes sparkled. Forgive me, Merina. But this place has phoenixes!

Merina was surprised that there were other phoenixes; after she found Torru's egg when she was six, she thought he was the only one in existence. Atem himself could not believe what he was seeing: he knew, from the legends, that there were seven elemental phoenixes in existence, four of which lived in his palace (lightning, earth, dark, and water) and two lived in the Far East (wind and light). After all these years, he thought that the seventh and last phoenix (fire) would never be found; yet, here it was and the guardian of a young girl of an assassin clan. He wanted to ask more but he could tell that his guards were anxious to start their training and Heba was anxious to start playing with Merina so Atem looked at Scorpio. "Well…let us see what you have to teach us today."

Scorpio nodded and turned towards the guards. As Atem went to his royal chair to watch, Heba took Merina's hand. "Come on! I got a lot of plans for us."

Merina smiled and was led off with the crowned prince. Harmonia chuckled and followed the children. Torru's eyes chuckled and decided to fly off to meet the other phoenixes, trusting Harmonia enough to take care of the little girl. As Scorpio and his clansmen started to train the guards, Atem watched Merina out of the corner of his eye. How was it possible that a young child was a chosen guardian? Was there more to this child than he originally thought? Peeking at Tarra, he told her, Find that child's phoenix…learn what you can from the final phoenix.

Tarra nodded and flew off to find the red phoenix. Atem then continued to watch the lessons. Though he was curious about the child and her phoenix, he sensed no ill will from her and was happy that his son found a friend in her.

---

A week came and went; Harmonia and Merina visited the prince every day, to Heba's delight. Since they spent the first day exploring the palace, Heba filled their days with playing games in the gardens, Merina's favorite place. That day, Harmonia was doing her exercises under a tree where Torru was perched, currently cleaning his feathers, when she heard Merina whine. Looking up, the Amazonian woman chuckled: Heba gave Merina a puzzle to solve, a puzzle Heba himself made that was supposed to be in the shape of the Sennen Pendant, and Merina was having trouble making the pieces come together. Heba was watching with a little amusement. "Still don't want my help?"

Stubborn as ever, Merina stuck her tongue out at him and continued to work. But she continued to have trouble so she finally put the pieces back in the box and suggested, "Let's play another game."

Heba chuckled and touched the puzzle box. "I thought you would have trouble."

Merina gave Heba a look. "Well, what about you? Can you solve it?"

Heba nodded. "Of course. I've already solved it twice…but Aziza always breaks it."

Merina giggled, having met the other children of the palace. She liked Mesu, especially since she knew that the wild child liked to tease them, and Aziza, who liked to tease her brother about his new friend. The heir to the Scorpion Clan met Noa only once since the boy preferred to be alone with his studies. "I can see her doing that. So what shall we play now?"

Heba held up a bag of small clay balls. "How about my favorite game?"

Merina teased, "Is there any game that's not your favorite?"

Heba scratched the back of his head with a blush and chuckle. "Well…" Hearing Merina state that she was kidding, the prince looked at the bag. "We're going to have fun with this."

Getting a stick, Heba made a circle in the dirt and then dumped the balls next to the circle. Unfortunately, one ball landed on the pathway and started to roll towards the doorway. Merina stood up to get it but Heba was faster after the ball. He was unable to catch it until the ball stopped against a shoe. Landing on his knees, Heba reached for it but paused, recognizing the shoe and outfit. Looking up, his suspicions were confirmed: the ball was resting against the shoe of Aknadin. The prince got a little nervous, especially since Aknadin always treated the crowned prince horribly when his parents were not around because the priest considered Heba as a half-breed. The priest treated Aziza the same way but she always fought back, unlike Heba. "Excuse me…"

Aknadin looked down at the boy with a slight glare. He completely ignored the visitors since, in his mind, they were beneath peasants because of their lifestyle. "Boy, what are you doing?"

Merina, Torru, and Harmonia were shocked that Aknadin referred to Heba by that title. Heba's heart squeezed; while he was sadly used to Aknadin called him that when no one was around, it still hurt him. Holding up the ball, Heba explained, "This…got away from me…I was just…retrieving it."

Aknadin continued to look down at Heba before stating with a cold tone, "Very well. Now get away from me."

Heba went silent, lowering his head. Harmonia wanted to step in and say something, still in disbelief that this priest treated Heba, the crowned prince of Khment, in this way but Merina was faster: the girl ran to Heba's side and screamed, "How dare you!"

Heba jumped in surprise at Merina's outburst while Harmonia hung back with a proud smile. Torru paused what he was doing to watch his guardian with a glint in his eyes. Surprised himself, Aknadin looked down at the blond with a cold eye. "Excuse me?"

Merina glared up at him. "How dare you! You call yourself a Priest and here you are, insulting the Prince of Khment! It's people like you that make me sick! You have no right to treat him like dirt! He is your prince and you should treat him with respect!"

Aknadin was stunned that this twelve-year-old mongrel was telling him off. He wanted to slap her but, thankfully, Kalim called for him to go to a meeting. Giving the children a secret sneer, the old priest left. Once they were alone, Heba smiled brightly at Merina. "That was so cool!"

Merina shrugged and walked back to the game with him. "Well, it's what he deserves. I can't believe he treats you like that. You should stand up to him."

Heba shrugged a little as his eyes lowered a little. "I don't want conflicts…"

Harmonia felt for the prince, knowing what it was like to be picked on for seemingly no reason when the teaser's protector is away. But she stated, "With all due respect, my Prince, you can't be that way if you're going to be Pharaoh one day. Everyone can see that you're a wonderful Prince and will be a great Pharaoh, just like your Father. But how great of a Pharaoh will you be if your subjects see how a priest like that treats you?"

Heba looked up at Harmonia and then at Merina as the child continued the thought. "Aunt Harmonia is right. If you want to do what you think is right and be a leader, you can't let others walk all over you. It's like my mom and dad say all the time: you must stand up for what you believe in no matter what others say. In fact, that is one of the things that is required if someone wants to be a Scorpion Warrior."

Torru wanted to add to the conversation but he kept quiet, remembering his vow to never open up to someone outside of the clan because of the constant moving. Heba was taken aback by their words but he knew that they were right: he had the right ideas and caring heart that were needed to be a ruler but there was still a major obstacle that he needed to take care of: his shy personality. If he was to be Pharaoh one day, he needed to stand up for himself, no matter what the situation. "You're right."

Merina smiled and sat in front of the circle. Smiling as well, Heba sat on her opposite side and started to set up the game. Harmonia watched them for a while and then asked, "Out of curiosity, why does he treat you like that?"

Heba shrugged a little. "Because of my mom." Seeing the two look at him, the prince explained, "Mother is not royalty-born."

Merina was shocked. "Really? I never knew that!"

Harmonia agreed. "The Queen holds herself so stronger, I thought she was royalty-born."

Heba smiled with a little pride. "Nope! She used to be my father's servant and…well, they fell in love." He then looked off to the distance in thought. "Now that I think about it…Mother…she's very courageous herself. She's been through a lot before and when she was made Queen because of her status…but she made it through that time."

Merina smiled and touched Heba's shoulder, getting his attention. "Maybe you should take a lesson out of the Queen's scroll and be courageous like her."

Heba nodded and added, "I can learn from my sister as well; Aknadin treats her the same but she always snaps at him."

Merina chuckled, believing that Aziza would do that. Still hung up on how Tima and Atem got together, Harmonia squealed with delight. "Aw, that's so romantic! I wish I had one of those moments! …Hell, I'd settle for any guy looking at me with want."

As Heba continued to set up the game, Merina reminded Harmonia, "Leander always does."

Harmonia playfully rolled her eyes. "That blond show-off? No way. Besides, you know the rules about marriage with my clan…and he has yet to deliver."

Finished, Heba looked up with curiosity. "What rules?"

Harmonia moved over to be closer to the kids and to watch the game. "When a man wants to marry a Amazonian, he has to defeat her in battle. Leander has challenged me many times and he has yet to beat me."

Heba looked at Merina. "Is that how your parents met?"

Merina giggled and nodded. "Yep!"

While it was no breaking social barriers like with his parents, Heba liked the idea of Merina's parents meeting in battle. Seeing the two blonds looking at the game, the prince explained the rules: use your slightly bigger ball to knock out as many of the smaller balls out of the circle. Once he demonstrated, he and the two females started to play. Merina and Harmonia were able to hold their own but they were still no match for Heba, who won each game. Merina giggled and pointed out, "You're the King when it comes to playing games."

Heba chuckled and scratched the back of his head. "Not really. When Father has time to play a game with me, he's the one who's truly the master. I've been playing games with him ever since I can remember and I have never defeated him."

Harmonia asked, "He doesn't let you win?"

Heba shook his head. "He doesn't believe in that."

Merina admitted, "Neither does my dad."

As Heba started to scoop up the balls for another game, he stated, "I know, one day, I will defeat him and it will be the greatest game of our lives."

Merina and Harmonia smiled at Heba's determination. As Merina took a ball and failed to make a smaller one leave the circle, Harmonia looked up at the sky and noticed that the sun was almost aligned with the pillars. "We shouldn't stay too long; everyone will want to be getting back."

Heba started to aim a ball at a small ball and asked, "Well, you'll be back tomorrow, right?"

Merina looked at Heba in surprise. Did he not know? "My Prince…we're leaving tomorrow."

Heba flicked his ball into the plants in surprise. "You are?"

Torru dove into the bushes to find the ball as Merina nodded. "Didn't the Pharaoh and Queen tell you?"

Heba thought back to remember if they did or did not. Tima had told him that the Scorpion Clan was leaving the next day but he was too busy trying to find all his clay balls that the thought did not register. The thought of Merina leaving broke Heba's little heart: Merina was his first friend outside of the palace and she was leaving with the possibility of never coming back. Seeing how hurt he was, Merina hugged Heba close, causing him to blush but hug back. After a moment, she pulled back and looked at him with a smile. "I can ask Mom and Dad if you and I can hang out for a bit before we leave." Seeing Heba light up, Merina giggled. "I'm sure they'll say yes before we leave."

Going to Torru to get the ball, Harmonia heard what Merina said and told them, "Heba would have to come down to the campsite: I doubt the clan will want to make an extra stop at the palace."

Merina nodded, knowing full well how restless the warriors got when it was time to move on. Heba was a little worried about how that would happen since he would have to be accompanied down to where the clan was and he hoped that someone would agree to take him down there in the morning. After determining that he would ask Jouno to take him, he bid Merina, Torru, and Harmonia farewell. As he watched the three leave, the crowned prince got an idea and ran to his room to get started. He knew that he had a limited amount of time so he was determined to stay up as long as possible until it was done.

---

As the sun started to set, Atem and Tarra went to Heba's room, curious about what his son was working on: the crowned prince refused to leave his room, even taking his meals in his room, and refused to let anyone see what he was working on. Chuckling a little, the Pharaoh knocked on the door. "Heba? May I come in?"

Hearing his son grant entrance, Atem walked in and was surprised at the sight: Heba was working on a triangle-shaped box. Atem could tell that Heba was very focused on the work but he could also tell that his son was getting tired. Tarra went down to the desk and nuzzled Heba's arm as Atem stated, "Heba, it's getting late; you should get some sleep."

Heba shook his head as he rubbed his eyes sleepily. "I can't…I need to finish before morning…before she leaves."

Hearing this, Atem figured it out. "It's for Merina, isn't it?" Seeing Heba smile, the Pharaoh chuckled and went to Heba's side. "What kind of box is it?"

Heba chuckled and looked at the box. "It's a puzzle box that will hide a present inside. I made it easy for her since she usually has trouble with my puzzles."

Atem chuckled. He knew that Heba was the master of making difficult puzzles. Tarra then asked, So what's the gift you're going to put in there?

Heba opened his mouth to answer when he froze and his eyes widened in shock: he was so focused on working on the box, he forgot to get her a gift to put in it! He peeked out the window and saw that the sun was almost gone, thus making all the shops closed. He started to panic but Atem looked at Heba and grabbed his shoulder to keep him still and calm. "Heba, calm down!"

Heba looked at Atem, hoping that he was right. Taking a deep breath, he asked in a worried tone, "Do you have…any ideas?"

Atem was unsure. He knew that this was going to be tough with the shops closed and pretty much everyone heading for bed. After a moment of thinking, Tarra suggested, Why not talk to the Queen?

Heba nodded and started to follow Atem and Tarra out of his room. While he appeared calm, he was still panicking inside. He wanted to make things perfect for Merina, to help her remember him especially since he wondered if the Scorpion Clan would return to Khment, but he was now doubting that the perfect gift would come to light. Before he could ask Atem if things would be all right, they arrived at the master bedroom. When they walked in, Tima looked up from brushing her hair. "Heba. I thought you would have been asleep by now."

Tarra flying off to her stand, Atem went up to his wife and kissed her gently. "He's been working on a gift for Merina before she and her clan leave tomorrow. However, in his haste to make a box to hold the gift…he forgot to get the gift itself. We were hoping that you had some ideas about what to give her."

Tima smiled and looked at Heba. "Well, you came to the right place. What kind of gift do you want? Give something and I'll be able to go from there."

Heba rubbed his arm as he thought. "Well…I want something that will help her remember me by…something she can look at all day."

Hearing this, Tima thought and came up with a good idea: "How about a friendship ring?"

Heba brightened up. "That's a great idea!" He then soured as reality hit him: "But it's too late…the jeweler will have closed his shop by now…we won't be able to make it in time…"

Atem reached over and touched Heba's shoulder. "Don't give up, Heba. You can't lose faith now."

Tima nodded and suddenly remembered: "We recently got someone here at the palace who can make jewelry. Maybe she's still awake."

Seeing Heba brighten up, Atem told his son, "If you go to her now, you'll be able to get her to make the ring before morning."

Hearing that, Heba ran off but came back a few seconds later. "Where is the jeweler?"

Tima told him that it was the room next to the kitchen. Heba nodded and continued on his way. The Queen chuckled and looked at Atem. "I'm starting to think that you're right."

Ever since Merina and Heba started to hang out, Atem had speculated that young Heba would eventually develop a friendly crush on the girl. The Pharaoh chuckled and hugged her from behind. "Well, he is young and Merina is a pretty girl. I just hope that he will be able to handle her leaving."

Tima nodded in agreement. "I agree. And who knows? Maybe they will come back."

Atem looked at Tarra in slight worry. The Pharaoh did not believe that the Scorpion Clan would return since legend stated that they never returned to the same place twice and he knew that Tima knew that from him telling her himself. But he knew that she liked to keep a positive outlook on life so he nodded in response.

---

A few minutes later, Heba arrived at the jeweler's door. To his delight, he saw that the door was open and the candles inside were still lit. Peeking in, he saw a middle-aged woman starting to put things away so he knocked on the door, getting her attention. Seeing Heba, she bowed her head to him. "My Prince. What can I do for you?"

Heba immediately asked, "Can you make a ring for me?"

The jeweler smiled. "I, Husn, will do as the prince commands. If I may, who is the ring for? Will you give it to your mother?"

Heba shook his head. "No…it's for my friend…my special friend."

Husn smiled and started to take out what she needed to make a ring. "Is there a specific design you have in mind?"

Heba shook his head with a shrug. He wanted to make a simple ring and he was not good at thinking things through like this. "I don't know…just make a simple ring and I'll figure out a design later on."

Husn nodded. "Very well. I will work into the night on your ring. What size is her finger?"

Heba suggested that her finger was the same size as his and then returned to his room to continue to work on the box. Soon the puzzle was finished so he painted it yellow and smiled at his work. It was shaped like the Sennen Pendant with five levels in the triangle-box. He got to work on opening it up: holding the bottom, he twisted four levels to the right, three levels to the left, two levels to the right, and finally the top level to the left until the top was off. Smiling, he peeked out and noticed that the moon was a bit high. He winced a little, having not realized how late he stayed up. But his thoughts were distracted by wondering how the ring was coming along. Taking his candle, he headed to Husn's room, staying in the shadows to avoid getting caught. Finally arriving at the room, he gently knocked on the door. "Husn? May I come in?"

Husn's happy voice sounded from inside. "Yes, my Prince. I just finished the ring."

Heba came in with an excited step and smiled brightly at the ring. It was thick enough to cover the finger from the knuckle to the first joint and it was a very simple ring. As he admired the ring, Husn told him, "I was just about to come to you and ask you about the design. Have you thought of something yet?"

Heba was about to say that he had not when he was suddenly hit with inspiration. "Can you crave in the design of a phoenix?"

Unaware that Merina had a phoenix herself, Husn nodded and went to work, heating up one side of the ring and craving in the design of a phoenix with its wings spread out. The process took a long while and Heba struggled to stay awake to watch it. Once the phoenix was done, Husn reached for her ink to color it in but Heba stopped her. With a hidden smile, he took the ring. "I will take care of that. Thank you, Husn."

The jeweler was very surprised to hear that but she knew better than to argue with the prince. Bowing her head, she started to put the instruments away as Heba started to go back to his room. Back at his desk, he lit a few more candles and got out his supply of ink and brushes. He wanted to go to sleep but he knew he had to finish this before he saw Merina off tomorrow. With that in mind, he went to work.

---

The next morning, Atem and Tarra arrived at Heba's room. They knew that the Scorpion Clan was set to leave very soon and Heba had yet to come out of his room. Tarra told Atem, I hope he's not holed up with depression.

Atem shook his head, refusing to believe that was the reason for Heba not being out of his room. He tried knocking on the door but there was no answer. He and his phoenix looked into the room and saw the reason: Heba was sleeping at his desk. The Pharaoh approached his son and chuckled at the sight: Heba's face and hands were covered with ink, as if he used his hands to wipe up ink and then wiped his eyes, and his left hand was clutching the gold ring, with the cravings of the phoenix now filled in with black ink. For a brief second, Atem wondered why his son chose black ink instead of red to represent Torru but he remembered that, at the moment, Heba only had access to black ink. Chuckling at the opportunity, Atem looked at Tarra and whispered, "Do you mind…?"

Tarra's eyes twinkled. She waited until Atem plugged his ears and then screeched very loudly, causing Heba to yelp and fall off his chair. Rubbing his now-bruised cheek, he glared up at Atem and Tarra. "What was that for?"

Atem gave Heba an amused, yet concerned look. "Do you not see how high the sun is?"

Heba looked out the window and immediately jumped up to his feet: he was going to miss Merina! Grabbing the ring and puzzle box, he ran out of the room, not caring that his face and hands were dirty and he was still wearing the same clothes from the night before. He did not stop until he ran out of the palace and the guards stopped him at the gates, refusing to let him go out on his own. He tried to protest, all the while putting the ring in the puzzle box, but the guards remained firm. Heba lowered his head and almost started to cry; at this rate, he was going to miss Merina for sure. He was about to turn to leave when he heard a familiar voice say, "Let him through!"

The guards quickly bowed and Heba turned around to see Atem there on his horse with Tarra flying above. Heba was about to express his worries when Atem held out his hand. "Get on. It's not nice to keep a lady waiting."

Heba smiled, grateful that Atem was helping him.

---

Down with the Scorpion Clan, the tribe was ready to go but they had to wait for Scorpio's word. The head of the Scorpion Clan watched Merina, who was waiting next to Caeris' horse and looking very depressed: she had waited for Heba all morning and now it was looking like he was not coming. Looking down at her daughter, Caeris got off her horse and touched Merina's shoulder. "Don't be upset, Merina. I'm sure something came up; he is a prince after all."

Merina lowered her head as she felt her mother's arms wrap around her. "I know…but…he promised me…"

Caeris felt horrible that she could not do anything to make her daughter feel better. After a while, Merina pulled away and started to head to Scorpio's horse. "We can go…he's not-"

"Merina, wait!"

Merina looked behind her and could not believe it: Heba was running up to her! Smiling brightly, she ran to meet him. "You came!"

Heba took a moment to catch his breath but still explained, "I…didn't want you…to leave…without…this…"

Straightening out, he reached out to offer his gift…only to see that his hand was empty. He squeaked with surprise, making Merina laugh, and looked around frantically to look for the gift. He was about to panic when he heard an unfamiliar masculine voice tell him, It's behind you.

Briefly looking in the direction of the voice, he saw Torru waiting with Caeris. Unaware of how special it was that Torru spoke to him, the prince looked behind him and, to his relief, the puzzle box was indeed behind him a few feet away. He quickly got it and brought it back to Merina. "I hope you like it…I stayed up all night working on it."

Merina was touched by this, especially since this was the reason he was so late. She took the box and gave Heba a sly look. "It's a puzzle, isn't it?"

Heba chuckled and scratched the back of his head. "Don't worry, it's a simple one. Solve it."

With her parents watching with smiles on their faces, Merina started to work on getting the puzzle open. At first, she had a little difficulty since Heba gave her no instructions but she eventually figured it out and opened it, finding the ring. Her eyes widened at the sight of her gift. "Heba…"

Heba smiled with a small blush as Merina looked over the ring, in awe at the detail in the phoenix. Seeing her looking at the phoenix, the prince stated, "You know…our friendship is very much like a phoenix: no matter what obstacles you throw between us, we will always rise above it in triumph."

Now it was Merina's turn to blush. Not only was Heba her first real friend, he was the first friend who was determined to keep the friendship going even if they never saw each other again, clear by the ring and puzzle box he worked so hard on. Putting the ring on her middle finger, she hugged Heba, prompting him to hug her back. Their parents smiled at the children, seeing already that they were going to have a special bond. Heba whispered, "I'm going to miss you, Merina."

Merina smiled. "I'm going to miss you too, Heba." Pulling back, she saw Scorpio's nod out of the corner of her eye and sighed. "I guess…this is goodbye."

Heba shook his head, refusing to believe that. "No…more like…I'll see you later."

Merina smiled and hugged Heba close again. Atem was glad that Heba was keeping the faith but he hoped that his son would not be disappointed when he learned that the Scorpion Clan was never in the same place twice. After saying their final goodbyes, Merina went to Scorpio's horse and climbed up. Looking down at the prince, Merina waved with her hand that had her ring as the clan started to leave. Heba waved until the clan was out of sight and then lowered his head until his eyes were shadowed. Seeing his son's posture, Atem got off his horse and went to him. Touching the prince's shoulder, the Pharaoh decided to not tell Heba the rest of the legend of the Scorpion Clan, not wanting to devastate him, and said, "Don't worry…you might see her again."

Heba looked up to reveal a smile. "Yes…I will."

Atem smiled at Heba's optimism. Off the distance, Merina was looking down at her ring. She knew that her clan never returned from a city they visited but maybe…
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