I'm still reeling from my encounter with Ahmose. A real live mummy… or, well, a not-quite-dead one, at least.
Blake warned me and one of the workers that an ex-archaeologist-turned-grave-robber named Zul al Zan is in the area and has a habit of slipping into other people's digs and stealing things for the black market. Apparently he calls himself 'the Pirate of the Sand Seas.' Be that as it may, it'd be a good idea to keep an eye out for him, but in the meantime, I want to head out to the pyramid as soon as I have a moment and see Ahmose again.
As soon as I had the time, I slipped away from the main dig and entered the pyramid to speak with Ahmose. He's such a fascinating character, even if he did seem a bit fuzzy on the difference between archaeology and grave robbing. While we spoke, however, we overheard someone trying to sneak deeper into the pyramids… it wasn't the researchers, so it had to be Zul al Zan. Ahmose vowed to stop them and protect the Ruby Eye, the artifact he guards. And I wasn't about to let the only living mummy wander off alone and put himself in danger!
Ahmose and I moved deeper into the pyramid, following the twisting corridors downward, in an effort to catch up with Zul al Zan. Oddly enough, Zul had already bypassed several valuable finds, which suggested he was after something very specific rather than just general loot and plunder. Sure enough, Ahmose explained that the tomb of Neferkaptah was in the pyramid, and along with it, the Book of Thoth, a legendary tome which allowed the user to speak with animals and perceive the gods. It's got to be what Zul was after. Before we could chase after him, though, we had to find a way to disarm the magical curse protecting the tomb from invaders.
I could see that Ahmose was upset at the idea of defacing the tomb and removing the protective wards, so I decided to leave him and give him time to try and get through the wards safely. I'll come back to the pyramid later and see how he's doing... with luck, he'll figure out the right incantation.I returned to the pyramid to try and help Ahmose stop Zul al Zan from stealing the Book of Thoth. When last I left Mr. Friendly Neighborhood Mummy, he was trying to use magic to get through the protective wards, and he'd made great progress since then.
The first trap dealt with, Ahmose and I pushed on to the second one... a series of woven mats placed over bottomless shafts and pits for unwary grave robbers to fall in. Unfortunately, it seemed Zul was on the wary side, and he was already through the chamber... though not that far ahead. Ahmose was somewhat concerned about whether he'd be fast or flexible enough to get through, so I encouraged him to put his hand on my shoulder and follow me through. He seemed almost... surprised?
Unfortunately, navigating the hidden pits turned out to be a bit beyond me... luckily Ahmose was there to stop me from making a mummy of myself! He was struggling with the curse, though... apparently the magic down there makes him weaker or something. He claimed he had to rest, and although I don't like leaving those grave robbers down there, it's better that than have to carry poor Ahmose around everywhere. I'll come back to the pyramid later, hopefully when Ahmose is stronger.I came back to the pyramid again to see how Ahmose was. He was feeling better, thank goodness, and he was able to use the time to pick out which mats were safe to step on. Thanks to him, we were able to slip through the trap without any problems.
The second trap dealt with, we'd barely gone five feet before there was a loud explosion.
Ahmose and I moved deeper into the pyramid to see what caused the explosion, and why. Turns out Zul al Zan had blasted a stone plug that was blocking the way. I can't wrap my head around such blatant disregard for the tomb and its historical significance! Ahmose, as usual, thought that the researchers were just the same, but we're not like that at all... and I was going to prove it to him somehow.
We struggled to catch up with Zul, but his recklessness made it easier for him to move quickly through the traps. Feeling pretty desperate, I asked Ahmose if there was a way to just shut down all the traps. He admitted that there was, but that doing so would basically betray the souls of the dead and leave them vulnerable to everything and everyone. I had a tough choice to make...
I knew I'd regret it, but I agreed with Ahmose... it wasn't fair to ask him to break with his traditions just to make things easier for me. So I had yet another trap to get through, this one with a series of tripwires. Lucky I always bring my super-duper revealing powder from my magic tricks?We came to another trap only to find that someone had already... helpfully triggered it. One of Zul's goons was lying in the room, blinded and dazed from some sort of poison trap. He passed out before he could tell us anything else, so we left him there and moved deeper into the pyramid.
It was a tough choice, but the traps were slowing us down too much, and I asked Ahmose to shut them down. He ended up summoning this strange little bug called Kheper to run off and stop the worst of them, the ones with moving parts at least. I would say this was the strangest thing I saw all day, but really, I just spent my afternoon hanging out with a walking talking mummy trying to find magic items. An intelligent bug seems... oddly normal.We came to another room only to find that someone had already triggered the trap before Kheper could turn it off. One of Zul's goons was lying in the room, blinded and dazed from some sort of poison trap. He passed out before he could tell us anything else, so we left him there and moved deeper into the pyramid
Only one trap more remained between us and the tomb of Neferkaptah... a rather nasty set of barbed wires set at head level ready to decapitate intrepid archaeology students like me! Ahmose also warned me that one final test remained within the tomb itself... the ghost of Neferkaptah, who was cursed by the Book of Thoth to kill his wife and child and who caused another grave robber to do the same. I would say that could never happen, but I don't think the walking, talking mummy would see the humor in it.
We entered the final chamber, the tomb of Neferkaptah himself, to find that Zul al Zan had already found the Book of Thoth. We slipped away to try and find help, but noooo, I just had to stick around to see what would happen when he used it. Result? Ahmose wandered off into the darkness while I got caught by Zul and taken to him for my regularly scheduled dose of villainous banter. Luckily, although Zul was a skeptic through and through, his goons weren't, and when Ahmose showed up moaning and shuffling in perfect mummy fashion, they spooked, and Zul was forced to leave. Leave us in the dark, mind you...
Luckily, the spirit of Neferkaptah rose from his grave to help guide us to the exit. I swore to him that I would recover the Book of Thoth from Zul... I only hope that that will be enough for him. Once we arrived outside, Ahmose and I parted ways with a promise that I would help him find the Ruby Eye as best I could.
I came back to base camp to find a bit of a commotion... Blake claimed he had captured Zul al Zan as he escaped and recovered the Book of Thoth. He was almost right, except for 'Zul al Zan' being one of his goons and 'the Book of Thoth' being an old scroll of burial rituals. Still, what with the promise of that curse, I can't help but think Zul is still in trouble.
I suppose I'd better go back to the pyramid and tell Ahmose the news about what's happened.
I went back to Ahmose's pyramid to give him the bad news: Zul al Zan was able to escape with the Book of Thoth. I swore I would track him down and get it back, but as usual, Ahmose doesn't seem too trusting of what I'll do with it then... and perhaps he has some reason to feel that way. Be that as it may, he'll be coming back to New York with me. A mummy in New York... it sounds like one of Anna's favorite films!