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Sand Storms

Chapter Text

Yoichi sighed, staring into the fire pit that was burning brightly, showcasing the ruins of the ancient city around them, occasionally glancing to his left. To his left was a man that he had only known for three days—and yet, Yoichi couldn’t help himself from liking him.

Kimizuki Shiho was a burly man—he cursed, he knew how to shoot guns and reload them faster than anyone Yoichi knew (which was not a lot), and he knew just how to soften Yoichi enough to get anything he wanted from him.

The young Egyptologist had met the gunman on his way home from the local Cairo library where he worked. The man was drunk, and it was a miracle Yoichi had managed to not fall with the weight of the pink haired man suddenly in his arms right outside the front doors.

After Yoichi had brought him home, with a very angry and confused Tomoe, the brunette had placed the older man on his couch. As he attempted to get the jacket off the drunk, a small metal box had plopped from the pocket and rolled to the floor.

Yoichi had almost dropped the man in his arms. The hieroglyphics on the box were Egyptian, and Yoichi had never seen such a box in all his years of studying Ancient Egypt.

Looking closer, Yoichi found that the box could unfold itself into a seven legged star to reveal a map. Not just any map, but a map to the City of the Dead—Hamunaptra—a city said to be a myth.

Yoichi had practically forced the man awake in order to get answers. The tale Kimizuki told was one of war and bloodshed. However, Yoichi had ignored the pink haired man's warnings and insisted he take the Egyptologist to Hamunaptra.

Ever since the boat trip, which was hijacked by men in black and eventually caught fire, Yoichi couldn’t keep his thoughts off the strangely handsome man that had not only saved him, but was taking him to the city he only thought he could reach in books and in his own theories. Yoichi had tried to convince himself that he didn’t feel butterflies in his stomach and heat rise to his cheeks when he thought of when Kimizuki had gathered the smaller man in his arms and swam them both to safety. Yoichi had never been so thankful and terrified to not know how to swim.

Yoichi’s thoughts were interrupted by the man consuming his thoughts moving closer to his left. Yoichi pulled his blanket closer to him, over his shoulders as he turned to look at Kimizuki. Kimizuki acted like he wasn’t aware of Yoichi’s stare, but he felt compelled to ask the boy what was wrong.

“You know, you can go to bed at any time. I’ll be awake most of the night anyways.” Kimizuki may have acted like he didn’t care, but he felt his facade breaking every time olive eyes glanced in his direction.

Yoichi felt the heat in his cheeks—he was not a baby, he didn’t need to go to bed this early! However, the longer he contemplated his options, the more sleep sounded like the best choice.

“Yea… but I don’t want to miss anything!” Yoichi could be stubborn, but he felt his eyes drooping as he spoke. Kimizuki slided closer to the young man, sliding an arm around his shoulders.

“I’ll wake you up the moment anything happens, I promise.” Kimizuki smiled. Yoichi smiled back sleepily, letting his head fall onto Kimizuki’s shoulders. Kimizuki was shocked, not expecting the young man to fall asleep so quickly; let alone on his shoulders. After a few moments of hesitation, Kimizuki wrapped both his arms around the sleeping man, smiling softly.


~~~

The next morning was a busy one. Yoichi, Kimizuki, and Tomoe were hard at work digging to find an entrance to the city buried beneath the sand. Their other party, a group of rich looking men and a few women, supposedly scholars from America, were working their native arabic workers hard as well for the same reason.

Yoichi was currently trying to clean off an ancient mirror. From his research, he knew that when there were quite a few of these, he could light up the room from one single source of light. Yoichi leaned over the mirror, whipping furiously to get sand and other substances off of its surface.

“What are you doing?” Yoichi heard a snicker behind him. Yoichi turned his head, not quite lifting his body from his bent over position. Yoichi pouted when he spot Kimizuki--who else did he expect?

“I’ll have you know, using this and another ten of these mirrors, I can light up the room with only one source of natural light!” Kimizuki looked at Yoichi for a moment longer before snickering.

“I’m sure you can. Um,” Kimizuki had lost his arrogance in an instant, scratching his neck as he pulled his previously concealed hand from behind his back.

“Well, I thought that you might need this for later.” Kimizuki had pulled a kit of small brushes and digging tools. Where did he get this? Yoichi had to wonder.

“You didn’t steal this, did you?” Yoichi asked, smirking while taking the kit from the taller man’s hands. Kimizuki looked aghast.

“Of course I didn’t! How could you think of me like that?” he teased, smirking through his hurt expression. “Actually, don’t answer that.”

Yoichi unraveled the pouch, smiling softly. Kimizuki might seem like he doesn’t care, but Yoichi knew better. It was weird, he might have only known Kimizuki for four days, but Yoichi could feel a connection--one he hadn’t had with anyone else before.

“Here! There’s an opening.” Tomoe had called out. Yoichi’s older sister had joined them on their trip, claiming that she also wanted to discover the city of the dead--but Yoichi knew that she was against letting him go alone with the man Yoichi had known for a day--most of the time with the man passed out or drunk. However, Yoichi knew that having her on this trip would make it more memorable for them both.

Kimizuki and Yoichi quickly walked over to inspect the opening in the ground--which could fit three people. Kimizuki felt himself grin.

“Let’s go.”


~~~

The trio wandered around the empty corridors, torches lighting their path as they walked. Yoichi could feel his excitement run through his body--followed by his trepidation for what kind of traps were hidden around them.

“You ok?” Kimizuki had whispered his question in Yoichi’s ear as to not break the silence that had resided in the structure for thousands of years.

Yoichi had not expected Kimizuki to notice, let alone voice his concerns about Yoichi’s behavior. He took a deep breath as he sought for an explanation to how he was feeling.

“I’m good--great actually! I’m just worried about traps and such--” the sound of hundreds of bugs ran all around them, breaking Yoichi’s response. Yoichi found himself latching onto Kimizuki’s arm, letting out a screech that made both of his companions jump.

“It’s ok, Yoichi, they’re not close to us.” The pink haired man and the young Egyptologist stared into each other’s eyes, not speaking for a long time. Tomoe, who was behind them, stared blankly ahead of the trio. Her brother and the rough stranger seemed to be getting closer that two male friends were supposed to by social standards--especially after only a few days. And if Tomoe knew her brother, she knew that he was falling fast.

Yoichi broke his eyes away from Kimizuki’s when he heard his sister clear her throat behind them. He quickly let go of the pink haired males arm, scratching his neck.

“Shall we continue?” Tomoe gave her younger brother a look--one that said that his reaction was not going over her head. Yoichi blushed and turned head, moving forward.

“Let’s go this way!” Yoichi wandered to the right, stopping at the dead end. “Or this way!” He turned around, walking back into the sight of his sister and newly acquainted friend.


~~~


Yoichi felt his feet rush ahead, coming to a stop before the great statue. “Here’s the feet of Anubis--said to be the place of great riches and the Book of the Living!” Yoichi practically had stars in his eyes as he looked around for where he could start digging.

Kimizuki looked at the part of the statue in front of them. “What’s the Book of the Living again?” Yoichi looked back at his companion, ready to explain how the book could, in theory, kill people and send curses onto enemies when they heard voices coming from behind the statue.

Kimizuki pulled Yoichi behind him--Tomoe following--and pulled out his pistols. He knew that carrying guns on his way down here would be their best option in case of an emergency. Kimizuki raised a finger to his lips, turning back to the corner of the statue, then pushing himself in front of the voices, pulling his guns in front of him.

What they faced was the other group of travelers, who were also pointing their guns at the trio. Although they knew of each other, both groups were here for one thing--the treasures of the Lost City.

Lacus Welt was one of the few men in charge in their opposing team. And it just so happened that Kimizuki and Lacus in one of the many wars over the land--before Lacus left Kimizuki to fend for himself against the enemy side of the war.

“What are you doing here?” Kimizuki asked. Lacus smiled back, a glint in his eyes.

“Getting ready to set up, what are you doing here?” Kimizuki glared at his former ally.

“We got here before you did!” Yoichi’s head popped up behind Kimizuki’s shoulder, glaring at the men. Lacus pointed one of his guns at Yoichi’s head, only to be knocked from his hand as Kimizuki blocked Yoichi from harm, moving his body to stand in front of the boy completely..

“I dare you to try that again.” Kimizuki’s face was deadly at that point, but Yoichi was only focused on the sound of rocks falling down. As he surveyed the area around them, Yoichi noticed that there were no rocks falling above them. He turned his gaze to the ground, finding another crack. There were more pebbles around it, and from pushing them through, Yoichi heard that there was a room underneath them.

As he was distracted, Yoichi had tuned out the argument that was turning violent between the ex-allies. Yoichi pulled at Kimizuki’s sleeve, trying to get his attention.

“Kimizuki, we should let them dig here--we did get to the city before they did.” Yoichi had a small smirk on his face, conveying that he had a plan. Kimizuki hesitated before uncocking his gun, returning it to his holder. Lacus smirked as he also put down his gun, the others following.

“Have fun elsewhere!” Lacus proceeded to saunter into the room further, instructing his men to begin digging into the statue.


~~~


“According to the hieroglyphics, we’re right underneath the statue, digging right between his legs!” Yoichi instructed from below Kimizuki and Tomoe scraped and dug through the ceiling. Dirt was flowing down, and Yoichi was doing his best to navigate and steer clear of the physical work.

It was a while later, after they had heard their “friends” above them scream and had left that as they had triggered the trap, that Tomoe had begun to slow as she dug, her strength running out.

“Do we know how much longer we have to dig for?” Tomoe said, She was stronger than her younger brother, but not by much. Kimizuki paused, only to look at her, swatting the dirt from his eyes. “You know you can take a break if you want?”

Yoichi brought a hand to his chin, thinking of what they could do. His eyes once again sparkled as he dug around his sack.

“Anyone up for lunch?”

~~~

Yoichi was finishing up his dried meat, sitting next to Kimizuki as his sister was throwing rocks at her empty water canteen sitting against the wall. Yoichi was kindly explaining the steps on how the mummification process was performed.

“And after that, they would take your brains out using a white hot poker, pulling small chunks out slowly through the nasal canal!” Yoichi seemed content explaining this as he was eating--Kimizuki, however, wanted to throw up the food he just ate.

“Tomoe, do me a favor--if I don’t make it out of here, don’t allow Yoichi to perform mummification on my body.”

Tomoe didn’t stop throwing her rocks, but did spare a glance at him. “Don’t worry I won’t--Yoichi is most likely to do it to you alive.” The woman had to hold back her smirk. Her brother may be sweet, but she knew that given the chance, he would perform mummification on anyone.

“Tomoe! Don’t tease him! Being mummified alive is a great dishonor!” Yoichi was trying to scold his sister, but he was chuckling as well.

Kimizuki suddenly looked pale. “What do you mean alive?!”

“Well, there was a time where the Egyptians removed parts of the human body for experiments or punishments. There was a way to do it while keeping the subject alive, but they never performed it because of the curse that came with--” Yoichi was cut off, for what seemed like the nth time, when Tomoe’s rock had bounced off of the wall, hit the ceiling, and a big box crash down in front of Yoichi and Kimizuki’s feet.

The three of them were covering their mouths, coughing at the amount of dust and sand had fallen with the human shaped box. Yoichi had recovered first, gasping as he got a closer look at what had almost killed them.

“It’s a sarcophagus! Tomoe, it’s a sarcophagus!” Yoichi threw his hands in the air, just about to celebrate when a thought ran threw his head. Why was it under the base of Anubis?

Yoichi looked up to where the the case had fallen, seeing the stone of the base. Tomoe and Yoichi shared a look, looking from the case to the ceiling. Kimizuki looked between them, raising an eyebrow.

“Yoichi, is there something wrong with the sarcophagus?” Yoichi looked back at Kimizuki, giving his a grave expression.

“Kimizuki, since this sarcophagus was buried underneath the statue, it means that this person did something that went against the laws of death and the Egyptian gods.”

Kimizuki looked at Yoichi, hesitant in his answer, “So, I’m guessing that’s a bad thing.”

Yoichi nodded in response, looking over the top of the sarcophagus. “This person was not only cursed with his burial ground, but in the afterlife as well.”

Tomoe grabbed some rags, handing one to Kimizuki as they began to wipe away the sand from the cover. Yoichi opened his bag of small tools, picking the biggest brush there was, and began to remove the sand from the name inscription.

It took Yoichi a minute before he understood what the characters meant. “It says; He who challenged death, remains unnamed.”

Kimizuki looked at Yoichi. “That doesn’t even make sense.” Yoichi gave Kimizuki an embarrassed look.

“It’s the closest english translation I can make at the moment. What do you think, Tomoe?”

Tomoe looked at the inscription, taking a moment before looking back at Yoichi and Kimizuki. “I think it’s saying that Death leaves Him unnamed.”

Their pink haired friend didn’t look convinced, but he spotted something under Yoichi’s brush. Kimizuki blew the sand away as a scarab beetle indentation was revealed. Yoichi looked at where the new discovery was, excitement running through him.

“Wow, Kimizuki! That’s an amazing find!”

“It looks like some kind of lock--where to you suppose a key that looks like that is?” Tomoe and Kimizuki shared a look, shrugging their shoulders. The trio looked around them before Yoichi’s olive green eyes alighted with joy.

“Kimizuki! Where’s the metal octagon that had the map you had when I first met you?” Yoichi proceed to dig through all three jackets and bags they had down with them.

“Well, last time I had it, it was in--” Yoichi cut off Kimizuki’s thinking as he pulled out the key from Kimizuki’s coat pocket. “Found it!”

Yoichi walked up to the sarcophagus, opening the key, placing it inside the indent--a perfect fit.

~~~

That night, Kimizuki and Yoichi were eating while Tomoe was trying to set up camp for the night. In the early morning, their camp had been blown over and the group had decided to leave their camp mess until nightfall.

Tomoe had just finished Kimizuki’s half of their camp when gun shocks rang throughout the city, men covered head to toe in black raced in on horses, shooting anyone they could.

Kimizuki sprang to his feet, pulling out a small pistol, handing it to Yoichi.

“Stay here, use this only if you have to.” Kimizuki left without another word, handing Tomoe another gun as they left together.

“Wait for me!” Yoichi didn’t want to be left alone, especially not with the threat of death on their doorstep.

Yoichi ran the hole ground, searching for the someone he could find peace and protection with, whom he had only known a day. Gunshots continued to be fired around him--Yoichi could slowly feel himself losing his sense of direction as he spun around, banging of bullets and the screams of men rang around him.

Yoichi saw a figure in all black coming towards him on a horse; Yoichi could feel his arms work as if they were tied to strings he couldn’t control. He felt the gun lift in his hands, and Yoichi felt himself pull the trigger. The sound didn’t cut through to his ears, but Yoichi felt himself fall backwards, the world blurring out again.

The next thing that Yoichi felt was Kimizuki pulling his body towards his own, cradling Yoichi’s head. Yoichi glanced at Kimizuki’s worried face then looked to the man standing above them. It was a man with black hair and deep, almost purple looking eyes. The man had tattoos around his face, most for protection. More men, and even women came up from behind him.

“You people need to leave here. This is no place for children trying to be treasure hunters.” The man spoke, but Yoichi couldn’t tell by his mouth--most of his face was still covered.

Rene and Lacus seemed to appear out of nowhere, raising their eyebrows at the men that attacked them.

“Why should we do what you say?” Yoichi could barely see the man’s expression but he could feel the hatred rolling off his shoulders.

“If you want to leave with your lives, you would leave now.” The man called out more commands in arabic, leading the rest of the soldiers out of the city grounds. Kimizuki helped Yoichi up to his feet, swaying a bit as Yoichi had not yet snapped out of the constant shots fired.

Kimizuki took the gun from Yoichi, bringing his body closer to his own. The two explorers looked into each others eyes, staring for a moment. However, the moment was ruined when Rene spoke.

“Now we know there’s gold down there. There’s no other reason that they’d be this protective of this area.” Rene looked back to his partner, agreeing silently with a nod. Kimizuki maneuvered his and Yoichi’s body to face their company.

“Those guys are the desert people--they value water over gold. The entrances we went through today also weren’t open or tampered with. If they were able to enter the compound so easily, they would have dug up everything there was to steal already.”

Lacus and Rene shared a look--one that revealed them to be embarrassed. The two groups looked at the ones that made it, making a silent agreement. Men and the few women around them began to help each other pick up the bodies of the ones that were not fortunate enough to make it through the raide.

Tomoe found Yoichi after they had dug a grave for the ones lost. The trio felt bad that the only ones lost were to the other side, but grateful for the chance to live one more day. As the night dragged on, one big phire was started in the middle of both camps, with all the remaining people gathered around, sharing stories.

It was a night full of booze and laughter as the group of ten survivors tried to forget what had transpired not three hours before. It was a night that Yoichi might never forget--it was the night Yoichi got to truly got to know Kimizuki. Yoichi found out about his sister named Mirai. Kimizuki only told him a little, but Yoichi knew it was more than Kimizuki had told anyone.

The next morning, the groups were split again--the remaining seven scholars and archaeologists went back to digging up through the bottom of the statues feet, trying to follow traces of where treasures were hidden. However, the three rookie grave diggers were uncasing the many, many cases surrounding the mummy they knew lay beneath.

Yoichi was practically bouncing off the walls, urging Kimizuki and Tomoe to lift the sarcophagus faster so he could turn the key and open up the tomb unopened for thousands of years.

“Ah! This is so exciting! This has been my dream since I was little!” Kimizuki and Tomoe had lain the coffin against the wall as Yoichi spoke, and Kimizuki couldn’t help but chuckle.

“You’ve dreamt about digging up dead guys for twenty-something years?” Kimizuki crossed his arms across his chest, smirking at the pouting brunette.

“No! I’ve dreamt of discovering a great pharaoh or something!” Yoichi turned away from Kimizuki, instead facing the last case containing the body. Yoichi was buzzing as he walked up, placed the key in its place, and slowly turned the octagon box until it made a full circle around it’s design of different hieroglyphics.

Yoichi pulled the key out of place, expecting the front to fall to the ground. However, when nothing happened, the trio looked at each other in confusion.

“Did you turn it all the way, Yoichi?” Kimizuki asked as he slowly approached the sarcophagus, Tomoe following.

“I’m sure I did, the key did come out. Maybe the front is stuck to the back?” Yoichi slowly moved to the front as well, making a move to help pull apart the casing. But before Yoichi could touch the front lid, Kimizuki and Tomoe pulled off the cover, letting it hit the floor with a loud thud at the same time as the mummy sagged against the chains holding it down.

Yoichi felt himself scream, bringing his arms up to cross in front of his face for protection. Waiting a moment, Yoichi brought his arms back down, peeking out of his defensive position.

The mummy the trio had just uncased was unlike anything Tomoe or Yoichi had ever seen before. The cloth used to wrap the body has hanging off in bits and pieces, as if no care was taken to prepare the body. The top of it’s head had clumps of locks of what looked to be blonde hair. The body was prevented from hitting the ground by eight chains wrapped around the body, attached to the back of the sarcophagus.

Yoichi and Tomoe looked at each other, then looked at the body, slowly moving closer. Kimizuki was watching them with a curious stare.

“Ok, so I know that all Egyptians were born with the darker hair color, but why is he covered in chains?” Kimizuki was standing farther away than the siblings were, not too comfortable with having a dead body so close.

“I’ve never seen a body like this--he looks like he was prepared improperly. His body is contorted like--” Yoichi was cut off by his sister, who was now looking at the back side of the cover.

“Like he was buried alive.” Tomoe pointed to where she was looking, Kimizuki bending down on one knee on the other side. He used his fingers to run along the markings, confirming Tomoe’s theory.

“He was using his nails to scratch at the cover. Look over here, Yoichi. Can you read what it says?” Tomoe beckoned her brother closer. He was the only person she knew who could decipher hieroglyphics as fast and correctly as he could. Yoichi fell to his knees beside Kimizuki, looking at the last words the man wrote before dying.

“الموت لا يفصلنا--Death can not separate us.” Tomoe and Kimizuki raised an eyebrow at Yoichi. Yoichi raised both hands in surrender.

“That’s what it says!” Yoichi blew a raspberry, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Look, can’t we unchain him, please? I don’t know what he did, but leaving him chained up makes me feel bad for him.” Tomoe rolled her eyes at Yoichi’s request. Yoichi had always been more emotional that she was, but unchaining an ancient body who was chained up and under lock and key for a reason didn’t seem like a good choice. However, as Kimizuki signaled for her to help move the sarcophagus onto the ground, Tomoe found herself helping.

“Do you see where the chains might end?” Yoichi asked, trying not to touch the body as he searched.

“No need for that.” Kimizuki stated as he came from his tools on the ground beside them. The pink haired male pulled a hatchet from his bag, getting ready to break the chains apart.

“Be careful, Kimizuki. The chains may break too easily, and you could ruin some of the sarcophagus.” Yoichi was shocked as his own sister allowed their friend to possibly ruin the ancient artifact. But before Yoichi could voice his concerns, Kimizuki was already hacking away at the chains.

By the time Kimizuki was done, there were marks on the underside of the coffin, and chain pieces scattered about. Yoichi was not too happy with Kimizuki’s methods to unchain their discovery, but he couldn’t complain. Yoichi pulled rubber gloves from his side bag and began moving the chains off of the body to lay next to it.

Yoichi moved the last chain, placing it near the bottom of the sarcophagus when he saw something glitter back at him. Yoichi reached into the case, pulling out a scarab necklace. It was interesting as the scarab was two gems, one sapphire and one emerald, set in a gold outline.

“That’s pretty. Does it mean anything, Yoichi?” Kimizuki asked, kneeling behind the small egyptologist.

“Usually small treasures are buried with the bodies as a way to keep physical objects with the people into the afterlife. But this is different. It’s the only one here, and it looks like it used to be a necklace. The chain is broken here, see?” Yoichi pulled the two halves of the thin gold chain closer together, seeing where the band was broken.

“Better keep that close--we don’t want our ‘friends’ to steal this away.” Tomoe concluded. Yoichi nodded in agreement, putting the scarab inside his side bag, right next to his pouch full of small excavation tools Kimizuki had gifted him.

~~~

That night, the big phire had been lit again in the middle of the two groups, with all ten people gathered around, sharing what they had discovered in the days time.

Yoichi had done his best to learn everyone’s name; there were two girls that seemed to be stuck together with glue. Horn was a blonde haired women who said she was in search of any sort of hieroglyphic evidence of how this city lived back in it’s golden age.

Her partner in crime, Chess, was a woman who had dyed her hair purple in her rebellious age and had kept it into her early twenties because of the many compliments she received about it. She was here to follow Horn, but also wanted to treasure hunt. She claimed it was because she adored Egyptian craftsmanship, but her true motives weren’t clear to Yoichi.

Yoichi already knew Lacus and Rene--and he knew why they were here. They were here as lifelong friends looking for a quick way to make some cash by selling what they’d find to people on the black market.

Ferid Bathory was, to say the least, creepy. He seemed to always be everywhere and Yoichi had noticed how Lacus and Rene acted like they ran the operation, but he could feel that Ferid was really the one that called the shots. Ferid didn’t explain why he was there, but he claimed that he wanted the treasures of Pharaoh Seti--one of the richest Pharaoh’s that lived in Ancient Egypt.

Crowley Eusford was Ferid’s lackey--he claimed that the only reason he was there was to protect Ferid from danger--which made sense to Yoichi. Ferid was, as he claimed, searching for treasure, which always entailed some sort of trap. Having a burly man like Crowley around for a bodyguard was a smart idea.

And the last one in their group didn’t seem like she was a part of their group at all. She was standoffish within the group she traveled with, which made her even more introverted to their rival group. Her name was Krul Treps. She was short--really short--and had long pink hair. Her’s was lighter than Kimizuki’s, but still noticeably pink. What was really weird, was she was always wearing black. No matter how hot it was, she always wore black clothing. She didn’t speak much, but she was always confident and observing. Yoichi never saw her relaxing--she was always thinking. Yoichi would do anything in order to know what she was thinking about.

Lacus was explaining what they had found earlier that day as they lounged around the fire. Four of them held canopic jars--jars that were made to hold the human intestines as the Egyptians believed that the human body would not need them in the afterlife. Yoichi and Tomoe shared a look, coming to the same conclusion. Those jars must belong to the mummy they had uncovered. The only question was--why were the jars so far from the body?

Krul was currently reading the cover of a black book. Yoichi really wanted to know why she was only reading the cover. Apparently, Yoichi hadn’t been as careful as he’d hoped as Rene called him out a moment later.

“Krul found that book while she was digging around another opening near the bottom of the statue. She hasn’t told us much about it, but it seems like a book used for the afterlife process or something.”

Yoichi blushed at getting caught. Krul looked over at Yoichi, raising an eyebrow.

“Sorry! I didn’t mean to stare. I was just curious.” Krul didn’t seem to care about Yoichi’s staring as she returned to reading the cover of her book.

“So! What did you boys and lady find this evening?” Ferid asked while smiling unsuspectingly, bringing the subject back to the trio. Yoichi looked at Tomoe to see if she wanted to reveal the body they uncovered. Tomoe shrugged her shoulders, not caring.

“Well, we found a sarcophagus. We had to uncover many of the layers that cased the body, which mainly took all day.” Yoichi decided to tell the truth, but not the whole truth. He didn’t give specifics as to not draw attention to what was so strange about their body.

Hearing this, Krul brought her attention back to the trio, something in her eyes made Yoichi uncomfortable. He moved closer to his makeshift bed, getting ready for bed.

“Well, I think that’s enough storytelling for tonight. I’m going to go to bed. See you all tomorrow!” Yoichi pulled his blankets closer to him, slowly moving his body in Kimizuki’s direction. The group stayed awake for a little while longer talking and drinking. Slowly the group went to their own campsites, not quite letting the fire go out. Yoichi could not go to sleep no matter how hard he tried. Something was keeping him awake, and his brain wouldn’t shut down. When Yoichi was sure the silence meant that everyone was asleep, Yoichi slowly sat up, looking around the bodies streamed about the campsites. Yoichi counted the bodies he could see--nine all together, including himself. Yoichi searched his mind for who was missing. It took him a minute, but Yoichi figured out that one pink haired traveler wasn’t among them. And it wasn’t Kimizuki.

Krul wasn’t near the campsite--she wasn’t anywhere near the fire. Her book was still there, along with her stuff. Yoichi grew uncomfortable with Krul missing from their campsite, especially so late at night.. The young Egyptologist was sure she was silent and most likely knew how to protect herself in multiple ways--which could mean certain death for all of them if they were to upset her.

But as Yoichi looked around for the small woman, his eyes kept drawing back to the book that was left unattended. Yoichi felt himself hesitating, looking towards Tomoe and Kimizuki. Yoichi groand to himself as quietly as he could, getting up to fetch the book laying out in the open, unable to resist not taking a little peek.

Yoichi returned to his spot, sitting closer to the dimming fire. Yoichi turned over his shoulder, looking at his companions. Now or never, he supposed. Yoichi lifted his key, placing it in the desired spot. Just as Yoichi was finishing the circle, two hooks unclipped, releasing the books secrets for Yoichi to read.

“I thought you said you were tired?” Yoichi had to put both of his hands on his mouth to stop himself from awakening the whole camp.

“Kimizuki! Don’t scare me like that!” Yoichi had tried his best to whisper, but Kimizuki’s raised eyebrow confirmed he had not been very quiet.

“And I couldn’t fall asleep. I was too curious.” Yoichi motioned to the bow unlocked book in front of him.

“So you stole creepy Krul’s creepy book because you couldn’t sleep?” Kimizuki didn’t sound convinced, and neither was Yoichi. Again, he didn’t know Krul very well, but there was an aura about her that screamed dangerous if provoked.

“Well! I can’t help it! I’ve loved reading since I could remember. Not to mention I want to know why this booked was locked with the same lock that our mummy was detained with.” Kimizuki nodded, with the agreement to put the book back as soon as they were done. They weren’t sure where Krul was, and they’d rather not find out with the book in their hands.

Yoichi did his best to flip through the rock pages, looking for anything interesting. Most of what he had read was stories about the religion and the mummification process. Yoichi never found himself to be very interested in the specific people; he found his enjoyment from the population as a whole.

“Aha! Here--it’s saying that--” Yoichi paused for a minute, reading further, before turning to his companion.

“It says that two lovers were split up because their love was forbidden.” Kimizuki didn’t react to the news as big as Yoichi was expecting based from Yoichi’s expression.

Yoichi gave an exasperated sigh. “Don’t you care about anything other than your guns?”

Kimizuki seemed to think about it, before shrugging. “No.”

“Oh, you’re such a boy! Forbidden love just so happens to be some of the most interesting and most recorded stories from the past I’ll have you know!”

“Ok, well does it say anything about why they were seperated, who they were?” Kimizuki asked, crossing his arms over his dust-covered chest.

Yoichi continued his translation, shaking his head. “There’s nothing here about who they were. But it does go in depth about how the man was punished--the Hun Dai. A mummification process done to a living human that allows the person to rise from the dead and take over the world in whichever way he choses. I’ve never heard of the Egyptians actually performing this, well, curse upon anyone because they feared the consequence so much.”

“So, what could cause the psycho-religion based people to perform the worst curse known to their people?” Kimizuki had taken the book from Yoichi’s lap, looking at the text even though he couldn’t read a word.

“The Pharaoh would would have had to have been extremely pissed off--” Yoichi was about to rant about possibilities when we was, rudely, interrupted by his late night companion.

“Maybe he was getting too frisky with his daughter. You know how protective the Egyptians were with their high-ranking women.” Kimizuki laughed at Yoichi’s pathetic attempt at pushing him over.

The two boys continued their playful fighting, momentarily forgetting the book weighing heavy in Kimizuki’s lap. Yoichi moved his arms to try to use his own body to topple Kimizuki’s--and ultimately failing. Instead of Kimizuki falling over, Yoichi’s body replaced the book on Kimizuki’s lap which tumbled to the ground next to them and opening to a page with a scarab drawn to take up the entire page.

Rolling off the pink haired gunslinger, Yoichi reached for the momentarily forgotten book. Looking at the page it landed on, Yoichi saw words he couldn’t recognize. Sitting up with the book now in his lap, Yoichi read aloud the section of hieroglyphics he couldn’t understand.

“أدعو لعنة أن ترفع والرجل صدر من سلاسل موته.”

Kimizuki looked around them, hearing the winds scream around them like the lost souls of past Egyptians coming after them.

“Cause that wasn’t creepy…You sure that wasn’t some evil spell meant to raise the dead?” Kimizuki looked closer to Yoichi, who had a ghosted look painted on his face.

“I sure hope not. Anyways, I think the passage is actually--” Yoichi was cut off in his deduction as a slinking sounds arousing from around them. Yoichi and Kimizuki looked around them widely, searching for the cause of the seemingly endless sound of bugs flying around them. Tomoe had slowly woken up, coming closer to the guilty party.

“What did you two do?” Her tone was disappointed as she looked into her brothers eyes. Yoichi was about to explain to her why he had someone else’s property in his lap--and why he was awake with Kimizuki in a slightly compromising position, late at night, alone--this looks really bad. But he couldn’t utter a single word out as locusts and other biting insects spilled from the sand dunes around them, flocking to everything in sight.

Tomoe pulled the two boys up by their biceps, pulling them towards their own opening of the city underground. Yoichi tripped over his own feet, dropping the book unnoticed. The trio along with the surviving members of their frenemies ran towards the opening they created. Once inside, the men and women ran blindly through the tunnels, searching for a safe place to rest and hide from the bugs swarming their escape.


~~~

Krul stood above the opened sarcophagus, looking for any signs of life coming from the man inside. She had known Yoichi was naive enough to read the book if she left it out in the open--not to mention she couldn’t read it yet when the key wasn’t in her possession. She had waited a long time for this moment, the day her pet would come back to life and repay her for her kind favor all those years ago.

Krul heard the screams of the men and women above her, lifting her eyes to stare at the ceiling. After pausing for a moment, Krul fitted her eyes back to her pet, knowing his awakening would happen at any moment. The mummy’s body began to twitch until his body sprung upwards, gasping on the first breath he’d taken in thousands of years.

“Welcome back, Mikaela.”