(Cover Image & Source: Lady of the Nile by Veronica Scott @ Amazon)

(continued from In the Kingdom of the Desert Rose (Part VIII.)…)

…Evening had soon arrived, and it won’t take long till the last beams of the sunlight will leave this kingdom of the hot sand.

She has to be quick.

Where can she find a place to hide, at least for a couple of days, before the whole situation calms down?

Maybe then these Bedouins, this foreign merchants will quit looking for the one who killed their beloved young friend and a fellow trader who never really experienced what life is really about.

Maybe.

Then, she remembered the only place where she could look for the help, and a place to stay. An old tavern on the edge of the town. Yes, she knew that her black slave friend told her not to come to this dreadful and lustful place, a place of the horror, a tomb for the ones who seek for one-night pleasures in prostitutes and alcohol. Especially not after that horrible night and the dawn that turned her into the victim of the rape attack and the vicious murderer at the same time.

But now she hasn’t got any other choice. She knew that the owner of the tavern and his brothers will help her somehow.

She walked for some time through the streets that have already fallen asleep. Until she came to the door of the house that she knew very well. When the night falls down on the desert, the temperature falls down very quickly, leaving all the outsiders, the people that are living outside the towns, to spend their night by the heat of the great fire, or to freeze themselves to death.

Moshea just needed to find that shelter, and she needed that desperately. She didn’t had any other clothes but the ones that she took with her in the hurry. And she didn’t had any heavy cloak that would protect her from the coldness.

She knocks at the big wooden door.

Nothing happens.

She knocks again, still trembling from the coldness, praying to her gods that someone will open this heavy door of sodomy, the entrance to the hell of this city.

Finally she hears a sound of doors crunching, and a light of candles coming from the inside. The young girl, a black slave opens the door and asks who is there.

Moshea answers, but the doors closes.

She taught that now she has nowhere to go. She will freeze to death on this cold dark night.

Suddenly, the door opens again. At the other end, she could finally see a friendly face, an old man, the owner of the place, somebody that knew her well. By the look on her sad and tired face he knew something was wrong. He opened the door and let her in.

After a short conversation, where she explained all that happened last night (she told him only about the rape, not the murder), he decided that she can stay in here, at least for a couple of days, before the situation calms down. In return, she will help him and his brothers in the kitchen. But he gave her one warning and a piece of advice. During her stay in here, she mustn’t go inside the tavern when the guests arrive or go outside the house during the day.

She has to promise that to him.

After a while, she got used to the new environment, helping in the kitchen during the night, and in their big garden behind the tavern during the day.

Few days later, she broke her promise. She was so curious to see what is going on in the tavern when the night came, and the first guests had arrived. She knew she couldn’t just enter the tavern, so she disguised herself in the robe of the slave girl, a waitress in the tavern.

Everything was going well, until somebody of the guests didn’t recognise her. It was one old merchant, a Bedouin from the Sinai Mountains , a friend of the people that were seeking for the murderer. This old merchant was a regular guest in here, spending almost every night drinking and having fun with the local prostitutes, the queens of the night, the same ones that hated Moshea so much.

One of her, for pure jealousy and greed, told him that she saw her that night with his young friend, and that he left the tavern soon after she left this lustful place. She knew nothing about what happened later, and she had no proof of the murder that was still a big news in this city.

But that little suspicion was good enough for him. Good enough for him to leave the tavern in the hurry and visit his friends, the Bedouins that were still in the vicinity of the town, still searching for the murderer.

But know everybody was looking for the murderer. The Bedouins were still eager to pay anyone that had some valuable information, and the ransom was big enough that the half of the city was looking for the possible murderer. Including the city’s police, king’s guardians. It was no more safe for a Moshea to stay in here.

The owner of the tavern found out that Moshea broke her promise not to leave the kitchen during the night, when the tavern was full of guests, and he heard from some of his own spies that some old man, his Bedouin friends and the guardians are coming in his tavern to search for the potential murderer.

And he never liked those guardians, not after they smashed his whole tavern once when they were looking for the thieves and the relics that were stolen from the old tomb of King Senusret II, near the most respected and adored Temple of Ptah.

No, he has to find Moshea, and tell her that she has to leave his tavern, and as soon as possible.

But when he came back to the tavern, the guardians and the Bedouins were already there, searching the whole place, while all the guests and the prostitutes had already left the tavern in a hurry, afraid that the city’s police could find them in the forbidden part of the city.

Moshea was not there, at least not in the tavern. Her woman’s instinct told her that something bad is going to happen, and she tried to get out, with all the other guests. But she was to slow, so instead going out on the street, she hide herself in the old casket where they held old cloth, on the attic of the old tavern.

But the guardians was still searching, piece by piece, until they came to the attic. When they came, they didn’t saw anything, just a bunch of old cloth scattered on the dusty wooden floor, along with some old pottery, and a pieces of broken stonecutter’s tools.

When they were trying to leave, the youngest guardian saw something on the floor. An old casket, closed and dirty.

He approached to the casket, even do others have already climb down the stairs, and gone back to the kitchen.

He tried to open it, but as soon as he wanted to see its content, the master guardian called him to come downstairs, so he, despite the fact that he wanted to see what was inside, responded to the call. It was not allowed not to reply to your master, and it was considered as a rebellion against the rules. And going against the rules meant only one thing in this vicious city, penalty by death.

Moshea, still trembling in the fear in this small casket knew that she was safe, at least for now. But she also knew that the time has come for her to leave this town for good. And the owner of this tavern knew that also.

(continued to In the Kingdom of the Desert Rose (Part X.)…)