<br />Hello and welcome to chapter nineteen! In this chapter, Nellie embarks on an adventure called 'The Search for Love'. In her quest to help someone else in their desire to find romance, will Nellie discover some things about her own baffling love life? Things heat up for Nellie as she winds her way through the quest for love. In this chapter, I have included some historical facts and theories about the real Queen Hatshepsut and her temple. There are also some things that come totally from my own imagination. I think you will be able to tell which is which. *wink*<br />Warning: <br />This chapter contains scenes of a mature and sexually explicit nature, as well as implied nudity. If this disturbs you, do not turn the pages.<br /> <br />"
Thank you so very much for coming, Nellie Blye"
Farid Kamel smiled warmly when Nellie met him bright and early the next morning. "
I have heard about your adventures, and I think you will be perfect for this task. I need you to speak with my friend, Helmi Burak, about his desire to prove his ridiculous theory about his ancestor and Hatshepsut. Ask him to explain, and I am sure he will talk your ear off with his nonsense!"
<br />Nellie was intrigued already as she made her way toward the address Farid Kamel had given her. She was anxious to learn more, so she quickened her step and soon found herself face to face with Farid's friend. <br /> <br />"
Yes, I do need some help proving that one of my ancestors was a consort to Queen Hatshepsut. I am running down a lead and will need your help soon. I have a good idea about helping Farid Kamel, though. Call it a Helmi Burak special. Jewels are the key to a lover's heart, yes?"
He smiled and continued, "
To make the jewelry, I will need four pieces of Alabaster. Bring me the gems and you will be paid for your troubles. This should help poor Farid Kamel out with romance."
<br />Nellie smiled. She wondered why the man she had just left would need help with romance. She found him rather handsome and thought he should not have any trouble finding a mate. "
I happen to have the required Alabaster right here in my bag"
she replied as she reached into her bag to retrieve the gems.<br /> <br />"
Ah, thank you very much!"
Helmi exclaimed as he took the gems from Nellie. "
I will get started on the jewelry right away!"
He paused, his expression changing into a thoughtful one, and then he went on, "
I have another idea to aid my friend in love. I found this instruction book for preparing romantic foods, but my friend simply refuses to read it! Could you read this book, and then go over the highlights with Farid Kamel?"
<br />Nellie smiled, "
If it is part of my assignment, why not?"
She took the book from him and noticed it was fairly thick, so she decided to mill around the market for awhile, and read the book later. If love had escaped Farid Kamel thus far, what was one more day? Besides, she needed some quiet, down time in order to thoroughly study the book, so that she could make a summary for Farid Kamel. <br /> <br />After preparing herself a light dinner, showering and changing into a comfortable nightshirt, Nellie settled down to read the book. As she turned the pages, she thought about how nice it had been to get out of the house after her week of self-inflicted solitary confinement. She had turned off her cell phone as well to avoid any contact with anyone. It had been good to reflect upon her life thus far, and she had come to the conclusion that she would let the chips fall where they may. There would be no more forced efforts on her part to choose between the men in her life. Karma and fate would decide where her path would lead, and that was good enough for her.<br />Nellie was also thrilled to have a new adventure on which to embark. The subject matter seemed ironic to her, but maybe it was fate's way of leading her down her pre-destined path. The book finished, she closed it with a sigh, crawled into her lonely bed, and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.<br /> <br />When Nellie began to summarize the book for Farid Kamel, he held up a hand to stop her almost as soon as she started speaking. "
You have read the book,"
he interjected with a dismissive wave of his hand, "
so you know how useless it is. Anyway, while Helmi Burak has been wasting our time, I have been doing some digging and found out that one of Queen Hatshepsut's secret lairs is beneath one of the houses in this very town! I would like you to go check it out for clues."
<br />Nellie took the paper from him with the address scrawled on it and headed out, thrilled to actually be exploring again, especially since it dealt with Queen Hatshepsut.<br /> <br />A quick walk around the house was all it took for Nellie to discover a hole with a hidden switch, which triggered a panel to open that revealed a hidden a staircase. As she made her way down, she felt that this assignment was about to become more interesting.<br /> <br /> The first thing she found was a keystone on a table. She quickly grabbed it, and then made her way around and through several more corridors and doors.<br /> <br />Soon, she found what appeared to be Queen Hatshepsut's bedchamber. Nellie began to wonder just how many secret hideouts the queen had, and how many clandestine lovers. She looked around quickly and found another keystone in a chest to her left, and then headed back to tell Helmi about her discoveries.<br /> <br />"
Helmi exclaimed breathlessly, "
I have seen this symbol before . . . outside another area! I will bet this opens up the servant's quarters for the queen! There are sure to be more clues there. I would like you to enter the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, explore the servant's quarters, and bring back any clues you find to me."
<br />As Nellie headed out toward the temple, her excitement was rising. She had done extensive research on the history of ancient Egypt, and the story of Queen Hatshepsut had always been one of her favorites. She happened to pass a camel farm along the way, and got a real surprise. There was Fahad Madbouli, the previous Relic Merchant, grumbling and complaining as he shoveled large piles of camel dung. It really was a good day!<br /> <br />Nellie stood outside the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, gazing at it, her eyes wide with awe, reflecting on the history she had read. The architect was Senmut, Hatshepsut's lover and a member of her court with more than 20 titles. Senmut designed the temple with rows of colonnades that reflect the vertical patterns displayed by the cliff backdrop. The temple is dedicated to Amon and Hathor, Hatshepsut's claimed parents; although there are chapels dedicated to other gods, like Anubis, the god of embalming. The sanctuary lies within the mountainside. Two ramps connect the three levels, and on either side of the lower incline were T-shaped papyrus pools. On the ground level were sphinxes and fragrant trees from Punt. The sphinxes had the heads of Hatshepsut, and she is also represented as a lion in some of the temple's reliefs. Although she had no specific enemies, she is represented clawing at adversaries and capturing "
birds of evil"
with a clapnet.<br /> After making her way to the top, searching for clues to no avail, she began to walk around the outside of the place. She soon discovered a way in through a small door to the left of the steps.<br /> <br /> Nellie's heart raced with excitement as she inserted the keystone and a secret staircase was revealed.<br /> <br />She made her way down, only to discover another staircase to descend. Once at the bottom, Nellie was standing in a chamber with a long hallway with three doors on the right and three on the left.<br /> <br />She began opening doors and entering the rooms methodically, taking any treasures she found inside them. In the last room to her left, there was a secret door to a tiny room that held within it, a treasure box. She left that room and entered the room just across the hall. It also had a secret door, which she quickly opened and discovered another staircase leading down. Soon, Nellie was standing in a bedchamber quite different from the others.<br /> <br />Wow, Nellie thought as her gaze fell upon the elaborate furnishings and fixtures of the bedchamber, this room must have been for one very special servant! As she made her way toward the chest, which held the relic she sought, she had a strange feeling that this room had actually belonged to the queen herself. It was most likely constructed as place in which Queen Hatshepsut held secret liaisons with a very special servant or two.<br />Shaking her head to clear it of her wild musings, she took the relic from the chest and made her way back to give it to Helmi Burak.<br /> <br />"
Helmi said as he studied the relic, "
this is not yet decisive proof, but I will keep this relic and see what other secrets it holds. I will get back to you on that. Meanwhile, my friend still needs some help. Your previous efforts have not helped him much, but I have another idea. Perhaps you can use some of that foreign charm, and tell a few locals about Farid Kamel, and how he is so very awesome. And then tell Farid what you have done, as the reward will no doubt be grand!"
<br />Nellie smiled, amused. This man was trying to help his friend find romance, while his friend seemed quite content with the way things were. Nevertheless, she was on an assignment and must do as instructed.<br /> <br />Fatima Amin, the Special Merchant, was one of the people Nellie met. She told her what nice man she felt Farid Kamel was, and that he deserved a nice lady with whom to share his life.<br />"
Fatima smiled, "
I have seen him around the marketplace. He seems very nice, albeit a bit shy. He is handsome as well. If I did not already have a husband, I would maybe consider giving him a go!"
At that, they both laughed. Nellie thanked her and headed to the Food Merchant's shop.<br /> <br />"
the Food Merchant, Nepthy Hawas smiled, "
I know of Farid Kamel. He is quite a nice-looking man. He should have no problems finding a mate if he wants one. As you know, I am a married woman, but . . . my sister, who is quite single, has mentioned to me how handsome she thinks he is, but unfortunately, she is rather shy as well. Who knows? Maybe someday the hands of fate will bring the two together!"
<br />Nellie left the shop feeling more confused about the ways of love than ever. If two people were attracted to each other, why not just come out and let the other know how you feel? Then she remembered her own situation. What if you did not truly know how you felt? Her brow crinkled in thought, she made her way over to see Farid Kamel.<br /> <br />"
I thank you for the kind words"
Farid smiled, blushing, "
but I think I must make my own way in romance, and not rely on the guidance of Helmi Burak."
He laughed, and continued, "
Anyway, Helmi Burak found a keystone embedded in the relic you found. I have determined that the next secret hiding place for Hatshepsut and Ramses is underneath the market itself. Shocking, I know! Find this secret basement chamber and deliver any clues you find in chests to Helmi Burak."
<br />Nellie headed for the market, thinking about Helmi and Farid. The whole situation made Nellie grateful that she had no friends prying into her love life. It was complicated enough without well-meaning, but misguided friends, meddling in her affairs. <br /> <br /> After wandering around the market for a bit, Nellie soon discovered the entrance to the basement inside a storage building of sorts. She grew more exhilarated with every downward step she took.<br /> <br /> After passing through a long corridor, another set of stairs led her down again, and she found the slot in which her keystone fit perfectly.<br /> <br /> Upon entering through the door, she found a hole to inspect. Inside the hole was a hidden switch that activated and caused a floor panel to appear.<br /> <br /> Nellie turned around and pulled the heavy statue onto the floor panel and it opened up another area to explore.<br /> <br /> <br />Nellie pushed open another hidden door and wondered what she would discover behind it. Soon, Nellie found herself in a maze of passages with doors in all directions. She slowly worked her way around and was beginning to wonder if she would ever find her way through it all.<br /> <br />Suddenly, Nellie was gazing at her prize! The problem was it was behind a plate of thick glass. It had taken quite some time to make her way to this point, and Nellie was beginning to tire, so she merely stood gazing longingly through the glass at the treasure, and the luxurious-looking bed which adorned the room. With a tired sigh, she turned to her right and made her way up a staircase, and then down another she found at the top.<br />Soon, a delighted gasp escaped her when she opened a door and was gazing at the room in which she needed to be.<br /> <br />The room was beautifully decorated, and there were several treasure boxes to plunder. Nellie took the treasures from each and then emitted a mighty yawn.<br /> <br />Nellie had managed to work her way through a massive maze of corridors, finding many treasures and relics along the way. She had finally made it into Queen Hatshepsut's lair under the marketplace! <br /> <br />The hour was late and Nellie was beyond exhausted, so she curled up on the bed for a nice long sleep. As she slept, her dreams were filled with images of Queen Hatshepsut and her lovers. At one point, Nellie was the queen and she held ownership of three very handsome slaves . . . .<br /> <br />"
This is most fascinating"
Helmi Burak said when Nellie returned with her finds. "
There are hints of another place where these secret trysts took place. I will figure this out quickly now that I know what I am looking for."
He smiled and switched gears, "
For Farid Kamel, though, I only have one hope left, online dating. I have set up a profile online. All we need now is a picture of Farid. Do this and deliver it to Farid, and we will just have to hope for the best."
<br />Nellie was about to ask the best way of going about getting the picture when Helmi invited her inside to breakfast. Farid Kamel just happened to be a roommate to Helmi and his family, so it would afford Nellie the opportunity to snap a picture of him.<br /> <br />Nellie was grateful for the invitation for another reason as well; she was starving! The waffles were a great change from the dried food she had been consuming during her explorations. Helmi's family was very nice and friendly, but she discovered that Helmi was a bit mean-spirited. His son passed out on the floor from exhaustion, and Helmi merely pointed and laughed at the poor tyke.<br />Soon, breakfast was over and Nellie found the chance to snap a picture of Farid Kamel. She had no way to print it, but she showed it to him on her camera, and then told him the purpose of the picture.<br /> <br />"
Helmi Burak did what?"
Farid gasped, irately. "
I will not stand for this! Please, do not help me anymore with my love life! I cannot be helped, but Helmi Burak can. There was, indeed, another keystone in the relic you previously delivered, and we believe it leads into Queen Hatshepsut's personal chambers at her temple! If there is proof to be found, it will be found there. Please, go check it out and bring back anything useful to Helmi Burak."
<br /> <br />The queen's personal chambers! Nellie thought wildly. She could hardly believe it! In her wildest dreams, she had never thought she would be exploring the personal chambers of Queen Hatshepsut! "
I am so sorry about the whole, helping you with love thing"
she apologized with a blush. "
I was only doing what your friend asked of me."
She smiled at Farid, "
I don't think you are beyond help one bit. Who knows? Romance could be waiting right around the corner!"
<br />Nellie left to head for home, leaving Farid wearing a puzzled expression as he gazed after her.<br /> <br />"
Good afternoon, Nellie!"
Youssef called out from his position at the bottom of the deck stairs. "
I am afraid I am barging in again, but it has been nearly a week since I have heard from you and, it seems, you have turned off your phone again."
<br />Nellie laughed, "
It's alright, Youssef. I'm actually happy to see you!"
Her mood was so high that she was almost giddy. She could still scarcely believe she was going to explore the personal chambers of Queen Hatshepsut soon! "
Come on up"
she smiled. "
I was just about to grab my fishing rod. Care to join me?"
<br />Youssef did not have to be asked twice. He took the steps two at a time until he was at eye level with Nellie. As they retrieved the fishing gear from its storage place, Nellie began to tell him about her latest adventure. He seemed quite intrigued, so she told him a bit about the history of Queen Hatshepsut.<br /> <br />"
Born in the 15th century BC, Hatshepsut, daughter of Tuthmose I and Aahmes, both of royal lineages, was the favorite of their three children. When her two brothers died, she was in the unique position to gain the throne upon the death of her father. To have a female pharaoh was unprecedented and probably most definitely unheard of as well. When Tuthmose I passed away, his son by the commoner Moutnofrit, Tuthmose II, technically ascended the throne. For the few years of his reign, however, Hatshepsut seems to have held the reins.<br />Tuthmose II had a skin disease, and he died after ruling only three or four years. Hatshepsut, his half sister and wife, had produced no offspring with him (her daughter Nefrure was most likely the daughter of her lover Senmut), although he had sired a son through the commoner Isis. This son, Tuthmose III, was in line for the throne, but due to his age Hatshepsut was allowed to reign as queen dowager."
<br /> <br />"
Hatshepsut was not one to sit back and wait for her nephew to age enough to take her place. As a favorite daughter of a popular pharaoh, and as a charismatic and beautiful lady in her own right, she was able to command enough of a following to actually take control as pharaoh. She ruled for about 15 years, until her death in 1458 BC, and left behind more monuments and works of art than any Egyptian queen to come.<br />As a female, Hatshepsut had many obstacles to overcome. There was always a threat of revolt, especially as her bitter nephew came of age. Using propaganda and keen political skills, she deftly jumped each hurdle she faced. To quell the fears of her people, she became a "
in all statuary and relief during her reign. She even dressed in the traditional garb of male rulers: the shendyt kilt, the nemes headdress with its uraeus and khat head cloth, and the false beard."
<br />Youssef's interest was piqued. "
Nellie, I would love to be able to join you on this expedition. I find it all extremely fascinating!"
<br /> <br />Just then, as if in answer to Youssef's thinly-veiled request, a mummy fish leapt high out of the water. They both gasped in surprise and wonder because neither of them had ever seen one in person before now. Youssef laughed, "
It must be a sign! Now you must allow me to accompany you on your quest!"
<br />Nellie, however, took it as a mere coincidence. She laughed, "
I don't think so, Youssef! Nice try, though. You know I prefer to do all my explorations alone."
<br />The crestfallen expression on Youssef's face nearly caused Nellie to have a change of heart, but the look of disappointment in his eyes and the melancholy tone of his voice almost sealed the deal. He sighed, "
Oh Nellie, could you not change your policy just this once and allow me to join you?"
Nellie smiled and told him she would consider it. Having caught nothing, they put away their fishing gear and took up residence on the sofa.<br /> <br />"
Youssef said softly, "
I would like to tell you how much I appreciate your help with the MorcuCorp/Resistance situation."
Nellie was surprised to hear Youssef mention the job she had done for his company. She remained silent, waiting for him to continue. "
I now find myself in a position from which I am able to explain a few things. First, I want you to know that we have recovered the three Great Relics."
Nellie's eyes widened in surprise and she stifled a gasp, but still remained silent, anxiously waiting for him to elaborate. "
he continued with a sigh, "
Dalida Barakat was a disgruntled employee, and she held a grudge against MorcuCorp . . . me actually, to be more precise, for reasons I am not quite ready to divulge, and she set out upon a campaign to destroy the company by forming the group, which calls themselves, The Resistance."
<br />He sounded increasingly nervous to Nellie as he went on, "
We needed to hire someone unassociated with the company to 'investigate' her dealings, so to speak, so I hired you. The day we went fishing together, I planted a tracking device, with audio, on you so that we could know everything that was said and done. You were never in any real danger. I am very sorry, Nellie, but it was the best way to beat Dalida at her own game. Otherwise, I would never have been so deceitful where you are concerned!"
Noticing the stunned, almost pained, expression on Nellie's face, he stood. "
I guess I should leave now."
<br /> <br />"
You just wait one minute, Youssef Nagi"
Nellie exclaimed as she quickly stood and blocked his path. "
You cannot just sit there, tell me something like that, and then haul ass out of here that way!"
At first, Nellie had not known whether to be angry or hurt, but then she realized that she should be neither. She was hired to do a job, and that was what she had done. He had come clean with her when he could have let it go, and honesty like that deserved a reward. "
I'll tell you what, if you can meet me bright and early tomorrow morning outside The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, I will be happy to have you explore the temple with me. There are a couple of other things I would like to know first, though. I am not still adorned with this tracking device am I, and . . . .?"
She had to stifle a giggle at her next question, "
did you have anything to do with Fahad Madbouli shoveling camel dung at the farm?"
<br />Youssef smiled at the beautiful, sweet, understanding woman who stood before him. She seemed more incredible to him every time he saw her. "
I most certainly will be there, no you are not and, yes, I did!"
They both became riddled with bouts of wild laughter then. How could Nellie stay angry with someone who had the power, as well as the sense of humor, to stick that nasty ex-Relic Merchant on a camel farm shoveling dung?<br /> <br />"
Good morning, Nellie"
Youssef grinned as he approached her. "
How do I look? Although I am an Egyptian, born and raised, I have never before explored a tomb, but I have observed the attire of the adventurers. Before returning home last night, I stopped by the General Merchant's shop and bought this outfit. Will it do?"
<br />Nellie smiled. His jovial demeanor seemed to be infectious and, although her mood was already a good one, his presence seemed to make it soar even higher. As she had awaited his arrival, she had taken some time to think about her decision to allow him to explore the temple with her. Just as doubts concerning the wisdom of her choice began to filter into her mind, he had appeared and wiped them all away. "
You've chosen to wear shorts?"
she laughed. "
Nice legs, by the way"
she added with a wink and a glance at his exposed limbs.<br /> <br />"
Why, of course"
Youssef replied with a sheepish grin. "
Egypt is a hot place, yes? I have often wondered how you can stand the heat wearing the clothing you do, Nellie Blye."
He remembered how beautiful her legs had looked when he had seen her at home in her shorts. "
You should take up the habit"
he winked.<br />Nellie laughed, "
Oh no, not me! Shorts are not meant for exploring, in my opinion. There are too many things to get scraped or cut on while wandering around in a tomb. I am all for protecting my legs from things that may leave scars. It may be alright for a man, but it's not for me!"
<br />Laughing, the pair went inside the temple and made their way to the entrance that would lead them to Queen Hatshepsut's personal chambers.<br /> <br />"
Youssef breathed as they stood before the newly-revealed secret stairwell. The man had watched as Nellie inserted the keystone into place and the stairs had opened up before his very eyes. He had never seen such a thing, and it was wondrous and awe-inspiring to him. "
So, you do this all the time, yes?"
he asked, feeling humbled by the woman who stood by his side.<br />"
Isn't it awesome?"
Nellie grinned broadly. "
I don't think I could ever tire of the amazing rush these adventures provide. It is always exciting, sometimes a bit scary, but it is never dull."
Gesturing toward the stairs, she added, "
<br /> <br />At the bottom of the stairs, they stopped to admire a statue, and Nellie told Youssef a bit more about the queen's history. "
Hatshepsut was a master politician, and an elegant stateswoman with enough charisma to keep control of an entire country for twenty years. Her charisma and experience could carry her only so far, however. She used two devices to ensure the legitimacy of her position. The first was to emphasize not only her relationship to Tuthmose I, but her favor from that popular ruler. She claimed to have been handpicked by her father, above her two brothers and her half-brother."
She read the words of Khnum, the divine potter who sculpted the forms of the gods, etched into the statue's base:<br />"
I will make you to be the first of all living creatures. You will rise as king of Upper and of Lower Egypt, as your father Amon, who loves you, did ordain."
Moving on, the pair soon approached a room that held many obstacles blocking their way.<br /> <br /> "
I take it these are the pushable statues you have been telling me about, yes?"
Youssef inquired as they stood just outside the door.<br /> Nellie smiled. "
These are the ones!"
she replied with a sigh. "
Now, you'll get some real exercise"
she added as she moved into the room.<br /> Youssef remained where he stood for a few moments longer, and then followed her into the room.<br /> <br />"
Youssef grunted as he began to push the first statue, "
this thing is heavy! How on Earth do you do it?"
<br />Nellie laughed heartily, "
Trust me. You get used to it."
Nellie merely stood and watched the man struggle with the statue for several moments, enjoying the way his muscles seemed to ripple beneath his shirt as he strained against the heavy object. She suddenly wondered how many lovers' trysts Queen Hatshepsut may have had inside these very walls. The thought of having such power as the queen must have possessed, with the ability to take on almost any lover she desired, sent a tingle shooting down Nellie's spine.<br /> <br />Nellie licked her dry lips as her eyes traveled down to Youssef's bare legs, and she wondered how it would feel to trace her hands up their length until they came to rest on his . . . . Stop it! Her mind screamed as she shook herself free of her wild musings. What is wrong with me? She had never been one to have such wild notions playing in her head. Nellie came to the conclusion that there must be some strange aura about the temple that was causing her to have such forbidden thoughts, and she decided she would make a stronger effort to prevent her mind from wandering in such an erotic direction from now on.<br />"
Youssef announced, dusting off his hands as he approached her. "
That one is out of the way!"
Then it was Nellie's turn to tackle a statue.<br /> <br />Youssef's gaze slowly traced the contours and curves of Nellie's sleek, sinewy body as she pulled the statue onto the floor panel, and he felt his desire rise and become a throbbing ache which threatened to overwhelm him. A lump rose into his throat, his pulse raced wildly, his palms grew sweaty, and his mouth felt as dry as the desert sands that surrounded the temple outside.<br />She was beautiful, strong, independent, and determined, yet just sweet and soft enough to make her a rounded, well-balanced, very desirable woman. He found himself fighting the crazy urge to rush to her, wrap her into his arms, and make love to her right where she stood. He shook himself . . . hard, as his brow furrowed in puzzlement. From where had those sudden, erratic thoughts come? It was not like him to have such fantasies out of the clear blue. <br />Once Nellie had the statue into place, she looked up at him and smiled, "
Ready for the next room?"
She pointed toward door the floor panel had opened.<br /> <br />As Nellie watched Youssef move another statue into place, she thought about some of the writings she had read on the walls along the way. Her gaze appreciated Youssef's firm backside as one in particular came into her mind:<br />Amon took the form of the noble King Tuthmose and found the queen sleeping in her room. When the pleasant odours that proceeded from him announced his presence, she woke. He gave her his heart and showed himself in his godlike splendour. When he approached the queen she wept for joy at his strength and beauty, and he gave her his love...<br />An intense heat seemed to infiltrate Nellie's body, and she felt as if she may burst into flames at any moment. "
Youssef's voice broke into her thoughts, "
that is done!"
Nellie smiled up at him, her cheeks burning hotly, and they moved into the next chamber.<br /> <br />"
Does it feel hot in here to you?"
Nellie asked as they stood at the top of the next staircase they needed to descend. It felt to her as if she were standing in the hot desert sun, instead of being in the cool air the chambers of a tomb generally provided. The combination of standing so close to the handsome man at her side and feeling the heat emanating from his body, breathing in his delightful, masculine scent was not helping matters much either<br />Youssef emitted a nervous laugh. Oh yes. He, too, was feeling the heat, believing it to be caused by her closeness, but he tried to make light of it. "
See? Now you know the benefits of wearing light-colored clothing . . . and shorts!"
<br />His comment seemed to lighten the mood and Nellie chuckled, "
OK you, it's time to go downstairs!"
At the foot of the stairs, they entered a new chamber.<br /> <br />Youssef found a chest to open while Nellie moved into a smaller room to have a look around. There, she also found a chest, and once opened, it revealed a floor panel onto which a statue had to be pulled. Once she had inspected the room thoroughly, Nellie remained inside the small space for several long moments, pondering the strange emotions and physical sensations that had been occurring since shortly after entering the tomb with Youssef. She shivered. The whole 'search for love' task must have been getting to her, she concluded.<br />Yes, she had always had an attraction for Youssef, but it had never felt as overpowering as it did now. She made the assumption that it must have something to do with the way she had romanticized the life of Queen Hatshepsut in her mind. Was it not every girl's secret fantasy to be a beautiful, powerful queen or princess with the whole world at your feet? Nellie smiled at the image and went back to join Youssef in the main chamber.<br /> <br />Nellie smiled to see Youssef grunting and cursing under his breath as he pulled a statue onto the floor panel her efforts had revealed in the small room. She was relieved to discover her sudden and irrational lustful thoughts toward him seemed to have lessened since entering this chamber. It was almost as if there was something in the air in the surrounding corridors and chambers that had caused her such physical and emotional distress. This room appeared to be a library of sorts, and she could see the door to the queen's private chamber, but she had no keystone with which to unlock the door.<br />Youssef pulled the statue into place, and then grinned broadly at her. "
he exclaimed happily. "
It is done!"
Nellie thought that it was actually nice to have someone with her to help with some of the physical strains of tomb exploring. She moved toward a suspicious-looking place on the wall to inspect it.<br /> <br />Youssef plopped heavily down into one of the chairs at a long table in the room and sighed. "
This exploring business is exciting, but tiring work"
he remarked as his gaze moved around the room. "
It is very admirable that you have chosen this line of work, Nellie."
His licentious thoughts had vanished, as well, upon entering 'the library'. A sudden chill crept up his spine and he shivered. "
Nellie, does this place not give you the creeps just a little?"
<br />Nellie giggled. "
Yes, but I am used to it!"
As a secret door began to open, Nellie said, "
At least the queen isn't buried here. In the manner of her father, Tuthmose I, who realized a temple is too obvious a place to bury priceless artifacts, the tomb of Hatshepsut was constructed in secret. Ineni, the architect of the tomb and temple of Tuthmose I, prided himself that he was the only one who knew the tomb location of his master. The 100 "
that built the tomb, according to Otto Neubert, were killed after the project to protect the secret. Whether this brutal technique was used in Hatshepsut's case is not known, but it is rather moot. The biggest enemy of Hatshepsut was not grave-robbers, but her own nephew, who would have no problem finding her tomb, no matter how many slaves died."
Nellie went through the door, and found a chest which contained a keystone in the new chamber, but not the one she sought. <br /> <br />"
You mean that keystone is going to make those chains fall away from that door?"
Youssef inquired as Nellie slipped the crescent keystone into place.<br />Nellie laughed, "
That is generally how it works!"
She inserted the keystone and the chains fell away with a satisfying clang. She was amused by Youssef's expression of wonderment as she moved past him to enter the newly-unlocked chamber.<br /> <br />A sudden sense of foreboding entered Nellie's heart as she moved into the new chamber and, for the first time, a slight jab of fear. "
she said softly, "
now, I am somewhat creeped out."
She shivered involuntarily, wondering what it was about this place that caused such apprehension to rise up inside her. Maybe it was because the story of Queen Hatshepsut and her life was one of Nellie's favorite parts of the history of Ancient Egypt, but she doubted that was all it was.<br />Youssef waited patiently in the doorway while Nellie moved further into the tiny chamber she was entering. The place seemed to have a way of making his skin crawl, almost as if they were being watched, but he did not voice his concerns to Nellie because he did not want to frighten her.<br /> <br />"
Nellie exclaimed excitedly, "
I have found the keystone to the queen's personal chambers!"
She lifted the keystone from its place on a table and gazed almost lovingly at it for several long moments before stuffing it into her bag. Excitement welled up inside her, nearly overwhelming her to the point of feeling light-headed and faint. She was finally going to see where Queen Hatshepsut had spent her private time, doing whatever it is that a queen does in the privacy of her own chamber.<br />"
Nellie said as she rushed past him and headed toward the slot into which the keystone would fit perfectly.<br /> <br />Youssef was surprised to realize that he was actually being caught up in Nellie's excitement as he watched her insert the coveted keystone into its slot on the wall. There did seem to be an element of ancient charm and romance surrounding the temple, and who better to share the experience with than a beautiful woman whose enthusiasm was so evident?<br />Nellie was overjoyed when the door opened and she quickly led the way inside. It was a small room with a staircase leading up, and Nellie took the stairs practically two at time, as her exhilaration grew stronger at the prospect of finally seeing Queen Hatshepsut's private quarters.<br /> <br />Youssef gazed around the room, awestruck by the décor and furnishings in the room. He had never seen such ancient splendour. There seemed to be an aura of romance in the air and he, for the first time, wondered about Hatshepsut and how many lovers had been invited here in the ancient past.<br />"
This place is incredible"
he remarked breathlessly. "
I have never seen so many fine antiques in one room."
<br /> <br />Nellie, however, was slightly disappointed. The room was beautiful, yes, but she had expected it to much larger and grander than it had turned out to be. In her travels, she had seen many more richly-decorated rooms than this, but she kept those thoughts to herself. "
It is . . . lovely"
she responded quietly. She spied a chest next to the bed and moved toward it, while Youssef went to a chest on the opposite side of the room.<br />Inside the chest Nellie opened was the artifact Helmi Burak needed to prove or disprove his theory about his ancestor's dealings with the queen.<br /> <br />When Nellie looked inside the chest, her heart caught in her throat, nearly choking her. She reached inside and very carefully pulled out an ancient book. Her fingers lightly traced around the edges of the aged cover in an almost loving manner. Nellie held within her hands a great treasure, one of untold value. "
Nellie called out in a ragged voice, "
I have found the diary of Queen Hatshepsut!"
<br />Youssef glanced at her over his shoulder, "
Her diary? How exciting"
he responded, grinning. "
Come here and see what I found!"
He stood up, still grinning at her as she approached. "
Perhaps we should have a good read and nice drink!"
<br /> <br />"
What do you say I pop the cork on this beauty and we will have a drink to celebrate our successes?"
Youssef smiled and added with a wink, "
Then we can have a look at that diary to see what our dear Hatshepsut was doing in her life. There are even some gold goblets in the chest for us to use."
<br />Nellie hesitated a moment before responding, considering his suggestion. "
Uh, I don't think so, Youssef. Really, I need to take this diary to Helmi Burak right away. I wouldn't feel right about snooping into it."
Even as she said it, she found it silly to consider it prying if the owner of a diary was long dead.<br />Youssef looked crestfallen. "
Oh come on, Nellie"
he pouted. "
What it will hurt to at least have one drink? You know what they say about all work and no play, do you not?"
Without waiting for her to respond, he popped the cork, grabbed two goblets, poured some of the pungent liquid into the goblets, and handed one to her. He gazed deeply into her eyes and smiled sweetly.<br /> <br />"
Here is to you, Nellie"
he said as he raised his cup in the gesture of a toast. "
Here is to my virgin adventure, and to the woman who made it all possible. You are a very special lady, Nellie Blye, and I could not have picked a more excellent guide to lead me on my first experience of tomb exploration!"
<br />Nellie's heart was warmed by his charming words as she acquiesced and took a sip from her goblet. The liquid was bitter and burned her throat slightly, yet it had just enough sweetness to make the taste somewhat appealing. "
Thank you, Youssef"
Nellie murmured as she smiled up at the handsome man. Nellie took another sip and was surprised to find it tasted better than the first. This time, it not only burned her throat, but heat seemed to emanate throughout her body.<br />"
Youssef suggested, gesturing toward the love seat, "
let us sit awhile. I would like to hear more about the history of Queen Hatshepsut."
<br /> <br />Nellie smiled, all too happy to comply, "
Although there were no wars during Queen Hatshepsut's reign, she proved her sovereignty by ordering expeditions to the land of Punt, in present-day Somalia, in search of the ivory, animals, spices, gold and aromatic trees that the Ancient Egyptians coveted. These expeditions are well documented in the hieroglyphic inscriptions on the walls of this temple.<br />It was extremely rare for a woman to become pharaoh and ruler of Egypt. Hatshepsut claimed that she was her father's intended heir and her claim was strengthened when the Oracle of Amun proclaimed that it was the will of the god Amun that Hatshepsut be Pharaoh."
Youssef remarked, his gaze settling upon her lips as she spoke. Her lips suddenly looked very inviting and kissable to him. "
he urged gently as he sipped more of his wine, which tasted better the more he drank.<br /> <br />"
What was believed to be lost the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut was finally identified in June 2007 when a tooth, kept at a temple in a box bearing the name of the female pharaoh, was confirmed as belonging to Queen Hatshepsut. The tooth was found to be the exact match for a gap in the upper jaw of a previously unidentified mummy. The mummy of Queen Hatshepsut is now displayed in the Cairo Museum."
There was more that Nellie could have told him, but quite suddenly it all made her slightly melancholy for some strange reason. The strong wine seemed to be going straight to her head. She sighed sadly, "
In all, Hatshepsut accomplished what no woman had before her. She ruled the most powerful, advanced civilization in the world, successfully, for twenty years. Even if there were some who resented her success, her success stands for all eternity."
<br />Suddenly, Youssef could hold himself back no longer. On an impulse, he scooted closer to her and boldly wrapped an arm across her shoulder.<br /> <br />"
Do not fret, Nellie"
Youssef murmured softly, touched by how sensitive she was, as he drew her closer to him. "
Life is what we make it. Queen Hatshepsut's story is ancient history, but from all you have said, she made the most of her life and she had a good one. That is all any of us can do."
Suddenly, Youssef realized that her nearness was beginning to get to him again as his heart skipped several beats, and his thoughts moved to less than pure ones, but he tried to ignore his growing ardor as he struggled to concentrate on her response.<br />Nellie smiled, "
You are right, Youssef. It's just that sometimes I tend to get too emotional over certain things. Ironically, it's rarely over things in my own life though."
Suddenly a thought occurred to her and she simply had to know, "
She sighed softly as she leaned closer against him.<br /> <br />"
You are a very caring, generous, considerate, handsome man, as well as very desirable"
Nellie blushed at the use her last adjective, and wondered how she had found the courage to use it. "
How is it that you have managed to remain single for so long? It would seem that some lucky female would have snatched you up and taken you off the market by now."
<br />Youssef chuckled, still fighting his wild desire to end all conversation and turn the situation into a physical one. "
Many have tried, and many have failed."
The strong wine, having removed his inhibitions, loosened his tongue enough to make a confession. "
It just so happens to be that Dalida Barakat was one of them."
Nellie gasped in surprise, but said nothing, and he continued, "
As you know, Dalida is married now and has children, but when she first came into MorcuCorp's hire, that was not so. I found her strength of will and independent nature attractive. She was different from other women who had shown an interest in me, so we dated casually several times. Soon, I learned that she is overbearing and tiresome, so I broke off our relationship before it could go any further."
<br /> <br />Youssef turned to gaze intently into her eyes as he continued, "
You see, Dalida did not take my rejection very well, so she set out to get revenge by trying to destroy the company my father worked so hard all his life to build. The relics she stole actually belonged to my ancestors, and are very important to my father."
Nellie replied sympathetically. "
I felt as if something was not right about that woman. I should have known to listen to my gut!"
It is alright, Nellie"
he said softly. "
All is well . . . now."
Youssef's whole body seemed to burn with desire as their gazes remained locked together, but he had more to say before allowing it to overtake him. "
The answer to your question is that the right woman for me has never come along . . . until now. Nellie, you are the most vibrant, strong, independent, and desirable woman I have ever met."
Unable to contain himself any longer, Youssef pressed his lips to Nellie's.<br /> <br />When their lips met, a spark ignited between them that sent electrical shockwaves shooting into every nerve ending in their bodies. Neither of them had ever felt more alive with longing and desire. Nellie parted her lips and eagerly accepted the offer of his tongue as if it was a sip of water and she was dying of thirst. As if of its own accord, her hand snaked up to wrap around the back of his neck, and her fingers entwined in his hair. She gently tugged his head toward hers, encouraging him to deepen his kiss.<br />Youssef moaned his pleasure against her lips as she enthusiastically suckled his exploring tongue. His heart raced manically as his fingers deftly unbuttoned her blouse. She pressed her body wantonly toward his hand as it gently cupped the sensitive mound of flesh beneath the material. Soon, bits of clothing were being removed and tossed aside onto the love seat behind them. Their lips barely parting, they stood together as more clothing slid off and fell to the floor in a heap.<br /> <br />As they clung to each other, and their desire heightened, they became the only two people on Earth. The outside world ceased to exist, and each became a lifeline to the other. The only thing that mattered was the growing passion and yearning they shared between them. Their bare skin burned as hotly as the torches on the wall wherever it came in contact with the other as they pressed closer, while their lips and hands eagerly explored each other's bodies.<br />Nellie's heart pounded wildly against her breastbone, and she felt Youssef's heart keeping time with hers. The evidence of his arousal throbbed gently against her belly, which sent shivers of anticipation trickling down her spine. She moaned against his lips and kissed him with added fervor as she slipped her own tongue between his lips to explore the warm recesses of his willing mouth. When his lips abruptly parted from hers, she grunted her displeasure and tried to pull him back to her, but then she felt herself being lifted from the floor.<br /> <br />The man could take no more. He swept the woman up into his arms and began moving toward the bed, which seemed to be calling out to him in an irresistibly seductive voice. Halfway there, he stopped in his tracks, nearly overwhelmed by a wave of desire as Nellie began nibbling his earlobe. His knees grew weak, and he feared they would buckle beneath their combined weight when her lips and tongue traced a trail from just below his ear down to his shoulder where she began to plant tiny kisses and nibbles there as well. <br />Finally, he began his forward trek toward the bed again. When he reached it, he had to practically peel Nellie off of him, and then he laid her gently down on the bed. His tongue snaked out to move slowly across his lips as he stood gazing down at her, displayed before him like a scrumptious buffet being offered to a starving man. Their eyes met and locked as her outstretched arms beckoned for him to join her, so he crawled onto the bed, gently positioning his body above hers, and she instantly encircled him eagerly into her waiting arms.<br /> <br />Nellie ardently reveled in the weight of Youssef's body as she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him down onto her. His bare skin felt delightfully warm as it reconnected with hers, causing her desire for him to spiral out of control. The extremely lustful yearning that burned within his gaze was almost too much for her to bear, and her head swam in a strange, but pleasant manner as she became lost in the heat of her own intense craving to have more of him. She could not remember ever wanting, or needing, anything more urgently in her entire life.<br />Her whole body ached for him, and there was an empty space, a void, deep within her that she knew only he could fill. She whispered his name as she arched her body upward against his, desperately urging him to fill that void within her before it drove her into a complete and total state of madness.<br /> <br />Youssef hungrily captured her lips with his as he simultaneously fulfilled her unspoken demand. As their bodies melded together and became as one, they began to move together in perfect rhythm, and they clung to each other as if their very lives depended upon it. Never had anything ever felt so good, so right, to either of them in their whole lives before that moment. The only thing that mattered was the pleasure each could provide for and receive from the other. <br />Nellie's cries of blissful ecstasy filled the air and echoed off the walls of the room as wave after wave of intense pleasure rocked her body like a tiny boat on a turbulent sea. Her cries were soon joined by Youssef's as he reached his own intense, climatic plateau. When it was over, they did it again, and again . . . and again. The impassioned couple could not seem to get enough of each other, even though their bodies were nearing a dangerously exhausted condition. Finally, not necessarily sated, but physically unable to go on, they slipped beneath the covers and fell sound asleep in each other's arms.<br /> <br />If Nellie had succumbed to Youssef's urging to read Queen Hatshepsut's diary, the hands of fate may have turned in a different direction. They would have learned that Hatshepsut had held a fascination for the properties of various herbs and spices that were collected from different regions during her expeditions. In her spare time, she enjoyed concocting formulas for skin creams, makeup, medicines, and potions. One of her most prized potions was a potent aphrodisiac. There was a room that had been used as a laboratory for such creations in the temple. The ancient ventilation system allowed the fumes to seep into the corridors outside Hatshepsut's personal chambers, which was the cause of their lustful thoughts until reaching the final chamber. If Nellie had taken the time to study the bottle Youssef found in the chest, she would have seen, and been able to decipher, etched in Hieroglyphics, these words: <br /> He who dares drink this brew, His desire will rise anew, Akin to the ocean's tide, His craving will not be denied <br /> <br />I thought I'd leave you this time with an image of the real Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and the queen, since I bombarded you with so many facts about the real thing during this story. I actually find it all very fascinating and I hope you enjoyed it as well. Of course the picture of Hatshepsut on the right is an artist's depiction of her, but I think it's beautiful and wanted to share it with you. I suppose you can also tell which things about Hatshepsut came completely from my own imagination. *grin*<br />The source of my information is http://www.bediz.com/hatshep/index.html. The artist of the picture on the right is Reynaldo Hernandez.<br />