By Jane Richards
For a few moments Tepi was unable to answer. She had found Nekhi! She just couldn't believe it. All the gods must have been helping her, especially the one, invisible god who had created all, Atum-Re, who had commanded the beginning. This must have been the strange power she had felt when going through the small garden door so many days ago.
"I'm just here, Nekhi, now come out of there and we'll get out of here. Hurry, our torch won't last much longer!"
The three stumbled out of their tiny cell, following Tepi and Sethi out of the tomb. As they were leaving the chamber that Tepi had realized was a newer addition, she fleetingly noticed that the crocodile god, Sobek, was quite prominently displayed. This was, too, unlike the traditions of her southern home.
Sethi crept out of the tomb entrance first, carefully checking to see if soldiers might be lurking, but so far none were visible anywhere near. He led the group to a back street, depositing them in deep shadows to make sure they were not seen and went for the camels. Returning quickly as possible, he gave the three freed captives robes to cover their identity and off they started to the south.
"This was all too easy" Tepi whispered to Nekhi and Sethi, "don't you think?"
Sethi gave a shrug, and continued down the road, as Nekhi walked beside Tepi. With some privacy now and time to talk, Tepi filled Nekhi in on what had been happening and the fact that Sethi wasn't aware, just yet, of who Nekhi really was. Liking the idea of no one knowing who he was, he gleefully agreed to let it remain a secret for awhile. The other two boys who had shared his prison had no idea what his actual identity was, either. They had been taken in battle just to the south of the delta.
"Tepi, why did you do this? Not that I'm ungrateful or complaining, mind you. I know I would have perished in that tomb had you not rescued me, but I didn't think girls did such things."
"And just why aren't girls supposed to do things like this?" returned Tepi, "This is my country too, you know, and you are my brother! Besides, I can't really explain it. I just had this feeling that I could help you, and here I am," she continued as they traveled south on the road as fast as they could.
After a long silence Tepi added, "You know, I've learned more about this land of ours by taking this trek than years of study in the temple," and she began to tell her brother all the things she had seen, the hard working people she had met and all she had learned from living on the road.
"Nekhi, I think we should go out of the palace more often---among the people who live in this country. I'm sure we would understand much more if we did. Father is busy defending us and trying to re-unite these two-lands the way it used to be," she related thoughtfully.
Nekhi listened intently to what she had to say and finally nodded his agreement. " I agree with you, Tepi. This whole thing has made me even more sure that I want to see our land back together again!" A few minutes later they heard a thunder of hoovebeats as a great cloud of dust arose north of them on the road.
"I just knew this was too easy", sighed Tepi.