Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus: Chapter Six

Okay all you loyal fans! Here it is, the last serial chapter of  THEODOSIA AND THE EYES OF HORUS. The book itself should start showing up in bookstores within the next two or three weeks!

For those of you just tuning in, I am posting a chapter a month of Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus to help tide you over until the book comes out in April. I also need to post my standard spoiler alert:

WARNING, This chapter of Book Three, Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus, MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR BOOK TWO, Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris. So if you haven’t read that yet, STOP RIGHT NOW. The rest of the chapter is up under the cut in order to protect those who haven’t read Book Two yet.

You’ll also notice that I’ve taken down Chapters Three and Four. Part of the agreement with my publisher is that I wouldn’t leave six chapters up at once.

CHAPTER SIX

THE EMERALDTABLET

“HENRY!”I YELLED. “What on earth are you doing? These aren’t toys, you know.”

Henry stared in horror at the tip of the lance blade, which was now slightly crumpled. “How was I to know you were going to bash it with a stone tablet?”

“What do you expect me to do when you come at me with a lance? Besides, I didn’t mean to. It was just instinct to get something between me and the point of the blade.”

I knelt down to examine the stele. Sure enough, a huge crack ran right through the middle. “Oh, Henry, you’ve destroyed it!”

“Have not.” He replaced the lance in the corner and came to kneel beside me. “Maybe we could glue it?” he suggested.

“And hope that no one would notice? I don’t think so.”

“Well, it can’ t be very important if it’s been moldering down here for ages.”

“All artifacts are important, Henry.” I reached out and picked up the stele, horrified when the top right corner fell onto the floor. The damage was much worse than I’d thought.

“I say! Look!” Henry pointed. Under the corner that had fallen off, a dull green stone peeked out.

I frowned in puzzlement and brought the stele closer so I could examine it more thoroughly. Henry leaned in to see better too. I glared at him. “You’re breathing on me.”

“Sorry. But what is that underneath, do you think?”

“I’m not sure. It almost looks as if the stele was covering something else.”

“Well, then, this isn’t a disaster, it’s a find,” he was quick to point out.

I wasn’t ready to let him off the hook that easily. “I’m not so sure . . .”

“It is. Look!” He grabbed the stele out of my hands, set it on the floor, and began breaking off the rest of the outer layer.

“Henry! Stop! That’s not how you do it.”

But I was too late. In less than ten seconds he had completely peeled off the outer layer. It came away as easily as the skin of an orange, revealing a dull green stone of some sort.

I couldn’t tell what kind of stone it was. Even more intriguing, there were symbols carved into its surface. They were unlike any I’ d ever seen and were certainly not Egyptian hieroglyphs. Which was odd, because there were also figures of Egyptian gods carved into the surface. I recognized the ibis-headed Thoth, who was handing something to the falcon-headed Horus. They stood in front of three mountain peaks with light from Ra shining down upon them.

“This is an important discovery, isn’t it, Theo?” Henry said, his chest puffing up a bit.

“Well, it was completely the wrong way to go about it, but yes,” I finally admitted. “This would definitely qualify as a discovery. Of some sort.”

Just then, a creak on the stairs had Henry and me jumping to our feet. Instinctively, I stepped in front of the green tablet, hoping to hide it from view.

Edgar Stilton hovered on the second stair from the bottom. I was relieved to see he wasn’t looking at us but instead staring rather uneasily at the mummies against the wall. Specifically, at Tetley.

“Stilton, what are you doing down here?” My question came out rather harsh, but I hadn’t forgotten that his snooping on my activities was what had led Aloysius Trawley to suspect I had magic powers to begin with.

“Your parents asked me to come find you and tell you they are ready to leave for —I say! What have you got there?” Eyes fixed on the green stone tablet, he came over to where

Henry and I stood.

Without thinking, I reached down and grabbed the heavy stone from the floor and clutched it tightly in both hands. “I’m not sure,” I said with a warning glance at Henry. “It’s just one of the steles from the shelf.” I tried to turn away as if to put it back, but Stilton reached out and stopped me.

“Can I have a look?” His face was shining and eager. And, I reminded myself, he was almost as good as I was at picking up odd threads of power and magic. Of course, he didn’t know it, but I could tell. He always twitched and shuddered like a bug on the end of a pin when there were vile curses about. Rather handy, that. Especially in our museum.

He took the green stele from my hands, and I had to resist an urge to grab it back. I watched his face as he studied it, his academic interest quickly giving way to something else —awe. He looked at me, his face glowing eerily in the faint green reflection of the stele. “Do you realize what you’ve found, Theo?”

“Actually, it was me that found it,” Henry said with a bit of a swagger.

“No, I don’t,” I said, elbowing Henry. “Do you?”

He returned his eyes to the stele and stared at it reverently. “I believe I do. If I’m not mistaken, you’ve just found the Tabula Smaragdina, otherwise known as the Emerald Tablet, which magicians and alchemists have been searching for for centuries.”

“Oh,” I said, uneasy. If my experience with the Arcane Order of the Black Sun was any indication, when magicians are interested in something, it usually means it holds dangerous and questionable properties.

“Does it do anything?” Henry asked.

Hearing Henry’s voice seemed to remind Stilton that he and I were not free to talk openly. He blinked, focused his gaze on Henry, then smiled. “It is said to contain the alchemical formula that turns metal into gold.”

“Gold,” Henry breathed.

I frowned at Stilton. “But alchemy is all bunk, isn’t it? Just an old misguided scientific theory that turned out to be wishful thinking, right?”

“I don’ t know, Miss Theo. Some people think there is much truth to be found in the ancient science.” I cleared my throat and caught Stilton’s eye.

“Er, right,” he said. “Historical nonsense, really. From a more ignorant time.”

“Thank you, Stilton.” I did not need him planting such rot into Henry’s head.

Henry’s face fell. “But even if the formula was just wishful thinking, wouldn’t a tablet made of emerald be worth a fortune?”

“Well, yes. There is that,” Stilton conceded. Honestly. The man was not helping a bit!

“Did you say our parents were getting ready to leave?” I asked.

“Yes. Yes, I did. They were about to walk out the door when I came down here.”

“We’ d best hurry then, Henry. We don’ t want to get left behind.” I turned back to Stilton. “Thank you, Stilton. Could you tell them we’ll be right along? Oh, and do me a favor, if you would. Let’s not tell anyone — anyone —about this find just yet. I’d like to surprise my parents with it.”

“Of course, Miss Theo,” Stilton said. “I won’ t breathe a word.” Then he winked. Or twitched, I couldn’t be sure.

“Henry, come put these weapons away,” I said as Stilton disappeared up the stairs.

With a sigh and a sullen shuffle of his feet, Henry slumped back to the corner and replaced the weapons he’d been playing with. While his back was turned, I slipped the tablet under an old wooden shield on the shelf. While I t h o ug h t Stilton was mostly trustworthy —at least, more so than the others —I felt it best to hide the tablet, just to be on the safe side.

When Henry continued to dawdle, I gave him a little nudge (more of a push, really). I glanced around for Isis, but she had disappeared again. I worried briefly about locking her down in the catacombs for the night, then realized that since she’d gotten down there on her own, she could get out as well.

We reached the top of the stairs but found the hallway empty. “Maybe they’ re waiting in the foyer,” I suggested. They weren’t, so we hurried to the sitting room, hoping to find them there.

“Tell me again why we can’ t spend the night working here?” Father was saying as he shrugged into his coat. “We have over six weeks’ worth of work we need to accomplish in only two.”

“But darling,” Mother said, wrapping his scarf around his neck. “This is Henry’s first night home since Christmas.”

“Blast! I forgot again!”

Well, at least I wasn’t the only child he forgot about.

“That’s because you’ve been working too hard,” Mum said. “It would do you good to have a night off. Now, come along. Let’s go find the children.”

Not wanting to be caught eavesdropping, I stepped into the room, pulling Henry behind me. “Here we are!” I said brightly.

“Like bad pennies, you two are,” Father said. Even though his words were gruff, he ruffled Henry’s hair in a playful manner. I found myself wishing for a much shorter haircut, like a boy’s. It’s hideously unfair that boys get to have their hair mussed as a sign of affection whereas girls aren’t allowed to get mussed at all. Just as I was beginning to feel sorry for myself, Father put his arm around my shoulders. “Let’s go find some dinner, shall we?”

10 Responses to “Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus: Chapter Six”

  1. Kara Says:

    YAY!!!! When is it coming out? April? isn’t it?

  2. Bibliophile Says:

    Barnes and Noble (at least some Barnes and Nobles) will start selling it on April 12th. I don’t know about other bookstores. And, of course, there is always the possibility that it will be sold out, or that the bookstores nearest to you won’t have any copies. That’s why I’m hoping I can order it online before it comes out. I don’t want to wait, and besides, you can get some amazing discounts if you pre-order.
    As for the chapter, it was great, as usual. I wish there could be more, but I do understand, and I really appreciate you letting us read this much of the book, RL! Thank you!

  3. Megan Says:

    Oh my gosh!!!!! I can’t wait for April! Having to wait for so long is kiiiiiiiiiiling me! I can’t wait! I have been restraining myself from reading the chapters so the book won’t end as soon! I CAN”T WAIT!!!!!

  4. seaweed Says:

    i can’t wait for the book to come out! but i really, really hate the Theodosia’s voice in the audio vesion of the books. it sounds too whiny and babyish. it’s way,way too high. couldn’t your publishers have gotten a more intelligent-sounding voice, one that doesn’t sond so know-it-all-ey? but thanks for giving us this many chapters
    (also the email adress above is my mom’s.)

  5. seaweed Says:

    oh, sorry, several typo’s, or erratums. meant to say version, in the second line.

  6. R.L. Says:

    The book officially comes out on April 12, but someone said that Amazon is showing it as in stock and shipping, so it’s probably beginning to hit stores pretty soon.

    Seaweed, I’m so sorry you didn’t like the narrator’s voice! :-( I really liked it. Oh well. I did think she talked a little slower than Theo does, but that’s probably normal for audiobooks. If they went too fast it might be easy to miss something important.

  7. seaweed Says:

    the voice sounds so self-satisfied. it’d be nice if they had someone who sounded less like Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

  8. MarkSpizer Says:

    great post as usual!

  9. brenda Says:

    Hey guys! I already know i would luv the book already! Oh yeah and RL, i cant seem 2 find my past posts, so could u lend me a hand?

  10. Victoria Says:

    I love your books and can read them in a day. The voice they chose sounds nasal and a bit prissy but besides that it’s OK.