Thoth held up his hand to quiet the students, and then waved his hybrid servant Djeuti over. “Take the class into the obsidian garden and wait for me there. Leave these three with me.”
Djeuti bowed, his long bird-neck extended so that his beak almost touched the shining marble floor. “As you wish, Master.”
Shu-Tu watched the ibis-headed hybrid herd the rest of her class with his orichalcum ankh toward an archway inlaid with gold and silver turtles. A hallow grinding noise made her look up. She blinked. The dome was opening, allowing for the mighty crystal to absorb the sun’s powerful morning rays. Brilliant rays that could give life to Atlantis, but presumably could not give her father his life back. Her eyes welled, and she let out a sigh just as a heavy, warm hand came to rest on her shoulder. She jumped.
“I understand your sadness, Shu-Tu. Your father Elmeur was a wonderful vizier to our king, and just in many ways.” Thoth dropped his hand from Shu-Tu’s shoulder. “But we cannot, must not ever go against the flow of nature. To do so would go against our principles and sacred laws. Besides, I have it on the highest authority that the mighty crystal does not possess the kind of power you seek.”
“That’s not what I’ve heard,” Segferd said, crossing his arms over his shimmering purple robe. “My father said the mighty crystal has the power to rejuvenate the body.”
“True,” Thoth replied, nodding. “But only for a living body.”
“See? I told you this was pointless, Shu-Tu,” Amiee said haughtily. “You should have listened to me in the first place and asked for an audience with the high priests at the Temple of Poseidon. Our teacher obviously doesn’t seem to want to help you in your time of need.”
“Indeed?” Thoth asked, raising a ruddy brow. He tapped her under the chin with the top of his rod. “How would you suggest I help Shu-Tu, Amiee?”
Amiee stared at the grotesque-looking baboon head. Her lips quivered slightly as she said, “Help Shu-Tu resurrect her father.”
Thoth’s eyes widened. He withdrew his rod, and slid a thumb down the length of it. “Do you not believe the soul lives on, Shu-Tu?”
“Yes, of course, Thoth, but I also believe my father’s destiny was compromised,” Shu-Tu replied, wiping her eyes.
“Compromised?” Thoth asked. “How so?”
“Shu-Tu believes someone tampered with the water sample her father drank when he tasted the crystal-cleansed water supply for the king,” Segferd spoke up, flicking an ivory tendril off one of Shu-Tu’s shoulders. “So we thought the only way to reverse this terrible injustice was to rejuvenate Elmeur.”
Thoth frowned. “And how do you plan on doing this, Shu-Tu?”
Shu-Tu stared at her sandaled feet. “By using the curative powers of the mighty crystal to flush the poison that still remains in his body.”
Thoth grunted. “There are flaws in your plan. The mighty crystal is kept here and guarded by the appointed initiates at all times. They would never allow your father’s body entrance into the Crystal Dome. In the initiates’ minds, it would be a great sacrilege to Poseidon and the Law of One to reverse what has been done.”
“But what of those crystals that are harvested from the mighty crystal?” Amiee asked. “My father calls them firestones. He believes the sorcerers have used them to regenerate life.”
“Your father should keep such dark things to himself,” Thoth said, raising his voice. “Why do you think Atlantis suffers from frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity? In the wrong hands firestones can be utilized for such destructive purposes.”
“Yet in the hands of well-meaning Atlanteans, they could be used for constructive purposes such as tools for healing,” Segferd said.
Shu-Tu looked up. “You were the one who taught us how alchemy can penetrate the secrets of nature, life, and death, Thoth. Please—” She reached for his red robe. “Father is set to be mummified the day after tomorrow, and then I will lose him forever.”
Thoth’s deep, blue eyes pierced through Shu-Tu’s eyes and cut into her insides as if she’d been opened up like the dome above. She shuddered.
“Very well, I shall help,” Thoth replied with a slight smile. “But I warn you, Shu-Tu, you’ll see there is a thin veil between the known and the unknown. The mighty crystal can just as soon change into the terrible, mighty crystal, and then you may not like the destiny you create.”