Shu-tu’s throat tightened. “H-How do you know me?”
Segferd stepped in front of her. “What trick are you playing here, hybrid? We don’t know you, and you don’t know us!”
“Don’t I, Segferd?” Khem asked, smiling and exposing a fang.
“Listen, hybrid, you better not be threatening us,” Amiee said, clenching her fists. “My brother and I are from the House of—”
“Beliar,” Khem cut in. “Yes, yes, I know. Is that supposed to impress me, Amiee?”
Amiee’s fair face turned ashen. Khem dipped his human hand into his pouch and pulled out a glittering six-sided crystal, the likes Shu-Tu had never seen before. The rainbow colored crystal, about the size of a small pomegranate lit up Khem’s features, making him look more human, than baboon.
“This is my price,” Khem said, holding up the six-sided crystal. “The only price you will pay is the consequences of your actions. The rule of the game is simple. I get to ask each of you the same question, and whoever has the best answer gets to keep this firestone.”
Amiee gasped. “A-A firestone?”
“How do we know it’s real?” Segferd asked, his mouth falling open.
“You’ll have to take the word of a hybrid, I guess,” Khem replied, shrugging. “But then again, seeing is believing for you humans. Here, hold my rod, Amiee, and I’ll prove that I’m telling the truth.”
Without the staff she threw at Khem, Shu-Tu watched Amiee limp over to grasp the golden rod. A sheen of sweat on her forehead attested to her pain. Amiee grimaced as she gripped the rod, and leaned against it for support. The forked end of the rod scraped against the rock and sent shivers up Shu-Tu’s spine. Khem waved the firestone over her ankle, and chanted an old Atlantean prayer nine times before he stopped.
“Walk,” Khem commanded.
Amiee grunted. “This is ridiculous, I—” She paused, putting weight on her foot. “T-There’s no pain anymore. It’s like I never twisted my ankle.”
Khem nodded. “The curative powers of the firestone have restored your body.”
Amiee glanced at Segferd, then back at Khem. “I’m in for the game.”
“Me too,” Segferd said, nodding.
Shu-Tu’s heart raced. “What else can the firestone do?”
Khem puckered his baboon lips, twisting them one way, then the other before he said, “Whatever you wish. It was one of six harvested from the mighty crystal. Very rare. Very special.”
“Go on then,” Amiee said with urgency. “Ask your silly question.”
“Very well, I’ll start with you, Amiee,” Khem replied, strumming human fingers against his chest. “For what purpose would you use this firestone?”
Amiee licked her lips. “I would use the firestone to benefit all Atlanteans by surrendering it to the high priests and priestesses of the Temple of Poseidon to help promote divine knowledge.”
Khem scratched his hairy chin. “How very noble. What about you, Segferd?”
Segferd straightened. “I would use the firestone to harness the forces of nature and put a stop to the earthquakes that have plagued our country for thousands of years.”
“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Khem snapped his fingers. “Shu-Tu, your response better top Amiee and Segferd’s answers.”
Shu-Tu swallowed hard, and said, “I…I would use the firestone to bring my father back to life.”
She swore she heard Amiee titter. Segferd coughed.
Khem frowned. “I see. You know what you want to use this firestone for goes against the Law of One’s plan, don’t you, Shu-Tu?”
She hung her head, her eyes began to well. “I told you the truth. That’s how I would use the firestone.”
“So, which one of us wins the game?” Amiee asked, banging the rod against the stone floor.
Segferd rubbed his hands together. “Yes, who is your choice, hybrid?”
“Very well, you all played my game fairly, so I must choose a winner.” Khem held out the firestone to Shu-Tu. “It’s all yours, Shu-Tu.”
“What!” Amiee screamed. “Y-You can’t be serious! You said it yourself, hybrid, no one must tamper with the will of the Law of One’s plan!”
“Oh, a sore loser, I see,” Khem replied. “You played the game, you lost. I liked Shu-Tu’s answer the best.”
“But…my answer would have saved so many people,” Segferd blurted. “Shu-Tu only wants one life saved.”
Khem shrugged. “A life that matters to her, one she loves unconditionally.”
Shu-Tu stared at the beautiful firestone in her hands. Rainbow swirls of light danced off of it, warming her body through to the core. Khem reached out to touch her cheek, and she shivered. “Your father awaits you,” he said, pointing toward the altar.
Shu-Tu’s jaw dropped. “M-My father is the body under the shroud?”
“Something is wrong here,” Segferd said, scratching his head. “Why would a hybrid have your father’s body?”
“This is all Thoth’s doing isn’t it?” Amiee asked, pointing the forked end of the rod at Khem’s throat. “Tell us where he is or I’ll spear you!”
“No, Amiee!” Shu-Tu yelled, clutching the firestone to her chest. “Wait until I revive Father!”
“You’re father is dead, and he’s not coming back,” Segferd said, his voice void of emotion. “Give us the firestone. The House of Beliar will use it for the highest good of Atlantis.”
Khem clapped. “Now this is getting interesting!”
Shu-Tu backed up toward her father’s body. “No. I won fair and square. I will use the firestone as I see fit.”
Amiee tossed the rod to her brother. “Watch the hybrid! I’m taking that firestone!”
Shu-Tu’s eyes widened as Segferd grabbed the rod in mid-air and pointed it at Khem. “Go make father proud, sis.”