The Pharaoh's Five
- Genre: Fantasy
- Age: 18+
- Status: Completed
- Language: English
- Author: Kristen Meseres
The tiger was sitting like a cat as he watched the subjects of the Pharaoh he hung out with, empowered, befriended, and loved to run around bringing dry clothes, for their clothes were soaked with sweat with impressive speed. The tiger was ignored. He was so still that the subjects thought he was some recent sculpture. But the Pharaoh stared at it from his agony. The tiger wished he could help him, and even though he knew where he would go after leaving that body, his eyes filled with tears. He would no longer see his friend of so many years. He thought about trying to stop him from leaving, but he soon saw that he was becoming fragile and sentimental like those creatures who worshipped their own gods in exchange for favors. The reapers would never comply with his request. He had rebelled against them long ago. And he lived with others like him.
Pharaoh ordered everyone out of the chamber and called his eldest son, then left them alone. The tiger changed his position as soon as everyone had left.
"What do you want with your son?" The tiger asked without leaving his place, as soon as he was alone with the Pharaoh.
"I have to pass on to him the information of what is to be done after my death. He knows nothing. I have not prepared him for this moment."
"He must not know about me. I will not serve him. As soon as you leave, I will go too."
"I ask you not to do that and to continue to look after my family. I don't have time to explain and teach him everything he should know. I need to be able to count on you for that."
The tiger was thoughtful for some time. He could still take advantage of a pact with the Pharaoh's eldest son.
"If I see that he deserves it, I will be with him as I was with you and your ancestors." The tiger relented.
"But you don't think he deserves it..." Pharaoh concluded.
The tiger left his place and began to prowl around his friend's bed. He was very angry. And he would let Pharaoh go, knowing what he thought about his children.
"You've been languishing in that bed for months, and I haven't seen any of your sons come to visit you. They are like vultures. They must be waiting for you to die so they can share your treasure... I stayed in this room with you all the time, and I never saw them come for a visit. You have dedicated your life to looking after their future, and look what you get in return? Contempt! Indifference! And you still think they deserve me to help them? No, my friend. I will take care of your kingdom in another way. But I will not serve any of your ungrateful children."
"Théo... Do not be quick to judge. My children believe I am traveling. I have taken refuge here in the tower so they will not suspect my presence. I have ordered all who serve me to keep it a secret. I do not want them to follow my end."
The tiger stopped. It returned to its form that only Pharaoh knew and approached the bed and knelt at his side and took his hand.
"Let me give you your last days in health so that you can prove to me what you say about your children. I don't want you to go away thinking I've been unfair to you."
"I don't understand what you mean by that."
"You don't want your children to suffer the wasting away with you. I will give you my energy so that you can pass away healthy, and your death will seem sudden and peaceful."
"Can you do that?"
"Yes. But you will not see me until the day you die. I will be present, but I will not be able to present myself to you. I... I have no authority to do that, and they will come after me. So I will hide so that their anger does not turn against you."
"I wanted to eternalize this moment... But I accept your sacrifice, hoping that you understand that I only do it so that you see the value of my children. I have always monopolized you. I should have allowed my children to share with me the pleasure of your company."
"We will travel the world in search of women for your eldest son. The power I have given you will allow you to see what they will be like in the future. Just as it was with the pharaohs before you."
"But... What about the young woman who lives here and whom you yourself have chosen to be his companion?"
"Demy will make a fine concubine for him. I did everything for you out of love, and now I will do the same for your son. But from him, I will want something in return. I want a ritual to be made so that I can always enjoy the pleasure of virginity and, maybe even on other occasions, together with your son. And I want the most beautiful woman in the world."
"He is still very young... And it seems he is already very fond of Demy. You... Why don't you keep a woman all to yourself? Why do you need to use my son to enjoy together when you can have any woman you want just for you?"
"I cannot relate with one of your women. That would draw the attention of other gods, and their anger would condemn your family to death."
"How many women do you want?"
"Apart from Demy, there are three more girls I have dared to look at their beauty. I want all four. You will go on a journey through all the kingdoms in search of them. Once you see them, you will know who they are. Buy them, and when the time is right, they shall be brought to this palace."
"My son needs heirs!"
"You will have four women to give him that."
"But according to my customs, he needs a woman whom he officially presents as his Farida. My people will not accept it otherwise."
"Your traditions are disgusting, but... One of them is the daughter of a nobleman. That must be his Farida."
"I get the impression that he already loves Demy. They're growing up together..."
"He can love whoever he wants. He will have four beauties to choose from. But Farida must not be some young lady who has no noble blood. That is according to his own traditions."
"How much time will I have to search for these young women?"
"Not much. That is why you must hurry."
And Pharaoh was healed and did indeed set out on a long journey. He explained to his eldest son all that he should do and how to do it, for their god would require him to do the same for his heir so that he would always be among them.
However, after he found three more children for his eldest son, he learned that the reapers had discovered the god Theo's plot and promised to intervene if he continued to hold the Pharaoh's life and left him the task of finding a wife for his youngest son. His eldest son, at the age of twelve, understood and was introduced to the god Theo, who loved him even more than he loved his father. And Pharaoh died.