By the Power of Sekhmet - Part 2

Jan 23rd, 2017
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  1. “On second thought, I don't think this is that good of an idea.”
  3. Inaros looks towards the form of Nanu, who was currently standing in the water that rose to just below her shoulders, covering the tightly fitting black fabric that hid her immodesty. As soon as the two of them arrived at the baths, she promptly stripped herself down to her rather revealing swimwear and entered the deep end of the water, beckoning him to do the same.
  5. The bathhouse itself was one of the largest places in the palace, consisting of a number of small, shallow baths that flowed into the largest bath at the end of the room, where Nanu now waited. Stone columns support the arched roof, elaborate carvings and paintings decorating both them and the walls.
  7. “Wait, what? What's with the sudden turn around? You just agreed to doing this not even half an hour ago.” she says, crossing her furred arms over her chest. “We're already here, so get in, or else I’ll pull you in.”
  9. “I don’t know, I just changed my mind, I guess? We can probably just do somethi-“
  11. “Do you not know how to swim, Inaros?”
  13. A silence settles over them as Inaros tries his best not to break eye contact. “Well, I mean, not really but-”
  15. “Look, I'll be by your side the whole time, it'll be fine. Just get in the water already! We’re wasting time!” Nanu shouts almost angrily, beginning to reach the end of her patience.
  17. Reluctantly, Inaros rids himself of his shirt, tossing it onto the floor before sliding out of his wheelchair. He quickly scoots his way across the floor, the cold sandstone biting into his skin, before sliding over the edge and into the water.
  19. Inaros sinks to the bottom almost instantly, his arms flailing as he tries to in vain to surface again. Two arms grab him by the shoulders just as quickly, bringing him back to the surface and pinning him against the wall. “Are you alright?” Nanu asks, holding tightly to the man coughing and gasping for breath.
  21. “I’m fine, I just meant it when I said I couldn’t swim.” Inaros says with a small chuckle, reaching backwards to hold onto the side of the pool.
  23. “Then why did you jump in? You could have seriously hurt yourself!”
  25. He sighs, locking eyes with the panicked Anubis, and says “I just didn’t want you to yell at me again. Sorry, I won’t try to drown myself next time.”
  27. Nanu opens her mouth and closes it repeatedly, breaking eye contact and looking off to the side. “Right, I really should not have yelled at you like that, you were just, um…”
  29. “Being stubborn?”
  31. “Exactly.” she responds with a grin. “I’m just trying to help you.”
  33. “Yeah, I know. Thanks for putting up with me, I guess I can be insufferable at times.” Inaros says with a self-depreciating laugh, shrugging his shoulders to break Nanu’s grasp. “So now what?”
  35. Nanu takes a step back into the water, “I want you to try and put some weight on your leg. The water will let you be a bit more gradual with how much weight is put on it, so my idea was that this would help you get your leg used to being stood on again.”
  37. Inaros nods, “But I can hold onto the wall, right?”
  39. “Of course! And I’ll be right here if anything happens again, just make sure you take it slowly.”
  41. Tightening his grip on the bath wall, Inaros gently letting his leg sink to the bottom on the pool, his toes gently grazing the floor before he rests the entire foot on it.
  43. “How does it feel?” she asks excitedly, her tail churning up waves below the water.
  45. Inaros responds with a grin, “I don’t know, I haven’t put weight on it yet.”
  47. The smile is wiped off of Nanu’s face immediately, replaced by a worried look as she moves around to beside him on the wall. “Well, try it then. Just a little bit.”
  49. Gently, Inaros increases the pressure he puts on his right leg, bracing for the worse. At first, nothing happens, but as more weight is put upon his ankle, he can feel a slight pain forming just above it and radiating into his shin. He hisses in pain as he pulls his leg off the bottom, grabbing the wall with white knuckles.
  51. Nanu rushes forward to him instantly, wrapping the man in a hug, “It’s okay, I’ve got you!” she says hurriedly.
  53. Inaros opens his eyes at the sudden contact, Nanu’s strong arms wrapping around him, her soft breasts pushing into the side of his chest. He attempts to push away from her, but only succeeds in having Nanu cling to him tighter.
  55. “Nanu, I’m fine, you can stop.” he wheezes out, blood rushing to his cheeks. She lets go of him, and Inaros leans against the wall looking in the other direction, trying to focus on the murals that decorate the bathhouse’s walls in an effort to gain control of his thoughts.
  57. “You’re alright though? You didn’t hurt yourself, did you?” she asks worriedly, concern etched across her face as Inaros turns back to face her.
  59. “I’m fine Nanu, you don’t need to rush to my side every time something like that happens.”
  61. She pauses, “Right, sorry.”
  63. “Don’t be. Now, let’s try that again.” Inaros repeats his previous actions, brining his foot to the floor, and gradually increasing the weight he puts on it until he can’t bear the pain any longer. Much like before, a sharp pain radiates out of his ankle and up his leg, causing him to lift off and inhale in pain, but this time instead of a crushing embrace, Nanu simply grabs him by the shoulder to steady him.
  65. “I think that’s enough of that for today.” she says hesitantly. “We can always do more of it tomorrow, maybe try and see if you can hold out for longer.”
  67. Inaros nods, beginning to lift himself out of the water, but before he can, Nanu latches onto him and pulls him back into the water. “I said we were done that part; I’ve still got more things I want you to try to see if they help.” she says with a grin, holding onto him and pulling him further from the wall.
  69. For the next hour, Nanu runs Inaros through a gauntlet of exercises and tests, measuring out his range of motion, flexibility, and strength in both legs. Soon enough, he finds himself sitting at the edge of the bath, towels around his hips and shoulders as Nanu sits beside him, attempting to dry her tail, having gone through three towels already.
  71. “I hate how difficult it is to dry off after this, all my fur gets soaked in water and it takes forever to dry.” she says with a pout, vigorously running a towel over her tail.
  73. Inaros can’t help but laugh, “Yeah, I would bet. It must be difficult taking care of a tail that large.”
  75. “You don’t know the half of it…”
  77. “The half of what?” a new voices echoes through the bathhouse, causing the duo to turn their heads towards the large entrance way. Walking into the room, clad in nothing but a towel, is a Sphinx, her thin but long tail flicking to and fro behind her as she struts her way over to the water.
  79. “Did I interrupt something? Perhaps a lovers morning bath?” she purrs out, a predatory grin growing on her face.
  81. Inaros looks at the cat-woman in confusion, “What? Lovers-”
  83. “We were just doing some swimming to improve Inaros’ strength, Senet.” Nanu interrupts with a disapproving glare. “It is my responsibility to care for him, you know that.”
  85. “Yes, yes, I’m well aware.” Senet responds with a laugh. “I was merely curious as to what you both were doing. It’s not often that anybody else is here at this time.”
  87. “Well, we were just about to leave, it would be rude of us to interrupt you like this, anyways.” Nanu says, standing up and going to fetch Inaros’ and her own clothes.
  89. Inaros looks at the Anubis in confusion, then back towards the Sphinx who is sitting on the opposite edge of the pool, sensing some form of tension between the two women. The Sphinx simply gives him a sly grin and a small wave, the latter of which he returns. Throwing the shirt into Inaros’ lap, Nanu fetches the wheelchair as he dresses, before picking him up bridal style and setting him gently down into the chair. Grabbing the handles, Nanu pushes them out of the bathhouse and into the hallway without looking back, leaving the chuckling Sphinx behind.
  91. “What was that all about?” Inaros asks Nanu, turning around in his chair to look at her.
  93. She looks down at him puzzled, “What was what? Senet?”
  95. “Yeah, her. Why did you get all, I dunno, defensive when she walked in?”
  97. Nanu stumbles a little on her next words, “W-well, let’s just say her and I don’t exactly get along too well. I would chalk it up to our differing species, I guess.”
  99. Inaros nods, but that only brings up more questions for him. “Um, and wha-”
  101. “How about we go get something to eat?” Nanu asks, obviously wanting to drop the subject. “It’s been a while since we last ate, and I’m pretty hungry after all that exercise.”
  103. “Right, sure.” he says as Nanu guides the wheelchair towards the royal kitchen, noting not to press the subject, at least not with her.
  105. “Do you want to help me cook, or should I just take you out to the garden like usual?” she asks while the two of them navigate towards the south end of the palace.
  107. “Well, I’ll just be in your way if I try help out, so the gardens sound good to me.” he replies, chuckling and thinking back to the time he last tried to help. Nanu had accidentally tripped over his wheelchair, sending nearly the entire meal to the floor, so they had to settle for basic breads and meats for that night.
  109. Nanu sighs, “I suppose you’re right, how about the usual spot, then? Beside the fishpond?”
  111. “That’s what I was going to suggest, so that’s fine with me.” Inaros responds.
  113. A few minutes later, after Nanu had taken him to the pond and left for the kitchen to prepare their lunch, Inaros found himself sitting on the flat stones that surrounded the water, watching the fish lazily swim about. He still wondered how the Pharaoh had managed to fill so many ponds across the grounds with water, as he had never seen any aqueducts to fill them. Lost is his daydreaming, Inaros was oblivious to the arriving presence of a person behind him, their footfalls silent and graceful, as if they were floating above the ground.
  115. “Ah, Inaros. It is a pleasure seeing you here.”
  117. Startled, Inaros whirls around, his breath hitching in surprise. Looking up at the person who disturbed him from his seated position. Immediately he realizes who it is, and bows his head, breaking eye contact with the beautiful woman adorned in jewellery, her stark white dress contrasting her bronze skin and deep black hair.
  119. “Pharaoh!” he says in haste, keeping his head down, “I-it is a pleasure to see you as well!”
  121. She merely laughs, taking a seat on the stones beside him. “Oh, there’s no need to be so formal, Inaros. It’s not like we’re in the throne room, so it would be nice to break the formality of my life once in and while, don’t you think?” as she says this, the woman’s pet snake, which had been previously wrapped around her arm, slithers off her and over to Inaros, forked tongue probing at him curiously.
  123. “Of course, Pharaoh, my apologies.” he says nervously as the red cobra eyes him down.
  125. “Tuya.”
  127. “Hmm?”
  129. “Call me Tuya, like I said, no need for formalities here.” she says, chuckling and summoning a bag from nowhere, tossing some bread into the water. The large fishes swarm to the surface to try claim their meal. “How are things with you?” she asks. “Are your legs improving?”
  131. Inaros sighs, looking back into the water, “Not as quickly as I would like, I can still barely stand, and both legs still hurt a lot from time to time. I’m worried that this is as much they’re going to heal.”
  133. The Pharaoh scowls at this, looking back towards the dejected man, then to the wheelchair seated a few feet behind them, “So you’re still using that creation, then? Such a shame, really.”
  135. “Well, I think it’s better than dragging myself around, but it’s still not great.”
  137. At this, the two fall silent, Inaros returning to stare back into the water, and Tuya looks off past it, deeper into the gardens that cover the grounds, her brow scrunched in thought.
  139. “I must say though,” begins Inaros, “thank you for everything you’ve done for me, from giving me the wheelchair, to allowing me to stay in the palace and everything else, I am forever grateful for your kindness, Tuya. I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”
  141. The Pharaoh smiles at this, meeting Inaros’ eyes once more, “Your thanks is more than enough, my friend. After all, what kind of Pharaoh would I be if I didn’t look after my subjects, especially one that was hurt building a monument for me?”
  143. She sighs wistfully, grasping the mans hand in hers, “It is a shame that such an accident occurred, I had never thought something like that would happen during the construction, especially under such circumstances.”
  145. “It was no ones fault really, I don’t think there was any way to avoid it. Just bad luck, really.”
  147. “It still should not have happened.” Tuya says sternly, her eyes narrowing. “I still can’t believe such negligence of safety had occurred. All to meet some supposed deadline that I never ordered. A waste.” she huffs, tossing the rest of the bread into the water and standing up. She smooths out her linen dress, and adjusts her golden headpiece as the cobra slides up her, coming to rest on her arm once more.
  149. Inaros stays quiet, electing to observe the water lilies growing in the pond.
  151. “I must be making my leave, unfortunately.” says Tuya, backing up from the waters edge. “The responsibilities of a Pharaoh never end. I sincerely hope the next time we meet; it’s done eye to eye. May the blessings of Sekhmet be upon you, Inaros.”
  153. Inaros bows his head in thanks, looking back up to say a simple “Thank you, Pharaoh.”
  155. The divine woman wanders off back in the direction of the palace, leaving Inaros alone again. Looking back into the pond, Inaros realizes he had forgotten to ask the Pharaoh about how the ponds are always filled with both water and fish. Chuckling to himself and splashing some water on his face to cool down, Inaros turns around towards the palace and spies a certain green-eyed, bushy-tailed Anubis carrying a platter of foodstuffs through the lush gardens, a warm smile splayed across her lips.
  157. “Lunch is served!” she says with an even broader smile than before, setting the food down beside Inaros, taking a seat and immediately diving into the food.
  159. Inaros can’t help but smile at her enthusiasm, reaching onto the platter for his own meal, “Wait, fatteh again?” he asks incredulously, holding up a piece of flatbread.
  161. Nanu stops mid-chew and looks back at the man, “What? I like it…” she trails off sadly, ears drooping and posture slipping.
  163. Inaros smiles at her, “I didn’t say I was complaining.”
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