Theodosia and the Last Pharoah

BOOK: Theodosia and the Last Pharoah
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Theodosia
and the
Last Pharoah

R. L. LaFevers

 

Table of Contents

 

Title Page

Table of Contents

...

...

...

Copyright

Dedication

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

illustrated by
Yoko Tanaka

H
OUGHTON
M
IFFLIN
B
OOKS FOR
C
HILDREN
H
OUGHTON
M
IFFLIN
H
ARCOURT
B
OSTON
N
EW
Y
ORK
2011

Text copyright © 2011 by R. L. LaFevers
Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Yoko Tanaka

All rights reserved. For information about permission
to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions,
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company,
215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children is an imprint of
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

www.hmhbooks.com

The text of this book is set in Minister Book.
The illustrations are acrylic on board.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
La Fevers, R. L. (Robin L.)
Theodosia and the last pharaoh / by R. L. LaFevers.
p. cm.
Summary: When eleven-year-old Theodosia and her cat, Isis, travel to Egypt
to return the Orb of Ra and the Emerald Tablet, she hopes to learn more
about her origins but finds, instead, the Serpents of Chaos and
a precious treasure that suddenly appears and disappears.
ISBN 978-0-547-39018-5
[1. Adventure and adventurers—Fiction. 2. Magic—Fiction. 3. Blessing and
cursing—Fiction. 4. Museums—Fiction. 5. Family life—Egypt—Fiction.
6. Egypt—History—20th century—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.L1414Tgl 2011
[Fic]—dc22
2010032224

Manufactured in the United States of America
DOC 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
4500284913

This book is dedicated to librarians everywhere,
the few the proud, and the learned,
and most especially to Amy Clarke,
my grandmother and a most exemplary librarian,
who instilled in me her love of the written word.

CHAPTER ONE

 

The Wretched Reticule

N
OVEMBER
1907

E
VEN WITH THE WINDOWS CLOSED,
the sand still managed to creep into the railway car and find its way into the most
inconvenient
places. I shifted uncomfortably on the seat, blew the dust off the pages of my journal, and focused on the list I was composing. Seeing things laid out in black and white often helps me think better.

Things to Do in Egypt
 
  1. Avoid the nefarious Serpents of Chaos, a secret organization determined to obtain any and all cursed artifacts and use them for their own ill gain.
  2. Locate Major Harriman Grindle, my contact at the Luxor branch of the Brotherhood of the Chosen Keepers, the honorable group of men dedicated to stopping the Serpents of Chaos.
  3. Help Mother find the temple of Thutmose III. While my research had indicated there might be such a temple, I had overstated the case in order to convince Mother to return to Egypt so I could—
  4. Return two powerful artifacts, the Orb of Ra and the Emerald Tablet, to the wedjadeen, a shadowy organization that not even the Brotherhood of Chosen Keepers had heard of. According to the Egyptian magician Awi Bubu, they are charged by the Egyptian gods to guard and protect the same magic and are just as committed to protecting ancient, powerful artifacts as the Brotherhood of the Chosen Keepers are.
  5. Convince the wedjadeen that I should not be punished for having their powerful artifacts in my possession.
  6. Also convince them that since my friend Awi Bubu had sent me to return these powerful artifacts to them, he should be forgiven for his past mistakes that had caused him to be expelled from their ranks.
  7. Learn the circumstances of my birth. Awi Bubu seemed to think my peculiar talents of being able to detect ancient magic and curses had been given to me for a reason.

I studied the list. It didn't look quite long enough, frankly. A mere seven things shouldn't feel as if the weight of the known world were resting on my shoulders, should it?

A low, unhappy warble emerged from the basket on the seat next to me. I glanced anxiously at Mother, who raised a warning eyebrow.
Oh, yes.

8. Keep Isis out from under Mother's feet at all times.

I slipped my pencil into my pocket, then put my fingers through one of the slats in the basket to reassure Isis that I was still there. When I felt the feather-light touch of her soft, warm nose, I inched my fingers around to scratch behind her ears. That seemed to appease her somewhat. She didn't quite purr, but she
almost
purred, and that was victory enough for me.

Mother had been furious when she'd learned I'd snuck Isis along on the trip. Luckily, we'd been far out to sea and it was too late to turn back. I know it was wrong of me to smuggle her along and not only because it annoyed Mother (although I do try to avoid needlessly annoying my parents whenever possible—there are enough times when I simply have no choice). The reason it was wrong had more to do with Isis herself. She wasn't fond of cooped-up spaces, nor was she fond of long journeys on the ocean. I knew she would be miserable until we arrived in Egypt. But I also knew
I
would be even more miserable without her company for months and months. Besides, she had some ... power, a special quality that had a strange effect on people that might come in handy on the trip.

If I was going to be thousands of miles from everyone I knew and needed to tackle dangerous duties on my own, then it seemed to me I ought to have at least one ally I could count on. Honestly! Mother was lucky I hadn't tried to smuggle Sticky Will along on the trip. Although it was difficult enough smuggling a cat—smuggling a twelve-year-old street urchin with a talent for picking pockets would have been impossible.

With an earsplitting screech of metal and a final sickly chug, the train pulled into the Cairo station. I had to brace my feet to keep from pitching to the floor, and flung my arm out to prevent Isis and her basket from tumbling off the seat. Across from me, Mother rocked backwards as the train braked, then pitched forward, her head nearly landing in my lap.

She quickly sat back up and adjusted her hat. "We're here!" she said cheerfully.

"We're here," I agreed, carefully setting the basket to rights.

"Collect your things, dear. We'll be de-boarding in a few minutes."

"Yes, Mother." I took my hand from Isis's basket, annoyed to find that the silken cords to my reticule had gotten wrapped around my wrist again. I must say, fashion is a mystery to me. How on earth can ladies stroll around with a beastly reticule wrapped around their wrists? The cords get twisted and tangled, then grow so tight it feels as if they have cut off all the circulation to one's hand. Not only that, but the horrid thing bumps and thumps against one's leg with every step. Sighing with annoyance, I jerked at the silken cords, trying to get the blood flowing back into my hand.

"What are you doing?" Mother asked.

"Straightening this wretched thing out," I muttered, watching the reticule spin round and round as I untwisted the cords.

"I thought you loved that little purse! If I remember correctly, you begged and begged for me to buy it for you."

I bit back a sigh of frustration. Why do grownups always remember the things you wish they wouldn't? "Well, that was before I knew what a lot of bother it'd be." What I'd really wanted was a muff, but even in November, Egypt was too hot for one. It would have made a wonderful hiding place, though. One where I could have kept my hands safely wrapped around the—

"Here, give me that." Mother reached for the purse.

"No!" I jerked it out of her reach. "I need to practice, don't you think? I'll be a grownup before you know it, and I'll need to know how to carry a reticule properly. If I don't learn now, when will I?"

Mother stared at me for a long moment, then shook her head. "Your grandmother is right. You are a peculiar child."

Her words stung me to the quick. Peculiar?
Peculiar!

BOOK: Theodosia and the Last Pharoah
10.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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