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The Pharoah's Curse

by Kylee

The Pharoah's Curse

Life is a mysterious labyrinth of twists and turns that each person must endure. What seems like a perfect plan can often times lead to the most unexpected entanglements. Take the life of Stanley Peterson, a fellow in his mid forties who inherited a fairly substantial estate, but otherwise has not distinguished himself. All of his ambitions and goals have been less than successful, and if it were not for his money I'd dare say he would have come to a terrible end indeed. With the luxury of money behind him, Stanley has tried and failed at becoming an actor, a maker of theatrical costumes when he found he could not act, and his latest career which happened to be archeology. Egyptian Archeology to be precise, and has spent the better part of three years digging up Egyptian sand and not much else. That would pretty much sum up things for Stanley's entire life if it were not for the strange and bizarre discovery he uncovered. You dig long enough in the sand, and even the most inept archeologist will probably unearth something of interest.

For Stanley, his discovery ultimately became his, uh, I should say her curse. Oh, I know what you readers are thinking. This is the dawn of 'The Industrial Revolution,' and modern civilized people of 1912 hardly believe in such nonsense. There is no such thing as magic and superstition, and the young woman who claims to have once been a man is clearly a con artist, or perhaps delusional. Yes, that may well be, but I put to you that Egypt does possess many mysteries that modern man has yet to explain. For example, the pyramids could not possibly be built today, even with our marvelous steam engines, ropes, and pulleys; we could hardly come up with anything to match what the ancients have done. To travel along the Nile is like traveling back in time where religion and magic were one and the same. Ah, still not convinced? Then let us join Elizabeth Peterson (formerly Stanley) as she begins her new quest to try and regain her manhood, and claim her stolen archeological find.

Her trip back to England was not a pleasant one because she had to use almost all of her money to bribe officials to let her leave Egypt, and again bribe officials once she arrived in England. You see, not having any paperwork to prove who you are can be rather inconvenient when traveling abroad. For a young lady with no one to escort her about, this can be especially troubling. Men, not always gentlemen, would watch Elizabeth constantly. Some of these men would make advances toward her, and she was forced to fight off those advances. Fortunately when she was Stanley, he had trained in the ancient art of self defense. It had been at a whim like so many other things he had tried. Stanley really had no need of such skill, but as Elizabeth, well, let's just say it helped to maintain her reputation and virginity. She was just competent enough to ward off most men who wanted to become intimate. That still did not help Elizabeth in terms of establishing a new identity. Yes, she could claim to be a woman, but she had no past, no papers, no proof of anything beyond what the naked eye could discern. She did forge certain notes in order to prove she was related to Stanley Peterson, and that was relatively easy because it was her own handwriting of course. So I suppose you really could not call it a forgery now can you? Anyway, this allowed her to secure enough money to find someone who could help her.

Through the seedier part of London she made her way to find men who would be clever, brave, and strong. Most men tended to be the latter two, but then, I digress. Many of the people she interviewed were more interested in having a bit of fun in an unused alley or cheap flat. Constantly turning down offers she finally made a bit of progress. There were supposed to be a couple of blokes that did investigations. They were supposed to be very good at solving crimes that even Scotland Yard would have difficulty with. Elizabeth thought to herself 'yes, these are the kind of men I need to help me get back what is rightfully mine.' She found out that they usually hung out not two blocks south of where she was standing at a pub called 'The Leaky Cauldron.'

Now, it is most unusual to see a young beautiful woman by herself walking the streets, let alone walking into such a wretched place like the above mentioned pub. Only the dregs of society would dare take a drink, gamble, eat, and revel in such an establishment. Women who frequented such areas were mostly wenches and trollops. So when Elizabeth made her entrance, all eyes were on her at once. After a few moments even the piano player and singers stopped their song to see this strange site.

Elizabeth cleared her throat. "I say, does anybody know where I can locate a Mister Ryan Springer or his partner Bluto Jones?"

Nobody answered, and in a few moments people turned away to focus once more on whatever they were doing. Elizabeth just stood there not knowing what else to do while the music began to play once more. She was about to leave when a huge black man approached her. Not huge in the sense he was overweight, but huge with solid muscle. His arms were thicker than most men's legs. He looked like he was approximately seven foot tall, which is pretty tall by most people's standards. He wore a white shirt with sleeves rolled up past his biceps, a pair of suspenders to keep up his black pants, and metal toe boots that looked rather threatening. He also had a bowler for a hat that looked ridiculously too small for the man, but nobody wanted to point this out to him for some reason.

"What does a little girlie princess like you be wantin' to talk to Ryan and Bluto about?" The black man said with a deep rich baritone. He towered over Elizabeth while casually flexing his muscles and clenching what was left of his cigar. This made her somewhat nervous, but she stood her ground.

"I have a business proposition to discuss with them."

"What business would you be talkin' about dolly? Your husband diddlin' behind your back then?" The fellow joked.

Elizabeth's face quickly turned red, and she put up her fists. "Do not talk to me in such a manor. I will have my satisfaction if you please. Queensbury rules of course!"

The site of this wisp of a girl challenging the giant before her was the most bizarre sight this or any other pub in all of England has ever witnessed. The man mountain did not know what to make of the situation.

"Hang on there lass, I fight with no helpless females."

This comment made Elizabeth even angrier, and she began punching her opponent, but it was like punching a brick wall. "HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A HELPESS FEMALE!"

While this was happening a man approached shaking his head while doing so. "What have you done this time Bluto?"

"I swear Ryan, I did nothin'. This female hurricane starts attackin' me, an' all 'cause I was askin' friendly questions."

"ARRRRHHH! You! I just wanted to talk to Ryan Springer and Bluto Jones! That's all I wanted to do, not be harassed by some big brute!" Elizabeth huffed.

"Well you are talking to both gentlemen at this very moment." Ryan countered.

Elizabeth stopped her attack which was pretty useless. "Ummmm…I…is there some place we can speak with more privacy?"

"We can use one of the back parlors if you like to uh…what shall we call you?" Ryan asked.

"Elizabeth Peterson." Elizabeth said while bringing her hand up to shake Ryan's, but he instead took her hand and gently kissed it. This was unexpected, but it was not entirely unpleasant. 'No! This is not right at all. I am a man by god! I can't possibly enjoy something like this because that would mean I am really…NOOOOO!' Elizabeth mentally screamed. Nevertheless she saw this tall, dark, and handsome man and realized to her horror that he was attractive. Nice broad shoulders, good strong arms, not massive muscles like his partner Bluto, but definitely nothing to complain about. Yes, things were getting more complicated by the moment.

The three made their way to one of the back rooms, the two men sat down in some chairs next to a round table. Elizabeth continued to stand while the two men waited to find out what this was all about.

"I need your help in retrieving something Gentlemen; three months ago I made an archeological discovery." Elizabeth pulled out a picture of what looked like a stone statue. "I made a map of the excavation site, and spent approximately a week cataloguing my find. The artifacts were in exquisite shape, and I had high hopes that I would find an untouched tomb of an Egyptian Pharaoh."

"Umm, not to sound rude or anythin' but what does this 'ave to do with me and my partner 'ere?" Bluto said while tapping his cigar free of ashes.

Elizabeth took a deep breath. "I know you will not believe this, but I used to be Stanley Peterson. I was once a man, but something happened to me when I opened up the tomb, these golden statues…they…became living beings that surrounded me…and then transformed me into the woman you see before you. I was shocked, but that was nothing compared to seeing the mummy come to life. I broke free from the things that surrounded me, I ran out of the chamber, and just kept running until the next morning."

Bluto grinned. "Your right, I don't believe a word you are saying." He then examined the photo of the stone statue. "This is obviously a fake; there were no women who ruled as Pharaoh."

"Actually there was a new discovery made by Howard Carter that proves there was at least one female Pharaoh. She went by the name of Hatshepsut." Elizabeth said smugly.

Bluto grinned. "Howard Carter? Doesn't he work for Lord Carnarvon?

Elizabeth frowned. "Yes, he does. The man has exclusive rights to 'the Valley of the Kings.' I mean all one has to do is randomly pick a spot to dig and you wind up finding something. Meanwhile I have to be satisfied with a whole bunch of sand that is outside of his territory." Then she began to smile once more. "Of course, Carnarvon doesn't have rights to all of Egypt."

Bluto shook his head. "I still think you've faked this statue, and have been trying to deceive us since you've opened your mouth."

"What? I am telling you is the truth!" Elizabeth paused. "Hang on, how come you suddenly sound intelligent? And how do you know that statue depicts a Pharaoh?"

"Ah, I was always intelligent little Miss Peterson. People like you expect to see a big, dumb brute. Give the public what it wants." Bluto puffed on his cigar for a moment before continuing. "As to your other question, I have studied archeology, and know a thing or two about the subject. Pharaohs generally held items that indicated they were rulers. Also your photo shows that the statue wearing the traditional Pharaoh's Beard, which I have to say, makes her look extremely ridiculous."

"I know the statue looks strange, but it is real. The mummy is real."

"And we're supposed to believe that, and the fact that you used to be a man?" Ryan countered.

Elizabeth looked desperate. "Look, I need your help. I can pay you well, whether you believe me or not."

"You want us to fight some statues and some old mummy that have magically come to life for you?" Bluto asked.

"No, they disappeared along with all of the treasures I uncovered. I went back to the site and found nothing. Someone must have found my site, took everything, and I'm afraid that they will eventually take credit for what I found." Elizabeth fished around for a bag filled with coins, and then threw it on the table. "So, will you help me gentlemen or shall I give this to somebody else?"

Ryan snatched up the bag, and examined the contents; his eyes went wide, then shot a look toward Bluto, and then back at Elizabeth. "Do you realize just how foolish it is for a lady to be carrying this sum of money by herself in this part of London?"

Bluto grabbed the purse so he could have a look for himself. "Holy saints preserve us! What do you think you are? A leprechaun with a pot of gold?"

"Desperate times, call for desperate measures. Will you two help me or not?"

"We will help you conditionally." Ryan replied.

"What?!" Bluto exclaimed while managing to drop his cigar from his mouth. It dropped nicely on his lap, and only after it started to burn his trousers did he think about retrieving it.

Jack tried not to burst out laughing at his partner. "Calm down Bluto, I know what I am doing."

"What sort of conditions do you want?" Elizabeth said suspiciously.

"If we find out that you have been conning us, we will make sure you're that you will be handed over to the constables."

"Is that all, or would you like a cut of the treasure as well?" Elizabeth asked snidely.

Bluto grinned. "First sensible thing to come out of your mouth all evening."

Both Ryan and Elizabeth turned to Bluto who just grinned even more. "What? If the part about the treasure is real, then I for one would like to know how the other half lives for a change."

Elizabeth gave a wry smile. "You may regret those words someday, but for now, I can say that I am willing to split the reward that we will get from various museums and collectors."

Ryan seemed unsure. "Part of your reply sounded like a threat, and if it was, let me just warn you that my partner and I do not scare easily."

"Good, because that's the type of men I need most to help me. This could prove to be dangerous. I chose you both because you have a reputation within the underworld for retrieving stolen items and solving crimes. In fact, you two have helped Scotland Yard quite a few times."

"Hey, hear that Ryan? We're better than good old Scotland Yard! Ha! You know, I'm starting to like this little lady more and more."

Elizabeth smiled weakly. "Thank you, but please do not refer to me as a little lady."

Bluto simply nodded. "Oh yeah, you're supposed to be a fellow. Hey, as long as I get treasure I'll pretend you used to be a Siberian tiger if you want."

Elizabeth's face grew red hot with anger. "Yes! How very gracious of you Mr. Bluto Jones." She then turned her attention to Ryan and softened her expression. "What about you Mr. Springer?"

Ryan could sense sincerity in this young woman's voice, and was usually a good judge of human character. It served him well when solving cases. You had to know who was conning you or else you'd might as well not be in the line of business he and Bluto were in. 'This woman's claims though seemed totally without merit, perhaps she's insane and this is nothing more than delusion on her part.' Ryan thought while studying the bad of coins in his hands. 'And how do I explain this in my hands? This is surely not a delusion?'

Ryan focused his attention on Elizabeth who was waiting patiently for a reply. "We'll try to dig up what we can about your stolen property, and in the meantime, I suggest you book passage on the next available ship heading for Egypt Miss Peterson."

Elizabeth smiled. "Arrangements have already been made; we sail in two days time."

Ryan raised an eyebrow. "You were that certain we would take your offer then?"

"What can I say, every moment wasted means the trail becomes that much colder. You and your esteemed partner should know that from all of the cases you've solved."

Bluto roared. "Can't argue with that logic!"

The next two days consisting of many things that had to be done before the big trip. Elizabeth needed to have special clothing fitted for her. This was due to the fact that most women did not wear the type of clothing necessary for archeology, especially if that meant crawling round in rubble and rock in search of tombs and the like. One had to wear pants for climbing and a cotton shirt that helped with ventilation. Women's fashion tended to be rather impractical in that a corset limited one's movement, long dresses easily tore (and were extremely expensive), high heels were no match for work boots, and finally Elizabeth simply hated wearing feminine attire. It reminded her that she was no longer a man, and felt exceedingly embarrassed to walk out in public. Her new clothing had to be done by a seamstress because no tailor wished to fit a young woman. It was far too much of a taboo, and it might ruin their business. The seamstress had trouble at first adhering to the specifications that Elizabeth laid out for her, but in the end everything turned out just fine.

Ryan and Bluto had their hands full trying to investigate something that appeared to have not happened. There was no news that any significant discovery had been made in Egypt recently. The underground market for fencing certain items that rich collectors might be interested in had nothing new either. It looked like it would be necessary to return to the scene of the crime in order to trace what had happened. And also, find out if Elizabeth was telling the truth about any of this. Ryan had his suspicions but did not really speak of them. Bluto for his part was looking at this whole trip as a long deserved vacation, which was entirely on the client's expense account.

The three adventures were to board the Jutlandia, and it would sail out of South Hampton. The ship was primarily a cargo vessel, but did take on passengers from time to time.

"Why can't we be going on a nice passenger liner instead of this rust bucket you've arranged for?" Bluto asked while the three were heading for the ship.

"Because my overgrown friend, no other ships are scheduled to go where we need to go. The Jutlandia is the only way to get to Egypt unless you wish to swim under your own power." Elizabeth calmly replied.

"What's this up ahead?" Ryan asked when he noticed a rather large crowd of people in front of them.

"I don't know, but they seem to be in front of 'The White Star Line' office." Elizabeth said with a bit of concern because that was the very same line she booked her passage with. If there was something wrong with her ship then it could ruin things greatly.

"People are yelling, and there are women crying." Bluto said while he watched the crowd. "Something bad happened, something really bad."

They approached the crowd, and made their way to the front door of 'The White Star Line' office. Security guards prevented anybody from going any further.

"Excuse me, but can you tell us…"

One of the guards cut Elizabeth off. "Sorry miss, all we know is that Titanic sent out a distress call sometime last night. You'll just have to wait like everyone else to find out more."

"The Titanic? The unsinkable Titanic?" Bluto asked with his booming voice.

Both guards looked rather alarmed, and one quickly spoke up. "Please keep your voice down. We have no evidence that Titanic has been sunk. It's most likely she encountered some engine trouble and nothing more. Just keep calm until we know for sure."

"Well, I hope that's the case." Bluto answered.

"Please sir, can you tell us if Jutlandia is still scheduled to ship out today?" Elizabeth asked.

"Ah, well, I don't see why not miss. Just head down to where she's birthed, and they will take care of you right away."

So with that settled the three made their way to the ship, and Bluto let out a cry when he saw it for the first time.

"Heaven help me if I live to see another day! When I called this ship a rust bucket I didn't think it would actually be A RUST BUCKET!"

Ryan looked at the ship in front of him with a bit of concern. "I'm sure that it is seaworthy Bluto. After all, the crew would most likely mutiny long before they were to set sail."

Ryan gave a quick glance over to Elizabeth who was making arrangements to have all of their luggage be taken on board. "This thing is seaworthy right?" He asked her.

Elizabeth sighed. "Honestly you two, you're supposed to be these courageous men who are supposed to laugh in the face of danger."

Bluto shot back. "Brawling with thugs is one thing, but I draw the line when it comes to walking onto a shipwreck waiting to happen."

Elizabeth's eyes rolled. "Stop complaining you big baby, if I can do this surely you can."

And with that Elizabeth quickly made her way on board while leaving Bluto with his jaw completely dropped; Ryan could not resist laughing at his partner at that moment.

"I am not a big baby! Take that back!" Bluto called to Elizabeth, and then turned to face Ryan. "And you stop laughing at me!"

Ryan through his arms up as if to surrender. "No problem, I wouldn't want it known that I made you cry."

Bluto charged forward, but Ryan easily avoided his partner, and then the chase began in earnest. Bluto ran with his massive arms swinging about like dangerous meat hooks, but Ryan was simply too fast. I should say that for a large man, Bluto was awfully quick; most men of average build would probably be shocked at the speed and agility that he seemed to possess. Still, as fast as he was, Ryan was even quicker. The funny thing about the chase was the fact that Ryan managed to get Bluto on board the ship without him realizing. It was only when he heard the steam whistle blow that he looked around and saw the ship was beginning to make her way out of the dock.

Bluto grimaced. "Awwwwhhh! I don't know who's trickier Ryan! You or that crazy girl who hired us!"

I suppose you think an ocean voyage is a glamorous adventure, but the reality of traveling on a cargo vessel is somewhat different. As passengers, they really had nothing to do except look at a bunch of water, and wait for their next meal. Occasionally they would see schools of dolphin racing just ahead of the bow of Jutlandia. Those were truly wonderful moments because those sea creatures would move with such grace and ease through the water. One could just spend hours just looking at them, and when they left you always felt it was far too soon to say goodbye. Hours merged with days, and days merged with weeks. Yes, it took nearly a month to complete the voyage, this was because Jutlandia had to make many stops along the way in order to pick up and deliver goods from one port of call to another.

After arriving in Egypt they made their way to the city of Cairo where Elizabeth made arrangements at a fairly decent hotel. This would be their headquarters; which meant that the party could split up to cover more ground. Ryan would tackle the local underground, and try to uncover anything that could be a possible lead, while Elizabeth and Bluto would head back to the actual site where she had made her discovery. Bluto was not too happy about this sudden turn of events.

"Why do I have to go out there crawling around in some empty desert cave while you get to enjoy running around here?" Bluto asked.

"Because you would just head off to the nearest thing they call a pub here to drink, gamble, and have your way with the local women." Ryan said laughing.

"I'd also manage to do some investigating." Bluto grumbled, but not too much.

"Also, you're much better at protecting Miss Peterson than I am."

"Hold on a moment! I don't mind Mr. Jones tagging along, but I want it made perfectly clear that I can take care of myself." Elizabeth huffed.

"Look Miss Peterson, we have no idea who we are dealing with at the moment except that they stole some priceless artifacts. If they are capable of stealing, then they are capable of doing much more."

"Yes, but…"

"Please do not interrupt. We need to work as a team because if we do not, then the alternative might be death. I trust my life with Bluto, and he does the same with me. I now ask you to do likewise. Do I make myself clear or shall we just call this whole thing off right now?"

Elizabeth knew she could not counter Ryan's argument, and so simply nodded. The party then split up to go do their assigned tasks. Let us stay with Elizabeth and Bluto because they will surely find something at the scene of the crime. It took several hours to reach the site traveling by camel, and when they reached the hidden cave Bluto waved off Elizabeth.

"What is it now?" Elizabeth demanded to know.

"I'm studying the ground around the cave for evidence."

Bluto crouched low to the ground and looked intensely for any signs. He circled the entire area outside of the cave. Fortunately the area was mostly comprised of hard earth, and not the sand that covered a good portion of Egypt, it was also lucky that no recent sandstorms had come by to cover up anything. Still, there didn't appear to be much on the ground for anyone to see.

"Alright then, follow me into the cave." Bluto said softly.

Elizabeth followed him in, and once again he stooped down to inspect the ground. At this point they were at what appeared to be an entrance of some sort. A stone block used to block the passage; it still had artwork carved into its face. You could barely make out a figure of a woman, but it looked like there had been an attempt to remove the image.

Bluto held up his lantern to have a better look. "What's this all about then?"

Elizabeth moved next to Bluto and her eyes widened. "That was not like that before; it used to be the image of Isis. As far as I could tell from the hieroglyphs she was standing guard…and there was a warning."


Elizabeth smiled. "It typical stuff about not entering beyond this point or you'll be cursed and be doomed to share the fate of Amehotep IV."

"Wonderful, so much for leading a charmed life; please give me the grand tour before I change my mind."

Elizabeth gave Bluto a look, but did not say anything, instead she went on ahead.

"This was where all of the personal items of Amehotep IV were kept. As you can see everything has been taken away."

"All of the wall carvings in this room have been damaged recently, the rock shavings are still fresh where they were chipped away." Bluto noted, and then asked. "Why would someone do this? What profit would it be for someone to take this kind of time and effort?"

"You are the detective, you tell me." Elizabeth answered.

Bluto shook his head. "Show me where this King was buried."

Once more the two continued the eerie tour. There were several corridors and passageways before they made their way into what looked like a fairly decent sized room. Nothing was left for them to see, not even the sarcophagus.

"Tell me Miss Peterson, this area here is where the big stone sarcophagus was." Bluto asked indicating where a deep impression of the floor was.

"Yes, that would be the spot."

"And after you fled, how soon did you return?"

"I returned the next day, and I found everything just how you see it."

"And how long would it honestly take a fully staffed team of workers to remove everything from a site like this?"

"Impossible to tell because everything would have to be recorded, categorized, and studied before heading out to a museum. It could take several months, it could take a year, or it could take longer than that if more discoveries were made in the process." Elizabeth lectured.

Bluto nodded. "And if you bypassed all that, and just pulled this stuff out by brute force, then how long would it take?"

Elizabeth's eyes narrowed. "Just what are you driving at?"

"That's what I was about to ask you little missy. Your story just doesn't hold up. How do you suppose all this stuff happened to be removed completely within a twenty-four hour period of time?"

'I don't know."

"The stone sarcophagus alone would take a team of men at least a day to remove if you wanted to make sure it wasn't damaged. So how did these men manage to do everything else?"

"I don't know."

"No evidence inside of heavy foot traffic, and there is no evidence outside of trucks, carts, or anything else that would be able to haul away all of this treasure. So how did they move it all?"

"I DO NOT KNOW!" Elizabeth screamed. "I have told you everything I know; I am telling you the truth."

"The Chosen One has returned!"

"Oh my goodness, did you hear that?" Elizabeth asked.

Bluto looked uneasy. "Yeah, it didn't sound human. I wonder if that was some form of language they were using."

"Are you attempting humor at this time?"

"Look, just because I told you I know a bit about Egyptian Archeology doesn't mean I am fluent in any of the native languages."

"That was English you overgrown…"

Something cut off Elizabeth's tirade. "There is no ESCAPE!"

Three figures entered the room; each looked like a living breathing statue come to life. Their skin looked like it was made out of pure gold, even the clothing appeared to be made of gold which looked like ancient Egyptian garb. Not only that, but all three were clearly females who had heads that were feline, and they all looked bigger and more muscular than Bluto.

"Uh, this isn't good. Thugs I can handle, but giant, metal, cat women are another thing."

One of the cat women pointed a finger at Elizabeth. "You will be our Queen for a new eternal reign of Amenhotep IV."

"What do these things want?"

"They want me…to be their Queen." Elizabeth replied numbly.

"Great, I don't know what's worse, you actually understanding that gibberish, or the fact they want to make you royalty."

"Making jokes isn't helping our situation."

The Middle cat woman motioned to the others. "I will take the Queen; you two prepare the other to join our following."

"What did that thing say now?" Bluto asked with a bit of tension in his voice.

"The leader intends to retrieve me while the other two…umm."

"Yes, go on, what did they say about me?"

"They want you to become part of their following."

Bluto began to dodge between the two who were after him. "And what's that supposed to mean?"

"How the bloody hell should I know? I'm just translating what they said; I'm not reading their minds…UHHHH!" The leader managed to grab Elizabeth, and held her high in the air. She struggled, but she was far too weak to break free.

"Elizabeth!" Bluto called out. Suddenly he began to be hit with bright rays of light that emanated from the eyes of the two cat women who were after him. The light completely bathed him, and he felt an enormous pain throughout his body. So much so that when the two cat women grabbed him he actually grabbed back and rolled backward with the two. They were not prepared for this sudden action and let go at the same time he did. The result caused both to fly into the nearby stone wall. A rather loud ringing noise was heard upon impact, then a fair amount of stone broke away and fell to the floor from where the two hit. Bluto did not wait to see if the two cat women still constituted a threat, instead he charged like a bull elephant right toward the leader.

"ARRRRRHHH! Put her down now!" Roared Bluto.

To his surprise the cat woman did put down Elizabeth, and seemed to try to prepare for the charge. Still, there is little that can be done to try to stop such momentum. Bluto struck hard into the living statue. The impact flew both several feet into the opposite wall, and again a loud metallic ringing could be heard. The cat woman screamed while Bluto took hold of her waist, lifted her up in the air, and then power slammed her feline head into the stone floor. Even though the body was still intact, it crumpled to the floor like a lifeless corpse.

"Come on, let's get out of here before these things get a second wind." Bluto said while grabbing Elizabeth by the hand. She readily agreed with him, and they ran out of the burial chamber, throughout the corridors, and kept running till they reached the camels. They climbed aboard the camels who began to run at a fairly decent clip. Eventually the adrenaline rush subsided, and the two began to talk about what they had just experienced.

"So, those were the things you saw when you first went into that burial chamber?"

"Yes, they were, and maybe now you will believe the rest of my story." Elizabeth said stiffly.

"Ouch, uh, yeah I believe…It's sort of hard not to after that encounter." Bluto replied while idly rubbing his soar muscles.

"Are you alright?"

"I guess so, but my chest feels like there are ton of bricks on top of it…funny thing is they never struck me there."

Elizabeth remembered something when Bluto mentioned this. She immediately looked at his chest, and saw that it wasn't nearly as flat as it was an hour ago.

"Bluto, you didn't perchance get hit with bright rays of light coming from those two cat women did you?"

"As a matter of fact I did, why do you ask?"

Elizabeth took a deep breath. "Well I hate to break this to you, but your going to find out just what I went through."

Bluto laughed. "Yeah we just went through this. Magical living statues attacked us. I believe you, end of story."

"No…I was referring to the fact that you'll soon know what it will be like to be a woman because you are slowly changing into one."

"Look, don't play mind games with me right now…awwh…my chest is REALLY KILLING ME."

Elizabeth sighed. "Bluto dear, look down, and try not to scream."

Bluto looked down, and was greeted with two rather large mounds of flesh.


Elizabeth sighed. "I'm so very glad you're taking this well."

Bluto's eyes were wide as could be. "That's not funny; I don't want to be a woman. How will I adjust? I don't know how to be anything else but a man."

"Welcome to the world I've been living in since I became a woman." Elizabeth told Bluto, but then softly added. "At least you'll have someone around to help you adjust. I had nobody to turn to when it happened to me."

"There has to be a way to reverse this. I mean if magic can turn you into a woman, then it can change you back right?"

Elizabeth smiled. "Yes, and now you know why this treasure happens to be so important to me other than monetary value or even attaining some recognition in my field. There might be a chance for me to decipher certain scrolls, and figure out some sort of reversal for this affliction."

Bluto nodded. "Well I'm with you, whatever you need, I am your man."

Elizabeth didn't want to remind him that shortly he wouldn't be able to say that particular phrase. She noticed that Bluto's body was starting to take on a more feminine look to it, curves where now noticeable, although, he still seemed to keep muscle. They were scaled down, but it looked like Bluto might end up being the world's strongest woman when he finally finished changing.

By the time the two had arrived by at the hotel Bluto had finished his…uh..I mean her transformation. She had lost nearly a foot in height, and had to roll up her trousers as a result. She still towered over most men let alone women, and even though her muscles seemed less pronounced she claimed she didn't feel any weaker. Her shirt was straining from her massive bosom, and the buttons looked like they may well pop at any moment. Oh, and her hips and derriere were threatening to rip the seat of Bluto's trousers if she dared to bend over. It was quite a site to see the giant woman wearing men's clothing walking around. Elizabeth knew they would have to do some emergency shopping, but first she had to check in at the hotel desk to see if Ryan left them any messages. The clerk informed her that there was nothing.

"That's funny; I would think Ryan would have left something." Elizabeth said with a frown.

"Ryan will show up, and he'll probably have most of the case solved when he does pop up. I just wish he'd be the one that turned girly and not me." Bluto said while watching her boobs jiggle and sway with every little movement she made.

"Well then, let's see about getting you some more appropriate for you to wear."

"What? Like your outfit?"

"Well no, these were specially made, and that would take too much time to find someone who could do the same for you. I'm afraid you'll have to settle for wearing a skirt and a blouse. Those can be readily found for even your size my dear."

Bluto's eye's widened. "I HAVE TO WEAR A SKIRT?!"

The people gathered around the hotel lobby suddenly stopped what they were doing, and looked at the strange couple.

"You're making a scene, and that is the last thing we need right now. Besides, the moment you try fighting in that outfit you will regret it." Just as Elizabeth said this there was a sudden ripping noise that could be distinctly heard. Bluto's eye's widened once more, her face flushed while her hands quickly rushed to cover the backside of her trousers.

Elizabeth suppressed the urge to giggle. "Oh my, you didn't just…"

Bluto cut her off. "Skirt and blouse it is then, and hurry please."

Elizabeth quickly led Bluto to some local shops that had some simple skirts and blouses that would do the trick. They would be also shopping for unmentionables because that issue also needed to be addressed. The shopkeeper was amazed at the sheer size of Bluto's body. "I usually sell such clothing for extremely overweight women, but this is…"

Bluto towered over the little man. "Are you saying I look fat in this outfit?"

Beads of sweat began to form on the shopkeeper's forehead. "No, no, a thousand times no my dear lady. I did not mean to offend you, quite the contrary. I have never seen a woman who has a more physically defined body in my entire life. I swear to you that is the truth."

Elizabeth nudged Bluto and smiled. "I think he's flirting with you my darling."

The shopkeeper nearly fainted when he heard that. "PLEASE…uh…I let you have the clothes at cost. I apologize for any misunderstandings."

Bluto was simply stunned as she watched Elizabeth respond. "Well, I think that is more than fair. Apology accepted, and I know that my friend Hillary would like to thank you."

Elizabeth poked Bluto in the ribs. "Uhm…yeah, what she said. That is to say…I…Hilary wish to thank you."

Soon the two were heading out of the shop. Bluto bent down, and then whispered to Elizabeth. "Hillary?"

Elizabeth grinned. "It was the only name I could think of. Besides, you can't go wearing women's clothing and refer to yourself as Bluto, now can you?"

Bluto (now Hillary) grumbled. "Fine, but I'm going to start calling you Lizzy from now on."

Elizabeth giggled. "Fine, but now we need to fine some suitable shoes for you to wear Hillary."

Hillary was about to complain when she noticed three Arab men surround them. She quickly backed Elizabeth close behind her as she maneuvered to a fighting stance with the advancing men.

"That's far enough mates, state your business or prepare to fight!" Hillary growled.

The three men stopped, and looked like they were stunned to see this strange woman challenge them in such a way. One of the men slowly approach with his hand held up high. "We bring news from Ryan Springer."

Hillary's eyes widened. "What have you done with him? Tell me now or I personally break every bone in your bodies!"

The man that spoke actually took a step back, and appeared to look almost frightened. "Your friend is safe and well. In fact we are here to reunite him with you."

Hillary glared at the man. "You mean as prisoners."

"Ryan spoke of someone who would not believe our intensions. He said to mention that he will give you his teddy bear if you promise to behave."

Hillary's face immediately softened up, and she began to grin. "Well then, that's a horse of a different color! Lead on my fine gentlemen."

It was Elizabeth's turn to be shocked, and whispered to Hillary. "What just happened, and what the bloody hell is this teddy bear business about?"

Before Hillary could answer the man before them spoke once more. "So you are Elizabeth Peterson, and you are…Bluto Jones?"

"Yes, it is a long story…"

The man cut Elizabeth off before she had a chance to tell the tale. "You two were attacked by ancient powers that were beyond your imaginations. Guardians transformed Miss Jones, just as they did to you Miss Peterson."

Elizabeth had a look of wonder and embarrassment upon her face. "Umm…apparently I was mistaken about how long it would take to explain."

"Allow me to introduce myself, I am Tarek and these two are Jared and Masud. We are part of a secret cult that has been sworn to protect against the evil that you managed to awaken." Tarek raised his hand to calm the oncoming protest from Elizabeth. "We were aware that you were simply doing what comes naturally, an archeologist trying to uncover discoveries. You had no idea that breaking the ancient seals of Amehotep's Tomb would unleash an evil of apocalyptic proportions."

"Apocalyptic? Oh, this case just keeps getting better and better by the moment." Hillary grumbled.

Nothing was said any further as the group walked onward through the busy streets and alleyways. It was soon nightfall, and yet they continued to walk in what seemed like circles. First they would walk north, and then double back in a southern direction, but never back onto the same street that they came. It was odd because the men did not seem to be lost. They actually looked like they were following a path to who knows where. Elizabeth's feet were hurting pretty bad, and she was extremely exhausted. Hillary had strength and energy to walk indefinitely, and at one point let Elizabeth lean into her for some much needed support. The men finally stooped in front of a small tent amongst many other small tents that were located a few miles from the city they had come from.

Terek entered the tent, and stayed inside for several minutes, after what seemed like an eternity he returned walking toward the women. "You may now enter."

"That tiny thing? Maybe Lizzy can fit in that, but I am another matter all together."

Terek smiled. "Appearances can be deceiving, go inside and find out what I mean."

The two women looked at each other for a moment, and then decided to enter the tent. When they went through to the other side they were astonished to see a great hall with a big round table made of oak, finely crafted chairs, and a fireplace made of granite. There were tapestries on the walls as well as paintings. If one didn't know any better one would think they magically transported into a European Mansion.

Ryan was tending to the fire in the fireplace, and had not turned. "Well, Bluto I guess I owe you a teddy bear." Ryan turned to face the women. "And I'll see about arranging a meeting with….President…Roosevelt?"

"Well, I'm holding you to your promise Ryan. I've already done far more than I bargained to on this case."

"What is with the teddy bear, and President Roosevelt? I asked Hillary earlier about this, but she just gave me the same silly grin she's showing off right now." Elizabeth asked Ryan.

Ryan took a few moments to regain his composure. He had not expected to see his friend and partner to be changed into a woman. A really big woman, but he decided not to dwell on that and began to answer Elizabeth's question instead.

"Back in 1906 I was sort of responsible for preventing an assignation attempt on President Roosevelt. While he was extremely grateful to me the fact remained that such an incident should be kept quiet. I received no recognition other than a firm hand shake and a teddy bear from him." Ryan sighed. "Bluto wasn't able to be with me on that job, but ever since then he's been wanting his own teddy bear, and his own opportunity to meet The President. Bluto's always looked up to the man as his idol."

"The man is a legend; he's a man's man like yours truly."

"I hate to break this to you Hillary, but you aren't the man you used to be." Elizabeth pointed out.

"Yes, what's up with that Bluto, and what's with the name Hillary?"

"I'm now a girl, and my name is now Hillary. I was transformed by some magical statues, and if you're not careful you might end up joining us girls."

Ryan nodded. "I'll try to keep that in mind; ever since we've arrived strange things have been happening. I suppose that's why I didn't even question the fact that you were not Bluto…hmmm…I guess from now on I have to call you Hillary. By the way who thought up that name anyway?"

"I did, and it is a fine name I'll have you know." Elizabeth huffed.

Ryan held a up a hand. "Hang on there, I meant no offense. In fact my mother's name was Hillary, and I also happen to think it is a fine name."

Elizabeth's face flushed red with embarrassment. "I apologize to you then."

Hillary looked about the room. "So how did you mange to hook up with these people?"

"They sort of found me." Ryan replied while going over to the table, and sat in one of the chairs. The other two followed his lead, and also sat by the table. "After I left you two I checked around the local underground to see what I could find. At first I ran into dead ends, but then noticed some patterns. Men were beginning to disappear, but that in and of its self wasn't strange. The fact that these men ranged from all walks of life was extremely suspicious, and that these disappearances began shortly after your missing find also added to a possible connection. The local constables must have felt I was onto to something because they began tailing me, and they would have locked me up for questioning if it were not for our fine hosts intervention."

"Do these people know where the treasure is, and who took it?" Elizabeth asked.

"Yes, I believe they know where the treasure is, but I don't think you will like the answer to the other question."

"What? I've traveled all the way to London and back in order to retrieve what I rightfully discovered. If you think I'm going to stop now when I am so close, then you're a complete nutter!" Elizabeth roared.

"Look, hasn't it occurred to you by now that we aren't dealing with typical criminals? In fact we've stepped into something that is beyond anything rational scientific thought can handle. You and Bluto have turned into women, living statues are running about, and this tiny tent is a palatial mansion. If you told me any of this before this morning then it would be me calling you a nutter!"

Elizabeth looked down. "So, if you didn't believe my story when I first told it to you, then why did you take the job? Why follow me to Egypt?"

Hillary shuffled her feet. "Well, you had a bag full of gold coins."

Ryan added. "And it was possible you were a criminal, and that you might have been trying to fence stolen goods."

The room was deadly silent for a couple of minutes. Elizabeth's face was pale, and she looked like she was about to shed a few tears. "I assume our hosts will fill us in on everything tomorrow morning then."

Hillary tried to put her hand on Elizabeth's shoulder, but she shrugged it off. "Lizzy, don't be like that. It's our job to be suspicious of everyone. It's nothing personal, you have to believe that."

"I am extremely tired; the only thing I wish to find right now is a comfortable bed. I suggest you two do the same, or perhaps you would like to take turns watching my room to see that I don't do anything nefarious." Elizabeth said coldly while running away to find a room to sleep in.

Hillary gave Ryan a dirty look. "You just had to call her a criminal didn't you?"

"She asked an honest question, and I gave an honest answer. Besides, you know as well as I do that everyone is considered a suspect, especially when they come up with fantastic tales like the one she came up with."

"Yes, but we now know different. I had to brawl with giant cat women made out of gold, and they turned me into a girl. But guess what? I'm a believer! I've got a tremendous bosom, and I've lost my willy. What replaced it is driving me crazy, but that's a different subject all together."

"Thanks for not elaborating." Ryan replied looking a bit relieved.

"Don't interrupt me when I'm ranting." Hillary paused a moment while adjusting her breasts. Ryan tried to avert his eyes, but somehow failed. "The point is, I know what that poor girl has gone through because I am now living it. What she needs right now, more than ever, is support from those around her."

"Well, my original point was we are dealing with supernatural powers here. That treasure is part of that magic, and I have a feeling it will not be so easy to claim that treasure."

"At this point I'll settle for having my willy back where he belongs."

"That might not be so easy to claim either my friend."

The next morning each of our trio awoke to find all of their personal belonging with them. Hillary even found some boots that actually fit her, but was slightly annoyed with the fact that they had high heels; not anything really noticeable, but just enough to help enhance her shape and her walk. Ryan and Elizabeth noticed the swish and sway that their colleague was making, but did not wish to mention it for fear of retaliation of some sort. Not that Elizabeth and Ryan were going to talk about that or any topic for that matter. She would have nothing to do with him, and he just didn't want to provoke things any further.

It wasn't until they had their fill of food and drink that the three were summoned to the hall they were in last night. Several men dressed in white robes were already seated around the table. There were three empty seats which they were led to.

The eldest man stood up. "I am Bakari, I am the leader of my people. For untold generation we have protected the world from the great evil that has survived in the cave you found." Barkari pointed to Elizabeth. "Long ago during the eighteenth dynasty was a Pharaoh that was named Amenhotep III. He ruled Egypt and it prospered. He and his wife Queen Tiy had four daughters and two sons. When it came time for another to rule it was always assumed that Tutmoses, the second male born, would ascend to become the next Pharaoh, but he tragically died during a battle. Thus, Amenhotep IV became the ruler of the land. He was a poor choice because he was never groomed for leadership. He had strange ideas about how to govern, and this ultimately proved to be his undoing."

"He must have been a real social outcast to not automatically assume the thrown. The second male born almost never bypasses the chain of command." Elizabeth mused.

"Yes, that is usually the case, but Amenhotep IV did set himself apart from all other Pharaohs. He decided that all gods save 'Aten' should be removed from the temples. No more worshiping and keeping idols of the other gods. The people could not go against the wishes of a Pharaoh, even one that is obviously a heretic. So they secretly prayed to their gods. And the gods answered by smiting down the heretic and his followers. Since he already looked feminine in appearance the gods decided to make Amenhotep IV completely female, they then transformed her closest advisors into golden statues that were part cat and part woman. These statues were to stand for all eternity guarding their Pharaoh's tomb, and transforming all those who dared disturbed the sacrilegious burial ground. Amenhotep IV was buried alive in his tomb, and it is said he would always be banned from ever reaching the other side to be with the gods he rejected."

"That's pretty rough, but what happens now? And more importantly, how do I…uh… I mean we get back to normal again?" Hillary asked.

Barkari answered quite slowly. "You suffer the curse of Amenhotep IV, and so you will live out your life as a woman. The same is true for Miss Peterson, but she has an additional burden placed upon her."

"What additional burden?"

"You were the one responsible for breaking the seals, and so you will be responsible for fixing the problem we now share. You must confront Amenhotep IV, and render her powerless. If you do not, then she will break her own curse, and once more become a male. He will then marry you as his Queen, and then he will curse the whole world by turning all men into women."

"Excuse me, but how do you propose I confront this maniacal mummy? Challenge it to a game of Rugby?" Elizabeth snorted.

Barkari looked confused for a moment then pulled out an amulet from his robe. He walked over to Elizabeth and handed it to her. "Put this on, it has great powers for those who are chosen. It is said the amulet belonged to the goddess Isis. It is with this you will bring down Amenhotep IV."

Elizabeth looked worried. "I don't know about this. What if I'm not worthy? I mean, I've never been worthy about anything in my life before, so why should this be any different now?"

Barkari simply smiled. "Put it on and find out."

And so Elizabeth put on the amulet. Everyone in the room watched her closely to see if anything would happen. It seemed like this was going to be just another failure in Elizabeth's life, but as she was about to remove the amulet, she began to glow. It was a soft white light that swirled all about her body.

Barkari nodded. "You are chosen by Isis to fight this battle. Amenhotep IV must have sensed the power within you or she would not have tried to make you her bride. Remember that as long as you wear that amulet no mortal can hurt you, magic wielded against you will be useless, and you will be able to defeat the heretic."

"Can I try that thing out?" Hillary asked.

"The amulet has never before worked on any since recorded memory. You may wear it or anybody else, but it will only work for the one it chooses." Barkari replied.

"Awwh! I wish I had super powers!" Hillary grumbled.

Ryan laughed. "You're already stronger than any woman living, and that still might be the case with any man."

"Yeah, I guess that is true." Hillary grinned.

The plan was to find the camp where Amenhotep IV was conducting her campaign. Elizabeth provided a means for doing this because she seemed to be drawn to the mummy like she was a magnet. She instinctively walked forward with confidence. The others followed with much less confidence. Several miles of isolated desert was traversed until they finally came upon an encampment with several hundred women. Among those women were the golden cat women, and they surrounded what looked like a mummy. Unlike most other mummies this one was alive, moving, and giving orders. When Elizabeth saw this mummy, she felt its growing power. She knew that before long she would once again look like a living being. Every moment of freedom, every transformed man made her flesh grow back, and blood flow through fresh new veins.

"How do we take all those women out? There has to be several hundred out there, and we only have us plus a couple of the religious cult people." Hillary said to nobody in particular.

"We won't have to take on those women because they are not part of this battle." Elizabeth said calmly.

"And how do you figure that?" Ryan asked.

"Elementary my dear Ryan, those poor souls are currently being controlled by the evil mummy. I shall use my powers to free them from that control, thus giving them free will to take the path of least resistance."

Ryan smiled. "And in this case they will choose to run once the fireworks begin."

"So what do we do?" Hillary asked clenching her fists.

"I think you may just be ready for a rematch with those cat women. Play a game of cat and mouse with them. Draw them as far away from Amenhotep IV as possible. That will give me a chance to go one on one with her." Elizabeth then turned to Ryan. "You, I want helping those women find a safe place to go."

Ryan shook his head. "No, Terek and the others can do that. I can fight…"

"I know you can fight Ryan." Elizabeth said cutting him off.

"Then let me fight instead of putting me out to pasture. Besides, I didn't bring along my fireworks, so that I wouldn't get a chance to use them." Ryan replied while holding up two sticks of dynamite.

Elizabeth sighed. "Very well, but I expect you to come back looking like a man. Do I make myself clear mister?"

"Believe me when I say that will be one of my highest priorities."

Elizabeth smiled. "Be sure that it is because I don't want to have to show you how to shop for feminine attire."

Ryan and Hillary set off to do their damage. After they left, Elizabeth held out her arms wide, and looked down to the women below her. She then called out in a thunderous voice. "BY THE GODDESS ISIS I GIVE THEE YOUR FREEDOM! GO NOW AND FLEE THIS TERRIBLE PLACE!"

An invisible wave of energy swept all of the women. They stopped whatever they happened to be doing. They had understood the words spoken to them because it was not just vocal, but it was a telepathic message. Soon women were running away.

Amenhotep IV tried to regain control over the fleeing women, but was unsuccessful. She was about to command her cat women to do something drastic when Hillary came sauntering in view. The cat women hissed and clawed at the air, three in particular seemed really angry at Hillary for some strange reason.

Hillary waved at the three cat women who really hated her, and then turned her attention on the mummy. "So, you're the big bad that's responsible for taking away my willy? You don't look so tough to me, and those golden kitties? I will melt them down to nice proper coins, and then I'll be a rich woman laughing at you."

"You dare to insult me? I am Pharaoh, and I will rule the world! You will be nothing but scattered bones in this desert!"

Hillary scratched her head. "You speak English?"

"Foolish one, anyone who has been transformed can understand what I or my minions have to say. I find it so much easier than trying to train servants to speak my native tongue." Amenhotep IV made a gesture to her cat women who instantly sprang into action. They quickly chased Hilary while the mummy sat back on her thrown.

Ryan carefully hid behind a sand dune while patiently waiting for Hillary to draw the enemy closer to him. He still held in his hands the two sticks of dynamite he had shown to Elizabeth. He knew he had to time things just right or everything would literally blow up in his face. Light the fuses too soon and he'd have to throw them someplace where they would not endanger Hillary. Light them too late and they would not destroy their intended target.

"Hey! Keep up back there! I don't want to lose any of my precious gold!" Hillary shouted as she sped by Ryan's location. 'It's now or never' thought Ryan as he lit the fuses; he then waited until he saw all five statues come into view.

Then he stood up and yelled, "Hey you! Yeah you buggars!" He then threw the sticks of dynamite at them, and two of the cat women caught the sticks while the others gathered around the see what these objects were. "An early Merry Christmas for me, and no New Year for you!" Ryan shouted as he ran away from the imminent explosion.

The cat women marveled at the lit fuses, and waved them about in a playful manor. This lasted for about ten seconds, and well, then there was the tremendous explosion. After that, the cat women were shaped more like nuggets of gold scattered about a deep crater of sand. Ryan came back to the spot with a bag in hand. He was later joined by Hillary who also happened to have a big empty bag.

"We finally get some treasure. This will almost make up for losing my willy."

"Well, you take my bag and finish up."

"And what do you think you're going to do?"

"Help Elizabeth of course." Ryan said as he sped off.

Hillary shook her head. "Well, maybe Lizzy we'll be able to keep him out of trouble, and still manage to save the world." Hillary looked back down at the desert full of gold nuggets. "Oh well, come here kitties, come to mama!"

Elizabeth confronted Amenhotep IV who was surrounded by all of her earthly treasures. She Stood up from her thrown and pointed a boney finger at the new intruder.

"You have done this to me! I sense the magic within you! Isis will not seal me again."

Elizabeth kept walking toward the mummy. "You have lost your followers, your golden body guards, and now you will lose your freedom."

Amenhotep IV raised her hand and gestured to Elizabeth. "Lower yourself to the ground before me!"

Elizabeth felt compelled to do as the mummy commanded, she fell to the ground. She wanted desperately to get up and do something, anything, but was simply powerless to do so."

"I will regain my followers, I we retake Egypt, and then the rest of the world will follow. I will not be subjugated by weak gods, and I will prove my superior power by subjugating you, and the power you hold. You will be my bride, and rule by my side for all eternity. You will never to grow old or ill, never having to take orders from anybody, with the exception of my own orders. Yes! This will be the start of a new era."

"I will not follow you, nor will I marry a hideous creature the likes of you!" Elizabeth snapped.

"Rise and give me your amulet."

Elizabeth immediately got to her feet, and then started to hand over the amulet to her master, and this might have happened except for the sudden entrance of Ryan Springer.

"Get away from her you foul wretched creature!" Ryan shouted.

Amenhotep sneered. "Stand still my future Queen; I must attend to some business." The mummy turned to face Ryan and pointed a finger at him. "You shall be my personal servant girl! I will take away your sharp tongue so that will never be able to say another word. I will take away your mind so that your only thoughts left


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