"Hope the lioness went somewhere else," Diana said after a while, her eyes still scanning the mountainside.
"And thankfully snakes don't move about at night," I sighed.
"Snakes? What snakes? Lionesses are one thing but I really hate snakes!" Diana's voice rose up an octave.
"Shhhhh! You weren't paying attention during class, then. Don't you remember what the goddess of the mountain above the Valley of the Kings and Deir el-Medina was called?"
"Yes, actually I do, Ms. Smartypants. The Peak of the West. So?"
"And the goddess of that mountain was...?"
"Oh, stop it with the twenty questions. Meretseger. I've been reading books about this place for what seems a lifetime, I do remember that. Whatever you have to say, just say it," Diana snorted in a way that told me she was feeling much better now.
"So, she was also called the Peak of the West, and the villagers down there worship her as Meretseger. Or She-who-loves-silence. And she is depicted as..."
"A snake," Diana sighed. "I know. So - is it a goddess we're afraid of here? Plenty other snake goddesses in ancient Egypt as far as I recall."
"There is a reason a snake goddess protects this mountain, and the tombs of the dead kings. It is because this whole mountain is crawling with them."
Diana's agonised face was a picture. She been bitten by one as a young slave girl and was definitely twice shy because of it. I wondered if perhaps I shouldn't have said anything, but then again Diana was not prone to panic.
"Oh shit... I forgot about that little fact..." she said in a slightly shaky voice. "Or perhaps I wanted to forget it..."
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