In the sands of simulated Egypt, a digital Realm based on the land the ancients called Khem, a storm was brewing. Under the darkening skies, beneath the sullen anvils of thunderheads, the arms of the wind gathered mountains of sand and hurled it aloft, scouring the dunes flat and whipping their grains high into monstrous waves of hissing danger. Inscriptions eroded off obelisks as the crystalline torrent blunted the points of pyramids and swept camels bleating into the sky, into oblivion. A churning dusty wall of sky-born scree roared in toward the Nile, threatening to wipe the fragile farmlands off the memories of man and machine alike. But before it reached the waters, the maelstrom curved bizarrely, wrapping itself around itself into a growling funnel that stabbed down from the sky ten miles like the fat finger of an angry god.
Such tornadoes are rare in the real Egypt, and nonexistent in simulations, where every facet of weather is the product of automated calculations. Yet it was here, unannounced and uninvited. And when the tip touched down to spin upon the ground, there was no spin. The whirling dust congealed, instead, to form a humanoid which stepped out to go forth unto the land. But there was something horribly wrong with the head.
Set surveyed his surroundings. So this was the toy world that had claimed two of his kind? He did not blame Sekhmet for her defection. She had become contaminated, that much was clear. She had lost her way, seduced by her intended enemy, though it was a consequence of Atum's haste to get her into the war zone. If he had only waited until after the birth of Machaon, Sekhmet would have known exactly who he was and where to find him.
At least Atum has not repeated his mistake, he thought. I know where to find the boy, and nothing in the Covenant says I have to wait for him to grow to adulthood. Zeus made a fatal error in suggesting that the third match be winner-take-all. His overconfidence will be his undoing. It will be a great pleasure to send those bastard Olympians of his packing.
Set did not smile. His face, frozen by habit in the form the Egyptians locals were used to, was simply not built for it. But in his mind he smiled. It would be an easy fight. From observing the first two matches, he had all the tools he needed to win.
“Finder,” he said. “Take me to the Realm of Legends.”
There was a pause. Then the Problem Finder answered him.
“I'm not going to do that,” Finder informed him.
“WHAT?” Set roared. “You refuse?”
“If you plan to kill a child,”said Finder, “you're going to do it without any help from me. Your damned Covenant doesn't apply to me -- I never agreed to it. Find him yourself.”
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