Once more there was silence. Then again that wind blew, very strongly, extinguishing the lamps, and, as it seemed to me, whirling away Merapi from where she was, so that now she stood to one side of the statue. The sanctuary was filled with gloom, till presently the first rays of the rising sun struck upon the roof. They fell down, down, as minute followed minute, till at length they rested like a sword of flame upon the statue of Amon-Ra. Once more that statue seemed to move. I thought that it lifted its stone arms to protect its head. Then in a moment with a rending noise, its mighty mass burst asunder, and fell in small dust about the throne, almost hiding it from sight.
“Behold my God has answered me, the most humble of His servants,” said Merapi in the same sweet and gentle voice. “Behold the sign and the wonder!”
“Witch!” screamed the head-priest Roi, and fled away, followed by his fellows.
“Sorceress!” hissed Userti, and fled also, as did all the others, save the Prince, Bakenkhonsu, I Ana, and Ki the Magician.
We stood amazed, and while we did so, Ki turned to Merapi and spoke. His face was terrible with fear and fury, and his eyes shone like lamps. Although he did but whisper, I who was nearest to them heard all that was said, which the others could not do.
“Your magic is good, Israelite,” he muttered, “so good that it has overcome mine here in the temple where I serve.”
“I have no magic,” she answered very low. “I obeyed a command, no more.”
He laughed bitterly, and asked:
“Should two of a trade waste time on foolishness? Listen now. Teach me your secrets, and I will teach you mine, and together we will drive Egypt like a chariot.”
“I have no secrets, I have only faith,” said Merapi again.
“Woman,” he went on, “woman or devil, will you take me for friend or foe? Here I have been shamed, since it was to me and not to their gods that the priests trusted to destroy you. Yet I can still forgive. Choose now, knowing that as my friendship will lead you to rule, to life and splendour, so my hate will drive you to shame and death.”
“You are beside yourself, and know not what you say. I tell you that I have no magic to give or to withhold,” she answered, as one who did not understand or was indifferent, and turned away from him.
Thereon he muttered some curse which I could not catch, bowed to the heap of dust that had been the statue of the god, and vanished away among the pillars of the sanctuary.
“Oho-ho!” laughed Bakenkhonsu. “Not in vain have I lived to be so very old, for now it seems we have a new god in Egypt, and there stands his prophetess.”
Merapi came to the prince.
“O high-priest of Amon,” she said, “does it please you to let me go, for I am very weary?”
THE DEATH OF PHARAOH