A lord in waiting, who was devoted to the king, had been encouraged by the chamberlain to communicate to Bent-Anat other things, which hardly allowed any doubts as to the ambitious projects of her uncle; she was also exhorted to be on her guard with Nefert, whose mother was the confidential adviser of the Regent.
Bent-Anat smiled at this warning, and sent at once a message to Ani to inform him that she was ready to undertake the pilgrimage to the “Emerald-Hathor,” and to be purified in the sanctuary of that Goddess.
She purposed sending a message to her father from thence, and if he permitted it, joining him at the camp.
She imparted this plan to her friend, and Nefert thought any road best that would take her to her husband.
Rameri was soon initiated into all this, and in return he told them all he had learned, and let Bent-Anat guess that he had read her secret.
So dignified, so grave, were the conduct and the speech of the boy who had so lately been an overhearing mad-cap, that Bent-Anat thought to herself that the danger of their house had suddenly ripened a boy into a man.
She had in fact no objection to raise to his arrangements. He proposed to travel after sunset, with a few faithful servants on swift horses as far as Keft, and from thence ride fast across the desert to the Red Sea, where they could take a Phoenician ship, and sail to Aila. From thence they would cross the peninsula of Sinai, and strive to reach the Egyptian army by forced marches, and make the king acquainted with Ani’s criminal attempts.
To Bent-Anat was given the task of rescuing Pentaur, with the help of the faithful chamberlain.
Money was fortunately not wanting, as the high treasurer was on their side. All depended on their inducing the captain to stop at Chennu; the poet’s fate would there, at the worst, be endurable. At the same time, a trustworthy messenger was to be sent to the governor of Chennu, commanding him in the name of the king to detain every ship that might pass the narrows of Chennu by night, and to prevent any of the prisoners that had been condemned to the quarries from being smuggled on to Ethiopia.
Rameri took leave of the two women, and he succeeded in leaving Thebes unobserved.
Bent-Anat knelt in prayer before the images of her mother in Osiris, of Hathor, and of the guardian Gods of her house, till the chamberlain returned, and told her that he had persuaded the captain of the ship to stop at Chennu, and to conceal from Ani that he had betrayed his charge.
The princess breathed more freely, for she had come to a resolution that if the chamberlain had failed in his mission, she would cross over to the Necropolis forbid the departure of the vessel, and in the last extremity rouse the people, who were devoted to her, against Ani.
The following morning the Lady Katuti craved permission of the princess to see her daughter. Bent-Anat did not show herself to the widow, whose efforts failed to keep her daughter from accompanying the princess on her journey, or to induce her to return home. Angry and uneasy, the indignant mother hastened to Ani, and implored him to keep Nefert at home by force; but the Regent wished to avoid attracting attention, and to let Bent-Anat set out with a feeling of complete security.