The tomb site was deserted except for a dozen members of the Turkish military. Larra had resorted to using her political influence to get the Turkish government to protect the site, something she wished she had done right from the beginning. However, she could do nothing about her lack of foresight now.
Marchand and his henchmen had long fled the site, taking with them whatever antiquities they could loot in the time they had. Fortunately, most of the tomb site was too massive or too difficult to get at for them to desecrate it too badly.
Larra paused at the tomb entrance. She had come closer to dying in its interior than at almost any other time in her long career, but something Katie had said about where they found her ran through her mind. It was a near thing when we found you. Sealed in the tomb for as long as you were it was a wonder you did not suffocate.
It was an innocent enough comment, and at first Larra had let it pass, but now the remark nagged at her. There was something she had to find out. She walked toward the tomb, flanked by her companions. She shuddered as she looked into the small chamber that had held her prisoner. It was a wonder she had not been driven mad, but somehow she had survived. She ran her finger along the edge of the sarcophagus opening. Katie was right. Once the sarcophagus was sealed there would not have been enough air for her to have survived for more than a few hours, but she had survived days. Taking a deep breath she swung her legs over the edge and stepped into the sarcophagus.
Taking out a stick of incense she lit it and held the smoking stick near the bottom. The smoke went down, through the bottom of the sarcophagus. Larra shook her head. Only a fool like Marchand could have overlooked anything so obvious. She got to her feet. Looks like we need the block and tackle, she smiled.
Sacre-bleu! Count Vincent Henri Marchand hurled the newspaper into the fireplace, immediately followed by his glass of red wine.
Over on the chaise-lounge his mistress stirred. What is it mon cher?
Marchand ground his teeth, but kept his temper from getting any worse. Ne rien, her muttered. Dont worry about it, my pet.
Angelique settled back, but regarded Marchand through veiled
eyelids. Poor Henri, bested by
that Court woman once again. It
was too bad that he was such a fool.
Marchand picked up another wine glass and with trembling fingers filled it with the purplish-red liquid. He took a deep breath, calming himself and then sipped at his wine. He looked at Angelique, his features composed once more. Ill get her, he muttered. Ill get her if it is the last thing I do.