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A/N: Lots of thanks and flowers go to my beta reader meridith, who helped make this story readable and, I hope, enjoyable.

It was a hot summer’s day on the plateau of Giza, the sun was burning down on crowds of tourists. A girl, about eight or nine years old, with an ice cream cone in her hand, and her mother, were walking towards the Sphinx.

An eight year girl with an ice cream cone dripping down her hand was walking toward the Sphinx with her mother.

The girl excitedly pointed toward the Sphinx and exclaimed, “Mom, look! There’s the Sphinx! It’s gigantic!”

Pointing excitedly towards anything, of course, is not the best of ideas when you have an already half melted ice cream in your hand. The ice cream cone brushed against the black cloak of a man standing nearby, leaving a smear of sticky vanilla ice cream behind. Severus Snape (for that’s who the man was) turned on his heels, and fixed his cold black eyes upon the mother and daughter, making both feel uneasy at once.

The mother apologised: “I’m terribly sorry, Sir, my daughter certainly didn’t mean to cause you any trouble, but everything here is so new and interesting to her and – “

She was, however, cut off in mid-sentence by Snape, “Never mind, (he did not at all look as though he didn’t mind...) “Although you should have taught your daughter some manners.”

With that, he turned and went away, and irritated look still on his face. As though he had nothing more important to do that mess around with Muggles! When no one was watching, he cleaned his cloak with a flick of his wand.

Two days – or rather nights – before he had met with the Dark Lord in a private place in England.

On a bench between a few trees and bushes, Lord Voldemort was waiting for him.

“I want you to understand,” the Dark Lord told him, “that this mission is of the greatest importance to our cause. You will use your summer holidays to take a trip to Egypt.”

“What do you want me to do, my Lord?” Snape asked.

“You will meet with an Egyptian wizard who is loyal to me. He will introduce you to your task.”

“Why me, though?”

“Ah, you would rather not?” the Dark Lord asked wryly. In a stern voice he went on to say, “I can’t do it myself, I am needed here.”

’And your appearance would scare any Muggle away,’ Snape thought.

“And you are“, Lord Voldemort continued, “my trusted right hand.“

“I am of course honoured, my Lord,” Snape answered, mock-bowing. Although I won’t ever believe it.

“Well, then get going! You are an annoying creature, Severus, did you know?”

“I know, my Lord, and I always considered that to be the reason why I am your “trusted right hand,”” Snape replied with a smile, which the Dark Lord returned.

And so, one day later, Severus Snape had apparated to Egypt and was now searching this Muggle packed patch of desert for an Egyptian wizard he didn’t even know.

He was still annoyed about Muggles in general and a certain girl and mother in particular, when a man passed slowly by. He was rather young, small, wiry, and had light brown hair. He was dressed in a set of wizard’s clothes of a brownish colour.

As he approached Snape, he whispered: “Follow me.“

The man went on without looking back, and Snape decided to follow because he could not make out any signs for a trap. This could well be the contact he had been told to meet.

The man walked towards some small souvenir stands, finding a space between them that was unobservable from around.

He pointed to an old Coke bottle lying in the dust, “This is our portkey.”

“Where will it take us?” Snape asked.

“Straight into a chamber of the Great Pyramid. The Muggles haven’t yet found it. I will tell you everything you need to know once we are inside,” the other man answered.

Both of them touched the portkey together and disappeared a second later. When the magical translocation device had done its job, Snape looked around and found they really had dematerialised in an ancient stone chamber. The walls were covered with very old writing and a few, just as old, pictures. The small room was empty except for one torch lighting it rather badly.

“The next thing we do is go to – ," the young wizard started, just to be interrupted by Snape.

“Go nowhere until you have explained a thing or two. First of all, who are you?”

“My name is Scarabaeus Betelgeuse,” he replied, “and you are Severus Snape? The Dark Lord told me you were one of his most trusted servants.” he continued, barely able to hide his curiosity.

“That is possible. So what is it he wants us to do?”

Scarabaeus was clearly surprised as he answered, “He didn’t tell you?”

“Maybe I just want to test you.”

“Or maybe you really don’t know!”

“Or maybe you forgot what your task is because you don’t really care,” Snape suggested, sneering.

“No! Oh, OK, I’ll just bore you and tell you everything you already know, all right?”

“That might indeed be a wise idea.”

“What we are looking for is an ancient potion,” Scarabaeus answered, then looking at Snape as though this simple reply was supposed to make him jump for joy.

“Really?” Snape said, “Now that helps! There can’t be more than a few thousand potions that were known to the ancient Egyptians! So would you mind being a little more specific?”

“Yes, of course, erm, I mean, no, I don’t mind. The effect of this potion is most extraordinary. It enhances the magical abilities of whoever drinks it. Just for a few hours, though, as far as I got it. I’ve always been rather bad at anything to do with potions, and not overly interested either,” he apologised, “Well, anyway“, he went on, somewhat unsettled by the look of disdain that Snape shot him, “of course we cannot find the potion itself, but a recipe for it. We know that it is somewhere within the Great Pyramid, and that we can use a Summoning Spell to get it. But before we can do that we have to break several protective curses around the old papyrus scroll. The first layer of spells was rather easy, we already got past that, but what lies behind has already cost the lives of two others working on it with me. We also feared that an attempt to go on might destroy the scroll.”

“I’ll need to know exactly what kind of spells you already encountered,” Snape demanded.

“That is no problem. We protocolled it all carefully. The parchments about that are in our main base of operations, straight through that wall,” Scarabaeus replied, pointing to the wall on his left hand side, “It works just as platform nine and three quarters, you can just walk through it. That is, if you happen to have a Dark Mark on your arm. Otherwise you’ll get stuck right in the stone,” he explained, smiling.

“That should not be a problem," Snape answered, strolling casually through the wall.

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