Alexandra saw the hurt and shock mingled on the High Priest's face as Anck-su-namun turned on her heel and ran. His wide eyes betrayed his broken heart as they filled with sparkling tears. Evie had already pulled Rick out of the hellish ravine and the two of them were dodging the falling ceiling of the collapsing temple. Her brother was waiting for them in the doorway.
"Come on, Alexandra, Izzy's waiting!" he yelled.
Alexandra glanced towards her parents and brother, then back at the grief-stricken High Priest.
"Alexandra!" Evie called. "We don't have much time, darling, hurry!" She motioned for her daughter to follow them.
"Go without me, I'll be fine! I'll catch up, I promise!"
She could see the sorrow on Imhotep's face slowly replaced by resignation. He shifted his arms, loosening his grip on the rock.
He was going to let go.
"Alexandra, now!" her father shouted.
"No!" she cried, in a bizarre reversal of Anck-su-namun's declaration.
Just as Imhotep began to throw himself backwards, Alexandra lunged, throwing the entire weight of her body towards the gaping chasm in the floor.
She caught the High Priest's arm just in time, the only thing keeping him from falling into the pit of godforsaken spirits. Alexandra was using every once of her energy to keep her hold on him, though she could feel him already beginning to slip from her grasp.
She was hanging halfway off the edge, and the only thing that held her was her foot, securely hooked in a groove on the floor. She could see the ugly, decayed bodies of the Underworld, pushing aimlessly against one another; a torrent of unending suffering.
"Release me." Imhotep spoke in Ancient Egyptian. "There is nothing left for me in this world."
"I can't!" her throat felt tight, and stinging tears pricked the corners of her eyes.
Imhotep's eyebrows knitted together in confusion at the tears pooling in Alexandra's eyes.
"You would sacrifice yourself to save me." Not a question, Alexandra noted. She filed that away in her mind to be reexamined later.
"She wasn't the only person who cared about your wellbeing. What if there was someone else who would mourn your loss? Someone who…needed you?"
His tanned arm was sweaty, and he was slipping from her hands.
Alexandra pulled with all her might, her fingers scrabbling to keep purchase on his slick, muscled arm.
With a sudden burst of strength, his hand closed around her arm in a vise grip, and he heaved himself up.
Finally, Imhotep was wrenched from the grasp of the flesh-hungry underworld.
Suddenly, a small, tapered rock cone fell from the crumbling temple ceiling and pierced Alexandra's waist. She cried out in pain and twisted around to see the spike protruding from the side of her stomach. She gasped, and clutched her side.
Swiftly, Imhotep gathered her in his arms and ran, deftly avoiding the plunging rocks. Once they were out of direct danger, he set her down gently.
"Follow me, we must go quickly. The temple of Ahm Shere will not hold much longer."
Alexandra nodded. She began to run alongside him, wincing and then collapsing in a heap as the pain in her side became too much.
Imhotep knelt down beside her and examined the damage.
"The wound is deep. It may be infected already. Lie still, the stone must be removed."
Alexandra braced herself, but was completely unprepared for the agony she felt as the High Priest pulled the rough spike from her flesh.
Imhotep noticed the girl's hands shaking, as she gritted her teeth and tried not to let her tears show.
Once the invading object was removed and cast aside, he wrapped her waist in a makeshift bandage, made from a strip torn from her shirt. He scooped her up once again, and carried her through the disintegrating temple. They came to a room with deep grooves in the floor, one of which contained the body of Anck-su-namun. Every inch of her exposed flesh was swollen and all signs of life were absent from her. A scorpion crawled across her neck and Alexandra looked away quickly, feeling sick.
Pain flashed across Imhotep's face. Alexandra's heart ached for him. She couldn't imagine losing one she loved so much, though she had just come close.
Alexandra buried her face in Imhotep's robe, as he stepped over Anck-su-namun's mutilated body.