The Night didn’t coalesce into a human avatar but roiled off to the horizon, leaving only the normal night sky behind.
Naida turned toward Re and Kurama hopped out of her arms to sit down in front of her, one tail curled around her feet one direction, one curled around the other direction and the third arched up over her head, staring attentively at the Aegyptian creator god.
He diminished slightly, to become a bright blue human boy again, looking chagrined.
There was a lovely low hum coming from Bhodi and he opened his mouth and began to chant, in Sanskrit:
“Tayatha om bekandze
Bekandze maha bekandze
Randze samu gate soha“
Naida found herself swaying to the melody and Re settled down cross legged in the sand, no sign of pillars or stairs or anything else ostentatious. Under Naida’s hand the lamp grew but only a little and the door folded open to show Sybaris inside, in miniature. Her glorious voice soared out to join Bhodi’s and Naida could feel the chant vibrate in her chest and in her head.
Kurama chimed in on every ‘om’ and Asteri’s mouth dropped open and his purring panting thrummed underneath.
It was as though the whole earth rang as though someone had struck a bell and then Bhodi brought it down a full octave before slowing it and then everyone was silent.
Re stood up and nodded to Bhodi and to Naida and to Sybaris in her lamp, though his eyes flashed when he did, and to Kurama and Asteri. “My apologies for losing my temper,” he said. “My honoured mother reminded me of who I was.” He nodded more deeply to Bhodi. “You were quite right to ask if I was still in pain. Your chant has helped. Thank you.”
“Good!” Bhodi reached to hand Naida a cup, nodding at Re and she only hesitated a moment before going over to offer it to Him.
“Thank you.” Re sipped his tea and turned to the lamp. “Sybaris, Lamia, Controller of Light and Darkness.”
In her miniature form Sybaris bowed. “Glorious of the Sun.”
“My brother Apollo is annoyed with you.”
“Yes, I know.” She coiled around in her lamp. “But Those who live on Olympos gave me permission to leave temporarily.”
The little blue boy’s eyebrows went up and he closed his eyelids for a moment. Then he chuckled. “And the Sun God’s Sister is willing to forgive you that, just so She can tease Her Brother about it.”
Naida leaned down to whisper in her fennec’s ear, “that’s… so human. Why are They like that?”
Kurama shrugged, not taking her attention off the conversing avatars. “The Greeks wanted Gods who were like themselves. More human, less Divine. That’s where the so-called ‘contamination’ has come from for the Gods of Aegypt.”
“Bhodi is different and I am grateful we have Him.” Kurama twitched an ear at Bhodi who smiled down at his hands folded peacefully in his lap.
Re leaned down to peer straight into the lamp. “You have your permission and it is good that your assumed human daughter has your power constrained by the lamp. A piece of advice for you. I would not anger the Sun Twins by being any more obvious than you are. They can ignore a magical lamp. They cannot ignore one of their ‘confined monsters’ roaming the land.”
“Of course, Glorious One. I would not presume.” Naida could see that Sybaris had her tail tip in one hand and she was sucking on it. Temis had told her that it was a nervous gesture.
Re turned to the rest of them. “I have business in Karnak. I am planning to stop and fetch Bast from her island, where she has been spitting and clawing the walls since my high priest took one of her lives away.”
“Thank you for explaining that,” Asteri said, quietly.
“You may all come with me down the Nile,” Re said. “You saved this body and began the unravelling of the spell that should have killed this boy.”
“I think I’m going to enjoy watching when we get to the Temple of Amun,” Asteri whispered into Naida’s ear, as Sybaris’s lamp snapped shut and it shrank down in size once more. “He’s going to make Osiris’s death look like a party trick with his priest, I think.”
“Hardly, Chimera,” Re said as he stood up. “I am, after all, a God of Justice. You won’t have to get me drunk to save all of Mankind.”