Once again the strange looking black and white chariot pulled up in front of the Jerusalem palace and Manaheem entered, unhindered by the guard, and found his way to the throne room door as he had done many times before. As he entered, the king’s crown was in his hands once more.
"Greetings brother dear," he said cheerfully as he entered.
"O', it's you, Manaheem" the king answered, absent mindedly. "What do you want this time? To tell me of another cause you just espoused?"
"Brother, dear! You sent for me, remember?"
Herod thought for a moment. "Oh, yes, I did, didn't I? I’ve been so disturbed lately that sometimes I even forget what I’m up to."
"Then you didn't send for me to tell me you decided to become a follower of Jesus of Nazareth?"
Herod let out a big laugh. "No, brother dear" he said mockingly. “I most assuredly didn't."
"Well, why did you send for me?"
Herod reached for the half-empty wine glass on the table and took a sip. "I’ll tell you, but first, congratulations. I hear you got married again. Won't you have some wine?"
"No thank you. I did re-marry my former wife, Claressa. I don't know how you could have heard about it so soon."
“I have my sources. Anyway, I sent for you because I may need your services once again. I’ve been hearing some very well founded rumors that my nephew, Herod Agrippa, recently back from his schooling in Rome, hates me and wants to take over my throne. Thus, I may very well need your help once more, since you at least you did succeed in forming a group to go against Pilate."
"Yes, but that effort failed--did you forget?"
"No, I didn't forget. And neither did I forget that you tried to blackmail me for it. But, let's let bygones be bygones and strike a different deal this time. I’ll pay you to form a group to go against Agrippa even if they fail to do away with him or dis-throne him. I only want him to know if I’m strong enough to resist his efforts against me."
Manaheem sighed. "I’m afraid I’m not interested this time, brother dear."
"Oh? I thought you'd jump at the chance to get back some of what you say I owe you for the failed insurrection. I suppose you have all the money you need or want?"
"Well, not exactly. I just don't want to get involved in another politically based scheme."
"What do you mean, politically based? I’m just trying to protect myself and my kingdom."
"Your kingdom is what I mean. Anyway, how do you know those rumors are true?
"That's what I want to pay you to find out."
Manaheem placed his finger to his mouth and thought for a minute. "Well," he ventured, "perhaps a little undercover work--just to discover the truth--wouldn't hurt."
"Now you're talking."
"And just how much are you willing to pay me for this bit of undercover work?"
“I knew you'd be interested in the money. Well how does a thousand sound?"
"Fine. I shall start immediately. Do you know where this Agrippa can be found?"
"My sources tell me he's settled temporarily in Beersheba."
"That's quite a little ride from here."
"Not as far as from here to Tiberius" said Herod, placing his crown on his head. "And anyway, that's why I’m paying you that much."
"Well, I’ll have to think about it. "He turned to leave. So long, brother dear. I’ll be seeing you soon I expect."
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