Ripples

Dark Waves

The time is now…

Yima woke up with a start at the sound of the demonic voice. Looking around, she did not see the voice's owner. A normal person would have freaked out but the scarred woman had gotten used to it by now. Scratching her head a little, she thought back to when she started to hear the voice and whispered, "Things have never been the same since Kul Elna…"

A week ago, Bakura and Yima's clan (their two clans combined into one) returned to Khment territory so that Bakura could pay tribute to his fallen village. As they walked around, Bakura told them to stay behind while he went to the underground cavern where the mass sacrifice happened. Malik and Yima's women obeyed but Yima, as stubborn as ever, secretly followed. She was not going to watch (she at least had that much dignity) but she wanted him to run into her so she could rub it in his face that she did not listen. Hearing him inside, she hid behind a pillar and waited. Minutes later, she heard Bakura scream, prompting her to reveal herself. Bakura was being held up by his neck by a shadowy creature with red eyes. She screamed with fright, revealing herself to the creature. The blackness reached for her…and that was the last thing she remembered before waking up next to Bakura with their comrades. It was that night that she first heard the voice, a voice that spoke again: The time is now…to exact your revenge…on the royal couple…

Hearing that, Yima grinned evilly and looked next to her where Bakura laid. Rubbing his chest a little, she spoke up. "Wake up, 'Kura."

Bakura groaned and turned to his side, keeping his eyes close. "Damn it, woman. Let me sleep."

Yima sneered and rolled her eyes, recognizing the usual morning routine. Getting off the cot, she put on Bakura's coat to be decent and reached for her latest possession: the gold disc pendant with the ruby and Hieratic engravings. Bakura gave her his pendant when the two groups joined together: he claimed that it was proof that he would not kill her in her sleep but their comrades believed there was something deeper, despite the denials. Stretching her back, she groaned a little from last night's animalistic stress-relief session. Smirking at the memory of all their sessions they have had over the years, she put on the pendant and started to leave, only to trip and almost fall. Hissing, she looked down to yell at who was responsible but stopped when she saw that she tripped over it was Niva as the little Hebrew slept in the arms of her new lover, an older but equally small and insane Hebrew brunette. Giving a rare smile, she left the tent.

Breathing in the morning air, she looked around. There were a few tents, showing how many pathetics they lost over the years. Zeroing in on the well in the camp's center, she started to pass the tents, peeking in as she passed. One housed Malik, who was snoring loudly and cuddling with Sabeen and Lilith. Once again, Yima wondered why the twins chose Bakura's disturbed right-hand man to be with. The second tent had Eris and her lover of seven months, a blond Amazonian named Nattie. As Yima reached the well and started to draw a bucket of water, her thoughts realized that, in the last eighteen years, the two clans had a ton of successful tomb raidings but there was still one thing left to do: exact revenge on Atem and Tima. Once she got the bucket, she turned to return but paused when she heard the voice say, Hit them where it hurts most…

The scarred woman did not know what the statement meant; there were many ways of interpreting. Maybe Bakura would have more ideas but she needed him awake first. Grinning darkly, she went into the tent and dumped the water all over Bakura, causing him to thrash around and wake up the girls as well. "Hey! What the hell, bitch?!"

Yima smirked and threw the bucket at the women's feet. "Well, I told you to get up." She was about to tell him about the voice when she noticed the look of want in his eyes thanks to how the robe was on her body. Rolling her eyes, she stuck her foot in his face. "Slow down, horn dog."

Bakura growled and pushed the foot off his face, especially since he knew that she knew that movement annoyed him the most. "Damn it, bitch…you wake me up rudely, deny me the goods…this better be good."

Yima sat next to him and gestured to the tent opening to the smaller Hebrews. Seeing this, Niva pulled her lover to their feet. "Come, Lysandra…we must make breakfast for everyone."

Lysandra nodded a little as she was pulled out of the tent. Yima then looked at Bakura. "It woke me up."

Seeing Bakura's confused look, Yima rolled her eyes and tapped her head, as she did when she referred to the voice. Rolling his eyes back, he reminded her, "I already told you: it is your Ka." Before Yima could argue back, Bakura asked, "So what did your Ka say?"

Yima smirked. "It said the time to strike is now…we can finally have our revenge." She could tell that Bakura was getting excited; so was she as an evil smirk crept up onto her face. "And…I just had a nasty idea on how we can do that."

That caught Bakura's attention. He knew from experience that, when she had a nasty idea, it meant it was exceptionally fun for them. "Oh? Do you?"

Yima smirked. "Well, you want revenge for the royalties killing your village? How about…" She leaned in and whispered her plan in Bakura's ear. Pulling back, she asked, "What do you think?"

Bakura had a sick glee in his eyes as he licked his lips. "I must be rubbing off on you because that is brilliant."

Yima chuckled evilly. "I'd figure you'd approve. Speaking of, we should start travelling right away. If I remember correctly, it takes most of the day to get to the kingdom and that will give us the cover of darkness to exact our plan. Besides…as you know…I am always eager to hurt people in the sickest possible way…"

Bakura nodded and watched her get up, feeling a little tingle go down his spine. After all these years, when he thought he figured out how twisted and demented she was, he uncovered another layer of depravity; every time she was exceptionally twisted, he found himself getting more pleased with having her as a partner. As she started to loosen the coat, Bakura seized the opportunity and smacked her behind, causing her to yelp and glare at him. "Leave my ass alone!"

Bakura smirked and reached out to grab her behind again. "Come on, you know you like it."

Yima glared, neither confirming nor denying. But she asked, "So we're attacking him first?"

Noting her groaning tone, Bakura nodded. "My need for vengeance is stronger than your jealousy and anger towards your sister's better life." Yima hissed in protest but she got a sick smile when Bakura added, "Besides…attack one emotionally, the other will feel it as well…kill two birds with one stone."

Yima let out a twisted giggle before she started to dress in her shendyt and shirt that was short enough to show the bottom of her breasts but tight enough to keep them from popping out. Bakura watched her again and smirked. If he had the chance to tell the younger version of himself that Yima would become his partner/toy, he knew that he would not believe himself. But he knew that it was worth it because she was the best partner he had in thieving; not only that but their savage sessions made everything even more worthwhile. As she managed to get her shirt on correctly, she noticed he was staring at him and raised her eyebrow. "What?"

Standing up, he pushed her out of the tent and ordered her, "Wake your bitches."

Yima smirked and asked, "Why me? Afraid of a few women?"

Bakura flipped her off and closed the tent to get dressed. While he was not afraid, he learned the hard way that they did not appreciate him waking them up, especially Eris who punched him in the nose. As he put on his shendyt, his eyes fell on his red coat and was hit with nostalgia. Getting the coat, he put it on and whispered, "Father…Mother…my friends…I will avenge you."

---

Minutes later, Niva and Lysandra were passing out burnt lizards to everyone, who were trying to wake up. Snatching the lizard out of Nattie's hand and sticking it in his mouth, Malik hissed, "This better be good to get us up this early."

Bakura smirked. "We have plans for a big bust."

Getting another lizard, Nattie asked blandly, "Oh, really? What makes this different from the rest of the big busts?"

Yima rolled her eyes before smirked. "Because, Nattie, let's just say…it's going to leave a lasting impression on everyone."

Lysandra and Nattie shared a secret look. While they enjoyed the travel and their lovers, they were not comfortable with Yima and Bakura and their ways. Niva looked at Yima and said with a giggle, "So…what are we going to do?"

Yima opened with, "The royal family…" but was interrupted by Lilith, who piped up with, "Won't that palace be heavily guarded?"

Her twin sister agreed and added, "A direct attack may not be wise."

Yima looked at the twins with a sick twinkle in her eyes and simply asked, "Who said we're going to attack the palace?"

That got everyone's attention. If they were not going to attack the palace, what would they be attacking?

---

Two days later, the royal family was in the throne room, having just wrapped up a meeting with a few Canaanite representatives. As the ambassadors were leaving, Atem looked at Heba with a proud smile. "You did a good job."

Heba chuckled and scratched the back of his head. "You sure? Even with my little slip-up?"

Because the Canaanite language was a sublanguage of Hebrew, Heba stumbled with talking to them until Tima stepped in with translating. Seeing how concerned Heba was, Tima chuckled politely. "You did fine. After all, you did not accidentally insult them."

Having perched herself on top of the throne, Tarra looked down at Heba and added with a twinkle in her eye, That in itself is something to be proud of. Not messing up with insulting words is a good step towards a good relationship with other territories.

Heba agreed as Shimon noted, "Language barriers aside, you should be proud of yourself, young prince. You were able to represent the court, your parents, and the kingdom, showing true strength, wisdom, and diplomacy."

Heba thought about that and nodded, realizing that Shimon was right: when Atem announced that his son would be conducting the meeting, the Canaanites were surprised and a little resistant because, while he was royalty, Heba was not the Pharaoh. They were became even more resistant when he stumbled with the language but, once the Queen helped with translating, they relaxed and were able to see how Heba took charge. Smiling at his parents, his smile widened when he heard a familiar voice: "And you are hot when you take charge like that."

Heba blushed and looked at a nearby pillar, where Merina emerged from hiding with Torru on her shoulder. When the Scorpion Clan elected to stay in Khment, Atem decided that the clan would become his personal secret force. While he still had his army led by Seth and Jouno, Atem decided that the Scorpion Clan would be a secret army that would keep watch from the shadows and move in to take care of the more troublesome tribes. As she went forward, Mahad pointed out, "With how powerful Miss Merina is and how diplomatic Prince Heba is, the kingdom will be set for the future."

Tima smiled in agreement, ignoring Aknadin's tense nature. "Indeed. In fact, it has been my personal experience that a royal couple coming from different upbringings make a stronger foundation."

Smiling, Atem took his wife's hand and kissed it gently, making Tarra coo happily. Sans Aknadin, the Royal Court was grateful that a Khment royal and a Hebrew peasant were their rulers as their leadership was able to see both sides of a problem and come up with a solution that would benefit everyone. Merina and Heba peeked at each other and knew that their eventual marriage would be just as strong and that such strength would benefit the kingdom as well. Just as Atem was about to ask Heba if there was anything else to work on, a guard suddenly burst into the room. "Pharaoh! Queen! You must--!"

He never finished his statement: he suddenly coughed up blood and fell forward, revealing two daggers in his back. Seth gave the order and the Royal Court stood in front of the royal family. Merina got out her sword, ready to fight if needed, as the two phoenixes tensed up. Suddenly Mahad's Sennen Ring reacted, spooking the priest; the only other time the Sennen Item had ever reacted like this was when Mahad first put on the Ring. Seconds later, Marik ran into the room and yelled, "Pharaoh! Two grave robbers are approaching!"

Suddenly, Marik was tossed aside to reveal Bakura and Yima, littered with gold and dragging three bags behind them (they left their comrades behind with the rest of the loot because of their personal vengeances). Tima paled: her sister was back. The scarred woman looked at Tima and giggled with sick delight. "Surprised to see me, sister dear?"

Tima did not answer, too nervous since she sensed that there was something even more evil about her older sister. Heba and Merina were stunned that Tima was related to this psychotic woman; the prince almost felt upset that he was not told he had an aunt but, looking at how dangerous she appeared, his hurt was replaced with fear. Bakura chuckled and looked at Atem. "Long time no see, Pharaoh. Miss us?"

Atem glared and stood up as Tarra hissed. "How dare you show your faces here!"

Seth agreed. "You two have a lot of nerve showing up! You have earned a death sentence!"

Yima giggled, making everyone's blood turn cold. "Aww, don't be like that to us visitors."

Everyone had a bad feeling, especially since the Royal Court and Atem noticed that what was on Bakura's head looked a little familiar. Currently unfocused on the evil air that was starting to fill the throne room, Shada stated, "Leave now and you will be forgiven for stepping before the thrones of the Pharaoh and Queen uninvited!"

The tattooed priest knew that Bakura and Yima had death warrants on their heads for their attacks eighteen years ago but he hoped to get them out of the throne room first because, though he was a grown man, Heba was still a little squeamish around blood and death. Bakura chuckled darkly and asked, "Is that any way to treat someone who is here to execute a trade? We even come bearing gifts."

The two thieves put all the treasure they covered themselves with and dumped out two bags to reveal even more treasure. The Royal Court and Atem were struck with a feeling of déjà vu about the treasure. They soon found out why by Yima's statement: "After all the tombs we've stolen from…that tomb of the former Pharaoh was loaded."

Everyone paled in horror: the treasure was from Aknamkanon's tomb, which made what Bakura was wearing Aknamkanon's crown! Tarra was about to attack them but Atem stopped her because, while this was a defilement to the holy resting place, he took comfort in the fact that treasure could not affect his father's eternal rest. Bakura then put the cards on the table with the offer: "We'll give you back the treasure…if you are smart enough to give us the Sennen Items."

Merina and Torru almost laughed at their demands, not knowing that the demand surprised everyone who knew about Bakura and Yima from what happened eighteen years earlier. When Tima was kidnapped and Atem went to rescue her, the two thieves wanted the royal couple's blood, not the mystical items; in fact, it seemed clear back then that the two did not have any idea what the items were. So what changed since last time? Itami hissed a little. He's got some nerve to think he can handle the Sennen Items.

Seth silently agreed as Aknadin, assuming that Bakura and Yima simply wanted the Sennen Items to make names for themselves among thieves, told them, "You foolish thieves! If your evil souls so much as touches a Sennen Item, the Gods will punish you by burning your very souls!"

To everyone's surprise, Bakura admitted that such a revelation made him want the items even more and Yima shuddered with delight in agreement. Tima found herself almost shaking, making Tarra go to her for comfort. Do not fear, my Queen…she will not harm you.

Tima wished she could believe the phoenix: no matter how twisted her sister was all those years ago, the scarred woman's evil seemed to have increased many times over. Merina and Heba also found themselves spooked by the two thieves unworried about the deaths that awaited them; Heba himself was more scared of his deranged aunt. Having enough with them, Seth called for two stone slabs to be ready for the two pathetic Kas that were going to come out of the thieves. As the Royal Court prepared to release the thieves' Kas into solid form, the Sennen Items suddenly and erratically reacted: the Scales wobbled as it failed to measure the evil, the Ring reacted to the strength of the darkness, the Tauk foresaw the world heading to disaster thanks to the hidden shadow, the Eye saw no ending to the darkness, and the Key gave its bearer a glimpse of what was to come, almost killing Shada in process. But the Royal Court were most frightened by the revelation that the Sennen Items were reacting to the evil that was in both thieves: it was clear to them that their levels of evil were even. Looking around, Torru asked Tarra, How bad is this?

Before Tarra could say really bad and before Shada could tell Seth that the stone slabs were too small, Bakura's Ka came out, shocking everyone: it was anything but pathetic. Grey in color and massive in size, the upper part of the Ka was that of a muscular human and the bottom part was a snake. Its face looked heavenly with three horns on the back of its head and one on its forehead. The Ka also had four wings, two on its back and two on its lower torso. Voicing what everyone was thinking, Aknadin asked, "Impossible! How can a demon dwell within a mere thief's soul?!"

Yima chuckled a little. "Don't get insulting; you might piss him off."

Bakura grinned and boasted, "This isn't a demon…this is a god: the great Diabound."

At first stunned by the appearance of Diabound, Seth was not about to let a thief's Ka get the best of the Royal Court and the Pharaoh. Wanting to proof that it was not wise to underestimate the power of the Sennen Items, the High Priest pointed his Sennen Rod to the evil Ka and uttered the spell, "By the power of the Sennen Rod, I cast you into the Holy Stone!"

The Sennen Rod glowed brightly as a beam of light was sent towards Diabound. The beam of light enveloped the Ka and transferred it to the stone tablet, clear by the tablet going from blank to showing a craving of the Ka. Heba sighed in relief, thinking it was over, and Merina smirked. "Looks like it wasn't so powerful after all."

Torru looked at every human and phoenix in the room, however, and said, No…something's not right.

Sure enough, the Royal Court and couple were still on edge: if it was truly over, why were Bakura and Yima so calm? Everyone soon found out why: Diabound suddenly broke out of the tablet, achieving the impossible. Refusing to admit defeat to the two thieves, Seth stepped forward, determined to show the true strength of the priests. However, his anger and hubris were blinding him, evident by him waving off the rest of the Royal Court, stating that he was strong enough to handle Bakura and his Ka, ignoring Itami telling him to work with the others, and summoning a monster servant Galestgoras (believing that this battle was not worth waking up the White Dragon). Merina and Torru found themselves mesmerized by what they were seeing. Because they had never seen a Ka battle before, they were in awe. For a moment, Merina wondered why the Pharaoh would ask her clan to be his secret force if he and his Royal Court was capable for doing such feats of magic but she remembered that humans was sometimes more powerful than magic. Seth was about to order Galesgoras to attack Diabound when Atem spoke up, wanting answers to a certain question. "Bakura! Why do you want the Sennen Items?"

Bakura and Yima's faces contorted to show very dark smirks. Reaching behind him, Bakura grabbed a rope and pulled the final bag forward. As Yima removed the cover, the albino asked, "Why don't you ask him?"

Tarra and Itami screeched and every human became physically ill at the sight: pulled up into view by the rope wrapped around its neck was a mummy. With knowing which tomb the two thieves raided, they knew who that was. Atem felt like he was stabbed. "Father…"

Heba could not believe it. While his grandfather was long dead before the prince was born, Heba greatly respected his grandfather for everything the man did for Khment and for shouldering the blame for something to keep Atem safe, a secret that Atem disclosed only to his son. Tima covered her mouth with shock as Torru screeched as well (now understanding) Merina growled, "You pillaging scumbag rats!"

Unfazed by the insult, Bakura and Yima knew exactly what to do to rub salt into the wounds: they each placed one foot on the mummy, disgracing the late Pharaoh even more. Atem and Seth's bloods started to boil, clear by Seth especially when he yelled, "How dare you step on the body of the late, great Pharaoh Aknamkanon! I'll personally flay those feet to the bones!"

Itami wanted to send the thieves into the darkness but Seth mentally told her to stop, wanting to kill the thieves personally. Tarra wanted to kill the thieves as well but she had to tend to the Pharaoh to keep him relatively calm. Yima sarcastically whimpered before laughing it off as Bakura's dark smirk widened to a sick grin. "Consider this the beginning of his punishment, for creating the Sennen Items in the first place!"

Tima and the teenagers did not know that Atem's late father was the one who created the mystical items. Tima turned to ask Atem if it was true since her husband told her very little about the Sennen Items (partly because she herself did not ask) but decided to keep quiet by seeing how angry Atem was. Remembering the vow, Aknadin tried to explain to Bakura and Yima, "Thieves…Pharaoh Aknamkanon wanted a never-ending period of peace for a country torn apart by war. That is why the Sennen Items were created: to put an end to the wars and bring peace to the land."

Seth agreed. "Everyone knows the story: to continue to stamp out evil and purge sin, he gave all of us the Sennen Items that were filled with righteousness and justice!"

Having no true say in this matter, Yima rubbed her ear with her little finger, not listening, as Bakura hissed in a low voice, "Tell that to the village of Kul Elna…" Aknadin paled at the mention, unnoticed by anyone, as Bakura continued with a louder voice, "Of course, that is the story that everyone was told…but I know the truth! The Sennen Items are forbidden artifacts of black magic, containing darkness within! Best of all, whoever owns all of them can form a contract with the dark spirits of the afterworld and the evil god that awaits!"

Having enough of Bakura speaking all the time, Yima decided to add her own voice to twist the knife. "Say, Bakura. Do you think this is why this dusty doll made the Sennen Items? He must have wanted that evil magic to take over the world, not just Khment."

While they spoke, they dug their feet deeper into the back of the mummy, infuriating Atem even further. But the last straw was when there was a couple of snapping sounds coming from the mummy. Hearing that, Tarra surrounded herself with angry electricity and Atem shot to his feet and yelled, "Get your feet off of that body!!"

Bakura smirked, glad that he was able to get Atem to react, and Yima sneered, "It's about time you got off your ass, 'Pharaoh'…and not just to screw your whore!"

Tima, Heba, and Merina's eyes widened with shock that Yima would stoop so low as to insult the royal couple in such a way. Merina got out her dagger and Torru surrounded himself with flames but Heba stopped them. "Leave this to the Royal Court."

Looking up, Merina immediately saw what the prince was talking about: infuriated by the thieves' actions and words, they were determined to execute Bakura and Yima right then and there with their Kas, despite Bakura declaring that he would kill the entire Royal Court on his own. Seeing Atem's head lowered so that his eyes were shadowed, Tima and Tarra went to him, Tima putting her arm on his husband's back and Tarra nuzzling his cheek as Heba looked at Shimon. "Shimon…what was my grandfather like?"

His eyes on the Ka battle, Shimon answered the prince. "I had the honor of serving your grandfather for many years, my prince…and I can say this with certainty: your grandfather was a good and strong Pharaoh who dedicated his life to bringing peace to his country and his people. That's where your father and you get your strength and dedication from."

Heba and Merina smiled: while they did not believe Bakura's words, it was still nice to hear the truth about Aknamkanon. Lifting his head a little and pushing Tarra off him, Atem started to walk towards the Ka battle. Shimon tried to call Atem back and Heba and Merina started to rush forward to stop the Pharaoh but they were stopped by Tima holding up her hand and shaking her head. Tarra looked at Tima to protest but stopped, seeing the look on the Queen's face. While she did not understand why Atem was stepping towards a Ka battle, Tima had faith in her husband's actions, watching him as the Ka battle started.

Although his Ka was surrounded by the other Kas, Seth was still determined to make Bakura pay on his own. Once again ignoring Itami's logical advice, he ordered Galestgoras to attack and the spirit monster obeyed, biting Diabound's arm first. The snake part of Diabound's body reached around and attacked Galestgoras, causing the dragon-spirit to let go to the Ka. But it was a ruse: Galestgoras grabbed the snake and used it to pick up and slam Diabound down on the ground. Thinking he had this won, Seth ordered Galestgoras to stomp Diabound into nothingness and the spirit did so, making Seth think he won the battle. But, when the dust settled, Diabound was gone! Yima smirked with triumph as Bakura explained, "As you know, a Ka can develop the powers that show its host's wishes and desires. So what does a thief like me want? "

At first confused, the Royal Court figured out a second too late what Bakura was really talking about: Diabound could move through solid stone, evident by Diabound appearing on Galestgoras' stone slab and destroying it. Because the link between the real world and the spirit was severed, Galestogras disappeared. Thankfully, the Royal Court noted that it took some time before Diabound could take over a stone slab and decided to attack Diabound all at once to keep the Ka in view and away from the rest of the slabs. While it was a good form of attack, Diabound proved to be too much for them as the upper body destroying two and the snake body destroying another. Bakura and Yima laughed in their triumph but they were interrupted by someone shoving them and stating with a strong voice, "Move."

Having finally reached them, Atem shoved Bakura away and pushed Yima away. Bakura was surprised to see the Pharaoh there, having been too focused on the battle to notice where Atem was, and Yima was knocked down. His heart breaking, Atem reached down and picked up his father's body. Remembering the strong man who raised him into the man he was today, he prayed to the late Pharaoh, 'Father…please forgive me for this…I never wanted your resting place to be disturbed in such a harsh way…'

Noticing how close Atem was to Bakura, Seth silently asked to give Atem a moment and only attack when Bakura showed hostile intentions again. Tarra cooed sadly, feeling her own heart break at the emotions Atem was feeling. Smirking at the emotional scene, Bakura sneered, "Don't you just love touching reunions?" He was about to add something else but he noticed how Yima was acting and changed his mind, stating instead, "But don't worry: you'll join your dog of a father soon enough…"

The Royal Court got both on edge and confused by what Bakura said: while it was a hostile comment, they sensed that Bakura was not going to attack. Suddenly, the Sennen Items reacted once again as another Ka manifested before their eyes coming from Yima this time, who was furious that Atem would dare to shove her. Too focused on his father's body, Atem took no notice until a black feather landed on the mummy. Looking up, Atem's and everyone else's eyes widened at the Ka floating before the Pharaoh. Human in appearance and almost as big as Diabound, the black-haired, red-eyed Ka wore armored pants and a metal corset but the clothes made the Ka unnerving because, despite wearing a feminine outfit, the Ka was genderless, shown by the feminine body with a masculine chest and a face that was both masculine and feminine. But what sent shivers down Atem's spine was the huge scythe in its hands, the black line under the right eye that looked like dried blood, and the six black wings covered with red eyes. Dazed from releasing her Ka, Yima looked up and whispered, "Belial…kill him…"

Tightening its grip on the scythe, Belial let out a crazed cry as it started to swing its weapon to decapitate the Pharaoh. Before anyone or anything could react, Tima's eyes widened as she screamed her husband's name. As soon as his name was uttered, a bright light came from the Queen and raced towards Atem. Before the scythe could reach Atem, there was the sound of a harsh clash and white and black feathers flew into the air. Looking to his left, Atem saw that Seraphita was out, clad in her armor, and stopped Belial's attack with her sword. Having never seen his mother's Ka before, Heba was mesmerized by the sight of Seraphita. The Royal Court looked at the two humanoid Kas and were stunned by what they were seeing: not only were the Kas similar in appearance, their power levels were the same. Standing up, Yima hissed at Tima, who sternly said, "You will not kill him."

Getting out of harm's way, Atem gave Bakura a hard look. "Stay right there…I'm going to destroy you."

Bakura smirked, especially since things were just as he wanted, as the Royal Court figured out: with Atem's back turned to the thief and Seraphita continuing to hold back Belial's scythe, the Pharaoh was a sitting duck for Diabound. Bakura was about to order his Ka to kill the Pharaoh when he remembered that the Royal Court was still there, especially when Seth summoned Battle Ox to help in the battle. Yima joined Bakura's side as Belial gathered dark energy in its mouth and blasted Seraphita with it, not hurting her but pushing her back to the other Kas. As Battle Ox, Illusion Magician, and Diabound engaged in a fight, Atem returned to the thrones with the mummy. Tarra, Tima, and Heba went to him to try and calm him down. Completely numb, Atem set his father's body down and did not react when Shimon went to the body, almost completely broken. "No…Pharaoh Aknamkanon! That you should return to the palace like this…" Looking at the Ka battle, he reassured everyone, "Do not fear, Great Pharaoh! This insult to Pharaoh Aknamkanon will be avenged! The priests shall punish those two criminals!"

Merina agreed as she knelt next to Shimon's level to keep the old man from passing out. "He's right, Pharaoh. Those two will get death for what they did to the late Pharaoh and his--"

She was cut off by Atem tensely stating, "He's not the Pharaoh." Everyone looked up at Atem and could almost see the red aura that surrounded his body. Heba reached out to touch Atem's arm but Tima stopped him as Atem looked up, revealing the fire in his eyes. "This man…is my Father!"

Looking at the Ka battle, everyone saw that Diabound and Belial destroyed all the Kas, with the exception of Seraphita who used her shield to keep the humans from being attacked directly. Almost completely drained of Ba, the Royal Court was starting to wonder how they would fully combat these two thieves when they got a big surprise: breaking away from his family, Atem stood in front of the priests, Tarra on his shoulder, and told Bakura and Yima, "You will fight me now."

Yima snickered at the sight. "Will you look at that, Bakura?"

Bakura darkly chuckled. "So the 'Great Pharaoh' joins the fight as well…must want to join his father after all."

Yima grinned and touched Bakura's chest in an unsettling way. "Well, now…we can't deny the Pharaoh's request, can we?"

Bakura smirked before the two thieves ordered their Kas to attack. Everyone watched in horror as Atem's death seemed to be coming closer and closer. The Royal Court felt helpless with how weak they were and Torru and Itami wanted to help but Tarra told them to stay back. Tima tried to join her husband's side but Merina and Shimon held her back as Heba cursed the fact that he was unable to summon a Ka to help. But Atem stayed still with his eyes closed and it soon became clear what he was planning as the Sennen Pendent began shining brightly, causing a bright white light to surround him, thus causing Diabound and Belial to stop their attacks. Bakura and Yima's eyes widened, feeling the great power that was coming; everyone's eyes widened as well in surprise. Snapping his eyes open, Atem said in a strong voice, "Pillar of the three hidden gods! Obelisk, come forth!"

Seconds later, a monstrous blue spirit monster was summoned, shocking everyone. Towering over even Diabound and Belial, the god's aura alone gave out a power that seemed impossible to control and yet here was Atem, having summoned the god without even breaking a sweat. Feeling the power but not understanding, Merina asked, "Heba…what is…?"

Heba did not look at Merina, his eyes focused on Atem and Obelisk. He could feel his heart being churned with awe, fascination, and fear. His father had never summoned a god before in his Ka battles and seeing him do so was breath-taking to the prince. "The pillar of the three hidden gods…Obelisk."

Tima and Seth did not react to what Atem did as the rest of the Royal Court did, who were shocked that Atem was able to summon and control one of the guardians of the palace. Tima, Seth, and Shimon knew that Atem could but Seth and Tima were the only ones in the room who had ever seen Atem summon one. The legend that was passed down with the three nameless stone slabs was that only the chosen Pharaoh would know their names and be able to control them. Everyone believed that the chosen Pharaoh was Aknamkanon because of the Sennen Items but the truth was revealed when Atem was six years old. Aknamkanon and Shimon took him to the shrine to introduce the child to the monsters he would eventually use when he became Pharaoh. Saving the nameless slabs for last, Aknamkanon walked his son around the shrine, explaining about Kas and the spirits monsters, before stopping in view of the three god-spirits. As Aknamkanon explained that the three did not have names, Atem stared up at the slabs and innocently stated that they did have names. At first, Aknamkanon and Shimon though the child was playing until Atem pointed to each slab and named them, causing the three to glow for a moment. Shocked, Aknamkanon told Atem to keep the names to himself and asked Shimon to not reveal that his son was the chosen Pharaoh, believing it would put even more pressure on the boy. Getting a little misty-eyed, Shimon looked down at the body of Aknamkanon. "Oh, Great Aknamkanon…I am sure you are proud of your son…the only Pharaoh who continues to carry on your dream."

While they were at first freaked, Bakura and Yima calmed themselves. Bakura amused, "God versus god…this will be interesting."

Atem was not about to waver in his anger. "You will not win. I will get justice for my Father." Seeing Bakura smirk and Yima snicker, Atem's glare hardened. "The Sennen Items were made for peace and justice. I will never forgive the ones who try to steal them and defile my Father's tomb."

Yima rolled her eyes as Bakura fumed, "Justice? Peace? Don't make me laugh! The Sennen Items are a double-edged sword, made of good and evil. Whoever possesses them, beware: the Sennen Items will respond to the evil that in the person's soul and drag them into a world of evil!"

Atem glared at Bakura, able to ignore what the albino said because he knew his father told him the truth: that the Sennen Items were made for good. But he then remembered something about the day Aknamkanon asked the gods and ancestors to keep his son safe: the creation of the Sennen Items was mentioned. Because Atem was frightened by the lightening that appeared in the room and touched by his father's devotion, the now-Pharaoh had forgotten about that part. Did that mean…? Tarra looked at Atem, feeling the small doubt, as Atem mentally shook his head, removing the suspicion. He knew his father was a righteous man: why else would he beg the gods and ancestors to put all the blame on him and spare his son? Behind him, Tima, Heba, and Merina went through the same thing Atem did. While they did not know Aknamkanon personally and did not know about the origins of the Sennen Items, they knew Atem and knew that sons reflect their fathers. Noticing the three, Yima smirked. "You don't know the true story, do you? Your precious Pharaoh was not as perfect as you think he was."

Bakura smirked and added, "No one can truly draw the line between good and evil. Only the Sennen Items can…the compasses of the soul."

Yima nodded and then added something that surprised everyone: "Like your priests. Very risky to give them the Sennen Items…can you be sure that there isn't one or more who covet the throne?"

Mentally stiffening, Aknadin yelled at the thieves, "How dare you?! We priests swore loyalty to the great Pharaoh!"

Heba and Merina noted that, once again, Aknadin did not mention Tima but the Queen did not mind this time because they were loyal to the Pharaoh before she came to Khment. Hearing what Aknadin hear, Bakura smirked, getting his answer, and added with a dark chuckle, "Then I claim justice on our side: we shall kill everyone here, make ourselves Pharaoh and Queen, and, with Diabound, Belial, and the Sennen Items, we shall rule!"

Yima shuddered with delight. "How's that for justice? Fits perfect for me."

Atem could feel his anger raising. "'Justice?' Don't make me laugh." Clenching his fist, his glare darkened as his voice raised. "Murder?! Grave-robbing?! Where is the 'justice' in your actions?! You two won't get away with this!"

Bakura laughed and ordered Diabound to attack and kill Obelisk. But Yima sensed that something was not right: Atem, Tarra, and Tima did not react to Bakura's attack. She and Bakura found out why with what Obelisk did with Diabound's attack: Obelisk brushed it off like it was a bothersome wind. The two thieves froze in shock. They knew that Diabound was very powerful but being faced with an actual god that barely felt Diabound's attack was frightening to them. His face hard, Atem stated, "Bakura…Yima…I'll show you how flimsy your 'justice' is… "

At Atem's call, Obelisk punched Diabound right in the stomach, showing off its powers with the reactions: Diabound was knocked down with a fist-shaped dent in its stomach, Belial was thrown into a pillar from the after-shock of the attack, and Bakura and Yima lost a lot of Ba thanks to feeling the attack. Shocked that Obelisk was that powerful, Heba looked at Atem, who stood tall with Tarra and Obelisk. "Father…"

Yima and Bakura struggled to their knees, surprising everyone that they were still able to move. Diabound covered Bakura with its hand and Belial stood in front of Yima as Bakura hissed with a bloody mouth, "So that's when your god can do…better than I thought."

Yima sneered, "It won't be so next time."

Before anyone could react, the two thieves and their Kas escaped through the walls. As Obelisk disappeared and Aknadin ordered the guards to hunt them down, Tima went to Atem and touched his shoulder. "Atem…are you all right?"

Atem was silent for a moment, gathering his thoughts. Before the Queen could ask him again, the Pharaoh looked at his father's mummified body as the priests started to tend to it. Seeing this, Tima squeezed his shoulder. "Go…"

Touching her hand in thanks, he went to join the priests, wanting to be a part of the funeral rites this time. Tarra decided to leave Atem alone during the rites, giving him time to mourn his father again. Watching, Heba went up to Tima and asked, "Mother…will Father be all right?"

Tima looked at her son and stroked her bangs to the side. "He will…he just needs time."

Heba nodded in understanding, determining to be there for his father. He then looked at Tima and had to ask: "Was that…really my aunt?"

Tima sighed sadly and shook her head with closed eyes. "No…that was not the true Yima. She died with the rest of our caravan many years ago." Heba could accept that answer.

---

A couple of days later, Heba walked around the courtyard, thinking about the Ka battle between the Royal Court and the two thieves. While security tightened with the guards and the Scorpion Clan working together, Bakura and Yima were still nowhere to be found. That worried the prince, knowing that the two were still out there and still wanted the royal family's blood and the Sennen Items. But there was something else that was on the prince's mind: the Royal Court was powerful, both individually and as a group, and Atem was the most powerful of all but Heba did not seem to have any power, especially when it came to his own Ka. Sighing, he stopped walking and leaned his head back with his eyes closed. He had tried many times to look inside himself to find the power within but he had little success and, with two dangerous adversaries out there, Heba could not help but feel like he was unable to help at all, especially since he knew the love of his life was out there patrolling the kingdom. Before he could dive deeper into the torturous voice that was creeping back into his head, he suddenly heard Merina yell, "Demostrate, no!"

Before Heba could react, he felt a slight slicing going across his chest. Wincing, he looked down and saw that his shirt was ripped from his left shoulder to his right hip, giving him a small but stinging cut across his chest. Seeing the spear to his right, he looked to his left and saw Merina slapping and Torru pecking a Scorpion Warrior, the black-haired tattooed warrior. "You bastard! I told you not to do that!"

Massaging his face and brushing away the phoenix, Demostrate smirked at Heba. "What? He said he wants to be a warrior; how's he supposed to be one when he can't block a simple spear?"

Torru returning to his guardian, Merina hissed, "Because he is the prince and not insane like you!" Demostrate laughed and walked away, full of himself, as Merina went to Heba. "Are you all right?"

Torru added, We're sorry about Demostrate. He's always causing trouble like that with his personal set of rules.

Regretting telling Demostrate that he wanted to be a strong warrior, Heba nodded and looked at his shirt. "Yeah, I'm fine."

Merina noticed the blood that trickled from the cut and groaned. "I am going to kick that man's ass. We need to get you to the doctors to fix that."

Heba stopped Merina with a small smile. "It's all right, Merina…I'm fine."

Refusing to hear it, Merina grabbed Heba's arm and started to almost drag him to the medical quarters. "In times of war, we can't take any injuries lightly."

Torru shrugged at Heba, as if to say that Merina was always like this. Heba could understand her worry about an injury but the war statement made Heba stop. "Merina…do you really think we're at war?"

Merina gave Heba a stern look. "Yes, I do. Those two thieves mean business and we can't take it lightly. They want to go after the entire Royal Court and take over everything…I take that as an act of war."

Wanting to be positive, Heba was about to protest when the two heard a group of people approaching. Looking up, they saw a group of guards walking past them as Mahad stood in front of a pot and coaxed a young woman with brown hair wearing a side-hat out of the pot. Giggling at Mahad scolding Mana and Shimon coming to the woman's defense, Heba turned to tell the Scorpion Princess who Mana was but paused when Merina asked, "Why do the guards have a slab with them?"

Heba looked at the group and saw the slab as well. Curious himself, he approached Mahad with Merina following. However, before he could ask, Mana noticed the blood and freaked. "Prince! What happened?"

Looking at his shirt, Heba chuckled. He did not want to get Demostrate in trouble so he said, "Practiced the spear with a Scorpion Warrior and got nicked."

Merina scoffed, knowing exactly what Heba was doing. "That's one way to put it."

Calming Mana down, Mahad stepped forward and, to Heba's surprise, healed the cut. Looking up, the Prince asked, "How…?"

Mahad walked back to talk to Shimon as Mana continued to look on. Heba tilted his head a little as Merina and Torru examined the now-healed cut. While the blood was gone, there was now a scar across his chest. "Weird…you would think he could heal it so that there was no scar."

Heba did not answer, knowing that every spell Mahad uttered had a purpose, even when he was the only one who understood the purpose. The prince continued to watch Mahad as he finished his talk with Shimon and started to leave. But he stopped at the prince's side and touched his shoulder. "Know this, young Prince: I will stake my life to carry out my duty."

Heba looked up at Mahad in surprise. While the prince knew that each member of the Royal Court made a similar pledge, hearing it out loud was a little unnerving. Mahad continued to walk and Heba continued to watch him until Merina asked Torru quietly, "Why did that sound like a goodbye speech?"

Hearing her, Heba's eyes widened: was that what Mahad was doing? Going to literally stake his life for his duty? Hoping he was wrong, Heba raced forward and soon found Mahad again. "Master Mahad!"

Mahad paused and turned around. "My prince…"

Suddenly nervous as the inner voice told him that he would never see Mahad again, Heba shook his head and looked at Mahad with worrisome eyes. "Please be safe, Master Mahad. You are very important to us…to Mana…and to me…"

Heba lowered his head a little at the admission, trying to ignore the inner voice that continued to tease him. But he felt better when Mahad said with a small smile, "It is with a heart like that that you will make an excellent Pharaoh like your Father, my prince." Heba smiled and lifted his head but the smile soon faded when Mahad added, "And even if Fate has other plans, know this: I will always be with you all no matter what."

Heba stared at the priest for a moment before blinking into a smile. "Well then…I will be waiting for your return."

Mahad bowed his head to Heba before turning to leave. While he did not believe that he would return to the palace with what he was planning, the priest wanted Heba to be optimistic since that was one of the strongest traits that Heba possessed. As Heba watched his favorite priest leave, he felt his chest sting a little. Touching his scar, he started praying to the gods that he would see Mahad again…if only for one last time.
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