Ripples

By Alexis Leeper

Romance / Drama

Sorrow

Just before the mercenaries hit the palace, Bakura and Yima were hiding by a side door of the courtyard. Off in the distance, Bakura noticed a lit torch appearing on top of a hill, making him nod. "All right. Let's go."

Yima looked up and saw the torch as well. She hissed, "That idiot Malik better wait and make sure we actually get in."

Bakura growled and yanked Yima up by her arm. "Then stop chatting and get going."

Yima pulled her arm back but did follow Bakura to the courtyard. Normally, they would have scaled the wall or using a secret passage but there was no need for that now. As they walked through the gate, they pressed their lips together to keep from laughing: the guards were looking around, very confused. A couple guards even demanded, "Who's there?!"

Hoping that he was not going crazy, Marik looked at the guard's second-in-command and asked, "Am I hearing things?"

The second-in-command shook his head. "No…I hear them too…it's definitely footsteps."

Marik nodded and added, "Not only that…I feel something…a presence…"

His comrades looked around, hearing and feeling the same thing Marik did. What they did not know was that it was the thieves; they were merely hidden by Diabound. When Bakura put on the Sennen Ring, he and Yima were pleasantly surprised by the changes that their Kas underwent, especially Diabound's new ability to make himself invisible, including those he wrapped his tail around. Impressed with themselves, Bakura got out his hook and rope to scale the god statue and looked at Yima, who looked ready to follow him up the rope. He shook his head and pointed off to the side; he had a different plan for her, especially with her getting what she wanted. Yima sneered at him but ran off. Glad that she left without a fuss, Bakura scaled the statue and wall, which brought him in view of his targeted building: the Wedju Shrine. While he could have gone in there and destroyed the stone tablets, he had bigger plans and the shrine was just a piece of his plan…

---

With the attackers destroyed by Heba's Ka, everyone headed in with Atem, Scorpio, and Heba holding Merina's body leading the way. Heba said nothing as tears continued to flow down his face. As Scorpio numbly told the surviving Scorpion Warriors to build the funeral pyre for Merina, Atem stepped forward and touched Heba's shoulder. "Son…I am so sorry…I wish there was something I could do…to make you feel better."

Heba sniffled and buried his head into Merina's neck. He knew there was only one thing that could make him feel better but his wish was an impossible one. While his heart went out to his son, Atem knew that he had to organize a plan of attack for he suspected that Bakura and Yima were behind the mercenaries' attack in the first place. "Forgive me, Heba, but I need to work with the guards to make sure that Bakura and Yima don't attack us. But…if you need me…"

Heba sniffled and looked at Scorpio. "I think…we can take it…from here…"

Scorpio lowered his eyes, hating that he would have to do the funeral for his daughter instead of the other way around. Atem hesitated to leave, his fatherly duties taking over, when there was a loud, tortured scream coming from the Wedju Shrine. Scared by the sudden scream, everyone looked up towards the shrine. The nearby guards did not want to put Atem in danger so they started to head towards the shrine to investigate. They did not get two steps away before they were cut in half by an invisible blade. The rest of the guards protected Atemu and Heba, still holding the body, as Belial appeared before them with a bloody scythe, revealing the changes the Ka went through. Its skin was pale, almost completely white, and the wings' feathers looked black and melted, as if they were exposed to fire, while the eyes on the wings glowed red and pulsated, as if each eye had its own heart. Scorpio looked at it and growled, "If that thing is here…then where are the thieves?"

As if on cue, Bakura raced towards them on a stolen horse. As he rode between Atem and Heba, knocking them down, Atem noticed all the details of Bakura, as if the thief king rode by in slow motion: guiding the horse with his left hand, the thief gave the Pharaoh a very dark smirk and held up his right hand, revealing that it was covered with blood. Paling at the realization that it was more likely Aknadin's scream and blood, Atem called for his horse. He was grateful that he saw the rest of the Royal Court headed towards the Wedju Shrine; knowing that Aknadin would be taken care of, he would go after the nemesis behind everything. As he got on his horse, Scorpio looked up at him. "Please, my Pharaoh. Let me ride out with you."

Atem shook his head and looked at Heba. When he was knocked down, he dropped Merina's body and was holding the body close, as if protecting her. "No, Scorpio. I need you to stay here and look after my son."

Scorpio nodded, understanding his job. The Pharaoh then turned to Tarra. "I need you to stay behind as well." Before Tarra could protest, he stated, "That's an order. You need to comfort my son in this trying time."

Not happy but knowing she could not disobey an order, Tarra nodded and flew over to Heba, landing on his shoulder and nuzzling him comfortingly. As Atem rode out, Tima and Mana ran out onto the balcony. They heard the scream and wanted to know what was going on. Mana looked down and noticed the funeral about to start. "…What happened?"

Tima was about to look down when she caught the eyes of Belial. Smirking evilly, it pointed towards a side entrance before disappearing. Tima looked and saw Yima racing out on a stolen horse. Looking behind her, the scarred woman giggled insanely and seemed to mouth the words "Come and get me." Taking a deep breath, the Queen knew what she had to do. Looking at Mana, she told her to look after Heba before leaving. Mana looked around and hoped that things would be resolved but she still had a bad feeling that she could not shake off.

---

Minutes later, Yima stopped her horse and got off, smacking it to make it run off. She then took a shuddering sigh and leaned her head back. She knew what was coming and could not wait. "Finally…the time has come…"

Hearing Tima's horse coming, she released Belial and waited. She looked up at her Ka and smirked. "Well, my friend…we finally get to give that bitch everything she deserves."

Belial nodded and looked up as Tima and Seraphita arrived. Getting off Sarah, the Queen looked at her sister and was spooked by the amount of evil she felt from Yima's aura. Refocusing on the task at hand, Tima pleaded, "Please, Yima…you don't have to do this."

Yima smirked darkly and scoffed. "Is this how a whorish Queen begs for her life?"

Brushing off the insult, Tima cried, "I'm begging to have my sister back!"

Yima screamed in fury, prompting Belial to attack Tima. Tima braced herself but Seraphita blocked the scythe with her shield, bringing the two Kas to a standstill. Tima took a deep breath and looked at Yima. With all the memories she had running through her head with just the two of them, she still wanted to cling to hope that Yima could be become the loving sister she once was. "Please! There's still time to stop this!"

Having enough, Belial broke away from Seraphita and repositioned itself above Yima, who sneered, "There is no stopping it! There is only…the war."

Tima shook her head, refusing to believe. While it was hard to deny what was in front of her, she did not want to write her sister off as being beyond salvation. Wanting to end her anger once and for all, Yima screamed in fury as Belial attacked Seraphita. The angelic Ka stayed still, making the shield disappear into her arm as it was too bulky to use in battle. Belial swung its scythe from left to right, hoping to decapitate Seraphita but Seraphita ducked under the demonic weapon and flew behind the demon. Belial quickly turned around, swinging its scythe around with it, and Seraphita jumped out of the way. Yima started to comment that Seraphita appeared weak as all she was doing was dodging, when Seraphita swung her sword around, cutting Belial's right shoulder and making Yima scream in response. Landing on her feet, Seraphita turned around and held the sword in front of her in defense. Yima hissed, "You bitch…you dare hurt me…"

Seraphita looked at Tima, sensing that her host was hesitant about letting the Ka go all the way. Tima looked at Seraphita with worried eyes so the Ka told her, My Queen…forgive me for telling you this but I must fight her; it is the only way to protect you.

Tima sniffled and wiped her eyes a little. "No…she's my big sister…why are we doomed to fight each other?"

Yima hissed in response, "Why does a non-existent god love you more than me?"

Both appalled that Yima insulted her creator and afraid for Tima's safety, Seraphita swung her sword around to try and nick the genderless Ka. Belial jumped away but that was what the angelic Ka wanted: she followed Belial into the air and, tossing her sword into her other hand and emerging her shield from her right arm, threw Belial onto the ground and pinned the demonic Ka with her shield. Seraphita looked at Yima, who had the wind knocked out of her from feeling Belial being pinned, and declared, You can't win…

Yima coughed a little before looking at Belial. "Well…how much longer are you going to hide your special powers?"

Belial smirked evilly and hissed with an evil, deep voice, "Not long…"

Before Tima or Seraphita could figure out what they were talking about, the hundreds of eyes on Belial's wings opened wide and shot lasers in all different directions, missing Yima as she was the host but hitting Seraphita and Tima as well, causing them to cry out in pain. With the angelic Ka distracted from the pain, Belial reached under the shield and lifted the shield off its body, standing up and gripping the scythe with its free hand. Hissing a demonic face at Seraphita, it swung its scythe around and cut Seraphita's stomach. Yelping in pain, Tima coughed up blood from feeling the pain, making Yima laugh as Belial flew backwards to deliver a lethal blow. Gathering up the last of her strength, Seraphita jumped into the air and came down with her sword swinging down, wanting to split Belial into two, but the genderless Ka blocked the blow with the handle of its scythe. Seeing this, Tima looked at Yima and pleaded one more time, "Please…I want my sister back…you can still come back to me…"

Yima spat out a little blood from her mouth as Belial kicked Seraphita into the air. Though very hurt, Seraphita recovered her footing in the air. Belial gripped its scythe and stared at its opponent. Both panting, the women considered their options: thanks to their Kas' battle, they were both hurt, bloody, and very low on Ba. Struggling to stand, the Queen looked at her sister. "Please…I beg you…"

Yima sneered. Though she was barely standing herself, she refused to let her little sister, the favorite one, the one who had the better life, win. "You bitch…you won't win…I will be on top…at least once…in my life…let's end this…"

Tima sadly sighed, finally seeing that her sister was truly lost, and simply said, "So be it…"

At Tima's resignation to her sister's fate, Seraphita glowed white and flew forward. In turn, Belial glowed black and flew towards Seraphita. Feeling as if she had a weight lifted off her shoulder, Tima looked up, thinking that the sky appeared to be lighter. She looked to her left and saw that the final God Ka, the Winged Dragon of Ra, was about to battle Diabound. Smiling weakly and praying to her god that she would return to her husband, she turned back to the Ka battle and was faced with reality…

---

On the outskirts of the village, the priests had joined the Pharaoh and were out of options with Diabound still hidden in the darkness. Low on Ba from using Slifer as a diversion, Atem knew that there was one last option that had the best chance of working but he did not have enough energy to summon the Ka. Feeling like he would not succeed, he prayed that he would at least return to his wife and children. To his surprise, thinking about his family restored his strength just enough to summon the Ka that was needed: the Winged Dragon of Ra. Having believed he had won, Bakura looked up in shock. How did the Pharaoh have enough energy to summon another Ka, let alone one that seemed to be the most powerful of all? Atem felt a wave of relief rush over him: they would win the battle and, hopefully, the war with this one attack. "Winged Dragon of Ra! Finish hi--!"

Atem did not finish the sentence as a huge shock suddenly hit his heart, as if someone stabbed him, and almost knocked him out. What he did not know was that Bakura felt the same jolt to his heart. The thief was confused by the shock but Atem had a sinking feeling what it was. Looking off to the distant horizon, they were able to see everything thanks to Ra's light: there were two orbs, one white and one black, fighting each other until they collided, causing an explosion of energy. When the explosion happened, the two men felt like something had been disconnected. Now curious about this ache, Bakura recalled Diabound and left to investigate. But Atem knew there was only one thing that the pain could be; he only hoped that he was wrong. Calling back Ra, he turned his horse around and raced towards where the balls of energy were. Seth tried to stop him, knowing that Bakura still needed to be hunted down to answer for his crimes, but Karim stopped Seth, having looked up when Atem did. "There were two energies out in the distance, one white and one black. I fear…something very bad has happened."

Seth was not sure how to react to that but Itami flew back to his shoulders and told him that Karim told the truth. Now curious, Seth turned his horse around and started to follow the Pharaoh.

---

Rushing his horse towards where he saw the orbs, Atem was close to panicking. "Please, gods…please let me be wrong…"

A couple minutes later, he reached the top of the hill and his eyes immediately widened in horror. There were two female bodies on the ground, one who was very familiar to him. "NO!"

He raced the horse down the hill and jumped off in the process. He ran towards the body and slid down to his knees and took her into his arms. "Tima! Tima! Tima!!"

Twitching a little, Tima's eyes opened a little. Atem's heart broke, seeing that her eyes were very dull and sensing that her life energy was barely a flicker. Seeing Atem, she smiled weakly and barely whispered, "A…Ate…Atem…"

Feeling the tears forming, Atem shook his head. "You were supposed to stay at the palace…where you would be safe."

Tima winced a little as her finger pointed towards the other body in a quivering movement. "I saw…Yima…had to…stop her…"

Atem barely glared at Yima's body, blaming her for his wife's current state. Looking back at her, his tears started to fall as he cradled Tima close to him. "Stay with me, Tima…you can't leave me…"

Tima smiled softly and whimpered, "Ate…Atem…I…I love…"

Atem felt his heart being reduced to dust. This day had given him so much heartbreak: first the revelation of Mahad's fate, then the death of his son's fiancé, and now the worst blow of all: his wife. Shaking his head, he kissed her forehead. "Tima…I love you…please…"

A weak smile appeared on her lips as a tear fell from her eye. Her eyes then closed as she took her final breath. In the arms of the Pharaoh, Khment's beloved Queen and Atem's wife died. Squeezing his eyes shut, he buried his face into her shoulder and wept bitterly while silently cursing the gods. Of all the souls that the gods could have taken, why did they decide to take Tima? The love of his life and his pillar…why her? Why? Having arrived upon the scene before the Queen slipped away, Itami cried out in sorrow and Seth lowered his head in sadness, slowly approaching Atem. Once he was close enough, he placed a hand on his shoulder. "My Pharaoh…Atem…I am so sorry…"

Atem did not even notice him as his depression consumed him from the loss of his beloved. After giving the Pharaoh a moment, Seth looked up and noticed Yima's body. Believing that Bakura would retrieve her body, the High Priest gently stated, "We need to head back. It's not safe out here." When Atem did not respond, Seth said, "My Pharaoh…"

Atem stayed silent but he did stand up, taking Tima's body in his arms. Assuming what he was going to do, Seth did not argue. As Seth went to retrieve Atem's horse, Shada and Karim arrive and were shocked to see Tima's limp body in Atem's arms. They wanted to approach him but Seth stopped them. "Let him do this. We shall follow behind him."

Deciding to listen to Seth's words, Shada and Karim nodded and lowered their heads in sadness. As the tears continued to silently flow, Atem lowered his head so that his eyes were shadowed and he started to walk. He planned to walk all the way back to the palace with Tima in his arms. Seth grabbed the reins of Atem's horse and the three priests followed their Pharaoh. Moments later, they started to walk through the kingdom. In the midst of clearing the debris and tending to the wounded, the guards and villagers looked up and saw who was in their leader's arms. Hit with the sad realization that their Queen was gone, they lowered to their knees and bowed their heads, weeping and crying out for their late Queen. Atem did not look at anyone but the tears fell faster at hearing the villagers mourn. He then thought about how the children would react and he physically winced. But he knew that he had to face them soon.

---

As Merina's funeral pyre started to die down, Heba listened to the Scorpion Warriors perform the death chant and he started to cry again. Tarra cooed softly from Heba's shoulder and nuzzled his head gently. Standing beside him, Mana wanted to hug the prince but Scorpio, stone-faced but still silently crying, held the prince close, having a flashback to doing the same to Merina at Caeris' funeral. Sniffling a little, Heba looked up at the funeral pyre and whispered, "Merina…I will be strong…watch over me…"

As the night lit up with light, Scorpio looked down at Heba as the prince suddenly looked to his side. He thought he felt a hand brush down his shoulder. He was about to ask Harmonia, who was crying in Leander's arms next to Scorpio, if either of them touched him when he collapsed in Scorpio's arm with a pained cry, startling Tarra. My prince! Are you all right?

Scorpio and Mana were startled by his yelp and asked what was wrong. Heba tried to catch his breath as the night returned and whispered, "Something's wrong…"

Scorpio and Mana looked at Heba, wondering what he meant by that. Because Tarra was not connected to Tima, she did not sense what happened. They did not learn the truth until and the priests returned. Seeing them return, Heba, Mana, and Isis (who was struck with the same feeling of dread that Heba had) went to meet them and were heartbroken by who Atem was carrying. The women gasped and covered their mouths and Tarra cried out in sorrow as Heba was stunned beyond belief. "No…no, please…Mother…"

Atem looked up from his depressed daze and noticed Heba walking forward. Before the Pharaoh could say anything, Heba shook his head. "No…no, this is a trick. She's just resting. She defeated that bitch and she's just sleeping…right?" When Atem did not respond, the prince looked up at him with teary eyes and yelled, "Right?!"

Atem lowered his head so that his eyes were shadowed again and the tears started again. Seeing this, Heba started to breathe heavy as the black aura started to form again. Noticing the prince's emotional state more than the aura, Mana hugged Heba across the shoulders, keeping his Ka back, as the prince screamed into the night in his sorrow, making everyone in the palace hear him. His heart dust from Heba's reaction, Atem went inside the palace with his son and Royal Court following him. He did not stop walking until he arrived at the royal burial chamber, where he placed her body on the stone table. If no one had known the truth, they would have assumed from her looks that she was resting. The Royal Court knew that they would have to tell Aknadin, who was recuperating in his room, but they stayed a moment to see if the father and son would be all right on their own. Heba joined his Father's side, slipping deeper into depression. He was starting to believe that every death that happened was his fault: if he had stayed behind to protect the women instead of getting insulted by Noa thanks to a misunderstanding and leaving, Merina and Tima would still be alive. Thanks to the thoughts running rampant in his head, he started to shake, which Atem noticed and put his arm around his son. After a few minutes, Isis took a deep breath and took a step forward. "My Pharaoh…"

Atem assumed what she wanted to ask and answered, "You will follow according to her faith's rite."

Isis bowed her head in respectful obedience. The Royal Court understood why Atem was doing this, wanting to get Tima the love and respect she deserved even in death. The Royal Court then left to complete the things they needed to do and to give the two men moments alone. Tarra nuzzled the two before leaving to tell the rest of the phoenixes and to pray to her god for Tima's soul. Once they were alone, Heba, who had held back, finally started to cry bitterly, clinging onto his Father for emotionally and physical support. Atem held his son close as Heba hid his face in Atem's chest. "Why…? Why did I leave like I did?! It's all my fault…both of their deaths! It's not fair!"

Atem shook his head, feeling the tears forming fresh again. "You didn't know…"

Such a statement did not console the distraught prince as he continued to cry. Atem tried to stay cry but he failed, lowering both of them down to their knees and crying as well. They cried and cried until they could not anymore. Sniffling, they stood up as Heba finally looked at his Mother. Breaking away from Atem, the prince touched Tima's cold hand and lowered his head. "Mother…I am sorry…so sorry…please…forgive me…"

Atem sighed, emotionally drained, as he leaned his head back to look at the ceiling. Remembering what Tima once told him about her faith's belief about the afterlife, he knew that she was watching them and did forgive their son for the grievances Heba believed he committed. Suddenly remembering, he gently moved around Heba and took the Queen's Pendant from her neck. Heba looked up and was confused by what the Pharaoh was doing. He looked at Atem, who put the pendent around his neck, and was about to ask when Atem numbly stated, "It will not go with her rite. Besides…this way…she can always be with me." Looking at his son, the Pharaoh strongly suggested, "You should get some sleep. It's been a rough day for all of us."

Heba wanted to protest but he knew that he was exhausted. "Okay. But…can I do one more thing?"

Atem nodded. Watching his son, his heart broke again as Heba leaned down and placed a kiss on his Mother's cheek. "Rest well, Mother…I love you."

Atem rubbed his son's shoulder, making the prince touch his hand. After a moment of silence, the younger man left, wiping away a few more stray tears. As he left, Isis came back with three priests from Tima's religion, dressed in white robes. Wiping his eyes to appear somewhat presentable, Atem looked at the three as Isis left and the priests bowed to their knees at the presence of the Pharaoh. The oldest, supposedly the leader, had shoulder length grayish brown hair up in a half ponytail with matching moustache and small beard that outlined his chin. He had a presence about him that made Atem feel at ease, like this man was here to perform his duty above and beyond what was expected. The man to the right of him was younger than the leader, approximately middle-aged, but still appeared wise with his duty before him. Sporting a full beard and auburn hair that gave him a handsome allure, he had an aura of modesty and selflessness, as if his sole purpose in life was his faith. The youngest, to the left of the leader, put Atem a little on edge. With wild brown hair and no facial hair in his youth, he had the aura of someone who had trouble with his faith. Because of such an aura, Atem was about to send him away, not wanting him to touch his late wife, when the head priest stated with a strong but soothing voice, "My Pharaoh, please accept our apologies about the loss of your Queen. With your permission, we are here to prepare her for burial."

Being reminded about why they were here brought fresh tears to Atem's eyes but he quickly wiped them away. "What will you do?"

The middle-aged priest explained, "We will wash and anoint her with oils and spices. She will then be wrapped in linen and placed in a tomb."

Atem did not want to hear this but he knew that it had to be done. "Very well. Where will the tomb be?"

The middle-aged priest said, "It has to be outside the village."

Atem felt horrible: because Tima's death was so sudden, there was no tomb ready for her. Seeing this, the priests were about to say something when the youngest spoke first, "I can look for one." The three men looked at him in surprise as he continued, "I am but a student of our faith so I am used to staying up in the dark. With your permission, my Pharaoh…I can go looking for the proper tomb for your loved one."

While he still sensed a lot of doubt from this priest, Atem nodded and said with a lot of difficulty, "Very well…you may begin."

The three priests bowed their head and went towards Tima's body, reaching into their robes for the items they needed. With Atem watching, they started to wash her, handling her with such care that Atem knew she was in good hands. After they anointed her with oils and spices, the two priests started to prepare the linen when the head priest stopped them and looked at Atem. "My Pharaoh…if there is anything you would wish to say…you may do so."

Atem took a deep breath and nodded. The priests stepped to the side as the Pharaoh went to the stone table where Tima rested. Looking upon her, his heart continued to break: she smelled sweet with the spices that were on her and she looked so peaceful as if she could awaken at any moment. Feeling tears form, he let them fall and started to stroke her hair. "My Queen…my Tima…from the day we met, I knew you were special. You were the only woman who ever truly made me happy. Your smile outshone Ra himself and your loving warmth kept me going even during the rocky times. I…I love you with all my heart and soul…and I shall always be yours. No other woman will ever do. I love you, Tima…for always and eternity."

With more tears falling, he leaned forward and kissed her cold lips. Pulling away, he nodded to the priests, no longer caring if they saw him crying. The priests quickly but gently wrapped her in linen and then left after vowing to be back in the morning for the funeral. Now alone, Atem turned to go to bed but his feet were frozen, not wanting to leave her side. Sighing, he went back and sat next to the stone table. He was so sad that he did not notice he had company until she cooed softly. Looking up, he noticed Tarra was sitting on his lap with tears lining her eyes. Sighing deeply, he reached over and touched her head, making her lean her head towards him. There they stayed, mourning together.

---

The next morning, Atem and Tarra woke up when they heard footsteps walking towards them. Lifting his head, the Pharaoh groaned in stiffness, as he and his phoenix had stayed by Tima's side all night, before looking up to see that it was the young priest with his two comrades standing at the door. "My Pharaoh…I have found a place for her."

Hearing this, Atem stood up, wiping the dried tears off his face. "Then…I guess we must proceed."

The young priest nodded as the head priest suggested, "My Pharaoh…if you wish, this can be private for you, your son, and any close friends you and the Queen had."

Atem thought for a moment and decided that was the best choice. Normally, funerals for royal figures were public affairs but, as they were burying Tima by her faith, he suspected that it was best for it to be as private as possible. "Yes…have it private."

The middle-aged priest bowed his head. "If that is what you wish, my Pharaoh, we shall have that."

Atem nodded and then left to make himself look a little more presentable while Tarra flew off to tell everyone.

---

Later in the day, the Royal Court (sans a still recuperating Aknadin) and a few other people stood before a small cave just outside the village; the Scorpion Clan had been told about the funeral but they were still in mourning the loss of Merina. Seth still could not believe that Tima would not be mummified and placed in a proper tomb for a Queen but Tikali had explained her faith's approach to funerals. After burying another thought about how improper this was in his eyes, he looked at Heba, knowing that the prince was still devastated. He remembered that he and Tikali had heard him blaming himself for the two deaths and crying himself to sleep. "Are you going to be all right, my prince?"

Heba did not answer, prompting Seth to put his hand on the prince's shoulder in comfort. A moment later, four priests (the three that Isis called for and an apprentice who looked a lot like the young priest) approached, carrying a beautiful satin carrier that carried Tima's linen-wrapped body on it. Upon seeing the body, Heba bit his lower lip and looked away, wanting to run away. He almost did until he felt someone grip his hand. Taking a deep breath, he looked and saw that it was Atem, who had followed the priests. The prince looked into his father's eyes and noticed that, while his face was unemotional, his eyes were bright red, showing how much he cried and how much he was still crying inside. Seeing Heba look at him, he murmured, "We'll get through this."

Heba did not say anything because he sensed that Atem was telling himself that more than he was telling his son. As everyone watched the priests move Tima's body into the tomb, everyone was hit with memories they had with the Queen. The Royal Court and Shimon bowed their heads in respect, remembering the first time Atem revealed that she would be the Queen instead of Roxanna and all the times she helped them in the meetings, offering them a peek into another culture. Tikali covered her lips with the back of hand, trying hard not to cry as Seth put an arm around her, as she remembered all their private talks before and after Tima became Queen and spending time together when their children were young. Having been told about the deaths from the planet, Kiko was trembling, making Jouno hug her gently, as she remembered many years ago when she and Tima were servants together. Tears escaping his eyes, Heba wanted to remember everything but, when he tried, the torturous inner voice would override the memories with the memory of leaving the group in a huff, making that the last time he saw his mother. Atem looked at the tomb and recalled his life ever since Tima came into his life. While he was remembered every moment they had, there were some memories that were more powerful than the rest: the private moments during their secret relationship, their first time, their wedding, the revelation of her pregnancies and meeting their children for the first time, and Tima saving Atem from Roxanna. He then thought about their times alone at the end of the day before they went to bed, where they could talk to and hold each other like they were a simple married couple instead of Pharaoh and Queen of Khment. Those were the moments he would miss the most. As the priests came out, the head priest asked Atem, "Would you like to say something?"

The apprentice priest wanted to point out that was not part of the rite but the young priest stopped him, knowing what the head priest was doing. But everyone got a surprise: before Atem could move, Heba broke away from his father and stood in front of the tomb. Though surprised, the head priest bowed his head to Heba. Tears flowing from his eyes, the prince said in a depressed voice, "Mother…what can I say? Mere words won't…do your justice…you were the best mother anyone could have had. Aziza and I are lucky to be your children." He lowered his head until his eyes were covered, almost breaking down. Atem took a step forward but Heba murmured, "I miss you…so much…" he then lifted his head again, "…and I always will. I love you."

Finally cracking, he collapsed to his knees and started to cry bitterly. As the young priest and the apprentice started to close the tomb with a large stone, Atem went to his son and hugged him tightly. Heba turned around and clung to the Pharaoh. Feeling his own tears fall, Atem looked at the tomb as it was sealed. He knew that life from now on would be hard, as they had both lost people they loved, but he knew that he had to be strong, not just for his and the Royal Court's sake but for Heba's sake as well.

---

That night, Heba was laying on his bed, staring at his ceiling with a face that was stiff from the dried tears. He stayed in bed all day with depression: in two days, he had lost a wonderful mentor, a beautiful love, and a devoted mother. Many times, he heard his torturous voice telling him to kill himself to relief the pain, especially since Scorpio gave him Merina's dagger because he was as close to a fiancé as he could have been, but he ignored the voice. His logical mind knew that him killing himself would give Bakura a victory and he refused to do so. Most of all, he knew that neither Merina nor Tima would want him to take his own life. Sniffling a little, he sat up and started to wipe his face. "I will move on…I will be all right," he said out loud to compete the torturous voice.

After taking a deep breath, he started to take off his clothes to get his night clothes on when there was a knock at the door. Knowing that he did not call for anything, curiosity took over him and he went over to the door to open it. To his surprise, there was a goblet filled with red wine with a note attached to it. Getting down on his knees, he got the note and read, "My condolences on the loss of your mother."

Getting a little teary eyed, he smiled sadly and took the goblet inside. Closing the door behind him, he went out to the balcony and looked up at the night sky. While there was no moon and the sky was covered with dark clouds, the prince felt better already because of the gift. Looking up at the sky, he held up the goblet and said, "Mother…Merina…watch over us…"

With that, he took a big gulp of the wine. But, as soon as he swallowed, he knew that there was something very wrong because red wine does not taste like parsnip. Looking at the goblet, he saw green specks and black berries. Growing pale with shock, Heba collapsed to his knees: someone had just poisoned him! Feeling his hands and feet go numb, he knew that he only a limited amount of time go leave a clue. His breathing growing rapidly, he crawled to his desk and reached up to get a sheet of papyrus and a brush with ink. But he knocked down everything as his vision became blurred. He felt like giving up when his hands and feet went numb and he found it harder to breathe. But he felt a hand on his and looked up. To his surprise, it was Merina with a sad smile. You need to write…I will help you…

Heba smiled, feeling the sweat form on his face. With her help, he started to make a message. Once he was done, he looked up at Merina, who smiled again. Come…

Heba smiled and got up, following her into the afterlife and leaving his body behind. After a few minutes, the murderer came in and started to make the final arrangement of Heba's body.

---

The next morning, Atem woke up feeling a little odd. Last night, he was stricken with a feeling of dread, a stronger feeling than before. Out of habit, he reached over to wake Tima, only to find an empty pillow and the reminder that she was gone. Sighing deeply, he sat up and looked at the pillow. "Tima…"

Tarra looked over at him from her stand and asked, Are you going to be okay?

Just then, he heard Tikali and Kiko scream in the direction of Heba's room. Quickly putting on a nearby shirt, he and Tarra rushed to Heba's room, where he found the two women crying at Heba's open door. Fearing that something was very wrong, Atem rushed into the room and saw the Royal Court looking at something on the floor. Atem demanded, "What happened?"

Itami quickly told Tarra, Keep him back!

Tarra tried to pull Atem back but the Pharaoh rushed forward. Hearing him, Seth turned around and blocked Atem's path. Ignoring Seth, Atem pushed Seth to the side and looked at what they were looking at, only to collapse to his knees. Heba, his first-born and only son, was holding Merina's dagger in his hands and his wrists were slit. In shock that another member of his family was dead, Atem crawled over to his son's body and tenderly took his son in his arms. "No…Heba…no…"

He started to cry bitterly, burying his face in his son's hair. Shada whispered, "I am so sorry, my Pharaoh."

Aknadin shook his head. "It must have been…too much for him."

Seth glared at Aknadin and silently told him to keep his mouth shut, as this was not what Atem needed to hear now. Turning back, he noticed that something was not right. Isis crouched down and whispered, "My Pharaoh…what can we do to help you?"

Atem did not answer as he stood up, taking his son with him. He silently but sadly left with his son's body but Seth, Tikali, and Kiko stayed behind. Tikali said a prayer to her God, asking Him to forgive Heba for taking his own life. Kiko shook his head, still trembling. "Why…? This doesn't make sense…"

Seth agreed. "You're right. Ladies, I don't think this is a suicide." Seeing their shocked faces, he said, "Just hear me out. Heba was holding the dagger in his left hand, right? Everyone knows Heba uses his right hand for everything."

Tikali tried to suggest, "He did both wrists…"

Seth shook his head. "Heba's left hand is very weak and uncoordinated. If he truly used his left hand, the slit on the right wrist would not have been as straight as it was."

Kiko started to understand when she noticed the goblet under the table. "Wait…" She went to it and immediately paled at what she saw. "Oh no…"

Seth looked at Kiko. "Kiko, what is it?"

Kiko looked at Seth and Tikali. "It's the berries of the Night Death…and the leaves of the White Death. You're right. Heba didn't commit suicide…"

Tikali finished with a pale face, "…it was murder."

Seth left the women and went to find Atem. He found the Pharaoh outside the burial chamber, leaning his head against the wall and crying in his depressed state. Tarra was once again praying to her god. Seth knew Atem was broken but he had to tell Atem his suspicions. "My Pharaoh…there is something I have to tell you." Atem brushed him off but Seth insisted, "Please, my Pharaoh. It regards Heba's death…"

Atem looked at Seth with tear-stained cheeks. "Enough, Seth! I don't want to hear it!"

Seth opened his mouth to continue but Atem turned away, only to run into someone from the burial chamber with a scrunched up papyrus in his hand. "My Pharaoh…your son was clutching this in his hand. I think he would want you to see it."

Thinking it was a goodbye note, Atem took the papyrus and opened it, only to raise his eyebrow at the message. The servant went back in as Seth asked, "What does it say?"

"It's not a suicide note…it's a riddle. 'What you can show but you can't see.' What does this mean?"

Seeing that Atem was calmer, Seth started to talk, "Maybe it has to do with the true nature of Heba's death. With all due respect, my Pharaoh, I think he was murdered." Seeing that he now had Atem's attention, Seth continued. "My Pharaoh, as we all know, Heba's left hand is pretty much useless…and yet the dagger was found in his left hand. If he really did commit suicide, the slit on his right wrist would not have been as straight as it was."

Atem thought back and realized that Seth did have a point. Just then, Kiko came up with the goblet to aid with Seth's findings. "Seth is right, Atem. Someone killed your prince…with the Night and White Death."

Atem could not believe what he was hearing as he looked back at the riddle. He remembered how much Heba loved riddles and would use them a lot whenever he had a chance. To leave a riddle as a suicide note….there had to be more to it as anger began to rise inside Atem. Gripping the papyrus, he hissed, "Heba…I will find the one who killed you…"

Seth nodded and told the Pharaoh that the Royal Court would help him. Before they could start, Jouno came up with an arrow that had a note attached to it. He heard what happened to Heba but he had to show this. "My Pharaoh…you need to see this."

Now with a clear head, the Pharaoh took the note and felt his anger grow even more. Before anyone could ask, Atem told Seth, "Get the Royal Court together…it's time to end this."

Dropping the note, Atem took off to get ready as Seth nodded and went to get the priests together. As Jouno left to get a few guards together, Kiko picked up the note and read it aloud to herself, now knowing why they ran off: "Time you paid for your sins…at Kul Elna."

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