As the surviving villagers emerged from hiding, they were shocked by the level of destruction Zorc's powers created. To their relief, they saw what remained of the Royal Court walking through the village but they did note that their Pharaoh was not there; they prayed that it was because he was getting care for his injuries. As they head back, Isis looked around and commented, "So much damage…"
Seth kept his eyes straight, not wanting to look. "It will take some time but Khment will recover."
Isis agreed and then asked, "Are you all right?"
Seth looked at his hands, assuming that she was asking about them. "They're all right. While I didn't expect the pieces to burn me…I'm fine; I'll get Tikali to put water on them."
Isis shook her head. "No…are YOU all right? After all…you watched the Pharaoh pass away…"
Seth lowered his head until his eyes were shadowed. Ignoring the bag attached to his belt, he continued to guide his horse to the palace. Believing that Seth did not hear him, Isis asked him again. This time, Seth answered: "We need to start the recovery process as soon as possible."
Sensing his sadness, Itami flew to his lap and cuddled with him. Seth ignored his phoenix, hoping that Isis would get that he did not want to talk about what happened. While he knew he could get strong enough so that he would not weep at the thought of the Former Pharaoh, he knew, deep down, he would never be able to fully recover; how could he recover from losing someone who treated the High Priest more like a friend, someone who not only allowed but accepted Seth being in love with the women he chose and, most of all, risked his own life to save the High Priest from the darkness when the Dark Priest possessed him? The priestess sighed; she accepted his silent answer as his body language spoke volumes. She then looked at Mana and Jouno, who were walking silently since they lost someone who was a dear friend to them. Mana was cuddling Tarra close, who had her feathery head on Mana's shoulder, and Jouno was letting Earthzina nuzzle his head. After a moment, Seth lifted his head and told Itami, "Find my family and tell them it is safe."
Itami nodded and flew off to find Tikali and her sons. Along the way, Mana asked quietly, "Do you think…he is watching over us?"
Jouno nodded and looked up at the sky as Seth said almost to himself, "Yes…in fact…I believe Anubis welcomed him with open arms…"
In the afterlife, there were various houses and castles that adjusted themselves to its inhabitants' needs and memories. In one castle that had a stone wall surrounding it, Tima was in the garden. Sighing, she hugged herself and looked up at the "sky." Seeing her, Heba and Merina walked over and the prince asked, "Mother, is everything all right?"
Tima looked at the two and admitted, "Something's wrong. He should have been here by now."
Merina looked up at the "sky" and scratched her head. "You're right…Zaqar gave the Pharaoh the sealing spell and it should have worked. So why isn't he here?"
Heba whispered to Merina, "You don't think he could have been sent to the other place?"
Merina gave Heba a look, a little disappointed that he thought that. Tima overheard her son and was about to yell that her husband would not have been sent there because he was a good and devoted man when they heard a voice from above: "Do not panic, Queen Tima."
The three of them looked up and saw the blond man with the wings on his back lower down to the ground. As he folded his wings against his back, Merina asked suspiciously, "Who are you?"
The winged man smiled. "You, Scorpion Warrior Merina, know me as Zaqar. You know me as Apt, Prince Heba. But Queen Tima knows me by my first name: Gabriel."
Tima's eyes widened as she stood up out of respect. "Archangel Gabriel…"
Gabriel looked at Tima and told her, "There is a reason the Pharaoh is not here. His soul was sealed away." Seeing everyone's shocked faces, the archangel explained, "The spell of sealing has an unfortunate side effect: anyone who is touched by someone who has the spell casted on them gets the spell as well. When Zorc was captured, his second head bit the Pharaoh's arm, casting the spell on him."
Heba sorrowfully asked, "Is there any way we can get him back?"
Gabriel shook his head. "Unfortunately not. Once the seal is made, the seal has to be physically broken and there is currently no one in the human world who can do that."
Merina demanded, "How could you give him such a spell?! What is wrong with you?!''
Gabriel took her screams and was about to explain when Tima asked, "Is there a way for me to be sealed in the Queen's Necklace?"
Gabriel looked at Tima in shock. "Queen Tima, do you realize what you're asking?"
Tima nodded. "I want to be with him. When we married, we vowed to be with each other no matter what and, if he's going to be sealed, I want to be with him until the seal is broken."
Gabriel was about to say something when he suddenly clutched his head with a pained, almost crazed look on his face. A little spooked, Merina asked, "What's wrong with him?"
Having been in the afterlife longer, Tima chuckled and turned to Merina and Heba. "It's something he can't control; it comes with his title."
As Gabriel's look calmed to a more dazed look, Heba tilted his head. "What do you mean?"
Tima looked at Gabriel and stated, "In my faith, there are four archangels: Michael the Warrior, Raphael the Healer, Uriel the Judge, and Gabriel the Messenger. If you were given a message directly from God, wouldn't you freak out as well?"
Now calm, Gabriel added, "It's something I'm not proud of but I accept if it means serving God and His purposes." Before Heba could ask anything else, the archangel told Tima, "God will let you go back. But you must know…"
He held up his two fingers and touched Tima's forehead, giving her a warning. He did not want to give it verbally as he believed such a warning would upset Heba and Merina. After receiving the message, Tima looked at Gabriel in shock. "You're kidding…"
Gabriel shook his head. "You know more than anyone that we angels cannot lie."
Her mind racing, Tima got an idea. "Then I have another request."
Gabriel nodded, ready to listen. Tima got up on her toes to whisper in Gabriel's ear but the angel leaned back a little. "Forgive me, my ears are sensitive. Tell me your request the way I told you just now."
As Tima reached up with her fingers, Merina teased, "Then how are you able to hear us?"
Gabriel admitted sheepishly, "It's another side effect after I receive a message from God." He then received Tima's request and gave her a look. "You realize what you're asking?"
On the urge of desperation, Tima got down on her knees and clasped her hands. "Please…I'm begging you…think of it as a way to help my husband in the long run."
Gabriel was unsure. Such a request had never been given before and he was not sure if God would allow it. Suddenly, he clutched his head and got the pained look again. Heba jumped at the archangel's movements and stated, "I wish he would cover his face like he did on Earth."
Merina shrugged a little and watched as Gabriel whispered in pain, "But my Lord…" He sighed and nodded, wincing while he moved his head. "If that is what you wish…" He then looked at Tima. "God will honor your request…but it comes at a heavy cost."
Tima stood up with a curious look. She was about to ask when Gabriel touched her forehead and gave her the terms she had to agree to if she wanted her request granted. Heba and Merina watched and took note of Tima's emotions: she went from calm to confused to shocked. When Gabriel removed his fingers, the Queen asked, "I have to give that up in order to…?"
Gabriel nodded. "Forgive me…but God is giving you this test if you want your request fully honored."
Tima thought things over and finally nodded. "Very well."
Gabriel smiled softly and reached into his robes to pull out a glowing globe. Heba asked what it was and Tima just said, "What I asked for…"
She absorbed the globe into her heart and then turned around to hug Heba and Merina close. Heba asked, "Will we ever see you again?"
Tima smiled and told them, "Have faith."
Merina nodded and bowed her head to Tima. "Until we meet again…I will protect your son."
Heba blushed, making Tima chuckle. "Thank you." She then turned around and looked at Gabriel. "I'm ready."
Gabriel nodded and chanted the spell, creating the light strands that grabbed Tima. Just before the Queen disappeared, however, the archangel quickly chanted another spell, causing a very small glowing globe to emerge from Tima's forehead. When Tima disappeared, Merina noticed the small globe that was left behind and asked, "What's that?"
Gabriel took the globe and stated, "Just following my Lord's orders…to make things fair."
Heba asked, "What do you mean? What did you and Mom talk about?"
Dropping the glowing globe to the ground, Gabriel looked at them in silence. Merina went to catch the glowing globe but the globe absorbed into the ground. Hissing in disappointment, she stood up as Heba said, "I just realized: you and Mother haven't said my father's name since he chanted the spell. Is there a reason for that?"
Gabriel nodded. Heba looked at Gabriel, waiting for an answer, but the archangel once again did not answer. Wanting an answer, Merina demanded, "Why did you give the Pharaoh such a spell? You must have known there was a chance that he would be affected as well."
Sighing, Gabriel decided to tell them the truth: "Of course we knew. In fact…we were counting on it."
Heba and Merina were shocked by Gabriel's admission: not only did he give the late Pharaoh a spell that could have easily backfired, the archangel wanted it to backfire! The two started to yell and scream at the archangel for what he did. Gabriel tried to interject with his explanation but he was having difficulty. In fact, Heba and Merina finally went quiet when they felt hands on their shoulders. They looked behind them and were surprised to see the former Pharaoh Aknamkanon standing there. With them silent, Aknamkanon told them, "Let Apt explain himself."
Heba and Merina looked at Gabriel, who nodded his thanks and explained, "Normally, we would not have given the Pharaoh such a spell because of the side effect. But something happened at Kul Elna. I do not know what happened…"
Merina interrupted, "How can you not know?!"
Wincing at her yelling, Gabriel took a breath to calm himself and said, "Because I am the messenger and do not get involved in battles. However, Michael and God Himself saw what happened with the Sennen Ring and jeweled pendant that the thieves had and asked me to give the sealing spell to the Pharaoh. I did point out the side effect and they told me that they hoped that would happen."
Merina was about to yell at Gabriel again when Aknamkanon told them, "Listen and Apt will explain the reasoning."
Gabriel explain, "The future has infinite potential for what could happen. Apparently, most of the roads have a dark outcome and only the Nameless Pharaoh can bring light into the darkness."
Heba started to understand and nodded, taking Merina's hand. "Better safe than sorry…at least Mother and Father will be together."
As Gabriel started to disappear, he commented in passing, "With as little as they have…"
When the archangel disappeared completely, the two looked back at Aknamkanon, wondering silently what Gabriel meant by that. The former Pharaoh shook his head, showing that he was just as confused.
When Seth made it back to the palace, he looked around and took note of all the servants and guards who survived. They were few in numbers but Seth was glad that they did not lose everyone. Getting off his horse, he was about to tell Isis to organize a search party to find the missing Sennen Ring when he heard Tikali call out to him. Sighing in relief, he turned to find his family running towards him. Mana wanted to ask Seth if he was going to tell her something but Isis told her, "Give him a moment. Why don't you go and see what spell books survived?"
Mana nodded and left, letting Tarra go so she could join Itami in the sky. As Jouno and Earthzina left to find Kiko, Isis looked up as Tikali hugged Seth close. "Seth! Thank God! I was so scared! So scared I lost you…"
Seth smiled softly and held his wife close. "It's all right…I'm all right."
Tikali smiled as Mesu looked around and asked, "Where's the Pharaoh?"
Seth fell silent for a moment, making Tikali look up at him. "Seth? What's wrong?"
Seth shook his head in response. His family knew what he was implying and decided against asking him for full details. Noa then thought of something: "What will we tell Aziza when she gets back?"
Ignoring Itami and Tarra trying to get his attention, Seth sighed. "We will be there for her. After all, she will need all the comfort she can get since…" He was interrupted by Itami flying past his face, brushing her wing across his face. Growling, Seth turned to yell at her when he saw who was running up to him and paled. "No…of all the days…"
Everyone looked up and froze: Aziza was running up to them. Isis went to the princess and asked, "Princess! What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be back for a couple more suns!"
Aziza was too out of breath to explain. The night her mother died, she felt the same shock Heba did, jolting her awake. Sensing something was wrong, she ordered that they return to Khment right away. Their journey was delayed for a short while when Zorc and the Royal Court were fighting but, as soon as the darkness was lifted, she continued, leaving her guards behind. After she recovered her second wind, she went up to Seth, looking around at all the damage. Her legs wobbling with sorrow, she looked at the High Priest. "What…happened?"
Seth looked at her and decided it was not wise to open with the fate of her family. "There was a battle…against evil itself…many of our guards and Scorpion Warriors died."
The girl clutched her heart, feeling it break. She looked up at Seth and asked the most dreadful question of all: "Mother…Father…Heba…where are they?"
Seth and Isis looked away, dreading that she asked right away. Mesu opened his mouth to answer but Noa stopped him, believing that his brother would be too forward to Aziza in her fragile state. Seeing them hesitate, Tikali went to Aziza and touched her shoulder. "You must be tired from your journey. Let's get you something to drink first, all right?"
Aziza shook her head and looked at Seth, close to panicking. "High Priest, where is my family?"
Tikali hooked her arm across Aziza's shoulders to try and drag her away. "Princess, I must insist…"
Aziza broke away from Tikali and reached to grab Seth. Tikali grabbed the princess to stop her but the princess still managed to grab the bag on Seth's belt, ripping it and spilling the pieces of the Sennen Pendent and the Queen's Necklace to the ground. She immediately froze upon seeing them. She looked at Seth and whispered, "Where…?"
Seth lowered his head until his eyes were shadowed. As Tarra went to Aziza and nuzzled her head, Seth whispered, "I'm sorry…they were…among the casualties…"
Aziza's eyes widened in shock as her head started to shake in disbelief. As she continued to nuzzle the girl's head, Tarra explained that Heba was murdered and her parents died in battle so that she and Khment would live on. Unfortunately, Aziza did not want to hear that as it meant that Seth was not lying. Her knees collapsing underneath her, she leaned into Tikali's arm and screamed in sorrow. Everyone's heart broke for the princess being told she was all alone in the world. Tikali was about to hold Aziza when a wave of sickness from her pregnancy hit her. Seeing this and believing that such an action would be more appreciated coming from him, Seth took Aziza into his arms and lowered them down to their knees so that he could hold her more tenderly. Through her sobs, Aziza uttered, "Seth…please…tell me…it's not…not true…"
Seth sighed softly and whispered, "I'm sorry, Aziza…I'm so sorry…"
With that, Aziza started to cry more and more, clinging onto Seth as if her life depended on it. Seth continued to hold her as if she was his own daughter, knowing she was broken almost beyond repair. Once the wave of sickness passed, Tikali went down and hugged Aziza with Seth. "There, there, Aziza…we're all here for you."
Aziza cried and cried until she had no more tears to shed. Taking a few deep breaths, she pulled away from her comforters and started to gather up the gold pieces. Seth was about to warn her that she could get burned as he did when he gathered the pieces after the battle but she did not react in pain as she was a direct blood relative of the Pharaoh. As the brothers watched, Mesu thought of something and whispered to Noa, "Does this mean that Aziza is Queen?"
Thinking it over, Noa whispered back, "I think so. After all, she's all that's left of the royal family."
Seth glared at his sons, silently telling them that they were not as quiet as they thought. Aziza lifted her head a little, thinking about what they said. Seth was about to stand up with the princess when Aziza whispered, "The throne is not for me…" Turning to the High Priest, she said, "High Priest Seth…I want you to assume the throne for me."
Everyone was shocked at her request. Itami and Tarra looked at her and asked at the same time, Are you sure?
Aziza nodded, keeping her eyes on Seth. "Yes. You know and I know and everyone else knows I am a scholar and an advisor, not a ruler. I have faith in you, Seth: you were my father's right-hand man and his friend. I know Khment will be in good hands with you guiding the kingdom."
Seth looked at Aziza, his head reeling. He knew that he could be Pharaoh, as he had the smarts and moral compass that were needed, and could by law because he was the late Pharaoh's cousin; on top of that, he knew that Aziza was not ready for this mentally or emotionally. After a minute of thinking it over, Seth nodded. "If that is what you wish, princess…"
Aziza nodded. "It is."
Without thinking, Mesu asked, "Will you still be the advisor to the throne?"
His family glared at him, making him feel guilty. He was about to apologize when the princess whispered, "You'll know my answer in the morning…"
Thinking that Aziza needed the night to fully recover from what she leaned, Seth nodded. Tarra leaned against Aziza's head, knowing the princess' real answer. Tikali suggested, "You can spend the night with us."
Aziza smiled sadly, looking down at the pieces of the Sennen Pendant. "It's all right. I think…I'll stay in either my or…Heba's room."
Noa went forward and offered to help her figure out which room she could stay in. As he led her away, Tikali whispered, "She'll need all the support she can get."
Later that night, Seth and Tikali were resting in a guest bedroom since their bedroom was in ruins. After riding out a wave of sickness, Tikali looked up at Seth, who was looking out the window with Itami sitting on the window. Worried, she got up and hugged him from behind. "Seth…my darling, I know you have a lot on your mind and it makes me worried seeing you like this, especially after everything that happened today. Please talk to me."
Seth sighed and turned to return the hug. There was so much on his mind that he did not know where to start: Aknadin betraying everyone before revealing that he was Seth's Father and Aknamkanon's brother, the death of the Pharaoh, and princess Aziza appointing him as the new Pharaoh. Tikali looked up at him and rubbed his chest to make him feel better. Smiling softly, he took her to the bed and sat down with her, wrapping his arms around her. "I don't know where to begin." Hearing Tikali tell him that she was there to listen, he started with, "Aziza making me the Pharaoh…"
Tikali chuckled, believing that her husband was just nervous about being the ruler of Khment. "You can do this. You have the smarts and the heart that you need to be Pharaoh."
Seth nodded and murmured, "And the lineage…" Seeing Tikali's confused look, he explained, "The Dark Priest told me that Aknadin was my Father…and the former Pharaoh's brother…thus making the Pharaoh and I cousins."
Tikali was surprised to hear that. "Really?" Off Seth's nod, she then asked, "How do you feel about Aknadin? I know he was someone who helped you out a lot."
Seth nodded. "Yes…I owe Aknadin a lot, not that creature that betrayed us and turned to darkness."
Tikali nodded, happy that Seth was able to remember Aknadin in that way. As she adjusted herself to get closer to Seth, she noticed the Sennen Rod and Eye sitting on Seth's folded-up cloak. Taking a deep breath, she looked up at her husband. "Can you promise me something?" Off Seth's nod, she said, "Promise me you won't use the Sennen Items."
Seth looked at Tikali in surprise. "Tikali…"
Tikali lowered her head a little and explained her request. "I know the Sennen Items were made for peace. After all, I've seen you and everyone in the Royal Court use them for good throughout the years. But look at what they brought us over the last few days: destruction, pain, suffering…it's too much. I know they were and are meant for good…but as long as there's evil people out there, they might use them for darkness and I don't want to go through that again…" she then touched her stomach, "…especially with another baby on the way."
Remembering Tikali revealing her pregnancy earlier, Seth touched her stomach before looking at her. Once again, she surprised him with her insight, especially since he knew she was right: he knew that the Sennen Items could be used for both good and evil. This battle was proof of the dark side of the Sennen Items and their Shadow Games as he called them; they were a powerful threat and needed to be taken care of. Thinking things through, he told his wife, "From this day forward, the Sennen Items will be separated. That is the best way to keep this darkness from happening again."
Tikali smiled and kissed him gently. "Thank you, my love."
Seth nodded but he kept something to himself: something deep down inside him told him that the journey of the Sennen Items was far from over. He had no proof as it was nothing more than a feeling that he could not shake. Taking a deep breath, he looked up at the door. "I wonder how Aziza is doing. Shall we check on her?"
Before Tikali could answer, Itami told Seth, Tarra says she's just fine.
Seth nodded his thanks to Itami and then smiled at Tikali. "You need to get some rest, my love. After all…you're carrying our new little one; we don't want you to tire yourself out."
Tiki chuckled and touched her stomach as she laid down. She then reached up and touched his face. "Our promise still stands…yes?"
Seth nodded and laid next to her. "Of course. We will keep our promise until the day we die."
Tikali kissed him gently before closing her eyes. Blowing out the candle, Seth looked at Itami and asked her, Do you think something will happen in the future?
Itami shrugged. It is hard to say. The future has many paths that could be taken.
Seth nodded before laying down and holding Tikali close. He knew that the future was, in a way, out of his hands: he could do what he could to influence the future but, in the end, the future could change no matter his influence. He just hoped that he would do what he could to make sure that the future would have at least some light.
The next morning, Seth allowed Tikali to sleep in, especially when Itami worriedly told him that she could not sense Tarra. After getting up and dressing, he went to Aziza's room and found it empty. He at first thought that she was in another room until he noticed a note on her pillow. He took the note and sat on her bed to read it, feeling his heart break as he read.
Dear friends, I guess this is goodbye. With the pieces of the Sennen Pendant and the Queen's necklace resting peacefully inside my brother's special box in my father's tomb, I have nothing holding me here now. I have no regrets so I will go and join my family in the afterlife. Perhaps we will see each other again in another time. I have complete faith in Seth and Tikali as the new rulers of Khment. I love you all. Aziza
Hearing Isis come into the room, Seth looked up and said, "I hope you have better news for me than this note I found."
Isis lowered her head. "We found Aziza…what's left of her body. As for Tarra…Aziza's body was covered with yellow ash so…"
Having arrived just in time to hear what Isis said, Tikali and Itami were stunned to hear that. Tikali prayed that Aziza would not be punished for committing suicide. Seth shook his head in disbelief: the royal family had been all but erased. Itami went to Seth's shoulder and nuzzled his head. I suppose she wanted to be with her family.
Seth touched Itami and whispered, "Still…she was so young…"
Though she did not hear what Itami said, Isis did tell Seth, "There was something we found that could offer you some peace. Her face…the expression on it…she was happy in her last moments."
After taking a moment, Seth nodded and stood up. "Very well…we will carry out her wishes and rule Khment in a way that will honor her and her family. Isis, see to it that Aziza gets a proper burial. I will make the announcement to the people about the future of the kingdom and then we'll start to rebuild."
Tikali looked at him and asked, "And the Sennen Items?"
Seth nodded. "We will separate them…but I want to find the Sennen Ring first."
Tikali nodded in agreement as Isis left to carry out Seth's wishes.
A few days later, Tikali sat up in bed and sighed. She thought back on everything that happened over the last few days. After Seth announced Aziza's passing and her request that he become the new Pharaoh, he promised that they would rebuild Khment back into the great and peaceful kingdom that it was. While a lot of guards aided in the rebuilding of the kingdom, the new Pharaoh had a lot of them and what remained of the Scorpion Warriors out looking for the Sennen Ring; Seth wanted to be a part of the search as well but he knew that he had his responsibility to Khment as the new Pharaoh. He did, however, have a few workers work on a secret project and he had talked to Marik privately about something. Sighing again, she looked down on Seth's side of the bed and saw that his side was empty. Surprised by that, she got up to dress, only to be surprised again by servants coming in. She was so surprised that she stuttered, "What are you doing?"
The servants looked up and the head servant stated, "We're here to dress you, my Queen…if it pleases you."
Remembering that she was the Queen now, the smell Hebrew nodded and let them dress her. She commented, "This is a lot to take in…"
The head servant rubbed Tikali's shoulder with one hand while her other brushed the Queen's hair. "I'm sure you'll get used to it. Until then, best to not get stressed out. You don't want to make the baby stressed."
Blushing a little, Tikali nodded and touched her stomach. "You're right…"
The servants nodded and finished getting Tikali ready. As they left, Seth entered with Itami. Seeing them, Tikali asked, "Any sign of the Sennen Ring?"
Both responded in different ways: Seth shook his head no while Itami said with a sparkle in her eyes, Hello to you too.
Tikali chuckled as Seth stated sternly, "Tikali has a right to know that our search has been fruitless."
No matter how much she agreed, Itami still stated, Still, we need to keep her spirits up for the sake of your unborn.
Rolling her eyes a little, Tikali murmured, "Why does everyone think I'm frail?"
Seth smirked and put his arms around her. "You're right. We shouldn't underestimate you."
Tikali nodded and leaned into Seth's hug, murmuring her thanks. They stood there for a moment, enjoying each other's company and touch, until Seth asked, "Do you want to see my secret project? It's finally done."
A moment later, Seth brought Tikali into a spare room and revealed the secret project: it was a painted tablet. Twice as tall as Seth, it was truly a sight to behold. At the top were the wings of Isis, Tikali assuming it was to symbolize Tima's necklace since she died first. Below the wings were the three Egyptian God Kas surrounding the Sennen Pendent, which appeared to be radiating light. Below the Sennen Pendent and the God Kas were two Kas in Battle, the White Dragon and Mahad. Below their Kas were Seth and the Pharaoh, reaching out to each other with their hands above a fire. Behind the two figures were two tablets, providing each participant with a spell and an extra Ka: Seth had the spell of rebirth and the bull-warrior while the Pharaoh had the swords of sealing spell and the horse-riding warrior. The rest of the tablet was covered with hieroglyphics and Tikali was touched as she read the words: it was a dedication to the late Pharaoh. She did note that the Pharaoh's name was never mentioned, clear by a cartouche at the bottom of the tablet that had a carve in the middle, as if to cover a name. After a moment of watching her study the tablet, Seth asked, "What do you think?"
Tikali smiled a worried smile at her husband before saying, "I think it's beautiful…but…do you think people will misinterpret the duel?" Seeing his confused look, she immediately explained, "They might look at you as an evil person…as the Pharaoh's enemy, Seth."
Before he could stop himself, Seth flinched at what Tikali said. Itami looked at Seth and figured it out: You haven't told her what happened, have you?
Curious, Tikali looked up at Seth and Itami as Seth shook his head. He was about to tell Itami that he did not want to tell his wife when she asked, "Seth? What happened?"
Hearing her question, he now had to tell her the truth so he told her what happened when Aknadin possessed him. When he finished his explanation, he braced himself, waiting for Tikali to get upset. But her response surprised him: "That wasn't you, though. So you're innocent." Seeing his surprised look, she gave him a gentle smile as she went to the tablet and touched it with much tenderness and closed her eyes. "It now has a different meaning. Yes…I see…"
Curiosity getting him, Seth went next to her and asked, "What do you see?"
Tikali opened her eyes to look at the tablet. "I don't see the Great Pharaoh or the High Priest…I see two friends, forced into battle. The Pharaoh is putting all his might to save his friend from the darkness. This is not just a battle of light and darkness…" she looked up at him and whispered, "…but a battle of friendship."
Seth slowly closed his eyes. Tikali thought that he was envisioning the battle the way she saw it but she then noticed that the corners of his eyes started to produce tears. Smiling sadly, she hugged him gently, a hug he welcomed. After a moment of silence, he looked up at the tablet and sighed softly. "Friendship…"
Tikali nodded. "Yes…now and, I believe, forever. You two will continue to be friends into the future."
Seth nodded. He then said, "Speaking of the future…there is something very important we need to do…"
Later in the day, Seth called everyone to come to the throne room to discuss the future of the Sennen Items. With Tikali sitting on the Queen's throne, Seth faced everyone and started. "As some of you know, we will not be using the Sennen Items anymore off of the request of the Queen and because of everything that had happened over the past few days. To ensure that the items will not bring forth the darkness again, they must be separated. That is the reason I called all you here: I would like to ask one of you to volunteer to watch over certain items."
At first, everyone was silent. After seeing all the evil that sprung from the Sennen Items, no one wanted to get near them. A minute later, Marik stepped forward and said, "I volunteer."
Seth smirked as this was what he asked Marik to do during the private talks they had. But he and everyone else in the throne room got a surprise when he stepped forward: his entire core was wrapped up in linens. Tikali immediately asked, "What happened?"
Marik looked Seth straight in the eye and said, "What you told me about your feelings…we must remember what you said. Papers can be easily lost, stolen, or destroyed. But there is one place where words can never be harmed."
Seth realized what Marik was talking about and was stunned. "Are you crazy?"
Marik smiled and touched his shoulder. "I'll wear this with honor. While it's a new set of scars…they will cover the scars my brother gave me. These will help me remember all that he's done for me."
Seth thought things over and knew that Marik was right. Tikali looked at Seth and asked, "What's going on?"
Seth told her he would explain later before looking back at Marik. He could tell that Isis was very worried, made even more clear by asking, "Marik, are you sure?"
Marik nodded. "Yes, sister. I owe the Pharaoh my life and this is the least I can do."
Isis nodded, still worried about her little brother. Tikali looked at Seth and asked, "They're brother and sister?"
Seth teased, "Common knowledge, my Queen." Tikali stuck her tongue out at Seth as the new Pharaoh looked at Marik. "Very well. I will entrust you with my Sennen Rod."
Isis stated, "And my Sennen Tauk. As my brother, you are the only person I can trust with it."
Marik smiled and nodded. Seth looked at everyone else and asked if there was another volunteer. He looked at the Scorpion Warriors but Scorpio shook his head. "Forgive me, my King, but my clan do not want any part of the separation of the Sennen Items. I hope you're not insulted."
Seth shook his head, understanding. He then looked around for another volunteer from the guards. He was about to ask again when an unknown voice rang out: "Perhaps I can be of some assistance, my Pharaoh."
Everyone looked behind them and soon parted to make a path for a young man coming forward. Wearing a tunic, cloak, and turban with gold earrings, he appeared to be in his twenties but there was something in his eyes that seemed to say that he was much older and wiser than he appeared. When asked who he was, he said in a neutral tone, "My name is Shadi and I believe it is my destiny to watch over the Sennen Items that you need hidden."
Itami ruffled her feathers. After everything that happened, she was a little wary of anyone she did not know but Seth looked at Itami and stroked her chest to settle her down. While he had never met Shadi before today, something told him that this man could be trusted. He then looked at Shadi and told him, "Now, listen, Shadi. The Sennen Items we will give you to guard must never come in contact with anyone. Do you understand?"
Shadi got down on one knee and bowed his head. "It will be as you command, my Pharaoh."
Seth nodded. "Very well. You shall guard the Scales, Key and Eye."
Shadi looked up at Seth and said, "I will guard them with my life. But, if you will, my Pharaoh, I will need a few guards to help me."
Tikali nodded. "We will give you a few guards. We will give some to you as well, Marik."
Off of Marik and Shadi's nods, Seth snapped his fingers and two guards came forward with two boxes with the Sennen Items. Suddenly a couple of guards came into the throne room with a prisoner who had a bag over his head. "My Pharaoh! We caught this criminal trying to sneak into the former Pharaoh's tomb!"
They took off the bag to reveal Malik, who appeared to be more insane than ever with a crazed look in his eyes and his tongue sticking out. Tikali jumped a little in fright as Seth growled, "Take him away to be executed."
Tikali suddenly thought of something. "Wait, Seth! He and Bakura were always so close. Maybe he knows where the Sennen Ring is."
Everyone looked at Malik, who grinned with insanity. "I don't know where the Ring is…or that bitch's pendant…very few know…"
Feeling his anger boiling, Marik went forward and gripped Malik's shirt. "You lie, you bastard! Where is it?!"
Malik grinned with insane delight. "Hello, little brother. How are those wounds I gave you?"
Marik growled and backhanded his older brother. The marked criminal was knocked to the ground, giggling in his insanity. Marik was about to hit him again but Isis stopped him off Seth's silent request. The Pharaoh then asked, "Where is the Sennen Ring?"
Malik looked up at Seth and hissed, "Who knows? But I will say this…I got a lot of coin for it…not so much for the necklace…"
Seth paled at the realization: Malik was telling the truth about not knowing the Sennen Ring's current location. Once an item was sold, it was almost impossible to track down. He looked at the guards and told them, "Search and question every salesman, permanent or travelling, you can find. Also…" he looked down at Malik, who hissed a little in his gleeful insanity, "…be rid of this foul creature."
The guards who brought him up picked him up by his arms to take him to the execution room. Taking a chance, Marik asked, "If you please, my Pharaoh…let me execute him."
Remembering what Malik put his little brother through, Seth nodded. Turning to leave, Marik thought of something and added, "Also…I think I should live in the tomb…to make sure that no one else will disturb the late Pharaoh."
Seth was surprised by the request as it was not part of their arrangement but he agreed, not wanting his cousin's tomb to be disturbed. The guards then continued to take Malik out with Marik following them. As they passed, Isis was suddenly hit with a vision from her Sennen Tauk, one that worried her enough to have her remove it in a hurry. Seeing this, Tikali asked, "Are you all right?"
Isis nodded. "Yes…yes, my Queen." She then looked at Seth. "With your permission, I want to join my brother in watching over the Sennen Tauk and Rod."
Seth was a little confused. "You have my permission…but why the sudden change?"
Isis wanted to tell Seth about the vision she saw but believed it was best told to Marik and Marik alone. So she stated, "Marik will want to be with his family…and so do I."
Tikali nodded with a smile. "We understand. We'll miss you."
Isis smiled and stepped forward to stroke Tikali's head. "You will be fine. Make Khment proud."
Tikali nodded as Shadi and Isis took the boxes that had the Sennen Items. She then went to the execution room, arriving just in time to watch Marik carry out Malik's execution. Wincing out of instinct, she went up to Marik, only to be pushed aside as a gypsy girl with brown hair ran past her and hugged Marik from behind. Isis almost asked Marik who she was when she remembered that Marik had gotten involved with a girl from a travelling caravan and assumed that this was that girl. As the guards took Malik's body away, Marik looked down at the girl and smiled. "You didn't see, did you?"
She shook her head. Isis stated, "But I did…and I saw a vision as well."
Marik looked behind him at his sister, revealing a little blood on his face, and asked, "What did you see?"
Isis said, "You were young…a child. Your back was bandaged, like now, and you were crying. Malik was there…looking over your shoulder and grinning down at you."
Marik shook his head, waving it off. "That's not a vision; that's a memory of the first time he severely abused me."
Isis nodded, knowing that was a big possibility. However, there was a part of the vision that worried her: Malik had the Sennen Eye on his forehead, a mark he did not get until he was banished as a young man. For him to have the mark while he looked like a child…Isis just hoped that she was mixing up a few memories. Taking a deep breath, she stated, "I'm coming with you…to live with you as a tomb keeper."
Marik was surprised but grateful that he would have his two greatest supporters with him. "All right…let's get going. Come, Ishtar." The gypsy looked up at the mention of her name and nodded as the three left to start their new life.
Back in the throne room, Tikali and Seth were left alone. Some guards went to find Marik and his family while others left with Shadi. The Scorpion Warriors left after saying their final goodbye, Scorpio seeing no reason to stay in Khment. Seth turned to ask Tikali how she was feeling when she spoke first with, "We are going to find the Sennen Ring, right?"
Seth looked at her. He personally did not think so, both with the odds stacked against them with the Sennen Ring being sold and with his feelings that the Sennen Items would be used again in the distant future. But he smiled and lied. "Yes. The Ring will be found."
Tikali nodded. She just hoped that Seth was right. Hoping to drive the point home, Seth told her, "No matter, though…our children will be safe."
Tikali did smile at that.
Seth and Tikali ruled for many years, extending their reach to other countries to both extend their import and export business and to have more allies in case another kingdom or country decided to attack. Like the Pharaoh before him, Seth proved to be a just Pharaoh, using his knowledge and memory of his friend to make good relationships with other countries and bring prosperity to Khment in any way he could. While it was difficult at first, Seth managed to have a reign that used little to no magic, not wanting to take a chance of reawakening the evil that almost destroyed the kingdom. Tikali herself proved to be a dedicated Queen: when she was not caring for their youngest son Ramesses, she focused on making the lives of the peasants and slaves more comfortable by being the one they could come to with their requests and concerns, knowing that she would do her best to make sure they were met. The new Pharaoh and Queen were also grateful to have their oldest sons help with their reign, with Mesu as the new captain of the guard and Noa as Seth's royal vizier. Sadly, their reign soon came to an end at the Battle of Kadesh, when Seth and Tikali led soldiers to recover territories that were stolen from them by the Hittites. Culminating in what was later described as the largest chariot battle in history, the battle ended in a draw with both sides claiming victory but it came at a terrible price: Seth and Tikali were killed on the battlefield but they died together and were buried together, Tikali having had stated sometime prior that she wanted to be buried as an Egyptian Queen to stay with Seth. Knowing that only he had been trained to inherit the throne, teenaged Ramesses took the throne, determined to make Khment and his family proud.Years and centuries pass and faces and souls get recycled and get scattered all over the world. But destiny has a way of making things work, using people, events, and feelings to influence the tide of fate. As Seth predicted centuries earlier, the journey of the Sennen Items was not done yet and it started again when a man from Japan came to Egypt in search of the ultimate game…
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