The Life Of A King

The Millennium Puzzle

Chapter 15

The Millennium Puzzle

It was a week before Atem found out just how much he disliked the new Priest Seto. The man was arrogant and just plain annoying, and that wasn't even the worst part. He was also prejudiced. He seemed to share Aknadin's belief that magicians were lower then dirt. Every time Mahad or Mana would even walk into the same room as him he would make a loud noise that sounded clearly like disgust. It made the Prince mad, what made him madder though is that Mahad made no attempt to defend himself at the insults Seto randomly threw his way. Mahad was thirteen summers old and an excellent fighter, even without his magic, he could easily take someone that was only four or five summers older. Mahad didn't even seem to care though. The Prince tried to defend his friend, but Seto was smart and knew exactly what to say back to him to make him mad and still make sure that he didn't get himself in trouble. It drove the Prince crazy. He was smart though and a quick learner, Atem had to give him that. In less then a week he had figured out how to not only summon his Ka monster but any other monster that was in to his shrine, which he had inherited from another guardian who had 'retired,' this time his father hadn't even bothered to explain why the guardian was no longer there. Atem was starting to worry that his father was hiding things from him again.

The knowledge that Seto had managed to so easily summon the protectors of Egypt reminded the Prince that he still hadn't even learned how to summon his own Ka. Which he promptly began bugging his father about.

"Atem, Seto is almost ten summers older than you. You can not expect to win this little rivalry you seem to have created with him for some reason." The Pharaoh said when Atem reminded him that Seto seemed to have no problem summoning his Ka.

"This has nothing to do with Seto." The Prince argued.

"Then why do you bring him up every time you ask me if I will teach you how to do it?" The Pharaoh didn't believe him for a second.

"It will not hurt me to try." He ignored the question.

"Atem, why are you so eager to do it now? Even if you do wait chances are you will be younger than Seto is now when you do, do it."

"This has nothing to do with Seto!" He yelled starting to get frustrated.

"Now calm down. You have no reason to be so angry. Mahad is four summer older than you and he still can not do it yet." Atem resisted the urge to pout like a child.

"I do not care if Mahad can do it or not. Stop bringing other people into this! It has nothing to do with them!" The Pharaoh tried as hard as he could to hide his smile. It was really hard to take the pouting child that only looked like he was six. He just looked so cute standing there resisting the urge to stomp his foot.

"You brought Seto into it first Atem." Atem didn't answer for quite a while; he seemed to be attempting to calm himself down. Which he had to admit was quite a talent, not many children his age could control their emotions so easily.

"Well now I am taking him out of it. Please Father, just let me try." The Pharaoh sighed; it was hard to refuse him anything when he got like this. He was practically begging. Normally he would have rebuked him for begging like that, it was dishonorable, but he knew that the Prince wouldn't beg anyone else for anything. Even at eight summers old he was proud, and not the same kind of pride he was beginning to see in Seto, this was a different pride. He didn't see himself as better than others, but he refused to lower himself to other's standards, which he couldn't help but be proud of the boy for. He also had to admit that Atem had the right to try. It was only dangerous if you were not taking it seriously, and Atem took everything seriously. Even if he did turn most tasks into games.

"Alright Atem you may try, but if I feel that you are in danger in any way I will stop the lessons. Is that clear?" The boy's eyes lit up and he nodded.

"Yes Father!"

"I will have Shimon teach you, you start lessons tomorrow." Atem nodded and ran out of the room to tell Mahad that his father had finally given up. The Pharaoh sighed, how was Egypt supposed to take him seriously when he couldn't even win an argument against his eight year old son?

The next day the Prince's excitement was visible to literally everyone. Even the servants, who didn't really pay attention to anything that was going on, could tell there was something a little different about him. Mahad couldn't keep himself from laughing as the Prince practically skipped to the training room where he would have his lessons. It was a large room so Mahad had decided to teach Mana a few new things in there as well; that way not only could he keep an eye on the Prince's progress but he could keep Mana from blowing up any more of his stuff. He had already lost a trunk full of books and three pillows; needless to say a change of location was exactly what Mahad had been hoping for.

"Wow, Prince, you think you could go half a second without skipping. You look like a little girl." Mana teased. Mahad hated when she did that, it felt disrespectful and he was responsible for her so it felt like he was disrespecting the Prince instead of her. The Prince didn't seem to mind though. They walked into the training room and found Shimon waiting for them.

"You are early." He said smiling.

"Mahad is over obsessed with being on time, remember?" The Prince told Shimon, smiling at Mahad who merely shrugged.

"Better early all the time, than late once." The Prince laughed and walked up to Shimon. The elderly man began to go over what seemed to be safety measures while Mahad and Mana walked over to the other side of the large room.

"Mahad what exactly is a Ka monster?" She asked having grown up as a homeless orphan didn't help her knowledge much. Though it did help her strength, no one could ever call Mana weak. Not without severe consequences at least.

"It is a creature that lives within your spirit. It usually resides inside your soul room, though it can wonder freely between your soul and your mind."

"There is something living inside the Prince." She sounded alarmed and worried.

"Everyone has one Mana. It is not a bad thing, if you can learn to summon yours than it can protect you from just about anything. It takes something very strong to destroy a Ka monster, the only known thing that can is another Ka monster." Mahad explained. She seemed to think about this.

"Cool I wonder what mine is."

"It will be a long time before you find out. Master Seto is seventeen and he just learned how to summon his." Mana looked back to the Prince.

"Do you think he can do it?"

"If he does it will take him a very long time."

It did take a long time, and he seemed to be making no progress. It was harder than his puzzle, which was beginning to get easy. It seemed as though the farther he got on the puzzle the easier it was to find parts that fit. Even so, it was still another two weeks before he finished it.

It was the greatest achievement so far. It had been nearly midnight when the final piece was put into place. He instantly ran straight to his father's bedchamber.

"Father! Father! Wake up!" He yelled climbing onto the Pharaoh's bed. He began to shake his father hoping that since it had woken him up when Mana did it, that it would do the same to his father. He was surprised when his father woke up quickly and became very tense, as though expecting an attack.

"Atem." He said after a short time. "What is wrong?" The Prince smiled hoping to calm his father down.

"I did it Father." The Pharaoh looked at him strangely.

"What?"

"I finally put it back together." He handed the Pyramid shaped necklace to his father. The Pharaoh's eyes seemed to get bigger.

"You did it." He said disbelief in his voice. "You actually did it." The Prince nodded, he knew his father hadn't actually expected him to be able to complete the puzzle, he got over that a long time ago, it only made him more determined to finish it. He stared at the puzzle even longer before speaking "Congratulations my son, I am sorry I ever doubted you."

"It is ok, Father. It was really hard." The Prince ducked his head and allowed his father to put the necklace around his neck. He stared at it in admiration. It was one of the prettiest things he had ever seen. "Are you going to explain what it is to me now?" He asked eager to find out why he felt drawn to the puzzle. The Pharaoh sighed.

"Can you wait till morning?" The Prince groaned, he didn't want to wait till longer, but he knew there was a time and a place for everything, and midnight in his father's bedchamber was certainly not the time or place.

"Yes Father. Promise you will tell me in the morning?"

"I promise I will tell you everything in the morning." The Prince nodded and walked out of the room gazing at his new piece of jewelry, as if he didn't have enough already. When he got to his own room he climbed into bed, his puzzle still hanging around his neck.

Seto stayed up far too late that night. A mistake he had been making often lately. There was just too much to do, he still had much to learn and he wasn't used to having so many responsibilities. Taking care of his mother was not anywhere near as difficult as what he was doing now. Seto yawned as he walked back to his room with a candle in his hand, his mother was right he worked way too hard.

Seto dropped his candle in surprise when he heard a piercing scream. Without a moments hesitation Seto rushed in the direction that it came from. The scream had clearly come from a young child, and there was only one child that was even allowed near here.

He charged straight into the Prince's bedchamber without even thinking and was surprised to see that there was only one person in there. He sighed in relief when he saw the young Prince alone seemingly having a nightmare. Nightmares could be dangerous yes, but the Priest had been expecting the worst. He walked over to the boy and hoped he wasn't a heavy sleeper.

"Prince," He called as gently as he could, handling children was not in his wide range of abilities. He reached down hoping to shake the boy awake, but jumped back when the Prince screamed the second he touched him. Seto began to fear for the Prince's safety. "Prince please wake up." He said not so gently this time, he tried to shake him again. This time the boy didn't move, but he didn't wake either. He tried everything he could think of to wake the Prince; he even pinched him hoping the pain would jolt him to his senses.

"Seto!" The Priest turned to Shimon not even considering what the elder thought about the situation.

"He will not wake up!" Shimon looked at him in confusion for a moment then walked over to the Prince, and attempted to wake him himself. The boy didn't respond. Seto watched as Shimon's eyes filled with fear as he began to check the Prince's heartbeat, which had to be racing. Shimon pulled back the covers, hoping to check for any injuries or signs of enchantment. What they saw made Shimon jump back. The boy had on a strange necklace that was glowing.

"The Millennium Puzzle" was all the elder could say. Seto was distracted by Shimon's reaction, then glared at the necklace. It was obviously what was causing the Prince's slumber to continue. He grabbed the necklace and heard Shimon gasp when he ripped it off of the boy. Seto threw the necklace across the room as the Prince gave out a loud scream his eyes flying open. The Prince flew into a sitting position and completely stopped moving; the only thing that told them that he was still alive was his quick and heavy breathing. No one moved for quite a while, until Shimon turned to look at the Millennium Puzzle that had somehow survived being thrown against the wall and was still in one piece. The glowing had died.

"I think the Pharaoh should know about this." Seto said, but didn't make any move to go tell him. Shimon nodded.

"I will wake him." Seto watched as Shimon began to walk towards the Pharaoh's bedchamber, but stopped in the doorway. Seto watched him in confusion for a moment before Shimon spoke.

"Mahad." Shimon looked at the magician who was watching him with pure fear in his eyes. "What are you doing here?" Mahad ignored him, which was a first for Mahad.

"What happened?" Mahad only looked away for a moment, during witch he glared (which Shimon thought might have also been a first) at the doorway that he was not allowed to pass. "What is wrong with the Prince?"

"Mahad your room is on the other side of the palace, how did you know..."

"Answer my question!" Mahad yelled intercepting the older man. Shimon momentarily stared at him in shock; Mahad seemed like a completely different person.

"He is fine, he just had a nightmare." Shimon answered realizing that he had never seen Mahad actually react to something, usually he remained calm no matter what was happening. Mahad calmed a little at Shimon's words, but not much.

"I mean no disrespect sir, but that did not sound like a nightmare." He said as calmly as he could muster while speaking though fear. Shimon thought about this for a moment, and decided the truth was probably best in this situation.

"I am not exactly sure what happened, but he seems to be fine now." Mahad still looked worried, "You may go in if you would like."

"Really?" He asked and Shimon nodded. The magician ran into the room and stood on the other side of the bed from Seto. For once Seto didn't seem to mind being in the same room as a magician. Now they shared a common goal. Mahad climbed onto the bed and watched the Prince, who was now in Seto's arms, shaking like crazy. Mahad put his hand on the Prince's shoulder and softly spoke to him.

"Prince," The Prince's eyes seemed to focus a little when he heard the voice. "Prince are you alright?" He turned his head a little to look at Mahad.

"Mahad?" The Prince asked as though he was afraid he was a fake.

"Yes, my Prince. It is me. Are you alright?" Mahad asked again, he was only a little surprised when the Prince rushed out of Seto's arms to hug him. The Prince didn't answer or even speak again, he just sat there clutching on to Mahad as tight as he could. Mahad sighed, knowing he wasn't going to get an answer and put his arms around the Prince.

"Now you need to answer my question Mahad." Shimon said still standing in the doorway.

"I am sorry sir. What was your question?"

"Why are you here? How did you know there was something going on? Your room is too far away for you to have heard him." Mahad looked down at the Prince.

"I do not know how I knew. I just did. I woke up and somehow knew, so I ran over here and I heard him screaming. The only way I kept myself outside is that I saw you coming in, so I knew someone was helping him. I could not have stopped myself if I thought he was still alone."

"Hmm, that is quite strange." Shimon said before walking off. He walked to the Pharaoh's bedchamber, probably not as fast as he should have, but the memory of Seto ripping off the Millennium Puzzle replaying in his mind. He had never expected the Puzzle to be the cause, but Seto knew it immediately. Was it because he had seen the Puzzle hanging from the Pharaoh's own neck that he didn't suspect it? Also why was the Puzzle hurting the boy in the first place? None of the items had done anything that could harm anyone on their own before. Why was it starting now, and an even more important question if the Items were hurting people for no reason, then where the Millennium Items evil? And how had Seto known about this evil when Shimon had his Millennium Key for much longer than Seto had his Rod.

Shimon pushed these thoughts from his mind as he walked into the Pharaoh's bedchamber. It was something he needed to discuss with the guardians later, now the Pharaoh needed to be warned that his son had taken ill.

Seto watched as Mahad slowly calmed the Prince down, not in the least bit jealous that the magician had an ability that he did not. Seto had much more important talents than calming a scared child. He didn't plan on having kids anyway. That talent would be useless to him. He did find himself slowly calming down as well though, though his relief was due to the fact that the Prince was safe, well as safe as he could be with a magician in the room, but that was beside the point.

All three of them looked at the doorway when they heard someone come in. The Pharaoh stood in his son's bedchamber with a worried look on his face.

"Father." The Prince said and sat up a little. The Pharaoh sat on the bed in front of his son. Mahad attempted to move away but the Atem didn't let go, so he just sat there kind of looking awkward.

"All you alright Atem?" The Prince nodded trying not to look scared but there was still tears in his eyes. The Prince finally let go of Mahad and hugged his father. Mahad went and stood by a wall.

"I do not want it anymore, Father." The Pharaoh looked down at his son.

"What?" He asked, not understanding what the Prince meant by 'it'.

"The puzzle. I do not want it anymore." Seto and Shimon looked at the puzzle that was still lying on the ground.

"What exactly happened Atem?" the Pharaoh asked a little surprised, he hadn't expected the Prince to know what had caused his nightmares. "I know it will be hard, but I want you to tell me what you saw." The Prince moaned but nodded anyway.

"The first one was not as bad as the second one. There were four animals, two snakes, one was a full grown Cobra and the other was a baby, probably of the same species. The other two were an owl and a rat." The Pharaoh looked confused. It seemed to be random which is not what he expected. He had expected a vision of the future, but that was the Millennium Tauk's job though wasn't it.

"All three of them were fighting off the rat, but for some reason the rat was winning. It injured both the Cobra and the owl and was coming after the little snake, but something happened. There was a small spot of darkness in between the two that seemed to be protecting the little snake. It was strange but not scary." The Prince looked in his father's eyes, hoping that he wouldn't have to describe the next dream. His hope was smashed when his father told him to continue.

"The next on also had a lot of animals in it and they were running from something. The end." The Prince said quickly trying to keep from picturing the nightmare.

"Atem." His father said sternly the Prince sighed.

"Alright, but that was pretty much what happened. They all seemed to be running from what seemed like a sheet of darkness. Not the same darkness as in the other dream though, this darkness was hurting people, not protecting them." The Prince stared at the sheets on his bed as he spoke. When he finished he made no move to continue.

"And?" The Prince groaned.

"And it was coming after me." he said quietly. "What ever it was, it was coming for me. I do not know why, but it was trying to find me and it was willing to kill everyone in its way." There was silence in the room for a while; everyone was trying to make sense of his statement.

"How do you know it was after you?" The Pharaoh asked. Atem shook his head tears forming in his eyes again.

"I do not know. It just was, I just knew." He hid his face in his father's robe as he cried. The Pharaoh hugged him tightly and not another word was spoken. No one could made sense of what the Prince had seen, though everyone knew there was a reason for it.

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A/N) AHHHHHH! RUN AWAYYYYYYYYYY!

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