The Life Of A King

The New Master of the Millennium Ring

Chapter 19

The New Master of the Millennium Ring

Thankfully the stress subsided for the next few years. There was always the looming dread over what the Millennium Puzzle had shown him. He had even started wearing it again; he was actually hoping it would give him another vision. He wanted to know as much about the dark enemy as he possibly could, it didn't show him anything though. Every once in a while it would glow for no reason whatsoever, but he got no visions. Around the time he turned thirteen summers old the stress began to build again, though for completely different reasons. He was learning how to run a kingdom he was expected to attend all of his fathers meetings and even help with a few of the decisions. His father aloud him to choose the punishments for a few of the lesser criminals. His father had told him he was merciful but just. It was a strange combination and his father told him on more than one occasion that he was proud of him for it.

The biggest problem seemed to be that he was having trouble balancing time for working with his father, and hanging out with his friends. Thankfully they were starting to get kind of busy as well. Mana's lessons were getting more complex and she was requiring more time to study, they often spent many hours in the library just studying their different subjects together. Though Mahad's studying was more of personal reading. He didn't really have all that many responsibilities, just Mana, he was even considering becoming a full blown teacher and getting a few more appendences, he found he was rather good at teaching. The idea seemed impossible after he turned seventeen.

"Come on Mahad. You are practically an adult now; they are not going to kill you for walking into the throne room. I know you are overly paranoid but you need to lighten up a bit." Atem dragged Mahad to the direction of the throne room. He didn't really need Mahad to come with him, but he was getting kind of tired of Mahad waiting for him outside of the door whenever he went into the room. He was going to break Mahad's fear of his father if it killed him, and it was starting to feel like it would kill him.

"Good afternoon, Father." Atem greeted when they were beside the throne. Mahad was rather stiff but didn't try to leave when the Prince let go of him.

"Hello Atem." The Pharaoh said back, he was watching Mahad's facial expression. Atem's attempt to get Mahad to 'lighten up' around the Pharaoh was quite amusing, and he wasn't the only one who thought so. A few of the guardians took bets on whether the Prince or Mahad would be the first to break and literally go insane. There was no other option that could be seen really. There was no chance the Prince would give up. The Prince will never give up on anything; it was a well known fact. It was also well known though that there was absolutely no way Mahad could act calm around the Pharaoh. So if neither of them could possible win, one of them would be going crazy.

Mahad stood there as the Prince and his father got into quite a detailed conversation about the taxes on the farmers. The Prince thought it was a little to high, he had been trying to convince his father to agree with him for at least a week now. Suddenly there was a bright glow from the front doors. Everyone turned to see one of the guardians had just walked into the room. The Millennium Ring was glowing like crazy. All of the points on the Ring were pointing towards the front of the room.

The guardian screamed as though it was burning him, he quickly took it off. It ripped itself out of his hands and flew to the front of the room. Mahad barely had time to realize it was coming right at him, before he somehow managed to catch it. He stared wide eyed at the golden object in his hand. It was the Millennium Ring. The only Millennium Item that he hadn't actually seen before today. Beside him the Prince gave a loud cheer.

"I win!" Mahad looked at him in confusion. "Now you have no choice but to hang out in here!" Mahad looked back at the Ring. The Prince had told him enough about what was going on during their meetings that Mahad realized that he was now officially a Sacred Guardian. Mahad heard Seto groan not far away and he sighed.

"You win" Mahad gave up, he didn't think he would ever feel comfortable with the Pharaoh so close by, but he didn't really have a choice but to get used to it. It wasn't like he was going to refuse a job offer. He was beginning to feel kind of like a bum. At least now he had a real reason to be here he should have left when his mother did. His mother had retired from the job the Pharaoh gave her and went live in town with her new husband. Mahad really liked the man she married but there was no way he was ever going to be able to call him father or anything like that. He was much too old for that when they got married. He visited them often; she would be so excited when he told her he was now in the Pharaoh's court. It was the highest honor a man could have.

After this he quickly became just as busy as the Prince. He had guardian duties and he was still training Mana when ever he had time. All thoughts of becoming a teacher disappeared from his mind. Atem didn't like that all that much, he thought Mahad would have made a great teacher.

Atem's lessons were starting to become a quick annoyance. At first he had been delighted that he was allowed to finally learn what his father did during the day. Now though, they were getting boring. He often found himself skipping them hanging out with Mana, who was usually skipping Mahad's lessons at the time. Though she never told the Prince that, he would have made her go to her lesson. Which she found to be hypocritical, but he said that the only reason he didn't want her skipping out on Mahad was just because Mahad was his friend, and he had enough to worry about right now. She understood that, but she wasn't going to let it ruin her fun. She enjoyed their daily hide and seek game, especially when she won.

The times all three of them could be together at the same time had become rare, but precious. They all enjoyed it to no end. Every once in a while Mana would decide they were going to kill themselves with stress and work and made them sneak out, sometimes even going as far as threatening them. Her threats were usually pathetic; they usually consisted of her telling everyone that the Prince's Ka was a fluffball and that Mahad was seventeen and still hadn't summoned his yet. He swore up and down that he hadn't bothered to learn because he didn't need it, but he was a horrible liar when he didn't really need to lie.

Mana had used that exact threat just that morning. The Prince and Mana had snuck out through the wall and met up with Mahad at their favorite spot by the Nile. Mahad didn't have to sneak out he was allowed out when ever he wanted, and he was too big for the hole. Now they were just sitting by the river talking.

"What did Mana blow up this time?" The Prince asked, he had noticed a burn mark in her room earlier. When Mahad became a guardian he had moved rooms and she had kept his old one. He now slept three rooms down from the Prince. They were both a little skeptical that the Pharaoh had not done that on purpose, he had begun to get very overprotective when Atem turned ten, almost as much so as Mahad was himself. Mahad just said it was due to old age, people do things like that when they get old. Atem couldn't deny that his father was old so he just figured Mahad was right, like usual.

He had figured out why Mahad was an owl in the dream that the Millennium Puzzle gave him. Owls were viewed as wise, he didn't know why but they were. Mahad was the wisest person he knew. He was pretty sure that the animal was a representation of the person's personality. It had upset him at first that he had been a baby snake, but he was young at the time so it made since.

"My staff." Mahad answered interrupting his thoughts. He was confused for a moment, before he remembered that he had asked Mahad a question. He looked at Mana who blushed.

"Not again." He laughed a little, not enough to embarrass her though.

"I do not think I am going to bother replacing it this time. I do not really need it anyway."

"Really!" Mana said in shock. She couldn't even levitate a book without her staff.

"I think the Millennium Ring is increasing my abilities. It is strange, and I am the first and only magician with a Millennium Item, so I am not exactly sure what is going on with it. It is starting to worry me." Mahad said looking down at the golden object around his neck. Atem stared at the waters of the Nile. "My Prince, are you alright?" Atem sighed.

"I do not like it Mahad. These Items, they still feel evil to me." His eyes didn't move from the river. Mahad watched him thinking carefully about his answer.

"I think I know how you feel. At times I feel a great darkness coming from the Ring. Once I could have sworn I heard screaming coming from it." The Prince turned to look at him.

"You guys are so overdramatic." Mana said lying down on the sand. Atem laughed.

"You would not understand, Mana. You are still a kid." He said teasing. She glared at him.

"I am only one summer younger than you." She said harshly.

"A summer and a half." He corrected smirking. She sat up and pushed him over, then stood and walked away. The Prince laughed. "Now who is being dramatic?" She stuck her tongue out at him before sitting down a good five yards away. Both of the boys laughed, "I think she needs cheered up."

"I could not agree more." They looked at each other, and Mahad smirked. For once he wasn't going to be the victim of a tickle fight and he was happily planning his revenge. She didn't last near as long as Mahad did, though that may have had something to do with them sneaking up on her when Mahad had always had a warning and a chance to run. She was still giggling when she gave up and they stopped. When the sun began to set they quickly made their way back to the Palace. They were halfway there when the Millennium Ring began acting up. It glowed and got hot. Mahad grunted and lifted it up by the string so it wasn't touching his shirt so it wouldn't burn him. Its spikes pointed behind them. Mahad tuned around and saw a large group of men staring at them.

Mahad glared at them as they seemed to be deciding something amongst themselves. One smirked apparently having made a decision. They began to walk towards the three.

"What do we have here?" One of them said looking straight at the Prince. Mahad's glare became fierce and Mana hid behind Atem.

"Somehow I was under the impression that the Crown Prince would have a bit better guards. A teenager and a little chicken girl? Is that really the best protection the Pharaoh would give his own son?" Another one of them taunted. Mahad didn't react to the insult, but nether of them expected him to. Both of them expected Mana's reaction though.

"I AM NOT A CHICKEN!" She yelled in Atem's ear.

"Ow Mana, man calm down." The Prince said calmly rubbing his ear.

"Sorry. Master Mahad can I kill them?" She asked the 'teenager'. She had recently begun to call him Master out of respect even though she rarely acted respectful. He took it as an apology for making his life extremely hectic so he didn't mind it.

"Do you even know how to kill them?" Atem asked looking at Mahad with a surprised look.

"If she does I swear I did not teach her how to do it!" He said quickly, a little too quickly.

"Of course I know how to kill them!" She said pulling out Atem's knife.

"Hey, give that back." He said though not making a move to grab it. "How did you get that? I didn't even feel it leave my belt." She chuckled. The attackers had backed away a little when they saw the knife but now were attempting to form a loose circle around them.

"No, you are staying where I can see you." Mahad said and shot a fireball at one of them that was trying to get behind him. A few of them yelled when it hit. Most of them looked scared only one seemed completely calm.

"I figured the punk was a magician." the calm one said, and shot something back at Mahad, he was one too. They pretty much got into a one on one fight; everyone else seemed to feel the need to just watch.

"Since when do magicians hang out with everyone else?" Mahad said, it wasn't common to see a magician with a group of normal people in the 'real world', as Mahad like to call it.

"Who said anything about hanging out? When you use your powers for the right reasons you do not need to worry about who does not like you." Mahad's eyes widened. It didn't take the Prince long to realize what he had said.

"You are threatening them!" The Prince accused. The man smirked, and a few of the other men looked nervous. He gave them some kind of signal and they began to advance on the Prince and Mana. Mana moved to defend them both, aiming for the guy who called her a chicken first, though he was not the biggest threat.

"So the girl is one too." The magician observed. Mahad smirked.

"And a better one than you are." He taunted. Mana grinned brightly at the complement. Atem sighed as he watched Mana and Mahad protect him.

"Guys I feel worthless right now." He said, he was literally just standing there not really having anything to do. It would only make things harder for them if he tried to fight as well. Mahad was about to protest, but his enemy grunted.

"You are worthless, kid." He said grinning when Mahad glared at him. "Standing there doing nothing, you are a gutless punk." Mahad's temper flared up uncontrollably, he had heard those words before, and they were words he'd hoped to never hear again. The words brought back memories that he didn't want to see.

"Take it back." He said harshly, his face showing obvious rage. When the magician didn't answer his anger got even worse, he was sure now that he wouldn't calm down even if the man did take it back. "Take it back!" he said anyway, quite a bit louder this time. Mahad felt the Prince eyes on his back, but he didn't care what the Prince was thinking right now. He didn't care what any of them thought right now. He was mad, madder than then her could ever remember being since his father's death. The man still didn't respond he was staring at the enraged teenager, with a spark of fear in his eyes; he was beginning to regret this. "TAKE IT BACK!" Mahad yelled and the man took a step back in fear and fell over.

Mahad didn't care to realize it, but there was a strange purple glow, coming from his body, power seemed to be radiating from him. All of the other men stopped completely, and Mana was watching Mahad in fear. The air beside the man on the ground exploded with a loud crack. All of the other attackers ran, and no one stopped them. It had gotten dark and the glow around Mahad was their only light. It was bright enough that they could see the cowering man easily. He couldn't speak, though everyone knew that taking back what he said about the Prince wouldn't save him now.

"Mahad calm down." Mahad heard the Prince say to him but he didn't listen, he formed a wall in between them. He knew the Prince was going to try and calm him down, but he didn't want to calm down. He wanted to kill this man and he was going to. Mahad took a step forward and the man managed to scramble back. Mahad smirked, He looked at the doomed man with hate filled eyes, and the Millennium Ring dimly glowed in the darkness it was feeding off of Mahad's anger and getting stronger, causing Mahad to get stronger in return. Mahad laughed, liking the feeling of power the Ring was giving him, he walked towards the man who finally managed to get to his feet and began to run.

Atem punched the invisible wall Mahad had created to keep him out. He had to stop Mahad before it was too late. He screamed at Mahad and continued to bang on the seemingly unbreakable shield. He yelled at Mana to help him but she just stood there in shock. He began to cry when Mahad laughed. Mahad wasn't there anymore. Who ever was standing there in front of him couldn't be Mahad. He refused to give up, and tried to run around the wall but just has he had suspected it was a full circle around the magicians. Atem saw the man try to run, which in turn caused Mahad to laugh again. Tears began to blind him and Atem closed his eyes and balled his fists when he heard screaming. The man had tried to hide in the darkness, and now it seemed the darkness was eating him alive. Atem didn't open his eyes when the screaming stopped and but he touched the wall, hoping it hadn't fallen. He was scared now. He wanted to be as far away as he could from this thing that had taken over Mahad. He peeked his eyes open when the shield fell. The first thing he noticed was that it was dark, very dark. He could still see the glow from the Millennium Ring. It was lower than he expected, so Mahad wasn't standing anymore.

"M-Mahad?" Atem stuttered as h walked nervously over to him. He stood beside Mahad, barely able to see him. He knelt down beside Mahad and touched him on the shoulder. Mahad flinched at the contact.

"I killed him." He whispered, the fear in his voice told Atem that his friend was back. Atem didn't speak and Mahad began to shake. Atem hugged Mahad close to him as Mahad began to sob. What had just happened? Had that really been Mahad standing there grinning evilly at the man? Had Mahad actually just killed someone? Atem couldn't believe that it was true, it just couldn't be true. Mahad was always so calm, how could he suddenly blow up like that? He wanted to ask Mahad to tell him exactly what had just happened, but he couldn't bring himself to say it. Not while Mahad was crying in his arms. He rested his head in Mahad's hair and cried with him. They stayed that way till dawn, not moving just sitting there.

The Prince heard someone moaning not far away and he looked up to see Mana waking up. He guessed that she had fainted sometime before Mahad killed the guy. Mana looked at the Prince and then Mahad. Her eyes widened and she ran over to them, Mahad remained still when she touched him.

"Is he alright?" Atem considered this, physically he was fine. It was mentally that he was worried about.

"I think so."

"What happened? I remember Mahad going sort of crazy but I think I passed out." She said worried. The Prince was quiet, there was no way Mana should ever find out about what happened, but could he lie to her. He looked down, but Mahad made no indication that he even heard her, let alone felt like answering her question. He looked around making sure there was no evidence of the lie.

"The guy managed to run away, when Mahad managed to calm down he realized if the man had not got away he probably would have killed him. Now he is freaking out thinking that he is a murderer." Mahad flinched at the word, calming Atem's worries that he had become completely catatonic. "He is not though." He said more to Mahad than Mana. "Everyone makes mistakes." Mahad mumbled unintelligently. Mana rubbed his back.

"He is right; you also have to think about who the guy was. He attacked us first. Probably planning on kidnapping the Prince or killing him or something. It was not like he was innocent." Mana said smiling at Mahad. The Prince moaned.

"Thanks for reminding me that a ton of people want me dead for no reason whatsoever, Mana. I really appreciate it." He said sarcastically, hoping to change the subject.

"Well it is true, it is not my fault you are a giant target. Look at your hair; you basically scream 'I am important, come kill me!'" She said pulling on one of his bangs.

"Ow, leave my hair out of this. I happen to like it thank you." He said pulling Mana's hand off of his hair. He didn't even notice when Mahad sat up, he was too involved in another one of their fights.

"How can I leave it out, it is everywhere! And multicolored! How in ra's name is it multicolored come on! It is like you were born with a crown or something. The gold is exactly where the crown would be." She said. Atem stared at her for moment thinking about this. He went over and looked at his reflection in the Nile.

"Whoa, it is. That is so weird." he said staring at his reflection.

"Your Father thinks it is proof that you will make a great king." Mahad said quietly, still not over what he had done, but willing to push it aside for now. Atem looked at him with masked joy, he couldn't overreact to Mahad being willing to actually join the conversation in fear that Mana would get suspicious. So he pretended that he was happy his father thought so highly of him, which wasn't hard because he was really happy about that too.

"Really?"

"He bragged about it a few days ago." It felt like months ago to Mahad, maybe even years. "It means you are special and he thinks it is proof that you will do great things." Atem joyfully looked back at his reflection.

"Um... Speaking of your Father, Prince." Mana said kind of hesitantly. "He does not know we are out here." Both Atem and Mahad stiffened. No one knew they left and they had been gone all night.

"Oh holy ra, he has to be freaking out!" Atem said running in the direction of the Palace. He had no idea what kind of excuse he was going to use, but he knew he had to get back now. Before his father totally loses it. Mahad and Mana caught up to him quickly.

"What are we going to tell him?" Mana asked scared of getting in trouble.

"Anything! Oh, I'll bet he getting ready to send out a search party to Rome or something drastic like that." They ran to the Palace walls and Mahad ran past the guards at the entrance completely ignoring the fact that they obviously wanted to talk to him. He ran over to where the Prince climbed out from under the wall Mana had gone in first and was waiting for him to come out. Mahad began trying to think of a story to get them out of this, it was only right that he should lie to protect him when he had just told Mana a complete and total lie for him.

"Father!" The Prince yelled to the Pharaoh when they ran into throne room.

"Atem!" The Pharaoh stood but didn't move, the Prince was obviously going to come to him. Mahad winced they had gotten there too fast he hadn't thought of a good excuse. "Where have you been!" He said sternly though hugging the boy.

"Umm..." the Prince said breaking the hug and looking away, searching his brain for some kind of excuse.

"It is my fault, Your Highness." Mahad said and Atem resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Of course Mahad would try to take the blame.

"It is not." He said refusing to let him. Surprisingly Mahad ignored him.

"I mentioned that I needed help with something, and he was too eager to help. I told him I would rather do it myself but he followed me out of the Palace." Mahad said, completely and totally winging it, probably for the first time in his life. "I did not realize he followed me until it was too dark to come back. As soon as there was light enough I dragged him back." He was praying for it to work, but was still extremely surprised when it did. Unfortunately they weren't still completely safe yet. He turned to the Prince.

"What do you think you were doing? Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?" He asked still holding on to the Prince's shoulders. He did know how dangerous it was, at least he did now.

"I am sorry, Father. I was not thinking." He was glad that Mahad had thought of an excuse that no one would get in trouble for.

"I do not want to hear of you ever doing that again. Do you understand me?" He said.

"Yes Father, I promise it will not happen again." He said he actually intended to keep this promise. He wasn't going to sneak out of the Palace anymore, there was no way he would ever risk that happening again. His father let go of him and sat down he was rubbing the bridge of his nose, a headache was obviously forming.

"I am far too old for this." He said while Atem rejoined Mahad. "And he is barely even a teenager yet." A few of the guardians gave small laughs, Seto gave a loud grunt and Shimon just plain laughed. They walked from the room towards the exit.

"Mahad, come here. I want to speak with you." The Pharaoh called and Mahad stiffened.

"Yes, Sir." He said turning around and walking towards the front of the room.

"Follow me." The Pharaoh turned and walked out of room from a side exit. Mahad obeyed, following the descendent of horus out of the room.

A/N Is the story starting to get good yet. ^_^

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