The next morning Atem expected to be completely unaware of what had happened the day before. He expected to think it was a dream.
The first conscious thought that went though his mind was that he wasn't a prince anymore. When he walked into the throne room that morning it was clear that they hadn't forgotten either. They looked at him differently, all of them but Aknadin. Aknadin's face had always been unreadable.
They day blurred by. He was so busy he could only remember snippets by the end of the day. A farmer's crops had been vandalized, a bunch of kids had knocked over a rich man's market stand, a weary tomb robber being dragged in, as well as a few governmental things as well.
When he went to bed that night it felt like he'd been awake for half an hour and yet he was exhausted. This was going to take some getting used to.
He never got the chance.
In the middle of the night Mahad ran into his room waking him up, not as gently as normal either.
They were being attacked.
That weary tomb robber he'd thrown in jail the day before, he had friends. Mahad nearly dragged him to the safe room, normally he would have preferred to help but at the moment he couldn't even string two complete thoughts together. His mind was exhausted, he had no idea what was going on.
There was a loud crash outside of the room and his adrenalin rush kicked in.
He ran out of the room with Mahad following telling him he really shouldn't be leaving and knowing it wouldn't help. Actually he was surprised he'd managed to keep him hidden for that long.
When he saw what had made the crash he wished he'd tied the Pharaoh in the safe room while he'd been subjective.
A giant spirit monster, larger than any he'd seen before. It looked like a man with a snake head instead of legs, sort of.
"Pharaoh, go back!" Seto called, Atem ignored him and summoned a spirit monster to help him.
"King's Knight!" He called as it appeared in front of the battlefield, completely missing the irony of the monster's name.
The monster was powerful, but with all of them combined he was no match. His 'friends' didn't even help.
Unfortunately, before they could defeat it, it vanished and so did he.
"Where did he go?" Seto exclaimed.
"Find him!" All the guards scrambled to obey the Pharaoh's order.
The entire capital city was searched. . . . three times, before they finally gave up. They were gone.
Atem wasn't tired anymore.
He paced in the throne room thinking. He'd been king for less then twelve hours and he'd already run into a situation he hadn't been prepared for. The only thing that could help him now was his own brain.
"How could he have escaped?" Seto questioned, they were watching him walk back and forth.
"Easy, we were distracted by his monster, he left before he sent it back to his soul. That is not the problem."
"How did you...?" Seto began but dropped the subject, he knew the Pharaoh's brain worked differently than his.
"Than what is the problem? He escaped, chances are he is not coming back." Karim asked he saw no lasting effects from this, besides maybe the citizens feeling unsafe.
"Tell me, why does a mere tomb robber have a Ka strong enough to fight off the, my, royal guardians?"
No one could answer.
"I do not believe this was a mere tomb robber."
"Then who was he and why was he sneaking around in the royal tombs?"
"That is the problem, I do not know."
"There's also the fact that no average tomb robber has an army." Mahad looked at him with a look of exasperation.
"And no average tomb robber gets caught. It's not like we guard the tombs." Atem added.
"We probably should." Shada replied.
"You want to do it?" Atem asked sarcastically. "We don't have the manpower for something like that, and I'm not paying a bunch of people to stand there and do nothing all day."
"Someone must have told on him."
"He seems to have to many friends for that."
"Then how did he get caught? The only other way is to turn yourself in."
"This sounds strange, but I get the feeling he wanted to get caught." Mahad pushed away from the wall and walked towards him. "The way he looked when we came in, it looked like he was winning something. Also the fact that his friends knew where to find him, this wasn't a random arrest. He had a plan of some kind."
"But why? Why would he go though all the trouble of getting caught if he was just going to run off?" Atem was no longer pacing.
"He wanted to get into the Palace for some reason." Mahad said.
"Perhaps to get a layout of the place. Maybe he plans to come back." Atem threw the idea in the idea.
"What would he gain from that?" Karim asked.
"Maybe to see where are weak points are?" Atem suggested.
"We do not have any week points." Seto added to the conversation for the first time in a long while.
"Is that so, then tell me, how did he escape, or did I just miss the part where we actually stopped him." Atem gave him a sarcastic look.
"There was an army. Who can defeat an unexpected army that quickly?"
"The army did nothing, Seto. They stood there as he fought. The palace was attacked by a single man and we were losing. Just to be sure you understand I will tell you who can defeat an unexpected army, one that is always prepared, that is who. How was he able to get out of prison, why was an entire army able to get past our people undetected?" The Pharaoh was almost unrecognizable, he was more serious now then anyone had seen him for as long as they had known him. In just a day he had grown from the Prince to the Pharaoh, and he didn't even need his crown to look the part.
Seto was not to be embarrassed though. "I cannot tell you that, perhaps we should ask the one who is in charge of the men protecting the castle. Yes?" Seto turned to Mahad, shifting the rebuke to where it actually belonged. Atem closed his eyes, to calm himself, as much as he hated to admit it Seto was right. Defense of the palace was Mahad's responsibility while battles away from home were Seto's.
"I apologize Seto. It was wrong of me to lose my temper the way I did, especially when it was not your responsibility." Atem said with surprising humility, it was not something they were used to seeing, a Pharaoh apologizing, the Pharaoh made the standard. He was never in the wrong. Atem had never been like that, he had changed in the last few days, but the one area they expected him to change he stayed exactly the same.
Atem then turned to Mahad. "Is there something we can do to prevent this in the future?" he asked having calmed himself down.
Mahad couldn't look directly at the Pharaoh, he knew that rebuke had truly been his, and was ashamed in himself for letting down his friend, at such a time of danger. "I cannot say at the moment, I would have to speak to my men first."
"Do that, and quickly. Until we know what it was they wanted they are still a threat."
"Yes, your Highness." He said bowing and walking off to do what he was told. Atem was upset, he knew what Mahad was thinking, but he also knew the only reason he was sorry was because Mahad was his friend. Had they grown up with each other they way he had with the others he would have known Mahad deserved it for not doing his job correctly. He knew Mahad though, and he knew that Mahad was very busy, although Seto was as well, and he had been willing to rebuke Seto for it so he could not turn back now. He was Pharaoh now and it was his job to keep them all in line, even Mahad. He had to be willing to tell them the truth.
"If you would like Pharaoh, my Millennium Tauk allows me to see in the future, would you like me to see what I can find out about them?"
Atem winced, he really wasn't fond of the Millennium Items. "If you wish Isis, though I would rather not hear of the conclusion of your search directly, tell Seto if you find something." Atem had already had more than enough of prophesies then he'd ever want in his life.
"Karim would you get a few men to search the area of his cell." Atem said calmly
"Of course, your Highness." Karim bowed and left to complete his command.
"Shada, at sunrise you and I are going to look to see if he left a trail outside of town. Until then we can do nothing else."
"Get some rest before then we will be gone for a while. Seto, you are in charge until I return."
Seto didn't reply, just bowed. In all honesty he was surprised the Pharaoh was going himself, and even more surprised he was the one picked, he half expected the Pharaoh to ask Mahad.
Mahad returned before Karim did.
"They said they saw nothing."
"What? How is that possible?"
"I do not know, but they are telling the truth. This band of men are not what they seem to be."
"Could they be magicians?" Seto asked, for once speaking to Mahad with respect. Atem had to admit the man knew when it was time to be serious.
"No. I would have sensed that. They were not Magicians. Though they were something, something abnormal."
"Could they have been spirit monsters?" Atem asked not understanding how this could be.
"It is possible, but unlikely as the tomb robber already had one, unless they were the Ka of a some other person, though they would need to be hiding in the background. The Ka cannot be out of sight from it's master unless permanently removed from the master's soul, and the Millennium Items are the only known things able to do that."
"At the moment that is our only answer." Shimon added, looking at their Pharaoh as though he had the answer.
"Just because it is our only answer does not make it the right answer. The only way to know the right answer is to find the thief." Atem shook his head and walked out of the room, signifying that the meeting was over.
"What are we going to do?" Mahad asked, having missed the conversation explaining the plan.
"He wants to see if they made a trail outside of the city." Seto replied, looking only at the door Atem left though.
"Who is going?"
"The Pharaoh said just he and I, though I am not sure that is such a good idea."
"I will fix that." Mahad left the way the Pharaoh had.
"Isis, do not be afraid." Seto said placing a hand on her shoulder. "There is no reason to think that it was nothing more than an escape from prison."
"I suppose so, I am still worried though."
"We all are, my friend. We all are."
A/N) And now things start to get good. hehehe I've been waiting for this part the entire story. Thanks for all the reviews so far, sorry I'm being slow with it, I just started college in the beginning of fall and have been really busy. That and I have like ten different stories I'm writing, though not all are posted on yet.