The Calm Before the Storm
The Calm Before the Storm
"I feel like my head is going to explode," Mana complained. It had been two days since they'd returned from Kul Elna, Atem spent most of his time now studying the Millennium Spell-book for anything useful.
"It has been a very dramatic week," Atem agreed with a sigh. They sat beneath the plum tree that they had so many good times under during their childhood. Mana had come into the secret room and almost literally dragged him out, she'd calmed it was because she missed him. He was pretty sure it was just because it was because he looked sick. He'd told her he was fine and to ignore it, she was doing a pretty good job of it too. He was very surprised at how well both Mana and Mahad had reacted to it. He was exhausted but he couldn't sleep, it just didn't work when he tried. They believed him when he told him he was trying to get some sleep and thankfully didn't bring it up more often than necessary. Actually Isis was the most vocal about how unwell he looked.
"I can not wait until this is over and we can get back to normal." Mana rested her head on his shoulder. Atem gave a small laugh.
"Mana, I do not even think I know what normal is anymore." She looked at him with a smile on her face.
"Maybe this is the new normal."
"I hope not. I would like to go at least one day without fearing for my life." Atem kept a smile on his face in order to let her know he was messing around and not completely serious.
"Yes, and I would like to see you get a full night's sleep, possibly longer, sometime soon. You really should not worry so much. It will be the death of you if you keep this up."
"I wish I could, Mana, but you know I have been trying to sleep and there are things more important than my immediate health to take care of. It is not going to kill me to have a few sleepless nights at the moment." Atem put his arm around her in an attempt to comfort her.
"It can if you pass out in battle." They heard from behind him both looked up to see Mahad standing behind them. Mana was surprised, but Atem was used to him popping up like that by now.
"Not likely. I am getting enough rest that that will not happen. Besides, even if it did you both would be there to protect me. I am not foolish enough to go alone again, especially know that we know what is going on."
"And I am not foolish enough to think that I could make it any better." Mahad sighed and sat down beside his Pharaoh. It was nice to have a chance to rest. Such pleasures were rare these days. "Have you found anything useful?"
"I have. I understand now what he meant when he called those spirits his family. He is the sole survivor of Aknadin's attack on Kul Elna, the spirits we fought were the spirits of the men and women sacrificed to create the Millennium Items. Only their physical bodies were necessary in the forging of the Items so their souls came back to the world for revenge. I hate to say this, but I do not blame them. They were treated unimaginably cruelly," The Pharaoh explained with sadness and regret in his voice.
"I knew there was something sinister about these things," Mahad said bitterly.
"I hate this. I hate having to rely on something created with the blood of others. We have no other choice now. They are our best defence."
"Yes, I agree, but the moment Egypt is safe, this thing is going in the Nile."
Atem laughed for a moment before becoming silent. His body straightened up and his face became alert. Mahad and Mana didn't have time to ask what was wrong before the sky went gray and the ground shook. They stood and ran into the palace gates to discover what happened. Seto and Isis were already there.
"Pharaoh, it was Bakura!" Isis called when she saw them coming.
"How?" The Pharaoh asked as they ran to the scene of the explosion.
"It looks like it was his spirit monster." Seto pointed at the fleeing monster in the sky. "There does not seem to be any damage though." They looked around, surprised, but grateful for the buildings that were still standing as though they hadn't been touched.
"Perhaps it was a warning shot?" Mana suggested, though unsure of why the Thief would bother with a warning. He very obviously didn't mind killing, and even seemed to enjoy it. So why was no one even injured.
"That does not make any sense. Even if it was a warning, would it not be a more efficient warning if he actually hit his target? This just makes him look ineffectual," Mahad added voicing everyone's thoughts.
"Maybe he missed."
"There is no logical reason for it to explode in the air."
"I do not care why it exploded in the air." The Pharaoh said angrily. "What I want to know is how he got in the city. Why is he able to get past our guards so easily? Is every guard in this city blind, mute, and deaf?"
"Perhaps those spirits can use magic. It would explain the enchanted horse if he had that many beings with magical abilities. As well as how he seems to be able to go anywhere at any time." Mahad rubbed the bridge of his nose, "bastet help us all if that is true."
"We will defeat him, Mahad. No matter what it takes we will stop him. They may have magic, but so do we." The Pharaoh looked at Mahad and smiled, "It will be all right."
"I cannot compete with that." The elder magician argued.
"No one said you had too. Though admittedly I think you could."
"You overestimate me, your Highness."
"I disagree, but this is getting us nowhere." The Pharaoh looked up in the sky where the smoke was clearing. "I suppose that is my cue to get back to work. I must return since it does not seem as though we are needed here."
Atem turned and walked back to the palace, stopping every now and then to reassure a citizen or two that there was no damage and that Bakura would be stopped. The others followed behind him in an unnecessarily protective fashion.
Two weeks went by with no word of what they were to do from the Pharaoh. The Thief attacked at least five more times, each time no resulting damage could be found. The guardians were lost. It seemed like a standstill that neither the Pharaoh or Bakura was aware of. It grated on their nerves. According to Mahad the Pharaoh had some sort of plan but even he couldn't get the details out of the young man. Not because they were a secret, no he couldn't even manage a conversation with his friend. Atem was buried in the ancient spell-book almost at all times. The only times he didn't have it in front of him was when he was attempting to sleep, and no one was willing to interrupt him then. Mana's worry was a steady, rapid increase. She'd convinced him to take the spell-book in his room and he spent most the time studying it on his bed. Sometimes he even managed fall asleep while studying, though it never lasted for long.
At the end of the two weeks they were shocked to finally see him out of his room, and even without the book in his hands. He sat on his throne with his eyes closed until they all assembled in the room. He had a smile on his face.
"I think it's time to fight back."