The Life Of A King


Chapter 44Goodbyes

"What do you mean you are leaving?" Seto asked looking from Mahad to the Pharaoh and back. "We just got back, there are things to do, we have to..."

"All things you know how to do, and can do without me." The Pharaoh smiled a small smile at him, almost an apology. "It will not be long, I- I just need a break, I need to go somewhere, away from here. Just for a while, please understand." He said, not that Seto really had any choice in whether he went or not.

"At least take some of the guard with you." Seto trusted Mahad, he knew Mahad would give his life to protect the Pharaoh, but he didn't like the thought that the magician might have to do just that.

"Seto, the threat is gone. We stopped it, it is safe. Mahad is more than enough."

"I know but..." He tried again.

"Seto, Mahad is enough." The Pharaoh confirmed. Seto sighed he knew full well that nothing he said would make a difference, he just didn't understand why the Pharaoh had to leave now. Everything was finally settling down. "Thank you, Seto." The Pharaoh said with a light smile, a smile that didn't reach his eyes. The sight of it made Seto nervous, though he couldn't explain why.

"Thank me by returning quickly." Seto replied turning to walk in the opposite direction and rubbing the bridge of his nose, as though that would help relieve his stress.

The Pharaoh watched him go, wishing that he could fulfil that request. He turned to Mahad and closed his eyes, he needed to keep going, he needed to speak with Isis, and he needed to talk to Mana... but at the same time he didn't want to take even one step that would bring him closer to either of those two goals.

Mahad placed a gentle hand on his back and gave him a light push in the direction he needed to go, giving Atem the strength he needed to walk. Neither of them had to say anything, they both knew full well what the other was thinking, and they walked in silence until they reached the library where Isis turned to face them.

"When are you leaving?" She asked knowingly. Sometimes she wondered if her life would be easier without her knowledge of the future.

Atem closed his eyes for a moment before looking at her again... "This is goodbye." He said, answer enough in itself.

"So soon?" Part of her still desired to stop him, even though she knew the consequences.

"I would rather not drag it out, I do not trust my own courage enough for that."

She nodded, yes, her life would be much easier if she didn't know the future. "Who have you told?"

"No one besides Mahad. I intend to leave Seto a note... He will hate me for it though." The regret on the Pharaoh's face was plain as day.

"Perhaps at first, but he will honor your memory." She comforted, knowing Seto's loyalty would allow nothing less. "He will make a decent king... though he will never be able to live up to his predecessor."

"I cannot say much about that. I did not really have much time to leave a legacy."

At this Mahad gave a light laugh.

"And yet you did it anyway." He said with a smile.

"I would like to think the people would remember me..." Atem said humbly his gaze falling to the ground.

"That is, if you were going to allow them too." Isis gave him a saddened look, and he turned away a hint of shame on his face.

"What?" Mahad asked, the Pharaoh had conveniently forgotten to mention that.

Atem gave a sigh, he hadn't actually intended to tell Mahad that part of the plan, but Isis usually knew what was best, all things considering.

"I used my name as the password to seal the Dark One away." The Pharaoh began, "I cannot risk anyone learning the password, so I am going to ask Seto to wipe all hints of my existence away..."

"What!" Mahad exclaimed, to erase all records of a mans life... "But then..."

"It will be as though I never existed. Yes, Mahad, I know. Even I will know nothing of what I am, Zork must never return to the mortal world. And I will do whatever it takes to make sure he does not." Atem told his friend, continuing to stare in a different direction.

"But not all records of you bare your name. Why destroy them all?"

Atem finally turned to face Mahad. "Best not to give them any hints... I suppose it is just be being overly cautious... something I, no doubt, picked up from you." The young Pharaoh gave Mahad a smile.

"Well, at least you learned something from all the time you spent with me." Mahad replied, returning the smile even though he didn't really feel like doing so.

"I have learned much from you, Mahad. And even now I will continue to do so until I breath my last." Atem said before turning back to Isis. "Please tell them I am sorry. I sorely wish I could tell them myself."

"Of course." She answered.

"And do not let Seto become bitter, he is going to need much strength to lead these people with so little training."

"He will be fine, do not concern yourself. He is a strong man." She replied.

"I know he is strong, I just wish he had a little more joy in his life." The Pharaoh looked at Mahad, he and Seto had finally began to respect each other, Atem felt tremendous guilt for taking that away from them.

"I have already seen the future, my King. Seto will find joy, in fact I can see a beautiful girl with long white hair in his future." Isis said with a wink, Atem's eyes widened, as did Mahad's.

"Seto will marry?" The Pharaoh said in surprise, of all the guardians, Seto seemed the least likely.

"Every king needs an heir." She said, glad to give at least a little bit of good news in these troubling circumstances.

"And he was making fun of me for..." Mahad said quickly before trailing off, realizing what exactly he'd been about to say.

"For what?" Atem prompted with a slight smirk.

"Nothing," he said quickly before walking out of the room, just as quickly.

Atem gave a slight laugh and turned back to Isis whose smile faded when a tear fell from her eyes.

"We... I will miss you, your Highness." She said sadly bowing to him for the last time. He walked up to her and placed a hand on her shoulder, silently directing her to stand before, choosing to ignore propriety for just a moment, giving her a small hug.

"I will miss you too, even if I do not recognize it." He said as she gave him a hug back.

And without looking back the left the library, knowing full well just how true it was.

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