Disclaimer: I do not own Yugioh or any thing associated with the show or game.
AN: I know, I know. You may hurt me later, I promise.
"Did we not just have a celebration?" Yugioh asked with a small glint to his eye. He held in his hand a list of expenses it was going to cost Memphis to host the festivals of Maat and Sekhmet. Both goddesses had special ties to Memphis and if Yugioh had to guess, Sekhmet was Ruia's deity guardian. He had noticed in the past couple of weeks the interest his Queen held in the war goddess. Even though she had never come out and admitted it, Yugioh was sure Sekhmet had a connection to Ruia like he had to Ra.
"Your wedding does not count Yugioh and you know it." Setto replied, shaking his head in disbelief. "Not everyone was invited or even knew about it for that matter." He paused. "Unless you really want to upset the government of Egypt with offending the goddess of justice, not to mention the goddess of war, who I may remind you is a member of the local triad here. If that is your plan, then by all means, lets ignore the festivals." Setto leaned over and glanced at the papyrus in Yugioh's hand. "The figures do not seem overly bad, except for that number there. You have a lot of security on hand, more than normal, for the festivals. Then again, your wife is pregnant and threats to your lives have been made, so I guess it does make sense."
Bakura shook his head. "I requested the additional security, Setto. Yes, it is the first major function that requires both the Pharaoh's and the Great Royal Wife's presence and appears to be a golden moment to attack with so many villagers going to be in attendance, but there is more to it than that. Ryou and his possible followers are out there as well. We cannot forget what he did at the Temple of Ptah. Maat represents the building blocks of our nation. Her celebration could provoke another attack. Plus Sekhmet is the second member of the Memphis triad. She could easily be a target too. We are going to need extra guards to watch all the temples on those days, not just to two we are celebrating."
Yugioh leaned back into his throne. As much as he hated to admit it, even to himself, with everything that happened with Ruia, finding Ryou had temporarily slipped his mind. Ruia and his unborn child had become his top priority. But when Bakura had confronted him about the possibility of an attack from Ryou and not Jarha and Satire, Yugioh felt horrible to say the least. In his attempt to protect the love of his life, he had forgotten briefly about his country. 'Maybe now, since all the secrets were finally out, my two worlds can become one. I just pray I will not have to decide between them, ever. Maybe this is why our forefathers created this system of class. Because without the system, it was too difficult too choose. Now you had this system that took away that pain by making the choice improper and wrong. But they were wrong. The pain of ignorance was far worse than the actually choice. I rather put my country first and have her at my side than to have my country and live alone with Jarha having her as his wife. That alone is far, far worse.'
"An attack from Ryou seems questionable though. Would he pick a time where he knows there would be added security and people about? It seems he would be asking to get captured and tried." Setto countered. "Lets not forget the attack at the Temple of Ptah was on an ordinary day and not on a day of celebration. It was when our guard was at its lowest, when we felt invincible. We are past that now."
Bakura shook his head. "It was a warning Setto. The darkness was letting us know it had claimed another pawn. Ryou's attack was a warning, to us, that more destruction, terror, and death were coming. And worst of all, nothing, not even our most sacred temples were safe. There is nothing we can do to prevent the darkness from taking over our loved ones and land. That was the message we were to take from Ryou's attack."
"Is that only part of the message though? Part of me wonders if there was not something more. Why the temple of Ptah? Why not the temple of Ra, the SOLAR god? He is the light, nothing more, nothing less. Why not the temple of Maat, goddess of justice? Why attack Ptah, one of the creator gods, the god of craftsman and artists? The more I rule as Pharaoh, the less I believe in coincidences. There is something much larger at work here. We are only looking at half the picture. The Temple of Ptah is where the High Priest Ay Menes worked. But more importantly, Ay had a special connection to the light. He is Ruia's uncle. Now I am not claiming that Ryou knew anything about Ruia's divinity or even my own. I am not even sure if Ay knew about his niece's abilities, though I am willing to stake my crown that he did. Yet, there is a connection, one no one wants to speak aloud. Bakura spoke of it, but only skimmed the top of it. Ryou was not just telling us that we were not safe, that is only part of his message. There is a deeper message that we missed at the temple. The dark is calling the light out. The war between the light and the darkness is beginning, whether we are ready for it or not. The darkness of the human heart has made the first strike, as it has done for centuries. Now it is time to see how strong the light in the human heart really is. Make no mistake, the attack on Ptah was no random choice, not when it is so closely tied to the Divine Mother, or in simpler terms, the light."
Bakura bit his lip, ignoring the pain. "It would make sense and of course we did not make the connection before because we did not know about Ruia yet. Yes, we knew of her family ties to the Temple of Ptah, but we knew nothing of her magic. Suddenly a random temple attack makes sense. And if what Yugioh said is true about the dark verses the light, then Sekhmet's temple could be the next target very easily."
"Not necessarily." Setto replied, eyes staring at a spot on the ceiling in concentration. He lowered them before speaking. "If Ryou has no idea has no idea of Ruia's and Yugioh's abilities, then the temples are safe. I doubt Ryou is stupid enough to attack another temple, even if he is being controlled by the darker part of his heart or soul. Yes, the darkness is a strong force, but it does not make people overly stupid either. If we did not get the message at the Temple of Ptah, then another attack on a temple would have come. But the attack, the message was loud and clear and we received it. No, we have to be ready for something else, bigger and larger than we have ever seen or experienced here in Egypt. And it will make the deaths at the Temple of Ptah look small and unimportant. If this is truly going to be a battle between good and evil, light and dark, mortals and gods, then we can only expect the death toll to rise. And even worse, this is all an internal threat. We still have many outside enemies and threats to be worried about. Rome is ever concerned about Greece. They have even invited us out in the spring to discuss the matter. But I confess, after that, I do not know much. Jarha was our minister of external affairs, which is another huge problem. He knows all our weaknesses."
"Then there is only a couple things we can do, double the training of troops, strengthen our ties with our allies, and warn them that our minister of external affairs has a vendetta against Egypt and quite possible Egypt's allies. We all have to face a reality here. Jarha would know our ally's weaknesses as well as he knew our own. "I…" he paused. "I would not be surprised if he went to the Greeks for assistance. He and Satire will be looking for help anywhere, including our greatest enemy." Yugioh kneed his knuckles into his hand. 'Even though things have looked favorable these past few weeks, I still do not feel safe putting my guard down. There is too much at risk right now."
"Do you wish for anything else, Pharaoh?" Bakura asked, noticing the thoughtful expression on his king's face. "Do you need anything?"
"Where is Ruia?" Yugioh could sense she was okay; still he did not like how things were progressing in Egypt. Danger had never been so close before, at least not that he could recall. It was as if he was staring into the face of a deadly snake, waiting for the moment it leapt at him to strike him. Only so far, he had avoid being bitten. He was not sure though how much longer he could keep it up. Ruia either.
"I saw her with Athena down in the North Wing. Jou was stationed outside the door watching for anything out of the ordinary. I am sure she is fine Yugioh." Setto replied. "No one would dare to attack her inside the palace walls."
"Oh I am not concerned about that, not fully at least. I just wanted an update on her training. From what we have said today, the possibility of an attack, even a large one, is great. I just want reassurance that she is making progress and will be able to defend herself if something happens. And I do not just mean fighting either, politics too. The voyage to Rome is not that far off. Even if she is allowed to travel at that time, I know Latin will not be second nature to her yet, but even if she knows a little, it will be a great aid to her."
"Setto would you mind terribly if I asked you to get Honda? I am sure he or Joey would be far better at reporting her status in fighting than I would be." Bakura asked. He watched as Setto nodded an affirmative before turning on his heals and headed down the hall. "Your wife, Yugioh, is a fast learner. She says she does not understand everything I have thrown at her, but her instincts are incredibly sharp. It is as if she knows when someone is lying to her or maybe it is more as if she knows a person's true intentions. She has a solid grasp of our customs and beliefs, in our designs and the stars, and in our religion. Ay taught her well there. She is, however, weak on our political customs, military strategies and commands, but to be honest, I expected her to be shaky there. We have been studying hard on our political customs, as well as the Greek and the Roman customs. We have touched on some of the Nubian as well, per your request. She is hesitant on some of the formal arrangements that she is expected to perform from time to time here at the palace, but so are you, so I figured that is something you two could work on together." He held a small smirk on his face.
Yugioh smiled. "Figures she would take after me. But overall, she is progressing…" He trailed off, knowing Bakura would fill in the blanks.
"As best as we could hope for, given the circumstances I guess. Unlike you Yugioh, she likes to study and learn. I have heard the stories from Setto about your lessons with Zemti, Qaa, and Sepi. Though, there is one thing I did notice about Ruia…" he trailed off.
"What is that Bakura?" Yugioh asked, giving his friend a curious and concerned glance.
"She is very critical of what she reads and is told. She does not deny or not believe what she is told, rather questions the rational behind it. Basically she is like a young villager that asks why all the time, simply less annoying. Her questions are sharp and raise excellent points that I am confident when I say that most of our scholars would have problems answering them. Her thought process is unique. I have never seen anything like it. Ruia simply sees things others do not."
"Sort of like her beliefs in traditions, important, but their aims are not always correct. But I sense you have a problem with this?" Yugioh eyed his High Priest. He trusted Bakura and his insight, respected him as well. He just could not help getting cautious when people attack Ruia. 'Stop it,' he commanded himself. 'Bakura is an ally, a trust friend. You cannot keep sorting people as good and bad, second-guessing peoples motives. It is not right.' Yugioh shook his head to clear his thoughts. "What I meant Bakura was why is this thought process particularly dangerous? You must have felt that it was or you would not have brought it to my attention. I did not mean to make it sound as if I did not trust you. It is just difficult to not second guess everything with such a real threat to our lives out there and be so helpless to stop it."
"We will find them, Yugioh, before Satire and Jarha have a chance to harm your family. And it is only natural to second-guess everything and everyone, especially when it concerns your wife. And that is where my concern lies. She is very different Yugioh and she is going to stick out to put it bluntly. The way she thinks, believes, and even acts," he shook her head, "she will become very well known, very quickly. Memphis already knows of her, her previous status, and the stories about her. When the rest of Egypt hears the same news, distinguishing rest threats from the false…" he shrugged. "It will almost be impossible. People will either look at her and see a royal they can relate too or another royal to hate because she is not royal."
"And thus, the line between ally and enemy will become even less clear and more obscure making every supposed threat more real and dangerous, which means, her training becomes that much more necessary and imperative she learns it."
To the right of them, someone cleared his throat. "We may have a slight problem with that Yugioh. Do not worry, Honda is with Athena and your wife." Jou said, walking up to the others. He ran his hand through his messy blonde locks, which seemed to be soaked with some liquid.
"Um, Jou, what is in your hair?"
Jou grinned sheepishly. "Never pick on pregnant women. They fight back evilly." He chuckled. "I am just glad they did not throw the goblet at me, just dumped the water on me."
Bakura bit his lip and tried to suppress a grin. "Do I even want to know what you said to merit such a response?"
"All I said was I finally understood why the hippo represents pregnancies and childbirth in our culture." He shrugged. "I have no idea why they reacted the way they did. Women I tell you. So over emotional." The smirk on his face, however, contradicted his words. He knew exactly what he said.
Yugioh and Bakura looked at one another and simply groaned. "You made a dangerous friend messing with Ruia, Jou." Yugioh said, a small smile gracing his face.
"Friend? Do you not mean enemy?"
Yugioh shook his head. "Oh, no. Ruia enjoys a good challenge. She may not be good at games, bit she is a devious person as you will ever meet. I have learned this much by marrying her."
Bakura coughed. "Oh a more pressing and serious matter Jou, how is the Great Mother's training going? I am glad you are able to distract her thoughts from her current dilemma, even for a short time. That is something I have not been able to accomplish in all our lessons."
Yugioh sighed and moved over to the window and looked over at Memphis. "The danger is still out there, biding its time. We have to be ready. Tell me Jou, will Ruia be ready?"
Like night turning to day, Jou's humorous expression shifted to a more serious tone. "It is not going as we hoped my Pharaoh. Her magic is very weak, which we simply cannot understand since she is the legendary Divine Mother. Concealing her identity, however, will not be hard if we cannot even find it. But, if she forced today to fight, she would lose. She is simply not strong enough magically to defend herself. Yet, she insists she would be fine if the danger was real. She told Honda and I that she would be able to defend herself if a situation were to arise and be okay. She does not want to take that chance mind you, but she is not as afraid as I thought she would be. She is scared, but her confidence level is rising despite not making real progress."
"Loki. Her confidence comes from him." Yugioh quickly explained to Jou the incident five years ago. "She must be worried, however, about the possible effects her magic could have on the baby. You said her magic was though, how weak are we talking about here?"
"Weak may not have been the best choice in wording. She knows little defensive spells. Ay must have taught her that. The spell she used against Jarha seems defensive in nature, yet we cannot check because she has not been able to reach that level of skill since that day. It appears to Honda and I that she can only reproduce her strongest divinity in the most desperate of situations."
"Do you have any ideas why?" Bakura asked.
"Honda suggested that it could in fact be a lack of confidence or due to the fact she was trained so late in life. It simply takes longer."
"I do not know how to put it in words. It is like when she has a lack of emotion or conscious thought could she wield her divinity or raw power. It is only then is it natural enough for her to control, when she has no control and is simply reacting on her instincts. Regardless, she needs to get passed that and soon. Training her everyday, as long as it is healthy for her, is something we seriously need to consider doing."
Yugioh turned and looked back out over the city. 'Ay might have thought he was protecting his niece by not training her hard so not to call attention, but now I wonder. Did it do more harm than good? I remember my rigorous training. There is no way we can do that with Ruia, especially with her present condition. Not only would she be at risk, but my country and myself as well. Everyone with something to prove could travel here and there is no way we could defend all our borders. We would be spread much to thin.' He thought with a sigh. "What about combat?"
"Surprisingly, she is a little stronger. I would not be shocked to learn that it was her divinity guiding her in some small way. Now, she was not always accurate, but it was enough for Honda and I to notice. It was as if she could sense where an attack was going to come from and block it. If she could just master her divinity," Jou shook his head, "the legends would be true. Nothing, magic wise, could match the powers posed by the divine children."
Bakura tapped a finger to his chin. "What if magic was not an option that is could indeed harm the child? I know this is an answer I must find out, but what would happen then?"
"Then Honda and I would have to move physical training from a need to know priority to a must learn at all costs. Physically we are taking it slower, teaching her fighting techniques and strategies more than hand-to-hand. She is a quick one, wanting to learn everything she can. The scrolls we gave her to read may be able to save her, once she gets a good grasp on the backgrounds. Once she does, then we will move into the actual fighting."
"I want her trained in physical offense and defense the moment she is ready Jou and not a moment later. If we cannot count on her divinity, then we must find another way for her to defend herself." He moved himself back to his most trusted friends. "Also, we need to make sure the troops themselves are ready as well. An attack can commence at a moments notice. We may have to double the intensity of their training as well and be prepared to send notification out to other villages that more troops may be needed." He paused. "I do not care what reason you give them for this, just make sure it is done."
"No problem Yugioh. Honda figured you would be asking us to do this soon and he came up with a plan. You know more about magic than we do, especially when it comes to divinity. Maybe you should take over that aspect of her training. Who better to teach her than her counterpart? Besides, during that time Honda or I could train our army and the other could watch your backs. Surely between meetings and appearances is there time for her training."
The idea was so simple. Yugioh could not believe he did think of it himself. "Maybe that is the problem Jou. The wrong people are training her. You and Honda may have stumbled on something. Light-to-light training may actually repel one another. Lights trained me, but my magic is darker. Maybe she needs to be trained in the same way."
"It is an interesting theory Yugioh, one that reinforces the bond between the divine mother and the divine father. Still, the use of extreme magic worries me. I will have to search the legends and stories of the divine child, see what 'history' tells us." Bakura spoke. "Maybe you should talk to Ruia, Yugioh. See what each of you knows about your gifts. Maybe the answer to one of the greatest riddles of all time is right before us."
"Greatest Riddle?" Jou asked.
Bakura drew his lips into a thin line before answering. "Just how powerful the Divine Family really is?"
"You do not feel guilty at all, dumping that water on Jou, do you Ruia Ana?" Athena accused with an amused twinkle in her eyes. She sat down on one of the elegantly decorated chairs that were found in the meeting room. Unlike normal meeting rooms, this one held a vast number of scrolls and texts. Bakura had assigned a majority of them to Ruia to read.
"If he calls us hippos again, he will get worse than water." Ruia replied with a small smirk. "I'm not even showing that much yet, unless you really look. I can't wait to see what he pulls when we are both showing. I can do so much worse than water next time too. It just happened to be the most accessible liquid or object for that matter, at the time. I could have thrown the goblet, but I did not think Yugioh would have appreciated that too much." Ruia gazed down at the scroll in front of her. "I was under the impression that the government was a system of hierarchy, complex, yet solid for the success of the country. Yet, according to this scroll, it is corrupt, dangerous, and too complex for the country's survival."
"Power corrupts a man, Ruia. It can change people for the best or sometimes for the worst." She sighed, her thoughts lingering back to Ryou. 'If Ruia only knew that Ryou and I was responsible for her uncle's death, what would happen then? How can I sit here before her and keep such a secret from her? I know Yugioh and the others were waiting for the right moment to tell her, when she was more mentally and emotionally stable. But I am not sure how much longer I can keep this from her.'
Ruia looked up from her reading. "If I did not know any better Athena, I would think you were speaking from experience. What deep dark secret are you hiding from me?" She asked with a laugh. It only took a moment for Ruia to realize Athena was not laughing with her. "Athena? Did I say something wrong?" Ruia didn't miss the panicked look on her face.
"Ruia, I have not been fully honest with you, but you have to understand, the reason was in the best interest of your health and the baby's. My husband or maybe I should say ex-husband since I have not seen him in roughly two months. Anyway he was accused of a horrible crime." She shook her head. "No, I should not say accused. I cannot hope against hope anymore. We know it was my husband. You see he was identified at the scene. One of the witnesses said the accused look liked the High Priest Bakura. You see Ruia, there is only one other person in the world that could be – my husband."
"Bakura has a twin…"Ruia responded, realizing what Athena was alluding too. She was unsure how Athena's husband had anything to do with her. She couldn't recall at the moment if anyone mentioned Bakura having a brother, let alone a twin. Still in the back of her mind, a voice kept telling her this had to do with her Uncle Ay. A voice she was desperately trying to ignore. 'Yet it is the only thing that makes sense and why people would wait to tell me.'
"Yes, at one time, they were inseparable. Now they are as different as the sun and moon. One is light while the other has fallen to the darkness. Bakura knew this day could come. He had visions about it when he was younger. The shadows stayed at bay for so long though. How we were all so naïve and so foolish, I will never know. And finally, the day Bakura feared came. And on that day, everyone's lives in one way or another were drastically changed."
"The attack at the Temple of Ptah," Ruia choked out, tears filling her eyes. "It was your husband, Ryou…he…he killed my uncle!" There was no stopping the crystalline tears that fell, falling onto the scroll, blurring the words. Finally, her uncle's killer had a name, though she never would have believed the murderer would have ties to the palace. 'Does this, is this the true meaning of divinity that there is no such thing as coincidence? Fate is strong, destiny is stronger, but divinity is far more overpowering. Every choice someone makes seems to affect the divine children. The scholars are wrong. We are not children of the gods; rather, we are the children of Egypt. We are Egypt, which is why everything affects us so greatly.'
"Ai Ruia, you are correct. My husband, the father of my children, is the reason why your uncle walks among the souls of the afterlife." She pushed back her lavender locks, for the first time, allowing herself a moment to falter and to break. Seeing Ruia's distraught face, seeing how much pain Ryou had caused, was the last grain of wheat. "Ruia you have to believe me when I say I am sorry for keeping this from you. I just never knew how to tell you. You were so distraught, so lost. If I or anyone would have told you then…'
"I would have lost it completely. I do not blame you Athena for Ryou's actions or why you kept such a painful secret. You too had to come to grips with what transpired. I lost my uncle, but you lost your husband, friend, love, and the person whom you thought you would spend your life with. I cannot hold a grudge when you were in just as much pain, if not more." She stood and moved over to the gold statue of Seshat, the goddess of writing and keeper of royal annals.
"I do not deserve your forgiveness Ruia."
"Athena, enough." Ruia spoke, allowing a bit of the royal command voice Bakura had been teaching her to spill out. She was not trying to out rank the older girl, just trying to get her to stop blaming herself.
A small smile crossed Athena's face. "I told you, you would have no trouble adjusting to royal life. It seems, however, Ryou did. Or maybe that is just simplifying things too much."
"I do not understand."
"Ryou…he…he held a bit of a grudge against the royal family. He never forgave Yugioh's father for taking his twin away from him. They were very close when they were tots and then Bakura came here to Memphis to train. Ryou saw less and less of his twin and the resentment started. It was even worse after his mother and father passed away. Maybe that is how the darkness finally claimed him."
"Taking that seed of resentment and encouraging it to grow until it claimed his whole soul, whole being really. It must have been hard to see your twin go off without you. Bakura must have been ten, am I right?" She watched as Athena nodded. "Such a tender age – an age of adulthood, yet, still not old enough to truly make it on your own without some family and guidance. Ryou must have felt very alone, losing your best friend like that."
"I suppose you are correct. Ryou was always very secretive about his past as well as his feelings about those events. When he did share them, I felt special, connected to him even. I thought he was the one you know. Now, I wonder, was I just a game for the darkness' amusement?"
Ruia moved closer to her friend and clasped her shoulder tightly. "The darkness cannot manipulate love for it does not know love. Ryou loved you Athena or he never would have trusted you with some of his past to begin with. Information like that is valuable for it could lead to his undoing and he knew that. Bakura has taught that you never give out valuable information without getting something equally as important back. You never want someone to have an edge on you or your weakness. If this was the darkness' game, then that information never would have reached your ears."
"But I gave him no type of information back, none that I am aware of. I never told him about the secret passages here in the palace or told him any of the Royal family's secrets I know about, which I thank Ra now that I did not. Maybe he just did not know the rules. No, that cannot be correct either. Ryou managed to carry out the attack on the temple of Ptah, elude the royal guards, and remain hidden all this time. He would have known something trivial like that."
"Athena, you do not understand. You did give Ryou something: a friend, a confident, but more importantly, he found someone he could trust. That is the most important information a person could ever give." Ruia whispered. "You cannot blame yourself for any of this. I do not. And I am sure Yugioh and Bakura do not either."
Athena placed a hand on her stomach. "Still, I have to wonder, if he had only known, what his choice would have been then. Of course, I am assuming he had a choice to begin with."
"We always have a choice. That is the one thing I failed to grasp for so long. The darkness confuses and tricks us, leads us astray, but never can it takes away our right to choose. But it will definitely use every means at its disposal to make us think differently."
"What happened to my little Ruia who was so unsure of herself, timid of the choices she had to one day make, and confront the fear of this new life?"
"She found very good friends who kept telling her she would be okay and that they would be beside her every step of the way. And finally, she started believing it. And more importantly, she is going to return the advice given to her, after all, status is nothing."
Athena looked up at Ruia, tears brimming in her eyes. "Thank you…my friend."
Ruia flashed a grin and slipped back into her chair and smirked. "Do not thank me just yet. You may not want to know me if Jou keeps up with the hippo comments."
The sight was simply breathtaking. Seventy-five men fighting, sparring, training together, and learning what it was going to take to defeat their enemies. Pushing back her long hair, Satire licked her lips in anticipation. It was only a matter of time before she could extract her revenge on that harlot Ruia and take back what was rightfully hers, namely Yugioh and Egypt. She would enjoy making that wrench suffer. Of course, she had to keep that little plan a secret from her brother. Despite all Ruia had done to them, he still loved her and was convinced Yugioh was to blame, which was simply absurd. Still, she could not hurt her brother. She would have her revenge and hen Jarha could have his way with the girl, just as long as she had Yugioh alone and in bed.
"How are the troops progressing?" Jarha asked, coming up behind his sister.
"They are progressing nicely. We should be able to attack within the next few weeks. I am sure they will be ready by then." The smile on her face grew. "And then, we can have what we both so richly deserve."
"You were always the eager one my dear. We cannot rush our attack for we will only have one chance at it. We must choose our moment carefully and wisely. It is still far too early to mount an attack against Egypt. We need more time to train and gather more troops. The Pharaoh's army is quite large, far larger that what we have here. Small numbers are good for sneak attacks, but we both know that Yugioh and Ruia will be waiting for us."
"Ay, you are correct brother. Still, I long for the day when we take what is rightfully ours. Yet, you are right. There are still so many obstacles in our way." She turned and looked at her brother. "And one of the biggest problems lies with Ruia and her unborn child."
"Yes, her magic was an unexpected surprise, however, quite easy to overcome. Her magic is still very raw, very uncomfortable for her to use. Yes, Yugioh will train her, but we both know it takes years to develop solid magic. They do not have years."
"And the child? Yugioh and Ruia have magic. Their child most certainly will. Granted, linage is not everything. Our parents did not posse magic and we both have the gift. But, their child…"
"We will have to cross that waterway when it comes. But I can assure you this Satire, when I have Ruia as my wife, she will not have her child." Jarha smiled. "I will make sure to erase all memories of Yugioh from her mind and take her somewhere were she can never be found."
"And I will do the same with Yugioh. Rule by his side as Queen and make him forget everything he ever knew about Ruia." Satire closed her eyes and thought of all the wonderful things she would do with Yugioh once that harlot was out of his life. "We need to find this aid you spoke of soon."
"I think I may have already. I have heard rumors that there is a large group of men not far from here who loathe the Royal Family as much as we. But they have had no real leadership for nearly five years. I am sure if we found them, see what we are doing, I am positive they will join our cause."
"How many men are we talking about?"
"The numbers vary but I have not heard a number less than a hundred and fifty."
"But that would triple our numbers practically!" Satire exclaimed, eyes wide. "We must get them on our side."
"I am working on it, do not fret. We have to approach these men with caution. They could easily destroy us, but I believe with no real leadership that is not an option."
"No leadership may be a good thing. We can easily mold them with the rest of our forces. Still, we are assuming they kept up with their training. It may be months before everyone is on the same skill level, if ever."
"Do not be so eager for battle little sister. Timing is everything in this. One rushed move and everything we have worked for and so righteously deserve will be lost forever."
"Satire, you must control your temper, you must. We still have much to do and our own training to complete. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Do not be our weakest link" Jarha spoke, a hint of an older brother command in his voice.
"You know I will not…brother," replied Satire who quickly turned and headed down the stairs towards the training men.
"Oh you may fool some people sister but I have known you since your birth. You are a reckless and impatient child. The moment someone tells you, you cannot have something that makes you want it that much more. The moment someone says wait, you jump head on without thinking. No my dear, you may cost us everything and I cannot have that. I will not let you cost me Ruia. I will have her at all costs, even if it means losing my sister."
Ruia blew a piece of her sweat soaked hair out of her eyes. "You try it while protecting your stomach." She huffed, trying to regain her breath. Timidly, she raised her head to face her instructors. "I am not getting any better at his am I?"
Jou glanced at Honda. "Not as quickly as we hoped, but you do have a knack for predicting attacks, which is something you cannot teach. Still, I do not know why combat techniques cannot stick in your mind. Maybe it is laziness or a mental block but for some reason you still fail to comprehend the importance of footwork. Without good footwork, you have no balance, which means you and your child are dead." Jou lightly scolded.
"I am trying you know." She huffed again. "I'm sorry, I am not mad at you, only myself. I definitely need to get into better shape with his pregnancy is over, start running again or something."
"You can run a pretty good distance without stopping, which is good. How is your swimming?" Honda asked.
Ruia bit her lip. "I can swim, just not very strong at it. I do not like going underwater much," she replied. "I do not know why. I just do not like not seeing what is in front of me, especially if that thing is a crocodile or something just as big, with as many teeth, and is as hungry."
Honda shook his head at her in disbelief. "If you do not risk anything, you risk even more Ruia." He leaned back against the palace wall, taking a moment to enjoy the little bit of shade the wall had to offer.
"Risk more? What?" She blinked, trying to understand what Honda was really trying to tell her. "Translation please. I am way to exhausted to think at the moment."
"How can you not understand? I thought you of all people would understand the meaning of those words, even live by them considering your past actions." He laughed. "The saying is simple. If you do not put everything on the line, you risk everything you sought to protect or gain. To risk everything means you are preparing for anyone or thing. But if you allow yourself to fall prey to fears and insecurities, hide in a blanket of "security," you risk falling to those same fears in the future."
"In other words, you have to be willing to face your fears and risk everything you are capable of than stay away from what scares you and let it beat you subconsciously," she replied.
"Exactly. And just like swimming, you have a fear about being able to defend and fight for your life and your child's. Combat is dangerous and you have every right to be worried. But the best way to get over that worry is to be prepared. Of course, Jou and I may be throwing too much at you at once and it is just overwhelming for you to take in all at once."
"I can do this. I WILL do this."
"We are not doubting that Ruia, just thinking we may be expecting too much of you too quickly. You cannot be expected to understand position four without understanding step one. The most important thing for you to learn now is the footwork. In anytime of combat, one on one, arm to arm, unarmed to unarmed, and especially arm to unarmed, balance and fluid movement in key." Jou explained. "Lets try this again. Honda is going to lunge at you. Your job is just to escape. Do not worry about launching a counter attack just yet."
Ruia looked at Jou. "That is a trick statement my friend. Whenever you make a move, you always put yourself into a position to counter for three reasons: to attack, to defend, or to escape harm." She turned her back on the two guards, allowing Honda the element of surprise. Well that and to smirk in private. She knew she nailed that question.
Jou blinked at Honda. "By Ra, I think she has the teachings down. Should I alert Yugioh to this small miracle? We may have to throw a party in celebration." He ducked in case any random objects came his way.
"Ha, ha Jou. Are we going to do this or what?" She closed her eyes in concentration. Dimly, she could sense to auras, souls, or something behind her. 'He is going to go high and attempt to subdue me around my neck…'
Honda gave a small nod to Jou before sneaking up behind her, preparing to grab her around her shoulders. Before he could even lift his arms, Ruia ducked down low and swung her leg around his body, and remained in her crotched position, awaiting his next move. Only then did he notice that her eyes were closed shut in concentration. Giving a quick nod to Jou, they both silently moved forward, carefully walking across the ground.
"Going for the double team? Fine." Her eyes never opened, yet she managed to avoid Jou's advancement with a simple roll out like Jou had spent days to teach her so not to harm herself or her child.
Honda noted, however, she was slow on the recovery. Again it was taking too much time for her to get back on her feet and into threat position. Together the two moved towards their prey, attempting to catch Ruia in the middle once more. Ruia could sense what they were trying to do, but she could also feel a strain on her body from keeping a tab on both guards. 'I can do this; just remember what you were taught. They have faith in you. You just have to have faith in yourself.' Slowly, she opened her eyes. Jou stood not far from her, which meant Honda had to be the one behind her. Swinging her leg around, she angled herself in order to see both men out of the corner of her eyes. As they moved, she adjusted.
Suddenly, Honda lunged towards her. Startled, Ruia pivoted on her heel – straight back like she had read, only to loose her balance and fall back into Jou's arms. Frustrated, she screamed.
"Relax Ruia, you did well. You just have to find your center. Speed is important, but you cannot go faster than your center of balance." Jou steadied her. "How are you feeling? You look pale."
"Tired. I was able to sense you two again, but once I started to get tired, I no longer had control over my abilities. I lost my focus. I started to sense you less and less. Ra, I have to get that under control and learn a sense of balance or something."
"Ruia, you are two months pregnant. We have been asked to do the impossible. You will get this; you just have to give it more time. It is not going to happen overnight. No matter how much Yugioh or Setto want it too. You have to concentrate on the positives. A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory. You have to believe in your abilities before you put any of this to use." Jou sat down in the sand, leaning up against the palace walls. Grasping Ruia's wrist, he pulled her down next to him. "Take a break girl."
"I would love to, believe me, but the trouble is coming in the form of my husband. Is there seriously no rest for the pregnant?"
Honda glanced over his shoulder and saw Setto and Yugioh approaching. "How does she do that?"
"Lucky." This time, Jou could not avoid the hit.
"Ruia stop beating up your bodyguard. It worries me how easily you can do that." Yugioh said with a laugh. He took a long look at his wife. "Are you all right? You look white."
"Just tired palace brat. These two," she pointed at Jou and Honda, "are pushing me to my utmost limit. I just wish I could live up to their expectations. Then again, at this point I think I would be ecstatic if I just retained some of the knowledge they are trying feverishly to teach me or what I have read independently."
"Something tells me Ruia that once you get over the balance issue, the rest will fall into place." Jou soothed. "You know what you have to do. It is just a matter of learning that building block. Once you have that down, I know there will be no stopping you. And when that time comes, I feel very sorry for my ribs."
Ruia merely smiled.
"Wait, I am confused. You have no balance?" Setto asked, starting at Ruia. "I find that very hard to believe." Shock was written across his face. "That is, actually, quite surprising. Anzu told me that you and she made up dances to your lyrics all the time and danced in some of the towns festivals."
"Well that is true, but I do not understand the reference."
Setto chuckled. "I mean no offence my Queen but you have balance, a dancer's balance. If you can learn complicated and intricate dance movement and gestures, I know you can learn battle steps. It is just a matter of playing to your strengths. Take the formations that Jou and Honda want you to learn and set them to music if you have too. I am sure once you make the movements fun, make it a dance practically, you will pick it right up."
"Setto that may just be the answer. She does not need more studying, but rather a rhythm. And once that rhythm is established, Ruia should be able to do the footwork with ease and eventually second nature to her, which would be the greatest thing she could do." Honda said, looking down at Ruia who was deep in thought.
""Make it a dance huh? Yeah, I think I may be able to come up with something if I try to think about the footwork like that. In a way, it makes perfect sense." She stood and brushed off the sand that clung to her robes. "I sense a lot more practice coming my way. I am going to have to take a look at those scrolls you gave me Jou again. Study them from a musical sense." She glanced at him. "No time like the present. Staying or going?"
"Neither," Yugioh interrupted. "You and I have a date to work on your magical training. Honda and Jou are going to accompany Setto over to the guards and inspect our army and see where they need improvement."
"Oh, wonderful. More torture Ruia sessions." Inwardly, she was grinning, however. She really did enjoy any time she got to spend with Yugioh privately. And now that he was taking over he divinity training, she knew it was only a matter of time before she would live up to her title of being a Divine child. Still, being with Yugioh made the long sessions bearable. "Are practicing here?"
Yugioh shook his head. "No, I think the top of the palace is a better place for us to hold the session I have planned."
"Isn't this a little fast for me? I mean, being up that high and having little control over my powers?"
"Have a little confidence in yourself, your guardian, and Sekhmet commoner. She would not have granted you your gifts if she thought you could not handle it. Besides, what I have planned does not require a lot of magic, not yet at least. Trust me, I would let no harm come to you or our unborn child. Qaa started my training on the roof with this lesson and I am sure I can duplicated it again with you." He winked.
"Why do I not like that look or do not totally believe what he is telling me?" Ruia asked with a sly grin. Taking his hand into her own, she continued. "But, I guess I will just have to try." She leaned against him. "Because I know there is no way I am getting out of this."
"If I did not know any better, I would think you ere going to torture her or something. Who would have thought that one day I would have to protect Ruia from her own husband," Jou chuckled. "Now that would be ironic or something just as great. What a problem. Protect the one I was hired to protect or allow the one who pays me and gives me my job to do as he pleases."
Yugioh snuggled his wife gently. "Do not worry Jou for that is one situation you will never have to worry about. I kind of enjoy having her around."
"So do we," added Setto and Honda simultaneously. "She keeps you in line, Yugioh." Setto continued. "I like seeing you on your toes, sweating, thinking on your feet, and of course most importantly…"
"Taking orders," Honda finished.
"I am the Pharaoh of all Egypt and my word is law. I bow before no one but the great Gods and Goddesses of this land," he replied with mock anger, though the expression on his wife's face quickly made him add, "and of course my wife who could easily hurt me right now."
"Sekhmet straight I could." Ruia patted her husband's hand. "It is okay honey. No one will think less of you for being afraid of a girl. Really. I promise. Now, shall we go practice or talk all day? I know if we do not practice today, somehow you will make this all my fault."
Yugioh nodded and the turned to face Jou and Honda. "You two are to continue practice with the troops with Setto. You three have my full permission to do whatever it takes to have the troops prepared for an all out on slaughter. We also have to be prepared for the possibility of a magical fight too." All three nodded. "Then you know your jobs. If any of you three need anything, Ruia and I will be on the highest roof."
"I remember which one. I met you up there a few times after your lessons with Qaa," Setto replied. "Just be careful you two. Just because we have not heard from Jarha and Satire lately does not mean they are not watching us. You two are going to be in the open and in plain sight. It is a prime opportunity."
"I trust in what Jou and Honda have been teaching me Setto," Ruia said. "With their help, I have been able to increase my abilities, especially with sensing an oncoming attack. I am positive that if the siblings or someone else was watching us, either Yugioh or I would sense it at once."
"And if you are still attacked? How will you call for help?" Jou countered. It was his job to think of these possibilities, even if no one else wanted too.
"Mystic will come."
"Mystic?" Who or what is that?" asked Honda. He tried to recall if he had ever heard that name mentioned or meet anyone with that name. No images came to mind.
"Mystical Elf, she is my guardian and friend. I am not supposed to reveal such information since it pertains to my divinity but I trust all of you, Bakura as well. She is my monster guardian from Armadais."
"I know that name. Is she not one of the monsters from the tablets that the people of Egypt and some of the temple priest play? She is from that game your grandfather locked away, right Yugioh?" Duel Monsters and the Shadow Realm if I am not mistake were the terms," Setto said, rubbing his chin. "Though I could be wrong with the names. It has been some time since I have heard the terms."
"Ai, those were the names," Yugioh replied but replied no further information. He trusted his friends more than life itself, but he wanted to talk to Ruia first about what information he knew about divinity as Bakura and Setto suggested. Once they learned what the other knew and did not know, maybe then the key to divinity would finally be unlocked to them. Then and only then would he feel right telling his friends his and Ruia's destiny. Their questions would be a lot easier to answer once the both of them knew the complete truth and were on the same page.
"Your grandfather locked Mystical away!" Ruia exclaimed.
Yugioh looked down. It was true his grandfather sealed off the Shadow Realm and the monsters. Did that mean he had locked away Mystical Elf and Dark Magician as well? "I do not know love. I never thought about it; I never asked. But if I had to take a guess, I would assume so."
"It seems," Setto began, "that once again, everything is interconnected, wouldn't you all agree?"
Ruia knew all the others still had no idea that she knew about Ryou and his connection to her uncle, unless Athena had mentioned it to them that she had told Ruia the truth. But it seemed they had come to the same conclusion as she had. Everything in their lives seemed connected as if that is what fate and destiny had intended all along. "Ay, it does seem that way Setto. But maybe this explains what the texts referred to as 'the perfect circle.' No matter what choice you make or any person makes for that matter, it will effect everyone in the circle of life and maybe, just maybe, help determine the divine children ultimate fate."
"Well said, Ruia," Setto complimented. "I believe you may have deciphered the meaning of 'perfect circle' correctly as well. And if you are viewing the meaning right, it means that your training is key so you can be prepared for any type of situation."
"I think that is Setto's indirect way of saying this conversation is over and we all have jobs to do," Ruia replied.
Yugioh merely shook his head. "Do give him so much credit Ruia. He is not that creative."
"So are you ever going to tell me why we are up here?" Ruia asked while looking around. The view from the highest roof was an amazing sight to behold. All of Memphis could easily be seen from this point. At least, that is what it seemed to her. "I know you did not bring me up here just for the view. There has to be something important about it if Qaa brought you up here too."
"I want you to show me what you can do," he replied simply, offering her no other words.
"With my magic you mean? You know the answer to that Yugioh. We both know it is very little."
"Show me, Ruia. Please." He sat down, motioning her to join him. "Sit and just try."
"All right," she moved to sit across from him. Closing her eyes in concentration, she recalled what Ay and Mystical had taught her. Even the words Achilles had told her unknowingly came to mind. Dimly, she glowed a silverish-gold. In her eye's mind, she pictured a small ball of magic in her hand, which she could feel herself creating in real life. It was a tiny ball, hardly impressive to any serious magic user, but it was her ball of magic and she was proud of it. Slowly she opened her eyes and smiled. "It is not very strong, I know, but it took me a while to learn how to make this and maintain its shape and structure."
Yugioh nodded. "Can you make it bigger any?"
"Yes, I think the largest I ever made it was the size of my fist."
'Good, but still anyone with magic can do that. It is almost a parlor trick for users. Still, she is proud and to see her joy makes me happy. I cannot ruin that.' He smiled with her. "Can you aim, levitate, and fire it?"
Ruia nodded, remembering all the target practice Ay had put her through. "My levitation is not very high though. That is definitely something I need to work on. But my aim and successful hit rate is better."
"Okay…so you cannot do this?" Yugioh created his own ball of magic and then a second. Both rose into the air. Soon one came to a complete stop as the second rotated around the first one in an elliptical motion.
"Not even close."
"Then, that is something we will have to work on as well, your control and manipulation of your abilities. I understand that Ay did not want to expose you to strong magic in fear of revealing your heritage to the world, but I fear that may have caused some backlash. We do not have time or luxury on our side right now. We may have to take some small risks, nothing that would harm you or the baby, but enough to get you some control over your magic."
"You are correct of course. I can tell we have a lot of work ahead of us. Still, it is weird Yugioh. I can feel my magic lying dormant in me. But for some reason, I cannot break through that invisible barrier and wield it like I should, which makes no sense. If this is my magic, my barrier, than why cannot break through it? I put it there did I not?" She sighed and moved her magic ball a bit higher and tried to will it around Yugioh's still one too. After several mental attempts, she finally got it to revolve around his, though quite slow for her liking. "Half a victory is better than failing I guess."
"Give yourself some credit love. A moment ago, you could not levitate your magic as high as it is now or cause it to spin. I believe you do have the ability to control your magic inside of you and break that mental barrier. But I would bet all of Egypt it was placed there for your protection. If that barrier were broken too soon, your magic would have become dangerous to you and others as well. There is something preventing you from having complete and total control and I do not mean the barrier. Maybe it is a fear or maybe it isn't. But whatever it is Ruia, we will figure it out together." He paused. "Tell me, what did you do differently this time? How did you get the magic to spin?"
Ruia bit her lip in thought. 'I honestly have no idea what I did differently. I thought about it and did it. It was as if I suddenly knew I could do it that I had the knowledge to do it. But that does not make any sense, not completely. There is another factor at work here.' She looked at her husband, deep in thought. A horrible thought crossed her mind. 'Could it be his divinity? Is he influencing my own powers? Or could he even be controlling them?' "Are you doing this with me? Are you manipulating my abilities with your own magic in some way?" She asked, totally forgetting to answer his question.
"No, but the thought did cross my mind. However, I would never use my divinity on you, unless it was an absolute emergency mind you and there was no other way." He placed a hand on her shoulder. "I assure you, you are doing this on your complete free will and with your own abilities." He lowered his hand. "Now, what else is different?"
She looked around. "We the most obvious thing that comes to mind is location. I used to train in the Temple of Sekhmet in the lower rooms and sometimes in the main chambers. Of course, the main chambers were rare since people could easily walk in. So basically I was taught in the room where I was educated. But now, we are outside, in open spaces, and there is so much light." Ruia paused as another thought occurred to her. "You know, I dislike heights, hate them actually, but I love the view heights allow you to see. My dislike is more of the falling from those said heights I guess."
"I think Ruia, you may have just stumbled onto the answer and I do not think you realize it." At her bewildered expression, he continued. "I do not mean your fear of falling from heights or heights in general, but what you said right before that, about the open spaces. You feel more free up here, do you not?"
"Sure, I guess so, but I do not understand what that has to do with anything."
"All your life Ruia, you were taught whether conscious or subconsciously to hide your gifts to protect yourself and your family. But I think you may have taken that notion one step too far. You were so scared of being found, you managed to hide your full powers from yourself. This is why that wall is in place. You created it out of your fear, fear of what your gifts were and could do."
"So what you are saying is that if I conquer the fear than the mental block would cease to exist?"
"In the most simplest of words, yes. There is probably more to it than simply just this fear, but it is probably the biggest obstacle for you." Yugioh replied, smiling.
"And this makes you happy because…?"
"Don't you see it Ruia? All this time you thought you were incapable of learning magic, unworthy of your title, and all it really was, is a lack of confidence in yourself. It may not happen right away, but once you get over your doubt, learning magic will be so much easier." He paused. "And the reason this makes me happy is because I have all the confidence in the world in you. I know you can do this. Our job just got a lot simpler."
He wrapped his arms around her shoulders. "Honestly love. You have such charisma, a strong and unbreakable will, and intelligence that would make a Greek scholar green with envy. Tearing down this wall will be no problem, I promise. Now, why do we not try something else now?"
Ruia wiped away a tear that had caught in her eye. "All right what do you suggest we do?"
"First I want you to relax, close your eyes if you have too. Then I want you to simply find your center."
"Center? Center of what?"
"Just trust me. You will know when you find it. You will sense it."
She simply nodded as she closed her eyes and slowly breathed in and out. Trying to remain relaxed, but a still a little nervous at what she was doing and looking for, she concentrated on finding this center. 'I wish I knew what I was looking for. Well the only way to find something is to basically stop looking for it.'
"Think Ruia. What is your happiest memory? That is where your center lays. Where you feel safe, warm, content, and protected. In that memory is where your center lives." Yugioh whispered into her ear.
'My happiest memory,' she thought, 'well that is easy to recall. It is the moment I met you again on the banks of the Nile. I finally found my soul mate again. I found the one person who loved me for me, who did not try to change me or tell me what a disgrace to the city I was.' Smiling, she recalled the memory and the night under the stars. It was there she could feel it. A surreal, calm washed over her. It was as if she could feel her divinity flow through her, encouraging her to remember the feeling so she could bring it to the people of Egypt. Opening her eyes, Ruia took a deep breath. "Lets do this Yugioh. Show me how to tear down this mental block." Her purple eyes were alit with the knowledge of those divine children that had come before her. "I'm ready to learn."
"First things first Ruia," Yugioh spoke. "We need to discover what your realm of influence is. We know you are a light and from your encounter with Jarha and Satire. And if we had to guess your realm is most likely the soul since your attack had that realm in it. But we need to make sure that it was no fluke and Mystic was not helping you in any way. Do you feel anything now? A twinge in magic in your veins perhaps?"
Ruia nodded. "I can feel it flowing through my body. In a way, it tickles, but in a good way. I can sense my center and you are right, it is soothing and calm. And I think I know how to test if I can control the realm of the souls. Tell me about yourself. Things I do not know that is. Just lie sometimes though. Try to confuse me. I will be able to tell when you are truthful and when you are trying to deceive me." She responded, vaguely answering her husband's questions. Her eyes were closed again, deep in thought and concentration.
'Could she be a reader after all? Bakura believed she could be one. Yet, it does not seem possible for a person to know truth from lies so easily, even with divinity on their side. Let us test this theory some.' Yugioh thought a moment, trying to recall what Ruia knew about him and what she did not. "Setto and I are related."
"Truth." Ruia replied without any hesitation in her voice at all. Her purple eyes snapped open. "How?" She knew she was right, but even as the words left her, she wondered how Yugioh and Setto had managed to keep that a secret and from public knowledge.
"We are first cousins. Our fathers were brothers. It was kept from the public though, for our own protection. Most people in the palace know. I am surprised you never guessed. I mean we do look exactly alike and all" He rolled his eyes before continuing. "My mother was a Nubian."
"False, she was from Thebes."
"Right again Ruia, on both accounts. My divine guardian is Ra and monster guardian is Kuriboh"
"You were blessed by Ra with your divinity, but your monster guardian is the Dark Magician. You are a dark magic user whose realm I believe is...I have no idea actually."
"How are you doing this love? Visionaries and even readers are not this skilled, not this right all the time. But you are right every single time and are telling me why my information is wrong." He had one more statement, a secret no one in the palace knew even. If Ruia knew this, her magic would be as every bit as strong as his. "My grandfather sealed away the Shadow Games with the Seven Millennium items."
"Truth, they were the puzzle, eye, necklace, key, scales, ring, and rod."
His eyes had to be huge. Sure most people knew his grandfather had sealed away the games, but few knew the role of seven items or knew all of them, not his knowledge at least.
"And to answer your initial questions I have always been able to sense when a person was not honest with me. I was never completely accurate, but I could normally tell what their intentions were. All this time I just assumed it was luck, but now, I think it is more. I know what causes it. My realm of influence is the soul Yugioh. Just now, when you were asking me all those questions, I was not just guessing at the answers. I was peering into your soul for the correct answers. And when you lied, your soul was different; its vibe was altered somehow and I could sense that alteration. It is like a soul that tells no lie is white and pure. But a soul that lies, it turns black. And I could sense when the soul turned the different shade or remained the same. Do you know what this means Yugioh? I am a soul reader."
Even with all his training, Yugioh could not feign the shock on his face. 'She admits it so easily.' A smirk crossed his face. 'Being a soul reader will be a valuable gift indeed, especially if we go to Rome together. Still, if she was born with this gift of being able to read souls…' He looked at her. "Ruia is this how you knew about Loki that night he attacked the palace when we were ten?"
"Loki…" she trailed off. "Oh, yeah I guess so. I never knew him or anything about him previously. It was just like the moment he came through the door, his soul was screaming his name. But it was not completely my soul reading abilities. There was more to it. I had a bad feeling prior to even going to the palace and then through the party. My divinity was painful that night. It was warning me almost, telling me not to let my guard down." She blinked. "Stop that."
"You actually felt that?"
"Yes! Now tell me what in the name of Ra you did!"
Yugioh could tell she was not really mad with him or even annoyed. If anything, she was curious. "I did not even think it would work to be honest. I just tried to extend my mind to see if I could connect with you but not actually be controlling you. Instead, I think I may have hurt you. I should have told you what I was doing. I am sorry."
"It did not hurt, so do not worry. It only caught me off guard. I am not sure how to explain it. There was no pain, it was more of a gently nudge, like when you are trying to get someone's attention without being seen or being obvious. If I had known it was coming, I think it would not have bothered me at all. Why were you attempting it anyway?" It was the first time Ruia could recall seeing Yugioh blushing that red, not to mention refusing to look her in the eyes. "Oh come on, now you really have to tell me."
"I wanted to see just how strong our bond was. You have the ability to physically see and touch my soul and not harm me. I wanted to see if I could do the same, only with our minds. I figured it was a long shot since my powers are darker. But now I see I was wrong. Our bond, Ruia, is so much more than magic; it is solid proof of how much we love each other. I never really thought I could reach out magically like that too you. And I realize it just was not magic, but love too."
"You are such a romantic, no matter what your High Priests think. I can read anyone's soul but yours is different."
"Surely you felt it when you touched my mind. Our souls are the same; our minds are probably similar too. This is our strength as the Divine Children, but more importantly this is the strength of our love." She took off her ring and held up. "The completed circle is one of Egypt's founding principles and it is the same for divinity. A soul, a mind, a life split into two. A piece given to the Divine Father and the second given to the Divine Mother in hopes that they can find another and complete the soul, mind, and life once more."
"You maybe right. And it is going to be that bond, love, and strength that will help you learn your magic. We know your realm, we know you have the magic in you, so all that is left to do is to get you over your mental block." He stood up and pulled Ruia to her feet. "You know the footwork Jou and Honda are teaching you?" She nodded. "Lets practice it, only with a little magic. I will be your target."
"What if I hurt you?"
"Somehow I doubt we will see your full range of abilities right away. I do not think your subconscious is going to say to hurt me or kill me. I know you have more control than that. NO, I am completely positive."
"True," she paused and reached into the pouch that she wore on her waist. Pulling out a small card, she handed it to her husband. "We better make this a test of my abilities and my abilities only." She took a breath, trying to clear her mind. Being outside was a totally different experience in training than she was used to. The air whipped around her arms and the sun beat down on her shoulders. It was if she could sense every fiber that made Egypt so great. It was as if she could sense Egypt's own soul. And it…was exhilarating in a way. 'Maybe a light needed to see the light…'
Yugioh glanced down at the card in his hand and instantly recognized the monster that was on it. "I am assuming this is the Mystical Elf. If I am not mistaken, she is a magician, a spell caster."
"Ai she is all of that and my guardian as I said before. You have one too, right?"
"Yes, the Dark Magician." He pulled out his own guardian card. "Both are spell casters and magicians. I am sure that is not a coincidence." He placed both cards into his own pouch. "I will throw attacks at you, away from you of course to test your footwork. But I want you to try summoning your magic and retaliate against me. Defend yourself."
"Will that not give away what we are doing up here?"
"Sepi and Qaa would bring me up here all the time to train. I am sure we are safe."
"Loki found out about you…"
Yugioh paused. His wife was sharp and quick to pick up on connections others would have shrugged off. Of course, there were times she was almost too sharp for her own good. He too had often wondered if it was on this very roof top Loki had learned he was divinity. "Loki may have learned of my gifts this way, but he is dead Ruia. Father saw to that. You have nothing to be scared of."
"We have plenty to be scared of Yugioh. You eliminated one man who opposed you. One man out of how many love? Egypt is not impregnable, infallible, or even peaceful all the time. We have many enemies, both externally and internally. Can you look me in the eye and tell me you have caught all those who were loyal to Loki or his cause? Can you assure me Jarha did not know Sepi brought you up here to train magically?"
"Jarha does not know I am the Divine Father."
"Yet," Ruia sighed. "People talk Yugioh. Walls have ears and can whisper. You, Bakura, and Setto have all taught me that. But what you three fail to grasp is just how valuable information is to commoners. My people are far bigger threat than Greece or Rome is with the same information."
He did not miss the emphasis on the word my. Divisions were always going to separate people, but Yugioh knew that was not what Ruia was trying to say to him, not completely at least. "Knowledge is power in anyone's hands. We understand that. It is how you use that power that makes a person a threat or not."
"And who is a better threat than your own people? The ones that know your strengths, your weaknesses, habits, customs, and secrets better because they live them day in and day out? Our people, Yugioh, talk. Loki would have been no different. He would have told his most trusted followers your secrets. And those secrets would have filter down between the classes. Classes that are at odds with one another because of the differences that exist and they have created. Commoners hate royalty because they control our lives, our money, and ultimately our destiny. Royalty treat the peasants harshly, like slaves at times. Granted this is not everyone, but it happens to enough people to cause problems; problems that we as Pharaoh and Great Wife will have to deal with. And do not tell me these problems do not exist. I know they do. I lived as a commoner, granted one with some money, but I have to seen how your people have lived because I did the same.
'She is going to prove to be a valuable political asset yet.' He was beaming; he could feel it on his face. Ruia understood how the world worked better than most people gave her credit for. She may have been untraditional in every sense, but it was through that characteristic that she saw the problems Egypt had and questioned why those problems still existed. And she was determined to find a way to fix them. 'Given time, I know she will win over the people of Egypt. They will see past her past and accept her once they see she is truly working for them.' Still, now was not the time to be thinking of such matters. He had to relieve her current fears first. "No attack has come Ruia because there is no leadership or numbers. But you are right, the moment the opportunity arises, Egypt will be in trouble, which is why we are taking the time to prepare our troops."
Ruia shook her head. "What do you mean when it arises? It has already risen. Who better to lead a rebellion than the Pharaoh's ex-High Priest of Foreign affairs? All the factors and ingredients are there, whether we are ready or not."
Yugioh rocked back on his heels. What Bakura had told him was becoming crystal clear. Ruia was a fast learner. 'No wonder I love her, she thinks several steps ahead and looks at the bigger picture, without losing sight of the details. Meanwhile, the rest of us are concentrating mainly on the details and missing what could be occurring on a larger scale.' She shook his head. "You amaze me sometimes Ruia. I still cannot believe you said you would never adjust to this lifestyle. You may be a better leader than you think. I think you might be better than me. You are not scared to look at the bigger picture."
"You are the Pharaoh. You have to take care of the immediate threats, external struggles, and internal problems the people have. You cannot do everything on your own. As the Great Wife, I will look at the large picture and make sure we are not missing anything. And as the Divine Children, we will take care of the threats together." She exhaled. "Even if it means exposing my secret. Walls talk regardless. It is bound to come out anyway. It is better to be prepared than to act like the threat to our family is never coming."
"Then we shall practice, every chance we get, to help you with your magic."
Ruia smile and crouched down into a defensive position. "The lets do this Yugioh. And if Loki, his followers, or the siblings want to attack, well then, we will be ready."
Satire walked among the troops that were training. Slowly, they were getting stronger. As much as she hated to admit it, however, her brother was right. They were still months away from being ready to overthrow Yugioh's troops and guards. Still, the group that had arrived today would greatly improve their chances of success. Jarha had been correct about the men who lacked leadership but despised the Royal Family. In fact, her brother was negotiating an alliance as she kept a close eye on the troops she heard about and convinced to train with them.
Satire turned and saw her brother and another man, much older than she or Jarha, approach. The man, despite his age, was quite muscular, eyes sharp, and hands rough and worn as if they had fought in many battles. "Jarha, my brother, how may I assist you and our ally I hope?"
The man smiled. "And you are confident we are allies how Ms. Satire?"
"Anyone who opposes the Royal family is a friend and ally, whether they choose to fight with us or not. Even if our reasons are different and may vary, our goal is ultimately the same."
"You are right Jarha. Your sister does speak with wisdom beyond her years. Maybe this alliance will work after all."
Jarha smiled. "You will not regret your decision Marcus. Satire, this is Marcus, Second in command of the Troops of Alcaeus. He has offered his services to our cause."
"Wonderful brother." She turned to Marcus. "Troops of Alcaeus? I have never heard of Alcaeus before."
"It is not a city my dear. Troops of Alcaeus mean troops of strength." His smile twisted slightly. "It was chosen by our late leader, Loki."
"Loki? You were the ones that raid the palace the day of the Prince's coming of age party! How dare you try to kill my future husband!"
Marcus chuckled. "My dear, your brother has made it quite clear your intentions concerning the Pharaoh. We will not kill him or harm his harlot. The terms of the alliance have been set. Do not worry about a thing."
"I do not understand. What are the terms if you cannot fulfill the wishes of Loki? Would you not be going against your previous leader's wishes?"
"The terms of the alliance have been set, without compromising either sides objectives. Loki believed that when an opportunity arose to strike the Khu Dynasty that we should take it. Your brother has presented us with such a moment."
"Without killing the Pharaoh?"
Marcus smiled again. "Of course, he will be left for you to take care of. But tell me child, after this raid, do you honestly believe he will want to have anything to do with you? Do you honestly believe he will take you as his wife after separating him from his beloved Queen?"
"My black magic will take care of that particular problem ally Marcus." Her voice was cold and calm allowing herself to tip her hand slightly. It never hurt to let your allies know she was not to be taken lightly. She was having a difficult time believing what her brother and Marcus were telling her. 'It is unlikely that my brother would be able to change your motives and initially your motives were to kill the Pharaoh and the Prince. What plans do the Troops of Alcaeus really have? Or even my brother for that matter? Still, I do not dare voice my concerns, not without proof. But letting them know about my magic, it may force them to think twice about crossing me.'
"I see," Marcus replied. He could not tell if Satire had fully bought his answers, not that it mattered much. Jarha was calling the shots, even if they were against his sister's own wishes. 'Your brother has other plans dear Satire. Plans you have no idea about and never will until it is too late to do anything about them. And I must say, it is those plans that fit my needs and my troops needs that much better.'
"Sister, Marcus told me why Loki was so determined on the destroying the future Pharaoh, as proof of his alliance to us. Information I must say explains so much about the Pharaoh's actions, including why a certain commoner is sitting on the throne as Queen of these lands."
Satire licked her lips. "Now this is a story I must hear. Does the raid on the palace all those years ago have to do with our current palace harlot, I mean Queen as well? There is not too much time between the party and her questionable marriage to Yugioh."
"Ay, she appears to have a role in it, thought the story really does not begin with the raid, rather dynasties ago. Tell me, have you heard of the Divine Children?"
"Of course, you know our mother told us that myth as a bedtime story growing up. They were children who were given the powers of the gods and goddesses. Some considered them the gods and goddesses mortal children. But it is just a legend, to give hope to the people of Egypt during darker times."
Marcus shook his head no. "Loki was convinced that the myth held some elements of truth to it. Furthermore, he was positive that the crowned prince was one of the chosen children, the Divine Father to be exact. He even managed to turn up some proof to back up his claims. In his youth, Yugioh was apparently but through rigorous magical training, more so than normal magical user are put through. Loki believed this showed that the legend of the Divine Children was true and coming to pass before his very eyes. And since the chosen one was the child of his most hated enemy, he had to die. So he devised a plan, enlisted my help and the others, and chose the party as the night to attack. But you must understand something; the raid was not solely about the Divine Father. He wanted the both of them, the Divine Father and the Divine Mother. Their combine power would stop anyone in his or her tracks. Ruin all the plans he had been working on for years. Loki learned that it was possible that if one of the children were in danger, the other would sense it. They lived for one another according to the legends. And they would gladly die for the other as well."
"So the night of the raid, the Divine Mother was there?"
"Yes. She attacked one our archers, allowing him to fall from a great height but prevent his death with her magic as well. I was that archer. I was able to escape from the palace prison before I was put to death. It is dad news for the Divine Mother, however. You see, I never forgot that girl's face, even beneath the mask she wore. She had the most distinctive eyes," he spat. "It is the same eyes as the current Great Wife of Egypt. I will bet all the gold in Egypt she is the Divine Mother. She was destined to marry Yugioh or so the tales say. That is why a commoner and royalty had a chance to marry."
"And that explains the magic she showed us…"Satire said, thinking out loud. "She's a soul being. Her realm is the soul. Remember the name of her attack brother - Soul Mystification. She shares my realm, but unlike me, she is a light or white user."
"We believe so as well," Jarha concluded. "It definitely puts a delay on things. If they are truly the legendary Divine Children, we must alter our attack plans some. We cannot afford to ignore this startling revelation. Though, they have lost their trump card and they do not even know it yet. Let us make sure we have our own in place and do not rush this."
"What do you suggest brother?"
Jarha placed an arm on his sister's shoulder. "Vengeance sister, but in due time. Not even the pyramids were built in a single day. We must proceed carefully and with caution so not have the foundations we put into place crumble around us. Only when the troops of strength are in place and ready will we be able to attack. Until then, we will gather information for it is the key to all our wishes and desires."
"Learn Ruia's and Yugioh's weaknesses and their suffering will be prolonged that much more. It would be a fate worse than death for them. They may be each other's greatest weakness, but I assure you, they must have more. And the more that they have, the more you can exploit and hurt them for hurting you," Marcus added.
"We will have many opportunities to learn that information, events that will put us in the perfect position without any chance of being caught. Several festivals are coming up that will require the presence of both the Pharaoh and the Queen. We can easily send people there."
"No brother, we should be the ones, despite the risks. We know what is valuable and what is not. Besides, despite alliances, whom can we really trust with such an important mission? It would be safer and wiser for us to uncover the information." She gave a look of distrust towards Marcus, but quickly covered it. "Of course you are more than welcome to attend Marcus."
"I fall into that trust category?"
"Of course not, but it would also be stupid to not exploit your obvious talents, knowledge, and resources as well. Despite letting my brother call the shots, I do not see you completely giving up the leadership roll. It does not seem like your style."
"Your sister is a sharp woman Jarha. Either she has very good instincts or someone has taught her the art of tactics. You are right Satire; you should never give anyone your full trust. Always keep your guard up around your enemies, but especially around your allies."
"Is that warning," asked Jarha
Marcus laughed. "Just advice from an old man who has been in your position many times in the past."
"Advice heeded. But know this Marcus, I do not trust anyone fully but my brother."
'Ah dear Satire," thought Marcus. 'You may be intelligent but you really have no idea who your allies are and who is a snake waiting to strike. You should tread carefully around your brother. Jarha will sell you out for Ruia in a heartbeat…'
Yugioh sat on the roof watching Ruia practice her magic on a stationary object. He quickly learned that moving object were still a bit advanced for her, her timing slightly off. Until she mastered creating her magic faster, it was better to practice on objects that did not move. Her movements were still rigid in summoning her magic, but yet they still held a certain amount of grace to them. Her magic was…well there was not a word for it. It would take time, more time than they actually had, to perfect everything. Right now, he would settle for having her comfortable with her given gifts. Still, he was proud of her resolve, determination, and work ethnic. 'Qaa and Sepi would have been thrilled to have a student like her. A student that actually enjoys learning.'
Standing, he walked over to where Ruia was and moved behind her. Pulling her back against him, he started doing the movements with her, showing her the correct footwork. "Fluid, yet graceful that is the key to this footwork," he whispered. Extending their right arm out, he turned her palm out. "Confidence, determination, strength of the mind and will is what controls the flow of your magic."
"And knowing when to use that magic allows our divinity to be used, right?" Ruia could feel the heat on her cheeks. She was blushing at their close contact; she knew she had to be. Why she was doing that, she could not explain. When Yugioh was close to her, her divinity seemed easier, more controllable. 'Maybe that is the scrolls meant by soul mates. Maybe our gifts of light and dark react together, making them stronger, which in a way makes sense. All the scrolls did say the Divine Children were stronger when they were together and working as a team.' She spoke again. "I keep telling myself now to think of this footwork as a dance, like Setto suggested. But I can tell I am still not as balanced as I should be."
Yugioh fought a smile as he pivoted backwards with her. "Patience Ruia. Yes time is limited and teachings must be rushed, but you cannot expect everything to happen overnight. To rush causes mistakes, mistakes we cannot afford. We must hurry, but hurry with caution. We must make sure you have the basics before the final test, just like Honda and Jou were saying. And we will tear down any obstacle in your way."
"You mean my fear…"
"Power without knowledge can lead to great destruction," Yugioh whispered, recalling what Dark Magician had told him once. It had been a long time ago, but the words still rung true even today.
Ruia paused, allowing the words to sink in. "The phrase, it does make a lot of sense. If you have no knowledge of what you are doing, like divinity, then how can you not cause harm? Maybe not to others, just internally to yourself. Instincts can only take you so far. At some point, you have to have an understanding of what you are doing. If not, how can you learn?"
Yugioh turned Ruia so that she was facing him. "Maybe it is time that we both stop assuming we know what the other does about divinity. It seems you have a grasp on the meaning, while I have a grasp on the practicality. Maybe we should…" he laughed, "Compare and take notes on what the other knows. Ra, if Qaa, Sepi and Zemti could hear me now. They would probably die of shock." He shook his head in disbelief.
"Whatever happened to your father's advisors? I thought for sure they would stay around and lend their knowledge to you, especially since you took over so young."
"They did for a short while but they did not want to stay too long and I guess, spoil us. They wanted us to learn, lead, and make mistakes too. Qaa moved to the banks of the Nile a while back and I would occasionally get reports from him time to time. He settled down in Heliospolis two summers ago. He pasted away this past summer. Sepi ventured up to Kadesh and kept an eye on our trading routes there. It is a dangerous area there with a lot of thieves and bandits. Last we heard though he and his family were doing well. Actually, the last word we got from him, he was sending in his official retirement scrolls. Zemti, well we can only really speculate. He was a visionary and heard of an oracle in Greece that was predicting events accurately. He decided to travel to Delphi and report on it."
"I thought the Greeks disliked our people."
"It was not an official voyage by any means of the imagination. It was his choice to go there, despite some our attempts to talk in out of it. We know he arrived at Delphi and was eager to see what Apollo, who is the Greek God of Sun, and what his temple there had to offer. He was particular curious what visions and prophecies he could hear. In his letter, he mentioned that inscribed on the temple was Gnothi se auton, which is Greek for Know Thyself. Following that letter, we never heard from him again and that letter came roughly two years ago."
"Is the oracle at Delphi real? Did he ever mention that in his letter?"
"He really did not say, but people seem to believe more in it than the legend of the divine children. We both know that legend to be true, which makes you wonder about their oracle some," Yugioh replied honestly. "The oracle could be real to those who are truly visionaries, like yourself, Ay, Bakura, and the others were. Anything is possible when magic and the gods are involved."
"Makes you wonder about a lot of things," Ruia replied. "Divinity is so complex and vast in its most general sense, yet it is narrowed down to being blessed to two people. Two people who do not even know one another nonetheless." She sat down, resting her back against the palace wall. "So the divinity tales you have read, has it ever mentioned a joining?"
"Define what you mean by a joining."
"A joining of countries I guess. The six most powerful children coming together from the three greatest civilizations – Greece, Rome, and of course Egypt. I have never read about it or even have someone remotely talk about the idea at all. It just bothered me that these chosen children could not put their differences aside to work towards a common good. You would think someone would have suggested the idea of working towards preserving the three civilizations. Each country is powerful in their own right: Rome for their literature, military, scholars, and politics, Greece for their knowledge, their ships, their architecture, and Egypt for our knowledge of mathematics, our system of government, religion, and so forth. Yet, the chosen children, despite our titles and duties, have never been able to look past the differences and concentrate on the larger issue in our hands."
"While your theory is a great idea, you are basing the whole concept on what we were so lucky to do ourselves, which is to find one another. It in everything I have studied, it has said that is one of the biggest challenges the children face. Maybe this is why that alliance has never formed – not everyone has found his or her soul mate. If they cannot find that person, how can they hope to find the other chosen children?
Ruia sighed. She understood what Yugioh was saying, yet it still did not seem to justify the end result. "I do not know why, but that just seems like an excuse to me. Why not travel to these lands and find the other chosen children? Surely we could not have been at odds with our neighbors all this time. Our duty cannot solely be about protecting our lands. It seems selfish. But maybe that is just how things are meant to be. It is tradition and I simply want to be the one who goes against the mighty Nile."
"Well if anyone can make this joining work Ruia, I have a feeling you will be the one to make it happen. You have all ready proven time and time again that you can break tradition and still have everything turn out all right. Why would our divinity be any different? I am not even going to try to differ you dreams. I have a feeling it would only make you more determined. Besides, I think it is a grand idea, just not entirely possible. It requires so many pieces of the puzzle to fall into place at exactly the right time."
"But by your words alone, you admit that the idea could indeed occur. It may require being in the right place at the right time, but the possibility still exists. The only thing preventing the union is our own failure to recognize the larger power and duties that we as divinity children have. Maybe it is impossible to find the other children, but if we never try, how are we to know for sure?"
"We cannot. It is as simple as that. Once again, I think I was taught the practical side of divinity while Ay must have concentrated on the spiritual and meaningful side of divinity," Yugioh replied. He chuckled, "if you put us together, I think you would have one complete Divine Child."
"But we are one, two souls, two minds brought back together to form one union – a complete being."
Soul mates," he added with a soft smile. "But I do not think we are going to learn all the answers that we seek here."
"Wait, I thought you wanted to see what each other knew about divinity and what not."
"I still do, but not here, not anymore. I think it is time we sought out the truth," Yugioh replied. "Ruia," he paused, "are you willing to leave the castle grounds without your guard?"
Her eyes lingered to his face. She could see that he was being completely truthful with her; there was no trace of humor in his expression anywhere. "I do not understand. Since our wedding, you have been stressing the importance that neither of us should go anywhere without our guards. Why the sudden change?"
"Because where we need to go to get our answers, well, lets just say the location is better left to secrecy." Yugioh paced the rooftop. "I normally would not even consider doing something this dangerous or reckless in your condition or with the threats against us, but this is a risk we may need to take to unlock your abilities. However, I will only do this if you are okay and understand that what you will see has to remain between us. You cannot tell anyone, including Anzu, Setto, Bakura, Honda, Jou, Athena, or anyone else in the palace."
Ruia contemplated his words carefully. She was not longer just risking her life, but the child's life growing inside of her as well. It was funny, she had not thought much about her father since the day she left, but every now and then she found understanding how hard it was for her father and mother raised her, even more so when her mother passed on to the next life. The fear and the worry about whether she was making the best decision for the both of them were constantly there. "We have to go, I mean we really have no choice. Who knows what damages I could cause our child, Egypt, and even my self if I remain untrained." She lowered her eyes in thought. 'There is the prophecy of the dark child to worry about as well. While I am still not convinced I am not that child, it could easily be our son or daughter. The only way to ensure all our safety is to be magically prepared, by any means necessary.'
Q: You're actually alive?
A: Yes I actually am and still working on this story. This chapter had several set backs including two computer crashes, a college graduation, two real world jobs, and a host of other things that took time away from this chapter.
Q: Will you disappear for two years again?
A: Hopefully not. I have a few pages of the next chapter already written. I will just have to manage my time better with work ha and other things.
Q: Why isn't this like the Egyptian Arc?
A: I had this story outlined long before I saw the Egyptian Arc, though I plan to sneak in similarities, like I did with Yami's real name.
Q: Where are Yugioh and Ruia going?
A: To the greatest kept secret in Egypt, well maybe the second greatest secret in Egypt
Till next time…