Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh! God it's been a while since I had to say that.

Yoru: Three years ago I began working on Full Circle and it still has not come to a completion. Unfortunately as happens quite often, life hits you with something unexpected and you must deal with it. It took me a long time to deal with the series of balls life threw at me but I'm back and ready to go! I do intend to finish this story as it's characters and plot has come to mean a lot to me. So keep looking for more chapters in the future because they will be coming. Now onto the fun stuff… Okay, it's finally here. Chapter 17. I know that you have all been waiting a very long time and I do apologize on the significant delay. To all my faithful readers and reviewers, your constant reminders to update and threats and even the begging kept me aware that I had an audience still and I thank you for your continued support and encouragement. I really am sorry that it took so long to start working on my story again but I do intend to finish it. I know how annoying it is when you find a good story and halfway through the author decides to stop writing. I'm not going to leave you hanging though I will leave you with plenty of mixed feelings, some anxiety and plenty of anger about cliffhangers. But that's just my style. And now without further ado, the long awaited, much anticipated, almost given up on, chapter 17! drumroll plays

A/N: Bear with me for a moment. Let me just refresh you on what's going on since it has been so long and I wish that I could just assume you all have reread those other chapters again. If not here you go, in Chapter 14 Yami and Relah were finally married and Isis and Naidai showed up on the scene. Isis, previously known as Kali has not been revealed yet as Yami's half sister and the rightful ruler. 15 contained a lot of history, Aura's story, some of Seto's and a lot of recollection from Yami's father. A bit of background information in the form of journals. Aura discovers in 16 that Seraphic burned the letter that Bakura left when he ran away to avoid being killed and she and Seraphic fight about it. Yami grows tired of their continuous fighting and calls a council meeting. Harsh words are exchanged and Aura leaves the council. Seraphic tries to but Yami orders her to remain on it.

Also, on another side note, a good friend of mine has done numerous pictures of the main couples for my story so if you would like to check them out go to this site. If you have any you'd like to submit to me please send them to my email at Go check out her art, it's very cool. Keep in mind that it was done in the anime style and they are about two and a half years old. The other pics on her site are other characters that some of us have come up with and things like that. I would give you the url, but I can't for some stupid reason so her site is my homepage. Go check it out!

Now without any further ado, on with the story!

Aura was pissed. She stalked down the hall and glared at yet another slave. She was really tired of this being treated like a guest in her own home. She had grown up here for Ra's sake. This was ridiculous and the only reason this was even happening was because of Yami's stupid decision to kick her off the council. Well she was tired of it. She walked into her room and slammed the door then glared at the empty desk. All her paperwork had been taken from her and her signature meant nothing. Yes, Lady Aurahkah, once a very powerful woman in her own right, had been reduced to a guest, and all that implied. She knew the only reason she was still in the palace was because Yami considered her a friend. Had she been anyone else, she would have been out on her ass when she had been removed from the council. She thought back to that meeting and wondered if maybe she should have apologized. Might have avoided all this. Then she shook her head. What Seraphic had done was uncalled for and could be classified as cruel. There was no need for her to destroy the letter that meant so much to Aura, even if she had thought Seto would use it against her. She could have put it away in a safe place, that Aura was convinced of and she refused to believe otherwise. She looked at Bakura who was, as usual, lounging on the bed nonchalantly like nothing in the world was wrong. Sometimes she really hated his ability to take everything in stride. "Let's go."

Bakura looked at her for a second. "Go where?"

"Anywhere but here. You wanted to leave before, now I'm saying let's go."

He stared at her. "Why?"

"I'm nothing more than a guest here. I'm not welcome and I damn well know it. I refuse to stay where I'm not wanted like some poor charity case. We can leave tonight."

He shook his head. He was looking forward to tonight. And it wasn't going to be because they were leaving. "I have other plans tonight."

She raised an eyebrow, "Prior engagements? Like what? A date with a temple so you can steal again?"

He shook his head and slowly got up from the bed. "No my prior engagements are much more…enjoyable."

The eyebrow raised again. What in the hell was he talking about? She had not a clue and at this point she really didn't care either. She was very upset and she didn't want to play his mind games. "Fine. If you have prior engagements that are more important then go. I'll go by myself, I don't need you."

Bakura bit back a laugh. She was completely clueless and it was so very cute. He resisted the urge to take her in his arms and soothe her. Instead he led her on a bit more. "What if I told you my prior engagements are with you?"

"With me?" Aura was completely lost now and she didn't like it one bit. She had the distinct feeling that he was playing some kind of joke on her, and she didn't like that either. "They can't be. I didn't plan anything with you tonight."

"You know Aura if you're going to run with me you really have to learn to be a bit spontaneous. I don't tell you everything I plan. Takes all the fun out of it."

Aura rolled her eyes and turned away from him. She began to think about what she would need. She'd leave at dawn, she decided. Right when the sun was just coming over the horizon. When the darkness slipped away to give way to the new day, so would she. It'd probably take them a few hours at least to realize she was gone, if not more. They may decide she had just had enough of being treated like a guest every time she left her room and instead elected to remain within her own four walls. She grabbed a bag and began to shove clothes inside.

Bakura sighed. She was serious. He would just have to disabuse her of her innocent notions and explain to her what was going to happen. Spontaneity be damned. He was getting some tonight, dammit. He walked over and took the bag from her then pulled her to him and kissed her. "What about our plans?"

"I told you. I'm leaving, with or without you. You choose."

"Aura," he said kissing her slowly. "I guarantee you'll enjoy what I've got planned."

She wanted to hit him so badly she clenched her teeth to keep her fist from making contact with his delightful but irritating mouth. "Bakura the only plans I want to execute are the ones where the two of us run away from this Ra forsaken place and start our lives together. Pharaoh be damned. The council be damned. All of it be damned." She was near tears now. "What could you possibly have planned that's more important than that?"

He sighed, "Aura tonight I want to take you in my arms and make love to you so sweet and slow that you cry from the gentleness of it. I want to hold you and for once not worry about leaving your bed before I get caught. I just want tonight," he said huskily.

Aura looked up at him her eyes soft. She dropped her head on his chest, "I just want to get away from here…I-I hate this." She said tears filling up her eyes.

He hugged her and cursed Yami, "I know love, and I'll tell you what. We'll take tonight for us and then leave tomorrow. How's that?"

She sighed and blinked trying to keep the tears from spilling over. "Yes, that would be fine."

"But Aura?"

"Hmm?"

"Tonight is mine."

She smiled, "No, Kura. Tonight's ours."

A slow smile spread over his face, "Yeah. Tonight's ours." He dropped a soft kiss on her lips and slipped out the window. There was a lot he needed to do before night fell.

:17:

Nadai looked up at the smiling beauty before him. He had been listening to her for hours. She had told him all about growing up in Karnak and her life with Micah. He had listened in amazement as she told all about her childhood. He had no idea half of the things she had gone through but she was still sweet and gentle. He was so glad that she had been found by Micah. She didn't remember a lot about her life with her mother and he felt a sadness because of that. Her time with her mother was also where she would remember him.

"So what about you?"

He stared at her for a minute and realized that he had not listened to a thing she had said in the last ten minutes. He shook his head and flushed slightly.

Seraph laughed. She had had the thought that his mind had been elsewhere and she really hadn't said much in the last ten minutes because she knew how it felt to just want to be left alone with her thoughts. She tilted her head and looked at him then said "It's okay Nadai, believe me I understand perfectly." She picked up another jar and said "Now this here is bruise ointment. Isis helped me identify it because the healer before had no idea what she was doing."

Nadai nodded. He had listened to Isis rant about the incompetence she was dealing with and couldn't help but smile. Her daughter was so much like her. He wondered how he felt about Seraph. She was beautiful, that much he was positive about. But did he want her the way a man wants a woman or did he just consider her a sister? He wasn't sure and he didn't much like the way he would be able to find out either. He knew that she was deeply in love with Seto. Everything about her said it loud and clear. Her eyes lit up when his name was mentioned and she became that much happier when he was in the room. He ran a hand through his hair and said "I'm sorry Seraph. It was rather rude of me. What did you want to know?"

She laughed again and said "I asked how you grew up."

Nadai's lips lifted in a fond smile and he said "I had a very happy childhood. I had a lot of love. My father died when I was young and my mother became very withdrawn. She loved me more than life itself but she was so gentle that she just couldn't take losing my father. And I looked so much like him it hurt her to see me." He broke off his voice quivering slightly.

Seraph looked at him understanding deep in her violet eyes. She laid a hand on his cheek and said "I'm sure she loved you very much. She just didn't know how to cope." She paused for a moment and jumped when Nadai turned his face and kissed her palm but didn't move her hand. "I recently found out that my father is dead. I can understand how you must have felt."

Nadai leaned into her hand and said "Seraph my mother couldn't bear to look at me but someone else's could. See I had a childhood friend, a little girl who disappeared one night when bandits raided the village. Her mother was so upset and she had basically adopted me already. I became hers. We both needed each other. I, a little boy who only wanted someone to love him, and Isis, a grieving mother who had lost her only child. We became so much because of it and I can't regret it happening. I'd be lost without her," a soft smile crossed his lips and he pulled Seraph to him. "I hope we can be friends Seraphic."

Seraph hugged him. "Of course we can."

:17:

Seto walked by and cursed. She was with that son of a bitch again. Seraph had been hanging out with Nadai for a few weeks now and he was not happy. He would never admit he was jealous but dammit he was. How much was a man supposed to take anyway? Seraph was still naïve and the man's intentions were not completely hidden. He'd steal Seto's angel if Seto didn't keep constant guard. But he had to be subtle. Seraph wouldn't appreciate a body guard though she damn well needed one. Even now she was doing nothing wrong, simply showing affection in her own way. But Seto knew well enough what those arms wrapped around a man could make him want and hope for. And Seraph being such an innocent, well it was just bad. He'd have to talk to her. As much as he didn't want to, Seraph was his and she needed to understand that. There was no way he was letting her go. He got his chance a few minutes later.

Seraph walked out of the infirmary and headed down the hall to her room. Seto was waiting for her. She jumped when she saw him sitting on the corner of her desk, arms crossed. "Yes Seto, is there something I can do for you?" she asked trying to slow her beating heart.

He raised an eyebrow at her and said "As a matter of fact there is. Close the door."

She looked at him and shook her head. "Seto…I don't think we should…I mean it's broad daylight and…"

"Relax sweetheart. I'm not going to ravish you. I just want to talk."

She looked suspicious. "Then why does the door need to be closed?"

"Because the subject of our conversation does not need to be heard by anyone casually walking by."

She considered that for a moment and nodded so she turned around and closed the door. When she turned to face him again she felt him standing behind her. Swallowing she moved to the side and smiled, "So what did you want to talk about?"

"You."

"Me?"

"Yes you and Nadia…or whatever the hell his name is."

"Nadai. And what about me and Nadai?"

"You're spending entirely too much time with him, Seraphic. Entirely too much. The slaves are beginning to talk."

She laughed and waved her hand "The slaves always talk. It's how they survive day to day without going crazy."

Seto didn't like that she was waving this off like it was no big deal. He wanted to shake her. "Seraph I don't want you with him that much."

She shook her head and stared at him. "Why does it matter? He's just a friend Seto."

He snorted. "Just a friend? You don't think he actually looks at you that way do you? Seraph you really are naïve."

She crossed her arms. "I think you're wrong Seto. Nadai is just a friend. He likes to talk to me while I am working. That's it," she said forcefully.

He leaned back against the door. "Seraph, even Dakar was half in love with you. What makes you think Nadai is any different?"

She laughed and rolled her eyes. "Dakar? Loved me? Like a sister, but that's it. We were just friends, just like me and Nadai." She chuckled slightly and walked over to her bed.

Seto took a deep breath and tried to keep from throttling her. She just didn't get it. "Seraph I'm not asking, I'm telling you to stop spending so much time with him. In fact stay away from him completely."

Now Seraph was upset. "You are not my father nor do you have any control over me whatsoever. Seto I will talk to whomever it pleases me to talk to. And you have no say in the matter."

Seto walked over to her, grabbed her by the arms and shook her. "That's where you're wrong, sweetheart. I have complete control over what you do. You belong to me."

She wrenched out of his grip and glared at him. "Let's get one thing very clear, Seto. I don't belong to you. You don't own me or have any say over what I do. And you certainly have no right to come in here and tell me who I can and can not spend time with. My time is mine to do what I wish to do and if I wish to talk to Nadai, I will. And there's not a thing you can say or do about it." She nodded her head once to emphasize her point and turned around to walk away.

Seto reached out and grabbed her arm, swinging her back around so she hit his chest. Then he locked his other arm around her so she was caged in his grasp and said softly and slowly, enunciating every word. "Let's get one thing very clear," he said mimicking her. "I do own you. When you slept with me you gave me that right. I told you I don't want you spending that much time with Nadai. I mean it, Seraph. Disobey me and you will be sorry."

She frowned and then shook her head. "What are you, my father? In case you've forgotten my father's dead.

Seto shook his head, "I don't care, Seraphic. I'm telling you, disobey me and you will be sorry."

She glared at him and jerked away, "Get out! Just get out! I will do what I want and talk to who I want when I want to do so! I am in control of my life, not you."
Seto simply raised an eyebrow and let her go, "Continue to think that Seraphic but remember this, you were forewarned. Do not mess with me. Do not play games with me. I've played them all before and you can't win. I can make your life miserable or I can make it absolutely wonderful. The choice is your Seraphic, choose wisely." And he traced a finger down her cheek and left the room.

Seraph hissed at him and picked up the nearest thing which happened to be a jar of some treatment or other and hurled it at the spot he had just been. The jar crashed against the wall and shattered and there was green gel all over the wall dripping down to the floor. She frowned and then picked up a towel and wiped the gel then tossed that towel in a corner. "Ra I need Dakar…" He had always taken care of the things she didn't want to.

The shadowy shape had heard everything but stayed hidden, listening. She needed him? He knew he'd been right. She did feel the same as he did. He watched as she picked up a bag and left the room again then said softly, "Soon Milady, soon all your dreams will come true. You want Dakar? You can have him, I'll make sure of it."

:17:

Yami was extremely unhappy. Relah was pissed at him, Aura was pissed at him, Seraphic was pissed at him. None of the women would even look at him. Relah, he knew was trying really hard not to strangle him. She'd let him have it when she found out what he had done and called him ten kinds of idiot. He wanted to blame it on the pregnancy hormones but he had a feeling that's not all it was. Worse, he felt like he might have deserved it. Maybe he had acted rashly and not really thought it through but dammit, what the hell was he supposed to do? His council was breaking apart in front of his eyes and not only could he not stop it but he had inadvertently helped it along. Dammit.

Presently Relah was laying on the bed, her hands on her head and taking deep calming breaths. She was so tired of morning sickness, it was really beginning to suck. She was pissed at Yami and couldn't let him comfort her either and that sucked too.

"Relah dammit, you have to talk to me!" he finally exploded.

"No, I don't."

"Yes you do. I'm tired of this silence and I'm tired of everyone acting like I'm the bad guy!"

"You are."

"No I'm not!" he screamed.

"Yes you are. You kicked Aura off the council, embarrassed her in front of the other two and almost made Seraph leave the council as well. You are the bad guy. It's not that hard Yami! All you have to do is lock the two of them in a room until they talk it out!"

"I tried that! They sat there in stony silence for four hours. It practically drove me insane."

"I didn't say you had to sit in there with them. Just lock them in there, let them scream and holler and throw magic and fight each other until they finally work their problems out. Now Aura is definitely not going to forgive Seraph for a very long time and you have alienated one of your best friends. Hope it was worth it Yami."

Yami just sighed, he just couldn't win.

:17:

"You should be very proud Isis. She's grown up beautifully."

"Indeed she has. Did you find out anything?"

"No, not really. She talked all about her time with Micah. The only thing I really gathered is that she deeply regrets being taken from you and that she wishes she knew her real father. She speaks of this priest Micah as though he's her father but I can tell that she wishes she knew her biological one."

Isis sighed, "Yes…I used to tell her when she was a little girl that her father was coming back home. I don't know why but some part of me couldn't give up hope. That maybe he was…" She shook her head. Something had to be done. The council was in ruins. Seraphic and Aura's fight had only proceeded to swell beyond its current boundaries. She could absolutely smack her little brother. How could he be so stupid? She'd demanded that her daughter and Aura apologize to each other and it had done no good. Aura was determined to hold a grudge and Isis could see why she was so upset. But at the same time the mother in her urged her to side with her baby. Currently she was going to leave the situation alone, but if Yami didn't get his act together, well she was going to take things into her own hands. And he wouldn't like very much what she was going to do.

:17:

Night fell slowly over the palace, the sun sinking down in almost lazy fashion as though those who were outside its walls longing to get in weren't waiting impatiently. It was almost laughing at them, lingering for that last moment until it finally succumbed and slipped below the horizon, the stain of darkness spreading over the sky.

Aura watched out her window and sighed, Bakura would be back soon and then he wanted to have sex with her. She wasn't sure she really felt like it but he wasn't' going to be stopped. He'd made that perfectly clear. What was it with men and sex? Did they really need it all the time? She'd gone for more than a year without him and she was just fine. Sure she missed him but even if she couldn't sleep with him and just hold him for a few minutes during that time she would have been ecstatic. Take what you can get and be happy for it. She shivered a bit and placed her hands gently on her stomach. "Your father is one stubborn man." A sigh and she turned away from the window. She might as well prepare herself. She hadn't done that in a while. Taken time in a bath and spread sweet smelling oils on her skin to make it soft and sweet. Washed her hair with special lotions to make sure it was lustrous for his marauding fingers. Her mind recalled the day of the wedding when he had smoothed every lotion she'd ever had all over her body. He'd ruined her sheets but she really hadn't cared. Yes, she'd prepare herself for him and welcome him tonight. Maybe Isis was right and it would make her feel better. Ra, she hoped so. She was stressed to the max and she just wanted to feel normal again.

Moving slowly but steadily she stripped her dress off and climbed into the bath that had been drawn for her. Kebi was off tonight as she'd sent him to go with his mother after he'd gotten her bath ready for her. At least Pharaoh hadn't taken the sweet little boy from her. She was going to miss Kebi…or maybe she could take him with her. She'd have to bring that up to Kura later on. A soft smile drifted across her face as she stepped into the warm water and settled in. The tub was large enough for her and three other people so she had plenty of room. Kebi and Kura…"And soon another one to join them." If they could get out of the palace without getting caught and IF Pharaoh never found them again. She was so afraid she was going to lose Bakura again, he would get caught or Pharaoh would find out about the child and then she'd no longer even be a guest in the palace. She'd be on the streets with nowhere to go. But she wasn't going to allow that to happen. She was leaving as soon as she and Bakura were back up. Preferably at dawn but who really knew. She began to wash herself, slowly massaging the oils into her skin. The aroma of jasmine drifted up and relaxed her and she settled back in the water. Her eyes began to drift closed. She had been so tired lately. Stressed and emotionally strung didn't mix well together, added to the normal fatigue of pregnancy….and she found herself tossing and turning more at night, though whether that was from the child or not she really couldn't be sure. The warm water beckoned her, cushioning her, whispering silent dreams of bliss and she succumbed. She settled down in her bath so the water was up to her neck and her eyes slowly drifted closed….

:17:

Seraph surveyed the mess she'd made in her room. She'd hurled bottles at the wall like it was nobody's business and completely destroyed her room. She recalled the fight between herself and Seto and how angry he had made her. It wasn't like she had a slave to clean it up. Of course she could have asked anyone of the slaves in the palace and they would have gladly cleaned up her mess but she didn't want to give them more work added to the duties they already had. So she'd done it herself. She'd made the mess in a moment of petty anger and now she had to clean it up. She'd spent the afternoon after she'd done the damage with the door closed outside in the garden. But now she'd eaten dinner and there was really no other excuse she had to put it off. "I need Dakar…"

Unbeknownst to her, her former slave was sitting on her window ledge staring at her back. He heard what she said and stepped down quietly coming to stand directly behind her. He grinned and then said, "You called Milady?"

Seraphic spun around and her eyes went wide. She stared for a moment and blinked then ran to him and threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. "Dakar! What are you doing here?"

He hugged her back, then put her down and took her hands in his and said , "Seraphic.." he glanced at the open door and said, "I have some..news. But we can't talk with the door open."

She nodded and walked to the heavy door shoving it closed. Turning back, she took a seat on the bed and said, "What's happened?"

"It's Micah."

Her eyes widened, her heart beat quickened and she swallowed. "What about him?"

Dakar sat down and covered her hand with his. "He's not doing too well Seraph. Actually…he's sick."

"Sick?"

"Yes. The healers in Karnak have done everything they possibly can…but it's just not enough. He needs you now Seraph."

"I can heal him! I can. I'll need…what's wrong with him?"

Dakar blinked for a moment and then shook his head, "Nobody knows, he's throwing up all the time, can't move from his bed. He's much older and not nearly as spry as he used to be. But if you're going to help him we have to go now."

She nodded and stood up then said, "I'll tell Pharoah and-"

"NO!"

She looked at him like he was insane for a moment. "Why not? I have to tell him…he has to know I'm gone. He'll understand."

"Seraph, the boat leaves in an hour. We have to go now. Grab whatever you can and come on."

"But I could at least write a no-"

He grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her, yelling, "Seraph! I know you're trying to do what's right but Pharaoh will understand. We have to go. He's…dying."

"Dying?" She stared at him and felt her eyes well up with tears. "No…he can't. He just can't."

"He is, Seraphic and he heard about you becoming High Priestess and he asked me to come find you and bring you back. If you can't save him…he wants to say goodbye."

"I can save him. Come on Dakar, there's no time to waste."

"I quite agree." He waited while she grabbed a few things and then watched as she shoved them onto a small towel and folded the items up inside. Her medicine bag was on the desk and she grabbed that and checked inside to see what she had. She had no idea what his ailment was so she just checked to make sure she had pretty much everything. "Alright, I'm ready."

"Almost." He pulled out a dark cloak from his bag and handed it to her. "Put this on. If you go out looking like that, you're going to attract far too much attention from people you don't want to attract."

She nodded and slipped on the cloak. "Now I'm ready."

Dakar nodded. "Go out the window and I'll be there in a moment." His eyes lit on Rasui sleeping peacefully on her bed. The cat couldn't be permitted to wander around, it would alert someone that Seraph was gone. He had to do something with her.

Seraph walked over to the window and stared down below. "Dakar…I…I can't. It's too far."

"Yes you can. Just slip out and hang by the ledge then drop down."

"I can't do it."

"Yes you can. Come on Seraph. Think of Micah."

She sat on the edge of the ledge and slowly turned her body around hanging on by her fingertips.
"Good girl. Now let go. Nice and easy."

She took a deep breath and let go. The ground seemed to come up awful fast but there was nothing she could do about it. She hit with a thud and winced a bit but other than that was fine. "Okay…your turn." She saw his head poke out and nod and then disappear.

Dakar picked up the sleeping cat and set her in his old room then shut the door and kept it firmly closed. The cat could not alert the others to the fact that she was gone. Her disappearance would be discovered soon enough, he didn't need Rasui out crying for her mistress. He picked up the bag of medicine that she hadn't grabbed and walked to the window then slipped out and down. He hit the ground in a crouch and then stood up to see Seraph brushing herself off.

He nodded, "Good job Seraph," handed her the bag of medicine and then grabbed her hand and pulled her to the western side of the city. Always on guard he led her through the darkened streets keeping an eye out for thieves who wouldn't hesitate to steal them blind.

She followed along on silent feet, going through her mind and trying to figure out just what could possibly be wrong with Micah. He had always been hale and hearty, why now? Of course he was getting older, but that shouldn't matter nearly as much. Well if she was completely honest it could just be his old age setting in. Everyone had a time to go and maybe his had come around. She didn't want to accept it but she may be forced to. But she wasn't giving up without a fight, she was going to do everything in her power to heal Micah and force him to leave even if she had to resort to threats and bribery.

Dakar stole a few glances at her as she walked beside him quietly. He felt kind of bad for lying to her but when she found out what he had planned she'd be just fine with it, in fact she'd probably congratulate on him on his genius idea. Of course she might be a bit miffed that he'd scared her so much telling her that Micah was on his deathbed when in fact the last he'd seen the priest, he'd been just fine. But he would take her to see him after they were married and all would be well. He stopped at the docks and found the boat he had bartered passage on. Payment was going to be needed in full. He glanced over Seraphic. She didn't have a lot of gold on, she'd taken it off before she had started cleaning and the gold she had on now was hidden beneath the voluminous cloak but she did have some valuable things. He wasn't going to ask for her Necklace since that would attract far too much notice and attention among the underground traders. No, not the Necklace. But she did have rings and armbands that could pay for the trip remarkably well. Now he just had to get her to pay for it. The man he'd bargained with earlier raised his eyebrow and said, "Payment."

Dakar nodded and began going through his pockets and bag looking for the gold. "I swear I had it. I got enough saved up to get us back and now it's gone. What are we going to do?" he asked in despair.

Seraph blinked and then said, "Will this work?" She slipped off the crest that Yami had given her with the symbol of the Pharaoh on it.

The merchant's eyes widened and nodded his head then jerked a thumb at the vessel that was to take them to Karnak. It wasn't very big, a fisherman's boat most likely but it would get them where they needed to go and comfort wasn't a big deal right now. Dakar helped her on and settled her down at one end of the boat then sat down beside her. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and inwardly grinned when she laid her head against him. "It's going to be okay Seraph. Everything will work out fine, I promise you."

She sighed, "I just can't believe Micah is sick. This is awful and I can't help but think what everyone at the palace is going to think and do when they find out I'm gone. Maybe I should send a note back."

He shook his head, "Why? Who knows how long you're going to be needed in Karnak? Besides, you'll be back soon enough. Then you can explain to Pharaoh why you ran off so suddenly and he'll forgive you. You may get a slap on the wrist but it won't be any worse than that."

"You're right. I don't know why I worry so much but thanks Dakar. What would I do without you?" She snuggled down and with her head resting against him, fell asleep.

"You'll never have to worry about that again darling." He promised kissing the top of her head. "Never."

:17:

Aura felt herself slipping down in the water and suddenly jerked upright. She rubbed a hand over her face and sighed. The water was cold and she must have fallen asleep. Good thing she hadn't drowned. She stood up from the icy water and shivering reached for a towel. Wrapping herself up to warm up she began to rub her skin until it was completely dry. Then she sat down on the chair and applied lotion to make her skin silky and soft. That done, she grabbed a simple gown and pulled it over her head then walked out and picked up a brush and dragged it through her hair. Satisfied with her appearance she settled down on the bed to wait for Bakura, her hand drifting down to settle on her stomach.

Bakura crept through the streets. He saw two figures hurrying off from the palace but didn't think much of it. It could be anyone besides who was he to get into someone else's business? He crept away from the palace under the cover of darkness all the time and he wasn't about to ruin some other guy's plans. And he really wanted to see Aura. It had been too long since he'd had her the way she had been before she got pregnant and he was looking forward to seeing how his child had changed her body. He stood before his own way into the palace and looked up counting windows. Ah there it was. His Aura's room. He climbed the wall quickly and slipped over the sill of her window then into her room.

Aura saw his leg come over the sill and she pushed herself back up on one elbow the way he so often lounged on her bed. "Evening…"

He grinned at her, layed out on her bed and walked over, leaning down and kissing her softly. Mmm. She smelled just like jasmine. Oh yes, this was his Aura. He climbed onto the bed and curled up next to her. "What are you doing, love?"

"Waiting for you. Isn't that what you told me to do?"

"And since when do you listen to me?"

She laughed, "Well you're the slave, you're supposed to listen to me, not the other way around. But I listen to you when I either absolutely have to or it benefits me as well."

"Which is almost never but tonight it will. I can promise you that my love. Tonight will benefit us both."

She looked up at him, her eyes so full of trust and love that it took his breath away, "I know." She lifted her face for his kiss and when his mouth met hers, she lifted her hands and looped them around his neck. He kissed her for what seemed like an eternity but he wanted to see her.

She looked at him for a moment, confusion in her eyes then she smiled softly. She knew what he was thinking and she stood up and pulled the simple gown over her head letting it fall in a pool of cotton beside her feet. Bakura just stared. He watched each sun kissed inch of her skin appear as that gown slid up and he swore he was drooling. Her body had changed but for the better in his opinion. Her feet were slender, ankles, calves…all still perfect. He moved down to his knees in front of her and began to kiss up each leg. He dropped sweet kisses and tantalizing nibbles on her calves, the back of her knees and the inside of her thighs. She gasped and grabbed his shoulders to stay on her feet. Bakura was her anchor in a world of chaos and now pleasure.

He continued to move his kisses up her body bypassing the nest of curls between her legs for now but resolving to come back to it later. He kissed the softly rounded mound of her stomach, the spot where his baby rested right at this moment was living inside of her. Fingers swept slowly over it and he laid his forehead against her stretched skin.

Aura glanced down at him and tangled her fingers in his white hair. "It's our baby…"

He smiled and nodded then continued kissing her. He had to get off his knees and perch on the balls of his feet to make his leisurely way up her body. Her breasts were swollen and full of milk in preparation for the baby that would suckle, but now these two perfectly swollen mounds were all his. He'd share soon enough. His hands cupped their fullness and he nestled his face in the valley between them dropping a kiss there as well before he finally stood up and kissed her full on the mouth.

She had been a little self-conscious. After all he hadn't actually seen her naked like this since she'd gotten fat with his baby but he didn't seem to be upset at her added weight and how big her belly was, that was a good thing right? Little breaths were all she could manage to take as he kissed his way up her body and she simply reveled in having him in front of her and their baby between them. She kissed him back slowly, giving him back all the passion he'd incited inside of her. She could feel his body grow hard beneath her tentative touch and she silently congratulated herself on being able to affect him so well. Her hands slipped down over his stomach, much the same way his had and she traced a finger along the waistband of his pants and pulled the simple tunic over his head dropping it on the floor. His bare chest before she leaned forward and pressed her lips to the warm skin. Her hands came up to trace along his arms and shoulders until finally twining around his neck as their lips joined.

He wrapped his arms around her waist, urging her closer, pressing one hand at the small of her back and pulling her naked body into intimate contact with his half clothed form. He felt a painful pull at his pants and he longed to be free. A moment later he broke the kiss and quickly undid the simple tie holding up his pants and stripped them off then once again pulled her in close with a groan of pleasure.

She melted against him, pressing every inch of skin as close to his as she could and making sweet mewling noises in the back of her throat. His hands fought their way into her hair and held her head imprisoned for his fiery kiss and she responded raking her fingers across his naked back. Then suddenly as though he remembered she was pregnant, it changed. The kiss gentled and he very gently bent her backwards until her back met the mattress of the bed. Her legs were bent at the knee, her feet on the floor and he leaned over and kept kissing her gently. Pulling back, his eyes roved over her face and he smiled softly. Blue met brown and love was reflected back. A soft touch on her cheek closed her eyes and her lips parted slightly. He grinned and leaned down taking the irresistible invitation, kissing her once again. His hands moved over her, gentleness in every touch as though he was learning her body once again.

She felt a low heat begin pooling in her stomach and strange little flutters moving throughout her body. His hands lingered for a moment on her stomach and she opened her eyes expecting to see a critical look in his eyes. But only tenderness could be found in the warm chocolate eyes of her love. It was so poignantly sweet that it brought tears to her eyes and finally spilling down her cheeks.

The tears alarmed Bakura immediately. He leaned down and tasted the salty drops and traced a finger over her cheeks. "What's the matter baby? Did I hurt you? Do you want to stop?"

She closed her eyes and a sweet smile lifted her lips. "No, it's just…"

That smile disconcerted him. She was smiling and crying. He had no experience with pregnant women and didn't know that they were super emotional. "Just what? Is it the baby? Are you in pain? Tell me?" he said frantic worry filling his voice.

A soft chuckle, "Always so impatient. It's you."

Concern turned to puzzlement. "Me?"

She nodded, her eyes going soft. "You're so beautiful."

He gathered her close in his arms and nuzzled his nose into her hair, laughing. "I think that's supposed to be my line love. But thank you."

She snuggled closer and whispered, "Bakura?"

With a smile on his face he shifted her so her ear was in front of his mouth. "Yes love?"

She shivered at his breath on her ear. "Make me yours."

A feeling of tenderness swamped him and he nibbled gently on her ear. "Yes my lady." He lifted her body into his arms and carried her to the side of the bed, then set her in the middle and just looked down at her for a moment. Brushing aside a piece of hair that was covering her face he slipped onto the bed beside her and showed her just how much she belonged to him with sweet kisses.

They came together in a sweet embrace of passion and love. Tenderness in every move he made, he slipped inside her and began to move while their mouths melded above them. Between them, their baby slept as he made slow, sweet love to her. That first time they climaxed together quietly, riding the waves of passion together until they both quieted. But he was far from done.

Their pace was slow and sweet and he lingered over her until she graced that peak multiple times before he finally followed her.

She slept nestled in his arms, his body pressed to hers and his scent and taste still fresh. He woke her right before dawn to make love to her once again and this time he lifted her onto him and helped her settle into the new position. It was different because of her much larger belly but oh the sensations that ran through her. His firm hands guiding her and she once again reached a climax and he held her close to him. Before they went back to sleep he bundled the two of them up and walked to the window to watch the sunrise then slept once again nestled in each other's arms, a smile on both faces and love filling two hearts.

:17:

Isis was sick and tired of all the fighting. She had been spending a lot of time listening to the slaves lately and with Nadai as a main link she knew everything that went on in the palace. This had become ridiculous. Yami was acting like a spoiled brat, Seraph and Aura refused to talk to each other and rarely came out of their rooms anymore. Aura was pregnant for Ra's sake, she didn't need this kind of stress hanging over her head. And her daughter had become solemn and withdrawn. Aura's refusal to forgive her had hit her hard and she was constantly beating herself up over what she'd done. Isis saw both sides of it and understood why Aura was so upset but she didn't think for one minute that what Seraph had done was wrong. If she had been in the same position, she would have done exactly the same thing. Aura would see it, she'd show it to her by force if necessary. Something had to be done and she knew exactly what she had to do. It wasn't her favorite solution but she'd given her brother plenty of time to take care of the problem. He'd let it fester and become infected and now it was going to hurt when she stepped in and poured medicine on it. Oh yes it was going to sting, it was going to sting his pride and color his opinion of her but at this point she no longer cared.

There was only one way to take care of all this. She'd have to reveal herself.

She slipped through the palace late that night and into her father's study. It didn't take her long to find the loose stone in the wall. Kneeling on the ground, she counted up and over the exact location imprinted into her memory. The stone shook slightly when she nudged at it but didn't come out as easily as it once had. It hadn't been moved in ages and she was almost afraid that her father had sealed it back up but he hadn't. Yami must not know about it but then it had been their special secret. She picked up the knife and cut into the mortar used to hold the stone shakily into place until she finally pulled it out. It was large and she was afraid that she might drop it but after setting it down next to her she knelt back on the floor and reached inside. A small smile drifted over her lips and she pulled out the journal they'd written to each other back and forth in and a bundle of parchment. She lit one of the braziers and settled down at her father's desk then undid the string around the parchment. Rolling out the pieces before her, tears came to her eyes. It was all the records, her announcement of birth, the family tree with her still on it and the other official records all bearing some mention of her. He had taken them out but hadn't burned them like he was supposed to. He'd never forgotten about her and now thanks to his foresight and a special hiding place she had the proof she required. Rerolling the parchment and slipping the journal beneath her dress, she replaced the stone, blew out the candles and slipped back to her room. Tomorrow would be soon enough to study everything her father had left. She hid the contents under her mattress and settled down to get a good night's sleep.

:17:

Pain slashed through her. Shifting slightly she rolled over but it happened again. Her hands drifted down to her stomach, the source of the pain and she rolled over onto her back. Her body was screaming at her, telling her off for the abuse it had endured and she moaned softly in pain. Twisting this way and that she tried to get away from the pain but it seemed to follow her like a heat seeking missile intent on its target. Briefly she wondered why it hurt so bad but nothing seemed to make sense. She put a hand out and felt around, warm mattress, cool sheets and a warm body beside her. So what was so wrong?

Sitting up proved to be a mistake a moment later when her head felt like it was going to split open. She could feel the pain in her lower abdomen still and she began to get very scared. What was happening? Her hands moved down to push back the covers and she stood up then put a hand up to her head. It was pounding and she happened to glance back at the bed to see her partner still sound asleep. Small dots of red drew her attention and she glanced at the white sheets in horror. Her breathing began to quicken and she felt tears fill her eyes, the pain was almost unbearable but why was she bleeding? She hadn't bled since she'd gotten pregnant. A quick survey and she saw more blood on her thighs. How long had she been like this? Why was this happening? What was going on? Like a bolt of white lightning, pain sliced her again and almost brought her down to her knees. "B-Bakura…"she sobbed.

He was caught up in a dream and didn't respond right away but when she hobbled over to him and began to violently shake him he opened his eyes and looked at her. The smile on his face faded at the sight of her terror filled eyes and white face. "Aura, what's the matter baby?"

"B-blood…there's blood. And I don't know why. And my stomach hurts and my head hurts. It all just hurts!"

Okay, that didn't sound good. He bolted out of bed and grabbed her by her shoulders. "Blood? Pain? Are you…?" he didn't think it was time for her to be in labor, he could have sworn Isis said she had at least a full season to go. But if she was in labor now…he caught her as she swayed and held her close, kissing her sweat dampened forehead. She was hot too, was she sick? He had to get Isis. Nothing but business now he leaned down and swept her up into his arms cradling her gently and placed her back in bed. Pressing a kiss to her forehead he whispered, "Just hang on Aura, I'm going to go get Isis. She'll know what to do." He gently covered her back up and winced when she cringed in pain and tried to pull her knees up to her stomach. His lover was in some serious pain and he had to do something about it.

Yanking on his pants and not even bothering with a shirt he threw open the door and raced out into the hall using his hands to hold his untied pants up. He ran through the palace, not caring who saw him or what the servants said until he finally came to the room where he knew Isis was staying. Her door was closed so he began banging on it with his fists. "Isis!" his voice was panicked and stressed. "You have to come! She's in pain. Now!"

The door opened quickly and Isis stood in a simple cotton nightdress looking at him. "She's in pain? What kind of pain?"

"She keeps holding her stomach and she said there's blood! Come on, I'm really worried about her."

Isis' eyes closed and she shook her head "Oh Ra, no…please no…" Pushing past Bakura she picked up the hem of her dress and raced to Aura's room, Bakura hot on her heels.

"What's wrong Isis! You have to tell me what's happening. I've never seen her like this before and I don't like it…not at all!"

Isis ignored him entirely and moved into the bedroom. She glanced at Aura lying in the big bed, looking pale and wan and prayed to any god who was listening to give her strength. "Okay Aurahkah, just relax." Moving over to the bed, she gently removed the covers and spread the pregnant woman's thighs. Sure enough more spots of red coated the bronze flesh.

Aurahkah moaned in pain and writhed beneath the invasion. Isis did her best to soothe her, pushing back her hair and murmuring soothingly, "Yes I know it hurts. But you're going to be alright, just let me see." She gently poked and prodded at Aura's swollen stomach and shook her head gravely when the girl winced and screamed more than once.

Bakura stood by the bed, wringing his hands and watching every move the hearer made. He wasn't happy with no response to his questions and he intended to get one as soon as it was humanely possible. But Isis had other ideas.

"Aura, I need you to listen to me very closely. I know it hurts and I'm going to give you something for the pain but you need to answer some questions. Did you eat anything yesterday?"

Wiping at the tears still streaming down her cheeks, she nodded. "Kura made me eat like you told him too. And I ate a good meal too…oh Isis…what's happening?"
Where she wouldn't answer the father-to-be, she had no qualms answering this frightened young woman. "It's normal to bleed a little bit, I'm sure you've seen it before now and just thought it was your cycle."

Looking to the woman for confirmation she waited for a nod before continuing. "Unfortunately for reasons we don't always know, the mother starts bleeding. It always starts out small, little droplets here or there and sometimes you feel like you are going through your normal menses again. That's what this feels like, right Aura?"

A little embarrassed by the turn of the conversation but still in quite a bit of pain she slowly nodded. "Sometimes a mother to be experiences the symptoms of her cycle during her pregnancy. The results vary," here she paused for a moment watching the young couple with their eyes fixed on her. How could she tell them this? How could she break their hearts this way?

"Just tell me Isis. What's happening?"

Taking a deep breath she said, "Two things usually occur. Either the symptoms last for an undetermined time and besides the discomfort nothing else happens…or…"

Bakura grabbed the irritating healer and began to shake her, "Or what! Dammit, tell us!"

"Or the mother loses the baby." She said softly bracing herself for the reactions.

Blue eyes widened and stared at her in horror. "Lose my baby?" She began to frantically shake her head and laid back on the pillows closing her eyes. She reached out and grabbed Bakura's hand and held it tightly, just laying there for a moment.

Isis watched how she took the news and her heart ached at the naked pain on the woman's face. She'd never gotten the chance to see this girl born, to see her wailing as a baby and then playing as a girl and finally growing up into the woman she had become but that didn't mean that Isis didn't love Aura. She was the child of Chibale and Halima, two of her favorite people in the entire world. But all in all Aura was taking it rather well. A quiet strength, the best kind in times of trouble seemed to fill her with peace and Isis knew the exact moment she accepted what could happen. Her face smoothed out and her hands, previously clenched, relaxed and lay still on her rounded stomach.

Bakura's reaction however, was vastly different. He freaked. He shook his head and began muttering curses under his breath. He railed and ranted and raved and begged and pleaded and just carried on in any form he could. He thought of his beautiful Aura and the child they had created together, his baby, could die. "By Ra!" And suddenly an epiphany hit him like a bolt of lightning. It wasn't about him! How was Aura feeling at this moment? She'd just found out the same news he had and he was carrying on. He calmed a bit and sat on the bed near her head, gently stroking her hair away from her face. "It'll be okay Aura. I still love you baby and I'm so sorry you have to go through this pain…" Was it because of what they had done? Stupid idiot, he railed at himself silently. You were so hot and heavy last night, you knew you had to be more careful! You took her too fast, you were too rough. You caused this! He leaned down and pressed a kiss to her temple.

Meanwhile Isis had moved away from the bed and was preparing a potion for Aura to take to help minimize the pain and allow her to sleep while her body did it's own thing. There was nothing she could do to save the baby, nature would take it's course. If the gods wanted this young life, it would remain, if not it would be wiped out in due time. She picked up the pitcher of water on Aura's bedside table and poured a decent amount into a small cup. Then she dropped a few spoonfuls of powder, stirred and waited while the water became clouded and milky in appearance. Adding a dab of another powder that turned it a sickening green color she stirred again and walked over to Aura handing her the cup. "Drink it all Aura, it will help ease the pain."

Bakura helped her sit up and held the cup up to her lips, supporting her back with his hands and tipping the liquid down her throat. He was still beating himself up, completely believing it was his fault for being so adamant about making love to her. Well, they certainly weren't running away now were they. Burning questions he longed to ask filled up his mind but he really wasn't sure he wanted to know the answers. Fear encased his heart like a fist and every time he thought about losing what he loved most that fist squeezed tighter and made it hard for him to breathe. He couldn't lose her…he just couldn't.

Aura fell asleep at some point and Isis and Bakura spent some time talking quietly in the corner. She knew that Bakura probably had a lot of questions and she wanted to answer them for him if at all possible. "Bakura, what's on your mind?"

He stared at her like she was insane. "How can you ask that? You should know what's on my mind."

"You have questions," she prodded gently.

"Yes, I do."

"Then ask them."

"Will you answer htem truthfully Isis? Don't lie to me, I couldn't take that…" his voice was full of raw emotion.
She merely nodded, "I give you my word. Nothing but the truth."

He nodded and was quiet for a long time, gazing at the bed. Finally he said, "Will she lose the baby?"

Isis pondered it for a moment and then shrugged, "Honestly it's too soon to tell. She may and she may not. It's a case by case basis. Some have these symptoms and then a few hours or days or week later they are just fine. It all depends on the will of the gods."

Bakura nodded, "How much pain is she in?"

"It varies with each woman. No two women are the same and the ones that I've seen often complain about pain in their stomachs or heads and they all tend to bleed."

"Will she bleed anymore?"

"She could. It's very possible so I need you to be prepared for that possibility. This could go on for a while and I won't be able to stay in here the whole time. I need you to understand Bakura, a little bit of blood isn't good but it isn't disastrous either. It seems to be a common occurrence during their time with child. But if there is a lot of blood or the blood is a very dark red, you need to come and get me immediately."

He nodded and then was quiet once again. Fighting back tears he asked the one question he really wanted to know the answer to. "Will…will she die?"

Isis sat back and sighed, then she leaned forward and placed her hand on Bakura's shoulder. She couldn't lie to him as much as she wanted to, she'd given her word to be completely and brutally honest. "She could. You could lose them both."

Bakura felt the fist squeezing his heart again and the tears that he had been holding back this whole entire time began to fall. "Oh Ra, no! No…I can't lose her Isis. There's nothing you can do?"

"I've done everything I can. We have to wait and see…I'll leave you alone with her now. Keep an eye on her and when she wakes up, ask her how she's doing. Check to make sure she's not bleeding in huge amounts and that she doesn't get feverish. I'll do my best to keep her with us Bakura but you need to be strong for her."

He rubbed his hand over his face and looked up meeting her eyes with his own, then he nodded. "I know. I just don't want to lose her. She's everything to me."

Isis gently laid her hand against Bakura's cheek and said softly, "I know."

:17:

In another part of the palace, blissfully unaware that the turmoil was going on, Yami sat raging silently. He was ticked at everyone and everything and dammit he was so tired of all of this. He'd thought once he married Relah, everything would settle down and all the excitement brought on by Serapic's arrival and the tomb raiding would cease. How wrong he'd been. His wife of a scant few months was furious with him. She still dined with him at night but she didn't speak to him, at least not like she used to. She answered any questions he asked about her health and the baby with direct and straightforward answers but didn't start any other conversations. She was not his fun and playful Relah. He thought briefly that maybe awakening the passion inside her would restore his favor in her eyes but that had been a complete disaster. He'd gone to her and instead of rolling away or telling him off when he touched her, she'd just stared at him and shrugged. Undaunted he began to try and lull her into the sated state she'd so often found herself in when they were happy. She let him make love to her but it wasn't like it had been before. She was like a robot laying there and letting him do whatever he pleased, which normally would have driven him insane but she wasn't enjoying it. Her anger and bitterness at what he had done went so deep it affected the very core of their relationship. And he was damned if he knew how to get back into her good graces. What the hell was he going to do? Everything was falling apart on him and he just didn't know what to do. "Father…help me…"

:17:

Seto had been woken up by the commotion since his room wasn't far from Aura's and he had caught Isis as she was leaving the room. "So what's happening Isis?" the High Priest demanded.

Isis glanced up at the man that held her daughter's heart and she lifted her chin. "Aura's experiencing some pain during her cycle. She'll be fine in a few days, I'm sure you've heard all of this before."

Seto raised an eyebrow at her words nad nodded, "Is that all?"

"Yes. I've given her some medication and she should be fine. Now if you'll excuse me Lord Seto…"

"Not so fast. Isis, who's in there with her? I heard what I know sounded like a male voice."

"Nadai. He was helping me to keep her calm so we could give her some medication."

He nodded for a moment and then said, "And is Nadai in there now?"

She met his challenging gaze with one of her own and said, "No. I sent him back out. I needed to look over her body and make sure she wasn't experiencing things that might be harmful to her health. Certainly you understand the need for modesty."

"Certainly," he agreed slowly. "But there's no male in there now?"

"Perhaps Lady Aura's slave but other than that, no."

He nodded, "Does the child know what's happening?"

"My lord, the child has a mother and three sisters as well as being in service here at the palace. He is no stranger to women's habits and sees nothing strange about it."

Seto wasn't sure if he believed the woman or not. He'd heard Aura screaming and carrying on but he knew that women did that sometimes. Thank Ra he'd never heard Seraph carrying on like that, he couldn't handle women who couldn't handle pain. Grit your teeth and bear it! he always wanted to shout but he couldn't. He simply shot the screamer a scathing look and then left whatever room said screamer was in so her cries wouldn't reach his ears. "Have you seen Seraphic around Isis?"

What did he want with her daughter? She didn't need him right now, she needed to make up with Aura but she simply shook her head, "Not since the fight. Both of them have been keeping to themselves as of late."

He nodded, "Yes, they have. Well if you see her, tell her of Aura's condition. As you are her apprentice and helper she may want to double check on her herself. I'm sure you understand." He shot back the words she'd used quite often with him and nodded to her, sweeping off down the hallway.

Isis glared after him, she Seraph's apprentice? What a joke. But then that's the part she played. If anything her little girl was her apprentice and that's just the way it was meant to be. Of course if Isis had been given the right amount of time with her, she would know everything she was teaching her daughter now. Seraph wouldn't need Isis to counsel her in the different treatments and potions because she would have already been taught. But she might have Seraph look in on Aura later just to see if she could get a conversation started between the two. But then with what happened with Kishi earlier she wasn't sure if it was a good idea to put her around babies so soon. She'd wait and see what happened.

:17:

Travel was never one of Seraph's favorite things and ranking right up there with it was boat rides. The fishing vessel was rickety and she wasn't at all sure it was safe but she trusted Dakar that he had everything under control. They traveled for what seemed like days but since she slept so much she wasn't really sure how much time had passed. Dakar had woken her about dawn and given her something to eat and a bit to drink. He claimed it was some kind of exotic drink that was used to help soothe the stomach from the sickness brought on by the movement of the boat. Again she trusted him and took it but it made her so sleepy. She'd taken the vile tasting concoction twice more while she had been on the boat and she prayed they were getting closer to Karnak. She wanted to see Micah, needed to try her own hand at healing him and if she failed, say goodbye.

Dakar glanced out at the rapidly setting sun and had a low conversation with the captain of the boat. They were nearing their destination and soon he'd have to come up with a reasonable story as to why it was taking so long. Of course with the help of the sleeping draught he'd kept giving her she had slept almost an entire two and a half days and had no idea where they were or how close they were to anywhere. He knew where they were and he knew where they were going and it was a long way from Karnak. But he couldn't tell her that. He knew her disappearance hadn't been discovered yet, they'd stopped briefly for more supplies in a port city the second night out and he'd scouted around listening at the marketplace for word from the palace. No mention of the High Priestess disappearance or a reward for her kidnapper's head. Kidnapper, that's essentially what he was. He'd abducted her from her home but with her consent. In reality, he'd tricked her into going with him but he intended her no harm and as soon as he could explain everything to her, she'd be his forever and then he wouldn't have to worry about a price for kidnapping her because she'd claim she left with him.

He walked over and smiled at her then handed her the cup with the draught in it.

She grimaced and took it from him, "I wish my stomach would agree with him so I wouldn't have to take this anymore. Speaking of which, are we almost there Nadai? How long have we been on this boat?"

"About a day. And yes, we'll disembark here shortly and then it's another day's ride to Karnak. But we'll rent some horses and be on our way as soon as possible, okay?"

She settled down on her makeshift pallet, already feeling the effects of the draught he'd given her and nodded, "Is there any faster way?"

He settled down beside her and gently tucked her hair behind her ear. "No. If there was, I would have taken it." The lie came smoothly and he reminded himself to pay the penance for it later.

"I know you would have Dakar. You're such a sweetheart and I am thankful for everything you're doing." She yawned and her eyelids began to drift closed. "Thank you."

He smiled tenderly and leaned down brushing his lips with hers. "Sleep Seraph. It will do you good." He watched as her lashes became half crescents against her cheeks and once again brushed his lips over hers. "Soon enough my love, I'll get you off this boat and we can begin our life together."

:17:

Kebi raced through the palace with his friends, laughing and giggling as he ran through the halls. He wasn't allowed in Lady Aura's room, she was sick his mommy had told him so he had to do chores with her in the morning and then he could play for the rest of the day. Right now they were playing that fun game where they picked a place in the palace to hide until the other came to find them. Kebi was really good at this game and he often hid in places no one else could ever find him. But he was running out of spots and he knew his sister would be looking for him very shortly. He hated to lose but he heard her footsteps on the stone steps and pushed open the nearest door, shutting it easily behind him. He knew where he was, Lady Seraphic's room. He hadn't seen the pretty lady who used to be friends with Aura around lately but he thought that might be because Pharaoh was punishing her for making Lady Aura cry. He'd been very upset when Lady Aura started to cry and his mother had told him that Lady Seraphic had done something very mean and upset both Lady Aura and Pharaoh. And when you upset Pharaoh you were punished. He heard the door to her room start to open and quickly slipped under her bed. His sister came into the room and looked around. He watched her feet from his hiding place holding his hand over his mouth to keep from giggling and giving away his spot. She called his name a few times and turned and left, pulling the door closed behind him. He stayed hidden a little bit longer and in the silent room he heard a strange scratching noise at the other door in Lady Seraphic's bedroom. At first he thought he was imagining things so he ignored it but then he heard it again. And then it sounded like a high pitched whining as well. Curiosity took over his little body and he tiptoed carefully looking around ot make sure no one was watching him be bad and opened the door. It was a bathing place like Lady Aura had in her room but as soon as he opened the door a black flash raced between his legs and he tripped and fell. He turned around and saw a black cat perched on Seraph's bed crying out. It was Lady Seraph's cat, Rasui! But how come she'd been locked in the bathing room? She looked hungry and sounded really upset so the little boy walked over and picked her up by the scruff of her neck then walked outside. The game all but forgotten he carried the kitten with him to get her something to eat.

Seto saw the boy as he passed and chuckled at him carrying the cat who was mewling and trying to get loose. Boys will be boys he thought smugly. But something about that cat seemed vaguely familiar and hten it hit him. The collar around the cat's neck! That was Seraph's cat. Seto turned and grabbed the boy by the back of his shirt and flipped him around. "Where are you taking that cat boy?" he demanded sternly.

"To get her something to eat my Lord."

"Why? Don't' you think her mistress feeds her?"

Kebi shook his head. "Nope. I founded her locked up." Then he leaned up on his tiptoes and whispered, "Lady Seraphic was bad and made Pharaoh mad and Lady Aura cry. She'd bein' punished."

Seto stared at the little boy for a moment. Punished? Why hadn't he heard about this before? So that's why he hadn't seen her around in Osiris knew how long! Yami would pay for this, she'd done nothing wrong, it was Aura who was being obstinate. He held his arms out for the cat, "Carry her like this boy. And take her to the kitchens and get her something to eat so she stops that infernal crying."

Kebi nodded, "Yes my Lord." And he took the cat, holding her the way Seto had shown him and skipped off.

Seto had a discussion to have with Yami. He finally found him in his father's study, pouring over the old journals. He walked in and bowed curtly, "My Pharaoh I respect your decisions but I will not stand by and watch an injustice be committed against someone who has done nothing wrong."

Yami looked up at him warily and shook his head, "I'll keep that in mind Seto."

He waited a beat and said, "You will release her."

That got his attention. "Excuse me?"

Seto came closer and slapped his palms on the desk. "I said you will release her. And do so quickly before I lose my patience."

Yami sat back and stared at his High Priest and lately his best friend. "I'm afraid I'm not following you Seto but you need to watch your tone. Friend or not I am still Pharaoh and I do deserve respect," he said in a voice that rang of authority.

"Yes you are, dammit and I want he released. She's a helpless girl Pharaoh and I won't let you torture her for a crime she's apologized for. If you want to punish someone, punish the one who refuses to let it go. Punish Aura."

Punish Aura? What in the nine hells…? Had everyone gone insane or was it just him? He sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. "Seto I am quickly losing patience. What in the nine hells are you going on about? I'm not punishing Aura."

"I know! You're punishing Seraphic and it's not her fault. She apologized and asked for Aura's forgiveness. She followed your order and remained on the Council. Aura refused to accept her apology and now she remains held blameless for this and I won't have it! Release her at once!"

Yami was getting pissed. He stood up and said in his 'Pharaoh' voice, "Blast it! I don't have anyone! I'm not punishing Aura and I'm certainly not punishing Seraph. It's not my fault they won't come out of their rooms and quite frankly I'm tired of the lot of them. If I had my way I'd kick them out of the palace for good! Now I'm going to say this once more and then I'm not continuing this inane conversation, so listen closely. I do not have Seraphic anywhere. I am not punishing her or anything else and I don't have a clue where you learned your information but your sources are wrong! Do I make myself clear?" he thundered.

Nodding he bowed again, "Yes my Pharaoh."

"Good." Yami sat back down and began to search over the journals again.
"But if you don't have her, then where is she?"

:17:

This was the last straw. She was finished playing around, things had to change and they had to change now. Everything had come to a head. A frantic search had been conducted of the castle and at the end no Seraph had been found. During the search, Aura's state had been revealed and Bakura's presence discovered. As a result Yami had gone on a rampage, screaming and hollering and tossing people in the dungeon right and left. If she hadn't stepped in, he would have ordered Aura to the dungeons as well. Oh no, her daughter was missing and Aura didn't need this stress right now. She still didn't know for sure whether the babe was going to survive but she had a strong feeling that Aura would even if the babe didn't. But Yami was allowing his kingdom to fall apart around him and she couldn't have that. She owed it to him and her father to take care of it.

So she slipped the roll of parchment and journal out from beneath the mattress and stood firm, her decision made. She wanted her daughter back and she wanted peace returned and it was obvious her brother was going to handle it. So she would.

She went to the guards and showed them the documentation she needed to, then walked into the throne room and up to Yami who was seated on the majestic throne in the middle. He didn't pay much attention to her until she cleared her throat, "The true and rightful Pharaoh has returned Yami. Your reign ends now. Guards take him away! "

Yoru: And yet another chapter done! Ah the suspense increases. I'm sure you are all ready to shoot me now for what I've done but you'll have to wait till the next chapter to find out just what happens. And I promise I wont' take nearly as long to get that one up as I did this one. Again I apologize for the long delay and I thank you all for your continued support. So please continue to support me and read and review this chapter so I feel the desire to continue writing. I do love my fans, you keep me smiling. Much love, Yoru-chan.

P.S. Don't forget to check out Tsuki's site. Click on the link that says my homepage for a direct link. For some reason won't let me post it without underlining everything in the chapter.