This is the last chapter of this story. Yeah, I know it was short, but I decided when I started this that it'd only be three chapters long. It's just the kinda thing this is…nice and quick, but well thought-out. Please review one more time, and, if you're interested and people give me ideas as to Yami's reaction, I'll make a sequel. I have one more past-scene I wanted to put in, anyway…(Also give ideas as to a title…pretty please?)

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the original YGO characters. Happy?

Stories of the Past

Chapter 3: The Thief and the Liar

It all started when we were seventeen. I'd long since taught myself how to pick the locks on the kitchen and slave's hall, sneaking out to get extra food or water. Currently, I was trying to get a drink, it being an extremely hot summer midnight.

I was just slipping back through the halls when the commotion started. The guards were rushing around in frenzy, shouting to each other. "Call the priests! Get the physicians! Hurry, someone, find the prince!"

One of them suddenly grabbed me by the shoulder, yanking me back. I cringed instinctively, expecting to be hit, when he growled at me. "You're Prince Yanami's servant, aren't you?"

I blinked, but nodded a yes. He pushed me down the hall towards Yanami's room. "Go fetch your master. The Pharaoh has fallen ill and he is needed at his father's bedside."

My eyes widened a bit and I sprinted for it, my bare feet toughened by the many years of running along the rough floor. It only took me five minutes to reach the bedroom door and I pounded on it heavily. "Yanami!" I shouted as I flung the door open.

Yanami sat up straight, eyes wide. Next to him, Ansatsu sat up, rubbing her eyes. "Bahaku, what's wrong?!" Yanami gasped.

"It's your father…" I gulped in the air, trying to catch my breath. "Yanami…something's wrong…I think he's sick…"

Yanami's face went white as the sheets he lay on. He jumped up almost instantly and ran down the hall to his father's room, me right at his heels.

I had been right. The Pharaoh was sick, but it was much worse than I had thought. When we entered the bedchamber, a priest of Osiris was reciting the incantations to ease a soul from the body and into death.

One of the guards looked back at Yanami as he entered in, then pulled him over to the bed. For a few minutes, he just stood there and looked at his dying father. Then the Pharaoh whispered something to him. Yanami's eyes widened as his father's closed.

There was a physician standing behind the Pharaoh's bed, holding one wrist to keep track of his pulse. After a moment he dropped the hand, shaking his head. Yanami gulped, shaking a bit.

He didn't have the time to cry. Another priest came up behind him, dressed in the usual flowing white robes. His head was shaved, he had very dark skin and eyes, and he looked very unemotional and serious. I believe his name at the time was Shawa-di…

"Then it is as it is." he said in a deep voice, putting a hand on Yanami's shoulder. "The Pharaoh has moved on to his crossing over by day. It is now time to pass on his power as well."

He reached down to the Pharaoh's body, removing the thick, eye-decorated crown Yanami's father had always worn. He brushed Yanami's bangs back from his eyes and slipped it onto his forehead. I held my breath a moment, nervous and excited, when he took the pendant off as well.

He held it up for all to see in the candlelight. It was as I will always remember, a large, gold pyramid hanging by its base from the same worn leather strap.

Then, suddenly, he smashed it on the stone edge of the bed.

The pyramid shattered into dozens of pieces, breaking remarkably easily. I gasped and Yanami nearly cried out as the pieces fell to the ground.

"The rule of the Pharaoh Anamu II has passed." Shawa-di said in a loud voice. "Now it is once again time to pass on the Millennium Puzzle…one of the seven Items that protect the lands of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms…and with it, all the power of the Pharaoh…"

He motioned to the pieces on the floor. "For the true heir to the throne, this puzzle holds powers beyond imagination. It should only take you a few minutes to complete it."

Yanami stared down a moment, then knelt and started to put the pieces together. I moved forward to try and help him, but a priestess by the name of Isis held me back. "The new Pharaoh must complete this task on his own." she whispered, then hovered behind me to make sure I didn't try to help at all.

After fifteen minutes, Yanami was had almost finished it. I had to marvel, it looked like the most complex thing in the world. He stood up to examine what he had done, holding the last piece…the eye of Ra…in his other hand.

"That's it." Shaw-di whispered. "Finish it!"

Yanami gulped, glancing at me quickly, then slipped the piece into place.

There was a sound like a crack of thunder. Yanami stumbled back suddenly as though he'd been struck, his face paled and, for a moment, his pupils dilated. I gasped and stepped forward to try and steady him, but Isis held me back by the shoulder.

Yanami recovered in a minute, straightening. Something was wrong. I couldn't explain it, but Yanami had…changed. He seamed…more…more…I can't really say what he was more of…

Shawa-di smiled as Yanami nodded at him. "Then it is done. Your instructions shall begin right away."

From the look Yanami gave me when he said that, I should've known it would all go downhill from there.

~ * ~ * ~

After that day, Yanami was different. I could no longer persuade him to join me in any kind of game, I was sent away even when offering his favorites. He seamed completely consumed with his studies, spending hours or even days studying the ancient scriptures. It soon got to where he wouldn't eat or drink during those periods. I worried about him.

Ansatsu tried to reassure me, saying that Yanami hadn't truly changed. He was just nervous about the duties he'd been entrusted to, and wanted to make sure everything went well.

I tried to believe it. Every day, while I washed the floors or worked in the kitchens, I tried to tell myself that soon this would all be over. Soon Yanami would be back, and we'd play the games just like we had before.

Then, one day, as I exited the slave's quarters to go to Yanami's chamber and try once more to get him to play, one of the guards grabbed me by the shoulder. "And just where do you think you're going?"

I stared at him. He knew me, I'd been working specifically for Yanami every day for the past nine years…but when I tried to explain he gave me this horrible grin.

"Not anymore, you don't." he laughed, shoving me back into the group of slaves. "Your assignment's been changed. Pharaoh's orders."

For a moment I wanted to protest that the Pharaoh was dead, and then it sunk in with a dull shock. Yanami was the Pharaoh now.

Yanami had ordered me to be reassigned.

I sat there a moment, stunned, and my right hand subconsciously drifted to finger the ring on my left one. I'd often make sure it was there, when I was upset or nervous, just to remind myself of the promise Yanami had made to take care of me. I was feeling it more and more now.

The guard suddenly grabbed my right hand, wrenching it up so he could see. "Well well well." he snickered as I tried to pull away. He turned my arm so that if I moved too much, the bone would snap. "What do we have here?"

He tapped the ring on my finger. "Back off…" I growled at him. "Yanami gave me that."

He burst out laughing when I said that. "You honestly think I believe that?!" he laughed. "I'll bet you stole it, boy. As if the Pharaoh would waist such a precious treasure on a pitiful excuse for a slave like you?'

With a painful yank, he pulled the ring off my finger and shoved me to the ground. He grinned at me a moment, holding my precious ring as a taunt before slipping it into his pocket. He kicked me once, telling me sharply to get back to work before wandering off.

I sat there in the empty hallway a moment, stunned. How? How could this happen…Why…Yanami, why did you do this to me?!

~ * ~ * ~

The same thoughts whirled in my head for at least four or five months. My 18th birthday came and went, as did Yanami's, but I never got a glance of him since that day. Ansatsu saw me sometimes and tried being friendly, but she seamed tired and besides all that, I suspected she was 'with child' and not in a good mood most of the time.

One day, I finally understood. That night, I once again snuck out of the slave's quarters, but this time I was searching for some way…any way…to see Yanami.

By now I was an expert at sneaking through the darkened corridors, stealing food, water and even larger things. Actually, I'd managed to steal a good-sized dagger from one of the guards, and I had it hidden by my side at all possible times.

I slid around the corner, trying carefully not to make a sound, when I ran head-first into…someone. I stiffened, leaping back.

The 'someone' was a court magician, a tall man with brown hair and pale eyes, only known as Set. He locked his blue eyes on me, glaring seriously. "So, it's you." he muttered. "The pale slave…"

I gulped, taking a step back, and he just chuckled. "No need to be nervous. I think I know what you're looking for." he glanced over his shoulder, then nodded in a direction that told me obviously to follow.

I didn't have much of a choice, so I dropped in line behind him. He led me down the hall, took a right, then a left, then two more rights until we got to a very small antechamber. Here he opened the door, glanced one way and then the other, then shoved me inside the darkened room.

I found myself in a sort of darkened shrine, several different talismans and many ceremonial fires hanging from the ceiling and scattered on the floor. There was even a makeshift alter in the middle of the room. Large, stone slabs decorated the walls, the monsters on them I recognized as being similar to the ones I'd seen the old Pharaoh use in duels against other leaders. Yanami's favorite had always been a tall, powerful magician of dark magic, but this man seamed to favor the impressive-looking dragon on the back wall, framed by lit candles. Personally, the ones that always scared us as kids were my favorite, ghosts and demons and such, particularly this certain spell.

Set strode to the middle of the room, dark cloak brushing the floor. He unrolled a heavy parchment scroll on the makeshift alter. He motioned me over and I looked on apprehensively.

The scroll showed seven drawings, each of a different shape or item, scattering the page in an apparently random order. Each was embellished with the familiar, hateful eye of Ra, right in the middle of each one. There were many different things, something that looked like an ankith, another like a small ball, and another like one of the necklaces Ansatsu wore.

Six of them, slightly smaller, were grouped around one in the very center. I recognized it instantly as the 'Millennium Puzzle' Yanami now wore every minute of every day.

"Yes. I figured you'd recognize it." Set nodded. "This scroll depicts the seven Millennium Items. As I believe you've heard Shawa-di say, their original purpose is to protect Egypt against dangers that may arise. But each item has its own special powers…"

He paused a moment, glaring distastefully at the center picture. "The item the Pharaoh wears around his neck is called the Millennium Puzzle." he growled. "And do you know why it's a requirement for each Pharaoh to finish the Puzzle before assuming his rule?"

I shook my head no, not trusting myself to speak. Although I kept a glare on my features the whole time, I was scared as hell, and I think he knew it.

"Because…" he leaned forward so that he was almost eye-level with me. "It supposedly infuses the Pharaoh with the power expected of him, and in doing so, their very personalities change to harbor that power. It's the priest's way of making sure each Pharaoh's rule goes as smoothly as the last. Do you understand?"

I nodded dumbly. It was almost too good too be true. So was there really some way for Yanami to be my friend again?

"I've seen what you've been through." Set's voice was very convincing. I knew he just wanted me to do something for him, but the chance to get my friend was too great. "And I've managed to see you when no one else could. If you managed to retrieve one of the other Millennium Items, you could counteract the strength of the Puzzle…"

The defensive part of my mind suddenly bolted to life. I glared at him. "Why should you help me?"

Set raised an eyebrow, then smirked. "Let's just say I've got somethin' against that puzzle and its 'Pharaoh' as well."

~ * ~ * ~

I did it that night.

Set showed me the way to the chamber where they kept the Millennium Items that were not in use, set into one giant-sized sarcophagus. Three of the seven were missing, their holes open in their old shapes.

The ones left included something that looked like a small ball that looked like a glass eye, a tall, thin staff that looked like an axe, and a set of scales. My hand hovered over the eye a moment, but then I caught a glance of the last item.

It was a large ring, one that couldn't fit in my hand, surrounding a flat pyramid with the same eye on it. There were five small, pointed ornaments dangling off the ring, and a leather strap at the top as though you could wear it around your neck.

For some reason, I liked it. It just seamed like…me. I reached out and lifted it up, admiring the weight a moment, then slipped it over my neck.

Next thing I knew I had slipped out of the palace and was running through the streets. I couldn't be caught with it, but I couldn't help Yanami unless I knew what kind of powers this Ring had. Set hadn't told me anything about them.

So I ran. As far from the palace as I could.

Within a day and a half I was the most wanted person in Upper Egypt. About two in the morning I managed to break/tear/pull off and otherwise remove the cuffs and collar from my neck and wrists. Mostly bending them and using the knife I'd stolen to cut the weakened metal.

When I cut the collar free it jumped loose and left a deep, painful cut on my face. It bled like mad and I stemmed it with the cloth I was wearing, staining it with blood. It would leave a scar even on my spirit.

I lasted out there for eight days. I stole my food. I drank from the river. I became the most wanted person in Upper and Lower Egypt. And slowly, very slowly, I learned the powers of the Millennium Ring.

The first thing I noticed was that it easily tracked the other Millennium Items. Its spikes first pointed in the direction of the palace, I suppose at the Puzzle, and then at the priestess Isis as she passed where I was hiding.

Also, it had very slight mind-control abilities. Not much, mind you. Just enough to wipe someone's consciousness long enough for a bit of well-to-do brainwashing. They'd believe anything I told them. I got a lot of free food that way, and a place to sleep two nights in a row.

After two and a half weeks, I couldn't take it anymore. The palace had been my home for the last ten years…I had to at least see it again. I just had to…

But that was my fatal mistake.

~ * ~ * ~

Clutching the Ring close, I slipped through the white alabaster temples and pillars. I just wanted a glance…Yanami, Ansatsu, even Joiji or Hatanako. Anything, anyone I knew at all. Especially Yanami.

I curse that bad turn I made. I wasn't thinking. I had changed, yes. I was no longer a scared little boy, but I couldn't make his wanting for companionship go away. I just wanted…

Suddenly, someone grabbed me from behind. My mind raced, hand shooting to the knife and stabbing my assailant in the leg. The guard let out a scream and released me. I bolted.

I took refuge in a tiny, almost non-existent antechamber that almost no one knew about. I couldn't get out now…the place was swarming with guards. Now they thought I was a thief AND an assassin, after Yanami or Asatsu.

The Ring suddenly glowed to life, pointing out of my hiding place. Someone with a Millennium Item was passing by, but was it Yanami or someone else?

I held my breath, stepping back into the shadows. The ring's point moved slowly, following their walk, until they came right in front of me…But there was no one there.

I blinked. The Ring was pointing directly in front of me, whoever had the Item should have been standing there. But they weren't. Perhaps they were on the other side of the hall, or across the palace, or…

There was a sound that was almost a pop, and very suddenly, I found myself face-to-face with Shawa-di and five fully-armed guards.

I scrambled back, startled, but two of the guards grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me out. Immediately, my hands flew to the knife on my belt, but Shawa-di grabbed my wrist.

"It would not be wise to do such a thing." he warned. "You are greatly outnumbered. It would not prevent your capture, and it would only add a few more crimes to your record."

The knife fell from my hand. The arm that had been holding it was pulled behind me with its other, handcuff-like shackles locked on. Shawa-di reached forward and lifted the Ring off my neck.

"Of course…" he whispered, "This one crime is much larger than you could ever imagine…"

~ * ~ * ~

I spent the next week locked away in an extremely heavy-guarded cell in the lowest levels of the palace. It was so dark…so cold…I was shackled and chained unceremoniously to the walls, unable to move a muscle. Guards were stationed at the door high above me, and I went hungry almost every day.

I wanted to cry, but I held it back. It wouldn't do any good, and it would only make me feel worse.

Finally, eight days later, the guards entered in and dragged me out. My arms once again shackled behind my back, I was pulled off my feet and carried out of the palace. As we entered one of the huge sanctuaries, I noticed that it was the full moon.

We stopped in the middle of the temple, under an opening that showed the moon. Shawa-di stood in front of me, holding the Millennium Ring in one hand, the ankith-shaped Millennium Key in the other. Several priests stood around the room, cloaked so you couldn't see their faces, chanting. And high above it all, seated on two thrones on a tall platform, were Yanami and Ansatsu.

Ansatsu looked down at me with pity, clearly upset at seeing me here. But Yanami just glared down, his eyes not evening containing a hint of emotion. I locked eyes with him a moment, begging him, but he did nothing.

Shawa-di stepped forward. "For the crime you have committed…" he said slowly, glancing at the moon. "We must invoke the greatest of punishments."

He locked his eyes on me and a shiver ran down my spine. "Your spirit shall be bonded to this item which you so lusted after. And for all eternity until Sokar captures Ra, it shall be trapped inside its realm of power."

He held the ring up, approaching me with the Key's end pointed to me. I struggled, trying desperately to get away.

I looked up at Yanami, leaving my dignity behind. "Yanami, please!" I shouted. "You have to…you have to help me! I never wanted any of this, I swear!"

He glared at me once again, eyes boring into my soul. My eyes drifted to the Puzzle, and suddenly it hit me. He wasn't being controlled. He hadn't been changed. He hadn't been forced into it. He'd chosen to receive this power, no matter what it did to him. He'd known all along what was happening.

"From now on, you're a part of my family!"

I glared at him viciously as the Key grew closer. "A 'Great Pharaoh', huh?" I growled. "This is what you were always after, isn't it? 'Great Pharaoh'? You're nothing but a liar! Do you hear me? A LIAR!!"

For a moment his eyes widened, but then the Key was pressed to my lips. "With the ceremony of the Opening of the Mouth, I bind this soul to the Ring…"

I felt a rush as though something was running out of me, and then I felt nothing.

~ * ~ * ~

He leaned back, staring disdainfully at the ceiling. "…I spent the next two thousand years hating him. When I was finally let out, I wanted so badly to kill him… dethrone him, destroy him, it didn't matter, just wipe him from existence. Then I thought about the fact that he was a part of the Millennium Puzzle…And that if I could get a hold of all the Items, perhaps the combined power would be enough to get rid of him…"

"…And Yanami?" Ryou asked, looking up at him.

Bakura shrugged. "For all I know, he eventually merged with the power of the Puzzle and was trapped inside. Or perhaps he was sealed inside for some reason, as I was."

He sighed. "I've always found it ludicrous…The way Ishizu and Shadi and their lot flaunt over him, calling him 'Pharaoh' or 'A Great Hero'. But he's never been either one to me. To me he's always been the monster that took away my best friend…"

There was a sniffling sound from beside him. Bakura looked down to find Ryou rubbing his eyes, crying softly. He cocked an eyebrow. "What's the matter with you?"

Ryou looked up at him, brown eyes filling with tears. "That's…that's the saddest story…I ever…heard…" he gulped. "I…I can't believe that…Yami…"

"Hey…Don't cry…" Bakura gently wiped the tears off his Hikari's face. "Not over a stupid thing like this…"

"It's not stupid!" Ryou snapped, grabbing onto his arm earnestly. "You…It's awful…I'm so sorry I asked you about it…"

Bakura looked down at him, smiling slowly. He slid his arm out of Ryou's grasp and wrapped it around him, pulling the boy in to let him cling to his shirt as babbled tears poured out. He caught his hand running soothingly through his hair, but didn't take much notice to it.

"Bakura…" Ryou whispered after a moment.

"Yes, Hikari-chan?"

Ryou was a little startled, but pleased at the use of the endearing nickname. He looked up at him, smiling a bit. "I just wanted you to know…I won't let anything like that happen to you…never again…I…I…"

"Don't give me any promises, Ryou." Bakura warned, still smiling. "That's all you need to say." The he glanced down again. "But this doesn't change anything, you got it?"

Ryou nodded sleepily, leaning into Bakura's warmth before drifting off to sleep.

~*~Owari~*~