YU-GI-OH – Faust Yu-Gi-Oh Style

Chapter Five – Bonds

To the Readers

It has been a long time. I missed writing this story and I miss all your reviews letting me know how I am doing so far with this story. I have also been getting e-mails here and there from the last time that I updated to just a few weeks ago wondering if I would finish the story.

I intend to finish this story. In fact, I intend to finish all my work-in-progress stories. Life and work caught up on me, but I am still set to finish these projects. It is a humbling honor knowing that there are others out there who are still wanting to know what would happen next in my fanfics.

I hope that this long-awaited chapter will be enjoyed by all of you just as much as I enjoyed writing it. I dedicate this all to you who have been waiting for this to come out.

A special dedication goes to A Bit of HappinessKaira-chan...Lady Kalan...and to all the lovely people who left reviews at YGO Good Fics, here at via email, and any other method known to man - all of them encouraging me to finish this story. I know quite a few people have been waiting for an update on this story for a very long time. Thank you all for everything….

Warmest regards,

PJ Zatken

The festivities continued...

Motioning Set to come closer to him, Atemu then told the high priest, "I am about to retire. Give me time to prepare for the evening before coming to my chambers. I wish to speak with you."

Minutes after Set gave an affirmative nod to his directive, the young Pharaoh bade leave to his guests and the citizens. Everyone clapped for him as he descended the throne, all being happy for the gift of youth that the gods have just bestowed upon him.

The Pharaoh pondered as he walked the long series of hallways towards his chambers under heavy guard. He was touched with how events turned out in his fiftieth birthday. He could also feel as to how happy everyone was for him, that feeling of his affirmed through the aura that he felt from his sentinels as they escorted him.

Upon entering his bedchambers and seeing the four maidservants who normally helped him hand and foot bow before him, he gave the maidservants leave for the evening.

Knowing that the Pharaoh wished to be alone in the evenings from time to time, the maidservants bowed before him once more and left.

As soon as Atemu was alone, he set the Millennium Puzzle on his bed.

The Puzzle activated and the room was immediately filled with such dark aura.

Atemu knew that he was not alone but that did not stop him from conducting his business. He stripped, stepped, and soaked in the bath that the servants prepared for him. The warmth of the water helped him relax his frayed nerves and tired body. He took in a deep breath, concentrating on the fragrance of rose and other soothing herbal oils mixed within the water.

Dark mist continued to come out from the Puzzle and spread throughout Atemu's bedchambers. Eventually, the dark mist collected and formed into a dark silhouette of Zork.

"Congratulations on your rebirth tonight, Pharaoh Atemu," said Zork as his shadow slid close to where Atemu stood.

"Thank you…" was Atemu's response while his eyes remained closed, still focused on the bath's relaxing effects.

There was a long period of silence between them, with Atemu nearby done with his bath before Zork said, "My, my…. You have turned out so well as a young man. Everyone was impressed. Did you hear how loud they cheered for you? And yet, you do not seem to be pleased."

Taking in a deep breath, Atemu's murmured reply which reverberated due to the water and the size of his chamber was, "It would just be temporary. As temporary as it is, I am pleased. I am happy that the people are glad for me."

Through mental telepathy, Zork told Atemu while keeping his shadowy form, "We now have a link with each other, dear Pharaoh. We could talk without words. I do not have access to your innermost thoughts, but we could communicate in your mind."

Atemu's eyes narrowed as he just finished washing up. While he wore his tunic to get ready for bed once he finished working on his scrolls, he mentally replied to Zork, "Your words are not an assurance to me. How am I supposed to know that you are telling me the truth?"

"Do you have a choice in the matter? Would you rather be talking aloud and have others think that their Pharaoh is carrying a conversation without anyone in his room? Do you not see that as something that would raise the suspicion on others?"

Atemu then sat down behind his worktable and mountains of scrolls. He did not respond to Zork's questions, which Zork took as a sign that the Pharaoh agreed with his rationale of why they should communicate via mental telepathy from now on.

The demon broke the silence between them with a chuckle. "Ah, yes… Your youth may be temporary, but it gave you a longer lease in life. If you do well and something strikes my interest, we could always make another deal. Take for example that young woman in your court today…the one who gave you that lovely gift…."

Atemu's eyes narrowed at he looked at Zork. He stopped writing and had the writing instrument clutched in his hand. "I should not have made that pact with you, but I am a man of my word. I have no regrets in the pact I will face whatever consequences my choices would bring."

"If I know any better, I would say you have feelings for this woman."

Atemu's nonchalant reply as he continued writing on a scroll was, "You are deluded. I just met her. I merely returned the kindness and reverence that she extended towards me. Must you put malice in every action done or every word uttered around me?"

Zork basically let out a deep laugh as he approached Atemu. "Oh, am I?"

Zork's shadow then grew as he stood behind the now-young pharaoh. As his shadow literally hovered over Atemu, he said, "The eyes never tell lies, dear Pharaoh. If your eyes could speak, you were this short from going down on bended knees and asking that woman for her hand…or maybe you were thinking about her warming up your bed and your body tonight…."

Silence reigned between Zork and Atemu for a while, with Atemu keeping busy with what he was writing on the scrolls. After all, the scrolls pertained to tomorrow's discussion with the seven High Priests regarding matters inside and outside Egypt.

Secondly, the young pharaoh was ignoring Zork. He did not care to discuss matters that he thought was rubbish.

Yet Zork did not stop. Chuckling heartily here and there as his perverted mind kept him entertained, he could not help but tell the other, "I would be much willing to give you anything you wish in exchange for her."

Atemu gave Zork a death glare. "Leave her alone, Zork. She has nothing to do with our pact."

Suddenly, there was a knock on Atemu's door….

A startled Atemu's eyes widened for a second. Once he blinked his eyes and regained his composure, he asked, "Who is it?"

One of the sentinels outside his bedchambers announced behind the door, "The High Priest Set seeks an audience with you, my lord!"

Atemu's eyes lit up. His heart and mood lightened up once he heard the guard mention Set's name. He then told the sentry, his tone not showing the change of his mood, "Send the High Priest in!"

The two heavy doors of Atemu's bedchambers opened and Set entered the room. Once the new arrival was inside, the sentries closed the doors to give the high priest and the Pharaoh privacy.

Set bowed before Atemu and then reported, "High Priestess Isis arranged tonight's accommodations for everyone. They will be staying here at the palace. I just finished ensuring that everyone was comfortable before I came to see you."

A tightlipped yet gentle smile escaped Atemu's lips. Since Set came in, he focused his attention on the high priest and what the other had to say. "That is good to hear. Thank you for taking care of our guests in my stead."

The Pharaoh and high priest were silent, one waiting for the other to speak.

Atemu could see that Set seemed unsettled for a minute. He also saw the latter's demeanor change, so he asked, "Is anything troubling you, Set?"

Set was startled that Atemu called him by his first name. He was most especially startled in the friendly tone that the monarch used when his name was mentioned. He was silent for a couple of minutes before he replied, "No trouble, my lord. Tonight brought about such a pleasant change for you. It would just take time adjusting to many things."

When Atemu could not figure out the high priest's thoughts and feelings just by merely gazing into the other's blue eyes, he asked, "I do not quite understand what you mean. Why…. Why don't you tell me?"

It took a while for Set to reply, which was uncommon for the young high priest. "You normally summon for me when your body punishes you – either at night or when you wake. You also normally ask me to accompany you on your journeys in case something ails you along the way. I am glad that you would not need my services any longer in that area. At least not for a long while…."

"You do not have to do such menial things for me anymore."

Taken aback and embarrassed, Set stammered, "No, my lord. I did not mean it that way. I…"

Since Atemu sensed that Set was clamming up, he used a gentler voice. "This is unlike you, Set. Speak your mind out as you always have done in the past. I may be young again, but I am still very much the same person. Since we have known each other, have I ever dissuaded you from telling me exactly what you think?"

The high priest shook his head quietly. He then looked into Atemu's eyes and broke his silence. "My words are more of out of lament. I am glad that the gods gave you a renewed lease in youth. I am happy that they gave you a longer lease in life. Such gifts include a spry body that could withstand abuse brought about by work and recklessness."

Atemu listened attentively as Set continued explaining, "I always enjoyed serving you. I do not consider my task of giving you relief and being your companion as menial. I consider these as privileges…privileges that I would no longer enjoy now that…"

"Now that I am young again…? Is that it?"

There was a pause between them which made Set more uncomfortable as he gave a nod, acknowledging that Atemu was accurate in his assessment. Once he regained his composure, he murmured, "I should not be lamenting it, but I cannot help but feel that way. I am sorry."

Thinking for a while at what Set just disclosed to him, Atemu then lifted his head to face Set. "Do you think that I would stop and change how I conduct my life and affairs just because I am young again?"

As azure eyes met amethyst ones, Set replied, "I really do not know the answer to that, my lord."

Atemu's eyes then shifted from Set to the scrolls on his desk. During the silence between them, he thought about the blessing that he now had behind the cursed pact that he had made with Zork.

The monarch looked into Set's eyes for a long time before he said, "Some things will change. One of them has something to do with the way you address me when we are alone. The second has something to do with the way we are with each other while we enjoy privacy."

Looking at Atemu and listening, Set's narrowed eyes widened as he heard Atemu request, "Will you call me by my first name when we are alone?"

Shocked over what he just heard, Set's gaze remained transfixed on Atemu.

"Are you going to deny me my earnest wish, Set?"

After a short pause, Set replied in a quiet tone, "No… No, my lord…. But…"

"We always had a good rapport with each other. It would change a bit now that you and I are nearly the same age in body. I want our bond with each other to evolve into a friendship."

An embarrassed Set's answer was, "We have always been friends before, my…. Atemu…"

The Pharaoh smiled a bit over Set's compliance of his recent request, especially since he knew how rigid Set could be in terms of consistency and persistence of doing what the latter thought was right.

To acknowledge his heartfelt appreciation, Atemu used a softer and informal tone as he said, "I need someone that I could trust, Set. Mahado was my most trusted friend, ally, and confidante. I grieved his loss and yearned for him for many years…until you came along. You are so different from him, yet you bear the same strength of conviction and character. I hope that you would find a friendship with me as acceptable."

Not knowing what really to say and somewhat being sheepish about the entire conversation, Set eventually replied, "On the contrary, it is I who should say that. I…."

The monarch watched and waited for Set, seeing that the high priest was struggling with this request for reasons unknown. "Pray tell me what is on your mind…"

Then Set gave the Pharaoh a look, his azure eyes reflecting the authenticity of his words as he added, "I am honored…and humbled…to be your friend, Atemu. You know my reasons why…or have you forgotten what had been written on the scrolls of history during your father's time?"

Atemu was again reminded of another gift brought about by youth – a retentive memory. Set's hint helped him remember the dark past associated with the high priest…a past whose bitter stigma had been transferred from generation to generation.

A past that to Atemu had been unjustly transferred to Set since the high priest was born….

"Yes, Set. I am fully aware of your past. I stood by my decision when I chose you to become my high priest. I even stood against Mahado and you know how much I value his counsel."

"That was the first and only time that you did not heed High Priest Mahado's advice. I would never forget that day."

Atemu's tone was laced in the gentle yet warm smile that escaped his lips. "It all happened in the past. We learn from the past and then move on. The sins of the father…on in this case, forefathers…should not be the sin of the children. It is true that Akunadin was considered to have greatly sinned against the throne and against Egypt, but he was a man. Men make mistakes."

"I thank you, Atemu. I will never forget the day I became one of your high priests…and I will never forget tonight…the night that I truly became your friend…."

"So now that the formalities are out of the way, please remember these important facts. You will always be my trusted companion on journeys just as you have always been in the past. It would be your choice whether you wish to continue being my physician or wish to delegate that to someone else. I will respect your decision. You have my word. If I ever deviate on my vow to you, you have permission to harshly remind me to be a man of my word."

After letting out a subtle sigh, Atemu added, "You have time to think about this…"

Set crossed his arms over his chest, feeling a bit indignant. "I do not need time to think. I wish to continue what I have been doing for you. I insist."

"Good. That makes me feel even better," said Atemu as he gave Set a warmer smile, amused and glad at the same time that Set was doing his best to be comfortable around him.

The young high priest put a hand over his heart and bowed before the Pharaoh. "Good night, Atemu…"

"Good night to you as well…."

As Set was about to leave, Atemu called Set's name and Set turned around.

Once Atemu had Set's attention, Atemu said with a smile, "We are equals when we are alone, Set – remember? A friend does not bow to another."

A rueful smile escaped Set's lips. "Old habits are hard to break." His smile then turned into a gentle smirk as he added, "Then why do we not bow to each other if we feel like it?"

Chuckling and becoming amused with Set's usual way of compromising, Atemu placed his hand over his heart and bowed before Set. The gesture was his acknowledgement that he accepted Set's proposal.

Atemu then straightened out and approached Set. He smiled warmly as he walked Set to the door and gave the other a friendly pat on the back.

After they exchanged nods, Atemu closed the door and then returned to his work.

Before Atemu had the chance to be engrossed in the scroll that he just selected to review from the pile, Zork's whispered words wrapped in his mind….

"So you fancy another one. I should have known…"

Atemu stopped reading the scroll before him and asked Zork. This time, his annoyance with the demon was evident. "What are you talking about?"

"The eyes never tell lies. You fancy the young woman and you have feelings for your High Priest. I truly do not blame you for doing so."

After letting out a snort and then shaking his head, Atemu continued reading the scroll. Once that was done, he wrote on the scroll as preparation for council discussions tomorrow.

Knowing fully well that Atemu was ignoring him, a twisted smirk escaped Zork's lips. "I wonder who you would spare between the two when the time comes, Pharaoh Atemu."

Atemu glared at Zork for a couple of seconds and then resumed writing out his thoughts on the scroll. The conversation between the two of them stopped as Atemu focused on his work. He knew that the dark one was going to stay in his chambers whether he liked it or not, so he chose to simply ignore everything around him except the scrolls.

The demon watched Atemu in silence, hovering over the Pharaoh from time to time as the stack of unattended scrolls decreased until none were left. He then watched as Atemu cleaned his hands and then went to bed.

As Atemu fell asleep, Zork's form solidified as he watched the young Pharaoh sleep. He asked as if Atemu was still awake to respond, "Oh, this will be interesting. The peasant girl or the high priest…both beautiful to behold and close to your heart…"

There was the expected silence as Atemu continued to sleep.

Zork then smirked. His eyes glowed red with malevolent glee. "Teána or Set…? Who would you choose? Should we put that to the test, dear Atemu?"

End of Chapter Five

Normal Disclaimer

Yu-Gi-Oh and its characters are copyrighted properties of Kazuki Takahashi. This fan fiction belongs to PJ Zatken.