A/N: (Yes, I changed the way of my author's notes.) Unfortunately, FF has forbid me to give replies to reviews in my author's notes. However, I can reply by using that reply button thing but only for signed reviews. As for the anonymous ones? I don't know what I'm going to do with that. But, hey, if you want to talk, feel free to email me or something.

To be quite honest, I didn't expect to update this again. But every time I got another review, I felt more and more obligated to do so. So you guys got your wish! I found it a bit too late to stop now and I have way too many reviews so...here's the next chapter.

It's long, happeh? XD Every time I got a review, I made another advancement in this story. Reviews actually fueled me to write this. There are about five writing style changes - some more noticable than others. Let's see if you can find them all. -winks- And for all you Yami fans out there? He has a majority of this chapter. -smiles- Enjoy.

Oh, and thanks for everyone for standing by this story and wanting me to update. It means a lot to me. So here's my reply to you all: Thank you so much! I hope you read and enjoy.

Also, this story is not going to be updated very often. Don't even expect me to update quickly because I probably won't. In fact, it'll probably take months to a year to update one chapter. But, hey, I'm still updating, aren't I? (And those reviews really make me work!) If you want something that updates faster, I recommend going to read my other story A Whisper in the Wind. You guys might like it. I update that oneabout once a month. Plus, I'm more pleased with that one than this story.

Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh!

Seto returned to the palace, exhausted and heart-broken. Was what he had done correct? Oh in Ra's name, he didn't make a mistake, did he?

He stammered through the hallways, dazed and confused, desperately trying to get to his chamber.

As he entered the door, Mokuba was there to greet him.

"Big brother!" he cried worriedly. "Is something the matter? What's wrong? What happened to you? Where have you been?" Mokuba asked, pounding Seto with questions.

"I've…been out," Seto managed to say sullenly, his voice cracking slightly as he swayed a little. "…I'm tired… …I j—just need rest… …Don't worry about me Mok—" He stumbled in his walk, falling to the ground. He found himself on his hands and knees, tears flowing freely from his eyes.

"Seto!" Mokuba cried out. "What's wrong? What happened?" He paused to think for a moment before asking softly, "Where's Layla?"

Seto gritted his teeth and shut his eyes. "Mokuba," he said furiously. "Never mention that name to me…ever again." He glared at Mokuba. Rarely had he done this if he ever did it before in his life…but he had to… He couldn't bare to hear that name anymore.

Mokuba stepped back slightly, lightly gasping as he saw the cold stare, the stoicism in his eyes. "Wh—what happened?" he managed to ask again, fear quelling in his voice.

"It's none of your business, Mokuba," Seto said exasperatedly, softening his eyes. "I'm just tired. Don't worry about it."

Mokuba bit his bottom lip. "Seto—"

"Just let me rest…please," Seto begged.

Mokuba sighed. "Alright," he said dejectedly and scurried out of the room.

Seto watched his brother go before loosing his pose, collapsing into a heap on his bed.

Ruins? No, it couldn't be, could it?

Layla's slim figure bounced up and down in the distance as the horse took its pace at a steady trot. She had managed to reach where her home used to be, but it seemed as if it were there no more. A brick here, a barrel there. No, indeed not what it used to be.

Layla bit her lower lip for a moment, contemplating what could possibly had happened. Brigands perhaps? Or had her family just moved? Didn't they wish to see her again? Didn't they want her back at all?

Suddenly, Layla just had the urge to cry, tears surfacing to her face. Sadly, this was not who she was when she had left this place. The one who had left was strong-willed, determined, and independent. Now, it seemed as if she couldn't do anything without Seto coming to make everything better. She had changed; and she had changed drastically. What had palace life done to her? Seto had claimed that palace life had broken her, and yet Layla now felt that palace life had spoiled her. When she was leaving, she was concerned about Seto and Seto alone. She was simply a burden and in his way; she was impeding upon his life. Still now, her opinion had not changed, yet her reasoning had. She herself would be better off away from that palace. She'd get her old work habits back and fiery personality. She needed time to recuperate and Seto needed to move on with his life.

Her decision was for the best. With that thought, she dismissed the rest entirely. Now only one problem was at hand: What had happened here? What had happened to her family?

Yami stopped. He just stopped. He didn't just stop walking; he stopped everything altogether. Day in and day out, he had sat in his chambers thinking and thinking and thinking. Finally, he gave up. Anippe? Guilty? Guilty of what? No rational thought could convince him that he had been just in what he did.

…So he had locked her up for a lost cause. He supposed he and Seto just couldn't deal with everything going on. There was just too much stress at the time, too much work, too many new experiences and…it was just too much to put it blunt. And they seemed to have just put all that stress and simply taken it out on Anippe. Was it supposed to make them feel better? Was it supposed to make them feel more at ease?

More at ease? He scolded himself furiously, biting at his nails for a moment. His reflection against the water was now unbearable to look at. Not able to deal with himself, he jerked his head violently to the side to take a look out the window instead. What would his father have done in a situation like this?

Yami inhaled sharply. Father? He had no father. His father was never around when he needed him. Every time Yami had asked for help, his father had merely shooed him away and told one of his advisors to help him instead. Yami had never really attained any fatherly love. The more he thought about it, the more he realized he never really had a father. He never knew about the one who was supposed to be his father.

And then his heart struck cold. Would he treat his child the same way? If he even had a child that is? Is that the price of being the Pharaoh of Egypt? He wouldn't have time for a child, would he? He still wanted a future with Anippe, especially when he came to realize his mistake of locking her away. He still wanted her…to be with him…together and happy. …Anippe could always care for the child, couldn't she?

A heaved sigh escaped his lips. Yami, also, had lost his mother when he was but a mere year old. He never had one when he had grown up. But he knew the pain of not having a father…and he didn't want that to happen. "You need an heir to accept the throne when you pass away to the afterlife…a strong one, a brave one, a good one. One of your own blood…" Yami's father's words had come back to him. Since they did not know each other—at all really—their relationship stayed purely at a business level. Oh how he had loathed his father at that time, but Yami was never able to release his feelings. He just did as his father asked and enjoyed the simple times where they were together, which was rare enough. Before long, his father had passed away and Yami had accepted the Pharaoh's Crown, becoming Pharaoh of the land in place of his father.

His advisors were still with him to this day and he didn't exactly have the authority to fire them, though he did have the authority to ignore them. Just their constant pestering drove him nuts. In fact, in his time spent in his room now, he closed the wooden door, moved all his objects behind it, including his bed, and added four protection spells on it just to keep them out.

And still, even then, he could hear them banging on the doors and begging him to let them in. …He ended up deafening the door with yet another spell and then forced an electricity spell around his room so that anyone who stepped within two feet of the door would get a rather nasty surprise.

His mind drifted around these problems. So many things needed fixing. So many things in his life, in his land, in his palace. He couldn't handle them all. And it seemed as if his loyal High Priest had suddenly fallen into a depression, refusing to do everything—even eat at times. If only things hadn't happened this way. Immediately, he went to blaming Marik. Marik had destroyed everything for him. This colossal mess wouldn't be upon him if Marik and Bakura had simply not interfered and were so warped in their minds as to have to overthrow him.

Yami clenched his teeth, his eyes shut tight and his hands balled into fists. There he was, sitting on the edge of his bed, facing his window, at a loss of what to do. Everything, everything, had gone wrong and he was helpless to return them back to the original state in which they were in. Helpless, futile little brat. Oh Ra, the words came back to him. Those exact words was what his father called him sometimes, what advisors used to say behind his back, what people in the lands used to say about him.

Yami cursed at himself. Why the hell was he thinking about this now? The past was the past and the present was the present. Things change; opinions change; everything changes. He should really be concentrating on the future; but how? It was the present that needed fixing which would, in turn, alter the future.

"Oh Anippe, please forgive me for everything that I've done…" he whispered in horror, unable to comprehend what he said until they passed his lips. And, at this moment, he realized he needed her more than ever. He couldn't do this alone, he needed someone. He needed Anippe, to help him, to guide him. He couldn't handle this alone. His burden was not one to be carried by himself. Which led him to wonder where his friends were. Joey? Mai? Tea? Tristan? Duke? Where were they all? He hadn't seem them in… Ages, his mind replied, his answer echoing around in his head, fear dwelling in his eyes. Ages…it had been ages since they've even had a normal chat. Dear Ra, was he turning into his father already?

Letting Anippe out of the dungeon now would look bad. The people? Would they think he was a traitor? Or would they think he was locking innocent people up and they'd find him unworthy of a Pharaoh? Sadly enough, the latter was exactly what he had done. He had become irrational with all the things piling up on him. A Pharaoh was only as strong as the power of his people. If he lost his people, he'd lose his power. Without further ado, he decided to resolve his first problem…by going to visit his friends. The rest might be able to trigger as a chain reaction and everything would be right again…hopefully.

"You know what?"


"…I don't know."

"Then why the hell did you ask me!"

"Because…this place is boring."

Bakura sent Marik a glare. "WHAT?" he hissed viciously. His piercing glare shot straight at Marik, a look of completely fury and disbelief on his face.

Marik actually started chuckling, a happy and rich tone to it. "I'm bored," he repeated again, taking Bakura's glares with a smile. "We have to do something to pass the time, no? And, seeing from our last encounter with Pharaoh Yami, we won't get any visitors for a while so…" he trailed off, letting Bakura think upon the end of the sentence.

"Ugh…" was all Bakura could do to reply. Marik's attitude had changed drastically. And, scarily enough, Marik was happier these days… Not only that, but his attitude as contagious. Bakura was starting to get used to Marik's, now childish, ways. He himself felt happier and now his little glares and snarls and calling Marik a fool were simply…jokes, play. They no longer held any meaning to either of them. Even Bakura didn't feel like going back to their original plan, no not at all. He just wanted to get out of this dungeon and, well, live.

Marik flashed a childish grin at Bakura, a look of triumph on his face. "See Bakura?" he prodded. "I knew you'd see things my way." He moved his hands around as if he were dancing, making the chains jingle and click upon the brick stone behind them.

Bakura couldn't help but smile; he really couldn't. Never had he seen Marik so…carefree for lack of better words. "Yeah, yeah," he said, waving it off and feigning defeat. "Be quiet before I cut your tongue out."

Both had a good laugh, their voices filling the small, square room of a jail they were in. In some ways, the Pharaoh had helped them…a lot, even if he had not realized it. The laughter bounced off the walls and even partially echoed into the halls into other's cells. But it wasn't the kind of chilling laughter that made you want to run away, it was the warm, childish laughter like two old friends enjoying a joke.

After their laughter died down, Marik managed to heave a sigh, leaning against the wall, his head tilted back. "Now, if only I could fix things with Ishizu…" he muttered on a more serious note. A look of self-pity and repentance crossed his face.

Bakura shrugged lightly, looking away. "I don't know…" he finally said softly. "I just really don't know." For some reason, he felt ashamed. Perhaps he had a stronger relationship to Marik as friends than he had originally thought. And, thus, Bakura felt responsible for Marik's misery at this point. If he had simply not gone through with the plan, everything would have been all right. And, yet, what he had desired so much before, he could not even think of doing now. Everything had changed in such little time, it was scary. The period of silence between the two stretched onward. Finally, Bakura managed to utter: "We'll think of something. Don't worry about it."

Layla refused to move from her spot. She couldn't. She wouldn't. Having no idea where else to go, she simply refused to leave the place she once called home. The mare under her trotted impatiently, moving from side to side—waiting for her master to give her orders to where to go. Horses weren't made for sitting still, and this one certainly wasn't going to tolerate simply staying in one place for so long. How long had they been here? Hours probably.

"Shh, shh," Layla calmed her gently, pulling softly at the reins. "We'll get going, we'll get going soon," she kept repeating though knowing they wouldn't. Her heart felt like an iron weight, keeping her held down here. She couldn't move; she was paralyzed.

Something dropped, shattered to pieces, behind her. To say the least, Layla was surprised, fearful in fact that someone was going to take her again. No, not for the second time?

Swiftly, she swiveled around upon her horse, jerking desperately upon the reins, to find a young boy gawking at her in surprise. Unfortunately, all she could do was gawk right back at him.

The silence stretched onward for what seemed like aeons. Comprehension came upon each one's face but they were still astonished to see the other and, thus, never broke that silence which was held between them.

Layla couldn't stand it for much longer. "Nexeu!" she cried out, simply to shatter the ongoing silence between them.

Nexeu didn't say anything, the small breeze ruffling his black hair just slightly. His skin was tanned and no older than ten. He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. It was as dry as the desert itself and Layla could plainly see that. Thus, instead of asking questions, she decided to say, "I missed you little brother."

Nexeu just stood there once more, the pot of water he was holding shattered to pieces under him, the clay fragments lay at his feet. Finally, he managed to croak, "I…I missed you too."

Layla's face lit up; never had she been so happy! She swung her legs over the horse and jumped off, landing simply upon the desert grounds. Wordlessly, she kneeled down to see him at eye level and gave Nexeu a big hug. "Thank Ra you're okay…" she said softly, still hugging him close to her as if she were his mother. "Now, where's mum and dad?" she asked, trying to say it without worry but she couldn't help but slip a little anxiety into her sentence.

Nexeu finally managed to get his voice back, just gulping a bit. "They're…they're safe. We went searching for you after you disappeared. But we gave up a few weeks later. We're all still worried about you. Because we didn't want this to happen again, we moved…just a little bit. But…" he trailed off for a moment, looking at the ground, tears seeming to come out of his eyes. "I always came back here. Just in case you came back," he finally said softly.

"Oh, I'm so sorry!" Layla burst out, hugging him so much tighter. "I didn't mean to—well, you see—I…I'm just so sorry," she managed to get out. Her ideas were pretty much incoherent; she couldn't utter them. But at least she could get out the fact that she was sorry and she was content with that. "Think you can lead me back to…where everyone else has disappeared to?" she asked.

Nexeu nodded. "Yeah," he said softly, parting from his sister and walking away, intending to lead her home.

"What's wrong with him?"

"I don't know. He refuses to come out of his room."

"And Yami? What about him?"

"The Pharaoh seems to be having the same symptoms but we can't figure out—"

"Yes, yes, I can see that."

"Anything you suggest, my highness?"

"No, I'm afraid not."

"Can you do something about it my highness? I fear the country will fall if they remain in this state much longer."

"Yes, I think so too. Perhaps I should start with Pharaoh Yami…"

"No, that won't work. He seems to have put many a spell upon that door of his. I fear you won't be able to get in and, even if you do, he'll be riled if you do so."

"Oh my, he must really be troubled over something. What about the High Priest? He hasn't put spells on his door too, has he?"

"Not that we know of your highness. However, I fear that he, too, will be upset if we disturb him."

"I guess you're right. Maybe we can get to him another way. What about his brother, Mokuba?"

"I haven't seen Mokuba though I know for a fact he's not in his brother's room, meaning he's probably roaming the palace in some way or another. Do you wish to go find him?"

"Yes, that would be a nice start now, wouldn't it? May you please go fetch him for me?"

"Very well your highness. I will do my utmost."

"Thank you Abubakar. You have my leave to go," Tea said wearily as she dismissed him with a wave of her hand. She watched the advisor go, wordlessly, as he walked out of her chamber. Anxiety, at this moment, had crowded her mind. What was going on with Yami and Seto? And how could they possibly have the same symptoms at the same time? Was there something she didn't know about? Tea stared at the wall, lost deep in thought. So lost in thought that she had not heard the voice calling her from far away, weak and feeble and simply begging for help.

"Tea…Tea help me…"

Tea snapped out of her daze and turned her head to the voice…to find the Pharaoh. "Y-Yami!" she stammered, her eyes growing wide and her mouth hanging open. She couldn't believe what she saw.

Pharaoh Yami stood before her. His blue cloak had lost its spirit; his millenium puzzle seemed as if it had been in reckless abandon for ages; his white clothes had lost their brightness; and his golden jewlery along his arms, legs, neck, chest, and everywhere else had lost their shimmer. His hair fell in disarray upon his face; they had lost their energy. His eyes held nothing but pain and sorrow—almost to the point of being soulless. Upon his lips, he wore a frown and his fingers were callused from the means he had used to deteriorate himself to such a level.

For once, he seemed lowly compared to the fair and gracious Tea. Her brown hair fell crisply upon her face, her brown eyes laced with concern. Her pale, pink lips came to a frown at what she saw. Her one-pieced dress was a off-white color—like all clothes were for all people in Egypt; its collar, as well as the border of the sleeves, were laced with dark yellow, however, and it was all tied together at the waistline with a dark green rope.

A period of silence ensued, which obviously made Yami feel very uncomfortable. He had begged her for help and yet all he had received was a neverending stare. Was she shocked about something? Why, of course he was doing something completely out-of-character for a Pharoah but… A great, overwhelming anxiety came over his heart that overpowered everything else before. With this new sadness, it added its degree to the anxiety he had held before…and now he truly felt like he was going to die. This was exactly what his father had told him and warned him not be become. He was weak, a coward, an utmost failure to his people and his throne.

"Have you not been eating?" Tea finally exclaimed loudly breaking the silence, her shocked expression still upon her face as her tanned hand covered her mouth just slightly. To say the least, she was rather bewildered from such a thought. Nevertheless, it was no denying. Yami had grown thinner and undoubtedly weaker, even his face told the story. His eyes held bags underneath them. "You haven't been sleeping either, have you?" Tea accused, the look of stun still upon her visage. She couldn't believe this. What in the world would torment Yami so?

Yami just stood there in paralysis for the longest time. Egypt's most powerful being, the Pharaoh himself, was actually at a loss of what to do. He just stood there, holding such a hurt expression on his face that one might have thought that he had been speared through the back. Finally, he lowered his head and shook it gently. "No…I suppose I haven't," he managed to whisper to her, his voice but a mere rasp.

Tea inhaled sharply, closing her eyes for a moment. No doubt she was pondering what to do about the problem. "Shukura, go get the Pharaoh something nice to eat and drink, shall you? And maybe a sleeping potion from the High Priest's potion chamber while you're at it," she finally said curtly—yet still in a kind nature—to Shukura who was standing at attention nearby.

"Yes your highness," was all she said, very softly, and walked off.

"Wait—but—no!" Yami finally managed to get out, closing his eyes tightly and gritting his teeth. "I don't need that!" he exclaimed right after.

"Oh I think you do," Tea said rather adamantly. "I'll get you to eat even if I have to spoon-feed you myself. And then I'll shove that potion down your throat if I have to." she stated, quirking an eyebrow at him. Yes, it was certainly an amusing thought but she'd never do it—and she knew Yami knew that. She simply wanted to show how concerned she was for him and how desperately he needed food and sleep.

Yami sighed. He couldn't fight back even if he had wanted too. He refused to believe Tea was right but his body was telling him otherwise. In fact, he rather felt half-dead—if not more—but he still stayed by his opinion upon the matter.

Tea got up from her chair gently and elegantly before making her way over to Yami. "Oh my Pharaoh…" she said softly. "You're always like this. Trying to be independent when you know your in need… Trying to keep your opinion when you know the other is right…" Gently, she held his chin upon her thumb and forefinger so that she could direct his gaze upon her. "Sometimes it's best just to let your friends do the work for you," Tea finally ended gently, brushing her lips just lightly upon his cheek before backing away from him.

Yami's mouth gaped open and all he gave her was a wide-eyed stare, exactly like what Tea had given him when he first showed himself to her only a little while ago. He was going to say something but all words had been lost and all thought had been abandoned. Nevertheless, he wouldn't have been able to say anything anyway for it was at this time that Shukura had come back with a tray in her bronzed hands.

The golden tray held such a variety of things that they barely even fit upon it—a branch of grapes, an apple, a golden goblet of wine, a small silver plate of various meats, and a small silver bowl of soup and bread off to the side.

Slowly, Shukura balanced herself and walked over to where the two were quarreling. Bowing her head to each of them, she set the tray down upon the clay table between them. Giving one last bow to the both of them, she scurried off, back to her original position so that she could take care of any other needs.

Tea nodded. "Thank you Shukura," she told her, her gaze now upon Shukura who stood at her side. Shukura used to be Yami's but, now that he spent all his time with Anippe, he rarely needed her. Shukura may have looked frail—with her darkly tanned, skinny arms and her long black hair that fell across her back—but it would be a mistake to think of her as such. Shukura, to say the least, was the last one you would call frail. She had endured much with the Pharaoh and she had even broken a few bones just to save his life. Her attitude had not stood feeble either. Yes, she was obedient but that did not mean she was not determined. Shukura was a determined, kind-willed girl. Had she deserved to be a slave? Tea thought not for she contained the traits of a noble but she could do nothing about it. Still, because of this, Tea had always treated her with the greatest respect. Tea knew Yami felt this way too and saw that he often treated her likewise. Out of the corner of her eye, Tea saw Shukura nod and smile just a little. Tea smiled herself as she returned her gaze to Yami. "Well, eat," she demanded, her gaze staying upon him until he succumbed to her will.

Yami shook his head. "No, it's too much. I don't feel like eating," was all he managed to get out. Of course, his body stated otherwise as his stomach growled viciously and gave him a sharp pang of pain.

Tea raised an eyebrow at him, her brown eyes upon him. "Do you really want me to spoon-feed you?" she asked playfully though still forcefully. It was a rhetorical question and, thus, not to be answered. "Sit," she said plainly, gesturing to the chair on the other side of the table.

Disgruntledly, Yami listened to Tea's words and took a seat with sigh. He just simply stared at the tray of food with a blank look on his face. Yes, his violet eyes saw the food in front of him but his mind drifted offward to reminisce about other things.

"Oh, Shukura," Tea suddenly said, interrupting Yami's thoughts. "That sleeping potion?" Tea was not looking at Yami at the moment, concentrating on Shukura. If he acted fast, Yami could dash out of there…if he was at full health but he wasn't. He was in no condition to walk much less run. Another sigh escaped his lips as he picked up a small piece of dried beef—which had been cut into small, flat circles—and simply dangled it in the air for a little while.

Tea sighed as she redirected her attention at Yami as she saw Shukura nod and hand over a small, light purple flask with a cork on it. "Eat," she commanded again, getting quite weary of Yami's attitude. Barely even looking at Shukura, she carefully took the ceramic flask from her.

"You know, you might want to do what Tea says," came a jovial voice behind Yami. Swiveling his head to take a look at the intruder—or rather intruders as it happened to be. Immediately, he realized it was Joey who had spoken up and he was with Mai, Tristan, Duke, and Serenity. All of them were standing in front of the main entrance.

Joey was wearing a rather large collar—almost as large as the Pharaoh's, which was large plated gold—and was bronze with Egyptian engravings within it. He wore an off-white shirt and kilt with a dark red rope at the waistline. The sleeves flared upward like spikes at the ends in the colors of dark orange and dark red. Of course, Joey did favor fire and he was Yami's head general of his army, the "warrior chief" so proclaimed. However, he also was Yami's best friend, which was a mighty task as well. His arm was wrapped loosely around Mai's waist, who was leaning just gently upon him.

Mai was wearing an off-white dress, like Tea's for Tea was wearing what most of the wealthy wore, with a maroon strip dangling down the middle from her waistline to the end of the dress. It was held with a golden rope as opposed to Yami's outfit which was held with a thick piece of gold metal. Dark red folds of cloth were also at the edges of the sleeveless dress to give her some flare.

Standing on Joey's other side was Serenity, his sister. Her auburn strands that hung out in front of her face was tied back and kept together with a brown clip. Her dress itself was of similar structure to Tea's except it had colors of soft pink, faint yellow, and light blue as borderlines. The hems of her dress contained varying sizes of rubies. Tying at the waistline was a dark pink rope. Like all dresses—as well as kilts—it ended a little below her knees.

Tristan and Duke were both lagging behind a bit, seeming to be quarreling over something.

As far as clothing went, all the nobles, or at least Yami's friends, wore the same overall ensemble. It was simply a matter of color in which they differed. Tristan had a brown rope tied across his waist while Duke had a dark red one. Not too much of a difference but the clothing was simply to state that they were noble – and it certainly got the message across, especially since even the fabric itself was of extremely high quality.

"I—I'm fine," Yami told them weakly, staring at each one with his violet orbs. It was a nice gesture – all his friends trying to make him better, but…he simply wasn't up for it. He didn't feel like eating. He didn't feel like drinking. Above all, he didn't feel like arguing with his friends, not now. He came here for advice…but they hadn't even gotten to the topic yet.

"I don't care if you don't feel like doing things," Tea interrupted his thoughts, almost as if she read his mind. She knew Yami – and it was a bit obvious by his face that he wasn't too happy about listening to her. "You have to or else your health will go down the drain," Tea explained kindly.

"And if that happens," Joey intervened, adding onto Tea's words, "what will become of the kingdom? What will become of your kingdom?"

Yami sighed – that was practically the only thing he could do. They held a point, a fine point, and he could not argue against it, not that he was in the mood for arguing. "Alright, alright," he finally said, giving in and took the silver bowl of soup. "Happy?" he asked as he held it to his lips and took a small sip. The warmth of the soup quickly spread throughout his whole body – from his throat to his fingers and then his toes. It was scary how only a small amount could do so much. Not only that, but he was feeling much better. The smell of the soup was now so tempting that he couldn't help but drink more.

"Yes, much," Tea said while Yami was enjoying the soup.

"We're all worried about you," Tristan added, stepping forward a bit to emphasize his point.

"And we all care about you," Duke said in a leisurely fashion, flicking back a strand of his dark black hair with his hand.

Serenity nodded and agreement and Mai simply winked at Yami.

"We trust you can pull through though," Mai joined in, chuckling softly. "With a little bit of our help of course."

"But your health should be your first priority," Serenity uttered in her soft voice.

Yami finished the bowl and put it gingerly down upon the table. It didn't take him too long to understand what his friends were telling him; it was just the fact that he didn't agree that forced him to speak up. His top priority wasn't himself – it was his kingdom, his people, his lover. Wanting to bring up this point, Yami practically yelled in protest, "But—"

"No buts Yami," Joey sighed, shaking his head a little. "Just listen and obey. You're not in the right state of mind right now… You trust us, don't you?"

Before Yami could reply, Tea held out the golden goblet of wine to him. "Here, drink this," she said soothingly.

Without thought, Yami accepted the cup and held it with both of his hands, staring into it for a moment. Would this wine simply wash away his problems? He could only wish… With that, he drank a large portion of it. It didn't take long to feel its effects as his mind was slowly tossed into darkness. His vision was blurry and his mind was not functioning. Was it the wine? Of course not.

Right before the darkness consumed him completely, he saw the now empty small ceramic vile clutched in Tea's hand.

Seto simply sat in his room, his head in his hands. "What should I do?" he whispered hoarsely, hoping the Gods above might be able to hear him and send him a sign somehow.

However, for some strange reason, Seto was hoping that he wasn't told by the Gods what was supposed to happen – what was supposed to be. He simply had this sinking feeling in his gut that told him that he was meant to do nothing at all and just let things go. Nothing happened – meaning that (1) the Gods didn't send a sign at all or (2) the Gods were telling him that he should do nothing and let fate run its own course. To him, the latter was most likely.

"Damn it!" he screamed in frustration, sending a fist into the wall. His frustration, anger, hatred, and sadness were all pented up inside of him and he hated the fact that he could do nothing about it – that he was supposed to do nothing about it.

"Maybe sometimes…it's just best to let things run their course…"

Those were Mokuba's words. Seto remembered that Mokuba told him this phrase whenever he was having a rought time. …And it had always worked.

Seto lifted his head from his hands and stared out the window – at the clear blue sky, the puffy white clouds, and the golden land that belonged to Egypt. Maybe, just maybe, things would look brighter, that things would look up. Layla would come back… Maybe if he hoped – if he willed – her to come back, she would. As small as this hope seemed, Seto seemed to cling onto it with every fiber of his being.

With that, he got up from his bed and began to walk toward his door.

Nothing happened. Nothing would happen. Anything that happened would be the will of the Gods. He would go around his normal routine as a Priest should.

…And he'd cling to that hope like it was his last chance of survival.

A/N: -laughs- Doesn't it look like Yami's friends are trying to poison him? Well, they're not but that's a hilarious thought. They're helping him - just like they promised. XD

Yes, I'm attempting to un-do everything I have done in this story while still staying in character. Is it working? -ninja- My plot was skewed - it always has been - and now I'm attempting to fix it.

Anyways, did you like this chapter? -smiles- Please read and tell me in your review. I'll be waiting!

I'm going through a somewhat hard time right now I guess you can say. I'm just not feeling too happy at the moment - not happy with myself that is. Reviews right now would meana lot to me.

Oh, and remember to check out A Whisper in the Wind and give it a try. -winks-


Alley Cat