DIS: Okay, I know this fic has become boring, so I'm finally going to finish it with this chapter. Then, I can focus my attention on Prolonged Kiss. Once that is finished, I will put up a Malik/Anzu Medieval England fic, then a Yami/Anzu Medieval England fic. Actually, I'm not sure about the Yami/Anzu. We'll just have to see. Then those will be done and over with. I might make another Bakura/Anzu one, though I'm not sure. Also, thanks to those who reviewed. With all that said, enjoy.
Chapter Fifteen, Revealed and Epilogue
How dare that bastard, he thought venomously. I know what that Earl of Huntingdon is up to. He's trying to find out if I am the killer. A sadistic smile curled his lips and he chuckled darkly. Oh, you stupid little fool. Do you really think you will be able to get any information out of me? Yes...You will be my next victim. Your arrogant blood will taste well on my tongue, hahaha!
The Earl of Huntingdon shut his door and turned to Yami, whose face was unnaturally pale. He could relate to what Yami was no doubt feeling. Both of them were stressed at the information they had learned. Neither of the men had said anything useful, most especially Essex. He had been full of remorse and sympathy, which made Seto slightly suspicious. North, on the other hand, had sent an odd look to Yami. "They said identical things," Seto told Yami wearily. "How are we to deduce anything from that?" The Earl of Avon shook his head, his eyes closed.
"I don't know...But I cannot ignore the look that North gave me. Perhaps they are in league, Seto? It isn't entirely impossible."
"Yes," the latter agreed with a severe look on his features, "but you are forgetting that they despise each other. And I am most certain that the hatred they publicly display is not feigned. I have not seen two men glare so fiercely at each other before. They are fighting for the king's favor and if it is the killer that prevails, then he will kill his nemesis and will continue to kill other innocents." Yami raised his eyebrows at the conclusion. He didn't argue with it, though. Seto held a very good point. If the man that is the killer ended up winning over the king's favor, he could manipulate the king even more and everyone could be in danger.
"This is so stressful," Yami moaned, putting a hand to his forehead and rubbing it in exhaustion. "I don't know how much longer I can deal with this! I think it's obvious that the sooner we wrap this investigation up, Seto, the better." Seto nodded in agreement, then looked at the grandfather clock in the corner of the room.
"It's been a couple hours since I last spoke with Marik. We should go check on Anzu and see how they're doing," he suggested to his companion. Yami nodded and followed him out to the hall, where they proceeded down to Anzu's room. Seto knocked on the door lightly and a female's voice called out, "Enter!" He and Yami entered, curious as to why she sounded so happy. A corner of Seto's mouth curled upward, seeing that Bakura was sulking, while Marik and Anzu played cards. Seto suspected that Anzu was paying more attention to Marik than Bakura – either that, or he had been losing many games.
"Sulking, Bakura?" Seto asked with a quirk of his eyebrow. Bakura glowered at him.
"That woman," he pointed at Anzu accusingly, "has beat me at every game we've played! Marik's at least one a couple." Seto gave a short bark of laughter.
"Is that so?"
"Perhaps," Marik scoffed, "if you went to your clubs more often to play, Bakura, you might not have this problem, mm?" Bakura shot a dirty look and spurted profanities to him in French. Seto winced while Marik snickered. Anzu and Yami looked clueless, since they didn't know French.
"Marik," Seto spoke up sharply. "Did you tell her?"
"What?" Marik turned to him and then said, "Oh, yeah, yeah, I told her."
"Good, I was beginning to worry." He paused and he and Yami exchanged a look, before he continued, "We have a bit of a dilemma – at the moment, that is."
"What's that? Did your investigations not go as planned?" Anzu asked, turning her attention from the card game briefly.
"Unfortunately," Seto replied gravely.
"But you see," Yami spoke up, "what makes it so odd is that they said similar things. They gave condolences and said that we should return to London for our safety."
"Very odd," Marik agreed, drawing a card and frowning at his hand. "If they didn't hate each other so much, then I would say they might be doing this together, but..." He shrugged as he put a card down and Anzu drew one.
"Which is the problem," Seto said. "If they keep saying the same things and don't take any bait we lay out, then we could have some major problems."
"Then kill them both," Bakura suggested casually.
"I don't want either of you to kill anyone," Anzu said firmly, looking up. "We'll turn whoever it is in and then they will deal with it. We can insist on a death sentence, but I don't want any of you – " she pointed at each man " – becoming murderers."
"Nice cards," Marik remarked with a smirk, despite the seriousness of the situation. Anzu gaped at him, before smacking a card down on the table, glaring at him slightly. He snickered, then asked Seto, "So, why don't you guys threaten them? It'll probably work better than just asking questions."
"It's only the first day," Yami said carefully. "We'll...continue and if we still have nothing by the end of the week, then we'll take more forceful actions." He turned to Seto. "Agreed?"
"Agreed," the other male reluctantly said.
"Just...be careful, won't you?" Anzu pleaded. "I don't want either of you getting hurt – or worse, killed."
"Nothing is going to happen to us, Anzu, don't worry," Yami assured her.
The days went by and the six members of the ton became more and more anxious each day. Seto and Yami reported to them, their hands empty. Seto was upset to learn that Yami was becoming friends with Lord North and he started screaming at him on the third day. Yami had winced and muttered an apology, promising not to become 'too friendly' with him as Seto had said. Finally, at the seventh day, Seto and Yami left Anzu's room with Marik, Malik, and Bakura remaining behind. They had come to the conclusion that it was time to use force. It was the only thing that they thought would get any effect from them.
Yami entered one of the drawing rooms and wasn't surprised to see that Frederick North was sitting in front of the fire. Today, however, he looked tense. Yami sat beside him and gave a small smile, keeping to his promise to Seto. "You seem a bit stressed, my friend. Is there something wrong?"
"Nothing...Well, actually, there is." He hesitated, before turning to Yami and glancing around. The drawing room was empty except for them. He hurried to the door and closed it, locking it as well. Yami became alert, but had a calm façade. "It's the king," North confided as he sat down.
"What do you mean?" Yami questioned, his ears perking up.
"As you know, I have been in the king's favor ever since I became his advisor. And you have always been in the king's favor as well."
"I think that bastard Vincent Hastings is about to obtain my position. You see, the king has been suggesting to me that I should retire. I've been his advisor for a little over ten years and I suppose he thinks that much too long, when, in truth, it is not that long at all. Anyway, as I was saying, if Essex gets my position by force instead of me retiring, not only will I be out of a job, but I would lose all of my fortunes and I simply cannot afford that! Essex used to be a mere farmer, but now he has suddenly become a great nobleman! I cannot – cannot – handle the idea of him being the king's advisor. He's a manipulative bastard and will have the king dancing in the palm of his hand more than he is now."
"...But don't you manipulate the king?" Yami asked, baiting him.
"No," North snarled. "I've never done any such thing. I am his advisor and I advise him to do things that are right."
"What about refusing Seto and the rest of us to leave? Did you advise him on that?"
"No," North repeated with a glower. "He didn't even come to me for assistance. When he told me his decision, I wasn't only outraged, but shocked. I really did not think he would do that. He knows how much danger the Lady of York is in, along with you and her other friends, not to mention the rest of the guests." His grip tightened on the arms of the chair. "My Lord of Avon...I must confess my suspicions to you." He paused, staring intently into the fire. "If the king did not decide upon this himself, he must have asked Essex about it. Essex is a bit of a friend of the Earl of Huntingdon, which makes me wonder why he would advise the king to keep them here." He looked at Yami with haunted eyes. "I have good reason to think that...that Essex might be the killer." Yami stared at him. The fear and anxiety in North's eyes was real. He was afraid of Essex and had been keeping his suspicions to himself in fear that Essex would come after him. "It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?"
"No," Yami whispered, "not at all. Now, I will confess something to you, my friend." North blinked as Yami continued in a soft voice, "Seto has figured that out himself. Actually, he knew that the killer had to be close to the king and that was only you, myself, and Essex. That is why I initially came here, keeping you company. I was to find out if it was you." North slowly shook his head.
"No, I would never hurt Lady Mazaki like that. I never even knew her until she came to court with Lady Isis. I am sorry that I never said anything sooner, my lord."
"It's fine. But now, we must go and find Seto. We must stop Essex now before someone else gets hurt."
"The rain has been relentless lately," Essex remarked, sitting in the largest drawing room, staring out the window. He took a drink of brandy, his eyes moving over the land. "If it stops, perhaps you could ask the king to allow you to leave? I am sure that he would consent to it." Seto shrugged. Essex turned to him, a wry smile curling his lips. "You are so quiet today, my lord. Anything wrong? Anything on your mind?"
More than you can imagine, Seto thought, watching Essex with a steady look. How the hell am I supposed to use force on this guy? And if he happens to not be the killer, than how am I going to explain this? He almost snorted aloud. Who cares? It's not as though I entirely like the guy. "No, nothing is on my mind," Seto replied.
"Are you sure?" Essex asked. "You seem like you're thinking very intently on something." His dark eyes pinned Seto and the Earl of Huntingdon's eyes narrowed on him, suddenly very suspicious of him. "Maybe you're thinking of how you're going to confront me? Hmm?"
"Let's stop beating around the bush," Essex suggested, standing up, taking a last drink of his brandy. Seto slowly rose to his feet, frowning at him. "You and that stupid Earl of Avon have been trying to find out who the killer is and I'm sick of your stalling."
"So. You were the killer after all." Essex chuckled, his gentle demeanor completely vanishing.
"Of course I was. Why would North ever try to hurt anyone? He's suspected me all along, but the pansy didn't tell anyone. He's afraid I'll kill him, too – or rather...eat him." Seto's face twisted in disgust. "So now that you know that it's me, what are you going to do?"
"Turn you in, what else?"
"Ah, see...that's what I have a problem with, Seto," Essex told him, approaching him in slow steps. "I haven't yet done what I wanted. I have yet to kill Mazaki and I have yet to blow up those idiots in America."
"Humph. You don't have a choice in the matter."
"There's where you're wrong." In an instant, Essex had a dagger in his hand. Before Seto could move, the blade dug into his stomach. His face contorted in pain and he slumped. Essex chuckled, shoving him away. "I'll enjoying killing you, Earl of Huntingdon."
Anzu paused and glanced behind her. Marik, who was walking beside her, paused as well and looked to her, frowning. "Is something wrong?" They had been walking around the castle for quite awhile since Anzu was restless and wanted to get out of her room. Marik had offered to walk with her and now they were in the throne room. "Anzu?"
"I...think Yami or Seto are in trouble."
"Speak of the devil," Marik muttered as Yami and North came dashing in the throne room. "What's going on, Yami?"
"It's Seto!" Yami gasped. "He's in trouble! Essex is the killer!" North's face was pale as parchment. Anzu shuddered in fear. "We have to find him!"
"I'm taking Anzu upstairs," Marik instantly said.
"No!" The men turned to her in surprise. "I have to find out why he killed my family, Marik. I have to confront him." Yami and Marik exchanged a look.
"Listen, we can't just stand here," North hissed at them. "Let her come. We need to get to the Earl of Huntingdon as soon as possible." Marik and Yami nodded, though reluctantly. Marik grabbed her hand as the other two started running again. Anzu lifted her skirts and hurried beside him. "I think I saw Essex heading towards the main drawing room. It's the largest one in the castle, so let's look their first." The others nodded in silent agreement. They headed across the throne room and down a long corridor, before bursting into the room. Essex tilted his head, looking at them with a bored expression. Seto was laying in a pool of his own blood, a low moan coming from his throat.
"Seto!" Anzu cried in anguish.
"Hello," Essex greeted pleasantly. "You seem to have interrupted me." He drew his dagger up, blood smearing the blade. He ran his tongue over the blade and shivered. "I always knew his blood would be tasty." Marik shuddered in disgust.
"You sick bastard," he growled to him. Essex let out a cackle.
"I half expected that idiot Frenchman, that sirrah, to be here. Pity, though. I'm sure he'd do something reckless and get himself killed. It would be very satisfying to kill him." His eyes flickered to Anzu. "How considerate. You've brought Mazaki to me."
"...Why?" She whispered, trembling with fear. "Why did you kill my family, Essex?"
"Because your father destroyed my life," Essex snapped at her, glaring. "He was the reason why I became poor! He made my father go mad and start drinking. Then, from there, my father started gambling and there was nothing left for me in the end. And what else does he do? He takes the woman I loved for his wife! Yes, Sophia was once the woman I was infatuated with and I had thought she loved me, too." He moved to the side, glancing out the window. "I vowed to one day take revenge on everything he did to me. I got in the king's favor, became a man of the ton, and killed him, his son, and his wife." He turned cold eyes to Anzu. "And you're next. You're the only one I wasn't able to kill. You would have been easy to kill if you hadn't run out of the house like that. It would have been easy if those damn Runners hadn't come, along with your lover, here," he nodded to Marik. "No, nothing is easy when it came to you, Miss Anzu Mazaki. You had people surrounding you constantly. And then, of course, there were people looking after you very carefully after Lady Isis' death." He glared at her. "If you hadn't ran to that stupid woman and your now-lover for help, everything would have been simple. Isis wouldn't be dead, North wouldn't have known it was me, and I would have had those Americans dead sooner." He started towards them. "But now I can kill you. Now I can finally finish what I started."
"Don't even try it," Marik snarled.
"No, Marik!" Anzu clutched at him. "Please, don't get involved. I don't want anyone else to die..." Tears started in her eyes. "I just want this to end. If killing me will stop it, then so be it."
"Anzu!" Yami gasped in shock. A groan came from the floor and Seto raised his head, a trickle of blood coming from his mouth.
"No...Anzu..." He winced, giving another low groan.
"Smart girl," Essex said, smiling slightly. Marik glared at him and grabbed Anzu by the shoulders.
"You will do no such thing!"
"Marik, don't stop me!"
"Damn you, don't you see that I love you?" He roared at her. Yami stared at him, stunned. Anzu appeared just as surprised.
"You...love me?" She whispered.
"Leave it for when you join her in hell!" Essex snapped, charging forward. But something stopped him. Something had whizzed by and struck him in the neck. He raised a trembling hand to his neck, before his eyes rolled to the back of his head and he dropped to the floor. They stared at him, before they turned to see Bakura with a blow dart in his hand. His expression was solemn.
"We need to alert the king and get Seto medical attention. He's lost enough blood already," he told them tonelessly. "It didn't kill him, just put him to sleep," he added as Anzu opened her mouth. "North, be so kind as to retrieve the king. Tell him it is most urgent." North nodded and hurried away.
An hour later, things had calmed down. Seto was taken care of by the king's own physician and left to London with the physician, as well. The king ordered Essex to be beheaded and it was done quickly as the king did not want him to escape. Now, everyone was packing and Anzu was thinking over what Marik had said. "...don't you see that I love you?" Anzu had never really thought about it, but those words seem to make her eyes finally open to the truth. Marik, who had been so compassionate towards her after Isis' death and so protective, had always been there for her. He had been the one to find her the first time that Essex went after her and had offered her a safe haven. I love him, she realized in awe. I never thought that I could really love a man like him. He's the complete opposite of me, but... She sighed, closing her trunk and bringing her cloak around her. But I guess I can't ignore the feelings I have for him. A knock came at her door and she called softly, "Enter." Bakura came in, a small smile on his lips.
"Como ca va, ma cherie?" He asked. "How are you doing?"
"I'm...okay," she said, shrugging a bit. "Um, listen, Bakura – " He put up a hand to halt her words.
"You love Marik," he said bluntly, "and I know that. I'm not going to try and force my attentions on you, Anzu. If you love him, that's that. There's nothing I can do to change your feelings." Anzu stared at him for a while, before hugging him.
"Thank you for understanding, Bakura," she whispered in his ear. She kissed him on the cheek, the drew away, smiling. He nodded silently, smiling slightly.
"Do me a favor, though."
"Try and convince Marik to let me give you away. After all, I was once his enemy, trying to win your love." Anzu laughed.
"I'll see what I can do."
The trunks were loaded into the carriages. Bakura, Yami, and Malik were sharing a carriage, deciding with each other to leave Marik and Anzu alone. Yami pointed out to them that Anzu had yet to say those words to Marik.
Marik mutely helped Anzu into the carriage. Before he got in the carriage himself, he saw Malik make a kissing motion towards him. His eyebrow twitched and he told himself mutinously, I'm going to kill him. He shut the door and motioned to the driver. The carriage went into motion and he glanced at Anzu, who was frowning, staring down at her hands. "Marik – "
"Anzu," he acknowledged.
"What you said back there...Were you serious?"
"As serious as anyone can be about something like that."
"...I want you to know...that..." She blushed prettily as she fumbled with her words. "Well, what I mean is...that...um, I...feel the same."
"Oh?" He turned to her, smirking slightly. "Feel the same about what?"
Th-that jerk! She thought, sputtering, before blushing redder. "What I mean is that...well, I love you as well, Marik." His smirk broadened.
"I should certainly hope so, Anzu." He brought her in his arms and kissed her on the mouth. She shivered as a tingle went up her spine. She buried her fingers in his dirty-blonde locks as he drew his kisses along her jaw. "Because I would be very disappointed to find the first woman I love doesn't love me as well." She giggled and he drew away, kissing her once again.
"By the way, if we get married, Bakura wants you to allow him to give me away." He snorted. "His reason was that it would only be reasonable since he was once the other guy vying for my attentions." Marik looked thoughtful.
"Well, he isn't wrong." He glanced at her. "And is there a good chance of us getting married?"
"Oh, a very good chance," she said sweetly, kissing him on the cheek.
"I'm happy to hear that, my dear."
Yami sulked a bit as Bakura gave away Marik. He listened as the priest droned on his utterly boring voice and Marik and Anzu agreeing to each of the 'terms.' At last, the priest proclaimed, "You may kiss the bride." He saw Bakura clear his throat a bit and gaze up at the ceiling as Marik brought Anzu in a deep, intimate kiss. Ignoring that, Yami thought, I wanted to be the one to give Anzu away... Yes, our Earl of Avon was upset by the arrangement of Bakura giving her away. He didn't care if Bakura had been Marik's nemesis! Yami still wanted to be the guy to give her away!
Later, when everyone was dancing, Bakura and Malik came to sit with Yami. Bakura sighed and said, "Zut alours. That was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do."
"Give Anzu away?" Yami questioned.
"I imagine it was," Malik remarked. "You didn't even watch them kiss, you pansy-ass!"
"Why don't you get yourself a woman already?" Bakura growled, glaring at him. Malik's jaw dropped.
"Excuse me?" Yami chuckled as they began to bicker.
"Are they arguing already?" A dry voice inquired. The two stopped arguing and the three stood up, greeting Seto warmly with firm handshakes.
"So they let you out to come to the wedding, did they?" Malik asked as Seto sat down with them.
"Yes. They figured I was well enough to deal with a 'strenuous wedding' as they called it." He rolled his eyes. "I know they're concerned, but I'm not so weak that I'll pass out from a wedding." The other three chuckled.
"Is it getting any better?" Yami asked, looking to where one of Seto's hands were pressed.
"It is," Seto answered. "It still hurts like hell, but it's getting better." He glanced at Anzu and Marik in the middle of the dance floor. "I always knew he had a soft spot for her."
"I think it's more than just a soft spot," Malik remarked, smiling.
That night, Anzu snuggled close to her husband, wishing that the night would never end. She had learned after the wedding just why women favored Marik so much in bed. Marik's tan fingers continuously moved through her hair fondly. Anzu wished that Isis could be here to see her brother. She imagined that she would be extremely happy to see Marik becoming so soft. I miss her, Anzu thought. If only she was here. Snuggling closer to Marik, she heard his chuckle and smiled to herself. I hope I can spend every night like this.
"I love you," she told him.
"Mmm...I love you, as well." He kissed her head and she knew that he was beginning to fall asleep. Stifling a yawn, she closed her eyes and prepared herself for the dreams that were sure to fall upon her.
DIS: (sigh) Well, that is the end. This is probably the first semi-good ending I've made. Well, please review one last time for this story before you leave it forever. I hope you guys will read Prolonged Kiss. I'll update that as soon as I can. Ciao!