Disclaimer: I do not own yugioh.
"Alright, it's time to go."
Seto opened his eyes and looked up at the guards standing by his cell, holding the barred door open for him to walk out. Forcing himself to his feet with a tired grunt, he made his way between them to be led up the stairway to the palace corridors and then to his guarded room to change into the ceremonial robes he and the other priests were required to wear for the pharaoh's wedding.
He was almost certain that they were holding the ceremony with such urgency because of Yami, but rumors of the princess being the insistent one bothered him. As the guards held his arms securely and led him up the cold stone stairway, he wondered if he would have the chance to speak to Yami in private. He had barely slept since learning that the ceremony would be held the next day and thought for hours about how to ask what he wanted of his cousin.
"I hear he'll be executed after the ceremony."
"Well I've heard that he'll have his title removed."
"I heard that he'd be made a common servant."
Seto could hear the whispers amongst the servants as he was led to his room. He stared forward as he walked and refused to meet anyone's gaze as he was brought before a door and quickly released from his restraints. He rubbed his wrists and saw that the shackles had made dark bruises on his skin that would take some time to heal. After one of the guards opened the door the other gave him a push inside. He turned to glare at them as they spoke.
"Your bath and clothes are ready. If there is anything else you need tell us. And don't try to leave or you'll be taken down like a criminal."
Seto knew that meant they'd kill him without a moment's hesitation and simply gave them a nod as he turned to his room and heard the door close behind him. Closing his eyes, he sighed and let his head hang low in the exhaustion he felt. Every inch of his body was sore, and he felt weak and tired from poor sleep and little food. But he had a job to do. Straightening himself up he made his way to his bathroom and saw that the tub was steaming with the hot water it was filled with.
Looking back at his bed he saw that his robes were clean and lain out over it, the jewelry he would wear was placed neatly beside the clothing, all gleaming and exquisite. He saw everything except his Millennium Rod and was sure that Yami still had it, as there was no other priest to take over Seto's job since he was still alive.
"Is everything alright?"
Seto's head snapped to the door and was surprised to see Yami standing inside his room with a smile on his face. He must have been so lost in thought that he hadn't heard his cousin entering the room. But he quickly composed himself.
"Yes, everything is just fine." He answered coldly, forcing his head to bow a little in the pharaoh's presence.
"I assume the guards have told you to ask them for anything else you may need." Yami said, then gave a nod and turned to leave.
"Wait." Seto called, bowing slightly again when Yami turned to look at him.
"I wanted to speak to you before the ceremony." Seto began.
"You won't see her or speak to her so don't waste time asking." Yami snapped instantly. Seto looked at him with anger and fought the urge to roll his eyes. Taking a deep breath, he continued to speak.
"I wanted to ask you to let me leave the palace with Mokuba once the ceremony was over." He said. He knew Yami was surprised by the request by the look in his eyes but said nothing as he watched his cousin work the idea in his mind. He could tell by Yami's tone that he was trying to form his words carefully.
"Where would you go with him?"
Seto had had time to think about it and answered calmly, "We would live in the village, should you permit it. I would work as a commoner under whatever job I could find and we would get along as best we could together. Neither of us would ever ask anything of you again."
Yami watched his cousin closely and took a moment before smiling and telling him that he would consider his request.
"Don't take too long getting ready." He said casually before turning and walking out the door. The guards bowed as he walked down the hallway back to his own room to prepare for the wedding.
"I wanted to ask you to let me leave the palace with Mokuba …"
Seto's words seemed to haunt his mind even as he tried to force them out. He tried to come up with all the possible benefits and consequences he may have to face for letting Seto go free.
There would be an issue of someone handling the responsibilities Seto had once handled, but Yami was certain another priest could easily be trained.
Also, the gossip surrounding him would likely fade away. Yami was getting quite tired of hearing new stories about the priest, ranging from him being tortured personally by Yami, to him planning his ultimate revenge at the gods and the palace.
But most importantly, he would be out of his hair, that's for sure. Seto would be out of his life as well as Tea's. Maybe then Tea would finally move on and forget him. She might even view Yami's decision to let Seto and Mokuba go free as a gesture of kindness, and perhaps this would incline her to love Yami instead of Seto.
Yes, that was a good outcome.
But even though Seto would be out of his life, at the same time, he would probably be out of his reach and power. Seto would be free to do whatever he pleased, and that did not suit well with Yami at all. He had lost all trust in his cousin, and he feared letting Seto run free will cost him in the end. Seto, even though without a millennium item, was still very powerful, and could pose a huge threat if he intended to do so. His standing with the other priests bothered Yami to a great extent, and he feared that those who favored Seto over him might rebel against him, and that was something Yami could never allow to happen.
But then again, maybe he was being paranoid. Maybe he was over-estimating Seto's abilities. The priests were loyal to the pharaoh, and would never even dream of betraying him. And despite all of his faults, Seto was an honorable man. He would not deliberately try to usurp Yami's authority. But then this brought the issue of legitimacy in question. Seto had once viewed himself as the rightful and more suited heir to the throne of Egypt. Did those feeling still remain, and if so, were they strong enough for Yami to be wary of them?
What was he to do? Seto's mere presence was a nuisance to him, for as long as he was in the palace, he was also in Tea's heart. But giving him complete freedom was a danger to Yami's power and rule.
On one side was a possible chance at love, but on the other side was power and rule, and Yami was having a hard time making a choice.
Tea sat still on a comfortable chair as the servant girls fanned her gently, trying to dry the ink that had just been painted on her arms. They were prayers to being her happiness and many children in the marriage, having chosen by the priestess Ishizu herself, who stood in a corner giving instructions to the many other women running around the room. The air was filled with excitement and anticipation. After all, today was the most special and important day in their lives, the day their beloved pharaoh would be wed to the blue eyed Greek princess. This was the day they had been waiting for since the princess had arrived at the palace, and finally, it had come. They could hardly contain their joy, and bounced around the palace, filling it with animated chatter.
But sitting among this lively atmosphere was a very silent and still princess, whose eyes were blank, as if devoid of emotion. Her gaze was directed at a faraway object that only she could see. She was oblivious to the joy and excitement around her, oblivious to everything but her thoughts that ran even more rampant than the people around her. Try as she might, she could not clear her mind. Last night had been spent in the same manner, and she feared her wedding day might be wasted away the same. That was something that would surely annoy Yami and after last night, she really wanted to make an effort to be to his liking.
Tea lay on her bed, wide awake, heart beating wildly. It was late, she knew. The moon had been out for quite some time now, and the hustle and bustle of palace life had come to a halt. But even with all the silence and peace surrounding her, she could not sleep. Her mind screamed over and over again that tonight was the last night, the last night of her freedom. Come tomorrow, she would be the queen of Egypt, compelled to follow the commands of her pharaoh, no matter what they may be.
Just the mere thought brought chills up her spine and she whimpered in fear. No doubt, she was expecting the worst, and try as she might, she could not find the courage to be brave. How she wished Lyna was here, or her father, or Se—
No. She could not, or better yet, she would not allow herself to think that. Seto was a matter of her past now and she had to forget him.
A tear escaped her eye and she quickly wiped it away. From now on, she would have to wipe her own tears. She would have to take care of herself, and draw strength for herself from within herself. After all, Yami was busy with "other" things. She hadn't forgotten seeing him with another woman, but even though it hurt badly, she did not hate him. She had done the same to him, and wondered if it was fate serving her her just desserts. She just hoped the gods would be merciful and forgive her, so she won't have to worry much about other women vying for her husband's attention. She felt she had suffered enough for this lifetime, and wanted the rest of her life to be as peaceful as it could be, and she was prepared to make every effort to make it possible.
But was it too late already?
Had she already ruined everything?
Was there no hope left for her?
Was happily ever after not in her destiny?
Her thoughts came to a halt after hearing a knock. Quickly wiping her eyes and fixing her appearance, she went to the door and timidly spoke.
"Who is it?"
"… Yami. I wish to speak with you. Can I come in?" His voice was very quiet and calm, unlike her heart that had just begun beating wildly against her chest, like the wings of a wounded bird.
"Tea?" He asked again, having heard no reply for a while.
"Y… yes." She said in a shaking voice, opening the door. Yami came in, his eyes fixed on her. She turned away, shying from his scrutinizing gaze.
"How can I help you?" She said, after having regained some control over her pitiful state.
"I needed to speak with you, and I had a feeling you would be awake. I hope I am not causing an inconvenience."
"No, not at all." She said. He reached out to grab her shoulder and turned her around to face him.
"You have been crying." He said as a matter of factly. She thought of denying it, but then refuted that thought and decided to say silent instead.
"I know it is I who is causing you this grief--."
"No. It was not you. Tomorrow is a big day for me and I was missing my family. I just wished they were here, especially Lyna." He nodded his head. "What did you need to speak to me about?"
"I hope you will tell me the truth." He said, staring her in the eyes. "You came to me at night unexpectedly and told me of your consent to marriage. I want to know what caused you to agree so suddenly. What changed your mind?" Tea sighed and lowered her gaze to the floor.
"I had a long talk with Ishizu and realized that even if I try to avoid it, even if I try to postpone, it is my destiny to be the queen of Egypt, and sooner or later it would catch up to me. So it was better for me to embrace it then to try and run from it." Yami eyed her carefully.
"You dread it." He concluded. She looked up and met his eye.
"I fear the future." She admitted. "I fear my actions have endangered it, and I may never have the life my father dreamed for me."
"There may still be hope. You should not give up so easily." She did not reply.
"Tea… I… I wanted to apologize for my action from a few nights ago." She appeared confused at his statement, so he clarified.
"That night, when you came into my room and saw me with… I did not mean for you to witness that. I was frustrated and sought to release my stress. I realize the outlet wasn't one I should have used, considering our approaching wedding. I want you to know that it was a bad decision on my part and I hope you will not hate me for it."
"I don't hate you." She said in a quiet voice. "I am not even angry at you." He was surprised at her statement. "What you did was not different that what I did to you. And I realize now how you must have felt when you had discovered my disloyalty to you. I should be the one apologizing." A small smile broke on his face.
"You are kind Tea. I like that about you." He stepped closer to her and took her hands into his. "I know we both have made mistakes in the past, and have hurt each other, but we are beginning a new and the most important chapter of our life tomorrow. I want us to start with a clean slate. I want us to make an effort to forgive and forget the past, and look to the future." His one hand gently held her cheek and his voice softened. "Tea, I want to see you happy, and I promise you I will do everything in my power to ensure your happiness. I will always protect you with my life, and never let any harm come to you. I will be loyal to you and cherish you, like a man should cherish his wife. And in return, I request that you make an effort to do the same." Tears shone in her eyes.
"That is much more than I deserve and ask for. Thank you." She said in a broken voice. "I promise to do the same." Yami slowly leaned forward and pressed his lips against her. She did not resist, and allowed him to kiss her soft petal like lips. When he pulled away, he was smiling. Even she forced a small smile to appear successfully.
"Good night Tea, princess of Greece. Sleep well, for tomorrow when you awake, you will be the queen of Egypt."
She had given him her word in the spur of the moment and emotions, but the more she thought about it, the more she realized how difficult it would be for her. So many obstacles stood in her way, the most imminent being Seto's presence at the wedding. Would she able to control herself when he would come before her? Would she be able to calm her fluttering heart and ignore his presence to focus only on Yami? Or would she shame herself before everyone and act foolishly upon her feelings, creating trouble not only for herself but for Seto as well?
What would she do?
"My lady?" A woman timidly asked, having noticed the princess' state of deep thoughts and being reluctant to disturb.
"Yes." Tea said, giving her full attention.
"The ink has dried and you can put on the wedding dress." The words hit her hard, and she realized just how close she was to her new life. Her eyes met Ishizu who stood not too far away. Ishizu's eyes held compassion and courage, something that Tea felt she desperately needed. Shooting the priestess a weak smile, she spoke.
"Please proceed." She said in a small voice, afraid speaking loudly might allow her emotions to leak through. Immediately, other servant woman surrounded her, some taking her clothes off, while other putting on the beautiful white silk dress. Tea just stood in the middle, allowing her to be pulled in various directions. She figured it would serve as good practice, for she did not think she would have the freedom to steer her life in the direction of her choice anymore.
Seto waited patiently for the guards to take him to the Hall of gods, where the ceremony would be held. He had been ready for quite some time now and had even contemplated the idea of walking out himself to reach his destination. But he knew this would not suit anyone's liking. They would immediately brand it as an escape attempt, or worse. So he waited. It wasn't so hard. He had gotten used to being alone in silence, having experienced it a lot during him imprisonment.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
His head turned sharply to the door, his eyebrows creasing in a frown. Who would bother knocking for him?
"High Priest Seto… are you decent?" It was Shadi. Of course, it had to be one of the priests who knew the truth.
"Yes. Come in." He said, straightening his clothes. The door opened and Shadi came in, his face devoid of any expression.
"How have you been?" Shadi asked and Seto smiled bitterly.
"Alive and sane, unfortunately." Shadi looked away in guilt.
"I am sorry for what you are going through Seto. I know you do not deserve it. But you must understand, there was no other way."
"I understand perfectly." Seto said. "You needed a scapegoat and I was the perfect candidate."
"That is not--." Shadi began but Seto cut him off.
"Don't bother explaining Shadi. What you did was the correct course of action. I would have done the same, so I hold nothing against you." His voice dropped down a notch as he continued speaking. "And in the end, I do deserve this punishment, and much more. I committed an act of treason fully knowing its consequences. I accept this punishment."
"You are a brave man Seto." Shadi said. "I see you are ready for the ceremony."
"Yes." Seto said. "The sooner it is over, the better it will be for all of us. I suppose you have been sent here to fetch me."
"No. I volunteered because I had to do another task." Shadi said, and turned to the door. "You can come in now." He said, and a black blur raced into the room, heading straight for Seto, who engulfed him into his arms. Mokuba softly sobbed against his big brother's chest, while Seto held him tightly, rubbing his back soothingly. He raised his head and with wet eyes, he glanced at a smiling Shadi.
"Thank you." He whispered in a voice laced heavy with emotion. Shadi just nodded his head.
"The pharaoh does not want the two of you to be left alone even for a second for he fears you will try to make an escape attempt." Shadi said to Seto. "But I on the other hand do not believe you to be so rash and thoughtless. I know you will not risk Mokuba's safety, so I will leave you two alone to speak. I will be back soon to fetch you." With that, he exited, leaving the two brothers alone. Seto kissed the top of Mokuba's head in affection and spoke.
"How have you been kiddo?" Mokuba looked up.
"I have been fine. I am Tea's personal slave so I don't do anything, but run around. Shadi is teaching me all I need to know to be a priest in the future." Seto nodded his head in approval.
"What about you Seto? Are you okay? Are you hurt or sick or hungry? Do you want me to get you food?" Seto smiled at his brother's concern.
"I am fine Mokuba."
"No you are not." Mokuba said in a broken voice. "You are trapped in a dungeon, alone and away from everyone." He began sobbing again, and Seto pressed him against his chest.
"I miss you Seto. I miss you all the time."
"I miss you too Mokuba."
"Seto, Shadi said he is not coming back for a while. Let's run away." Mokuba said and Seto shook his head.
"No, I can't do that."
"Why not?" Mokuba replied angrily. "Do you want to go back to the dungeon and away from me?"
"No Mokuba. I can't risk your safety." Seto explained. "The palace is lidded with guards and there is no way we can escape unnoticed. Making such an attempt will only result in our capture and torture."
"But Seto, I don't want to be away from you anymore." Mokuba said in a pleading voice. Seto kissed his brother's forehead and hugged him again.
"We may not have to Mokuba. I spoke with Yami to let you and I go to the villages and live there. He has not given me an answer yet, but I pray he will agree. Then we can say goodbye to this life and start a new one." Mokuba's eyes lit up in joy.
"Really? That would be very nice."
"Don't get your hopes up yet. Yami has not answered me so I don't know if it will happen or not." This, however, did not damper Mokuba's spirit, for he continued to smile. At the same time, Shadi knocked and entered. Seto stood up.
"I am ready, let's go." He said, holding Mokuba's hand.
"I am not going." Mokuba informed him.
"Why not? Did Yami say so?" Seto inquired and Mokuba shook his head.
"No. I said I don't want to go. I don't want to see Tea be sad." Seto's heart clenched at the mention of his love's name, but he masked it instantly.
"Okay Mokuba. If it is fated, I will see you later." He bent down to give him one last hug before following Shadi out the door and into the Hall of gods.
The hall was decorated beautifully, and filled with about twenty priests and a few guards, which was surprising because commoners were not allowed to attend the wedding of the pharoah. Also, all the priests wore long robed with hoods covering their faces. Seto looked confused, so Shadi explained.
"The head priest says he believes in showing face to the gods only, and covers it to shield his eyes from the impurities and temptations of the world." Seto raised an eyebrow of amusement, but did not comment on that any further.
"But why are there so many?" He asked Shadi.
"The head priest brought all the priests with him, saying something about a bad shadow looming over this day. He said he needed all of them to pray for the newlywed couple, so the obstacles in their future would be reduced. Yami ordered the guards in case something went wrong." Seto nodded his head. They stopped walking once Seto approached his spot, which would be before the couple to be wed. Opposite him, the head priest would stand. and the other priests would surround them.
"I hope you are prepared Seto." Yami said in a warning voice. Seto looked his cousin dead in the eyes and nodded his head.
"I am fully prepared." Both stared at each other for a few moments. Finally, Seto spoke.
"Have you decided an answer for my request?" Yami allowed a small smirk to appear on his lips.
"A decision made in haste is a wrong one Seto, I thought you remembered what my father taught us." Seto's jaw clenched, but he did not say anything else.
"Alright." The head priest said in a throaty voice. "We need to begin." Everyone turned their attention to him. He motioned to his fellow priests and they quickly dispersed to every corner of the hall. No one bothered asking him as to why his priests were so far away from him and the couple to be wed. They assumed the head priest had some weird reason. The head priest then took his spot opposite Seto and motioned for the ceremony to begin. The priests began chanting quite loudly, their voices filling the large hall.
The door to the hall opened, and the chanting stopped. Ishizu walked in, looking as graceful as ever, and behind her, wearing a beautiful white gown and looking ethereal, was Tea. She walked with her head bowed low, her silky hair covering her eyes. She looked sad and tired, and Seto felt his heart clench at her sorrow. But he kept a plain face, forcing his eyes to leave her form.
Ishizu guided Tea to a spot in front of Yami. Now Tea, Yami, Seto, and the head priest stood in a diamond formation. The head priest began chanting again, in a very loud voice again, and his fellow priests joined him. Seto wondered why they were being so loud, but did not dwell on the thought for long, for his mind, heart, and eyes were focused on Tea. From the corner of his eyes, he noticed Yami's slightly tense, yet satisfied expression, and felt an urge of envy course through him. In the end, Yami had gotten what he had wanted.
The priests continued to chant and Seto forced himself to pay attention to the prayers. Finally, after an unusually long prayer session, the head priest stopped. It was Seto's turn to chant his portion of prayers. That would seal Yami's and Tea's destinies together. Suddenly, Seto felt his mouth go dry. This was the moment, the moment when he would officially lose Tea to Yami.
"Seto." Yami said in a warning tone, as if to remind Seto of his place.
"Perhaps the high priest is having second thoughts about this wedding." The head priest said in a raspy voice. Seto glared at the robe-clad man.
"No. that is not the case."
"Don't lie now Seto." The head priest said in a chiding tone. "I can see what you yearn for, and it is this princess." Tea's let out a small whimper. Yami's fists clenched in anger.
"Shut up." Seto growled at the priest who let out a barking laugh.
"I do not blame you, for I too am a victim of her beauty, and just like you, I have had a taste." During his talk, the head priest's voice changed from throaty and raspy sound to a familiar one, causing Tea to lift her head and stare at him in disbelief.
"But unlike you, I plan on claiming her as mine." In less than a second, the priest had taken out two daggers, aiming one at Yami' heart, and the other at Seto. Both quickly moved back, narrowly avoiding an attempt on their lives. Immediately, the guards in the room jumped into action, running to protect their pharaoh, but didn't make very far before they were slayed by the other priests. Everyone watched in horror.
The head priest threw his hood back to reveal white hair and blood red eyes.
"Missed me princess?" Bakura asked Tea with a smirk. Tea gasped in shock and stepped back in fear.
"Y… you." She whispered. "It… can't be."
"Oh but it is love." He replied, taking a step towards her, when he was halted by a loud voice.
"Stop." Yami yelled warningly, having gotten up. "Stay away from her."
"Though I understand that you are a pharaoh and used to making threats, I don't think you should do so right now." Bakura said very causally. "You are surrounded by my men who would take much pleasure in separating that loud and annoying head of yours off your shoulders." The other "priests" threw off their hoods to reveal sinisted faces. The goons quickly surrounded the palace priests.
"Did you forget that you are in my palace right now. This hall may be full of your dogs, but the whole palace is swarmed with my guards. One shout and they would gladly chop your disgusting head off your shoulders." Bakura let out a loud laugh at Yami's words, causing Yami to seethe in anger.
"Then call them oh mighty one." Yami was somewhat taken back at Bakura's boldness, but decided the thief was bluffing. So he called out for his guards and waited, but no one came. Bakura let out another laugh, and this time, he was joined by his men, all mocking the pharaoh of Egypt.
"They likely have been slaughtered or distracted away from the door." Seto concluded. "The loud chanting was to drown out any commotion or struggle that may have happened outside." Bakura smirked and turned to the high priest.
"Always the smart one, aren't you? It boggles me as to why the great pharaoh didn't chose you as his heir, but it boggles me more as to why you remained loyal to him after. But that is all in the past now, and not my concern." A devilish smirk appeared on his features. "What I am here for is this lovely princess." He snatched Tea's arm suddenly, earning a small scream, and pulled her to him, burying his nose in her hair.
"I've missed the feel of your body against mine princess." He confessed in a throaty voice.
"Don't touch her." Yami yelled at the top of his lungs, lunging for the thief but Seto grabbed his arm, preventing him.
"Don't make any foolish moves." Seto said harshly. "He is armed and what do you have? You are walking into a death trap." Yami freed his arm from Seto and glared at Seto.
"And why should that bother you?" Yami gritted out, freeing his arm. "You want me to die. For all I know, you are behind this stunt." Anger rolled off Seto's features.
"How could you think that? I am loyal to the country. And how could I have done such a thing anyway? I was locked in a dungeon courtesy of you."
"Don't talk about loyalty. The word is worth nothing coming out of your mouth." Yami said. "I have seen exactly where your loyalty lies. You are no different than this scum." Yami motioned to Bakura. "I know you helped him get in the palace." Before Seto could reply, Bakura spoke.
"Even though I am enjoying your fight quite a lot, I'd rather be getting on with my business. Besides, once I kill you both, you'd have the whole eternity to figure out your differences and reach a conclusion to your fight."
"Don't act so cocky thief." Seto bellowed. "There may not be any guards here, but you are surrounded by real priests with powerful millennium items. You and your pet dogs don't stand a chance."
"Oh I know all about the power of millennium items." Bakura said carelessly. "I know it is impossible to use human strength against them, but I do not plan to do such a thing. I will counter your magic with my own." He then pulled out a golden object from under his cloak and Yami gasped in shock.
"The millennium ring. Mahado's ring." Bakura chuckled.
"Yes, the fool's ring. It is in better hands now."
"Even with one item, you cannot defeat us for we posses six." Shadi warned and Bakura laughed.
"Let's test that, shall we?" He motioned to his and they lunged at the priests, weapons at the ready. The priests quickly ran for cover, all the while chanting to summon their monsters. Soon, the hall was filled with shadow monsters of various shapes and sizes, fighting with Bakura's many men. Bakura turned his attention to Yami, for he did not care much about his men. These had been trained to fight shadow monsters, and Bakura had placed some faith in them. Besides, even if they died, it did not matter to him, for he did not need their strength to win his battle with Yami.
"You and me are going to have a showdown here to see who is better suited for this maiden." Bakura said, kissing Tea's neck.
"You dare challenge me?" Yami growled. "The millennium puzzle is the strongest of all the items. You cannot win against it."
"On the contrary, I will not only win, but I will win easily. I already know of my victory. This fight is just to humor you and give you a fair chance at survival. After all, I am a fair man. Plus, I want to defeat you at your own game. I want to show the people that their pharaoh is nothing more than a weak and pathetic being who does not deserve the power he has received." Yami seethed in anger and got ready to summon. Bakura turned Tea to face him and said.
"Come love, this won't take long." He began dragging a struggling Tea with him to opposite of Yami.
"You can't take her with you." Seto yelled. "The shadow games are dangerous. She will get hurt."
"I know how to keep my things safe." Bakura said, and took out a rope from within his robe.
"Don't struggle too much and I'll be gentle." He said to her with a smirk and began tying her hands behind her back. When he was done, he tied the end of the string to his wrist to make sure she wouldn't sneak away, and got ready for the shadow game.
"Curse of Dragon, come forth and serve your master." Yami yelled, and a huge, golden dragon appeared into sight. Bakura smiled in appreciation.
"I see you want to finish this quickly. Very well then." He held the ring in his hands and began chanting a spell. Yami looked confused, for it was not a spell he had heard before.
"Dark magic." Seto muttered in shock from besides him. And soon, a deformed, disgusting looking monster appeared.
"Say hello to Earl of Demise." Bakura said with a smirk. Besides him, Tea whimpered in fear, tugging on her rope to put some distance between herself and the monster.
"Curse of Dragon, send that foul thing to the darkness from which it came forth." Yami ordered his monster. The dragon flew forward, a ball of energy ready at its mouth. But the Earl of Demise, despite its dead looking appearance, moved out of the way quite quickly and dodged the blow. The blast hit the floor and made a huge hole. Smoke filled the area, and during this time, the Earl of Demise attacked the dragon, delivering a blow to its side. Yami clenched his side in pain as his dragon was delivered the blow. Bakura laughed in joy.
"Attack again." Yami commanded his monster who complied with its master's demands. The two monsters engaged in a duel, trying to hit and dodge. Finally, the dragon's blast hit Earl of Demise and the monster obliterated. Yami stared triumphantly at Bakura who did not look the least bit worried or tired.
"That was a good warm up." He said with a smirk. "Now for the real fight." He began chanting again, much to Yami's horror. He looked around to his priests for support, but they were either engaged in their own fights or exhausted from battles. Bakura had brought men who seemed to fare quite well against shadow monsters, and were proving too much for them to handle, even with their shadow monsters. Besides, summoning took out a lot of energy.
"Come forth Dark Necrofear and Dark Ruler Ha Des." Bakura yelled and two very strong and fiendish looking monsters appeared. Yami and Seto stared at the monsters in disbelief.
"It… it is impossible." Seto muttered with wide eyes. "Ha Des requires the sacrifice of a hundred souls to appease him and earn his power. You couldn't have…" Bakura smirked.
"Oh yes but I did. I made a sacrifice of, not a hundred, but two hundreds souls to Ha Des. I sacrificed fifty to Necrofear. I think he deserved some love too."
"Such destruction… the gods will not spare you." Yami yelled, and Bakura laughed again.
"The people I sacrificed were priests, and the gods haven't gotten to me yet, so I am not too worried about my fate." Bakura said. "You on the other hand should be worried. You have a weak monster to protect you." Yami paled in realization. It was true.
"Go, Necrofear, show them your power." The monster rushed forth and slayed the already weak Curse of Dragon with just one blow, leaving Yami defenseless. Yami quickly summoned another monster, but it was much weaker than the curse of dragon. Yami needed to recover his strength. Bakura, having sacrificed so many souls already, had no such issues and looked fresh and energetic.
"Kill that pathetic thing Necrofear." Bakura ordered and Yami's monster was killed in a blink. The blast knocked Yami and Seto off their feet and they fell a few feet away.
"You can't win like this." Seto said to the fallen Yami. "He is too strong. You cannot defeat him on your own, and the other priests are too exhausted from their fights. Let me help you. Give me the millennium rod."
"No." Yami said stubbornly. "I know what you are planning. Once you get the rod, you will turn against me and join him. You two are working together." Seto let out a frustrated sigh.
"I am not working with him."
"Then how did he get in the palace like this? How did he know of all the priests?" Seto glared at Yami, but knew it was a question he wanted answered as well. He turned to Bakura who seemed to be enjoying their misery.
"How did you manage to plan all this?" Seto asked. Bakura laughed.
"It is an ingenious plan, but I couldn't have pulled it off without some inside help." Yami's accusing eyes turned to Seto.
"Your servant Serenity was quite helpful in this task." Seto's mouth opened in shock. Even the other priests looked horrified.
"She… wouldn't." Ishizu managed to speak.
"She did, and willingly too." Bakura said. "She seemed much eager to get rid of the princess, and did not care who got hurt in the process as long as she got the high priest in the end. And I was too kind to promise her that." Yami growled and got up, anger and hatred burning through him, giving his new strength.
"That traitor. I will have her head for this."
"If you can save your own first." Bakura pointed out. He turned to a cowering Tea and noticed her fear stricken face. He bent down to be at eye-level with her.
"Are you scared princess?" She moved her head back in fear and he chuckled. "You should be." He then stood up and turned to Yami and Seto.
"I think this fun has gone on for too long now. The princess is obviously traumatized and needs someone to comfort her. And I will not keep her from it for long. I will end your pathetic lives now."
"We will not let you." The priests, who had finally finished all of Bakura's men, ground out. They stood on wobbling legs, millennium items ready.
"I was planning to spare you, but if you fools so eagerly want to meet your doom, then go ahead. Humor me." Bakura said. The priests began muttering spells and soon, a row of monsters appeared before Yami and Seto.
Tea's face showed an ounce of hope. Surely Bakura could not defeat all of those monsters. She turned her head to look at him, and found him not the least bit worried. Her heart sunk to the bottom of her stomach.
"Is this the best you can do?" Bakura mocked and laughed maniacally. "You don't deserve the items or their power. Now I will kill you and take them all for myself." His smirk widened. "And I'll honor you by allowing Ha Des to destroy your pathetic monsters." He then turned to the sinister looking monster.
"Dark Ruler Ha Des, show them why you are the ruler of all monsters. Annihilate them." A huge, dark ball of energy began forming in Ha Des' hand and Tea knew it was the end of Yami's and Seto's defenses. The blast was fired and a huge explosion shook the walls of the hall. Seto and Yami were knocked back from the impact, as was Tea, but the rope tied to Bakura's waste caused her body to come to a jerking stop, snapping her wrists painfully. She screamed in agony.
Seto turned desperately to Yami.
"We will all die if you continue to be stubborn. Let me help you. I do not wish any harm but to protect Tea. And I swear upon her head that as soon as the battle is claimed in victory for you, I will return the rod and accept whatever fate you decide for me. But for now, let me help her. I cannot see her in pain. And if we are to lose this battle, she will endure much more than just physical pain. Let me help." Yami seemed to have heard Seto's pleas and took out the rod from his belt, handing it to him.
"Remember what you have just said Seto." Seto nodded his head in determination and stood to face Bakura.
"Your reign of terror ends now. I will stop you." Bakura laughed.
"Bring it on." Seto looked at Tea's bruised and beaten form and anger coursed through his veins like hot blood. His mind grew hazy with revenge. Bakura would surely pay. Closing his eyes, Seto did something he had sworn not to do; he recalled the spells his father had taught him. There was one that came to his mind, one that he could use, but it required too much energy. He would not survive was he to summon it. Tea's tear-streaked face flashed in his mind and he had made his decision. If it was to save her from a gruesome fate and rid the world of filth such as Bakura, he would gladly sacrifice himself.
"Prepare yourself." Seto said in a dangerous voice and began chanting a spell. Everyone in the room looked confused, except Ishizu and Shadi.
"No, he would not dare." She muttered in horror. Shadi, who was equally shocked, spoke.
"The life of his love is at stake, and we all know Seto would do anything for the ones he loves."
"You must stop him." Ishizu said earnestly, but Shadi shook his head.
"We have no other option. This might be our only hope."
"But he'll die." Ishizu screamed and tried to run towards Seto, but Shadi snatched her arm and pulled her back.
"He would have rotted in the darkness of dungeons anyway. This fate is much suited for him, to die as a savior and hero, with pride and honor." By then, Seto had finished his spell.
"I summon you, Blue Eyes White Dragon, come forth." Gusts of wind flew around him like a storm, almost slicing his robes, but he stood firm. A sudden flash of white blinded everyone and when they recovered their sight, they gazed upon a majestic and humongous dragon, shinning white with icy blue eyes. The dragon stood before Seto, facing Ha Des and Dark Necrofear and roared fiercely, causing Bakura to almost stumble back. His face reflected shock and disbelief. Surely he had not counted on this to occur.
"Let Tea go and I will spare your life." Seto said as he struggled to stand and keep his voice straight. But the beads of sweat rolling off his forehead did not go unnoticed by others, especially Bakura.
"No." Bakura said, lifting Tea by her elbow to stand beside him. "She stays right here. Attack if you dare."
You really are a despicable coward who will rot in hell. " Yami yelled, standing up to be beside Seto.
"No, I am smart." Bakura said with a laugh. "Now come on, attack and kill the one you love along with me."
Seto hesitated to do anything, even blink. He could not attack for it would surely hurt Tea. And he could not delay for the dragon was using too much energy. Time was slipping away like sand from fingers. He had to make a decision now.
"Attack." It was Tea who had spoken, surprising everyone. Seto lifted his eyes to meet hers in shock.
"Attack and kill him." She said again. "I don't care if I live or die anymore." Her voice broke and tears cascaded down her cheeks. "Just attack him and kill him. Do it for Egypt Seto, do it for me. Please."
"Tea…" Seto whispered in a hoarse voice.
"Do it Seto. This man doesn't deserve to live. Kill him. If it is in my destiny to live, I will." Seto glanced at Yami from the corner of his eyes and found his face blank. His eyes hardened and he turned to Tea and Bakura.
"Bakura, you will surely burn in hell." His eyes softened and tears appeared as he looked at Tea.
"Tea, I'm so sorry for everything, for all the pain I have caused you, and what I am about to do. But know that I love you, more than my own life. I'd gladly switch places with you right now if I had the choice." Tea's sobbed as she stared at him.
"I love you too Seto. I hope that I can be with you in the afterlife." Seto wiped his eyes and glared at Bakura.
"Blue Eyes, clear this filth off the face of the earth. Kill him and his monsters." The dragon roared and a white blast of energy formed in its jaws. Bakura stated at it in horror.
"No, it is not possible." He yelled. "You cannot do it. She will die too. You cannot do this."
"Now Blue Eyes, obliterate him." Seto yelled. The ball of energy raced towards Tea and Bakura, engulfing them and Bakura's monsters in a white explosion. Their screams echoed through the explosion, causing Seto's heart to break in many pieces.
"Good bye my love." He whispered with tears flowing down his face. Besides him, Yami stood still, like a statue.
Finally the smoke cleared and they were met with fallen bodies of Tea and Bakura. Seto immediately raced towards Tea, all exhaustion pushed to the back of his mind, lifting her broken and bruised body gently, and shaking her and hoping against all hope that she had survived.
"Tea… Tea, open your eyes. Look at me, please." He begged. But he got no response from her. Sobs overtook his body and he clutched hers tight against his.
"Tea, please wake up. Don't die. You don't deserve to die. Please wake up." A small whimper caused him to snap out of his thoughts and he gently pushed her away to stare at her.
"Tea… open your eyes. Look, it's me, Seto. Wake up." He whispered gently.
"S… Seto." She chocked painfully.
"Yes." Seto nearly yelled in joy. "It is me. You are okay. You are still alive."
"Bak…" she struggled to speak.
"Yes, he is dead." Seto said, not bothering to throw a glance at the thief's still body. "You are safe now Tea." She closed her eyes again and snuggled into his chest.
"I… pain… Seto."
"I know it hurts love. But I will get help for you. Just don't go to sleep. Stay awake." He urged her.
"I… love you… Seto." She wheezed painfully and tears of joy and relief fell from his eyes. He kissed her bloody forehead gently and muttered.
"I love you too, more than anything in the world. I am so glad you are alive. Just stay awake for me love. And everything will be alright soon." While he was busy speaking to Tea, he failed to notice that Bakura too had survived the blast.
The thief struggle to get up, but found that he had no energy. With much effort, he took out a knife from his robe and held it in his hand, aiming it at Seto's neck.
"Good bye high priest Seto." He whispered coarsely and threw the knife.
The last thing Seto remembered was a body falling on top of him, blood oozing staining his robes as he too fell forward from the impact. Tea let out a scream of pain. Seto immediately pushed himself off, and threw the offending body off him, but one look at its face had him frozen.
It was Yami, with a knife plunged deep in his back.
"Y… Yami." Seto muttered n shock. Yami forced a small smile, but ended up coughing up blood instead.
"You … forgot to … check if you had… killed him or not Seto,… a mistake … I would not have expected from you." He said.
"Yami… you shouldn't have--."
"Don't forget … that I am still the pharaoh." Yami said between deep breaths. "You cannot… tell me what to do and … what not to do." His face turned somber and he looked down.
"It … it was my own … decision." By then, the priest had come running to the aid of their fallen pharaoh. Shadi went to check up on Bakura and found him finally dead.
"My pharaoh, you should not speak. We will call the healers." One priest said.
"No." Yami said. "There is no need. The wound… is deep and I feel the… knife within my heart. I… know I will… not survive."
"Don't say that." Seto said. "I will go and get help." As he made an attempt to get up, Yami quickly grabbed his wrist.
"No, you must stay… I have to speak to you." He coughed out more blood before speaking.
"I… I am sorry Seto… for everything I have done. I have… always been jealous… of you. You were always... better than me. You should… have been… the pharaoh… not me."
"Now is not the time for this." Seto said, but Yami shook his head.
"Now is the... only time. I am going to … meet the gods soon… and I… cannot go with … this burden… on my chest. I… I need to … earn your forgiveness… for only then… will the gods spare me." Seto's face softened.
"You have no need to ask for forgiveness cousin." Seto said. "I have wronged you just as much."
"No." Yami said earnestly. "I… I caused you… much pain… please Seto… forgive me…"
"You are forgiven Yami." Seto said to appease him. Yami smiled in satisfaction and turned to Tea.
"Tea… can… you hear me?" She slowly lifted her head and nodded her head.
"I am sorry… for what I have… done to you." He said. "But … I want to … tell you that… I … really do love you. You showed me… kindness… and made me … a batter man. I… I did everything… because I did not… want to lose you. I know… I have… caused you much pain… and for that… I seek your forgiveness."
"I'm sorry too." She managed to say. "I forgive you." Yami seemed to be at peace.
"I always… knew the right thing… but my pride… and jealousy kept me... from doing it. But… it will…not stop me any… longer." He turned to his priests.
"I know… I have… not done anything worthy… of my title, but… I want to... make an attempt. The last thing… I will do… is correct my father's mistake. I declare Seto… as the new… pharaoh of Egypt. I hereby… pardon all … his crimes… and restore his… honor."
"You… can't." Seto muttered in shock.
"Let me… make amends… for my mistakes… Seto." Yami struggled. "Besides… you are more… suited for the job. Egypt… will be… in better hands… with you."
"Thank you." Seto said sincerely. Yami closed his eyes.
"I wish… you and Tea… the best of luck… in the future. I hope… you two find… much joy."
"Thank you." Tea said, as she held Seto's hand tighter.
"Is there anything we can do for you my pharaoh?" Shadi asked, as he was the only one not in tears.
"Yes." Yami said as a smile broke upon his lips. "I… want… a big tomb… fancy… and a … big funeral." Shadi smiled at Yami's words.
"As you wish my pharaoh."
"And Seto… if you… hurt Tea… or ruin Egypt… I will… haunt you." Seto let out a small chuckle at his cousin's words.
"I am not easily scared Yami, you should know that." He waited for a response, but none came. He placed a shaking hand under Yami's nose and felt no warm gust of air.
Yami was dead.
The man who had caused him much grief all his life was dead, but Seto felt no joy or even satisfaction. This man had not only saved his life, but given him a new, much better one.
This man was his pharoah, his cousin, his brother.
Seto gently kissed his cousin's forehead and placed him on the floor.
"Rest in peace Yami, pharaoh of Egypt. May you find your place among the gods and our forefathers."
One week later
Seto entered Tea's room, where she lay resting. She appeared to be asleep but opened her eyes as soon as he came near.
"Did I wake you?" He asked, sitting beside her. She shook her head and shot him a small smile.
"No, I have been awake for some time now, and waiting for you to come." He bent down and placed a gentle kiss upon her lips.
"How are you feeling now?"
"Much better." She said. "You and Mokuba have been a great help."Seto kissed her again.
"How are things at the court?" She asked, and he sighed.
"People have taken Yami's death quite hard. I feel as if they somehow blame me. The priests are a big help and their presence is a great security to me. Hopefully things will improve with time." Tea squeezed his hand in support.
"And Yami's funeral?"
"Preparations have been started. It will take 3 months, but many are participating in the task so hopefully it will be done sooner." Tea hesitated before speaking again.
"And… Serenity?" Seto frowned.
"I am to decide her fate in a few minutes." Just then, a knock was heard on their door. Seto muttered a 'come in' and two guards brought in a struggling Serenity.
"My lord, she tried to escape when we were taking her to the court. Priestess Ishizu said we should bring her here." Seto nodded his head and glared at Serenity.
"You know why you have been imprisoned for the last week, right?"
"It is a lie." Serenity screamed. "I did not commit any acts of treason against the late pharaoh. I am nothing but a loyal servant. Someone has placed a false accusation upon me. I am innocent."
"Enough of your lies." Seto bellowed. "Bakura, the thief who murdered hundreds of priests and the pharaoh Yami said it himself, in the presence of many witness. You are guilty, not just of treason but of lying as well. And for that you will be punished." Serenity's eyes went wide.
"No, please, forgive me. He… he tricked me. He put a spell on me. I… I had no control over my body… I am innocent. Spare me." Seto ignored her pleas and delivered the punishment.
"For your heinous crimes, you shall be beheaded."
"No." Serenity screamed in horror. "I only did it to have you. I love you Seto. I did it for you, for your freedom, for your love. I love you. I will do anything for you. I will be your slave forever, have mercy on me. Don't do this to me Seto."
"You will address me as pharaoh, criminal." Seto bellowed. "And no mercy shall be shown to the likes of you." Seto turned to the guards. "Take her to the dungeons and carry out the sentence immediately. I do not want her to take in another breath."
"No, have mercy." Serenity screamed as the guards began dragging her struggling form away. "You bitch. It is all your fault." Serenity pointed at Tea. "I curse you to death… to a horrifying death, to pain, to suffering, to misery. I hope you never find happiness. I hope you die soon you bitch." Her voice faded away as she was dragged farther and farther away. Seto sighed and turned to a pale faced Tea.
"Are you afraid of her threats?" He asked, cradling her body in his arms. She nodded her head.
"What if what she said comes true?" Seto shook his head.
"It will not, for the gods do not listen to the sinful over the kind. The gods will always protect you Tea. You have already seen much pain and the gods will not cause you anymore." Tea snuggled in his embrace.
"I hope so." Silence fell over them. Finally, Seto spoke.
"Tea… I have spoken with the priests. They think our wedding should take place after Yami's funeral. I am estimating it will take 2 months for the funeral preparations, and another 2 months for the wedding preparations. Are you okay with that?" She lifted her face and kissed his lips.
"I don't care how long I have to wait as long I get to be with you." Seto smiled and kissed her deeply.
"I love you Tea." She smiled and whispered back.
"And I love you Seto."
"Don't worry about our future." Seto said, holding her against him and rubbing her back soothingly. "I spoke with Ishizu. She looked into our future and has seen nothing but happiness and prosperity." Tea squealed in joy.
"Really." Seto echoed and kissed her forehead, placing her on the bed again.
"Now rest. I will be back later." He gave her a final kiss on the lips and exited. As soon as he had disappeared out of her sight, a frown appeared on his face. The truth was that he had had no conversation with Ishizu regarding their future. He had just said that to appease Tea's mind. But he did not care of Ishizu's visions. He would ensure Tea was given every joy in the world, and he would ensure the prosperity of Egypt, all on his own skill. He just hope the gods were with him.
Turning a corner. Ishizu found herself looking at a somber Seto. A smile broke on her lips as images of his meeting with Tea flashed in her mind, along with the conversation they had. She chuckled at his words of support and courage to Tea regarding their future.
'Little do you know pharaoh Seto, your future does hold nothing but joy and prosperity. But I think I will let you experience it fully and enjoy the fruits of your efforts.'
Late pharaoh Yami had been right. Egypt was in good hands now.
Ya, so here it is, the end of this story. I know it took too long to finish and update, but I did try my best.
I want to sincerely thank the people who put up with my painfully slow updates, and reviewed to give me encouragine comments, and constructive criticisms. I mostly wrote this chapter for you guys, knowing you wait for it and read it. So thanks.
Hopefully, you liked this chapter. Since I am an angst fan, I had full plans on killing Tea, then have Yami commit suicide, and Seto become a shell of a man, but the new pharoah. But then I changed my mind. After suffering so much crap from me, I felt that you guys deserved a happy ending, or something along those lines.
So, thanks once again for sticking with this story. Hope it was to your expectations.
Do REVIEW to let me know of your comments.
And I should let you know now, because I will probably forget updating my profile, that I will probably not writing anymorenew stories until May. I am not out of ideas, just out of time. I want to commit to my other story, "Payback is a Bitch" and try to finish it before I start another one. (Maybe I'll put up a oneshot, but I suck at them so...)
And ya, that's it for my rant.
Thanks and please REVIEW.