Editor: Mystic Dodo
Summary: Wanting to escape his father and the palace, Atemu sneaks away and meets some new friends in a town nearby. When mages overthrow the old Pharaoh, it's up to Atemu and his new friends to save Egypt from this new tyrant.
Pairings: Atemu x Yuugi (main), Seth x Jou (side)
--: Prologue :--
A reason to hate you
"Mom! Mom! Look what I found!" a small boy with spiky tri-coloured hair yelled at his mother. The boy couldn't have been older than five with somewhat sharp crimson-coloured eyes, a sun-kissed skin, and slightly chubby build. He was wearing sandy white robes with a yellow sash around his waist, and golden jewellery around his wrists and upper arms.
"What is it Atemu?" his mother replied as she looked up from the scroll she was reading, her brown eyes focusing on her son. Her raven black hair with crimson streaks through it reached her hips and she had a nicely tanned skin as well. She was wearing a beautiful sleeveless ocean blue dress that reached just passed her knees, clinging to her body in all the right places.
The boy ran over to his mother, followed by a boy who looked only a bit older than his friend. His brown hair only just reached above his ears, as icy blue eyes stood out in his face tremendously, the golden touches to his blue robes shimmering in the light shining into the room.
Atemu stopped in front of his mother, and opened his closed hands to reveal a small bug sitting on the palm of his left hand. His mother smiled as she looked at the bug, just before it flew away with blue transparent wings.
"Aw, it flew away again," the older of the two muttered, "now we'll have to catch it all over."
"Where did you two find it?" Atemu's mother asked.
"In the palace garden. It was sitting on a tree and we caught it." Atemu replied, smiling cheerfully.
"Didn't father say that you had to study?" his mother asked.
Atemu looked down at the ground, blushing slightly. He knew his mother was right and that he was supposed to have studied. But playing with his friend and cousin Seth had seemed so much more fun, that he had ignored his father's biddings.
"It's all my fault, your majesty. I persuaded Atemu to come and play," Seth said, "I was just really bored."
"Is that so? Well, I guess I'll let you off the hook this time, but next time I'll have to take action." Atemu's mother said, mocking evident in her voice. "And I wish you would stop calling me 'your majesty'. Just call me Kireira."
The boy smiled, "I'll try." he said.
"But I think you should go and study before father finds out that you've been playing instead." Kireira said, turning back to her son again.
"Yes mother." Atemu said reluctantly, his gaze turning to the ground in slight sadness.
"I guess I'll see you later." Seth said, trying to cheer his friend up a bit.
"Yeah. I'll try and study quickly, so we can play some more later." Atemu said, smiling slightly as he looked back up.
Atemu turned around and walked into one of the maze-like corridors of the palace just outside the throne room, heading towards his own room.
"I guess I'll go back to my father to see if he needs me," Seth said, bowing to Kireira.
"I think my husband ordered him to study some new scrolls. I'm guessing he'll be in his chambers," Kireira said with a warm smile.
"Probably." Seth smiled slightly, before turning around and walking into one of the many corridors himself.
"They'll never learn." Kireira whispered to herself, the smile lingering on her lips for a few more moments, before she turned back to the scroll she'd been reading before.
"KIREIRA!" an angry voice suddenly shattered the silence of the palace.
Kireira sighed; her husband must have found out that Atemu hadn't been studying, and of course wanted to know where he was now.
"What is it, Aknunkanon?" she asked, a hint of annoyance in her voice.
Aknunkanon burst into the throne room, and looked at Kireira enraged, "WHERE'S ATEMU!" he demanded.
"In his room studying." Kireira replied calmly.
"NO HE'S NOT! I JUST CHECKED!" Aknunkanon yelled again.
"I just send him there to study, so calm down," Kireira shushed.
"He should have been studying all afternoon!" Aknunkanon exclaimed.
Kireira let out another sigh. Aknunkanon was too strict with Atemu. He kept forgetting that Atemu was only five, and didn't want to study all day long. She watched as her husband walked back and forth in front of her; raging on about how undisciplined Atemu was. Suddenly, Aknunkanon turned to her, the enraged look only growing angrier.
"And you," he started, "you're only making it worse!"
"Calm down, Aknunkanon." Kireira said, trying to calm her husband down enough so the man wouldn't do any foolish things.
"NO!" Aknunkanon raged on, "You're making it harder for me to raise Atemu in the right way!"
"I'm not doing anything of that sort," Kireira said calmly, "I'm just trying to raise him differently."
"The wrong way you mean!" Aknunkanon hissed.
Kireira let out yet another sigh. There was no talking to Aknunkanon when he was like this. Then again… there was usually no talking to him anyway. Why had she loved this man once? She didn't know anymore. The love she had once felt for this man was long gone, and so was his love for her, if he had ever loved her at all.
Kireira listened to Aknunkanon rage on until he finally stopped, and stormed out of the throne room without saying what he was going to do.
Kireira stood up and quickly followed; knowing exactly where Aknunkanon was going. He was going to Atemu's room, and if she didn't protect her son, he'd be wearing bruises for a couple of days.
She saw Aknunkanon enter Atemu's room as she turned a corner of the palace, and hastily entered it herself. She was just in time to stop the fist Aknunkanon send to Atemu by standing in front of the scared five year old, who was lying on the ground in shock and fear, books opened in front of him.
The next morning, Aknunkanon and Kireira were sitting in the dining room having breakfast. They hadn't spoken to each other since the day before, when Kireira had stopped Aknunkanon from hitting Atemu. Aknunkanon left the table shortly, returning a minute later with a satisfied smirk on his face. Kireira looked at him suspiciously. What was he so happy about? Just a minute ago, his look could have killed anybody who dared to look at the Pharaoh.
"Why are you so happy all of a sudden?" Kireira questioned as a servant brought two glasses of wine.
"I'm going to make sure that Atemu is raised in the right way from now on." Aknunkanon answered, slowly taking a sip of his wine.
"Not as long as I'm around." Kireira said defiantly, her voice low and determined.
She took her glass of wine and took a small sip herself, only half realizing it tasted differently from usual, before looking back at her husband again.
"That won't be any problem anymore." Aknunkanon said, his smirk widening as Kireira drank more of her wine.
Kireira lowered her glass and looked into Aknunkanon's eyes suspiciously. What did that mean? She stared deep into his eyes, and then her own brown orbs widened in sudden realisation. She looked at the glass of wine in her hand, and finally realized completely that it had tasted differently. She looked back to Aknunkanon and saw the grin that was now filling not only his face, but also his eyes. She dropped the glass and it shattered on the ground into a million pieces.
"No," she whispered barely audible, "you wouldn't."
Aknunkanon just kept looking at her with that grin on his face, "I would," was all he said in a whisper.
Kireira stood up in shock, knowing it was true and not a bluff. She tried to take a few steps back, but fell to the ground almost immediately.
All the guards in the room ran over to their Queen to see what was wrong. Aknunkanon just stood there, his grin now replaced by a look of triumph.
"CALL HIGH PRIEST AKNADIN!" one of the guards shouted, "THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE QUEEN!"
A couple of guards ran out of the room to the High Priest, and as they ran through the open dining room doors, Atemu walked in. He looked around the room confused, trying to find the cause of all the panic and looked at the guards surrounding his mother. At first he didn't understand what was going on, but as soon as he looked at his mother more closely, he saw that there was something terribly wrong with her.
The young boy ran to his mother who, by now, could hardly keep her eyes open, let alone speak.
"Mom… What's wrong?" Atemu asked anxiously, his hands clutching the fabric of the dress his mother was wearing.
"She's been poisoned Atemu." Aknunkanon answered before Kireira could even attempt to speak, his voice tinted with the smallest amount of triumph so that you could only hear it if you were concentrating on it.
Atemu looked up at his father in misunderstanding. Poisoned? But how? Why? Who would even want to do such a thing to his mother? He just didn't understand.
Kireira closed her eyes, not able to keep them open any longer. The poison Aknunkanon had used was quick, rendering its victim unable to defy it in any way. She wanted to warn her son, but knew Aknunkanon wouldn't allow her to speak in such a way.
Aknunkanon smirked at his now almost dead wife, making sure Atemu didn't see it. From this day forward, he would be in complete control of how his son would be raised, and he'd make sure the boy would become just like him. "I'm going to see what's taking my brother so long to get here." Aknunkanon said, turning his back to Atemu and leaving the room.
Now only Atemu and two guards were standing around the Queen's almost lifeless body. Atemu bowed over his mother, eyes closed, tears rolling over his face silently.
"A-te-mu…" his mother whispered, her voice barely audible.
Atemu opened his eyes and stared at his mother. She had opened her eyes slightly, and was looking into her son's fear filled ones.
"Mom…" Atemu sobbed, "Don't… leave… me…"
Kireira looked straight into Atemu's eyes. "Stay… away… from… Aknun… kanon…" she managed to say, her voice shaking as she did.
Atemu looked at his mother in misunderstanding. Why would she say such a thing?
"Why…" Atemu asked whispering.
"He's… the one… who… poisoned me…" Kireira stammered, her voice weakening with every word.
"But… No… How… No!" Atemu said a little louder.
The two guards looked at him strangely. Kireira had spoken so softly that the guards had not heard her, so they did not understand why Atemu had spoken so suddenly.
Atemu ignored the murmuring guards, and focused on his mother again. He still didn't understand… His father would never do something like that… would he?
"Don't… let him… change you…" Kireira said, "Stay pure… Stay… as you… are…"
Atemu stared into her eyes, and saw that she meant every word she had said. She was not delirious or something, he was sure of that. And if that was so… … … then his father really had poisoned her…
He saw his mother's eyes close and silent tears rolled over his cheeks again. He laid his hand on her chest where her heart should be, and felt that the heartbeat had stopped. He closed his eyes and sobbed silently, wishing it would all be a nightmare. That his mother would just stand up and hug him… comfort him…
Aknunkanon came in followed by High Priest Aknadin at that moment, "Let Aknadin do his work Atemu." Aknunkanon said as he pulled his son away from the now dead Queen.
"Stay away!" Atemu exclaimed as he pulled himself free from his father's grasp.
Aknunkanon stared at his son shocked. The tears in Atemu's eyes had vanished, and an angry glare had replaced them, his eyes filled with hatred.
"Atemu! Don't use that tone on me." Aknunkanon ordered, anger slowly taking over his voice.
"No," Atemu hissed, "you killed her."
Aknunkanon's eyes widened in shock and he froze. How could Atemu know? How could he know that he had had killed Kireira?
"What? How dare you accuse me of such a thing!" Aknunkanon roared.
"She told me! You killed her!" Atemu yelled back.
He turned his back on his father and uncle, and ran out of the room towards his own, his eyes filling with tears again.
"ATEMU!" a voice from behind yelled, though not his father's one. Atemu stopped and turned around to see Seth running towards him with a worried look on his face.
"What's going on? Why is there so much commotion? Why…?" he then noticed the tears in his friend's eyes, "What happened?"
"He…" Atemu couldn't stop himself anymore. The tears started to flow freely, and he couldn't say another word. He broke down on the floor, and Seth put his arms around him to try and comfort his best friend although, he still didn't know what was upsetting him so much.
They heard Aknunkanon's voice yelling at everybody around him, and calling for Atemu. Atemu got up with some difficulty, and walked towards his room where he would be safe from his father's rage. Seth followed silently and locked the door behind them.
"Atemu… What happened?" Seth asked when Atemu had calmed down a little, "Why was father called to the throne room so suddenly?"
"She's… dead." Atemu whispered.
"Who's dead?" Seth asked, not understanding anything his friend was saying.
"Mother… She was killed." Atemu whispered, tears forming in his eyes again as his voice shook.
Seth's eyes widened in shock and horror, "No… That can't be! She can't be… How?" Seth stammered.
"She was poisoned." Atemu replied. He didn't want to tell Seth that it had been his father who had killed his mother. Seth probably wouldn't even believe him anyway. Who would believe that the Pharaoh of Egypt would kill his own wife?
Seth just stared at him. This just couldn't be happening, "But… By whom?" he asked.
"I don't know." Atemu lied, "She told me that I had to stay as I am. I don't understand," the tears started to flow again. Seth felt him own tears coming down his face as well now. The Queen had always been like a second mother to him. He just couldn't imagine not seeing her anymore. Not hearing her voice ever again. Not seeing the warm smile on her face.
After a while, there was a soft knock on the door.
"Who's there?" Seth asked, his voice still quivering slightly but mostly under control as he spoke.
"It's me. Can I come in?" an adult male voice asked, although it was not Aknunkanon's.
Seth walked to the door and opened it to reveal his father. "The Queen is dead. There was nothing I could do to save her. The poison had already been in her body too long," he said as he looked at the still crying Atemu, "Your father also wants to see you, Atemu."
Atemu shook his head, "I don't want to see him. Tell him that," he whispered, hate lacing the words even if the boy was trying to hold it all from his voice.
Aknadin raised an eyebrow, "It would be wise if you did see him. Especially after that outburst in the throne room."
"I don't care." Atemu said, "Leave."
Aknadin bowed reluctantly, and left to tell his brother what Atemu had said, fearing the reaction he'd get.
"You should go talk to your father." Seth said after closing the door behind his father and locking it again.
"You don't get it." Atemu said, wiping the tears from his eyes.
"Get what?" Seth asked confused.
"It doesn't matter. I just can't see my father right now." Atemu whispered, "Could you leave as well? I want to be alone."
Seth nodded in understanding, and left the room without pushing the subject of Atemu going to his father any further. It was obvious that the boy was upset with the Pharaoh for some reason unknown to the brunette, and it wasn't his place to pry in affairs that didn't concern him.
Atemu dropped himself onto his pillow, and just cried until he finally fell asleep. His dreams were filled with his mother being killed, and his father just laughing evilly. He tossed and turned in his sleep, mentally wished for nothing more than to just forget about it, until his mind complied and stuffed all his memories of his mother away to never remember again. As the boy awoke the next morning though, he felt the strong feeling of hatred towards his father run through him. He didn't remember why anymore, but one thing was certain: It was something he could never forgive his father for doing, and he would definitely not ignore that feeling.