Insert Disclaimer Here: This is a work of fanfiction. This is only a work of fanfiction. If this had been a real work by the real author… that would have been really cool…

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"Master?" a young apprentice sorcerer whispered, shaking the prone body of her mentor.

Mahaado lay unconscious in a spellcasting circle, hidden in a secluded part of the farthest palace courtyard. The neglected gardens and broken pedestals marked this place as the ideal location to practice in total solitude.

"Master!" she cried out, shaking him again, but with no response. "Master, please, wake up…"

To her relief, the priest started to stir. The needles of his millennium ring jangled against each other in an eerie disharmony.

"Master Mahaado?"

"Mana…" he whispered, as his senses started to return.

"What are you doing out here?" she asked, concerned. "The priests have been looking for you all morning!"

Mahaado sat up quickly.

"All morning?" he glanced up at the sky. Ra had long since risen from the horizon. He found Mana nodding as his eyes fell back upon her face. "The training exercises must have began hours ago."

"They sent me to find you." She added. "I knew you'd be here."

"You did not tell them anything, did you, apprentice?" he asked, suddenly very concerned.

"No!" Mana replied just as quickly. "Of course not! But you've been out here for six consecutive nights… What exactly are you casting?"

Mahaado looked down at the millennium ring. It had been exactly six nights since the pharaoh's body was delivered to the lesser priests to begin the mummification ceremonies.

"And why do you have the great spellbook? Shouldn't that stay in the royal library?"

He said nothing, but picked up the millennium tome.

"Master, I'm worried about you." Mana added. "I could barely get you to wake up."

"Mana, the millennium items hide a very dark power." He eventually confessed. "Through my own research, I learned of the secrets contained within the millennium ring. It was because of those secrets that the great pharaoh fell ill. As long as such power remains, the prince will not be safe."

"Dark power? What are you talking about? What are you doing out here?"

"Merely sealing it away will not be sufficient." He added, weakly standing. "It must be expelled and defeated."

"Master, you look exhausted. Maybe we should get the other priests to help!"

"No." His reply was firm. "They are not to know."

"But why?"

"The pharaoh's death, this great tragedy… it is on my heart, apprentice." Mahaado replied, holding onto Mana to steady himself. "I alone must make amends."

"But Master…"

"Mana. Take this to my quarters." He put the coveted millennium tome in her hands. "Make certain that no one sees you."

She nodded, holding the book tightly in her arms.

"But where are you going?"

"The training hall." He answered, limping to the east. "I am already late enough for the morning practice."

Mana watched her master go, before rushing to his quarters with the treasured spellbook. She did not like the idea of leaving him, but her orders were clear. And Master Mahaado always knew what was best. …Didn't he?