Author's Note: This story takes place a few weeks after Atem declares Sethos as the new Pharaoh. I know he goes by several names: Set, Priest Seto, Seth… I refer to him as Sethos, and it's a rather long story as to why, so I won't bore you with it. I normally write Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfics based on the English adaptation of the anime, but this is the one exception: I believe that the events in Pharaoh's Memory took place 3,000 years ago (as in the Japanese version) because some of the rituals (such as using the Valley of the Kings) are characteristic of the New Kingdom, which was in that time period (I'm taking Egyptology now…). But everything else is based on the English adaptation! Disclaimer: I don't own these characters.
The sun rose over the sky of Thebes that morning as it had done so for years. Pharaoh Sethos had completed his morning prayers as one of his attendants arrived, bowing respectfully before him.
"My Pharaoh," he said. "There is someone who wishes to speak with you about a mater most serious. He says it concerns the former Pharaoh who left us not so long ago after saving us from the Dark One."
Sethos tried not to show how his cousin's departure had left him most grieved; the people had to have reassurance that their Pharaoh was ready to move on and lead them to a more prosperous reign.
"Send him in," he replied.
Sethos's thoughts turned to his cousin, Atem. Sethos could not help but feel as though he was somehow at fault for what transpired. Had Zorc been the only enemy against them, perhaps Atem would have still been here, guiding the Two Lands. But no; Sethos had been unable to stave off the evil influences of Akhnaden, who had forced him to turn against Atem. The proof was carved in the stone slab that rested in Abydos; Sethos had carved most of it himself, as though asking Atem to forgive him. The stone depicted the both of them, locked in combat, along with Mahado and Kisara in their ka forms. And he had to wonder… if Akhnaden had not forced him to fight his cousin, would Atem have retained enough ba to defeat Zorc and have the strength to continue on as Pharaoh?
"My Pharaoh?" asked the visitor, bringing Sethos back.
"You may speak," Sethos replied.
"Thank you, my king," said the visitor. "I was at Karnak a few days ago, and was paying my respects at the temple. While I was there, I happened upon this sheaf of papyrus. Forgive me; it was not my place to take it or read it… but it seems to be written by the former Pharaoh."
He held out the sheaf, bowing in humility. Sethos's attendant took the papyrus from him.
"You may rise," said Sethos. "I thank you for bringing your find. Go in good health."
"May Ra's light shine upon your reign, my Pharaoh," the traveler replied, and he took his leave.
"See to it that I am not disturbed under any circumstances," Sethos requested to his aide.
"As you wish, my king."
Sethos retreated to his own chamber to read the papyrus. The hieroglyphs were indeed written by Atem's hand. But Sethos had not expected them to say what he was now reading.
I leave this here in the Karnak temple in the hopes that these words find their way to my successor. To him, I say this: I understand the burden I have left behind was not one you wished, my cousin, but I dare not appoint another. Know that these events were destined to end this way, and now that they are behind us, there is one final request I have of you. I explained to you before my departure of how my lost name was responsible for the release and re-sealing of Zorc. To prevent his return, it should be so that my name becomes lost again. Encourage that the story of Zorc be dismissed as myth and legend, rather than history, and discourage the mentioning of my name. Discourage any further summonings from the stone slabs of Wedju; we do not need them as the Shadow Games are gone. But most of all, erase all cartouches bearing my name, and erase any mention of Zorc, Akhnaden, and Bakare from the historical archives; may that be my final Pharonic order. Lead the Two Lands with pride, and may your reign eclipse my own.
Sethos stared disbelievingly at the papyrus in his hands. He wanted to believe that it was some sort of trick; perhaps a new enemy was trying to trick him my forging these words in Atem's name. And yet, he knew that they were true; it was just the sort of thing Atem would have said to him.
Sethos glanced at the Millennium Puzzle which Atem had given him; he knew that it had been the former king's prized possession, and that it now contained a portion of his ka.
"Is this what you really want…?" Sethos asked in his mind, praying for an answer. "And do you honestly believe I can do so…?"
Sethos knew that he could indeed erase the mentioning of Zorc and Bakare; no one would want to be reminded of them. And Sethos himself would welcome the opportunity to erase the mentioning of Akhnaden; he never considered Akhnaden as his father. No… his father had been his mentor who had taught him the ways of heka, Master Paramesu—he was more a father than Akhnaden had ever been or could ever hope to have been!
But could he discourage the summoning of the creatures in the stone slabs, especially when he would often summon the White Dragon whenever his heart ached for Kisara? He would not be alone in this sentiment; Mana would be devastated if she found out that she could no longer speak to Mahado.
And there was no way he could bring himself to erase the cartouches! And yet he had to; it was a Pharonic order.
Burden by these thoughts, he returned to the throne room, where his aide was shocked to see him so upset.
"My Pharaoh, is there anything I can do?"
"Yes. I shall depart now to Abydos alone; tell no one of my whereabouts," ordered Sethos.
After several hours, Sethos finally arrived in Abydos, heading for the temple. The people greeted him fondly as he rode by, and then seemed concerned at his apparent worry.
"Grant me, Ra, the strength to complete this task," prayed Lord Sethos. "It is my cousin's will; therefore it is the will of Ma'at…"
He had to stop himself there; how could it be the will of Ma'at to erase the former Pharaoh's name from history!? If he were to do that, it would be the ultimate dishonor he could bestow upon his cousin!
Sethos stared at the King List on the temple wall. Already, the list had omitted over the half the Pharaohs of the previous dynasty, which he had left out at the utmost reluctance.
"Forgive me, my predecessors," he said to the unnamed Pharaohs. "This task was not one I sought. I only intended to serve as a Pharaoh's priest, not become the king myself."
He glanced at the cartouche beside his own—the one that had the name "Atem" inscribed upon it.
Sethos raised the Millennium Rod again, aiming to scratch out the carving.
"This was his will," he reassured himself.
"Lord Sethos!" a shrill voice screeched.
Sethos's heart skipped a beat; for an instant, he thought it may have been Kisara, but was somewhat dismayed that it turned out to be Mana.
"What are you doing here in Abydos…?" he asked her.
Mana glared at him, indignantly, the Millennium Necklace gleaming around her throat. She had been more trouble than she was worth after inheriting the item from Priestess Isis.
"You're going to erase his name!?" she shrieked, pointing at Atem's cartouche. "What did he ever do to you!?"
"Atem was a great Pharaoh!" Mana said, glaring at him now. "He saved us! He saved us all—including you! He made you the Pharaoh, and this is how you repay him!?"
Sethos put the Millennium Rod away; there was no way he would be able to strengthen his resolve as long as Mana was here.
"Mana," he said. "I do not want to erase his name any more than you want me to. It was Atem's will that his name be erased to prevent the return of Zorc. That was why he left us in the first place."
"…He said that…?"
Reluctantly, Sethos handed her the papyrus sheaf.
"I would like to think this is false," he said. "Please tell me it is so, and I shall gladly leave here and leave the cartouche alone."
The Millennium Necklace glowed slightly.
"It… it is genuine…" she whispered, not holding back her tears. "Oh… I can understand why he wants to do this… he doesn't want the Dark One to return, so he would willingly be omitted from history to ensure it. He was truly the most noble Pharaoh…"
"Indeed," replied Sethos.
"But what about Master Mahado!? He is the one who has been guiding me ever since I became Priestess! I have been depending on his words so much… and what about you and the White Dragon?"
"I daresay Mahado and the White Dragon will find their way to us somehow… perhaps one day the former Pharaoh will, too."
"What must we do now?" she asked.
"We must do as the former Pharaoh wishes of us," Sethos replied. "If we are to truly honor him, we must honor his will."
Sethos had said these words more to himself than Mana. He took out the Millennium Rod again, and this time, brought it to the cartouche and erased the carving. Each stroke of metal on stone seemed more and more burdensome as he progressed. And yet the Millennium Puzzle around his neck seemed more and more light as his cousin's burden was lifted.
Mana took the cue and used the powers of heka she had learned form Mahado to erase Atem's cartouche that was below his image on the tablet that Sethos had carved of their battle.
When the task was finished, the two returned to Thebes; there was still one more cartouche left there, in Atem's chamber in the Valley of the Kings.
Mana had departed to the palace to go through the historical records as Sethos entered the chamber. There the cartouche stood, proudly carved. He raised the Millennium Rod again, but paused.
"Not this one," he ordered himself. "No one is allowed here; this one should be allowed to remain…"
But there had to be an offering he could give Atem in exchange for this decision, which had been against his orders. And then he knew.
Sethos always carried with him a small box that Master Paramesu had given him upon the completion of his training. The box had held his family crest, which meant a lot to Sethos; he had been accepted as a part of Paramesu's family. Sethos still wore the crest proudly, and he always carried the box it had come in. But now, he placed this box upon an empty pedestal that stood below Atem's last cartouche.
Sethos removed the Millennium Puzzle from around his neck and placed it beside the box.
"I return to you your Millennium Puzzle, my former king, and present you with an offering of great personal worth. I pray you will accept it, along with my decision to leave this cartouche intact."
Before his eyes, the Millennium Puzzle rose a few inches into the air and broke into its separate pieces. One by one, the pieces fell into the open box. After the last piece fell in, Sethos closed the box.
"Thank you, my former king," he said.
He left the chamber and returned to the palace in higher spirits. Atem would now be at peace. And Sethos was now at peace with himself.