Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh!
I changed the dialogue slightly towards the end of Chapter 17. It is advisable that you take a quick look at the revised dialogue between Mahad, Atem, and the Thief King in that chapter.
This sequel is going to be split into two parts. This is the final chapter of Part 1, A Thief's Revenge.
Part 2: A Thief's Revenge: New Beginnings
Well, unless I change the title. But it'll say that it's Part 2 in the summary. It'll be more action-packed and dramatic than Part 1, and maybe (sighs in exasperation), just maybe, a BIT more... (grumbles) romantic. There, I said it! (Leaves to wash out mouth)
PLEASE REVIEW PART 1!!
Embrace and Escape
Atem stood up from his desk with a sigh; he had been slaving over a pile of scrolls for the past hour. He pressed his hand to his forehead for a moment, and then swept out of the room. He strode down a long, winding hallway to one of the balconies and stepped out into the blinding sunlight. It took him a few seconds to realize that he wasn't alone.
Mana whirled around in surprise. "Mana," the Pharaoh said, startled, "I thought you were going to take Tea to the marketplace."
"Oh, we're going later today." The young woman shrugged, and silence fell between the two friends for a few moments as they both gazed out at the vast, beautiful kingdom before them. Mana broke the silence by adding, "It's great to be back."
"It's great to have you back," the Pharaoh said, smiling at his cheerful friend.
A few seconds passed...
Without warning, Mana threw her arms around the Pharaoh, knocking him back a few steps. He stood awkwardly for a few seconds before his arms slid around Mana as well.
Joy, relief, and warmth flooded him as he felt Mana's smooth, warm skin beneath his hands and the cool, silky locks of her brown hair slipping through his fingers. Pharaoh Atem closed his eyes and smiled slightly to himself, remembering the day he had first come to the Afterlife.
The Pharaoh, the five High Priests, the single Priestess, the Royal Vizier, and several guards rode swiftly through the desert, leaving thick clouds of dust in their wake. Pharaoh Atem's mind was spinning, and an array of confusing emotions swirled inside him. Yugi, Tea, Tristan, and Joey… gone… he would never see them again.
No, he thought to himself, it had to be done. He couldn't have stayed with them forever-- it would have been wrong. It was about time that he returned to where he belonged, about time that he moved on. Yugi and his friends would move on too.
He shook himself out of his reverie and focused on guiding his horse.
Atem stood in the Palace gardens, gazing unseeingly at his surroundings. He couldn't see the flawless blue skies, chirping birds, brightly colored flowers, the gleaming surface of the pond...
Before he had time to react, a young lady slammed into him, her slender arms wrapping swiftly around him!
Trying to catch his breath, Atem gasped, "Mana!?"
He looked down at the girl's face, the first thing he had been able to see clearly--it was drenched in tears.
"You're here," whispered the apprentice magician. Almost unconsciously, she reached up and touched his cheek, as if to make sure he was really there.
She buried her face in his chest, her arms around his neck, shaking with sobs. Suddenly, without warning, she pounded her fist against his chest, crying even harder!
"Mana, please," murmured the Pharaoh, trying to calm her down. Her cries died away, but when she raised her head, her eyes were like cold, piercing emeralds.
"Why! You left... for so long... why... did you even bother...!"
Atem winced at her tone but replied gently, "You know why, Mana. You do."
Mana remained silent, but he could see that she understood perfectly well. She knew as well as the others of his reasons for his absence. She was not actually angry with him.
Sighing, Atem drew Mana in for another embrace. She sniffed and buried her face in his neck, still trembling.
The Pharaoh inhaled sharply and closed his eyes.
When he opened them again, he felt as if he was seeing this new world clearly for the first time.
(END OF FLASHBACK)
A contented sigh escaped his lips, and the Pharaoh opened his eyes and stared fondly down at the slender, petite brunette in his arms. Mana lifted her head from his chest and looked up at him with that sweet, innocent face of hers. They both pulled back for a moment. Atem held onto Mana by her elbows.
At that moment, another voice called out, "Mana?"
Tea strode out onto the balcony, but stopped when she saw the Pharaoh and Mana. Atem hastily let go of her, and stepped back.
"Is it time for you to go?" he asked, trying to keep his voice calm and steady.
"Y-yes." Tea stammered slightly, her eyes slightly wide.
"Well, I should go," Mana said, turning to Atem, who nodded. After the girls had left, he sighed and set his hands on the edge of the balcony. He bowed his head slightly, his eyes intense and thoughtful. He was very aware of the heat and emotion pulsing through him.
Why do I feel like this now? Atem thought in confusion, Mana has been my friend since childhood. She was like a loyal sister to him, that's all. Why?
He stared absently down at the front entrance, when he noticed two brown-haired young women walking towards the gate. The taller one was looking towards the shorter one, who was laughing and chattering animatedly. Pharaoh Atem looked away quickly.
With a final glance at the horizon, he left the balcony.
Tea smiled at Mana's excited chatter, but her mind was elsewhere. Wonder what happened between her and the Pharaoh, she thought, studying the girl carefully. She wasn't behaving any differently.
"Oh, why don't we stop here?" Tea was jolted out of her thoughts by Mana, who was examining a small copper pot on display in a large, colorful stand. "Sure," Tea replied, stopping beside her. "Oh, this is nice," she remarked, picking up a tiny bronze figurine on the other end of the stand.
"We also carry those in silver." Tea looked up, startled, at a stout man with a thick dark mustache who had suddenly appeared before her. "Would you like to see one?"
"Sure." Mana wandered over to join Tea. "Be careful about the price," she cautioned Tea, who looked at her, confused.
"Here we are." The stout man returned with a sparkling silver statue in his hands which he soon handed to Tea. She raised it to eye level, examining it carefully from all angles. "It's beautiful," she commented.
Suddenly, Tea remembered that her own money wouldn't carry any value here. It was ancient Egypt after all. "Oh," she murmured, setting down the statue.
"Is something wrong?" asked the merchant. "Oh, it's nothing, really," Tea said, reddening slightly with embarrassment. She reached absently into her purse and fingered her dollar bills before thanking the man for his time and leaving.
"What happened, Tea?" asked Mana curiously. "It's just that I don't have any Egyptian money," Tea explained, " 'cause we're from a different time."
"Oh! I forgot… I could lend you some," Mana offered, pulling out a small brown bag, but Tea stopped her. "No, Mana, I couldn't do that. You've already done a lot for me."
"All right…" Mana said uncertainly, putting away her bag. They strolled on in silence for a while. The young magician glanced around the lively marketplace with interest. Suddenly, a strange, cloaked figure in the crowds caught her eye. A familiar pair of cold brown eyes, one of them scarred, glared at her before vanishing into the throng of people.
Mana froze, her whole body becoming cold despite the warmth of the day. No… it can't be him! Not again! Her grip on her wand tightened as she looked wildly about for the owner of the eyes.
Tea looked at Mana with concern. Something had alarmed the magician girl. She looked around as Mana had done, but she saw nothing suspicious.
"Mana, what's wrong?" Tea asked, but Mana wasn't listening. Suddenly, the girl took off. "Mana!" Shocked, Tea chased after the young woman.
A familiar head of wild, spiky, white hair had caught Mana's eye. Suddenly, it had whipped out of sight. Forgetting that Tea was following her, the lady apprentice had taken off at a sprint in pursuit of the mysterious stranger.
"Stop!" Recognizing Tea's voice, Mana stopped, panting, with her hands on her knees. "What was that all about?" Tea asked, staring at her companion with genuine worry.
"I thought I saw someone," Mana said in response to her question; she continued to look around, her face tense.
Tea surveyed their surroundings. They were now close to the Nile banks; the crowds had thinned out. She looked up at the sky-- it was late afternoon.
Tea glanced over at the trees and fields in the distance before turning to Mana. "I think we'd better go back now," she suggested, but the magician girl wasn't listening. Her eyes were fixed on a point somewhere behind them. Suddenly, she took off again!
"MANA!" Tea shouted in exasperation, but she nevertheless took off after the girl. "What is her problem?" Tea snapped angrily to herself as she sprinted after the magician.
Mana finally stopped in a shadowy road behind a line of small, rickety stands. The other side of the road was lined with gnarled trees. Something about the scenery made Tea uneasy. However, she turned to Mana in irritation-- "Who are you running after!" snapped Tea.
Before Mana could answer, a strange, harsh, and menacing laugh sounded! The girls gasped and slid closer to each other as the evil laughter continued; it sounded like it was coming from everywhere!
Out of the shadows stepped the cloaked stranger. He undid the black cloak and cast it aside. Free from its dark folds, the young man's dark red robe billowed slightly with the breeze.
Before them, once again, stood Bakura, the King of Thieves.
"How nice to see you again," he sneered, clearly enjoying the shocked looks on the two girls' faces. "Especially you, little Mana," he added, smirking at the young woman.
"What do you want, Bakura!" Mana snarled, stepping in front of Tea and raising her staff in defense.
"You, of course!" Mana stared at him in horror.
The Thief King shook his head. "Let's not waste any more time. We have much to do."
His eyes locked with Tea's, and his trademark sneer made its appearance on his scarred face.
"Tea! No! Leave her alone!" Mana cried out in anger, dropping to her knees beside the girl. She waved her wand sharply towards Bakura, and two bloody gashes appeared on his arm!
Grimacing in pain, the Thief King growled in frustration. His hand became enshrouded in a cloud of pure shadow energy---he aimed a blast at Tea!
With a cry, the young woman fell unconscious, her "body" lying motionless on the sand.
Worried and enraged, Mana pushed herself to her feet and waved her wand again towards Bakura, this time tearing two large gashes in his chest! He chuckled and moved towards her, brushing away the blood.
Mana aimed another curse at him, but Bakura negated it with a simple wave of his hand, which was shrouded in a thick black cloud of shadow energy! He continued to block every spell she cast at him until he was right next to her. Mana tried to scream, but he grabbed her arm and sent a blast of shadow magic through her! Her scream caught in her throat, and her eyes widened from the pain.
Mana collapsed onto the ground, her eyes still wide from the shock. She felt her wand being forced out of her hand, and she felt herself being lifted off of the sand. The last thing she saw before falling unconscious was Tea's still form on the ground.
Tea opened her eyes. She was in an unfamiliar place. There was a high ceiling above her, and she was surrounded by rows of mats.
She winced and sat up, pushing away the thick blanket that had been placed over her. She felt bandages wrapped around her head-- she touched them, wincing again from the pain. Suddenly, she recalled the events that had taken place.
Alarmed, she slid off her mat.
"Tea, get back in bed!" a familiar voice scolded.
Tea started; she whirled around to face Yugi, followed by Joey and Tristan.
"Guys!" She exclaimed in relief, rushing towards them.
"Easy there, Tea," Joey said, holding out his hands.
"Yeah, you need to rest," added Tristan, frowning.
"Guys, you have to listen," Tea said, "Mana's—"
"—gone." Yugi nodded grimly. "We know. Everyone knows."
"We got worried when you guys didn't come back," Tristan explained, "and the Pharaoh sent out a search party."
"We found you knocked out behind some of the stands," Joey added, "but we never found Mana."
"All that we found was her wand. It was lying beside you. The Pharaoh, a few of the High Priests, and some of the soldiers are out searching for her," Yugi said. "They've been out for hours."
"I should have been with them." The four teenagers whipped around, startled. Mahad was lying under several blankets on a mat at the other end of the infirmary room.
"Mahad!" Yugi exclaimed, surprised. None of them had noticed him earlier. "How long have you been in here?"
Mahad sat up and looked at them; his face was a mask of worry and tension. "Since the night of our return," he said.
"After the gathering in the throne room, I was told to spend some time in the infirmary because of that blast of shadow magic I endured. Meanwhile, Mana is out there! Who knows what danger she may be in!" There was a trace of bitterness in his voice.
Before any of them could say anything else, the Pharaoh stormed into the room. His face was a mask of anguish. "We still haven't found her!"
He slammed his fist into the wall in fury. There was a momentary silence. Then, Yugi and the gang stepped forward; they hated to see the Pharaoh so upset.
"We'll help you find her, Pharaoh," said Yugi, trying to comfort his friend.
"Yeah," agreed Tristan, and Joey added, "And we ain't givin' up 'til we do!"
The Pharaoh felt slightly comforted by his friends' words, but he was still worried. "Thank you, my friends," he replied, "but I am afraid there is nothing you can do."
"No." Tea finally spoke. "I know who took her." The Pharaoh and Mahad both looked up at her, stunned, while Yugi, Joey, and Tristan stared at her in surprise. "Who? Who took her?" Atem asked urgently.
Tea sighed. "The Thief King... Bakura. He's back."
Mana opened her eyes. She felt herself bouncing in a swift up-and-down motion, and she heard the pounding of hooves below her. Feeling cold, hard muscle against her cheek, she looked up, only to meet the cold gaze of the Thief King.
"Did you have a nice sleep?"
Mana tried to move farther away from him, but he had her tightly pinned in place.
"No, no, we don't want you getting hurt," he chuckled, and Mana realized that his right arm was clamped tightly around her waist while his left hand held the reins.
Mana tried to twist around to free herself, but his grip was too strong. "Stop struggling," he ordered sharply, but Mana refused to listen. He then shifted the position of his right arm and squeezed her even more tightly until she was unable to move.
Unhappily, Mana reflected that he had also made sure to keep her from having any access to her wand. She suddenly felt very tired, and her eyelids grew heavy. Realizing that Bakura must be working another spell on her, she snapped as loudly as she could, "Stop putting that spell on me!"
Her demand was met only by a short, hard laugh, and Bakura suddenly released her! With a cry, she instinctively reached out and grabbed his arm to keep herself from falling off the horse! Chuckling, Bakura wrapped his right arm tightly around her, once again pinning her in such a way that she couldn't twist or move. Her head banged against his chest, and she heard him mutter another spell.
Mana's tense muscles relaxed as a deep sleep washed over her again.
All right, that's the last chapter of Part 1. Don't forget to review-- I value this story as much as I do Part 2. PLEASE REVIEW!
Don't forget to read Part 2: A Thief's Revenge- New Beginnings