Secrets of the Puzzle
Fanfic Chapter 287: Secrets of the Pharaoh Pt 3: Friends and Foes
Episode Basis: The Intruder Pt 2
Previously on Yu-Gi-Oh! The thief king Bakura stormed the palace of the Pharaoh to obtain the seven Millennium Items. And he brought plenty of things for the new Pharaoh. He bought his ultimate shadow creature, Diabound. He bought treasures taken from the tomb of the previous Pharaoh. And as the icing on the cake, he bought along the sarcophagus of the previous Pharaoh, King Aknamkanon. Yami bore witness to the first Shadow Games as the six priests used their Dia Diankhs, a wrist-mounted device similar to a Duel Disk, to control tablet-mounted monsters in sanctuaries to battle Bakura. But Bakura was able to hold his own against all of them. Yami decided to enter the fray, summoning Obelisk the Tormentor. The priests were all shocked. Meanwhile, Yugi and his friends entered the Millennium Puzzle to find the Pharaoh. Will they make it to him in time?
Everyone watched in shock and awe as Obelisk matched power with Diabound. "This is impossible," Aknaden cried. "Their power is equal!"
The collision of power forced both creatures back. Both Yami and Bakura recalled them to their Dia Diankh.
"He withstood the power of an Egyptian God," Seto exclaimed.
"Such power," Captain Ansif muttered while nursing his shoulder.
Bakura wiped a trickle of blood from his mouth. Had I not absorbed the power of Blue-Eyes White Dragon, that surely would've been the end of me. "This isn't over, Pharaoh!" He whistled for his horse and galloped through the five (wait, weren't there six?) dancing girls.
"Guards, after him," Captain Ansif commanded. Bakura leapt over the walls (and guards) and rode off into the city.
Was I sent back to the past to relive these events all over again? Yami then looked up and spotted something unusual: a giant upside down pyramid floating in the sky. He called for Shimon who came out with Mahad. "What is that strange object in the sky?"
"I can't see anything," Shimon said.
"Pharaoh, maybe we should go inside," Mahad suggested.
Yami reluctantly agreed but wondered why he could see it but nobody else could. Does it have something to do with Bakura's ultimate Shadow Game?
Seto and Aknadin also came out to the balcony. "My King," Aknadin addressed. "You fought bravely this night."
"Yes," Seto agreed. "It's because of you we can all relax for now."
If only Kaiba could see himself fighting boldly by my side, Yami mused.
Speaking of which, Kaiba was at Kaiba Corp trying to get some work done but instead he kept staring at two things: the Millennium Eye and his Blue-Eyes White Dragon. "Can't these people see that it's just a card game?" He zeroed in on the Millennium Eye. "What are you looking at? Forget it, I'm not going to Egypt and that's that." He scoffed. "Look at me, I'm talking to a golden antique eyeball." As he held it close to his eye, it started to glow. Kaiba saw an image of Yugi (really Yami) and himself standing on a balcony at night. Kaiba was so shocked that he dropped the Millennium Eye.
A little while later, the Blue-Eyes White Jet was cruising over the pacific. I've been hearing about this ancient nonsense for far too long. The only way to shut these people up for good is to prove them all wrong.
Seto and Aknadin were meeting deep within one of the tablet sanctuaries. "Any word on Bakura?" Aknadin asked.
"Captain Ansif has a several squadrons of guards after him, he won't get far."
"Really? After seeing his frightening display of power, I would have to disagree." Aknaden turned and stared at the wall containing the tablets of the Egyptian God Monsters. "Listen, Seto, we are not dealing with an ordinary thief, this thief contains a monster with power to rival the Egyptian Gods."
"Master Aknadin, I just had an idea. These tablet sanctuaries are filled with monsters that we've pulled from the hearts of evil doers. Surely there must be others out there who harbor as much darkness as Bakura, wouldn't you say?"
Aknadin was beginning to catch on with what his pupil was suggesting and he didn't like it. "Seto, what you're suggesting is completely immoral not to mention quite dangerous."
"With all due respect, Master, would we not be reducing the number of lawbreakers that wreck havoc on this kingdom every day?"
"And in the end we would be creating this monster army to protect the people of Egypt. Is that not the oath we swore when we became priests?"
Aknadin had to admit Seto had a point.
A guard came running in. "Please forgive this intrusion, Masters, but the Captain… he's caught the thief."
"What?" The two priests asked at the same time.
Yami was talking with Shimon and Mahad inside a room piled high with scrolls (Yami figured it was the ancient Egyptian equivalent of a library). "Shimon earlier you spoke of some prophecy, what prophecy did you mean?"
Shimon sighed, "I prayed that this wouldn't come in our lifetime. Back when the former Pharaoh King Aknamkanon was my student, a scroll was found in a jar near the Dead Sea. The scroll was said to come from Osiris himself, and was said to be a warning. One day Egypt would find itself in its darkest hour. When that happens, a Pharaoh who can command the gods will appear and deliver us. The fact that you were able to summon one of the three gods lends some credence that you are the Pharaoh from that prophecy."
That's only because I was able to summon them in the future. This is quite the paradox. "Then the evil that I'm supposed to deliver Egypt from might be Bakura."
"The scroll did not mention who or what that great evil was, but it would be very sinister." Shimon sighed again.
Another guard, a young-looking one with a scarf and turban on his head so only his brown eyes could be seen appeared. Yami recognized him as the guard who was with Captain Ansif right before Bakura attacked. "I apologize for disturbing you, my Pharaoh, but Captain Ansif sends his regards. He asked me to tell you that he caught the thief."
Finally, maybe we can end this once and for all. "Take us to him," he commanded.
"Yes, my Pharaoh." Yami, Mahad, and Shimon met up with Seto and Aknadin and picked up Isis along the way and all preceded to the throne room.
"Hold still, you little miscreant."
"Let me go, you big galoot."
"You shall pay dearly for your crimes."
"It was just an apple… okay and some bread, you don't have to chop my hands off over it."
"Oh you'll lose much more than that you little…"
"Captain Ansif, what is going on here?" Yami asked.
"Ah, Pharaoh, perfect timing, I finally caught the little rat that's been plaguing us for months."
"That is not Bakura," Aknadin said stating the obvious.
"With all due respect, Master Aknadin, I did not say it was Bakura, just that it was a thief. This little worthless waste of breath has been stealing from us for a while and I finally caught her."
"The palace is under lockdown and you disturb the Pharaoh with such trite," Aknadin scolded.
"Wait." Yami stepped forward and stared at the thief who wore a bag over the head so any features were disguised. But the voice clearly wasn't Bakura. However, it did sound awfully familiar. "Remove the hood," he instructed Ansif.
"Remove the hood," Yami repeated more forcefully.
Ansif slump his shoulders. "As you command, my Pharaoh." He lifted the cloth sack from the thief.
The thief was a girl, her short dark hair ended at the shoulder blades and her brown eyes seemed to be filled with anger. She wore a gray v-neck smock and baggy white pants. Seto recognized her as one of the dancing girls from the ceremony.
Yami gasped, the thief wasn't Bakura but she did look familiar, "Tea?"
"Tea?" Shimon questioned. "Are you praying, Pharaoh?"
"No, don't worry about it," Yami quickly brushed off.
"I ask that you judge this miserable witch," Ansif said.
"You have no right to request anything, Captain," Seto said. "Do not forget that it was your slack in the watch that allowed Bakura to tread so far in our castle walls."
"Wait a minute." Yami leaned in close. He noticed that one of her arms was falling limp at her side and she had a lot of red marks on her face and body and only a bit of them was blush. "How did she get these bruises?"
"I confess there was a scuffle in me trying to subdue her."
"Subdue my foot you were trying to kill me," the girl snapped. "You threw me against everything but the fire!"
"Captain Ansif, need I remind you that as Captain of the guards you are representative of the Pharaoh to the people," Aknadin scolded. "Any violent actions you take you take in the name of the Pharaoh."
"Forgive me, My Pharaoh!" Ansif pleaded.
Yami instead addressed the girl thief. "What is your name?" The girl seemed reluctant to speak. "It's okay, you can tell me."
The girl looked ashamed for a second, probably because the Pharaoh was standing so close to her. "Ananzu."
Yami was taken aback. Ananzu was the name of the original Avatar, the one who defended and aided him in his fight against the Warriors of Doma. He looked down at her wrist. But she wasn't wearing the Avatar Armlet, so did this happen later or… "Did she have anything on her possession?"
"Just food, Pharaoh."
She obviously doesn't have it now. If I'm going to defeat Bakura, I may need her help. He turned to Isis and silently cursed that he couldn't remember her name.
It took Isis a second to realize that the Pharaoh was trying to catch her attention. "My Pharaoh?"
"Clean up her wounds. Afterwards return her to the throne room. I will hear her story then."
"I shall do as you command, My Pharaoh." Isis and Ananzu left through a side door while Seto, Aknadin, and Shimon left through another doorway.
"Captain, do not disturb us again unless lives are at stake," Mahad said.
"At least I was successful," Ansif jabbed. "You call yourself a powerful magician yet you couldn't even beat one thief, for once the Pharaoh needed to protect his priests rather than the other way around."
Mahad was rapidly losing his cool. He was clearly getting ready to attack Ansif but Yami held him back. "Captain Ansif, I don't think you appreciate the severity of our situation. Bakura is still out there, he has a monster that can stand up to an Egyptian God; he has powers never seen here before. All the priests have fought valiantly and I'm proud of all of them."
Ansif grunted, "We'll see about that," he muttered and left along with the masked guard that first alerted Yami and Mahad.
"My Pharaoh, forgive my attitude, my Millennium Ring has apparently developed a mind of its own, I can not control it; it has infuriated me."
"I understand, uh…" Again, Yami mentally cursed for not recalling his name.
"Think nothing of it, Mahad."
"Perhaps we should retire," Mahad suggested.
Yami reluctantly agreed.
The two left the throne room and proceeded across a balcony. As they passed by a group of jars, one of them suddenly rattled.
"Did you hear that?" Yami asked.
"Stay behind me," Mahad instructed. "Who's there? Show yourself!" With a loud squee, a girl leapt out of the pot and landed in Yami's arms.
"Mana, what are you doing, get off of Pharaoh this instant!" Mahad pried the girl off of Yami.
Yami got a better look at her. She was his age (plus or minus a century or three) wearing a white shoulder-less dress. Her face looked vaguely familiar but Yami couldn't place when or even if he saw her before.
The girl, Mana, pouted, "You mean I can't visit my oldest and dearest friend? Ever since he's become the Pharaoh it's like he's already forgotten about me."
"It's only been one week." Mana blushed.
Yami was still trying to digest this new information. "You're Mana? We grew up together?"
"I know it's only been a week but please tell me you haven't forgotten me already, I mean we only studied magic together since we could hold up spell books."
Yami was flustered. "Uh… yeah, of course, I just…"
"You haven't been wandering around the desert uncovered have you?"
"Mana, that's enough," Mahad said. "Things are not as they used to be. He is the King of Egypt now and he does not have time to…"
"Does not have time to speak for him self?" Mana finished in a joking manner.
"That's not true," Mahad quickly denied. Then he changed the subject, "How did you get past the guards anyway?"
"Well my magic's been improving." She looked down the steps. Yami and Mahad followed her glance and saw that the guards were not moving. They were alive, there eyes were open, but it was like they were frozen in mid-air.
"Don't tell me you used your freezing spell," Mahad sighed. "We need those guards to protect the palace! Haven't you heard what happened tonight?"
"Oh, sorry," Mana said more to Yami than to Mahad. She waved her hand. The frozen guards flashed briefly but nothing happened.
"Your magic's been improving, huh?"
"Just a second." Mana materialized a book and frantically looked through it.
Yami watched the banter between Mahad and Mana and smiled. It's good to know I have friends.
Bakura lounged against a rock cropping over a cliff while eating a fig. Perhaps trying to get all seven Millennium Items at once was a bit ambitious. For now, I'll just focus on one in particular and the others will follow.
Early the next morning Mahad along with Captain Ansif and a platoon of guards patrolled the city.
"Look at this mess," Ansif says referring to the burnt buildings.
Bakura will not get away with this, Mahad thought.
"Excuse me." Mahad looked down to see a little boy staring up at him. "Are you here to stop the bad man from burning the city?"
Mahad smiled. "Yes, we'll make sure he doesn't burn this city or any city ever again."
"Good." And the boy ran off.
"Was it wise to lie to him like that?" Captain Ansif asked.
"As long as I live, I will not let Bakura get his way."
Ansif looked down. "Master Mahad, your Millennium Ring."
Mahad also looked down. The spikes on the Millennium Ring were pointing towards a distant hill. Mahad and Ansif followed.
Bakura was standing on top of the hill. He quickly took off over the apex.
"After him," Ansif commanded his guards.
"Don't bother," Mahad said.
"I know what he's after, my Millennium Ring, he'll be back."
Ansif saw his opportunity. "If you're that worried, Master Mahad, then you should just get rid of it or pass it along to someone else." The end of his mouth curled up in a smile. "I would gladly carry the burden for you."
"You know as I do that it's not that simple. The only way a Millennium Item can be changed hands is through death of the previous holder and even then a mystic ceremony is required to choose a new owner."
"Then if I may make a suggestion, Master, if you are so determined to fulfill your promise to that boy…"
Mahad listened to the Captain's suggestion.
Yami walked through an inner courtyard, Mana not far behind skipping on the ledge of a pond. "So tell me is everything going to be changed now that you're this big and important Pharaoh?"
"To be honest it's hard to remember what life was like before I was king," Yami replied.
Mana stopped her skipping. "You must have a lot on your mind."
"But you still have time for me, I'm glad."
"Excuse me, my Pharaoh." It was Ansif's second-in-command. Mana was so shocked that she lost her balance and fell into the pond.
"Yes, what is it?" Yami asked.
"The girl Ananzu, she is waiting for you in the throne room."
"Thank you." Yami turned to Mana. "Are you all right, Mana?"
"I'm fine, more fat-headed than flustered."
"Good, then I'll see you later." Yami and the guard left.
Mana whined, "I'm all wet." She then saw Isis and Mahad meeting in a corner of the courtyard. "Are they…" She got on her knees (still in the water) and watched.
As the guard said, Ananzu was waiting in the throne room sitting on a wooden chair. Her arm had been bandaged. Yami whispered something to the guard and walked in. "How is your arm?"
"Better, thank you." She looked around. "That guard, he isn't…"
"You mean Captain Ansif? No, he's nowhere near. You have nothing to fear, I would not let an innocent soul get hurt."
"I'm not innocent," she said. "I am a thief."
"But you steal food, right? You steal to live, I'm sure you don't like it. You are an innocent in that you do not like to see harm done to others."
"How do you know so much about me?"
"I know someone like you. And I can see it in your eyes. Tell me about yourself."
"I am honored you would want to learn more about me." Yami was still getting used to people showing him reverence.
Ananzu told her story, of the hardships she and her family had to face living below the poverty line, how anyone who's ever extended a helping hand were either killed for such an action or had alternative, sinister motives. Yami only half-listened to her. In his mind, he was remembering something Dartz told him during their duel.
"When word reached us that the Egyptian colony was in turmoil due to magical interference, the great Ironsmith Kuloth forged an object which would have the power to quell both the magical and the personal turmoil that threatened the Egypt Colony. He was able to finish it but not before falling ill. He died soon after but we still had to get the Armlet to Egypt. So it was sent in the care of his daughter, whom we called The Maiden. It was the greatest of these maidens, whom we no longer call by her birth name, who delivered the Armlet to Egypt."
I could've sworn that it was Ananzu, the one who aided me during our fight against the Warriors of Doma, who was the Maiden, but she doesn't have the Armlet. But she clearly had it in the vision Kaiba and I was shown at Battle City. But if she isn't the Maiden, who is?
"I don't have it."
"What do you mean?" Yami asked.
"If I was a stronger person I would be able to protect my family, protect those I care about. But I don't have it." Ananzu didn't know why she was pouring her heart out to the Pharaoh, who probably has way more important things to do than talk to a petty girl thief.
"Strength is not only limited to physical dexterity, Ananzu," Yami said. "True strength comes from the heart, the desire to protect those you love. It was that desire that allowed me to beat the thief Bakura last night. And I know you have a strong desire to protect the people you love." The guard came in holding a bag of food. Yami took it and handed it to Ananzu. "Here."
Ananzu was surprised. "You… why would you show me such kindness, I am nobody, I am lower than low."
"There is only one person who's lower than low and that's Bakura. Ananzu, I fear Egypt is about to face dark times. Even though I may have the power of the Millennium Puzzle, it is at its strongest when there are others by my side. Can I count on you, Ananzu?"
Ananzu took the food. "I don't know what I can do that you can't, Pharaoh, but… I promise to repay your kindness." Yami had the guard show her out. All this can't be a coincidence. I just hope that whatever is about to transpire that I'm ready for it. Yugi, if there was ever a time when I needed your spirit, now is that time.