A/N: The last two fics required I do some research. Neither were very well received. As such, I'm more than a little nervous to submit this fic, which also required research. Thanks to yu-jyo for having the best episode summaries on the internet.

Disclaimer: It's not mine.


Leaning against the inside of the palace wall, Bakura faded back into the visible spectrum. After getting past all the guards with his new found invisibility, he was feeling confident. He turned to find a threatening-looking magic staff pointing at his nose. The confidence left.

The thief leaped backwards as the spellcaster ka shot a magic bullet at his head. It grazed the ends of his hair, and he smelled something burning. Bakura landed flat on his back, the ka charging him and meeting the open jaws of his now-summoned Diabound.

"Wrong move, priest!" Bakura shouted as Diabound blasted at the female spellcaster. He smirked, his ka's attack leaving nothing but smoke and an empty hole.

"I'm not a priest," an angry female voice echoed. Bakura whirled around, but he could see no one else.

"Show yourself!" he bellowed. "Coward!" Diabound slid into the stone floor.

"Coward?!" she shouted back. Another magic shot from the young ka missed Bakura by a hair. Diabound tore from the wall at the spot it should have been fired from, but nothing was there.

"You hide in the walls, and call me a coward?" A bright stream of magic came from the other side of the courtyard, this time aimed true, and much more powerful than the small bullets from before. Bakura was forced to call Diabound out of the wall and shoot its fire in front of the thief to shield him.

"You sneak into the palace at night, and call me a coward?" Multiple shots, from different directions all honed in on the intruder. Bakura pulled Diabound around himself, groaning as the embodiment of his soul took the attack.

"You kill my master--!" This time the voice did not finish the question, breaking off with an angry cry and a hail of magic bullets. Bakura stayed under Diabound, the ka buffering the damage Bakura would have taken. When the barage stopped, Bakura dismissed his ka, desperate.

"Show yourself, then!" He shouted to the shadows that were hiding the magician. "I've removed my ka--come out and let me see the face of the magician who is beating me!"

The spellcaster ka stepped out of the shadows, staff lowered. Bakura smirked, resummoning his Diabound in the ground. After a few moments, a light pair of footsteps sounded on the stone, and a girl, identical to the ka, emerged behind Bakura.

"Are you happy now, thief?"

"Yes, very," Bakura grinned. "You're much more honorable than your 'master', you know. At least this time I can kill an honest magician."

The spellcaster ka flew at Bakura, Diabound rising from the ground and catching the ka in the jaws of its snake head.

"Who'd have thought I'd get a better challenge from the priest's apprentice?" Bakura wondered. Mana glared, but said nothing, her teeth clenched at the pain Diabound was inflicting on her ka. Without warning, the god-like monster released the spellcaster, and Mana fell to her knees, gasping.

"You've never fought before, have you?" Bakura realized. "Mahad certainly had. He knew that there were no rules in a fight. No such thing as honor. He hid traps, tried to kill me with a swining blade."

Mana's ka charged again, and Diabound caught her in its fist. Bakura continued. "That trick where I hide in the walls--I stole it from him! Your priests are nothing but worthless, filthy liars!" Diabound threw Mana's ka to the ground, and raised its second head to strike.

"I'm almost sorry I called you one." Bakura strolled toward Mana, who was still on the ground. "What an insult, to be called a priest." He stopped a few meters away from the girl.

"Better a priest than a murdering thief," Mana spat. Bakura snarled, and Diabound struck at her ka. The spellcaster girl jumped out of the way, and Diabound went through the stone into the ground. Mana grinned, getting up.

The spellcaster ka raised her staff, which glowed. Bakura covered his eyes, trying to spot his missing ka. He called it out of the ground, but nothing happened.

"You!" He roared, turning on Mana. "What did you do?" Mana's ka bounded next to the thief, grabbing his arms and pulling them behind his back.

"I froze your ka in the ground. It can't moved, and unless dug up, can't be destroyed. You're out of luck, thief."

Bakura growled as the magician ka forced him to the ground, face down. It pressed its staff into his back and he felt his energy drained.

"And just to be safe, I'll lower your ba so you can't summon anything else."

"Why not kill me?" He groaned, now being hauled to his feet.

"That's the priests' job," Mana emphasized the title that the thief hated so much. "They pass judgment and punish."

"Why leave it to them?" Bakura asked as Mana's ka forced him to walk, the three of them heading towards the palace. "You've done what they could never do--capture the great Thief King Bakura! Take your revenge!"

"And where would that leave us?" Mana shouted. "If we all killed for revenge, there would be nothing but an endless cycle of killing! Leave the justice in the hands of the priests."

Bakura scoffed, but did not reply. Mana escorted him through the courtyard and gate in silence, coming to the entrance to the main palace building. For the first time in their walk, they were now in sight of the guards. Upon seeing Bakura, they reacted immediately.

"The thief!" They cried, rushing Mana and Bakura. She cried for them to stop, but they did not hear. The guards circled them, and one overeager young soldier threw his spear.

"STOP!" Mana shouted, he ka loosing its hold on Bakura to knock the spear away. The guards stopped dead, seeing Mana helping their enenmy. "Don't kill him! He must be tried!" Mana's ka had one hand on the thief. With apparent ease, he broke her graps, and bolted for the gate. The guards cried out, and hurled their weapons. Mana's ka rushed to stop them. Most were unaimed and clattered to the ground. A choice few flew straight at the thief. He dove to the ground, not noticing that while most flew over his head, a couple of stragglers were falling on his current spot. With no time to dodge, he covered his head with his hands.

Mana toppled to the ground. Bakura looked up to see the female ka disappear, two spears through its chest. Mana writhed as it vanished, and then lay still, whimpering. Bakura called his ka, now free from the girl's spell. It burst through the wall, and with a wave of his hand, dispatched the soldiers, leaving only the thief and the apprentice.

Diabound raised its head over the fallen girl. Bakura raised his hand, looking at the pathetic figure on the ground. The only honesty he had seen in any member of the palace would be extinguished with this blow. This girl would never have burned down his village and turned his family into pieces of magic gold. And perhaps this girl would...

The palace alarm sounded. Diabound pulled away from Mana as Bakura prepared to retreat.

"Why not kill me?" she gasped, lifting her head to look at him, the most movement she could muster. The thief retreated into the shadows.

"It would be a shame to kill you. It's so rare that the apprentice surpasses the master." His voice drifted from the darkness. Mana had only a moment to feel anger again as she lost conciousness. Bakura looked at her one last time before he left. Why, indeed?