Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh or any affiliated materials except for my fanfics and OCs.

Odji, "the copper-haired maiden," and Rehema (in the next chapter) are my own creations.

"Odji" literally means "wicked." As you will see, it's a very fitting name.


Mercy

To an ordinary person, the scene would not be very welcoming.

To thieves, murderers, plunderers, and worse… it was a safe haven.

A tall, deeply-tanned, white-haired man—who, oddly enough, was younger than twenty years of age—rode confidently through the dingy, narrow streets of the small town. He ignored, for the most part, the shouts he received from various men and the interested stares from some women. He was quite used to it, thank you very much.

After all, he was well-known, respected, and feared throughout the entire kingdom of Egypt. Strong, swift, clever, vicious, and merciless, he would stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

He was, after all, Thief King Bakura.


Finally, he halted in front of a small, seedy-looking tavern. An unshaven, rather sleazy-looking man wearing a wide grin appeared before him.

"Greetings, m' Lord," he rasped, bowing his head respectfully.

Bakura's trademark smirk crossed his rugged features, and he inclined his head in acknowledgement. "Odji."

"Do come in, all of you," the man invited. "I believe you'll enjoy the new items on the menu."

He wiggled his eyebrows, and beckoned him inside.


Bakura laughed in surprise as the sight of the new, barely clad female dancers met his eyes.

A couple of the women seemed to move more purposefully and gracefully as Bakura sat down, and a few others seemed to be trying to catch his eye. Two serving girls blinked and batted their eyelashes as they made their way over with his order.

Bakura stretched and relaxed, enjoying the attention. It was rare for him to be so at ease…


An hour or two later, he stood up to leave.

However, as the King of Thieves started towards the door, Odji stepped in front of him and beckoned for him to step closer.

The Thief King raised his eyebrow, but he nevertheless leaned in to listen.

"I have a proposition for you," growled the older man, eyeing the thief's many gold rings and chains greedily. Bakura quirked an eyebrow—"And what might that be?"

"One of the women for sale."

"Not interested," growled Bakura, starting to leave.

"Wait, wait!" Odji called after him—he rushed forward and planted himself in front of the thief. Bakura glared at him, and his hand slid down to the hilt of his dagger—"Get out of the way, Odji," he snarled.

A few of the other men in the tavern looked up in interest, and Odji paled visibly under the thief's icy stare. "You haven't seen her yet—a real beauty."

Bakura glanced at the dancers with disinterest. Odji shook his head—"Better than those wenches. Follow me."

Sighing, Bakura sheathed his knife and followed the shorter man. "This had better be good," he said, winding his way between the tables, serving girls, and dancers to a dark, wooden door in the corner of the dingy, smoky room.

Odji yanked the metal handle, and with a loud CREAK, the door slowly swung open. A flight of worn stone steps descended into the darkness below.


After a few minutes, Odji halted in front of another aged, wooden door. He grinned and, with some difficulty, yanked it open.

As he peered inside, the tavern-keeper's face hardened. His voice grew harsh as he barked out—"Girl! Your future master is here to see you!"

Bakura snorted—"I wouldn't assume anything, Odji," he said. "Let me have a look first."

He strode inside, and his eyebrows rose at the sight of a young woman—bound with ropes. At least, her hands were tied with thick ropes to iron pegs built into the stone wall, and her feet were spread apart and tied to poles in the cold stone floor. Her hair hung forward in gentle waves so that her face was hidden.

"Odji, you are indeed wicked," the tomb robber murmured, kneeling down and flipping the young woman's hair behind her ear.

The older man looked pleased with Bakura's newfound interest—"One of my regulars—he brought her in from a raid on a house in a nearby village. Murdered everyone in the household except her—seemed to think she'd be 'useful'"—he laughed, his belly bouncing—"for other things."

Then the tavern-keeper frowned. "But he changed his mind and let the girl remain... pure. He wanted quite a lot for her—I paid a great deal for this creature."

"Hmmm-mmm," murmured Bakura, still examining the girl. Odji grinned again. "I'll leave you two alone now…" his voice trailed off suggestively.

Before leaving, he glared down at the young lady. When he spoke, his voice was again cold, commanding, and menacing—"Don't disappoint me, woman."


Bakura roughly tilted the woman's face up, and he carefully fingered her cheeks and jaws. Narrowing his eyes, he barked a command. "Speak."

"And what shall I say, master?" replied the young woman, still not looking at him. Her voice was hoarse, as if she had either used it too much or not enough.

The tomb robber jerked her chin up—"Look at me when I'm talking to you, woman!" he snapped.

The young woman's skin and hair shared a warm shade of copper—her eyes were a deep, dark chocolate brown. At the moment, they were dull, empty, and lifeless holes.

He glared at her, but she now stared back at him evenly… unflinchingly. Bakura then allowed his gaze to travel downward, taking in every curve and muscle traced by her raggedy linen dress. He had to admit—she was rather beautiful.

Her mouth turned up in one corner, and her eyes narrowed. He noticed this slight change in expression and snarled, "What?"

She shook her head and closed her eyes—two fat, glistening tears abruptly appeared at the corners of her eyes. "Gods of Egypt help me. What have I done to deserve this?"

Bakura snorted derisively—"There are no gods," he retorted, his face contorting into a scowl. "They will neither hear you nor help you. This I have learned throughout the years."

"May I ask how?" she inquired quietly, her tone flat and hopeless.

"It's none of your business," he snapped at her. She shook her head—"Of course not."

He cocked his head and stared at her. She was neither scared nor rebellious—she was nothing. No emotion. She seemed to be an empty, hopeless shell—a perfect toy for him, he realized with some satisfaction. Perhaps some good would come from this encounter…

"Mercy," she suddenly muttered.

Bakura was snapped out of his thoughts. "What?"

"Mercy!" she suddenly cried, her eyes becoming wild. "Please! Take me! Just get me out of this hellish place! Anywhere but here! Please! I beg you!"

The Thief King narrowed his eyes in disgust. "Oh shut up, wench. You do realize that you've just ruined your chances of leaving with your foolish wailing?"

The maiden looked back up at him—"Forgive me," she said, drawing a shuddering breath. "It's just that... I want freedom. I want them to kill me. Every day Odji threatens to allow the men down here to…"

Here, her eyes widened, and he could almost see the raw terror in them. "Please," she begged, "take me, Thief King Bakura."

Her voice had gained composure and some fullness—it was a smooth, pleasant alto. She was no longer begging, but the note of pleading was still evident.

However, Bakura merely tossed his head in disdain. "A waste," he remarked.

Biting her lip, the young woman thought quickly. She would have to try another approach.

"And why would that be?" she asked, twisting slightly and allowing her voice to lower and soften to a purr. She sounded ridiculous to herself, but at this point, she was desperate to try almost anything.

His interest slightly renewed, the thief leaned down and reached towards her again to continue his examination.

The young woman flinched away from his touch at first, but then quickly reminded herself to remain calm. Letting her fear, anger, and disgust get the best of her would only worsen the situation…

Bakura appeared to be deep in thought—she dared not hope—

However, a few minutes later, he pulled away and snorted derisively—her heart sank. She was doomed. "Whatever," he said. "It's a waste."


Bakura flung open the door, only to be greeted by a pained cry. He raised his eyebrow at the man rubbing his nose behind the door—Odji.

"What happened to leaving us alone?" he remarked idly, proceeding to ascend the stairway. Odji looked at him hopefully—"Well?"

Bakura waved his hand—"Pretty thing. But pathetic. Teach her to shut her mouth and not to cry for mercy. You might have better luck."

Odji turned and glared into the room—the young woman looked up and met his gaze. A sharp shiver of dread ran through her—the look in his eyes promised misery and torture.

Death, she hoped. Let him be angry enough to free her from this life.

"I'll be right there, Bakura," snarled Odji.

The Thief King listened with mild interest to the cry of "You've disappointed me for the last time, wench!"

His eyebrows rose as multiple sharp, anguished cries followed this proclamation a few minutes later.

A few minutes after that, Odji came lumbering out, red-faced. Bakura resisted the temptation to look in on the young woman to see what had happened.


This is rather uncomfortable stuff to write... anyhow, please leave reviews?