Oh lol, I have another new fic. I can't seem to get away from making all these new fics. I'll put a stop and just work on the three I've got going at the moment. Amused at how they're all Thiefshipping one way or another, haha. Can't help it when I have a pairing addiction. And they're always AUs, lol.

Summary: Malik had been placed under a curse when he was young. When he has to escort Shizuka to get her eyes treated in the main city where the man who placed the curse on him resides, he feels like the curse may come back to haunt him again. Meanwhile Bakura, the son of one of the lords plans to overthrow the king. When Bakura and Malik's paths cross, Malik finds himself stuck in a plot to take over the kingdom and defeat the king, who is also the man who cursed him...

Some notes about the fic: The yami/hikari duo are twins here. So Yami and Yugi, Bakura and Ryou, Malik and Mariku are all twins. It's just easier this way, haha. XD This is an AU setting with a rather medieval thing with a monarchy, lords, kingdoms, etc. And there's special powers, woo! The main kingdom in this fic is the Kaiba kingdom, haha. Some of the ages were altered for this, so Yami and Yugi are eighteen, Malik and Mariku are seventeen, Bakura and Ryou are seventeen and Seto's nineteen, etc.

Pairings: Thiefshipping, Prideshipping, Heartshipping.

First off, the prologue! There's sort of two prologues. To establish the two sides. One is Malik's background, which should hopefully set him up well for chapter one. And the other one is to set up the stuff with Seto, Ryou and Bakura. Woot.

Let's get started, shall we?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

prologue.

malik.

The feeling you get when you've been condemned to a form of finality or permanency, that is a curse. When you realise that it cannot be undone no matter what you do, that is a curse. If it is the reason behind all your misfortune and misery, that is a curse.

Have you ever been subject to a curse?

Curses come in many different forms. Whether they be truly cruel and heartless or odd yet makes mockery of your innermost fears, the possibilities are endless. They always find the weakness in people's hearts and break them to the very core. How one can live with such a daunting power looming in their mind, body and soul, I don't know. I truly don't know.

I am Malik. That's all I know. Not to mention I have experienced bad luck my entire life. From the beginning, even until now. The very essence of me is bound; it was the fate I was born with, the predetermined wounding of my heart. For I have trapped myself into a permanent condemnation, thanks to my own foolishness.

Because I have been cursed by Your Majesty, King Seto of Kaiba.

-

When I was young, both my parents passed away and so I had been placed in an orphanage along with my twin brother Mariku and my older sister Ishizu. Actually, if I wanted to be more accurate, I would've said that my mother passed away throughout the stages of childbirth. My father hasn't passed away as far as I'm aware of but however, he wasn't interested in taking care of three children so he dumped us at the Domino Orphanage when Mariku and I were five years of age and Ishizu had just turned eight.

I was amazed at how quickly Ishizu got adopted but well, I knew why. We live in a world where some of us are born gifted, as in they have special powers and abilities. Ishizu was one of them. Gifted children tend to get adopted quickly – talents are greatly cherished after all. Mariku got adopted not long after too – he's got an ability too. I don't know Ishizu's but Mariku's is powerful. He can control people's minds.

Nobody wanted me. It's understandable, I guess. After all, I don't have any powers. I was hoping that because I'm Mariku's twin that someone would adopt the two of us as a pair. That wasn't the way things worked out.

So I came to the conclusion that I would never be wanted or loved by anybody. It was something I accepted as my permanence. My finality.

Mariku and Ishizu can go on to live happy lives for all I care. Just forget about me.

It's okay if they forgot about me.

-

I was rather lonely at the orphanage. All the other kids got adopted over the years, confirming what I've always known to be the truth. Not a very shocking revelation for me but I think the staff, the orphanage caretakers saw it as one. They wanted me to show more charm and likeability when potential adopters came around. I couldn't however. That's just not me.

So I was a bit of a veteran to the other kids in terms of how I'd stayed a really long time and have the experience. It was when I turned eleven that Seto and his younger brother Mokuba turned up. The other kids bullied Mokuba for a while but when Seto stood up for him, that somehow turned him into the leader of the pack – the orphanage's coolest kid. Nobody dared go against him.

Seto was an interesting guy, I'll admit. Now he was someone who was truly gifted. He was more than happy to let everyone know that he had the power to place unbreakable curses upon people. That was why not a single person dared challenge him.

I was a fool however. Well, I thought at the time 'I bet he's just saying he has those powers just to frighten the others.' Also I knew Seto would get adopted soon so I didn't care if I had a temporary enemy.

Thus I did the dumb thing and challenged him.

-

"Hey Seto!" I called, running towards him from across the playing field. He looked up, surrounded by his usual gang of jerks. Seto never seemed to care that they were there but he obviously didn't mind how blatantly they sucked up to him. "There's something I've been wondering..."

One of the other kids – Eita - stood before me, blocking the pathway between Seto and I. "Oi! What gives a freak like you the right to talk to him?" I rolled my eyes and tried to barge on past but the kid who bigger than me so he was able to hold me back. "Answer me!"

Seto let out a sigh. "Let him ask his question."

"But!"

"Unless you want to be the first at this orphanage to get a taste of my power?" Seto raised his eyebrows at the kid, who backed off from me immediately. Ugh.

I glared. "That's what I want to know! About your curses! You always say you have that power but where's your proof?!" I asked in a challenging tone. Almost all the nearby orphans let out a gasp. Seto smirked.

"Proof? Do you want proof? It's a bit unwise to ask for proof, don't you think? Why, I'd need a test subject in order to do that!" he replied, unfazed by my words. I'm certain he has some kind of power but claiming to be able to lay curses upon others is just ridiculous. Way too much exaggeration if you ask me. "Your name is Malik, right? You're the token unwanted child of this orphanage, right? Amazing, you've spent almost seven years here and not a single person has shown interest in adopting you!"

"We aren't discussing me, Seto!" I reminded him. "I believe we were discussing you."

"Hm, you've got nerve," the brunette male remarked with a chuckle. "How about you be my test subject?"

"Do your worst!" I snapped, starting to lose my temper. Even I was beginning to feel stupid when I blurted out those very foolish words. I really should not have said that.

All the other orphans were yelling out suggestions for curses to him. Every suggestion was cruel and outrageous to the point where it just got excessive. Seto silenced them all with his hand and told them that the curse had to be somewhat legal at the very least. That was the moment where I started to become incredibly nervous.

Why didn't I just use common sense and stay well away from him in the first place?

"I got it," he announced with a smirk. "For someone as unwanted and unloved as you, this is what I'll do..." He locked eyes with me and trapped me in his menacing stare. His blue eyes glowed sapphire and I felt an uneasy energy surge right though me, possessing me entirely. I couldn't move or tear my eyes away. I was captured, bound.

Help me! I pleaded with my eyes! Somebody, do something! Stop him! I got it, I'm the idiot! I don't want to learn my lesson like this! I won't challenge Seto ever again! Just let me go! Set me free! Why is nobody helping? Why is everyone just standing around watching? Is this just serving as an amusement to them? I thought using powers on other orphans was banned! One of the staff, come see!

No... I can tell that everyone's just going to stand by and let this happen. It was predetermined from birth. I'm just going to be a cursed, lonely child. I thought these lonesome feelings were enough of a curse for me as it is. But I guess not.

"Your curse shall be rather simple. Should you ever experience your first kiss, you'll be tied to that person for the rest of your life. Anything that person tells you to do, you will do it regardless of whether you want to or not. If you go forty-eight hours without kissing that person, you will be bound to me for the rest of your days as my slave. Got it?"

-

That day sealed everything. I withdrew from everyone and refused to get to know anybody. So long as I didn't have to kiss anyone, I was safe. Looking back, I think that was a really strange curse Seto gave me. But it did rub in the fact that the things I couldn't stand most were being not wanted and being bound to somebody. In a way, it's a bit of a paradox but I think that's just a part of me.

I did get adopted eventually. The adopter was of the Kawai family and they wanted a fourteen year old boy to play big brother to their eleven year old daughter. As I was the only fourteen year old at the time, I got to be the lucky one chosen.

The Kawai family ended up consisting of Oka-san – she'd instructed me to always refer to her as that, Shizuka and me. Their family used to be an Oto-san, Oka-san, Shizuka and the oldest sibling, Shizuka's older brother Katsuya. They were the original Jounouchi family. But some drama happened that caused the family to split – which is a big scandal in this type of society; Oka-san simply said that if asked about Oto-san I just respond that he died in battle. I didn't care about lying. I always said that both my parents passed away even though it was false in the case of my father.

The family split led to Oka-san taking Shizuka across the borders to another kingdom, the one in which I was born in. It's the Kaiba Kingdom and was led by King Gozaburo the II. Moving across borders is difficult and when you're on the run, it's even harder. Crossing over to Kaiba is an unspeakable thing for the Kawai family as the incident left Shizuka becoming permanently blind. The family simply didn't have enough money to treat it.

Shizuka also found it hard not having her brother with it, which was why I had to play that role. I didn't mind too much because even though I wasn't wanted, I was still needed.

I never did say what happened to Seto and Mokuba, did I? Turns out that Seto's powers were highly sought after and so he and his little brother got adopted by King Gozaburo himself, making the two of them royalty. King Gozaburo passed away when I was fifteen. Circumstances meant that the new crowned king was Seto himself.

What can I say? Life's a bitch.

Now I am seventeen and the curse still hasn't begun to take effect. I thought back then that perhaps I'd forget about that oddball curse he placed on me. That is not the case, obviously. With Seto as the king of the Kaiba kingdom, I guess they will never let me forget.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Ha, I did kinda intend for the prologue to have a lot of cuts like that. And be short and to the point. Mostly because most of the plot is in the events that will happen and the characters' development rather than finding out about their backgrounds. Bakura and Malik will probably meet in either chapter one or two. Will have to see how that goes.

Oh yeah, exam season is coming up so expect me to find it rather tough to squeeze out updates and whatnot! But I will try my best to write whenever I have free time! I'll probably do things like this: update 'A Bad Case of Hopeless' next, then 'Bloody Brilliant', then this, then ABCOH, then BB... Yeah, I think you get the point. May as well get a routine going, haha.

Oh yes, review! Lemme know your thoughts. It sure helps motivation when exams are trying to attack you! 8D; Okay, enough with trying to gain pity points, I'm outta here. XD

Adios!

Mel-Girl.