I planned this to be a one shot but since it's a little long, I´ll make two shorter chapters. I hope you enjoy it and this takes place before my story "Beloved slave".
I loved my life. My home that wasn't a home like any others. The whole desert was my home. We travelled from one water hole to the next, or along a river. I loved the desert and the animals living in it. Some were dangerous, like the scorpion or the rattlesnakes. But others were just cute, like the meerkats and the fennec foxes. I even had my own little fennec fox. I had found her next to her dead mother. I don't know what had happened to the mother but she was alone and I raised her. The little one was my best friend and I named her Fenny. There weren't many kids of my age, since we were a rather small tribe of nomads. The advantage was that we weren't often noticed, the disadvantage was that we weren't very protected if we did get noticed. And it's not only the animals that you needed to fear in the desert.
But I still loved it. I saw so much of Egypt and the desert and loved the feel of the sand beneath my feet and the wind on my face. City's were way too protected and loud as well. I did love to visit them and go over the markets every now and then. I loved the jewels they had. I had one piece myself. One real golden upper arm bracelet. But I always wanted to have some rubys, they're my favourites. I loved the deep red of them. I loved it so fiercely and never had guessed that it all could change so fast, in just one night. One night that changed my life of happiness and freedom into a nightmare. Neither did I know, that this nightmare would help me find the only one I would ever love enough to willingly refuse to go back to my live as a nomad and live in a busy and loud city. The one, that I will marry one day.
One night, the sky was full with stars and a full moon. I was sitting with some others, one of them being my Gramps, around a fire and telling storys and legends about the gods and magic. On that evening someone told the story, how our Pharaoh had defeated the evil Bakura in a match between shadow monsters. Suddenly someone shouted out loud, a warning. "Slave-traders, run!" Slave-traders were some of the humans that were dangerous to a nomad. They were always trying to find someone to sell and nomads were an easy catch. Especially a small tribe like ours.
Everyone tried to run and find a hiding place somewhere. It was dark, so it shouldn't be too hard to hide. I ran too, as fast as I could but I'm small and my legs short. I've never been one of the best runners. Still I ran in fear, as fast as I could, hoping to get away a bit from the main camp and hide behind a dune, praying that no one saw my footprints or cared enough to follow them. I ran and ran and nearly reached the dune I ran for, as someone grabs me and pulls me off my feet. I get pulled up onto a horse, in front of a rider, who held on to my arm the hole time with an iron grip. It hurt and I screamed and tried to get out of his grip, tried to losen it as much as I can and jump off the horse, but he was too strong.
I tried to bite his hand and he let go, I pushed myself off the horse and ran once again as fast as I could towards the next dune out of their sight, hoping to get away but I heared the man I bit swear and his horse came up to me but I duck as it gets closer and changed my course to another dune. He came after me again, surely angered that I had bitten him. I only tried to run faster and as he got closer, I tried the same like before. But this time he expected me to duck and got hold of my arm once again and pulled me up on the horse. This time with the back on the horse. It was really uncomfortable but the hate and anger in his eyes made me so afraid, that I didn't even care. I just tried to get away once again but this time he let go for a split second. But before I could even think about getting off the horse, his hand was at my throat. I hardly could breath as he said: "Try one more stunt like that and it was your last." He rode off, with me on his horse and I shivered. I still could hardly breath and after a while all I could see was darkness and the sounds around me slowly disappeared, as I lost consciousness.
When I woke up I was in a cage, made of wood. I looked around and saw a few men of my nomad tribe, as well as some others I didn't know. "You're all right, Yugi?" One of the men asked me. And I looked around first, there was another cage with some women and girls. And riders, one of them being the guy that had caught me. He was now wearing my upper arm bracelet, while I only had a bruise around my arms. Both of them, since he had gotten another one each times. I bet I had one around my neck too. I felt tears building up in my eyes and tried to fight them. But I was scared. The man from my tribe just looked at me and said: "Cheer up, at least your Gramps got away. And who knows maybe we get a chance to run at some point. Don't give up yet." I nodded but didn't feel hopeful. I still felt like crying, as our cage got pulled through my desert by a camel and the sun rose to a new day, my first day as a slave.
We rode through the desert for five days, stopping at waterholes during the nights. We would get a bit of water in the morning, at noon and at night time. At the later one, we would get a bit of food. But I was always hungry nowadays. I hoped that my little fennec fox was save and maybe with Gramps. Gramps would look out for him and Gramps wouldn't be that lonely either, with him around. I felt very lonely. There were a few I knew but none of them was a good friend of mine and they were all older. Now the desert looked sad to me and I hated the cage more than anything. I never knew how people could life in a building that was closed off and in a city, with all the noise and away from the desert winds. That already was too little freedom for my taste. But a cage was worse. Even in the desert, even if I still could feel the wind on my face. I was locked up, unable to feel the sand under my bare feed or run through the desert, not able to watch the meerkats or sit around a fire and listen to legends.
I cried myself to sleep every night and prayed, that when I would wake up, it would all just be a nightmare. A dream that I would fear for a while but then forget, while running around with Fenny, running through the desert with the sand under my feet and the wind in my spiky hair. Nothing gave me more pleasure, nothing could ever make me happier. And every night I would dream to do just that, to be free again and run around the desert. Over dunes and towards an oasis or a waterhole, when I was thirsty and we got close to one. I would hear my gamps telling me to be careful where I step and watch out for scorpions and snakes. But once I woke up, I was back in the cage and cried. I couldn't help it. The other guys looked at me like I'm embarrassing but I couldn't fight the feeling I had, locked up like this, I know they had it too but I wasn't as strong.
After the five days, we reached the building side of the new pyramid they're building for Pharaoh Atemu. And the slave-traders tried to sell all the men to them and at least some of the women. The men were gone after that and I was alone in that cage, since they didn't want me. I'm too small and weak. One of the traders complained to the man, that was now wearing my bracelet and chided him for taking a whimp like me, instead of a stronger man but the man said: "He might be too whimpy for here but look at that innocent face he has and small body, he is pretty and I bet someone of the rich people in the capital will pay a good price to use him as a bed slave." I stared at them as I heard that, more afraid than ever. They couldn't be serious, could they? The first one looked at me and asked: "Ever been with someone, boy?" I stared at him and mumble "no", hoping that they forgot about that idea, since I wouldn't know what to do as a bed slave. "You see," said the second man again: "He is untouched, even better.. that will bring in more." Suddenly I wished I had lied. Both men were looking at me and one said: "Too bad, actually I'd love to have some fun with him myself first, but since that would just make him less valuable, I better don't." And I'm glad again for having been honest. I'm afraid of them, especially the one that nearly had strangled me the night they had caught me.
We slowly rode towards the city. The capital. I've been there before and loved the marked but this time I fear it. For this time, I would be standing on one of the podiums where the slaves would be presented and the slave-traders would try to find a buyer for me. I feared the moment they would find one and what he might do to me. But there is nothing I could do. We reached the city in the evening and staid just inside of the walls for the night. One more night I'm going to be in this cage. And then I'm sold to someone, unknowing what he or she might do to me. This night I didn't dream, for I was too afraid to even sleep.
The next morning they brought us all to the market and tied us to poles on a podium to show us off. Me and some of the women and girls they hadn't been able to sell at the pyramid. I shivered and tried to fight the tears with only little success. I could feel tears running down my face as some watched me, some asked how much. Some made fun of the high price, for a tiny thing like me and tried to pay less. One in particular was talking about the payment and looked and asked questions like how old I was. They didn't know, so they tried and get it out of me but I refused to answer, let them see that I wasn't as whiny and weak as they thought I was and that I won't just let anything happen to me, that I didn't want to happen. But one was slapping my face again and again, until I mumbled "20 years", just to make him stop. My face hurt from all the hard slaps.
They talked a bit more about payment and I feared it, since they were getting closer to an agreement and the man not only looked like he is twice my age but he was strong and big and I feared him. And they came to an agreement, a bit more than half the price they had originally wanted him to pay. They were just about to shake on it, as I heard a voice say: "Wait! I'll pay his weight in gold."
Everyone was staring to the voice. Even people that were walking by before, that hadn't been listening, stare at the handsome and still young man on a horse, surrounded by others. Some of them guards. But one other as well. The other says: "Honestly, cousin, don't you have enough by now?" The first one just smiled and said: "You wouldn't understand. Not until you've tried." The first one just rolled his eyes but didn't say anything else, but it was clear to me that he had something else on his mind, that he was holding back and I knew by then why he did so. I noticed the item, the first one was wearing, the one that had offered to pay my weight in gold for me, which was an ridiculous high payment and much more than the slave-traders had asked for at the start. The man had a puzzle around his neck, a puzzle in the shape of an upside down pyramid and it had an eye on it. I knew immediately that it was the millenniums puzzle and the other had the rod with the same eye, the millennium rod. I knew both items all to well from the storys. That could only mean, that the one that wanted to buy me, was the Pharaoh and the other his cousin, High Priest Seto.
I shivered even more. The Pharaoh had the same hair I had and altogether looked like an improved version of me. A much improved and more manly version of me. He radiated power, even so he too was small, not as tiny as me, so. And his eyes had the most amazing colour even more beautiful then the red of ruby's. He got off his horse and went over to the podium and on to it. He walked right to me and put his hand gently on my still sore cheek, but so gentle that his touch didn't hurt, and asked: "Who did this, my little cutie?" I just stared at him at a loss for words. The Pharaoh was standing right in front of me and touching my bruised cheek and looked down on me. And he wanted to pay my weight in gold, just to get me. I shivered so hard, I couldn't possibly answer.
The slave-trader got mad, that I seem to refuse to answer the Pharaoh himself and moved his arm over his head, ready to slap me again full force but as he was about to do so, the Pharaoh's hand caught his wrist and moved it, with strength and speed, behind his back. Spinning the man around in the process. He might be small but he was strong. Very strong and I was astonished by his strength, as well as terrified. "I guess it was you then," the Pharaoh said. "Then tell me, do we have a deal or do I need to send your sorry ass to the shadows and take him by force?"
"He's yours, my Pharaoh, see him as a present, my Pharaoh. To honour our kind, fair and good hearted Pharaoh." The Pharaoh smiled and said: "I thank you for the gift and since you were so kind, I'll be kind too and warn you that if anyone ever touches what is mine," at that point he moved the arm upwards behind the slave traders back, causing him to whine in pain "I tent to get REALLY cranky." And then he pushed him forward, causing him to land on the floor of the podium.
He turned back to me and I shivered even more, after this display of strength but he whispered gently: "Don't worry, little one. I'm not going to hurt you and no one else will ever dare to do so again, I promise to protect you." I looked into his eyes, still shivering and still admiring. He looked kind and caring towards me and smiles friendly but I'm still a little afraid, after all that had happened to me in the past couple of days.
He turned after a moment and asked one of his guards for a knife. The guard threw it and he catched it. After that he cut through the ropes, that tied me to the poll and part of me wanted to run, but I was too afraid to move. And all the guards of the Pharaoh were there and watched what was going on and this strong and powerful young Pharaoh was right next to me, still with that little knife in his hand. I watched it for a moment and then he picked me up and carried me to his horse, like a baby. He lifts me up and got on it behind me and asked: "Ready to go?" I looked one more time towards the man, that was now getting off the floor, still wearing my bracelet and I wished I still had it. I was so proud of owning it, since the day I got it. He watched me and whisperd: "What is it you want?"
I looked at him, surprised that he had been able to read me so well already. "My... my bracelet, he took it." I whispered quietly and afraid what this powerful Pharaoh might do now.
He smiled and said, loud enough for the slave-trader to hear: "I'm certain my little one, that he will be more than happy to give you your bracelet back, won't you?" Somehow he managed to sound extremely threatening as he said these words. And the slave trader just passed the bracelet to a guard standing close by and it got passed to the Pharaoh who just put it right back onto my arm. I looked him in the eyes and he said: "Suits you much better than the bruises. What would you say, if we look for some more things for you? I'll buy you whatever you want today." I stared, my eyes wide open and I could feel a little smile on my face again. I still loved markets even after this little nightmare, and hoped to get at least one thing with rubys, even when his eyes were much better.