It wasn't that Tozokuoh Bakura didn't like his given name. On the contrary, he loved it, for it was the only thing he still possessed of his family. But the Pharaoh and his court recognized that as the name of the Thief King. He was proud of his reputation, of course, for it had taken him a while to earn it, but it was suspicious. When he was in hiding or staying at an acquaintance's house (particularly if that acquaintance wasn't even a thief in the first place), the last thing he needed was the palace goons coming after him. He really didn't want any people apprehended because of him - especially if they were innocent. He didn't want caught himself, besides that.

So he simply called himself by the alias Bakaré. It still had the Egyptian feel, but it sounded little like "Bakura".

Tonight was what he liked to call "the night of nights". He was looting a tomb near the palace - without any assistance, reinforcements, or allies of any sort. No lookouts, no partners. It was definitely going to be a big night. He wasn't going to have any help - but he was confident that he could pull it off. He was the King of Thieves, after all. He hadn't failed or gotten captured once.

So here he was, at the entrance to the large crypt. He had carefully tied his horse, Talaitha, up by the opening, and had calmed her down, assuring her he'd come back soon. And he went in.

As he looked around, he felt a grin spreading across his face. It was probably going to split his face in two, but at the moment, he really didn't care. Light glinted off the gorgeous gold treasures, shining all around him. Just the reflections from the artifacts lit up the entire tomb, practically, or so it seemed to be. "Ha! I'm undoubtedly going to eat well tonight!"

"Halt, thief... don't be so haughty, evildoer."

It was a woman's voice. What on Earth would a woman be doing here - and telling him to stop? Women shouldn't be telling men to do anything, and especially him!

"What a sexist," Dani snorted. "If I knew that's what you thought of me, I wouldn't have gotten you that pack of new Ghoul monsters for your birthday."

Yami Bakura scowled. "Could I tell my story without any comments from the nut gallery?"

"Peanut gallery," Bakura corrected.

"No, Ryou, she's definitely the nut gallery. Now, where was I?"

Turning around, Bakaré saw a young lady, holding a small silver knife. Her hair was long and black; not tied up as many women's hair, but set wild and free about her shoulders and face. Her eyes, which at the moment were filled with anger, as well as an obvious hatred for him, were a deep green color.

She was dressed in white, a fairly short dress. It came past her knees, but not all the way down to her ankles like women's dresses should be... flowing around her in the wind that was let in by the tomb entrance, exposing more skin. She was barefoot, but there were tight bandages around her ankles. Her skin wasn't as tanned as his was, but it wasn't unnaturally pale. Her hair whipped around her as she glared at him, looking unafraid. Did she know who she was facing here? If she did, she obviously must have a death wish.

"Oh?" He took a step toward her, amused. "And who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do? You are little more than a delicate Nile flower. I suggest you leave now, or you will get hurt. Run along, little beauty."

"No!" She placed a hand on her chest. "I fight for justice, and I will drive this lesson into you, fiend!" Removing her hand, she thrust it forward, fingers pointing at him. "Wingweaver, come to my aid!"

A six-winged woman appeared before Bakare, materializing in front of the other lady. This woman was clad in a golden gown, and had lavender hair, long nails, and no shoes - barefoot, just like the other woman. "If you have an opponent worthy of me," the winged woman, Wingweaver, announced, her voice resonating through the tomb like a bell, "I suggest you summon him now, grave robber. Do your worst, foul outlaw."

Bakaré smirked. So, this woman knew how to manipulate the true nature of her soul. Clever girl. "So then," he chuckled, tossing his headdress off to reveal his wild silver hair, "you have a Kaa, too? Delightful! This battle shall prove interesting indeed, as it seems our monsters are evenly matched. Might I summon my own Kaa now?"

"Doing so will simply delay your defeat, thief!" the blonde woman shouted across the makeshift arena. "None can overpower Wingweaver, peaceful avenger from above!"

"Then let's do battle, woman. Might you trust me with the knowledge of your name?"

"If you'll give me yours, so the guards know who to go after!"

"I suppose you should know the name of the person who is about to kill you. My name is Tozokuoh Bakura - you, however, can call me Bakaré, as everyone does. I'm not worried about you telling anyone... after all, it's a secret you'll be taking to the grave! Your name?"

"Masika Ahmed, the honorable punisher! Prepare to be judged by Anubis, thief!"

"Ha-ha-ha!" He grinned at her, summoning Diabound. "This is going to be a quick fight, Miss Masika!"

"I was right," Yami Bakura chuckled bitterly. "Oh, good Ra, was I right. It was quick - but the scales tipped in her favor!"

"I thought you couldn't be defeated by anyone," Dani commented. She wasn't trying to be smart; it was just an innocent statement, filled with all the curiosity and disbelief of a child.

"Truly, how naive I was back then." He shook his head. "Now, I may have been the strongest thief - by far! But foolish was I to believe I was the strongest person. Masika, she wasn't either, but dear Ra... she was good enough to beat me that night." He shrugged. "I suppose it all came down to the fact that she was having a good night, and I wasn't. I was overconfident, and Diabound had not been exercised well. If you don't allow your Kaa practice, its abilities atrophy. But it was true, what I said before, our Kaas were evenly matched at that time. I suppose you could say they killed each other - reached a stalemate, stalled, and disappeared back into our bodies."

"So what happened?" Bakura asked, knitting his eyebrows together. "Did she really beat you to a bloody pulp? You must have escaped with something intact."

Yami Bakura snorted. "Well, not my pride, hikari, that's for sure."

Diabound had weakened, and had failed Bakaré. The Kaa vanished, leaving his master lying on the ground, bleeding from the slash on his arm where the woman's Kaa had sliced Diabound's arm with her sharp feathers. He wasn't crying; thieves didn't cry. But to a regular citizen, this was a pain that made one wail and howl.

Masika was not without wounds of her own, however. His Diabound had managed to wrap his tail around Wingweaver's leg and had squeezed it, so the woman's leg was rather bruised, probably painful to walk on. It wouldn't show through her dress, but she had torn the bottom half off for easier movement, leaving it only at her knees - unacceptable for most, if not all, women.

The last thing Bakaré saw before blackness invaded his vision was the image of Masika limping over to him - to him? Or was she going outside? To wake the guards... oh Ra, the guards, oh, no, no...

I-I'm losing so much blood...

"But you didn't die there, obviously," Bakura pointed out. "It wasn't a life-threatening injury, was it?"

"At that time, no, it wasn't usually fatal, but that kind of thing could definitely debilitate you," his Yami answered. He sighed, closing his eyes and leaning back a bit. "Then you were pretty much doomed to a short life. If you couldn't use an arm or leg, you couldn't work - couldn't support yourself. Few people would take in a cripple. Family, maybe, but I didn't have any alive."

"That's horrible," Dani commented, brushing some hair out of her eyes. "Why wouldn't you help somebody if they needed help?"

"Back then," he replied, "you concerned yourself with you and no one else. Oh sure, people felt bad for not doing helping someone who needed help. But that didn't really change anything. You see, Dani, back then it was like an ocean. All the regular people were sharks, and the cripples were the sharks who had stopped moving. They were drowning. You stopped moving, even for a second to help another shark in need - you drowned too."

"What a vicious cycle," Bakura mumbled, looking down. "If I was alive back then, I wouldn't have cared. I would have helped someone if I could do it."

Yami Bakura let out a soft, bitter chuckle. "You think so, hikari."

When Bakaré awoke, he was not in a jail cell as he expected to be. Not lying on the cold floor of the tomb left for dead, either. He was on a soft bed, with cool sheets surrounding him and a pressure on his arm. He immediately looked over.

Masika was there, beside him, with her hand on his arm. She was holding a cloth to it, pushing it against his skin. She met his eyes with hers, but said nothing.

He tried to growl at her, but it came out as a pitiful whimper. "Where am I?" he demanded, though it didn't sound nearly as intimidating as it would under different circumstances. Then again, under different circumstances he probably wouldn't even be saying it in the first place.

"My chambers," she answered, and her voice was very quiet. Almost as if she were afraid to speak any louder. "In the palace."

He instantly became suspicious, almost angry even. "Why?" He tried to sit up, but a sharp pain in his arm made his grunt and lie back down. "Why?"

Masika gave him a look that clearly and in no uncertain terms told him not to try that again. "Because I took pity on you, thief," she uttered softly, just loud enough to be heard. "Don't question it." She put the cloth down on the table, removing it from his arm and allowing him to see the dried blood. "Be grateful I spared your life, Bakaré."

He looked away from her. "You called for the guards, didn't you? They'll come for me, then."

"No. The foolish misconceptions of a thief." She picked up the cloth again and dipped it in a bowl of water. "I said that I took pity on you, did I not?"

"But... so... you..." He looked up at her, but just barely, out of the corner of his eye. "Didn't call for the guards...?"

"I did not, no."

"Wait wait," Dani spoke up, waving her hands. "Back up here, Yami. But you were a thief, and she was a palace worker!"

"That's right," Bakura agreed. "Why wouldn't she report you to her superiors? Obviously they'd been trying to catch you for some time."

Yami Bakura nodded, and it was the look in his eyes, that let them both know that he was fairly weary of the world, of everything in it. That he didn't want to continue his story, but he felt it was something he had to do. "I never quite figured it out, you know... the reason she saved me from a horrible fate that night. I'm still not really sure."