Butterfly

AN: I wrote this a year or so ago and just rediscovered it on my computer so I figured I'd share.

Disclaimer: I do not own YGO or the song 'Butterfly Fly Away'

The young Priestess sat on a bench in the garden, her eyes unfocused, blind to the beauty before her. She'd often looked at them in wonder, marveling that such delicate blooms could thrive in this dry land. However, today her thoughts were turned inward. This day marked the second year since her Master had sacrificed himself while trying to stop the thief Bakura and a few suns more would mark two years after the death of the Pharaoh. The lingering grief was painful for the young woman, especially as there were few, if any, who could understand how she felt. Most would chide her for still grieving; after all, the dead resided in Paradise, the Fields of Osiris. Surely, they would say, a Priest as devoted to his Pharaoh as Mahado would easily pass the Test of the Heart; to die for the Pharaoh was the most honorable death one could hope for.

You tuck me in,
Turn out the light
kept me safe and sound at night
little girls depend on things like that

Brushed my teeth and combed my hair
had to drive me everywhere
you were always there when I looked back

But to Mana, Mahado had been more than just a teacher; he had been the father and elder brother that she'd never had. For her younger, more rambunctious self, he had been the center of her world, her anchor and protector. He had taught, or tried to teach her, as much of his vast knowledge as her limited attention span had allowed. He'd defended her when she messed up or if a prank went a little too far, been endlessly patient with her, even though she must have made him want to strangle her at times. How she now regretted frittering away her time with him, for not learning more that he wanted to teach her…

You had to do it all alone
Make a living, make a home
Must have been as hard as it could be

And when I couldn't sleep at night
Scared things wouldn't turn out right
you would hold my hand and sing to me

Mana abruptly started out of her thoughts as something brushed against her cheek. She focused her eyes to watch the butterfly that had landed on a nearby flower. The sight of the delicate insect brought back more memories of her master and made her miss him even more.

"Master, I just can't do it!" Mana pouted up at her Master, frustrated that she had not yet been able to complete the spell successfully. It was too hard; she'd never be able to do it!

Mahado laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder, "You are doing well Mana. You will get it."

She pouted again and plopped ungracefully to the ground. "No I won't. It's too hard!"

Mahado lowered himself to the ground to sit next to his apprentice. Putting an arm around her shoulder, he spoke, "Mana, nothing truly worth accomplishing is easy. I have faith in you." Seeing that she still didn't believe him he rose once more and held a hand out to her, "Come, there's something I want to show you."

Curious now, Mana took his hand and rose to follow him. She was surprised when their destination turned out to be one of the palace's gardens; her Master was not one to halt lessons for leisure time. Sitting beside him on a bench, she followed his gesture as he pointed to a nearby plant and the chrysalis attached to its stem.

"Do you see that cocoon over there?"

"Yes Master. What about it?"

"Watch."

As the older mage spoke, Mana noticed a small tear in the cocoon and the faint movements of the insect inside struggling to get out. Puzzled, she asked, "Master, I don't understand. What's so special about it?"

"Mana, a caterpillar spins a cocoon to protect itself as it changes. But that change takes time and comes with a price. Once its new form is attained, the newborn butterfly must fight its way out of the cocoon its old form created in order to fly. And if a shortcut were taken, such as cutting the cocoon open for it, the butterfly would not be able to fly and would die. You are like that butterfly Mana. You came here with the potential to be a great mage but you were weak and in need of guidance. Your lessons and I act as your cocoon; they may feel like a prison at times but they help you grow and change. As your teacher, I guide and protect you as you do. But you struggle to master those lessons, to learn the discipline you need to become what you can be, just as the butterfly must fight for freedom before it can fly."

Mana thought about this as they sat together and watched the butterfly work its way out of the cocoon and rest on the plant's stem as its wings dried. Finally, the insect fluttered its wings and flew off into the garden. As Mana watched it, she felt her Master's hand against her shoulder before he left her to go about his duties, leaving her to ponder this unexpected lesson.

Mana smiled at the memory; her Master had always known just what to say. She'd spent much time in the gardens after that day, watching the butterflies when she struggled with a lesson. In the weeks after the deaths of her Master, the Pharaoh, Kalim and Shada, the gardens had become her place to grieve and learn as she tried her best to continue as her Master would have wanted. Inheriting the Sennen Ring and getting used to her role as a High Priestess to the new Pharaoh had not made her task any easier, but she had kept Mahado's words about the necessity of struggle in mind.

Soft footsteps approaching brought her out of her thoughts and she looked up into the sad blue eyes of her fellow Priestess, "Lady Isis, is everything alright?"

"Yes Mana, but the Pharaoh has asked for us. He says it is important." Slim fingers touched the Tauk at her throat, a habitual gesture of many years, "Are you alright? I know this is a difficult day for you."

"I'm alright." The two began walking towards the throne room and Mana asked, "Are you?" Isis was the only one who could understand how she felt; while Mana had lost her father figure, Isis had lost her husband. The two had become closer than ever in their grief but Mana sometimes hesitated to bring him up; Isis had enough reminders as it was.

Isis smiled at her, "I am alright Mana. You don't have to avoid talking about him with me. It is a comfort to remember the good times rather than think of the bad."

Mana nodded her understanding, their conversation ceasing as the entered the throne room.

Caterpillar in the tree, how you wonder who you'll be
can't go far but you can always dream
Wish you may and wish you might
don't you worry hold on tight.
I promise you there will come a day
Butterfly fly away
Butterfly fly away (butterfly fly away)

The Pharaoh's meeting turned out to be extremely important. The kingdom was finally recovering from the events of two years ago. However, the Pharaoh was extremely wary of someone using the Shadow powers wrongly again. The previous Pharaoh's name had been forgotten when he cast the spell that sealed himself and Zorc away. As a result, it had been decided that the Shadow powers would be sealed away and the Sennen Items hidden until the Pharaoh's return. The royal court was to be split, with some leaving to form a protective clan to guard the Items and the Pharaoh's tomb until his return and the rest remaining with the Pharaoh Set. The new clan's contact with the outside world would be limited to what was needed to keep up with the happenings of the world, so they would be ready when the Pharaoh returned. Their primary duty was to guard the tomb and preserve what the Pharaoh would need to regain his memories.

No one was surprised when Isis volunteered to go, though some may have been when Mana requested to join her. But it was thus decided; the two Priestesses would lead the group of guards and their families to the hidden caverns near the Pharaoh's tomb and form the Tomb keeper Clan.

Catch your wing now you can't stay
Take those dreams and make them all come true
Butterfly Fly Away (butterfly fly away)
We've been waiting for this day
All along and know just what to do
Butterfly, butterfly, butterfly,
Butterfly fly away
(Butterfly fly away)
(Butterfly fly away)

Soon the Items had been carefully packed away, the people gathered and the supplies readied. On the day of their departure Mana took one last walk to the palace gardens where her Master had taught her one of the greatest lessons of her life. Watching the butterflies, she whispered, "I miss you Master. I hope I'll make you proud of me."

"You already have Mana," Isis spoke from behind her, her young son at her side, clutching her hand, "He was always proud of you; his little butterfly."

Wiping a tear from her eye, Mana joined her and scooped up the blue-eyed little boy, "Is it time to go?"

"Yes. They await us at the gates."

"Alright then, let's go." The child at her hip and Isis's arm around her shoulder, Mana went to meet her new clan. Farewells were said, blessings given and communication plans reviewed. Soon, Mana Ishtar was walking into the newest role of her life: Tomb Keeper of the Unnamed Pharaoh.

The End