Yay! I've finished this earlier than I expected! It's not as long as the others, but there's some slight humor in here. There's some explanations on some earlier stuff in the story. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimers: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. Poor me . . .
Chapter Eight: Magician's History Lesson
"Yami! Where are you?!"
"Oi! Pharaoh! Quit playing hide and seek!"
The sound of pounding feet and the calling of Yami's name was evident in the Kaiba Mansion. They had spilt up into groups, each team staying within earshot of each other. They couldn't risk going off on their own in case the Jackal Fiends were still prowling around. All around the searching teens, servants were starting to awake. None of them seemed to realize what had happened, or understand why parts of the mansion laid in ruins.
"YA–" Kaiba suddenly cut off, and his eyes narrowed as he turned a corner. His posture brought the others running to them, and they skidded to a stop as well. At the other end of the hall, a tanned teen around their age stood, cradling Yami gently in his arms. The chibi's eyes were closed, and he seemed unaware of what was happening around him.
A wild mane of black hair framed the stranger's face. Dark green eyes rimmed with kohl looked up at them from a handsome face marred by the hieroglyphics carved on his left cheek. He was dressed in the traditional white linen robes still worn by the modern natives of Egypt. They could see a hint of gold bracelets on his wrists and gold earrings through his hair. Around his neck was a gold collar.
"Who the hell are you?!" Kaiba demanded with a growl.
The stranger smirked. "Still set on denying your Ancient Egyptian past? Well, no matter, it just makes everything easier for me. Maybe there's no need to kill you after all. Or him, I suppose," the stranger sneered, glancing at Yugi who shrunk down in Mokuba's arms under his gaze.
Jou stepped in front of them protectively. "What the hell do you got against Yugi?"
"He's a pathetic weakling and a mockery of my Atemu. Now if you excuse me, I think we'll be leaving." The stranger brushed his thumb across Yami's cheek and turned his back on them.
"I don't give a fuck what you got against the runt or why you think we're going to let you walk out here with the Pharaoh, but you better hand him over before you get hurt!" Bakura threatened.
"What an odd thing for a thief whose been trying to kill him for over several millennia to say." Green eyes glanced over the stranger's shoulder and froze the thief in his tracks. The stranger's lips curled up with a mocking smirk at the stunned expression on his face. With a growl, Bakura launched himself at the teen and managed to grab the stranger's sleeve. The floor cracked and exploded upwards, forcing Bakura to leap backwards to avoid the debris. When the dust settled, Yami and the teen had vanished.
INSERT LINE BREAK
Half an hour later, the ragged group was sitting at the dining table with miserable looks. Jou was holding an ice pack to his temple, band aids and linen bandages all over his body. Honda had one leg on another chair with an even larger ice pack resting on the ankle he had hit on the table. The only one among them that didn't seem to be any sort of pain was Anzu, who had rushed back to the Mansion once she heard what had happened.
Jii-chan was there too. He was sitting in an awkward position, trying to take pressure off his back and trying to focus on the tome in front of him. He had refused to stay at the hospital after he learned that Yami had been kidnapped. The old man still considered Yami his second grandson.
The scratching of a pen was the only sound in the depressed silence. Kaiba was studying the notes of property damage that Isono kept bringing him and trying to estimate the costs of repairing it all. Sometimes he would mutter in annoyance when he came upon a note that informed him that something he valued had been destroyed.
Ryou was sitting in spirit form in one of the chairs, speaking softly to Yugi, who the only one who could see him other than Bakura. The thief growled each time one of Kaiba's servants came near to treat his wounds.
Ryou didn't scold him for it. He knew his yami felt useless now. He'd let an unknown assailant take Yami right in front of him without giving the other any wounds other than the small scrap of white cloth he'd ripped from his sleeve before the floor exploded. But there seemed to be something else bothering him. Ryou wasn't the only one who noticed . . .
"Bakura, you seem a little . . . upset, about something other than the strangers' escape. Are you sure you don't know who that guy was?" Anzu wondered.
The thief sighed and glanced at the scrap of cloth. "I've never seen him before, and yet he knew who I was. And on his arm . . . when I ripped the sleeve, he had a scar."
"So?" Jou asked, crossing his arms.
"It wasn't a normal scar, it was like mine." Bakura filched a piece of paper from Kaiba's notebook, ignoring the glare, and drew. When he was finished, he held up a drawing of the scar he had on his face in Ancient Egypt. "Remember this? I got this when I was about eleven and I had just stolen from the palace for the first time, and got caught. I was let go because I was still a child, but I got this carved onto my face by the guard who had caught me."
"You mean it was a like a warning? A "Don't come back and steal from here ever again," sort of thing?" Mokuba asked.
"Yes. But it also warned the other guards that I had committed a crime against the Pharaoh. There were several variations the guards used. Mine means that I'm a thief. That bastard had a different type on his arm." His pen flowed across the page until a new drawing took form next to his.
"And what does this one mean?" Kaiba demanded, taking the sheet of paper and eyeing the drawing critically. Bakura was silent.
[Yami?] Ryou prodded, glancing at his dark.
"It wasn't used very often. I've actually never seen it on a living person before. The other crooks used to say it was the priests who carved it with magic, and it was a permanent mark that would follow you into the Afterlife or even rebirth should you attain it."
"Well, spit it out!" Kaiba growled.
"It meant that . . . someone had committed treason against the royal family. That they had attempted to murder or had murdered someone of royal blood."
Silence reigned in the room as the information hit home. Jou's eyes darkened as he jumped up onto the table and hurled himself at the thief with an angry growl. Unfortunately for him, Bakura was waiting for it. He slipped out of the chair the moment Jou crashed into it, sending the blonde tumbling chair over human across the dining room floor. Before Jou could get up to attack him again, the tomb robber had straddled him, keeping one hand on the back of his head as Jou muttered angry words into the wooden floor.
"Are you going to try to bite me again if you let you up again, Mutt?" Bakura asked, letting the bigger teen raise his head slightly.
"You fucking asshole! You let some guy who tried to kill Yami just take him like that?!"
"I said "someone of royal blood." That doesn't automatically mean that he tried to kill Yami. I've been to the palace several times during the Shadow Wars. I never saw him, which meant he had either been banished or killed before Atemu became Pharaoh."
"Is there a point to this?" Honda muttered, shying away from Bakura's answering glare.
"What I mean is, before Yami took the throne, there would have been four members of the royal family. Pharaoh Aknamkanon, High Priest Akunadin, Seth, and Yami himself. Just because everyone is after him now doesn't mean he was one the bastard tried to kill back then. I doubt he was."
Anzu frowned at him. "Why not? Why else would he want with Yami, if not to kill him or try to take over the world?"
The tomb robber rolled his eyes at her as he got off of Jou. "Are you blind, woman? That green eyed freak wasn't showing an ounce of hatred or malice towards Yami. However, he didn't seem to like Kaiba here one bit, and remember what he called Yugi? This guy seems to have some kind of adoration for the Pharaoh."
"It makes sense," Jii-chan mused, laying down one of the tomes he had been flipping through. "I don't think Yami will come to any harm. But his intentions are questionable. We don't know what he wants with Yami. Why would he wait so long to take Yami? Why hasn't he shown himself before?"
"Maybe he has, and we just didn't realize it," Honda replied lethargically, shifting the ice pack on his swollen ankle. The group blinked at him.
[What about the stalker spirit? Could that have been him?] Ryou said absently, in the midst of playing peek-a-boo with Yugi and making the violet eyed chibi giggle. Bakura's head snapped up at him.
"What is it?" Jou asked.
"The spirit . . . the one who was stalking Yami. Ryou thinks it might be the bastard who took Yami."
"A spirit turning solid? Is that even possible? We've been searching for so long and so far, the only spell that we've found that can give a spirit a human body also turns them into a chibi," Anzu inquired.
"Yeah, but this guy also knew how to summon Jackal Fiends, which is a spell no one's supposed to know. He also knew Yami from the past, and he's the one who placed the sleeping enchantment on the mansion. He's obviously skilled at Ancient Egyptian magic," Bakura pointed out.
"So what do we do now? This guy's got magic and can summon those Jackal thingies, how are we supposed to combat that? We don't even know where he took Yami or what he wants with him. Hell, we don't even know who this freak is! It's not like we can look into a magic crystal ball and find the answers," Jou demanded, wriggling his fingers for emphasis.
Bakura stared at him with an odd look on his face. Blinking, the blonde frowned at him in confusion. "What? Is something on my face?" he asked in bewilderment. The tomb robber's lips curled up into a smirk.
"Maybe a crystal ball won't give us the answers, but I know a certain card that could."
Several minutes later Bakura was flipping through a deck of familiar Duel Monsters' cards. It wasn't until Anzu spotted Jack's Knight land next to Curse of Dragon that she realized that it was Yugi's and Yami's shared deck. Before she could open her mouth to protest the thief's treatment of the cards he let out a triumphant sound and held up a card. The group of teens stared questionably at the Dark Magician he held aloft.
"Oi, come out priest!" Bakura growled at the card.
Nothing happened. The thief narrowed his eyes and started to furiously wave the card, hissing something in Egyptian that Anzu doubted was very pleasant. After a moment of watching the odd scene, Kaiba swung his notebook in annoyance and hit the thief hard in the back of his head. The card fluttered out of his hands onto the table.
"Enough of your damn hocuses pocus! What the hell do you think waving a playing card around is going to accomplish?" the CEO growled, sending one of his trademark glares at the part albino.
Before the thief had a chance to retaliate, shadows burst out of the tabletop before him. A second later, a purple staff slammed down upon his head, announcing the arrival of the Dark Magician, who glared down him, arms crossed.
"OW! What the hell was that for?" Bakura sputtered, sitting up from where he had been knocked to the ground and rubbing the sore spot on his head.
"That was for carelessly throwing Master's cards about and rough handling my card. What do you think you're doing touching my Pharaoh's cards without permission? And . . . where is Master Atemu? He must have summoned me, or else I would not be here." The shadow monster frowned as he looked around the room before a giggle drew his attention to the table. Large violet eyes met his as their owner's chubby fists held on tightly to his card.
"Young master? Last time I checked, you were seventeen going on eighteen. Just what is going on here?" His eyes scanned the room before a dark violet light engulfed him. When it disappeared, a tall tanned teen with long brown hair and dark stormy blue eyes dressed in an ankle length linen tunic stood in his place. The green staff remained, hovering in air next to him.
"Huh? Who're you?!" Jou and Honda chorused, staring at the teen in bewilderment as he raised an eyebrow at them.
"The Dark Magician, of course. This is my human form."
"Duel Monsters have a human form?" Mokuba wondered.
"No, not really. Only those who used to be human. I was a Millennium Priest in Pharaoh Atemu's court. That is, until a certain tomb robber over here caused my death and stole the Millennium Ring from me."
"Hey, you're the one who threw yourself in the trap," Bakura objected.
"You were going to kill me anyways, so shut it, grave digger. The only reason I threw myself in that trap was so I could perform the ritual!"
"Well if you weren't so bloody damn loyal to the baka Pharaoh you wouldn't have had to perform the damn ritual!"
"How dare you insult my Pharaoh!"
"I'll insult him as I please!"
Back and forth their argument went. With each word, their voices rose in volume until it escalated into a shouting match in Ancient Egyptian, leaving everyone else at loss what they were saying. The small group was watching the exchange back and forth like it was a tennis match. There were even a few of Kaiba's servants peering curiously into the room, drawn by the raised voices and wondering where the new addition to the group dressed in strange white clothing had come from.
At one end of the table, a vein was starting to throb in Seto Kaiba's temple. A fist slammed down onto the table. "WOULD YOU SHUT IT!?" Kaiba's voice cut through the pair's bickering. Silence reigned in the room as all eyes stared at him. "Now sit," he commanded with a growl, "And I don't want to hear another word about who dragged whose mummy into the throne room or any more of that bullshit."
Shocked to the point of numbness, the two ancient rivals sat down without a word, leaving a few chairs to create a space between them. Ryou, still in spiritual form and sitting in one of the chairs between the two, suddenly felt like he was caught between two very dangerous wild animals. Yugi was as cheerful as ever as he climbed into Mahaddo's lap and demanded the Shadow Monster's attention. Mahaddo gladly fulfilled the silent demand.
Kaiba sighed as he pinched the bridge of his nose before casting a glance to his eavesdropping staff. "Leave. Before you find yourself escorted off the estate permanently." They were gone before their boss had even completed his calmly spoken threat.
Once he had confirmed that they were gone, he turned back to the rest of the silently waiting group. "Thief. You are going to explain to Mahaddo what has happened and why you attempted to summon him."
His eyes shifted to the former priest. "You. You are going to listen without interruption and tell us what you know concerning what the tomb robber has told you. If one word comes out of either of your mouths that even resembles your earlier conversation, we're going to learn if I can really summon my Blue Eyes White Dragon and she can deal with you. Is that understood?" Kaiba demanded softly, ice blue eyes piercing into the other two. They nodded numbly.
It took almost fifteen minutes for Bakura to explain everything that had happened to them, starting with Yami and Yugi getting turned into chibis to the first appearance of the stalker spirit, Yami's mother, and finally, the teen that had kidnapped Yami and sent Jackal Fiends after them.
Mahaddo sent pensive as he mulled over the information he had been given, although his tanned face had turned a bit pale at the mention of the teen. The group sat staring at him expectantly. Before he could say anything there was a knock on the door. Everyone turned and found Isono standing there with an odd look on his face. Beside him was one of Kaiba's maids, holding a broom.
"Uh, sir? We weren't sure what it was or if it was safe to touch so we just . . . pushed it here with the broom," Isono explained.
"It" was a glowing green ball of energy hovering in the air and being kept in one place by the end of the broom handle. Two small and oddly shapes could be seen trapped inside it. Through the green substance it was hard to tell what it was or even what color the things were. It wasn't until they heard a rather frustrated Kuri sound that they realized that Kuriboh was trapped inside.
Mahaddo sighed and pointed his staff at the energy ball and muttered something in Egyptian. Violet hieroglyphics glowed around it before the energy dissipated and Kuriboh plopped to the ground and bounced softly feet before he managed to get airborne again. Yami's Ka caught sight of Mahaddo and he cooed before drifting over and snuggling down into his fellow Shadow Monster's lap.
Similarly, Mimic had fallen to the ground and rolled head over tail with a faint squeak. He righted himself with a fluff of his wings and shake of his head. He snorted, and a small patch of Kaiba's carpet was singed. Isono paled at the sight of smoke curling up from the burnt spot. The dragon peered around before launching into the air and settling himself on the back of Kaiba's chair.
Mahaddo raised an eyebrow at the dragon that pointedly ignored him to preen his left wing. The magician was tempted trap him back in the energy sphere. Kuriboh's coos brought him out of his thoughts as the small ball of fluff called his attention to the familiar necklace held gently in his claws.
"The Queen's sibling necklace," he murmured softly.
"So it was the Queen's," Bakura commented, overhearing the magician.
"Yes. Her father was a craftsman, and he made these two necklaces and a puzzle box as a wedding gift to her and her new husband, the Pharaoh. Later, after the Crown Prince was born, Pharaoh Aknamkanon handed his necklace to Atemu and the Queen gave him the puzzle box. The necklaces have magical amulets that protected the wearers and kept a loose connection between them. That way, the Queen would always know if her son was in danger or not."
"That's nice, now can you skip this and go on to the teen to who kidnapped Yami?" Kaiba asked impatiently, making Mokuba shoot him a mock glare at his rudeness.
"Very well. His name is Kamenwati. He's Master's half-brother. He was born about two months before Atemu was, from a foreign princess given to Aknamkanon as a peace treaty, who he only bedded out of respect for the foreign king. Soon after that, Aknamkanon met Halima, Yami's mother, at a festival. She was a dancer and he fell for her graceful movements. He courted her, and soon after that, took her as his wife and Queen."
"So he just abandoned the foreign princess and her child because he fell in love with a dancer?" Mokuba asked. "That seems kind of harsh."
"It wasn't until after the marriage and coronation that Pharaoh learned she was pregnant. He treated her well, but he refused to take on a second wife. The princess died of an illness soon after giving birth, but because Aknamkanon hadn't taken her as a wife, Kamenwati was considered an illegitimate child. Aknamkanon made sure he was well cared for and educated, but Kamenwati was virtually invisible to him."
"But Bakura said he was affectionate towards Yami. If the Pharaoh hadn't fallen in love with Halima, he would have been the Crown Prince. So wouldn't he have had a grudge against him?" Anzu reasoned.
"That would be the typical reaction yes, but I'm sure you know as well as I do that anything concerning Atemu isn't typical," Mahaddo answered, smiling. The rest of the group nodded, and Bakura rolled his eyes at the statement, making Ryou poke his transparent finger into his side and warn him to be nice.
"As an illegitimate of the Pharaoh, he was considered unimportant. Other than his few servants, he grew up mostly alone, isolated from the rest of the palace. Atemu came across him in the gardens after sneaking away from a lesson. At the time, neither had known who the other was, and they had become fast friends. Atemu was the first person to show Kamenwati true kindness, and Kamenwati loved him dearly, even after he learned he was the Crown Prince."
"What about the brand mark? Who'd he try to send to the Duat?" Bakura interrupted, picking up the paper he had drawn the scar on and waggling it in the former priest's face for emphasis. Ryou suspected it was just to annoy the magician, and it was working. Mahaddo scowled at the thief and snatched the paper away.
"I'm getting there! You see, as they got older, Atemu began getting more lessons and more responsibly. They didn't spend as much time together as they used to, but they still saw each other at least once every day. Once Atemu hit puberty, he started getting . . . distracted by another. The sparse moments Kamenwati got to spend to Atemu were lessened even further. At first, Kamenwati had merely thought Atemu was attending to some princely obligation, but he followed Atemu one night."
"And saw Atemu screwing around with his stick-up-his-ass cousin," Bakura interrupted. "So he tried to off the bastard priest, but he got caught, branded, and kicked out of the kingdom," the thief finished, leaning back in his chair and resting his feet on the table. Kaiba threw an icy glare at him, but he shrugged it away with a smirk.
All eyes turned to Mahaddo. The magician hesitated, momentarily floored by the modern phases the thief had used, and then he sighed. "Basically, yes. Normally, as Seth was the son of Pharaoh Aknamkanon's brother and the future High Priest, Kamenwati should have been beheaded for the attempted murder. Instead, Atemu spared his life, and sentenced him to exile under pain of death should he ever return to the kingdom."
The silence of the group was only broken by a sniffle. They turned in bewilderment to find the maid and Isono still standing in the doorway. The maid had a handkerchief and was blowing her nose into it. "Oh, that's so sad. He was so lonely and Atemu helped him, but he was forced to banish him in the end."
Kaiba scoffed, and stroked Mimic's head. The miniature Blue Eyes had curled up on his shoulders at some point during the discussion. Although he appeared to be asleep, Kaiba had the feeling that he was wide awake and listening closely to every word. "Sad? He was pathetic. A child throwing a fit over a toy taken from him."
Mahaddo stifled a laugh. "How ironic. That's the same thing he said. Oh wait, I forgot, you are Seth," the magician smirked smugly at the CEO who was glaring daggers at him.
"For the last time, I am not some ancient priest from three thousand years ago! …And just what is it that you find so hilarious, thief?!" he snarled, turning his glare onto the howling albino.
"Oh nothing. Just the fact that the idiot here was speaking Egyptian and you spoke it right back to him, and the fact that you understand me even now." Bakura grinned widely as Kaiba gathered up his things and stormed out of the room, muttering about stupid thieves and nonsense stories with Mimic still on his shoulders.
Mahaddo watched him leave before turning slowly towards the thief and eyeing him with a glower. "Now just who are you calling an idiot?"
I wish I could have written more of Mahaddo's and Bakura's arguement, but if I had, the chapter would have gone on for pages and I'd never get to the point. Those two have personalities that will clash no matter what situation you put them in. It's so much fun writing it!
*Duat - Egyptian Underworld.
*Kamenwati - Means "Dark Rebel" in AE. I thought it suited him.
*Seth - I'm using it as Seto's past name because "Seto" is Japanese and would not have existed in Ancient Egypt. (Actually, the letter 'O' didn't exist at all in their language, although they do have some gods that have the letter 'O' in them. But that's because they were adopted from other cultures over the years as the result of being conquered and conqueroring their neighbors, and it was pronounced as 'uh' instead of 'oh'. Take for example, the god Osiris. Instead of saying Oh-siris, it's pronounced Uh-siris.") Um, anyways, using Seth makes who I'm talking about less confusing. Plus, even if it is the same reincarnated soul, I really doubt they would have the same name as their past self.
*And one more thing. Remember when I told you "Bennu" was a name meaning "eagle" and not the Egyptian name for phoenix? Well, it turns out that although "Bennu" really does mean "eagle in their language, but it was also used to refer to the phoenix. What happened was that Arabian traders came bearing tales of the phoenix, and since the Egyptians didn't have a name for it in their language, they called it the "bennu bird." Interesting isn't it?
Now then, please review and tell me what you thought.