Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh nor Sailor Moon. Yu-Gi-Oh! belongs to Kazuki Takahashi and Sailor Moon to Naoko Takeuchi. The cover photo for this story is owned by Saturnalius aka Sammy.
A/N: I am terribly sorry I have not updated this story in quite some time. I am pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and also have a lot going on. That is still not an excuse for not updating in the last two years.
A/N: I will be incorporating Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman terminology into my fanfic and delving into every character's head (but it will mostly be Atem and Serena, especially later on) as a reminder. I have also invented my own terminology and edited the first two chapters.
A/N: I had thought since everyone had died for Atem, Atem would be suffering from survivor's guilt, and still is even though Mana had resurrected him. I know that his character is capable of feeling survivor's guilt because of the duel with Rafael.
A/N: In addition, I had decided to explore more of the Silver Millennium, Elysion and the kingdoms the Sailor Scouts hail from because those aspects of Sailor Moon have always piqued my interest. I seriously wish Takeuchi-sama would have fleshed out those ancient kingdoms in more depth.
A/N: As an apology for my long absence, I am open to suggestions for SelenityxAtemu scenes.
Queen of Water: Sorry for waiting two years for this chapter.
Rosetrang628: If you happen to read this, you have every right to be frustrated with my cruel cliffhanger. I have been dying to see Seto's pride crumble for what feels like eons. You are not alone in that. I can see Serena telling off Seto just right now. I also see you have emailed me in the past and I forgot to send one back. Forgive me for that.
Saris Yui: Seto will definitely be salty.
Puffgirl1952 the 2nd: Seto needs to be smacked big time in a comedic fashion.
Kiara-Hitashi: Thank you for thinking that. Hopefully you will reread this fanfic one day.
SoraTenshi29: Well, your wish will be granted. May the gods hope you reread this fanfic.
Yami Nocturna: I am glad you feel I have potential. Hopefully this padawan will deliver a chapter you feel is good.
SoccerNavyBrat02: Thank you for feeling it was interesting. Let us hope you will reread this story one day.
Irish-Kitten88: Well, Artemis in the manga was a little self-absorbed. I did like that aspect of him and was disappointed it did not carry over into the anime. I mean, the 90's anime. Not Sailor Moon Crystal.
Moonprincess1416: Don't worry. I will update!
Sovereign Violette: Having his hands full with Serena? That is an understatement. And I appreciate plain speech since calling Seto something else would be sugar-coating. Thank you for loving this and I hope to see you read this fanfic one day.
JupiterGirl25: I am with you. And your request shall be fulfilled.
Rainbow Quartz 14: I am doing more :) :) And this is Serena we're talking about! Well, technically it is her past incarnation we are talking about, but in theory, they are the same person.
Dream Dragoness: Sorry about the cliffhangers lol I hope you will read this one day!
Reader: Thank you for saying that. Hopefully you are still around.
gothicprincess982: I am going to try my best.
fco ala: I received your inbox message. I am going to update now.
Amanda27A.g.: You believed in me. Thank you for that. This chapter is going to be dedicated to you.
A/N: Remember, reviewing and constructive criticism is more than welcome. Do not flame me because I do not tolerate flamers. Now on to the latest chapter.
Chapter 3: Child of Iah
The sky was being streaked with salmon pink, lilac, periwinkle and silvery-blue as the brilliant opal called the Sun rose from the horizon. "I am so happy that was not the Silver Crystal," a nine-year-old Princess Serena was saying to a Sailor Scout of hers.
The Sailor Scout, an exquisite adolescent girl with raven hair and plum purple eyes, arched one fine eyebrow in response. "Do you know how much stress you'd put Her Majesty through, Your Highness?" the girl asked the heiress to the Silver Millennium carefully for the seventh time, her face belying her tone of voice.
Serena ripped her hand out of the Martian Princess's and dropped her eyes to the blanket of silver she was holding, embroidered with the motto of the City of the Moon, Selenium: 'Iskhýs mou hē agápē toû laoû'. "I didn't know that at the time!" Serena defended herself, bringing her head upward to drill her eyes into Princess Raye's. "Just let it go, okay?"
Two nights before, Serena had begged her mother to unveil Selenium's greatest treasure, the Silver Crystal. After some reluctance, Queen Serenity agreed to take Serena to the Moon Citadel located in the Acropolis of Selenium, which was linked by a portal cleverly hidden in the Queen's bedchamber.
When Queen Serenity went into detail about how the Silver Crystal was fortified, Serena lost all interest in the topic, believing it was nothing but waffle. However, she could not forget the brilliant luster of the crystal, its perfect spherical shape, the soft, pulsating light it put forth, instilling Serena with positive emotions. It was so bright Serena had equated it with the Sun, and had assumed that the Silver Crystal was Selenium's personal sun. A grave mistake on her part when she saw the Sun melt into the horizon and being replaced by the Earth. All Hades went loose afterward.
The Princess of Mars and the Princess of the Moon had a heated staring contest before Serena started giggling, thus breaking the silence. "What's with the serious face, Raye?" she inquired her guardian. "You should be happy that you can dress up today." Serena twirled about in her new attire, a luxurious frosty white chiton with a golden hooped zoster draped around her waist, the folded silvery blanket flying about aimlessly in the early morning air.
"I will be once you cease this mindless behavior and set the blanket down on the meadow, Your Highness!" Raye's tone was dripping with impatience, albeit her regal features were calm. In her sweeping reddish-black lamé dress and simple black elbow-length gloves, Princess Raye looked otherworldly. The picnic basket handle dangling on her arm made her appear as if she were a supermodel going out on a simple picnic at the Moon Palace Garden.
Serena blushed madly before quickly laying the blanket atop the florid meadow, jumping on the blanket in a kiddish way. Leaning backward, the Moon Princess eyed the nearest flowerbed, seeing baby irises, dandelions and carnations poking out of the soil, not in full bloom yet. "I wish I could pick them," Serena said softly. "But my hands always go right through them." Out of the corner of her eye, the Crown Princess of the Silver Millennium witnessed the Martian Princess kneel on the blanket-covered meadow, plopping the basket next to her before opening it.
"Maybe you will one day," said Raye airily. "Either way . . . . they're beautiful, Serena." Even while rummaging through the basket, the ravenette carried the poise of a Sailor Scout - relaxed but vigilant, ready to spring into action at any moment. "But maybe I should tell you a story, Serena," she added as an afterthought, "and sit how a person of your stature should, Your Highness."
Serena frowned. "Stop trying to order me around," she whined. "Why are you so bossy, Raye?"
Raye clenched her fists. "And why do you have to be so difficult?" she argued with the Moon Princess. "I wouldn't be so bossy if you weren't so difficult, Your Highness!"
Serena stuck her tongue out, which Raye gladly mirrored. "So much for lecturing me on how to be princesslike," she accused her friend. "You're acting just as unladylike as I am!"
Raye was looking disgruntled. "That doesn't mean you have to act that way too!" she said heatedly. "For Mars's sake, maybe you will be in a better mood if you just ate breakfast!" Raye tossed her friend a wrapped package before grasping a similarly wrapped package from the big basket.
As Serena unwrapped the package and started to chow down on her breakfast, Raye said reluctantly, "But there may be a time where acting like this may be the only option you have. And you'll know what I mean one day, Serena."
Princess Serena wondered why she was reflecting on that memory at the moment. Right now, she was surrounded by a throng of barbaric people, six of noble station, one a servant girl and one of royal blood. Nevertheless, she kept herself still as five of the nobles - including the priest named Shada - were being led by that awful man with navy eyes.
The Selenite felt her chin being lifted skyward, and she found herself eyeing a girl, about her age, with ruffled chocolaty hair and big teal eyes sharpened by black eyeliner, looking comically serious. Except the girl wasn't lifting Serena's chin with her hand, but rather with a simple magician's staff. "What is your name?" the girl asked Serena.
Serena was taken aback by the girl's friendly demeanor, and for a brief second, her limitless fear evaporated. "S-Seren -" she started to say before a dark-haired man cut across her.
"What are you doing, Mana?" the man said sharply. "We must go through with the Millennium Trial, not talk with the accused." The man was holding a pair of shimmering golden scales aloft and was shamelessly shirtless, much to Serena's horror.
The teenaged girl stepped back, waving her magician's staff absently. With her other hand, she was tracing a golden pendant that was comprised of a flat pyramid, set within a ring dangling with spikes. "Right!" Mana said, obviously embarrassed.
"Just what is the Millennium Trial?" Serena asked fearfully.
Mana merely looked at Serena, the embarrassment draining from her face. "The Millennium Trial is a Kemetian trial that uses the Millennium Items to judge a criminal," she stated matter-of-factly. "And not just any criminal. A criminal that does something bad such as threatening the ruler of our land. Their soul will be judged for innocence or guilt and be dealt with accordingly."
The priest named Seto pointed his rod at Serena, both of them glaring at each other with utmost loathing. "Without further ado, let the Millennium Trial commence," he announced, swishing his cloak to and fro. "You are at the mercy of the dark power of the seven Millennium Items. We Sacred Guardians shall judge your soul to see if it is pure or evil!"
"Proceed," the tri-colored-haired royal permitted to his Sacred Guardians. Turning to the enigma, His Royal Highness went on, "I, the Pharaoh of Kemet, will determine whether you are friend or foe with the help of my court."
Shada walked over, holding the Millennium Ankh aloft, gazing at the foreigner. "With the Millennium Ankh, I shall read this woman's mind!" Shada declared. The Millennium Ankh glowed soft gold, humming loudly. Shada closed his eyes, his countenance pokerfaced. A second later, his eyelids fluttered open, his steel blue spheres revealing newfound knowledge.
Seto turned to Shada. "Well, what is the verdict?" he pressed Shada impatiently. "What ill intent does she have for our Pharaoh, Shada?"
Atem's cousin had a power-hungry look in his eyes that made the Pharaoh feel uneasy. Shada seemed to share Atem's sentiments because he had averted his eyes in order to avoid Seto's.
Shada drummed his fingers on the Millennium Ankh, directing his eyes toward Atem. "It appears His Excellency was correct about this woman," he judged. "She is not only innocent, but also not of this world."
Atem shifted slightly, taken aback by what Shada had revealed to him and the Sacred Guardians. "What do you mean, she is not from this world?" he inquired his High Priest, careful not to display his curiosity.
Seto scowled. "I say this is a matter of sorcery," he said savagely, a muscle twitching in his cheek.
Mana sighed with frustration. "And I say this is a matter of your pride being wounded, Seto," she said to him sternly, looking adorably menacing with her magician's staff pointed at the brunette. "Mahad and I are sorcerers, so if this is sorcery -" Before Ra knew it, Seto and Mana began to argue once more, eventually dragging Mahad into the midst of their quarrel.
Atem held a stoic face. As Pharaoh, I have to be an extremely good judge of character, he thought. I can tell that this woman is of nobility, maybe even royalty. But Shada said she is not of this world. Hopefully, he could shed some light on to this situation!
Shada shot an impatient look at the bickering Mana, Mahad and Seto before nodding toward Isis, who swiftly made for the young woman and helped her up. As Isis steadied her, Shada glanced at the blonde. "Forgive me, Child of Iah," he said piously. At his statement, there was a pregnant pause. Even the Guardians of the Millennium Eye, Ring and Rod ceased their row to drink in his words.
"Iah?" everyone but Shada chroused.
The proclaimed Child of Iah stood upright, flicking her hair back. For the first time, Atem noticed that this lady and their lunar deities bore inverted crescent birthmarks upon their foreheads. "She is related to Iah," Atem realized, opening his mouth inadvertently. The chambers of his heart were brimming with sheer intrigue, excitement, which Atem battled against so his feelings would be kept in check.
As the Pharaoh moved forward, the woman was inhaling and exhaling heavily, her face paler than before, beads of sweat developing profusely on her forehead. "Why d-do you care where I c-came from?" the blonde said emotionally to everyone, her voice strained. "I c-can't take it h-here any longer!"
"Don't work yourself into a panic, Child of Iah," Isis said to the noblewoman. "You will merely overexert yourself and cause -"
The Child of the Moon wheeled around on Isis, shuddering uncontrollably. "A-And why would you care h-how I feel?" she shot at the Sacred Guardian. "After h-how y-you and your friends have wrongfully judged me!?" She produced a peculiar ornate pendant, fashioned out of a crystalline substance, clutching it close to her heart.
Karim threw a look at the flaxen-haired lady. "Do not disrespect Lady Isis," he warned the noblewoman. The woman paid him no mind, for she was fumbling with the pendant, huffing and puffing all the while. "Calm yourself as she told you to."
He spoke too late, for the Child of the Moon started to sway back and forth before crumpling to the ground, curled in a fetal position. Promptly, Karim came to her side, with Mana and Mahad flanking him. "Look at what I have caused to happen," Karim said quietly, his shoulders hunched.
Meanwhile, the Pharaoh darted over to the unconscious lady, feeling some guilt for her condition. "No, Karim," he said in a tight voice, his heart completely devoid of the intrigue present moments before. "It is no fault of yours, but mine." Out of the corner of his eye, the Pharaoh saw Mahad position himself next to him.
Seto looked at Atem, adopting a pokerfaced expression. "I still say we must investigate this Child of Iah, Pharaoh," he persisted, earning a glare from Mana. "And attempt the -"
"Forget the Millennium Trial," Karim interjected. "Shada's Millennium Ankh is working properly, so there is no need for the Millennium Eye, Torque, Rod, Ring and -"
Shada stored his Millennium Ankh back underneath his white priestly robes. "Seto," he said earnestly, "I know what I saw in this woman's mind. She truly is from Iah's domain!"
"None of that matters now," Mahad said firmly. "My Pharaoh, you cannot blame yourself for these turn of events."
The Pharaoh merely nodded mechanically whilst gripping the leathery necklace that held his Millennium Pendant in place with one hand. While the Great War was raging on, Atem had to maintain a strong image. The people he had bonded with were being struck down mercilessly one at a time. The majority of those people died in his name, which made Atem feel upset. Eventually, Atem was sick and tired of being coddled and having others sacrifice their lives for him, so he decided to take a stand against Zorc Necrophades, even if that meant welcoming death itself. "Mana, look after her," was all Atem said before he got up to his feet, adjusting his cape.
"Are you sure that is wise, my liege?" Seto wondered, seeing that Atem was facing him with his back. "We must make certain that she poses no threat to Kemet first before allowing her to stay with us."
Atem wheeled about, eyeing Seto intensely. "Do not think for a moment that I have not considered the risks, Seto." Turning to his court, the exalted king said, "I think it would be in the Child of Iah's interest to be our guest of honor. After all, it is not every day we come across a foreigner who can speak our language." His byzantinum orbs were dancing with amusement.
Shada's handmaiden, Merneith, came before Atem and curtsied before looking at him. "With all due respect, Your Excellency," Merneith said timidly, "if word got out that we are imprisoning a foreign noblewoman, there will be discord amongst the nobles."
Atem studied Merneith for a moment in the dim firelight coming off from the torches lining the stone bridge they were on. Her sea green spheres - usually effervescent - were colder than a winter night in the desert. "We are not imprisoning the Child of Iah," he informed the servant, smirking. "Think of it as more along the lines of granting her hospitality and in return, gracing us with her presence."
"If you may, Merneith." Isis ambled over to Atem, stroking her Millennium Torque absentmindedly. Merneith blinked thrice before backing away from Atem, allowing the Guardian of the Millennium Torque to take her spot in front of the young king himself, placing one foot in front of her before bowing respectfully.
"Isis," Atem greeted her warmly. "You look as if you have been shown a vision of what is to come." When Isis nodded, Atem was on guard. "Was the Child of Iah in it?" he asked, motioning for the Sacred Guardian to return to her original stance.
"Indeed," Isis confirmed. "My Millennium Torque has preordained her arrival, Your Majesty. The Child of Iah was decreed by destiny to cross paths with us. I wholeheartedly agree with your plan to bring her to the palace."
"Very well, then," Atem said to the High Priestess. Nefertari galloped over to him just then, nuzzling her face against his palm. "I suppose you want to head back to the palace," he said to his trusted steed. He climbed atop her, grasping her reins gingerly as he assumed the horseback rider position. Eyeing all of his Sacred Guardians, he said flatly, "Mana, Mahad, accompany the Child of Iah. She will be coming with us back to the palace."
Mahad bowed before Atem. "As you wish, my liege."
Back at the Moon Palace, Princess Amy, in her Sailor Mercury guise, was wandering one of the corridors, searching for the other Inner Sailor Scout Princesses, Luna at her side. "Pardon me for asking, Luna," said Mercury carefully, "but why didn't you stay with the Queen?" Sailor Mercury held out her handheld laptop, lazily guiding her fingers across the keyboard, hoping to find some information on her compatriots' whereabouts.
There was a sharp intake of breath before Luna replied, "Because I failed Queen Serenity, Princess Amy. I am Princess Serena's adviser, which I am hardly qualified for now after Serena's disappearance!" There was pained mewing coming from the Maurian cat afterward. "I must find Her Highness!"
Sailor Mercury understood how Luna felt. Under her mask of sheer calmness, Mercury was wrestling with her anxiety, shame, guilt, frustration and fright. I cannot afford to succumb to my emotions, Mercury chastised herself. I must focus on the task on hand, and that is to find the other three Inner Sailor Scouts and Artemis! Secretly, the blunette was irked that Artemis had run off to find Sailor Venus rather than join Mercury on her quest to locate Sailors Mars, Jupiter and Venus. However, she was a Sailor Scout, and Sailor Scouts endured hardship. Sailor Scouts should not complain about hardship.
"I wish we had communicators," Mercury confessed to Luna, her eyes glued to her handheld laptop, seeing nothing but a jagged light green string displayed on the screen. "The communicators will able to let us keep in touch regardless of distance and make coordinating much less tiresome." She passed by the open set of doors leading into the ballroom, hearing merry laughter, a melodious singing voice and instruments creating sounds that blended together harmoniously. As Sailor Mercury, the blunette seldom attended the soirees held nightly. When she was in her Princess form, Mercury attended them to promote goodwill on behalf of the Mercurian tribe.
"Artemis and I are working on that," Luna admitted, her voice having an unusual tone to it. Mercury wanted to ask Luna what she was hiding, but decided against it. She did not want to be as pushy as Sailors Venus and Mars. "For heaven's sake, why don't we just depart for Earth, drag the Princess back home and -?"
The Mercurian Royal unglued her eyes from the laptop, arching her eyebrows. "I understand your frustration, Luna," Mercury began, "but as much as I would like to take matters into my own hands, I simply can't head for the Blue Planet without a plan of action. And certainly not without Jupiter, Venus and Mars." The two held each other's gaze until an echoing noise emitted from Mercury's gadget. "One of the Sailor Scouts are within proximity!" Mercury announced, excited.
Behind her, Mercury could hear the soiree, a twinge of sadness swirling through her. Then she became angry that she was feeling sad about not being at the soiree. Her duty to Princess Serena came first and foremost. Use the training hewn into your mind and locate your companions, Sailor Mercury told herself firmly.
She closed her eyes, feeling for a sign of human presence lingering about the corridor she was in. Instinctively, Sailor Mercury retreated behind a column of white marble, hunkering against it. She sensed that Luna moved in unison with her, which was good. Having Luna by her side brought the Soldier of Wisdom solace.
When that thought formed within her mind, Mercury finally felt a human presence. Even before opening her eyes, Mercury caught the faint scent of burnt sage mixed with irises. "I guess Tyche must really be smiling on me tonight," Mercury said brightly, fluttering her eyelids open. A young woman with a mane the same color as a raven's plumage and eyes taking after the color of plums came into Mercury's view.
As Sailor Mercury closed her handheld laptop and slid up the column to stand on her feet again, Sailor Mars said, "I heard about Her Highness from Venus. Honestly, I don't know who's flightier, Princess Serena or Sailor Venus!" Mars crossed her arms, appearing very displeased.
"Mars," Mercury chided her, "Venus is much more responsible than you give her credit for! She is our de facto leader -"
"By birthright," Mars muttered. "If it were up to Sailor Scouts being chosen as leader, I would have been a much better leader."
"- We must trust her, even if we don't agree with her ideas at times," Mercury plowed on, pretending as if Mars had never spoken. "Sailor Mars, this is no time to assign blame on Sailor Venus! Besides, you are the de jure leader when Venus isn't around. It's high time you behave as it because I will only take instruction from a woman, not a girl."
Mars flinched at the cold yet detached words Mercury flung at her. "Are you insinuating I act as if I am a kid, Mercury?" the Soldier of Flame and Passion challenged the blunette.
"No," Mercury disagreed. "What I am trying to convey is that you must be wiser when it comes to taking action." The Soldier of Intellect had no desire to engage in a verbal fight with the ravenette when clearly Mars was distraught about Princess Serena's disappearance. "Also, I apologize for cutting across you, Mars."
Mars shook her head. "No. I should be the one apologizing." Looking at Sailor Mercury, the ravenette sighed deeply. "I'm sorry for putting down both the Princess and our leader in front of you. That wasn't right of me, and catty as well. Instead of panicking, I have to focus on my mission, which is guarding Princess Serena."
Mercury smiled faintly, seeing Mars's face drain of all emotion. "Venus trusts you," Mercury reminded Mars. Just as she finished reminding Mars of that, the Martian Princess's trusted avian companions, Phobos and Deimos, flew into view, perching themselves on their friend's shoulders. "Your crow messengers have returned."
The ravenette glanced at the crows, slipping into the Martian tongue with them. While surveying them, Mercury realized that Luna had not spoken at all. She looked around, but noticed Luna was nowhere to be seen. "Luna? Luna!" she called out for the feline. "Luna, where are you?"
Luna jumped from a nearby nook curtained with ivy, landing softly on the concrete floor. "I was searching for Artemis via the Moon Portals," she said. "He seems to have vanished without a trace. And hello to you, Princess Raye," Luna greeted the raven-haired Sailor Scout. "I suspect you know what to do."
Sailor Mars nodded. "Don't worry about Artemis, Luna. I am pretty sure he's looking for Sailors Venus and Jupiter." Mars extended her arms, granting Phobos and Deimos permission to fly away from her. "Phobos and Deimos told me that there is no sign of Princess Serena in Selenium. They're going to comb every inch of the Moon Palace and the Acropolis, and then report back to me." Her face was mixed with both determination and resolution now. "In the meantime, I'm going to be consulting the flames about where Princess Serena is. Follow me!" She turned on her heel and took off at breakneck speed.
Mercury and Luna exchanged confused looks before the former closed her handheld laptop and stashed it away in her pocket, immediately bolting after her fellow Princess, Luna right behind the Princess of Mercury.
Set Ma'at. It was a walled settlement home to artisans who were in charge of building the tombs for the Kemetian upper class, connected to Waset by several bridges arching over River Iteru. Within walking distance were funerary temples, Ta-Set-Neferu and Wadi Biban el-Muluk, the latter two sites being the eternal resting places of the Pharaoh's ancestors and relatives.
The atmosphere here is suffocating and unpleasant, Jadeite thought, standing atop a barren hill outside the walls of Set Ma'at. Compared to Waset, Set Ma'at was a colorless place to live. Unlike Garnett and Jasper, who were searching for a inn to sleep in for the night, Jadeite was fine with spending the night outside. After all, the river was not far away and they still had rations left over. In addition, the trio had slept in a tent for the entire excursion. Another night would not hurt.
Jadeite adjusted the simple cloak over him, trying not to think about the chilly night air, the slightest wind as sharp as a blade, giving him the feeling as if his flesh was being feasted upon by Auster's venti. Were they responsible for the horrendous sandstorms and sirocco Jadeite and his men had to venture through? Surely Terra and Fortuna were on their side because the Elysians were fortunate enough to stumble upon and make camp at a couple of oases on the way to Waset. They ventured through cities and villages, although Jadeite wanted to complete the mission Prince Darien had entrusted him with as quickly as possible, so he only stocked up on rations and water whenever he passed through said cities and villages, much to Garnett's and Jasper's protests.
Perhaps I have been too harsh to Jasper and Garnett, the Elysian General mused, knowing that he had a tendency to put his duty first before anything else. His soldiers may have thought he was obsessively loyal to the Elysian Royal Family for that trait of his.
'Do you always agree with Prince Darien's orders, General Jadeite?' the Pharaoh's compelling, silky baritone voice echoed through the blonde's mind. 'A little defiance couldn't hurt every now and then.' Jadeite recalled how casually His Highness had delivered his words and his eyes . . . his eyes were kaleidoscopic - turning byzantium, reddish-violet or magenta. That sight unsettled the praefectus castrorum, as he felt the Pharaoh thought Jadeite was a form of entertainment, causing him to cringe at that.
Jadeite glanced at Waset again, the Pharaoh's face swimming in his mind for a split second before Jadeite stormed toward the River Iteru, fresh fury burning through his veins. He felt his fingers heat up before tongues of flame erupted into being around them. With all his concentration, the Elysian General forced the flames to coalesce into one fireball, which he hurled at the coursing river, where it instantly extinguished upon contact. I will not tolerate him mocking me the next time we meet! the praefectus castrorum promised himself.
The blonde stared at his reflection for a moment, seeing his eyes burning with resentment and chagrin. Then, he turned about, marching back to Set Ma'at in search of Jasper and Garnett. He didn't want to see the Pharaoh's city tonight. Sleeping overnight at an inn sounded like an excellent idea to execute right about now.
Kisara was strolling alongside the perimeter of Pharaoh Waset right now, admiring the obelisks painted lurid blue, obsidian, crimson and dark green towering over her. According to Seto, these obelisks took fifteen years to be chiseled and be painted as prettily as they were now. Up above was a limestone paneled roof, etched with hieroglyphics and depictions of their deities. Kisara was no architect, but she thought that the palace was an exquisite piece of architecture. At night, the palace was just as beautiful, but more of a haunting beauty.
She should have been in her chambers, as it was customary for women to remain indoors as night came. But Kisara really could care less about that custom because she had always been on her lonesome ever since her parents had perished a long time ago. When the Bearer of the Blue Eyes Dragon was revived by Mana's heka, she was more set on learning how to defend herself. I wish Seto would show me how to become stronger, Kisara thought, glancing at the golden armband on her right arm, a moonbeam shining upon it.
Seto had said that Kisara was as strong as he was, but that was not an acceptable answer for Kisara. The blunette remembered readily sacrificing her life to save her friend from Shadow Magus. Kisara wouldn't have any qualms about sacrificing herself again for Seto's sake. A year has passed now, Kisara reminded herself, and I am not the same girl who gave up her life to save her only friend! Now I have others I can call friends.
The once-peasant woman heard neighing and the clopping of hooves nearby. Were the others back or was it a false alarm? Kisara thought about the sheathed ceremonial knife clipped on her kilt, hand brushing against the ivory hilt. However, she decided to check out who was at the palace before doing anything rash that would shame the good name of the Pharaoh. With that, the woman sprinted across the hallway, making a sharp turn, almost knocking over High Priest Mahad.
The white-haired woman blinked before taking a few steps back, feeling ashamed. "Good evening, Master Mahad," she said hurriedly. "Forgive me for my carelessness!" She took her hand off the hilt of the knife, sighing with relief.
Mahad regarded her. "Hello, Kisara," he said wearily, smiling faintly, "and you did nothing wrong to ask for forgiveness." He appeared worn-out, a look Kisara knew all too well.
Mahad must have figured out what Kisara was thinking because he said quickly, "It was another disagreement, Kisara. Let the subject rest for it will do no good -"
Kisara turned on Seto. As she stormed over to him, Kisara heard Mahad mutter something about women being difficult to reason with, albeit the white-haired woman ignored his comment. "Seto!" she cried.
Seto turned around, his eyes softening at the sight of her. But then his face crumpled. "What did I do this time?" he said, evidently befuddled and nervous. "If it is about my opinion of -"
Kisara frowned. "I am still not happy about that," she admitted, "but that isn't what I am upset about. You got into an argument with Mahad again, did you not?"
Seto looked bewildered for a second before grasping his Millennium Rod, bringing it closer to his torso, a sign the Sacred Guardian was on edge. Though he held an expressionless face, Kisara knew Seto was inwardly working up a counterargument against her. "Kisara," he began, "as a Sacred Guardian, I am bound to have difference of opinions with the others. It just so happens that Mahad and I do not always see eye-to-eye."
Kisara noticed the Pharaoh and moved her left foot toward him to indicate her salutations and respect. But he seemed to be in a pensive mood so he did not notice her gesture. Tearing her eyes off him, she caught the cousin of the Pharaoh saying: "Whatever happens between Mahad and I, let me resolve it, Kisara."
Kisara raised an eyebrow. "Your pride prevents you from doing that," she pointed out baldly. "Anyway, what was the argument about this time, Seto?" The woman was not going to let the matter drop, and she made sure her feelings were expressed through her tone of voice.
Seto was about to open his mouth to respond when Mana came into view, Shada helping her support a woman with his arms. Behind them, Isis's cousin Khafra was assisting her with Karim, Khafra's best friend Seti and Shada's handmaiden Merneith guiding the horses back into the stables along with several other servants of the Sacred Guardians.
Kisara examined the unconscious woman. She had never seen anyone quite like this woman before. As with the Pharaoh, the woman had flaxen hair, save her skin was pale. As pale as mine, Kisara realized. Seto . . . you wouldn't . . .
Seto watched Kisara's zaffre jewels widen with shock, her face slacken. It dawned on the High Priest that Kisara had noticed the Child of Iah (which Seto still had doubts she was since her heritage was unproven) and was piecing together an entirely different picture of the situation in front of her. A pit of anxiety and horror opened in Seto's stomach as he witnessed Kisara's facial expressions change from disbelief to horror. Fear and finally, outrage. Instinctively, he took a couple of steps backward from the woman he secretly loved.
"You have the wrong impression." Seto felt as if the gods were playing a cruel cosmic joke on him by having Kisara jump to the wrong conclusion. "Kisara," he pleaded, seeing the blunette shake her head, her eyes full of hurt. "Kisara, listen to me -"
"Did you discriminate against her?" Kisara's voice had a dangerous edge to it, enough to make Seto flinch. Her face was twisted with seething rage, her eyes adopting a coldness to them that sent chills through Seto's spine. "Did you?"
The brunette understood what Kisara was talking about, and even though it was an entirely different situation, he hated himself for his rogue actions against the unconscious blonde. He had half a mind to - no - he refused to concede defeat and seek the others' help. Even as he heard Mahad say, "We must go, my liege."
Atem appeared a bit unsure. "If you insist on leaving them to quarrel, Mahad," he said simply, nodding to his best friend.
Mahad cracked a smile. "A lover's quarrel, nonetheless," he agreed swiftly.
"A fine way of putting it," Atem approved, returning the smile. "Very well then, Mahad." The Pharaoh looked meaningfully at Seto before turning to Kisara. "And Kisara," he said carefully, "I am trusting you with this task."
Kisara calmed down a little when Atem was speaking to her. Meanwhile, Seto felt as if he were being stabbed with the Millennium Rod. "You call me a task, cousin," Seto said, his voice hollow. "My actions were done in your name."
Atem smirked. "You made this into a task for yourself, Seto," he said cordially. "As Mana said earlier to the Child of Iah, 'and be dealt with accordingly.'" His eyes were a kaleidoscope of colors, a multicolored flame dancing in those orbs of his.
"My liege," Mahad warned Seto's cousin.
Atem took the warning. Along with Mahad, he scaled the stairs of the palace and went inside, possibly to see the Child of Iah or retire to his bedchamber.
Either way, Seto was alone with Kisara. A very disgruntled Kisara who just rounded on him once more. "You must've made His Majesty unhappy," she guessed, "am I right?" Her eyes were again loaded with years' worth of hurt.
Though held at bay by Kisara's wrath, Seto wanted to quell her anger by embracing the powder blue-haired beauty and reassure her that that wasn't the case at all. A ridiculous notion he immediately banished from the bowels of his mind.
You must deal with this in the name of the Pharaoh, he reminded himself harshly. "Listen, Kisara. The woman you just saw unconscious had came from Nut herself and collided into my cousin! I had no idea who she was or where she had came from . . . all I knew was that she may have injured His Excellency and I had to protect him -"
Kisara threw an incredulous look at him, her eyes accusatory. "You're accusing a woman of assaulting His Majesty," she said calmly. "Do you even hear the logic in that claim at all, Seto?" Her voice raised several octaves when pronouncing his name.
Seto slid his Millennium Rod beneath his robes. Clenching his bronzed hands, the Sacred Guardian reasoned, "You weren't there, Kisara. I did not discriminate her in the slightest, what I was doing was my job."
"You took it too far," Kisara said coldly. "Do you even hear yourself, Seto? All I hear is a hypocrite that serves the Pharaoh. No matter how you look at it, you did discriminate her!" She was quaking uncontrollably, tears welling up inside her zaffre pools.
"She may have been a foreign -" Seto tried to reason with his friend, albeit Kisara yelled intelligibly at that moment, smacking him square across the face. Seto's train of thought abandoned him as he saw Kisara burst into hysterics.
"You hypocrite!" Tears were falling down Kisara's face, her eyes stormy. "I HATE YOU, SETO! I HATE YOU!" She wheeled around and traipsed up the palace stairs, leaving a shell-shocked High Priest Seto behind in her wake.
I HATE YOU, SETO! I HATE YOU! The Guardian of the Millennium Rod fell to his knees, replaying Kisara's emotion-fueled words in his head, self-loathing welling up inside him.
Together with Shada, Mana had brought the Child of Iah into a bedchamber located in the Southern Wing of the palace. "Hold her, Shada," Mana said softly, depositing the rest of the blonde's weight into her fellow Sacred Guardian's arms. Mana scanned the bedchamber fairly quickly. It was spacious, barren of any furniture or decorations.
"Why don't we carry her into your bedquarters, Mana?" Shada suggested. "That way, you can keep an eye on her."
Without looking at Shada, the apprentice of Mahad shook her head instantly. "My childhood friend would be against that idea," she responded. "He specifically said to grant her hospitality. If she is royalty, then that means she is used to sleeping alone, Shada. Putting her in the bedchamber with me may make her feel as if we are keeping her prisoner, so that's what we want to avoid at all costs." She waved her staff, conjuring up a bed from thin air. With all her willpower, Mana levitated it across the bedchamber, sliding it into the northernmost corner.
Shada made to lower their guest on the bed, but Mana tutted. "Not yet, Shada. I need you to use that key of yours." Whirling about, she eyed a aghast Shada, who was sweat-dropping.
"It's an ankh, Mana," Shada corrected her. "Why does your heka require the use of the Millennium Ankh?" His hand was inside his priestly attire, no doubt holding the Millennium Item he wielded.
With a flick of her staff, Mana let the bed fall into place. "My powers don't require the use of your Millennium Ankh," she said, laughing humorlessly. "I do." Mana swiped her staff through the air, yellow streams protruding from it, melding into a pleated sheet of woven gold. She guided the curtain to the window, murmured a spell and attached it to the bare rod.
Shada sighed. "I thought you were not going to use my Millennium Item for selfish reasons," he chided her. "The times for pranks are long-gone, Mana."
Mana turned to Shada, rolling her eyes. "Ever since you took the oath of being the Pharaoh's Sacred Guardian, Shada, you've become too uptight. Maybe you have been hanging around Seto too often!" With a charm, Mana caused a silvery fold of blankets to plop atop the bed. Wiggling her staff, Mana mentally commanded the blankets to unfold themselves neatly.
Shada shrugged his shoulders. "I think the responsibility of a Sacred Guardian is supposed to be serious," he stated whilst thinking of days in his youth. "We are adolescents serving the Pharaoh, Mana! I hardly think we would have time to -"
Mana zapped the bed with her staff, electric purple coils coalescing into an ivory headrest atop the bed. "His Excellency enjoys games a lot," she reminded Shada. "My childhood friend understands that being a Pharaoh is not an easy job. That's where Grand Vizier Siamun Muran and us Sacred Guardians come in. We carry Kemet's responsibilities with the Pharaoh!"
"I get the point, Mana," Shada said impatiently. "All I want to know is: Why do you require the use of the Millennium Ankh?"
Mana twirled around in a complete circle before slapping her palm with the staff. "Your Millennium Ankh functions as a key," she stated, "you can see into peoples' personalities. If you wanted to, you can create a new personality, manipulate the current one or destroy the current personality. Plain and simple, I think you have one of the best Millennium Items out of the court."
Shada hesitated for a moment before pulling the Millennium Ankh out. "What do you want me to find out about her, Mana?" he asked in a professional tone, the grooved section of the Millennium Item grazing against the Child of Iah's forehead.
"Food preferences, favorite colors . . . ," Mana trailed off, using heka to create a side table made of tamarisk appear with matching chairs, along with a wardrobe. With every ounce of her willpower, Mana levitated the wardrobe to the opposite end of the bedchamber.
Mana propped her magician's staff against her chin, gazing at the new and improved bedchamber. If I were royalty, what would I want in my bedchamber? she thought, noticing that the walls were painted old gold, hieroglyphics emblazoned on the walls. Absentmindedly, the brunette began to pace the bedchamber, drinking in all of her handiwork.
"In the name of the Pharaoh, I do not recognize half of her nutritional diet," Shada said, exasperated. "This Moon Child has an affinity for sweets."
Mana glanced at Shada. "What are her fruits and vegetables preferences?" she pressed her childhood friend. "Is she partial to barley at all?"
"She likes fruit," Shada replied hastily. "Now that you know that, you can perform heka and create the food out of thin air."
Mana was crestfallen at Shada's statement. "That's impossible," she said quietly, the staff in her hand suddenly gaining ten pounds.
Shada was confused. "If you can't do it, then maybe it is heka that only Mahad can perform." In a dreamlike walk, Shada made for the bed, depositing their guest on the bed, placing her head against the headrest, her flaxen braids flowing over the curved columns.
Mana shook her head at that, making circular motions with her weighty staff. "Master Mahad can't use that sort of magic," she informed Shada. "Heka has many types of spellcasting, but all of them have limitations, Shada. Heka can't create food out of thin air, sadly. I can summon food to me if I know where it is. I can transform it if I have an edible substance in front of me or I can make the food grow bigger magically. I can also increase the amounts of food supply, but only if that food source is already in front of me."
"In other words," said a voice that seemed to fluctuate between crescendo and decrescendo range, "it is impossible for Mana to create food out of nothing."
Mana's body released a twinge of delight, her heart doing a series of gymnastics flips as the best sorcerer of Kemet - her master, Mahad - had entered the bedchamber, the Pharaoh beside him. Mahad's mismatched eyes gazed at the sleeping form of their guest, his expression free of emotion. Meanwhile, Atem stepped forward, Shada instinctively pointing his left foot forward piously, bowing deeply before his monarch.
Mana panicked briefly, clutching her staff. Her eyes caught Atem's face, and she gulped. The brunette paid her respects as well, trying not to dwell on how hard it was to survey Atem as a king of a glorious nation, not a friend who was once a fair prince, beloved by his people. "My Pharaoh," she said softly, smiling warmly. "What do you think of our hospitality so far?"
Atem motioned for Shada and Mana to cease their episode of piety, as it had always made him feel uncomfortable to be seen as a living god by his closest friends. Twelve moons ago, Atem would have been immensely pleased to be regarded with awe and reverence. He would think that since he was Horus, shed of divinity, he was invincible to woe and hardship alike. In all true fairness, he did find it a bit of a Herculean task to understand why his father had insisted on practicing humility and selflessness as he too was a living god.
In many ways, the Great War was an eye-opener for me, Atem thought, languidly tracing the kohl about his eye, regarding Mana and Shada for a moment before directing his view toward the bedchamber, its walls painted old gold, flat black hieroglyphics painstakingly printed on all four dimensions of the room. Above them were sparkling lapis lazuli, the flecks of gold on each piece more pronounced because of the paint color.
Atem combed the furniture displayed before him. The wardrobe was fashioned out of tamarisk, the handles a dull gold, ornate in design. The knobs were studded with stones. Stones that were streaked with gray and milky white layers. "The wardrobe is a work in progress," Mana said quickly.
"Can I help with the decorations, Mana?" Mahad asked his apprentice. "If the Child of Iah is from the Moon, her quarters should be more moonlike."
Atem, who was admiring the tamarisk side table and chairs, broke out of his trance. Turning to Shada, he said in a stern tone, "It is not only you who is certain that she is divinity, Shada. Isis says she had a premonition of this woman who is related to our lunar deities. I wonder, does this mean she too is a mortal incarnation of Iah?"
Shada looked politely puzzled. Clenching the Millennium Ankh, the High Priest said, "In a way, Seto was right. She did come from Nut, but indirectly, my king." When Atem said nothing, the bald Kemetian plowed on, "The woman came from Iah's homeland."
Atem made a comical O with his mouth. "Are you telling me that this lady fell from the Moon?" he said, a conversation he had long ago with his mother tugging at the edges of his mind. "For the love of Ra, then she is a Selenite."
As Mahad procured his staff and assisted Mana with decorating the bedroom, Shada asked quizzically, "Forgive my ignorance, but . . . what is a Selenite, Your Highness?"
At first, Atem did not answer Shada. Instead, he closed his eyes, a smile creasing his face as his mind drifted to a moment in his childhood.
Eventide. It was eight-year-old Crown Prince Atem's favorite part of the day. Perhaps it was because Khepri had abandoned their dimension and retreated into Duat, taking the form of their hallowed solar deity, Ra. Even though there were solar deities such as Amun and Aten, the Kemetians always had preferred the almighty Ra as their sun god by default.
Atem had little interest in their solar deities. He honestly had no idea why his people would worship the Sun, as its rays were scorching hot, fair but intolerant simultaneously. The solar beams provided warmth and hope. Hope that the crops grown in the silted black soil would flourish vibrantly. The River Iteru also ensured that with its flooding, the annual harvesting would produce an abundance of barley, vegetable or fruits for the folks of Waset and the rest of Kemet. He could see that could be a cause for worship.
What about the Moon, though? When evening came on swift wings, the joyous atmosphere surrounding his people was stifled, because light was chased away by the darkness. The moonless sheet of azure that was the sky was replaced by a sunless sheet of ebony, splashed with glimmering dots and the planets. The most prominent object in the night sky was the Moon. Like the Sun, the Moon provided light as well, save it was void of warmth. The silvery liquid pouring from the luminous pale jewel was harsh, cold. But Atem could see the shafts of moonlight had a soft side to them.
Atem loved the evening very much as he loved to stare at the glorious sphere, home to Iah. At night, he snuck out of his bedquarters and into the courtyard to gaze longingly at the Moon. Which he was about to now.
The Crown Prince leaped onto his bed, throwing one bronzed leg over a windowless ledge. He was about to throw his other leg over the ledge when a tuneful, soprano voice said sharply, "What are you doing, Atem?"
Atem froze, directing his eyes toward a curvaceous woman, about thirty, with disheveled blonde hair streaked with jet-black and reddish-violet, dancing on her shoulders. Her eyes were the same as Atem's, and her skin tone was coppery. Her movements were calculated yet dignified, exuding feminine charm. She was Hemetra, the Queen of Kemet, and Atem's mother.
"Mother," Atem whispered, seeing how weary his mother was, "you should be resting in your bedchambers, not roaming the palace at night." He climbed back on to his bed, feeling guilty for his thoughtless actions.
"I feel fine," his mother insisted, sauntering toward Atem's bed, sitting down next to him. Her face seemed subtly gaunt, albeit the Queen still had a proud look in her byzantium eyes. "As long as I am able to move, no illness can pin me down, my son." She reached for Atem, touching his head gingerly. "Speaking of moving around, I hear that you have been sneaking out at night as of late."
Atem dropped his gaze to his lap. "I want to glance at the Moon," he answered swiftly. "I'm not doing anything wrong by looking at it as a pastime, am I?" He relaxed under his mother's tender, loving gesture.
His mother smiled, her smile reaching her eyes - so like Atem's. "Are you hoping you will see a Selenite?" she joked weakly.
"Selenite?" The word felt alien on Atem's tongue. "What is a Selenite?"
His mother drew herself up proudly, withdrawing her hand from Atem's spiky head. Her eyes drank in Atem's face, alight with maternal emotions. "There is a legend passed down amongst our family," she said, adopting a solemn edge to her voice. "Millennia ago, our ancestors consorted with immortals."
"Were they the gods?" Atem asked eagerly.
The Queen shrugged her shoulders. "Who knows?" she said mysteriously. "They could be. Or they may not be our gods. Apparently, these immortals lived high in the sky, even higher than the clouds. But you could only see their kingdom - the Silver Millennium or the Moon Kingdom - the clearest when the Moon was full."
"Did they live on the Moon?" Atem wondered.
Queen Hemetra nodded. "They lived in the realm where Iah was said to come from," she confirmed. "These immortals named themselves Selenites. Though they were immortal, they took on the appearances of humans. But they had birthmarks on their foreheads in the shapes of crescent moons."
Atem pulled himself out of that memory, remembering that Shada, Mahad and Mana were there, along with the alleged Selenite. "A Selenite is a person from the Moon who is immortal," he summarized to Shada. "Forgive me, Shada. That was inconsiderate of me to ignore you."
Shada nodded mechanically, although he did look irritated at Atem's callousness. "I thought the Children of Iah were mythological beings," he admitted. "But she is living proof that that is not the case."
Atem was inwardly beaming. He remembered the conference meeting he had with his Sacred Guardians and the Grand Vizier. As he thought of them, his mind wandered off to Seto, concerned about his well-being. Did Kisara restore some sense into Seto? The Pharaoh sincerely hoped she did. She was his cousin's light in more ways than one.
The tri-colored-haired royal waltzed toward the sleeping Selenite, dropping on the edge of the bed. She was the epitome of what a goddess should be: unparalleled beauty, flawless skin and a birthmark to mark her difference from mortals. How different is she from me, a man who is a living god? Atem cocked his head, a brand-new emotion swelling up inside him.
As he glanced upon the Selenite, Atem caught a whiff of her scent. The Pharaoh shuddered, before feeling that brand-new, powerful emotion wash over him. All he wanted was for the Sacred Guardians to depart the bedroom, and for the Selenite to rouse from her slumber. He envisioned her in Kemetian clothing, sprawled on the bed, gazing adoringly at him. He imagined pouncing atop this very bed and lunging at her, sinking his teeth into her neck, his body rippling with ecstasy.
A Child of Iah and a living god, Atem mused, the very notion of such a match intoxicating him. We are both divine beings. His breathing pattern turned shallow for a second. Kemetian women wanted him very much as their consort. But a living goddess was a much more suitable choice for the Pharaoh than a Kemetian woman or harem.
She was much like him. An immortal soul that had a human form.
Atem's love for the Moon had finally materialized into human form. He could care less who his competition was. Atem would vie for her love, and win it because he was the King of Games. But he wanted to know her as a person, too.
Already, she was a mystery to him. One waiting to be solved.
And he will solve her, all right.
There was a loud yawn, which snapped Atem out of his reverie. His eyes were glued to the Selenite, her closed eyelids fluttering.
They opened, revealing her eyes.
Her eyes were bluer than he remembered. Startlingly cobalt blue.
Weakly, she raised her head. "W-W-Where am I?" she said confusedly.
Atem took a deep breath. "You are in the land of Kemet," he stated. "You can rest easy now. As long as you are here, no one can harm you." Seeing she was perplexed, he tacked on, "No one will harm you because they will suffer my wrath if they do so!"
"Why would you take your wrath out on innocent people?" the blonde demanded.
Behind him, Atem sensed Shada, Mana and Mahad tense. He held his palm out immediately, signaling for them to stand down. Holding the woman's gaze, he said calmly, "I am normally a reasonable man. But if anyone tries to deal injustice to those I consider important to me, I will make them repent and despair or drive them into insanity, Selenite. That's the kind of person I am."
"Serena," the Selenite mumbled. "My name is Serena, not Selenite, barbarian!" She brought her head up, glaring at Atem. "As Princess of the Moon Kingdom, I command you not to inflict any sort of punishment on to innocent people!"
"You dare address -?" Shada began, but Atem silenced him with a frosty look.
Atem held his head back and chuckled. "I do have some bad news for you, Serena," he told her, battling against the sheer glee of her revelation. "You do not have the authority to command me."
Seeing her defiant and confused countenance, Atem went on, "Because I am the ruler of this kingdom! What I say usually goes, Serena." Pulling a coin from his cloak, he continued, "I will let you have a say in this, though, Tell me, do you like games?"
Serena's look faltered for a second before she collected herself. "I love games," she answered him, "but right now -"
Atem smiled devilishly. "Let's play a game," he said slowly. "What game are you best at, Serena?"
"Hide-and-seek," Serena responded. She must have seen his confusion, because she said, "I hide somewhere and you find me. But you have to give me time to hide! And you can't look up while I'm trying to hide, either!"
"How will the Pharaoh be able to find you, then?" Mahad asked the Princess.
Serena had a strange expression on her face. Atem wondered if she was still afraid of them. "He has to turn the other way and count to a certain number," she said, a flicker of fear blatant in those eyes of hers. "When he's done, he can come and find me."
Shada blinked. "Why are you even trying to play this game, Child of Iah?" he asked her. "You are afraid of us and had expressed a desire to leave Kemet."
The blonde sat up, trying to mask her fear. "If there's one thing I hate," she said seriously, "it's being told what to do."
Atem slipped the coin back into his cloak. "Interesting. Do you want to make a little bet, Serena?"
"Name it," Serena said, her face aglow with pride. Her eyes were blazing with determination.
"If I play this game with you," Atem ventured, "I am going to place a time limit. If I find you in that set amount of time, I want you to grace us with your presence. It can be really boring here some days, and I would love to hear your stories, Child of Iah."
Serena had a smile pasted on her face. "And if I win?" the Princess said smugly, as if already tasting her victory.
"You can return to the Moon Kingdom," Atem assured her. "But -" He jerked the peculiar ornate pendant - shaped suspiciously like a key - away from Serena's hand. "This little game will have to wait until sunrise." He got up and turned to his Sacred Guardians. "Mahad, Shada, Mana, I will retire to my bedchamber."
Atem turned to Serena, who seemed downcast. He glanced at the key before relinquishing it to Mana. There was a look of comprehension on the girl's face as she accepted the key.
"We will escort you there, my king," Mahad said swiftly.
"Thank you. And Serena," he paused, "I will give you the time limit at sunrise. I will see you there, hopefully." You will be there, Atem thought triumphantly. Overnight, you will learn not to underestimate me, Princess Serena. With Mahad and Shada, the Pharaoh of Kemet departed the bedchamber, leaving Mana and the unsuspecting Child of Iah behind.
A/N: I am done with this chapter. Remember to drop a review. I really hope everyone is in character. Happy Halloween to my readers as well.