Prophecy: Power of the Pharaoh

By: AJay Lin Shorn

 

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh or any of the characters and locations affiliated with it. I do, however, I do own the story “Power of the Pharaoh", all references to dialogue not originated by Konami.

 

DO NOT COPY MY STORIES!!

 

If anyone wants to post this story anywhere else, please just ASK and then give me credit for writing it.  Email yugiohyamimarik@yahoo.com with any requests.

Chapter 1 - Freedom

A young boy sat on the wall looking out across the desert with sad eyes, watching as the sun set, its fading light casting long shadows. The boys name was Yugi and he was sitting on the wall high above the city hiding from his grandfather. He knew it was a bad idea to be away from the house for too long in case his grandfather realized he was missing and punished him when he returned. Yugi shivered involuntarily at the memory of his last punishment. He was still sore and had a large ugly bruise on his back where his grandfather had hit him. Yugi was used to being hit, ever since his parents had died and he had been forced to live with his grandfather. You would never know they were related. Yugi slept in the servant’s quarters with the slaves and waited on his grandfather like a servant. As far as the rest of the world was concerned Solomon Muto had no grandson. Yugi sighed as a tear rolled down his cheek. He missed his parents so much. They had died in a fire nine years ago. Yugi had been only six at the time. A fire had broken out in their small house during the night. His father had been woken by the smell of smoke and had tried to get his family out of the house, but the fire had spread so quickly that the only way out left had been a small grate in the bottom of a wall. His father had ripped the grate away and tried to get Yugi to crawl through. Yugi had not wanted to go, not wanting to leave his parents. Even at the age of six he knew that if he went through the gap he would never see them again. Another tear ran down his face to join the first. He had clung onto his mother but the smoke overcame him. When he came to he was outside the house. His father had pushed him, unconscious through the gap to safety. People had tried to rescue is mother and father but it had been too late. His grandfather had been his only relative so he had been forced to take Yugi into his home. Yugi had soon learnt what his grandfather was like. Only a few days after his arrival his grandfather had been sitting in the courtyard and had gruffly ordered Yugi to pass him a jug of wine, which was resting on a wall. Not wanting to upset his grandfather Yugi had run over as fast as he could to get the jug. However, he had been too eager and had knocked the jug onto the floor, smashing it. His grandfather had shown his displeasure with his cane and had beaten Yugi to within an inch of his life. After that he had been ordered to sleep in the servants quarters and had been treated like a slave ever since. Everyone was sympathetic towards him and he did have friends amongst the salves, one friend in particular, Jou, was always looking out for him. Yugi didn’t know what he would do without him. He was always there when Yugi needed help or looking after when his grandfather beat him particularly badly.

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The sun was now right down behind the sand dunes and it was nearly dark. Yugi sat up with a start. How had it got so late? He had to get back. He jumped off the wall and ran up the street to the back of the house. If he slipped in the back way and then quickly into the servant’s quarters perhaps no one would notice he had been missing. He slowly crept across the silent courtyard and had nearly made it to safety when a sharp voice behind him made him freeze in his tracks.

“There you are boy. Where do you think you’ve been?”

Yugi turned around to face Danota, his grandfather’s slave master. He knew what was to come so he tried to run but Danota was too quick and grabbed his arm. Yugi cried out in pain as his arm was twisted behind his back.

“The master will be pleased to see you I’m sure”.

Yugi’s eyes filled with fear.

“No, please” he pleaded.

Danota was already walking him up the stairs to his grandfather’s study. Yugi struggled but it was no good.

Danota knocked on the door and Tea the maidservant opened it.

“Is the master available? One of the slaves has tried to escape and I thought I should bring it to his personal attention.”

Tea looked down at Yugi whose eyes were now so filled with fear that she wanted to cry, she knew what would happen if she didn’t try to help him.

“No, I’m sorry, he is very busy with his figures and can’t be disturbed.”

Yugi gave her a look of gratitude and Danota was about to leave when a voice came from the back of the room.

“What is it Tea? Who is it at this time of night...?”

Solomon Muto stopped in his tracks as he took in the sight before him and a slow cruel grin spread across his features.

“Danota, is there a problem?”

“I caught this ‘slave’ trying to escape master and thought you would want to handle the situation personally”.

“Thank you Danota you can leave the boy here. Tea, please wait outside”.

Yugi was pushed roughly into the room and he stumbled, landing on his knees. As the door closed he saw his grandfather reach for a whip, which had been lying on the top of a cabinet. He knew what was coming and tried to force back the tears, which were already flowing to his eyes. His grandfather didn’t say anything as he lashed out with the whip catching Yugi across the back, Yugi cried out in pain. He lashed out again, and again... Yugi could feel the blood running down his back and the tears stung as they ran from his eyes. He finally collapsed from the pain letting the soothing abyss of unconsciousness take him away.

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“Yugi...Yug...Come on please wake up”.

Yugi became aware of a quiet, familiar voice urging him to wake up, along with a deep throbbing in his back and arms. It was this that brought him to his senses. He slowly opened his eyes and was greeted by Jou’s face looking down at him, concern and worry etched in his eyes.

“Wh...Where am I?”

His throat was so dry. Jou handed him a cup of water as if reading his mind and helped him to sit up. Yugi hissed in pain as his back left the bed. It was agony. Slowly the events of the night came back to him and tears ran down his checks. He turned his head away so Jou wouldn’t see him crying.

“It’s all right Yug,” Jou said softly.

Then his tone changed.

“I’m going to kill that Danota, how could he do this? He’s a mean bastard but the master nearly killed you last night. What in Ra’s name happened?”

Slowly Yugi relayed to Jou how Danota had caught him sneaking back into the servant’s quarters, and how Danota had told his grandfather that he had been trying to escape. Jou didn’t need to be told what happened next, the terrible wounds on Yugi’s back and arms told that story. Yugi’s story trailed off as he reached the last part he could remember. Jou then took up the story and explained how Tea had come rushing in just after full dark crying for someone to help her. Not knowing what the hysterical woman was on about, two of the older slaves had left with her. Jou then explained how the whole room had gone deathly silent when one of the men had returned carrying Yugi. Yugi’s clothes had been ripped to shreds and his back and arms had been covered in blood some of which had still been flowing freely and dripped on the floor. Jou had dived out of his bed to be with Yugi but had been held back whilst Yugi had been laid on his bed, his face deathly pale and unconscious. One of the old women had treated Yugi’s wounds using some herbs as painkillers and had bandaged his back and arms as best she could. No one had said anything but the looks on their faces had been enough. When the old woman had finished Jou had been allowed to sit by Yugi’s bed. Jou finished his story, quickly wiping away the tears that had started to flow.

“That’s what happened; you’ve been unconscious all night”.

“Thank you Jou”.

“For what Yug?”

“For staying with me.”

Jou embraced his friend but quickly let him go as Yugi gave a cry of pain.

“Sorry”.

“It’s ok”.

Suddenly there was a commotion from the direction of the courtyard. One of the slaves looked out but quickly stepped back as Danota walked through the door. Jou clenched his fists. Yugi laid a restraining hand on his friends arm. He knew what Jou wanted to do but it wasn’t worth it. It would only earn Jou a flogging of his own.

“Everyone out,” commanded Danota.

Slowly people responded and the servant’s quarters emptied into the courtyard. Jou had helped Yugi to his feet and was now supporting him heavily with one arm. Yugi was still weak and his head was spinning from the sudden movement.

“What’s going on?” he managed to ask.

“We’re being paraded so the Pharaoh can choose his new servants,” came Tea’s voice from behind them.

“Huh”.

“The Pharaoh can pick his servants from the slaves of his subjects, its tradition”.

“You mean he can have anyone he chooses”.

“Yes”.

Others had heard Tea speak and there was soon at lot of jostling as people tried to get to the front. After all, anything was better than living here. As a result Jou and Yugi were soon pushed to the back. Not wanting to cause Yugi any more pain Jou decided against trying to push through and tried to see over their heads instead. He could just make out the people now walking into the yard. The first were obviously guards but the second were people of much more importance. Jou recognized Seto the Pharaohs High Priest. Jou had seen him once on a tour of the city whilst Jou had been buying supplies for the master. The second person beside him was something else. Jou looked on with shock and he could see others doing the same. Some turned around to look at them and then back again, it was obvious why. Yugi and the Pharaoh could have used each other as mirrors they were practically identical. They had the same wide violet colored eyes, they were of similar build and their hair was the same color and style with crimson edging and blonde bangs hanging down either side of their face. The only small differences were that the Pharaoh was slightly taller and obviously a few years older. He looked about eighteen whereas both Yugi and Jou were fifteen and some of the blonde had been brushed back into the black of his hair like rays of the sun.

“What’s the matter?” Yugi asked and Jou realized he had been staring.

“No...Nothing”.

“Well something’s up, you look like you’ve seen a ghost”.

Jou realized that Yugi probably couldn’t see what he was looking at. Yugi had always been small for his age.

Seto approached the line of slaves, looking them up and down, picking the occasional one. It looked like he was about to pass them by when he suddenly stopped and pushed his way towards them.

“You, slave”, he said pointing at Yugi.

“Come with me”.

Yugi slipped his arm from around Jou’s shoulders and slowly walked forward.

‘What have I done now?’ he thought, as he made his unsteady way forward.

His mind raced as he walked forwards his eyes fixed on the ground.

“You boy.”

Yugi’s attention was snapped back to the current.

“What is your name?”

“Yugi, sir”.

“Are you a slave within this household?” a new voice asked.

Yugi glanced quickly at his grandfather who was staring at him with hate filled eyes.

“Y...Yes sir”.

“How old are you?”

“Fifteen, sir.”

“Fifteen? You look so much younger, but then I suppose so do I. Look at me Yugi”.

Yugi, slowly raised his head to look up at the owner of the voice, he couldn’t have hid the surprise from his face very well because the owner of the voice smiled. Yugi was looking full in the face of himself. It took a little while before his situation became clear to him. He dropped to his knees and lowered his eyes to the ground. He had looked the Pharaoh of Egypt full in the face. He, a lowly slave, surely there was going to be a punishment for his disrespect. He started to tremble uncontrollably as he heard footsteps crossing the gravel towards him.

“Your Highness,” came his grandfather’s voice.

This was it. He was going to be made an example of for his insolence.

“Do I take it from your interest that you are looking to make this boy one of your slaves? If so, I feel it is my duty to point out that this boy is extremely unreliable and untrustworthy and has tried to escape several times. Only just last night I had to punish him for yet another attempted escape.”

Yugi could hear Danota approaching behind him.

“I see”, said the Pharaoh.

“Is it because you are not treated well that you try to escape?”

It took a little while for the fact that the Pharaoh had spoken to him to sink past his rising fear.

“Answer him”, shouted Danota.

Yugi shrank back in fear as Danota raised his whip to strike. The whip cracked but the cowering Yugi felt no pain.

‘Maybe I’ve been whipped so many times it doesn’t hurt anymore?’ he thought.

He slowly opened his eyes. Whatever he was expecting it wasn’t this.

Standing in between him and Danota was the Pharaoh, his arm out stretch in front of him and the end of the whip, which had been intended for Yugi, wrapped around it.

“I think my question has been answered”, he said in a dangerous voice.

Danota dropped the whip and stepped back fearfully. The Pharaoh turned to Yugi.

“You will be coming with me. Gather up your possessions and join the procession”.

“Tha...Thank you.” Yugi stammered and got awkwardly to his feet.

He didn’t need to gather his possessions. He had none.

As the procession left the courtyard he turned to look back at his grandfather and friends. His grandfather had a face like thunder, as his plaything was taken away from him. Yugi was silently glad that he wasn’t going to be around tonight. His friends were smiling back at him and at the front stood Jou looking happier than he had ever been. Yugi was finally safe.

Chapter 2 – A New Life

The procession wound its way through the streets for what seemed like forever. Yugi was dizzy. His back and arms throbbed and he felt like his legs wouldn’t walk another step.

‘The pain killing herbs must be wearing off’ he thought miserably.

He didn’t realize he was on the ground until he felt a strong pair of arms pick him up and put him on the back of a horse. The man then swung back up into the saddle beside him. Yugi dimly recognized the robes of the High Priest.

They finally approached the palace and the tall gold encrusted doors were swung open to allow entry to the Pharaoh and his entourage. Yugi’s senses were beginning to return and he was fully awake when the horse came to a stop. Seto dropped down and offered his arm to Yugi who took it and dropped to the floor. He gasped as pain jarred up his back. If Seto noticed he didn’t say. Yugi joined the rest of the Pharaoh’s new slaves as they were delegated out to their new jobs.

“Ah there you are”, came a female voice from behind him.

“Come with me, the Pharaoh wants you as his personal servant”.

Yugi dutifully followed the woman as she led him through the palace. They stopped in front of a large ornate door marked with the eye of Horus.

“These are the Pharaoh’s private chambers”, the woman said as they entered.

“This is where you will serve the Pharaoh. You will also be expected to accompany him wherever he goes. Now wait here, the Pharaoh will be back shortly.”

And with that she left Yugi alone. Yugi looked around. He had never seen such splendors. Everywhere there were rich fabrics and gold. He stood in awe of his surroundings. The splendors around him must have dazzled him beyond comprehension because he didn’t hear the large ornate doors being opened. Therefore, when the voice by his ear spoke he jumped like a startled rabbit.

“Beautiful isn’t it.”

He spun round to find himself looking up at the Pharaoh. Realizing his earlier mistake he quickly averted his eyes to the floor.

“Yugi, there is no need for that, I don’t need that kind of servitude from you. Look at me.” Yugi kept his eyes firmly on the floor.

“Look at me,” he said again more gently.

Yugi slowly raised his eyes from the floor to look at the Pharaoh.

“Now that’s much better, isn’t it,” he smiled down at Yugi.

Yugi gave him a small smile back.

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Over the next few hours the Pharaoh showed Yugi through his chambers and explained what his tasks were to be. There was nothing he was not already familiar with. Preparing meals, cleaning, preparing clothes, running errands etc. He gradually started to relax.

“Yugi, there is one more thing, I want you to do for me,” the Pharaoh said as they finished their tour.

Yugi stepped closer.

“I don’t want you to think of me as your master Yugi, I want you to think of me as your friend. I need a companion I can to talk to, someone to trust”. Yugi nodded.

Pleased that Yugi understood, the Pharaoh continued.

“Good, now to start off I think the title of Pharaoh is going to become a bit tedious after a while so why don’t we try Yami, after all it is my name”.

Yugi couldn’t believe it he had known the Pharaoh for only a few hours and already he wanted him to use his real name.

“Yugi, will you be my friend as well as my servant?” He had obviously taken Yugi pause as being a sign of uncertainty.

“Yes, my Phar...Yami I will”, he responded quickly.

“Good” Yami said as he leaned back.

“It is a hot day is it not, will you fetch me a drink of water please Yugi”.

Yugi hurried over to the table where the water jug stood. The pain in his back was increasing again and becoming harder to ignore. He really wished he could look at his back in the mirror, he was sure that some of the cuts were bleeding again. With his mind distracted his hand caught the water jug, knocking it to the floor. He looked at it in horror as it smashed on the tiles. Yami’s footsteps approached and Yugi closed his eyes and braced himself for the blow he thought was sure to come as punishment for his clumsiness.

“Yugi, are you alright?”

Yugi didn’t move

“Please Yugi, I’m not going to strike you, it was an accident”.

Yugi opened his eyes. Yami was kneeling, so he was able to look Yugi in the face, with a kind but understanding expression on his face.

“I know from witnessing first hand the type of treatment you are used to, and I don’t believe a word of what your old master said about you. I promise you while you are here no one shall every hurt you again”.

“Thank you”, was all Yugi could manage.

“Good now we can get back to...Yugi...your back!”

Yami slowly tuned Yugi round and from his reflection in a mirror across the room Yugi could see that blood was seeping through his bandages and into his long sleeved tunic. Yami walked Yugi over to the bed and sat him down. Yami gently untied the neck of Yugi’s tunic and pulled the top down to reveal Yugi’s heavily bandaged torso and arms. The bandages were soaked with Yugi’s blood.

“Who did this to you?” Yami, said quietly.

“My grandfather.” Yugi whispered bowing his head.

“Your grandfather? Wait...that man...you master...was your grandfather!” Yami said in horror.

“How could a man do this to his own flesh and blood?”

It was all too much for Yugi. He burst into loud racking sobs, from the pain of his wounds and the pain in his heart. Yami pulled him close as an older brother would his younger as Yugi poured out his heart, telling how his parents had died, how his grandfather had treated and beaten him like a slave. It seemed like he talked for hours and Yugi was exhausted when he had finished. Yami reached out and pulled a cord to the right of his bed. A guard came in through the large doors.

‘Is he is going send me back now he knows I’m not a genuine slave?’ thought Yugi.

“Honda, please could you ask my personal physician Ishizu to come to me”.

“Right away your Highness,” replied Honda as he glanced at Yugi’s blood soaked bandages.

Ishizu turned out to be the same woman who had brought Yugi up to the Pharaohs chambers. She took one look at Yugi and started work on him immediately. First she gave him something to drink, which made him drowsy but it did take the pain away. Then she set about cleaning and re-bandaging Yugi’s wounds. The last thing he remembered before falling asleep was being laid back onto the bed and being covered with the silk sheets.

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Yugi awoke to the sound of birds singing and sunlight streaming though the window. He was momentarily disorientated.

‘This doesn’t look like my bed in the servant’s quarters?’ he wondered.

The events of the previous day slowly came back to him.

‘If it wasn’t a dream then that means I’m still in the Pharaoh’s quarters, and that means...’

He sat bolt upright and then wished he hadn’t. He was so stiff but at least there was no pain.

“If you are moving that quickly I would say the Ishizu did her job well”.

Yugi looked over to where Yami was sitting in a chair smiling at him.

“I’m sorry your Highness, this is your bed”.

“Please Yugi; I thought we agreed to drop the titles last night”.

“Yes, I’m sorry. Thank you for what you did”.

“I did nothing; Ishizu is the one to thank”.

“No, I didn’t mean that, well I did, it’s just that I wanted to thank you...for listening to me”.

“That’s what friends do, and I’m sure you will do the same for me soon. Now do you feel like something to eat?”

Yami brought over a tray of various fruits, meats and other exotic things for him to choose from.

“Isn’t this supposed to be my job?” Yugi asked.

“Yes, but not until you’ve fully recovered, now what do you fancy”.

Chapter 3 - Serpent

Yugi made rapid progress over the next couple of days. Ishizu checked on his wounds regularly and reported that he was healing well. He had started to carry out some of the tasks allocated to him but only the ones within the apartments. Yami did not want to subject him to the more public duties until he was fully recovered. On the whole Yugi was enjoying his new life and his friendship with Yami.

The stories were rife throughout the palace of the Pharaohs ‘twin’ so when Yugi finally appeared in public with Yami he was the centre of attention, much to Yugi’s discomfort and Yami’s amusement. Weeks went by and people were soon accustomed to seeing the two of them appearing together. Yami and Yugi had become fast friends over the short time and Yugi was soon repaying Yami for the kindness he had shown him. Yami often confided in Yugi over concerns he had and problems of state that needed resolving. On the whole Yami was a good Pharaoh and his people loved and respected him. However, Yugi soon learned that there was a darker side. Yami’s father had been assassinated and his mother had died soon after giving birth to him. His father’s early death had meant that Yami had become Pharaoh at a very young age. His childhood had been cut short by the tragedy and now like Yugi he was in a position he had never expected to be in with no parents and little in the way of friends. On top of that there was always the threat that someone would try to assassinate him, in order to gain power, so trust was something that Yami could little afford. However, he gave it to Yugi, much to the annoyance of some of Yami’s advisers.

It was a few months into Yugi’s life at the palace when the first attempt on Yami’s life came. It was a fiercely hot day and Yami was holding council in the main throne room with a high dignitary from a neighboring country, both were seated on cushions around a low table in the centre of the floor. Yugi approached the table with a platter of fresh fruit and returned to the side to collect a fresh flagon of wine to refill their goblets. It was as he was pouring the visitors wine that he noticed something moving in the fruit. Yami was reaching towards the platter when Yugi shouted, he dropping the flagon to the floor and roughly shoved Yami’s arm away, causing Yami to loose his balance and roll off the cushions onto the floor. The guards shouted from the door and rushed to the defense of their Pharaoh. One of the guards was Honda and he drew his sword as he advanced on the boy who had dared attacked the Pharaoh. He raised his sword to strike.

“Honda stop”, commanded Yami.

Honda obeyed his Pharaohs command and lowered his sword. He looked down at the boy who didn’t even seem to have notice that he had been in mortal peril. He was kneeling on the floor, breathing heavily with his eyes squeezed shut as if in pain and his hand clamped tightly over his left forearm. He became aware that the Pharaoh was standing beside him.

“Quickly give me your knife”.

He obeyed and watched as the Pharaoh knelt down beside the boy holding the knife.

‘Is he going to kill the boy himself?’ Honda wondered in shock.

“Yugi let me see you arm.” Yami’s voice was urgent.

Yugi slowly removed his hand to reveal a bite mark.

‘Snakes bite!’ Honda thought.

“I’m sorry Yugi this is going to hurt.” Yami said.

With that Yami sliced the boys arm deeply over the bite. Yugi cried out as the blood flowed freely. Finally the Pharaoh placed his mouth over the cut and began to suck out the snake’s venom. Spitting out the blood venom mix. He then tore a strip off his robes and bound the cut.

“Honda, send for Ishizu quickly”.

Honda nodded and left the room at a run. Yami held the now unconscious Yugi in arms, he had gotten most of the venom out but Yugi would still need help, if only he knew what snake had bitten him. The dignitary he had been talking to drew his sword and lashed out at the fruit platter sending fruit and juice everywhere. He held up what remained of the snake.

“An Asp,” he said.

“Very dangerous. If it had bitten you, you would have been dead in minutes.”

Yami looked down at the still unconscious Yugi with concern.

“Looks like the boy saved your life at the cost of his own”.

‘No,’ thought Yami.

‘I promised him nothing would hurt him again; please don’t make me a liar Yugi’.

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Yugi could hear muffled voices.

“You got most of the venom out but some remained”.

“Will he live?”

“I don’t know. He’s feverish right now. If he survives the fever then I would say yes”

“Please Ishizu if there is anything I can do...he saved my life”.

“I know my Pharaoh but only time will tell”.

‘Well they sounded nice’ Yugi thought.

‘I wonder who they were talking about?’

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Yami sat beside Yugi’s bed holding his hand. It felt so hot. Yugi tossed around in the bed gently moaning. He was fighting the fever Yami could tell but it was holding him in its throws. He knew that if he hadn’t drawn most of the venom out of the wound Yugi would have been dead by now. He looked over at Ishizu who had just entered the room.

“Have you not slept yet my Pharaoh?” she asked kindly.

“No, I thought I saw a change in him around midnight and didn’t want to leave him”.

Ishizu approached the bed and laid a hand on Yugi’s forehead.

“Yes, he would seem to be better, his temperature has dropped and he seems less distressed than yesterday”.

“That is good”, sighed Yami.

“Will you take a little sleep now?”

“No I will wait a little while longer”.

“Very well, I will return shortly”.

“Thank you Ishizu”.

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Yugi slowly opened his eyes and promptly shut them again. The light was so bright it hurt. He tried again more slowly this time. He was in a small room with a small window and lying in a comfortable bed. For some reason he couldn’t move his hand. He turned his head slowly to see what the problem was. Yami was fast asleep and laying on his hand.

“Yami”, he said weakly.

Yami’s eyes sprang open.

“Yugi...?”

“Where am I?”

“In one of Ishizu’s healing rooms” Yami said as he leaned closer.

“What happened?”

“You saved my life”.

“I did...?”

It came back to him. The snake. It had been going to bite Yami.

“The snake...!” he cried.

“Dead, like you nearly”.

“Thank you Yugi, you saved my life with your selfless act, and endangered your own life in the process, I now not only owe you my friendship but I owe you my life”.

Before Yugi could answer Ishizu returned and noticing that he was awake fussed over him excessively. Yami slipped from the room quietly to get some much needed sleep.

Chapter 4 – A Friend in Need

The news that Yugi had saved the Pharaoh’s life spread through the palace like wild fire and everywhere Yugi went he was greeted with kindness and gratitude. In some ways it was getting embarrassing. Yugi didn’t want the attention. As far as he was concerned he had just done what any friend would have. It didn’t help with Yami wanting to shower him with gifts. He refused every single one and said we were perfectly happy as he was. Yami was at a loss as to what he could do for Yugi but he was soon presented with an opportunity.

Yami opened the doors to his chambers and walked in. He removed his crown and placed it on a table before slumped wearily into a chair.

‘What a day, if I see one more foreign visitor from another realm or country I’m going to scream,’ he thought.

“Yugi”, he called out.

No reply came.

‘Where could he be?’

His eyes scoured the vast room until he caught sight of the small boy standing on the balcony looking out over the city.

“Yugi?” he said again as he approached.

Yugi turned around.

“Oh, hi Yami”.

“What were you thinking about? You were so deep in thought you didn’t hear me calling”

Yugi sighed.

“I was thinking of Jou”.

“Your friend from your grandfather’s house?”

“Yes, I haven’t seen him since I left and I was wondering what he was doing”.

Yami’s eyes lit up.

“Why don’t we go and find out”.

“What do you mean?”

“Well it’s still early and we could both do with the fresh air. Why don’t we go out into the city to look for your friend?”

“That’s a great idea”, exclaimed Yugi his face lighting up.

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A short while later both boys were on horseback and exiting through the palace gates. It was hot day and a gentle desert breeze blew in across the city.

‘It’s nice to be out of the palace for a while,' thought Yugi.

His thoughts turned back to the task at hand. His plan was to try and find Jou. It had been so long since he had seen him. He knew the best place to start was his grandfather’s house but needless to say he was very apprehensive of going back. Yami turned to look at the face of his young friend seeing the worry and instinctively knowing its cause.

"Nervous about going home?" he asked.

Yugi gave him a small worried smiled.

"Just a little".

"It will be alright, I promise, no harm will come to while you’re with me, no one would dare".

"I know. It’s just...." He stopped.

There in the crowd had he just seen Jou's face. He looked again yes there it was again.

"JOU,” he called out.

Jou's face vanished back into the crowd.

"May I be excused Yami?"

Realizing Yugi had seen his friend he smiled.

"Of course, I will meet you back here when the sun begins to set; I have some things I want to take care of in the city. Do you need any help?" indicating for one of this bodyguards to follow Yugi.

"No it’s ok".

"Very well, I shall see you later," and with that he carried on up the street.

Slowly the crowd followed and Yugi was left alone in the bustling street looking for Jou.

‘Where is he? I'm sure I saw him,' thought Yugi.

He looked up the street, taking in the people and stalls. Then he saw him, glancing out from an alley a short way up the street. Yugi made his way over. As Yugi approached Jou pulled further back into the alley, as though fearful of him.

'What is going on?' thought Yugi as he reached the entrance to the alley.

"Jou," he called.

"Jou, it’s me Yugi!"

"Yugi?" came a small voice from a closed door way.

"Jou, are you all right?"

Yugi approached the figure and pulled back with a gasp as he caught a glimpse of Jou cowering in the doorway. His arms were covered in cuts and bruises and his clothes were ripped and hanging off his body. He looked like he hadn't eaten in days.

"Jou what happened? Did my grandfather do this to you?"

Jou shook his head.

"Was it Danota?"

At the sound of Danota’s name Jou shuddered.

"What happened?" Yugi asked concerned.

And with that Jou relayed the story of how, after Yugi had left with the Pharaoh his grandfather had gone insane with rage, angry that his favorite whipping post had been taken away from him. He described how he had become more than usually cruel to his servants, even hitting Tea who normally pleased him. Danota had also taken his anger out on the servants, especially Jou, as he had been Yugi's friend. He described how it had reached a point when he couldn’t take anymore and he had run away. Now he was living on the streets and had been for a few weeks. Jou wiped his eyes, he had been crying whilst he had relayed his story to his friend.

"Wow, look at you Yug" Jou said eyeing Yugi's clothes.

"Much better than the old rags you used to wear" he joked wanting to change the subject and lighten the mood.

Yugi hadn't said a word whilst Jou told his story and he now stood up and walked a little way out into the alley his head bowed. Jou followed him and knelt in front of Yugi, whose shoulders were shaking as he tried to suppress his sobs.

"It’s alright Yug” Jou said in an understanding voice.

“I’m fine now, as long as I don't get caught and sent back I’ll be ok".

Yugi raised his tear-stained face and whispered softly.

"It all my fault."

"What. No way Yug, it wasn't your fault, you weren’t even there".

"No, and that’s why it’s my fault".

"Your talking rubbish!" countered Jou.

“No, if I hadn't left with Yami no one would have been beaten and you wouldn’t have been hurt. I should never have agreed to go".

He lowered his eyes to the ground, fresh tears falling.

"I wish I had died in that fire with my parents. Then at least my grandfather would never have had to take me in and no one would have got hurt".

Jou heart felt like it would break at Yugi’s humble words.

‘He cares nothing for himself, only for others. How can one so kind and unselfish have been treated so badly?’ Jou thought.

"You talking crazy talk Yug, even if you had never come to live with us our treatment wouldn’t have been any better. You can't change the character of a man".

Yugi averted his eyes from Jou's but Jou grabbed Yugi’s chin and forced him to look back again.

"Listen, everyone was so happy when the Pharaoh decided to take you as his slave. Do you know why Yugi? It’s because you were finally safe. No one liked the way your grandfather treated you and after the last time when he nearly whipped you to death, that feeling grew. It didn't matter what either Danota or he did to us, as long as you were free and safe. That was all that mattered".

Yugi looked at him stunned.

“Really?”

"Yes, Yug really."

Yugi wiped his tears away with the back of sleeve and gave Jou a warm smile.

"What about you?" he asked suddenly.

"What are you going to do?"

Jou looked back down the alley.

"I don't know I might be able to find a new, kinder master, providing I don't get caught first".

Yugi nodded. Escaped slaves were often severely punished and even in some cases put to death if their crimes were very bad. Knowing his grandfather and Danota he was suddenly very fearful for his friend. If he was caught he was sure they would make up some story and apply the maximum penalty.

‘I have to help him, but how?’

Suddenly it came to him.

‘Yami would help,' he thought hopefully.

Then he realized that even Yami would have to uphold the law and besides he had done so much for Yugi already how could he ask for anything more. No, he would have to think of something else. He looked at the ground deep, in thought, snapped his fingers and looked quickly at Jou.

"I've got it, you can hide in the palace, at least until the commotion has died down and they stop looking for you. Then you can go about looking for a new master without fear of being caught".

"Really, where would I hide?"

"There are loads of old disused tunnels and passageways under the palace. I discovered some of them when I was exploring soon after I entered service at the palace. No one would ever think of looking for you there and I could supply you with food and clothing".

"Are you sure Yug, I don't want to get you into trouble".

"No it will be ok. You spent all those years looking after me now its time for me to repay the favor. This is what we will do. Make your way round to the rear wall of the palace just after dark. I know of a way over the wall where the guards don't patrol very often. I can then show you the tunnels".

"Ok Yug. Sounds like a plan" a smile spreading across Jou’s face.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yugi waited in the square thinking over his plans for the evening. He knew what he had to do.

"Did you find your friend?" Yugi started at Yami’s voice.

Yami gave a soft chuckle at having made Yugi jump.

"Yes, thank you".

"Good. Is he well?"

"He's had some tough times but he's going to be fine now," he replied.

Well at least he wasn’t lying. He didn't want to have to lie to Yami.

"That is good to hear. Are you ready to return to the palace?"

"Yes".

Yugi made a jump for the stirrup as he tried to mount his horse. He really was too small to be riding a horse. Yami smiled as he observed Yugi’s technique.

They talked about the day’s activities as they made their way back to the palace and once back in the Pharaoh’s chambers Yugi set about preparing Yami’s dinner. Yami settled in for the night and once Yugi was sure Yami was asleep he left the chambers quietly and made his way down to the courtyard. In another few hours it would be fully dark.

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Darkness descended and Yugi, making sure the coast was clear, set off across the courtyard to a small, secluded, group of trees. He disappeared though the trees and made for the far wall of the palace grounds. The wall was heavily overgrown and unless you knew they were there you could not see the small stepping-stones inserted in the wall. It had obviously been used as an escape route for someone in the past and Yugi had discovered it by accident one day whilst exploring. He climbed the wall and looked out over the top. The guards very rarely came this way as it was so overgrown and a grown adult could not have squeezed through the small gap in the undergrowth. However, it was no problem for a small fifteen-year-old boy. He called out.

"Jou...Jou are you there?"

Yugi held his breath while he waited for a reply.

"Yug, is that you?"

"Yes, where are you?"

Jou quickly moved from his hiding place and ran towards the wall.

“How do I get up?" he asked.

"If you squeeze though that gap in the bush you can see steps going up the wall. Climb up and I'll show you the entrance to the tunnels".

Jou climbed the wall quickly and dropped down beside Yugi. Yugi then proceeded to lead Jou through the trees to a small mound of overgrown stone. He reached down and grabbed a handle and lifted a trap door.

"This is the entrance to the tunnels. When I found them the first time I came up this way."

They both climbed down and shut the trap door behind them. Yugi lit the torch he was carrying and led Jou down the tunnels to a small room.

"I'm not sure what this used to be but it looks like nobody has used it for a while so it should be safe for you to hide in".

"This is great Yug".

"I've left some food and clothes here and there are more torches and flint if you need them. I'm not sure how often I'll be able to come to see you, probably only at night, but I'll try to come as much as possible and I'll bring you food".

"Thanks Yug, I don't know how to thank you," Jou said gratefully.

"It’s me who should be thanking you Jou, for all those times you helped and looked after me. I'm just glad I'm finally able to help".

"You had better be getting back Yug. Someone might miss you".

"Yes, you’re right, sleep well Jou".

Yugi left Jou and made his way down the tunnel. He knew how to get out but the difficult bit was making sure nobody saw him. He reached the end of the tunnel and pushed a rock to open a small concealed door in the wall. He slipped through and pushed the door shut behind him. He remembered how he had found the entrance to the tunnels in the first place. He had tripped and fallen against, or rather through the wall. He knew now that pushing a small carving operated the door but it had been startling at the time. He moved quickly up the corridor and through the servant’s entrance to Yami’s chambers. He made it to his bed and lay down with a sigh of relief. It didn't look like anyone had missed him. He drifted off into a contented sleep unaware that a tall figure had been watching his every move from the shadows.

Chapter 5 – Betrayal

The following weeks were great. In between his duties and time with Yami Yugi was able to slip into the tunnels to see Jou, often bringing him food and things to keep him occupied. Jou was looking much stronger now he was eating well again. Yami noticed the change in Yugi.

"Yugi, you seem very happy at the moment" Yami said one morning.

Yugi paused from where he was laying out Yami’s clothes.

"Yes, I suppose I am" Yugi replied cheerfully.

"It seems you have been much happier since you met with your friend. Jou wasn't it".

"Yes, Jou always looked after me when I lived with my grandfather. Looking after me when times were bad. I was able to help him out that day, and I'm glad I was able to repay him for his kindness".

Well he wasn't lying to Yami. He had been able to help Jou, and was continuing to help him. Soon Jou would be able to find a new, much kinder master. He wished he could ask Yami to give him a job at the palace but he didn't want to ask the Pharaoh for anything more, he had already given him so much and it wasn't his place to ask.

"I'm glad you were able to help your friend".

Yami sat down.

"Yugi..."

"Yes Yami".

Yugi approached the Pharaoh.

"Over the last few months you’ve been more like a brother to me than a servant or friend".

Yugi waited knowing that Yami wanted to say more.

"There is something I want to show you. Have you heard the legend of the 'power of the Pharaoh’?"

Yugi nodded.

"Yes, it’s an old story told by the story tellers".

"Do you know how the story goes?"

Yugi looked thoughtful as he tried to recall the story.

"The story says that when a great and powerful evil descends across the land of Egypt its Pharaoh shall stand tall and call forth his power to destroy the evil and using the seven mystical millennium items locked it away in the shadow realm so Egypt shall once again be safe".

"Yes that’s the one. What if I told you it wasn't a story, that the legend was true".

"True?"

"Yugi come with me. I want to show you something".

Yugi dutifully followed Yami as they walked out of the chamber and down the corridor. Yugi wondered where they were going. They approached the large gold encrusted doors of the palace temple and entered. Yugi looked around; he had never been allowed in here before. Large statues depicting the gods of Egypt towered above them and Yugi recognized those of Ra and Osiris. Yami walked to the centre of the room and climbed the steps to the dais. Yugi followed him. On a stone plinth in the centre of the dais stood a large stone stature. What caught Yugi’s eye were the seven golden items embedded into the stature. On its forehead sat the orb of an eye, in one hand it held a long rod and in the other an Ankh, around its neck it wore a necklace and on a long golden chain a ring. At its feet sat a set of scales and in the place of its heart was a gold inverted pyramid. All of the items had the symbol of the eye of Horus marked on them.

"Yami, are these the millennium items from the ancient story?" Yugi asked with wonder.

“Yes, and according to a prediction made at my birth I’m to be the Pharaoh to wield their power, but I don’t know how or when”.

He sighed and looked down at the floor deep in thought. Yugi not wanting to disturb Yami’s thoughts moved closer to the statue. The item in the middle, the inverted pyramid intrigued him and without thinking he reached up his hand to touch it. To Yugi’s surprise it started to glow. Yugi snatched his hand away. Yami saw his quick movement.

“Yugi, what’s the matter?”

Yugi didn’t get a chance to answer as the doors to the temple swung open with a loud bang and Seto the High priest came striding in muttering under his breath. He didn’t notice the two boys at first but stopped when he saw Yami.

“Your High...Highness,” he stammered.

“Please forgive me I did not expect to see you,” he recovered with a low bow.

“You look upset Seto is something wrong?” Yami asked.

“No Your Highness,” he replied politely.

“Just a small affair of state which is in need of sorting. Nothing to worry about, I can handle it.”

He turned to leave when he noticed Yugi standing behind Yami. His tone instantly turned hostile.

“What is that slave doing inside the sacred temple? Guards remove him”.

Yugi shrank back.

“Stop where you are.” Yami commanded to the guards.

He turned to Seto his voice taking on a dangerous tone.

“He is here at my request”.

“But he is a common slave and defiles the temple with his presence my Pharaoh”.

“He is my friend and I will not tolerate your tone.” Yami said angrily.

Realizing he was treading on dangerous ground Seto bowed to the Pharaoh in submission.

“Please forgive me Your Highness. I meant no offence. Of course the boy is welcome as your guest”.

Yami turned to Yugi.

“Come Yugi, I think we have stayed long enough”.

With that Yami swept out the temple, Yugi followed swiftly behind. As they passed, Seto raised his head to give Yugi a look of pure hatred. Yugi, hurried to catch Yami up glancing fearfully back at the High Priest. The doors closed behind them and Yugi was glad when they finally reached the safety of Yami’s chambers. Yami dropped into a chair with a look of concern on his face. Yugi approached him head bowed.

“I’m sorry Yami”.

Yami was pulled back from his thoughts.

“For what Yugi?”

“For causing you trouble”.

Yami looked at the humble boy standing before him, eyes lowed to the floor. He sat up and gently lifted Yugi’s chin to look him deep in the eyes.

“It’s not your fault Yugi,” he said firmly.

“If anyone is to blame it is I”.

He sighed deeply.

“Perhaps I should not have shown you the temple and the secrets it contained?”

He sat back deep in thought again.

“Yugi. I want you to promise me you will never tell anyone of what you have seen today. If my enemies were to learn of the items in the temple then they may try to take them and use their power against me”.

Realizing fully what Yami was saying Yugi dropped to his knees before his Pharaoh and friend.

“I promise Yami, I will never reveal your secrets. I will guard them as I would your life”.

Yami looked at the small boy kneeling before him who had made the deep and serious pledge.

‘Does he fully understand?’ he thought.

One look at his eyes showed that he did. They were filled with fierce love and dedication. He leaned forward and placed both his hands on Yugi’s shoulders.

“Thank you Yugi. I knew I chose well when I picked you to be my friend”.

They sat in silence for a short while. Then Yami leaned back.

“I think is time for something to eat, wouldn’t you say”.

Yugi smiled and stood up making his way over to the servant’s entry door, which leads down into the kitchens. As he closed the door behind him he repeated the pledge in his mind. He would protect Yami’s secrets and with his own life if necessary.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Down in the kitchens he delivered the food order and waited while it was prepared. He was visiting Jou that night so whilst no one was watching he quickly grabbed a few items from around the kitchen, a slice of bread, some fruit, and hid them inside his tunic. The cook returned with the food and Yugi made his way back up the stairs stopping off at his room to place the items he had stolen into a small piece of cloth, which he tied up into a bundle and placed under the bed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yami yawned deeply as he finished the meal.

“I think the events of today have taken their toll on me Yugi and an early night is in order”.

Yugi nodded and helped the Pharaoh get ready for bed. Once Yami was settled he went around the room quietly snuffing the candles until only one remained. He picked it up shielding its glow with his hand. He could already hear Yami’s slow deep breathing as he drifted off to sleep. Not wanting to wake him he crept across the carpeted floor and slowly closed the servant’s door behind him. Once out of the chambers his pace quickened and he rushed to his room. With Yami in bed earlier than usual he would be able to see Jou sooner. He picked up his cloak and candle and quickly left the room. Making his way down the corridor to the secret entrance. Once in the tunnels he hurried to Jou’s hiding place. Jou was surprised to see him.

“Yug, you’re early?”

“I know Yami went to bed early so I thought I would surprise you”.

“Great. How's your day been?”

Yugi relayed the story of his trip to the temple, being careful to leave out all references to the statue and millennium items, after all he had given his word to Yami and he would not break it even to his best friend. He told Jou of his encounter with Seto.

“I wonder what his problem is?” said Jou.

“I don’t know but he has sure changed since the first time I met him”.

He thought back to his first day when he had collapsed from fatigue and had been picked up by the High Priest and carried on his horse. What had happened to change the once kind man’s opinion of Yugi?

“Yug, did you bring any food?”

Yugi’s attention was snapped back.

“Oh hell, I left it under my bed”.

“Never mind, I’ve got enough to last me till tomorrow”.

“I promise I will bring it with me tomorrow”.

“Ok, you were always forgetting things back home.” Jou said grinning at his friend.

And that set them off reminiscing about the past.

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A cool breeze blew though the room as Yami lay in bed. He had tried to sleep but his mind was still reliving the events of the afternoon. Why had Seto been so angry that Yugi had been in the temple? Other slaves entered the temple so what was wrong with Yugi being there. He just couldn’t understand it. He watched the moonlight dance on the walls and mirrors in the dark room trying to find some solace. He sighed and turned onto his side. He would have to sleep sometime otherwise he would be exhausted in the morning. He closed his eyes and tried to drift off to sleep.

A small sound behind Yami caused him to snap back to awareness. Was that just the wind or had he heard a footstep? He listened hard. There it was again, definitely a footstep. He started to sit up.

“Yugi...?” he said as he turned over.

He saw the knife just in time and rolled quickly to the side, crying out at the blade slashed down his back rather than into his chest where it had been intended. Yami dived out of the bed as the attacker recovered and swung again. This time the outline of his attacker became clear in the moonlight. Yami cried out in shock as the blade narrowly missed him again. Suddenly he tripped and as he fell he banged his head on the arm of a chair. He felt his vision beginning to blur as he started to black out.

‘No I must fight it,’ he thought as he struggled back to his feet.

He couldn’t see anything in the dark room. Had he really seen his attacker? It couldn’t be...he must have been mistaken. He turned his head as loud banging came from beyond the doors. His guards had been alerted by his cries and were trying to get into the room.

‘It’s been bolted form the inside,’ thought Yami.

Despite his swimming head his instincts told him that there was danger to his left and he dived forwards as the knife struck again, this time slicing into his arm. Yami cried out and fell to his knees. He couldn’t stand anymore. But if he didn’t fight back his attacker would finish the job. Just at that moment the doors to his chambers smashed open and several guards ran in, swords drawn. As unconsciousness finally overwhelmed Yami he caught a glimpse of his attacker running towards the open balcony and despite the shadows the moonlight once again highlighted the shape of a small boy with spiky hair and if Yami had had any doubts they were soon put to rest as the boy turned slightly to look back. Although he couldn’t see his face clearly there was no mistaking the blonde bangs hanging down the side of his face and the crimson streaks in his hair. Yami finally collapsed dimly aware of people gathering around him.

Chapter 6 – Accused

Yami woke to find Ishizu leaning over him.

“Thank Ra your Ok,” she said, seeing him awake.

“What happened? Where am I?” Yami asked weakly.

“You’re in your chambers. You were attacked in the night whilst you slept, if you hadn’t woken up and defended yourself you would be dead”.

Yami’s silence concerned Ishizu.

“My Pharaoh are you Ok?” she asked.

“Yes...I...was the attacker caught”.

The look of distress on his face was still concerning Ishizu.

“No he escaped...my Pharaoh do you know who the assassin was?” drawing closer to the reason for Yami’s silence.

“I...no, he wasn’t unknown to me”.

“Really, can you identify him?”

Yami was silent again.

“My Pharaoh...Yami, do you know who it was?” she asked again, more firmly this time.

“It was...it was Yugi”, he answered in a hushed voice.

Yami closed his eyes as Ishizu leaned back, her hand over her mouth and a look of horror on her face.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When Yugi first woke he found his surrounding unfamiliar, then he noticed the walls of the tunnel. He sat bolt upright. He’d fallen asleep whilst talking to Jou. What time was it? How long had he slept? Jou lay on the floor beside him deep in sleep. He had to get back. What if someone had noticed he was missing? Quickly, dusting himself off, he left at a run making for the tunnel exit. It had to be sometime after dawn he realized as he pushed the rock to open the secret door. He quickly squeezed though and pushed the door shut behind him.

‘I’ve made it back into the palace now to get back to my room,’ he thought.

“There you are boy. I knew I would find you here,” a cruel voice sneered.

Yugi froze and turned to find himself face to face with the High Priest.

“Seize him.” Seto commanded to the guards behind him.

Before Yugi knew what was happening two guards had grabbed hold of his arms were holding them tightly behind his back.

“Wh...What?” he stammered as the guards tightened their grip.

Seto drew closer.

“Slave you are under arrest for the attempted murder of the Pharaoh. The penalty for which is death”.

Yugi’s eyes widened in fear as heard the High Priest’s words.

“At...Attempted murder, b...but it wasn’t me.”

“Really, can you explain where you have been all night?”

The Priest leaned closer a cruel smile on his face.

“I....”

He trailed off. He couldn’t tell him. If he did then Jou would be found and punished or worse killed. Seto leaned back a look of satisfaction on his face. Yugi’s silence confirmed his guilt.

“Why do you think it was me?” Yugi finally managed to say, more bravely than he felt.

He couldn’t believe this was happening. It was all so fast.

“Why? Because you were identified at the scene of the crime.”

“Who accuses me?” Yugi asked in an uncertain voice.

Seto’s eyes lit up and the cruel smile on his face widened.

“Why, your intended victim of course. You have been accused and identified as the attacker by Pharaoh Yami himself”.

Yugi felt his legs weaken as the full truth of his words sank in.

“Take him away.” Seto ordered to the guards.

With that they pulled the now quiet and pale boy with them. Yugi didn’t notice his surroundings as he was led down to the dungeons. Seto’s words still echoed in his mind.

‘Yami accused me...but why? ...I wasn’t there...I didn’t do it.’

He was vaguely aware that they had stopped. One of the guards pulled open a large heavy door in front of them and the other pushed Yugi into the cell. The door was slammed shut behind him, leaving Yugi in the dark. He began to tremble violently as the shock of what was happening finally sank in. He backed up against the wall and slowly slid down to the floor hugging his knees close to his chest suddenly feeling very frightened and very alone. Tears spilled down his cheeks until he was shaking uncontrollably with sobs. How was this happening? He had never tried to hurt Yami. He had spent all night in the tunnels with Jou. How could Yami accuse him of being his attacker? Was Yami all right...? A thousand more questions came into his mind.

Slowly his tears subsided but he still shivered violently.

‘What is going to happen to me now?’ he thought.

Seto had said the penalty for the crime was death. He found himself crying again.

‘Will there be a trial? Do slaves get trails when they commit a crime?’

Another wave of sobs took him. Would Yami let him explain that it wasn’t him? Would he believe him?

“I don’t want to die”, he said out loud in a quiet frightened voice.

Chapter 7 – Truth

Jou wandered the tunnels in the direction of the servant’s quarters. In his explorations over the weeks he had discovered that the tunnels came close to the living quarters of the palace. In some places you could look, or even squeeze through the grates in the walls. Yugi had promised to come back with the food he had forgotten but he couldn’t help it, he was hungry. He was making his way towards a grate that led into the servant’s quarters hoping to be able to steal a piece of bread or fruit to tie him over until Yugi came back. He approached the grate and looked through to check the coast was clear. Just as he was about to push the grate back an old woman entered the room. Jou took his hand away from the grate and sat down; he would have to wait before venturing out. He became aware of a quiet sobbing noise. The old woman had sat down in a chair with her face in her hands and was quietly sobbing into them.

‘I wonder what’s wrong?’ thought Jou.

As if to answer his question the door to the room opened and a young woman entered. The old woman raised her head expectantly.

“Well, any news Mai?” the old woman asked.

“He’s been arrested”.

The old woman let out a gasp

“What in Ra’s name is the charge?”

The young woman paused before answering.

“The attempted murder of the Pharaoh.”

The old woman sat back in her chair her hand across her mouth in shock. Jou leaned forward at the mention of the Pharaoh.

‘Maybe Yugi’s involved?’ he thought.

“Who accused him?”

The woman paused again.

“It was Pharaoh Yami himself”.

Again the old woman gasped in shock.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I spoke with Katara, Ishizu‘s assistant. Late last night Ishizu was called to the Pharaohs chambers. He had been attacked whist sleeping. Katara said he had deep cuts on his back and arm where the assassin’s blade had caught him and it looked like he had put up a fight because he was unconscious when Ishizu arrived. Ishizu dressed his wounds and a little while later, when he awoke, Ishizu asked him if he had seen his attacker. Katara was preparing medicine in a corner of the room when she clearly heard him say Yugi’s name”.

This time it was Jou’s turn to place his hand over his mouth in shock.

“There’s more. Kintar was extinguishing the night torches in the second corridor when Seto the High Priest swept past him with several guards. Wanting to find out what all the commotion was about Kintar followed them. When he turned the corner in the corridor he saw the guards grabbing hold of Yugi. Seto started to ask him questions and demanded to know his whereabouts last night. Yugi wouldn’t tell him. Seto took that as confirmation of his guilt and ordered him taken to the dungeons.” She paused.

“What will they do to him Sara?”

The old woman looked up, fresh tears streaming down her face.

“He’ll be executed”.

“But...he’s just a boy!”

“It won’t make any difference. If the Pharaoh is the one who's accused him then there is nothing anyone can do”.

“Oh, Sara.” the young woman cried as she ran into the old woman’s arms.

“It can’t be true, it just can’t!”

Sara embraced the crying woman.

“I know, but only a miracle can save Yugi now”.

Jou stepped back from the grate shaking violently. He felt numb. He hadn’t just heard that. It couldn’t be true and Jou knew why. Yugi had been with him all night. His eyes widened with sudden understanding. Yugi hadn’t told the Priest where he had been because he had been in the tunnels with Jou. Yugi had put is own life in danger to save him.

‘Oh. Yug’ he whispered sadly.

He clenched his fists. He had to help him, but how, there was no way he was going to be able to rescue him, Yugi would be to heavily guarded, and Jou wasn’t even sure where the dungeons were. No he had to find someone to talk to. Tell them where Yugi had been all night. Even if it meant he was punished or worse executed himself for being an escaped slave. He didn’t care what happened to him, he had to help Yugi. He screwed his eyes shut. Who could he tell? Who would believe him? Suddenly it came to him. There was one person. From what Yugi had told him over the weeks, Pharaoh Yami would listen. Or would he? After all he had been the one to accuse Yugi in the first place, but Jou knew he had been mistaken and Yugi’s lack of information concerning his whereabouts had just confirmed his wrong suspicions. It was a long shot but it was his only chance to save Yugi. He knew the way to the servant’s staircase that led to the Pharaohs chambers. Yugi had described it many times and he knew how to work the exit door. What was there to lose? If he was captured at least he had tried to help Yugi and it was better than staying in the tunnels knowing his best friend was about to be executed for a crime he didn’t commit. Even if the Pharaoh ordered his own execution after he had told his story it would be worth it to get the truth told. With his mind resolved to his course of action he made his way towards the door and slipped through into the palace.

Chapter 8 – Mistakes

Yami passed a weary hand over his eyes. His body wasn’t in pain, Ishizu had made sure of that with her medicines, but his heart ached as if would break. Silent tears ran down his face. It had been the hardest thing he had ever had to do, putting his seal on the warrant for Yugi’s execution. He had refused at first; sure that he must have been mistaken of his attackers identity but Seto had convinced him in the end. His hand trembled as he placed it against his forehead and he closed his eyes. If he was so sure he had seen Yugi attack him then why did his head and heart ache so? Was it because Yugi had betrayed him... was that the reason. He shook his head as his thoughts drifted back to the pledge Yugi had made to him the previous day. He had been so sincere with his words and there had been no malice in his eyes. Yugi’s heart was pure and innocent, how could he be the one who had tried to kill him? He shook his head and again he asked himself the question. If he was so sure it had been Yugi then why did something feel wrong? He ran the events of the night over in his head for what seemed like the hundredth time. He had recognized Yugi’s hair, only one other person had hair like that and there was no way he had attacked himself. The size and shape of his attacker had been the same as Yugi’s...so why did he feel like he was missing something. His hand dropped back into his lap. Maybe he was trying to find something that wasn’t there, because he wanted Yugi to be innocent. He turned his head at a slight noise from the room behind him. Had he just heard the door to the servant’s entrance open?

‘Who could that be?’ he thought angrily.

He had ordered that no one was to disturb him. Maybe it was another attacker? His hand reached for the sword, which lay on the table beside him. Carrying the sword before him he slowly crept into the main room. He looked around.

‘There’s no one here. Maybe I imagined it’.

He started to lower the sword when he caught sight of the shadow being cast by the ornate column which stood in the centre of the room. Someone was standing behind it.

“I know your there, show yourself”, he commanded.

The shadow moved and the figure of a tall, blonde and obviously frightened boy stepped out. At the sight of the Pharaoh he dropped to his knees and lowered his forehead to the ground.

“P...Please mighty Pharaoh. Please don’t hurt me. I bring information...about Yugi,” the boy stuttered in a terrified voice.

Yami approached the boy. Had he heard right? Did the boy have information about Yugi?

“Speak, what is this information you say you have”.

“Please my Lord you must listen to me, Yugi is innocent. He was not the one who attacked you. I know you think it was him but it couldn’t have been because he was with me all night in the tunnels under the palace.”

“What do you mean? Who are you?”

“My name is Jou my Lord”

“Jou? Yes, I remember, you are Yugi’s friend from his grandfather’s house. You were the friend Yugi helped a few weeks ago.”

“Yes, my Lord he did help me. You see I ran away from my master and was living on the streets. Yugi helped me by hiding me in the disused tunnels under the palace, bringing me food and clothes. He was with me last night when you were attacked. I know you have no reason to believe a word I’m saying but please, you have to save Yugi. I don’t care what happens to me...let me take his place. Please, my Lord, please don’t let him die”.

The boy lifted his tear stained face to Yami’s.

‘This boy isn’t lying,’ thought Yami.

‘He is genuinely begging for Yugi’s life to be spared, even to the point of offering to take his place, you can see it...in...His...eyes’.

Yami’s thoughts trailed off and his eyes widened in horror. That was the missing link. His attacker’s eyes...they...had...been...blue”. Yugi’s eyes were deep violet like his own.

“No...What have I done.”

Yami dropped to his knees in shock as the full reality of his mistake dawned on him.

“I have made a terrible mistake Jou and I’ve accused and condemned a dear friend of a crime he did not commit”.

He laid a hand on Jou’s shoulder.

“I believe you Jou. Thank you, your selfless actions have shown me the errors of my own judgment”.

“Please my Lord, spare Yugi’s life”.

“I will Jou but we must hurry”.

Chapter 9 – Final Moments

Yugi lay on the floor, his head resting on his arm. He wasn’t really asleep. After all, how could he sleep after what had happened. He still couldn’t believe he was under arrest and sentence of death for attempted murder.

‘How could Yami possibly think I attacked him?’

His thoughts drifted back to Yami’s promise to him all those many months ago.

I promise you Yugi, no one shall ever hurt you again.

And now here he was, alone and frightened, locked in the palace dungeon knowing that the next time the door to his cell opened he could be led to his execution. He was so scared and he wished Jou or Yami were with him, realizing how ridiculous the last thought was. His mind instantly leapt to Yami’s defense.

‘No, Yami would not hurt me on purpose. He must genuinely think that it was me who attacked him’.

Poor Yami how would he feel if Yugi was executed and he discovered his mistake. Tears rolled down his face as he thought of Yami.

“I’m sorry Yami; I promise I will be brave for you when they come for me”.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The sound of footsteps coming down the corridor woke Yugi from his fitful slumber and he sat up. Would they go past he wondered? The footsteps got louder and stopped outside the door to his cell. Yugi got to his feet determined to face whoever, or whatever was to come. The door creaked loudly as it was unlocked and pushed open. Seto walked in followed by several guards.

“Well boy, it would seem the Pharaoh does not value your life. He has placed his seal on a warrant for your execution and I’m only to happy to carry out the Pharaoh’s orders”.

A slow cruel smile crept across his face and he turned to address the guards.

“Prepare him and bring him to the chamber,” he ordered as he swept out of the room.

One of the guards held up a piece of rope and approached Yugi. It was Honda, one of Yami’s bodyguards. Honda could not look the boy in the face as he approached.

‘He’s so young. Does he fully understand what is about to happen to him?’ he thought.

“I’m, sorry,” was all he could say.

Yugi nodded and bowed his head, placing his hands behind his back for Honda to bind.

‘So brave and yet so sacred,’ Honda thought.

‘How could this boy have tried to kill the Pharaoh?’

Yugi was led out of the cell and down the corridor. It seemed to Yugi like they were walking forever.

‘Maybe it will never end,’ he thought.

The longer he walked the harder it became to maintain his courage. He stumbled and felt strong arms reach out to steady him. He looked up into the sad face of Honda. He wanted to thank him but his throat was so tight. He returned his eyes to the floor, his heart pounding in his chest.

They finally stopped in front of a large iron door, which was swung open. Yugi was led to the centre of the room. His eyes swept the room taking in the racks of swords, knives, axes and all manner of other strange devices. All of them looked like they were designed to cause pain and suffering. Yugi began to shiver. Sensing the boys distress Honda laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. The High Priest emerged from the shadows across the room followed by another man wearing a black hood to hide his face. He nodded and the two guards each laid a hand on Yugi’s shoulders and gently pushed him to his knees.

“You are dismissed, return to your post”, he indicated to one guard.

He then pointed to Honda.

“You, wait outside and guard the door.”

Honda nodded and gratefully left. He did not want to see this. It felt wrong.

Yugi knelt in the centre of the room trembling. This was it. He was going to die, and he bowed his head as silent tears rolled down his face. The High Priest turned to the man in the hood.

“Proceed”, he said in a cold voice.

The hooded man walked over to the racks and slowly drew a sword, testing the edge with his thumb. He knew this was his job but he didn’t want the boy to suffer anymore than was necessary. He slowly walked over to the small trembling figure.

‘I promise it will be quick,’ he thought as he rested the edge of the blade against the youth’s neck.

‘I’m sorry Yami,’ thought Yugi as he felt the cold edge of the blade against the back of his neck.

The blade lifted away and he braced himself for the fatal blow he knew was to come.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Honda hugged his arms across his chest tying to contain his sobs of anguish. He screwed his eyes shut at the sound of the small cry and the gentle thud from inside the chamber. His sobs grew more intense and tears poured down his face.

‘How the Pharaoh could let this happen, he was only a boy?’ he thought.

But it was too late the deed was done. Honda continued to sob into the darkness.

Chapter 10 – Broken Promises

Yami’s head was reeling as they ran down the corridor. What had he done, he had been tricked into accusing Yugi of attempting to kill him. He realized now that the attack had been nothing more than an attempt to get rid of them both.

‘Why?’ he thought.

‘Me I can understand but why Yugi?”

He slowed to a halt before the door to the dungeons. He had never been down there before. It was not normally a place for a Pharaoh but nothing was going to stop him now. He wrenched the door open and quickly descended the stairs, Jou close behind him. There was very little light in the corridor but enough to see by. Together they hurried down the small dank corridor looking urgently into each of the cells. Yugi was nowhere to be found. Yami felt panic wash over him. Where was he? It couldn’t be too late...could it? They had been slowly making their way further and further down the corridor and the torches were becoming few and far between. Yami had no idea what was at the end of the tunnel, this was a part of palace life he was not involved in, except when he was required to pass judgment on a particular case, like with Yugi. His fear was mounting. Where was he? He stopped to lean against a wall, worry etched on his face. He slowly became aware of a slow shuffling sound coming from direction of the darkened tunnel. He stood and cautiously walked forward. Someone was coming towards them. The figure seemed to be holding onto the wall for support.

“Who’s there?” Yami called out.

The figure stopped and lifted his head.

“Honda...is that you?” Yami said in recognition.

Yami caught the look of distress on his bodyguards face...had he been crying?

“Honda....what is it?” Yami asked slowly.

“My...my Pharaoh, what are you doing down here?” Honda replied.

“I’m looking for Yugi; do you know where he is?” A look of distress and grief crossed Honda’s face. He was silent.

Slowly Yami realized the cause of Honda’s distress and he felt his legs give way as an unbearable grief washed over him. He was vaguely aware that Jou had caught hold of him, stopping him from crashing to the floor.

“No....” he whispered.

“I’ve failed him.”

He could hear Jou sobbing loudly beside him as he too realized the reason for Honda’s distress.

Yami slowly reached out a hand to the wall to steady himself. He felt numb, as though someone had plunged a knife into his heart and his lifeblood was slowly slipping away. It was a while before he could speak.

“When...?” he asked quietly.

“Only a few moments ago,” Honda replied in a sad voice.

“Where?” Yami asked in an anguished voice.

“Honda pointed back down the dark tunnel to where he had come from.

“Take me there”.

“Your...Your Highness are you sure?” Honda stammered in a shocked voice.

“Yes, please show me Honda”.

As Honda led them down the corridor Jou remained by Yami’s side in case he collapsed again. Yami couldn’t think why.

‘Surely he wants to kill me for what I’ve done to his friend?’ Yami thought dully.

Honda stopped before a large heavy door and turned around. Yami nodded and Honda pushed the door open. The chamber beyond was empty and dimly lit. With all his remaining strength Yami walked forward into the room. He looked around taking in the racks of weapons and instruments. He had no idea such a terrible place existed within his own palace. He walked to the centre of the room. The floor was blood stained and to Yami’s horror he saw that some of the blood was fresh. He fell to the floor his grief overwhelming him. His wailing sobs of anguish echoed around the chamber.

It was a long time before the Pharaoh fell silent.

Jou and Honda made a move to approach when suddenly Yami stood and walked with purpose over to one of the racks that lined the walls. He reached out a hand and grabbed hold of one of the swords. Then with a look of grim determination on his face, turned and walked straight for Jou. Jou started to back away. Had the Pharaoh gone mad with his grief? Was he going to kill him? Yami stopped in front of him and taking the blade in his hands held the sword, hilt first, out to Jou.

“Take it”, he commanded.

Jou stood fixed to the spot.

“TAKE IT”, he commanded again.

Jou, not sure what else to do, took the hilt of the sword in his hands. Yami let go of the blade and lifted his head to look Jou in the face with fierce eyes.

“Now take this sword and strike down the murderer of your friend. I give you my life in exchange. Do with it as you please,” and with that he bowed his head and sank to his knees before Jou.

Jou looked in shock at the Pharaoh and then at the sword in his hand.

‘It is true,’ he thought.

‘The Pharaoh is the cause of Yugi’s death’.

He felt his anger grow and his hand tightened on the hilt of the blade as he thought of his friend. It would be so simple just to raise his arm and strike the Pharaoh down, make him pay for what he had done. His eyes flashed with hate as he looked down at the Pharaoh kneeling before him. He raised the sword, ready to strike.

Just as Jou was about to deliver the fatal blow he saw Yugi’s face flash before him. He stopped.

‘No I can’t, Yugi wouldn’t want me to hurt Yami. Yami was tricked it wasn’t his fault’.

He let the sword fall to the floor with a loud clatter, ashamed at what he had nearly done.

“No, I can’t,” he said out loud.

Yami lifted his head. Tears were streaming down his face.

“You must,” he said in a small voice.

“It’s all I have to give you. Justice must be done”.

Jou bent down to the Pharaoh and held out his hand.

“Yes, justice must be done but not like this. Yugi would not want a life to be given in place of his own, especially not yours. Yugi knew how much you cared for him and I know how much he cared for you. He would have realized you were tricked into thinking he was your attacker. He wouldn’t have blamed you”.

Honda now approached from where he had been standing in the doorway.

“He was very brave my Pharaoh, even though he was scared. He didn’t struggle. It was quick. He wouldn’t have suffered”.

Yami looked back up at Jou as Honda described how Yugi had gone to his death.

“I promised him nothing would every hurt him again”.

“I know,” Jou said softly offering his hand once again to the stricken Pharaoh.

“But sometimes promises can’t be kept”.

Yami nodded sadly and took the offered hand.

“I want to get out of here”.

Understanding, Jou slipped Yami’s arm around his shoulders and helped the Pharaoh walk out of the chamber and back to the light of the palace.

Chapter 11 – Chosen One

They emerged to find the place in turmoil. Honda left quickly to get aid for the Pharaoh; he returned a short while later with Ishizu.

“Thank Ra, you are ok” she exclaimed as she ran up to them.

“The whole palace has been looking for you; we feared you might have been kidnapped...or worse”.

She stopped as she took in the scene before her. The Pharaoh was leaning heavily on the arm of an unknown slave and he looked to be in great distress, his eyes were red and his dusty face was streaked with tears. Honda stood behind them and she realized they were standing outside the entrance to the dungeons. She gave Honda a knowing look.

“Yugi?” she said in a sad voice.

He nodded and let his eyes drop back down to the floor. Ishizu sighed signaled for two passing guards to help them and together they made their way back to the Pharaohs chambers. Once there the exhausted Pharaoh was helped to bed and Jou was pushed to the side. No one seemed to have noticed him.

‘Maybe I can slip away back to the tunnels where it will be safe’ he thought quickly.

However, as he tried to slip back round to the servants entrance he was grabbed from behind.

“Who are you? How did you get in here?” came the gruff voice of one of the guards.

‘That’s it I’m in trouble now’ Jou thought.

If they learnt he was an escaped slave Ra knew what his punishment would be. The guard began to steer him towards the door.

“Wait” came the tired voice of the Pharaoh.

“Let him stay”.

The guard let go of Jou and bowed as he left the room closing the door quietly behind him. Ishizu was the only one to remain. She held a cup of warm liquid out to Yami who took it gratefully and drank. The warm liquid made him drowsy and he felt his eyes growing heavy as he laid his head back down on the pillow.

“I’m so sorry Yami”, she said as she laid a gentle hand on the now sleeping Pharaohs forehead.

She stepped back and pulled the curtains around him for privacy and turned to the tall blond youth.

“What is your name?”

“Jou, my lady.”

“That is not necessary, I have no title, call me Ishizu. How did you come to be here?”

“I’m a friend....” his voice caught.

“Was. A friend of Yugi’s.”

“I see, sit down Jou, you look tired”.

“Thank you”.

He sank heavily into the chair behind him.

“Would you like something to eat or drink”, Ishizu asked.

“Something to eat would be nice”.

Fresh tears rose to his eyes as he remembered why he was hungry, Yugi had forgotten to bring the food parcel with him on his last visit. He blinked back the tears. No, he had to be strong for Yugi’s sake. He would want him to be. Ishizu approached Jou as he fought with his emotions and laid a gentle hand on the boy’s shoulder.

‘How have things gotten so bad?’ she thought.

The prophecy had been nearly fulfilled. All the millennium guardians had gathering in their appropriate places and by the appropriate time. Things had been going well, but then this had happened. Maybe she had been wrong...maybe Yugi wasn’t the chosen one. After all if he had been why fate would allow him to die before his task was complete? She sighed and looked worryingly out of the window watching the sun set behind the dunes.

****

: ) Hang around I’m just getting warmed up.

 

Chapter 12 – A New Fate

The suns rays streamed though a small window and fell upon the body of a young boy tied and gagged on the floor. Yugi slowly opened his eyes as the warm sun woke him. It took a little while for him to realise his situation. He began to panic, pulling against his bonds. They would not budge whoever had tied him up had done a good job of it. He forced himself to calm down realising that struggling only meant he would hurt himself. He twisted onto his back and using his hands, which were tied behind his back, he pushed himself up into a sitting position. Seeing the wall not far away he shuffled over so he could lean up against it. Still not perfect but at least it was more comfortable than lying on the floor.

‘Where am I?’ he thought.

‘How did I get here?’

He thought back to the last things he could remember and he shuddered as he recalled the terrible chamber he had been led to and trembled even more as he remembered kneeling waiting for the executioner to deliver his final blow.

‘I must be dead’ he thought.

He looked up to the small window and felt the warmth of the sun on his face. No this felt too real for him to be dead. But if he wasn’t dead then how had he survived? He closed his eyes as he struggled to remember. The man in the black hood had walked over to him with a sword and he remembered the cold of the blade against the back of his neck. The executioner had raised the blade for the finally strike and he had heard the swish of the sword...but there had been no blow, instead only a cry and the sound of something falling behind him.

His eyes snapped open as he remembered. A hand had held a cloth over his mouth and he had passed out. His eyes widened further, it had all happened so quickly...but he remembered the face of his attacker, it had been Seto, the High Priest.

‘But than means that Seto saved me?’

Yugi shook his head. What was gong on? Seto had been the one to relish in the idea of Yugi’s execution, why would he then save him. It didn’t make sense.

Yugi looked around finally taking in his surrounding’s. He was in a small cell with a large metal door and a small window with bars. There was a little straw on the floor but not much else. The more pressing fact was that he was tied hand and foot and heavily gagged. Whoever his jailer was he had no intention of Yugi escaping or attracting attention by crying out. Footsteps outside the door caught his attention. The heavy bolt was drawn back and the door swung open. Yugi shrank back fearfully against the wall at the sight of the person who entered. It was Seto.

“I see your finally awake boy”, he said as he looked down at Yugi.

“I’m sure you must be wondering why you still have your head. Well it wasn’t out of the kindness of my heart that I saved you”.

He took a few steps closer and bent down to Yugi’s level.

“No, I have something much better in store for you. Who would have thought that a small runt like you would be the chosen one?”

He reached out a hand towards Yugi, who pulled back against the wall. But Seto did not strike as he had expected instead he pulled down Yugi’s gag so he could talk.

“I’m sure you have many questions, and right now I’ll be happy to answer them” he stood back up.

“Where am I?” Yugi asked.

“On the outskirts of the city”

Seto saw the look of hope of Yugi’s face as he glanced at the window.

“Oh, there’s no point trying to attract attention, we are deep in the old part of the city, no one ever comes here. If the robbers and cutthroats don’t get you then one of the collapsing buildings will. You could shout for help all day and no one would ever hear you” The tone in Seto’s voice told Yugi that he was probably telling the truth.

“What do you want with me? What did you mean by chosen one?” Yugi said bravely.

The cruel smile crept back onto Seto’s face.

“No, I suppose Yami didn’t get a chance to finish telling you the story” Seto turned to look out the window.

“Did Yami ever tell you of the ‘power of the Pharaoh’ and the legend surrounding it?’” Yugi nodded.

“He told you of how this power could be used to seal away a great evil that threatened all Egypt?” Yugi nodded again.

“I know you have seen the seven millennium items that reside in the palace temple and I’m sure Yami explained that they are the key to the ‘Pharaohs power’ and that he is the one prophesized to weald them” Yugi nodded again, not sure where this was going.

“What I suspect he didn’t get a chance to tell you was that there was another prophecy made” Yugi waited.

“This prophecy told of the coming of seven guardians who would claim and wield the seven millennium items when the time was right” He turned to Yugi.

“Five of the guardians I know have been found and are under the protection of Ishizu, she is searching for the sixth. The seventh guardian, who is destined to wield the millennium puzzle, is Pharaoh Yami. However, in addition to the seven guardians the coming of another was foretold, a chosen one”. He took a step closer to Yugi.

“This chosen one is said to posses the secrets to unlocking the powers of the shadow realm”. He closed his eyes in rapture as he began to quote a memorized text.

“As the life of the chosen is sacrificed the way to the dark realm shall be opened, the power of the shadow realm will be brought forth and controlled by the one for whom the sacrifice is made”.

Seto continued to approach Yugi as he finished. An uncharacteristic smile crossing his face.

“You boy, are the chosen one. Do see now what delightful fate I have in store for you little Yugi?” He bent down to Yugi’s level again.

“Three days from now when the moon is at its fullest I will have great pleasure in sacrificing you on the great alter at Hamet. As you life flows away the full powers of the shadow realm will be released to me”. He smiled a with pleasure as he looked into Yugi’s wide frightened eyes.

“You will not only help me destroy Egypt and your precious Pharaoh Yugi but the world as well. There is no hope of rescue, everyone at the palace, including your Pharaoh, thinks you are dead and my reports tell me that Yami has been overwhelmed with grief and guilt at his part in your ‘death’ and locked himself away. So you see there is no hope for you, you life is mine”.

He stood up.

“I don’t know why Ishizu didn’t protect you as well as the others, perhaps she thought we wouldn’t try to harm you whilst you were so close to the Pharaoh. It matters not, her mistake will be hers and all of Egypt’s undoing”.

Seto was started to walk through the door when Yugi called out.

“Wait, I have one more question”

Seto stopped and turned to him. Yugi didn’t like the look on his face.

Yugi took a deep breath to steady the rising fear.

“How did you convince Yami that I was he one who attacked him?”

“Ah, now that was the best part of my plan, let me introduce you to someone”. He gestured to someone in the corridor to enter.

Into the room stepped a small boy about the same height and build as Yugi but with longer dark hair and deep clear blue eyes. Yugi looked at the boy and then back at Seto. The similarities between the two were obvious, especially their eyes

“Yugi let me introduce you to my little brother, Mokuba”

“Your brother!”

“Yes, you see it was he who attacked your precious Yami. With a little bit a restyling and dye it was easy to make his hair look like yours and as you can see you are of similar build and size. Even in the dark it wasn’t hard to convince that fool you were his attacker and now he’s played right into my hands”

With his arm around Mokuba’s shoulders he walked towards the door. He turned one last time to look back at Yugi

“Enjoy your last moments of life Yugi because soon you will be dead and the wealth and power of Egypt and the whole world will be at my feet”

He slammed the door behind him, his laughter echoing down the corridor.

 

Chapter 13 – Destiny

Yami sat on the balcony looking out with sad eyes across the city as the sun began to rise. Two days had passed since Yugi’s execution and since then he had slipped into a deep melancholy.

‘Yugi always liked this view’ he thought.

He didn’t cry anymore at the thought of Yugi, there were no more tears to shed. Instead he just looked sadly out at the sunrise. A loud bang on the main door caused him to turn. Jou appeared on the balcony.

“I’ll go see who it is”, Jou said, knowing that Yami had ordered not to be disturbed.

Yami watched as Jou walked towards the door. He couldn’t understand why the boy stayed. Yami had given him his freedom but he had refused to go. He turned back to the sunrise.

“Your Highness” Yami turned once again to look at his bodyguard.

“What is it Honda? Did you find him?” Yami asked in a weary voice. After his return from the dungeons Yami had asked for the High Priest to be brought to him.

“No, he has not been seen for several days, not since he was last seen in the dungeon”

‘That’s strange’ thought Yami.

“There is one more thing your Highness the palace executioner has been found dead in one of the cells. He’s been dead for several days”.

A puzzled look crossed Yami’s face as he listened to Honda’s report.

“Thank you Honda, return to you post”. Honda nodded and left the room.

Yami turned to Jou.

“Jou, go with him and get some rest”.

Jou made to protest but yawned instead. It was true that he was tired. He nodded and left the room closing the doors behind him

Alone again Yami stood up and made his way back into his chambers. He began to ponder the recent news.

‘Its strange that the only two people to witness Yugi’s execution are now either missing or dead’ he thought. What was going on...was he missing something again.

He ran a weary hand over his eyes. Maybe sleep wasn’t such a bad idea. He lifted his head and jumped back startled. Ishizu was standing right in front of him.

“Ishizu! He exclaimed

“I’m sorry my Pharaoh, I did not mean to startle you”

“No its ok, I just didn’t hear you come in” he said recovering.

Yami passed his hand over his eyes again.

“You look tired Yami, have you not been sleeping?”

“No I can’t seem to rest lately, my thoughts keep we awake and when I do drift off to sleep it’s filled with strange dreams”.

“Of Yugi?” she asked.

“No, its strange the dreams are not about him but it still feels like he is there, and each time the dream is different”.

Ishizu’s eyes widened slightly.

“Perhaps if you were to tell me the dreams you would be able to sleep better”. She asked hurriedly.

“Perhaps you are right”, he replied, not noticing the urgency in Ishizu tone.

“Very well” he said as he sat down in a padded chair. Ishizu chose a seat opposite.

“The first dream was two days ago. I dreamt that I was locked in a cell with my feet and hands tied. People came into the cell and talked to me but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. One of the figures seemed familiar and I felt that I should know his name, but when I awoke I couldn’t remember it”.

Ishizu leaned forwards towards Yami

“I see, and the second dream”

“The second dream came during the day when I fell asleep whilst sitting on the balcony. This dream was different from the first. I was sitting on horseback with my hands tied to the saddle. The same figures from the first dream were around me and the familiar figure kept turning to look at me. Although I still couldn’t remember his name, I could feel he meant me harm. We travelled across the desert towards the ancient ruins of Hamet and as we approached the ruins the figure turned around and spoke to me. He said ‘tomorrow’. I dread going to sleep tonight. I don’t know why but I feel the dream tonight will be more terrible than the first”

He lifted his head to look at Ishizu.

“What do you think is happening to me? Am I going mad? Is Yugi’s spirit reaching out to punish me?”

He gave a weary sigh and leaned forwards onto his knees, looking down at the floor and clasping his hand together. Ishizu sat back a look of relief on her face.

“No Yami, his spirit is reaching out to you through the bond you share, to tell you he is alive”.

“Wh..What....” Yami’s head shot up.

“What do you mean alive... how... where” Yami had leapt up out of his chair.

“Please Yami, sit down and I will explain”

He did so but his hands still grasped the arms of the chair tightly.

“As you known many years ago at the moment of your birth a prophecy was made. This prophecy foretold that you were the one we had been waiting for, the one to wield the sacred power of the Pharaoh and save Egypt. However, what you do not know is that at the same time another prophecy was made. One that told of how the Pharaohs power would be brought forth. This prophecy told of seven millennium guardians who would wield the power of the millennium items. Their power combined would allow the Pharaoh to lock the evil away in the shadow realm for all eternity. In addition to these seven guardians the second prophecy told of another, a chosen one. This chosen one would be the key to the power of the shadow realm and it was foretold that control of the shadow realm would be passed to the one for whom his life was sacrificed”.

She turned her head to look out at the sunrise.

“For many years now I have been the guardian of the millennium secrets seeking out the seven guardians and ensuring they are prepared for their destiny. Six of the guardians are already within the walls of the palace, the seventh guardian, is you Yami”.

She turned back to look at him.

“We looked for many years for the chosen one and as time moved on it looked like he would never be found. However, our search came to an end about a year ago on the day you undertook the tradition of choosing your servants from those of your subjects. We would never have imagined that you would pick the one boy we had been looking for from the many thousands”

“You mean the chosen one is Yugi”.

“Yes, Yami, it was fate that guided you to him that day. It was both of your destinies to meet and with his finding the prophecy was fulfilled”, Ishizu’s head drooped slightly.

“But I made a mistake. I had thought that being so close to you no one would dare to try and take him. I was wrong and I did not see the danger until it was too late. Their plan to make you think Yugi was your attacker was flawless and at his apparent execution even I began to doubt that we had found the right boy. I couldn’t understand how fate would allow the chosen one to die before he had completed his task. Now I see my error and it has placed both Egypt and the world in danger, for with Yugi in the hands of the enemy Egypt and the world are in danger of being destroyed”

A stern look had crossed Yami’s face as Ishizu explained the prophecy.

“Who is behind this, who has taken Yugi and now threatens the world?”

“Seto, you High Priest. I’m sorry my Pharaoh I did not see his treachery until it was to late. If we don’t stop him he will be able to control the full power of the shadow realm and drag the world into the deepest pit of hell”.

“How, will he achieve this?” Yami said again his anger growing as Seto’s treachery was revealed.

Ishizu looked up with sad eyes.

“He intends to take the prophecy literally. He will sacrifice Yugi at the striking of the midnight hour the next full moon and take control of the shadow realms power” Yami leapt from his chair.

“The next full moon, but that is tonight! ”

“I know”.

Yami stood clenching his fists in anger.

“Tell me what I have to do Ishizu, I must save Yugi and stop this madman from destroying the world”.

She nodded and stood up.

“The guardians are here. With the completion of the millennium ritual they can take up their items and you will be fused with their sacred power. Only then can you face Seto and the full force of the shadow realm. Are you ready to face your destiny Yami”.

“Yes, Ishizu I am, I owe Yugi my life and I have failed him once but I will not fail him again”.

“Very well, follow me, we must hurry and we must bring Jou with us”.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------

Jou couldn’t understand what the hurry was all about, or even why he was there. He looked at the 6 robed figures around him. The strange group entered the temple and each of the robed men encircled the raised platform in the centre. The Pharaoh and Ishizu climbed up to stand beside a large stone statue which stood on top. From what Jou could see there was a lot of gold embedded in the statue. He felt like he was intruding on something he should not and so he stepped to the side of the room away from the group.

‘Why did Ishizu ask me to come along’ he wondered as Ishizu turned to face the robed figures.

“My friends the time has come, we must hurry if we are to save the chosen one and remove this evil from the world. Step forward now and receive what destiny has foretold of you”.

With that she began to remove the golden items from the statue.

“Pegasus, to you I give the millennium eye, with its power to look deep into the mind”.

A robed figure stepped forward and took the item Ishizu had removed from the statue. Ishizu continued to hand out the items each robed figure stepping forwards to receive the item she held.

“Bakura, to you the millennium ring, with its power to control the soul.”

“Marik, the millennium rod, to control the mind.”

“Shadi, the millennium Ankh, to find the lost and see the truth in the heart.”

“I, the millennium necklace, to see both the past and future.”

And with that she took an eye emblazoned necklace from the statue and placed it round her own neck.

“And now our sixth guardian” she turned to look at Jou.

“Come forward Jou”

‘Me’ he thought.

He stepped forward and approached Ishizu.

“Jou, you are the guardian of the millennium scales, with the power to weigh a man’s heart and soul”.

He took the item she handed to him and silently stepped back. It felt right in his hands. He felt like he was achieving his purpose.

“And finally the Millennium puzzle” she turned to Yami.

“It is to you my Lord the last and most powerful item is passed. With it the power of the others become one. Receive now the power of the Pharaoh”

She stepped forward and placed the inverted pyramid around Yami’s neck, as she did so the other items began to glow. The puzzle glowed in response, its radiance spreading until Yami stood surrounded in its light, the symbol of the millennium eye glowed brightly on his forehead. He had his eyes closed but when he finally opened them all traces of doubt and fear were gone and Jou stood in awe of the Pharaoh in the full glory of his power.

 

Chapter 14 – Running Out of Time

Yugi paced his small cell. His legs had been untied and his hands although still bound were now in front of him rather than behind his back.

‘I suppose now we are out of the city Seto has less fears of me escaping’ Yugi thought.

He stopped and looked out of the thin low window at the tents outside. They had ridden all day and all night to get there and the sun had long since set. Yugi didn’t know for definite where they were but he guessed it was Hamet. It was now the third day and Yugi knew that if help were to come it would have to be soon. In only a few hours he would be taken to the temple deep under the ruins and sacrificed so that Seto could take control of the shadow realm. Yugi wasn’t sure what to make of Seto’s story but a part of him knew that it was true.

‘If Seto achieves his goal then Yami, Egypt and perhaps the whole world will be in danger, all because of me. I have to find someway out of this. I must.’

Too much rested on him staying alive. He looked out again at the torch lit camp to where Seto had emerged from the large black tent in the centre. Suddenly Everyone’s attention was drawn to a rider approaching at speed. The rider’s horse, sweating and panting heavily, slid to a halt in front of the High Priest, the rider had ridden his horse hard to get there. He dismounted and dropped to one knee in front of Seto.

“My Lord I bring urgent news from the palace”.

“Tell me”

“The Pharaoh has discovered that the boy still lives and is heading this way”.

“Ishizu”, Seto hissed.

He lashed out with his hand knocking the messenger flying.

“You fool you should have covered our tracks better, now everything is in jeopardy thanks to your incompetence. How long ago did he leave?”

The messenger struggled back to his feet.

“The Pharaoh and his party were still making preparations when I left. They must be at least three hours behind me”.

“That is something at least”, he turned to the man behind him.

“Take riders and try and slow them down. Nothing, do you understand, nothing, must stop me from completing the ritual and becoming master of the shadow realm”.

The man nodded and left. Seto turned back to the messenger.

“Come with me, it is time to prepare the boy for his final journey”. Yugi slowly backed away from the window.

‘Yami is coming’ he thought

‘But will he be in time.’ He turned to look fearfully towards the door.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------

They were pushing their horses hard.

‘Too hard’ Yami thought, but nothing was going to stop him from reaching Hamet before time ran out.

The cold desert air whipped at his face as the small group galloped across the desert. They had 2 hours till midnight. 2 hours to save Yugi from his fate.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------

Yugi struggled against his bonds as he was led down the dark tunnel. He had to try and escape. Seto saw his distress and smiled.

“There’s nothing you can do boy, with your death shall come a new era. One of Pain, suffering and torment, one ruled by me.”

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------

The attack happened as they crossed an open part of the desert. The group were taken by surprise as the team of ten or so riders galloped towards them at full speed. Some firing arrows others wielding swords. Yami drew his sword and prepared to fight.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------

Yugi could see a light at the end of the corridor, it seemed like they had been walking for hours, but it looked like they had finally reached their destination, which could only mean one thing for Yugi. The chamber was huge. Large statues of the gods and strange carvings decorated the chamber and at the far end of the long chamber stood a raised platform. On top of the platform stood a stone altar. It was towards this that Yugi was now dragged. As they got closer Yugi could see bloodstains running down its sides and he tried to back away fear evident on his face.

‘Please Yami if you’re coming, please let it be now’ he thought.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------

Many of the attackers had died in the first wave, being quickly overwhelmed by the skill of their intended prey. Those few that remained were now being hard pressed. Yami swung his sword in fast and clean movements as he fought with his opponent. The man was good but Yami had been trained by the best. He soon saw an opening in his opponent’s defences and quickly altered his swing to crunch his sword into the man’s chest. As Yami bent forward to pull his sword free he heard a loud clang. He spun round to find Jou shield in hand.

“That was a close one your Highness” Jou said as he indicated the arrow imbedded in his shield.

Yami looked over to where Marik was finishing off the archer.

“Thank you Jou....You’re hurt”. He said indicating a deep gash on Jou’s arm.

“It’s nothing just a scratch, he got lucky” he pointed with his sword to a man on the floor.

Yami was impressed despite having no training Jou had been able to hold his own during the fight.

“These were Seto’s men”, explained Yami as he whipped his sword on the cloak of the fallen attacker. Ishizu nodded

“Yes, we must be getting close, otherwise why would he risk such a clumsy attack”.

“Good” exclaimed Yami has he swung back into the saddle.

“Because this is nothing compared to what I’m going to do to Seto when I get my hands on him”.

And with that they spun their horses round and set off at a gallop towards the ruins at Hamet.

 

Chapter 15 - Sacrifice

Yugi struggled in the arms of his captors as three women approached him. Each carried a small pot giving off thick white smoke. They held the smoking pots out to Yugi, who held his breath. He knew if he breathed in the smoke it would be bad for him. However, they remained standing there. Soon the need to breath took over and he gave a sharp gasp. He began to cough as he breathed in the smoke. He felt dizzy and weak as the effects of the smoke took effect. Unable to fight anymore he went limp in the arms of the men holding him as his strength finally left him. Seeing he was ready the two men began to drag him up the steps towards the altar. Yugi tried to resist but he hadn’t any strength left. He looked up weakly at the High Priest who was now wearing a long black robe.

“Bind him to the stone”, he ordered.

Yugi was lifted bodily off the ground and laid on the altar. He tried to fight back but it was no use. Soon he was bound hand and foot to the stone. He struggled against the ropes but he knew it was hopeless. Seto moved to stand beside him and reached out to lay an almost kind hand on Yuig’s forehead.

“Ah, poor Yugi, How does it feel knowing you will be the cause of the end of the world?”

Yugi moved his head to the side with as much strength as he could to shake off Seto’s hand.

“Yami will defeat you”, he answered in a weak voice.

“Ah, of course, your precious Pharaoh”.

Seto moved his hand down to Yugi’s chest and held out the other to a group of people to the side. A woman with a carved wooden box approached. She knelt before Seto, opened the box and held it above her head to him. He reached inside and drew out a cruel looking knife with jagged teeth.

”I wonder how he will feel?” he said placing the sharp tip of the knife over Yugi’s heart.

“When he fails to save you for a second time”.

“He will defeat you” Yugi repeated bravely as he turned his head defiantly away from Seto.

“Defiant to the end I see” he raised the knife above his head laughing.

“Where is you precious Pharaoh now” he snarled as he brought the knife down.

Yugi screwed his eyes shut.

“RIGHT HERE” came a voice from the back of the chamber.

A ball of energy struck Seto in the chest and he was thrown back by the blast with such force that he crashed into one of the statues and lay still. Yugi opened his eyes weakly to see Yami standing in the middle of the chamber smoke curling from his clawed outstretched palm. He lowered his hand and ran up the steps to Yugi’s side. Seto’s followers backed fearfully against the wall and retreated down the steps as the Pharaoh approached.

“Yugi are you alright?” he asked urgently as he reached the altar and untied the ropes binding Yugi to the stone.

Yugi tried to answer as Yami lifted him off the altar, but he was too weak. His legs buckled as his feet touched the floor. Realizing Yugi had been drugged Yami lifted Yugi’s small figure off the floor and carried him down the steps to where the rest of the group were holding Seto’s followers at bay. He laid him against one of the columns.

“Jou, look after him for me” Jou nodded and approached, looking at his frail friend with concern.

“Now”, Yami said as he stood up, a dangerous and determined look on his face.

“It is time to deal with my treacherous High Priest”.

He turned and began to make his way back to the altar where Seto was struggling to recover.

“PREIST”, Yami roared. Seto turned to face him.

“YAMI” he snarled.

“What a pleasant surprise”.

“You will pay Seto for all the hurt and suffering you have caused”.

“Will I.”

The two began to circle each other.

“Let us play a game Pharaoh, let us pit our strengths against each other, good verses evil so to speak, the winner being the one to control the power of the millennium items and the shadow realm. I propose a shadow duel”.

Yami narrowed his eyes at Seto trying to detect some form of trickery.

“Very well, an honorable duel one on one”.

Seto nodded and stepped back

“Good, then let us begin”.

He placed his hands together and began to chant. The lights dimmed and beside him a black void slowly opened. When the void was fully open he stopped chanting and lowered his hands.

“Now Pharaoh let me introduce you to the monster known a Ryu-kishin”.

Out of the void stepped an evil looking monster with a bird like beak and sharp claws.

Yami’s eyes darkened and the symbol of the millennium eye began to glow on his forehead. Another void began to open, this time beside him.

“Very nice Seto, now lets see what I can call forth” He raised his arms in the air and the puzzle around his neck began to glow.

“I call on the monster known as Curse of Dragon”.

Out of void flew a giant yellow dragon.

“My curse of dragon is stronger than your Ryu-kishin Priest. CURSE OF DRAGON ATTACK AND DESTROY”

The yellow dragon swept down and Seto was thrown back as his monster was destroyed.

“Well done Yami”, he sneered.

“You have mastered you powers well in such a short time” he stood up and began to chant again.

“Now I call on the mighty dragon Hyozanryu, come forth and destroy Curse of Dragon.”

A white horned dragon emerged from the void and with one beat of its wings descended on Curse of Dragon. As the two collided there was a blinding light and a loud crash. This time it was Yami’s turn to be thrown back as his monster was destroyed.

“It would seem we are evenly matched Seto”.

“Maybe, but the test will be to see who will weaken first, and as soon as you do Yami I will destroy you”.

“We shall see”.

The battle continued to rage with each of them calling forth bigger and more powerful monsters, neither willing to submit or accept defeat. Yugi watch the titanic struggle in awe as the effects of the smoke slowly wore off. A bright flash caught the corner of his eye and he turned his head in its direction. Yugi could just make out the form of a figure crouching on a ledge around the top of one of the giant statues. Yugi looked closer. The flash had come from the tip of an arrow. An arrow that was pointing straight at Yami’s unprotected back. Yugi saw the figure draw back the bow and he was moving before he knew it.

“YAMI”

Yami turned at Yugi’s cry and saw the flash of the arrow as it streaked towards him. Suddenly Yugi was between him and the fatal arrow. Yugi stumbled as the arrow struck, falling into Yami’s arms. Yami fell to his knees at the sudden weight. He looked in horror at the arrow protruding from deep in Yugi’s chest.

“YUGI” he cried

“Yami” Yugi whispered.

“Yugi...?” Yami said a choked voice.

“Thank you...for saving me”.

Yugi let out a last ragged breath and then went limp in Yami’s arms.

“NO” Yami cried in anguish hugging Yugi close to him.

Seto approached the kneeling and sobbing Yami.

“Well, well it looks like the little runt finally got what was coming to him” Seto laughed behind Yami.

Yami continued to hold Yugi close, paying Seto no notice.

“What’s the matter Pharaoh? Too tired to carry on. I would have thought the death of a worthless slave would have been beneath your caring”.

Yami hugged Yugi close once more then gently laid him on the floor. He stood his back still to Seto. Sensing that his opponent had lost the will to continue the fight Seto stepped back, a look of triumph on his face.

“Very well then if you will not fight, I shall finish the duel for you. I shall call on the mightiest dragon of all and then I shall destroy you and the rest of those you care about”.

Be began a new chant. The torches flicked and an air of foreboding filled the chamber.

“I CALL ON THE MIGHT OF THE BLUE EYES WHITE DRAGON” screamed Seto.

The dragon that emerged from the void was larger than any of the first, its huge wingspan filling the chamber as it towered above them. Seto lowered his hands and he gave a manic laugh as he reveled in the thought of his greatest rival’s destruction.

“And now Yami turn and face your doom”.

Yami straightened and slowly turned around, his head bowed and his eyes closed.

“You are wrong”, he said in a quiet but firm voice.

“It is you who are doomed for your blindness have led you to make the final and most fatal mistake”. He raised his head and opened his eyes to look straight at Seto.

 

Chapter 16 - Prophecy

Seto’s eyes widened in horror as Yami turned towards him. Yami’s eyes, no longer a soft violet, were glowing with power and the millennium eye shone on his forhead. Seto stumbled backwards and fell to the floor as Yami began to move towards him.

Yami stopped before the stricken priest and looked down with cold eyes. Beside him the form of a tall figure wearing deep purple robes and holding a long staff began to form. This new figure towered above them all.

“It is time priest for you to pay for you crimes”. Yami said in a cold voice.

“Behold the Dark Magician, guardian of the shadow realm”. He indicated the figure beside him.

“No...how? Seto stuttered in shock as he looked up at the imposing figure.

“Only one who commands the powers of the shadow realm can call him forth...” Seto stopped and his eyes widening in realisation.

“No...the boy.” he whispered and his eyes darted towards Yugi’s still form.

“Yes Seto, the chosen one sacrificed his life to save mine and in doing so fulfilled the prophecy”

“NO. It can’t be true, I was so close” Seto cried in angrily realising that his goal was now out of his reach.

“It can and is” Yami said his voice still void of an emotion.

He began to move towards Seto again. Sparks of energy cracked around his feet as they touched the ground and his glowing eyes narrowed in anger.

“You will pay for your treachery Seto. I will banish you, your followers and your monster to the shadow realm. You, who craved the power of the shadow realm enough to take the life of an innocent boy, will suffer in the eternal blackness. You will never again walk this earth and I condemn you to wander the terrible dark forever”.

The figure of the Dark Magician raised his staff and a large black vortex opened behind Seto. Seto scrambled back to his feet and turned fearful towards the void. Black arms reached out towards him from the dark depths catching hold of his robes. He struggled to break free from the grasps but more hands appeared. He stretched out a hand towards Yami as he was slowly dragging back towards the terrible and eternal blackness.

“No, please have mercy” he screamed.

“I don’t think so” Yami replied coldly as Seto was dragged into the darkness, his final scream echoed around the chamber.

As his screamed died away the pull of the void increased. The Blue Eyes White Dragon fought against the pull in vain, unable to break free, as it was dragged towards the terrible depths to join its master. It gave a loud frustrated roar as it too was finally dragged back into the shadow realm along with those of Seto’s followers that remained. Its appetite fully sated the dark void closed behind them.

The Dark Magician lowered his staff and with his task complete slowly faded away. The chamber was silent again and gradually the power surrounding Yami began to fad and his eyes slowly returned to their normal soft violet. He looked drained and tired.

Yami turned and slowly walked back to where he had left Yugi. He knelt down beside the boy and gently brushed the blond bangs away from his pale face.

‘He looks so peaceful, as though he were only sleeping’ he thought sadly.

His eyes travelled to the imbedded arrow, which was the cause of all his pain. He took hold of the shaft and gritted his teeth as he pulled the arrow from Yugi’s chest. He flung the offending item across the chamber with such force and anger that it broke into splinters as it struck the wall. Ishizu knelt beside him and gently laid a hand on his shoulder. Yami was breathing heavily as he struggled to control his emotions. He looked over at Ishizu.

“It there any hope?” he asked sadly

Tears welled in Ishizu eyes as she shook her head. Yami gave a sigh.

“It is not right that he be left on the floor”, he said to her in a sad voice.

The millennium symbol glowed on his forehead and he waved his arm in a circle around the room. Dank and cold stone turned to pearly white marble and the once blood stained altar becoming a beautifully carved plinth.

Yami gently lifted Yugi’s body from the floor and holding him close carried him up the steps. He laid Yugi on the plinth and arranged his hands across his chest to hide the terrible wound that had spilled out his life. The others gathered round sharing his grief. He lifted his head to address them.

“Because of his sacrifice we were able to vanquish the evil and put the world to peace again, he gave his life to save ours. This place shall be his tomb and memorial”.

He lowered his head again to the still form before him, tears now rolling down his cheeks.

They stood there a while in silence to honour their fallen friend. After a while the group began move back down the steps. Seeing that Yami wasn’t following Ishizu took a step towards him.

“Yami, are you coming”. He looked up.

“Yes, I just need a moment alone”. She nodded and joined the others.

Yami laid his hands on top of Yugi’s and bend down to kiss him on the forehead.

“Sleep well my friend, I will miss you”, he said sadly.

As he pulled away he noticed that the millennium puzzle had come free from around his neck and lay on Yugi’s chest. He reached out his hand to retrieve the puzzle, but paused, the puzzle was glowing brightly. The glow faded as quickly as it had come and Yami picked it up and looked at it curiously.

‘Why did it do that’ he wondered.

He re-tied the puzzle around his neck and looked back at Yugi one last time before joining the others. He was about to turn away when he paused and looked quickly back. Something was different. He moved back to Yugi’s side and pulled back the hands on his chest. The wound, it was gone, healed, but how?

“Ishizu”, he cried.

She came quickly back up the steps and on noticing the cause of Yami’s alarm a new look crossed her face, one of hope.

“Quickly everyone, gather round and hold out your millennium items”. She called down the steps.

“What is it Ishizu” Yami asked urgently.

“There is one more legend told of the millennium puzzle. It is said that it can heal any wound, even after the body’s death, providing the soul has not yet left this realm”.

“You mean Yugi’s soul might still be here. We can still save him”.

“Yes, but we must hurry, give me your hand”.

Yami did so.

“Now place the other on Yugi”. He quickly complied. The rest of the party had reached the top of the steps again and Ishizu gestured for them to move around them in a circle. She turned back to Yami.

“Yami you must find Yugi quickly, we have very little time” She said seriously. Yami nodded and continued to listen intently on her instructions.

“Yugi’s soul may not realise what is happening or who you are but you must convince him to come back with you. Whatever you do don’t let him go into the light. If he does he will be lost to us forever”.

Yami nodded again and began to feel light headed as Ishizu started to chant. He wasn’t quite sure what was happening but he felt himself rise up and away from his body. He looked down to see himself standing holding Ishizu’s hand and surrounded by the others with their millennium items glowing with power. He held his hand before his face noting that it was semi transparent. Ishizu had separated his spirit from his body.

>I have to find Yugi quickly> he thought.

He looked around the vast chamber and noticed a bright light on the far side. He glided his spirit form towards the light, standing before it was a familiar figure.

>Yugi> he called out.

The figure turned to look at Yami.

>Isn’t it beautiful>” he said pointing towards the light.

Yami drifted over to him.

>Yes, it is. Yugi why don’t you come over here with me away from the light>

>Why?> said Yugi.

>Because I want to take you home>.

>Home?> the boy cocked his head to one side.

>Yes>.

>Home?> the boy said again pointing towards the light.

>No Yugi, home with me>.

>Are you my friend?> he asked.

>Yes Yugi, I am your friend> Yugi took a step towards him.

>Is your home as beautiful as this?> he said pointing towards the light again.

>Yes, Yugi, it is very beautiful> he closed his eyes and he tried to picture Yugi favourite scene.

>In the morning you can stand on the balcony and watch the sun rise over the city. The suns rays light up the city so that it looks like it is paved with gold>.

Yugi’s eyes lit up.

>Can I watch it every day?>

>Yes Yugi>.

Ghostly tears were rolling down Yami’s face as he recalled seeing Yugi standing on the balcony looking out over his favourite scene.

>Why are you crying?> Yugi asked, walking up to Yami and reaching out a small hand to touch his face.

>Because I miss you.>

>Why? Have I been away>”

>Yes, Yugi, but you can come home now, you are safe and nothing will ever hurt you again>.

Yugi seemed to think it over glancing back over his shoulder at the light. Yami closed his eyes. He was going to lose him Yugi would go into the light and he would never see him again.

>That is good> came Yugi’s response as he slid his hand into Yami’s.

Yami’s eyes shot open at the feel of Yugi’s hand in his own. He squeezed the hand tightly and looked down at the smaller boy. Yugi looked up and smiled at Yami.

>I’m ready to come home with you now>.

 

Chapter 17 – Final Secret

“Did you find him?” Ishizu asked urgently as Yami slowly opened his eyes.

Yami glanced expectantly down at Yugi looking for any sign of change. He breathed a sign of immense relief when he saw Yugi’s chest begin to rise and fall. He was starting to breathe again. Yugi’s eyes fluttered open and he started to cough violently. Yami gently turned him onto his side so he could cough up the blood from his lungs left over from the arrow wound. When his coughing had subsided Yami laid Yugi gently back down. Yugi was a little disorientated but on seeing Yami he looked up and smiled weakly.

“Yami? I had the strangest dream, you were there and you said you wanted to take me home, and...”

He didn’t get a chance to finish because Yami swept him up in his arms and hugging him fiercely.

“Yes, Yugi we’re going home” Yami said in a thick voice.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------

The journey back to the palace across the desert was less fraught with danger than the journey to Hamet. To pass the time Yugi and Yami told each other stories of their adventures over the last few days. As Yugi described his experiencs Yami became very quiet.

“Yami, what is it?” Yugi asked concerned, pulling his horse in beside him. Yami kept his eyes fixed on the travelling ground beneath him.

“I’m sorry Yugi, for what I did to you”. Yugi looked at him confused.

“How do you mean Yami?”

“I’m sorry for thinking that you attacked me and for putting you through that terrifying experience. I saw the room, the one you were taken to, it was horrible, I never imagined that such a terrible place could exist”. He looked up at Yugi his eyes glistening with tears.

“You must have been terrified”.

Yami couldn’t miss the shudder Yugi gave as he recalled his experiences and he looked back ashamedly at the floor.

“I understand if you cannot forgive me for my foolishness” Yami said quietly as he closed his eyes sadly.

“If you want to leave the palace when we return, I won’t stop you. You are free to go”.

Yugi leaned over and placed his hand on Yami’s. He gave Yami a rare serious look.

“It wasn’t your fault Yami, I knew that and I never blamed you. What matters is that you came for me when you knew I was alive and for that I owe you my life”.

Yami looked up gratefully at Yugi and smiled in relief.

“In that case I have repaid one of my owed debts to you”.

Yugi gave him a questioning look.

“Don’t you remember? You saved me from being bitten by a snake only a few weeks after I met you”. Yugi nodded. Yami scratched his head thoughtfully.

“You know, I always thought that was an accident but looking at recent events it makes me wonder”. He looked back round at Yugi

“The point of the matter is that I owe you two lives”.

“Must we keep score” Yugi said as he reached up a hand to his chest to feel where the arrow had pierced him.

“You know it’s awfully hard to fill out an IOU when you’ve got an arrow sticking out of your chest”. Yugi said with a pained expression on his face

With that the two of them burst out laughing and it was a long while before they were composed enough to talk again. Yami turned to Yugi again.

“You know, I also owe a debt of gratitude to Jou. He came to my chambers to tell me the truth when you were arrested. He knew that as an escaped slave he could be punished if he was caught but he came to me none the less out of friendship for you. If he hadn’t I would never have realised my mistake”.

Yugi turned in his saddle to look for Jou. He spotted him riding at the back of the column and swung his horse around.

“Hi, Jou” he said as he pulled in beside him.

“Oh, Hi Yug, how are you feeling?”

“Ok, why are you here at the back?”

“No reason, just trying to keep out of the way” Jou said quickly.

“But you’re not in the way Jou”. Yugi said surprised. Jou didn’t answer, instead he turn his head to look out at the desert.

“Jou, I want to thank you”. Jou turned in the saddle to look at Yugi.

“For what Yug?”

“For risking you life to save mine” Jou turned back to the desert and shuffled in the saddle awkwardly. Yugi, determined to get his point across continued.

“Yami told me what you did for me. You risked your own life to get the truth told when I was arrested and you risked your life again by coming here as a guardian of the millennium scales. Without you Yami could never have defeated Seto and I would be dead”.

Jou lowered his eyes to the ground in embarrassment. Seeing that he was starting to break through his friend’s humble shell Yugi continued .

“Jou, you are the best friend anyone could ask for, and I don’t know what I would do without you”. Jou raised his head and smiled at Yugi.

“Thanks Yug, that means a lot to me”. Yugi returned the smile and pointed to the front of column to where the walls of the city were coming into view.

“We’re nearly at the city, why don’t we ride up to get a better view”.

“Why not” Jou smiled at his friend and together they moved their horses to the front of the column to ride beside Yami.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------

They were greeted as heroes as they rode though the streets of the city. News of how the evil High Priest had tried to destroy the world and the great battle that had ensued had spread fast. Both Yugi and Jou were uncomfortable at all the attention and rode at a respectable distance behind the Pharaoh. After all despite everything they were still just servants. Yami noticed this and sighed, this was not how he wanted it to be.

They finally arrived at the gates to the palace and entered into the courtyard. The heavy gates closed behind them.

“Well I suppose you will want a bath and your dinner” Yugi said to Yami as they dismounted.

“I’ll get right on with it”. Yugi turned.

“Yugi wait.” Yami called out.

Yugi stopped and turned back to Yami.

“I don’t want things to be like they were before. You’re more than a servant to me Yugi”.

Yugi gave him a small sad smile.

“I know Yami, but you can’t change what I am, and unless you can magic up a title then a slave is what I am, but is doesn’t matter as long we can be friends, that is all I ask”.

“Yes Yugi, always.” Yami said firmly but a trace of sadness.

They stood in awkward silence. A female cut through the silence.

“I might be able to help with this”.

Ishizu crossed the yard towards the two boys.

“More secrets Ishizu” Yami asked as she approached.

“Only one more, but perhaps this one is the best. Have you ever noticed how alike you two are?”

Both the boys nodded.

“It’s like looking in a mirror every day” Yami replied in an amused tone.

“That is if I bend my knees a bit” Yami held out and arm to indicate Yugi’s height.

“Well at least I don’t have to duck to go through doors” came Yugi’s retaliation.

Ishizu laughed.

“Yami did you know your father had a brother?”

Yami shook his head.

“When you father became Pharaoh it was decided that his brother should go into hiding. That way if anything was to happen to your father before and heir could be born his brother would be able to assume the throne in his place. Your uncle made the ultimate sacrifice and put aside all his jewels and finery to take up the life of simple peasant. It was thought that this would keep him safe”. Ishizu looked up at the two boys who were listening intently to her story.

“However, your father and uncle had many enemies and they were betrayed. They learned that your uncle was living in a small village on the edge of the Nile and in an attempt to kill both him and his family they started a terrible fire during the night. The house was destroyed leaving them to believe that they had accomplished their task. However, unbeknown to them, your uncle was able to save his young son, by pushing him though a grate in the wall to safety. This boy was found and adopted by his mother’s father”.

She stopped to look at Yugi, who was standing ridged with surprise and shock. He knew this story.

“Yami, I would like you to meet you cousin...Yugi”.

Now it was Yami’s turn to stand there in shock.

“Many attempts were made to locate Yugi after the fire. After several years of searching we finally tracked down the grandfather. But when we asked if he knew of the boy he told us he had died a few weeks after the fire, he even showed us a grave. Having no reason to believe he wasn’t telling us the truth we took his word and the hunt for the lost prince ceased. That is until you came to the same house to choose you servants and Seto spotted him in the crowd. There was no mistaking who he was, the rest you know”.

Yami stepped towards Yugi who was still standing there, mouth open in shock. Yugi didn’t have time to react as Yami swept him up in a tight embrace.

“Cousin” Yami said in thick voice filled with Joy. He let Yugi go long enough to breathe before hugging him close again. He finally let Yugi go and turned to Ishizu.

“I can’t believe you knew all this time Ishizu and didn’t tell us”. She answered with a shrug.

“I felt it was safer at the time to keep his identity a secret, but there’s no need now”. Yami turned back to Yugi.

“Come Yugi we must get you changed into robes fit for a prince”.

“But I’m happy as I am”, Yugi protested not wanting any fuss made over him and still not quite recovered from the shock of leaning Ishizu’s ‘secret’ .

“Nonsense” Yami said as he steered Yugi up the steps and into the palace.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------

Yugi shook his head in despair at some of the things Yami tried to get him to wear. Yami was enjoying himself and some of the things he suggested were just plain ridiculous.

“There’s no way I’m wearing that” Yugi said firmly as Yami held up a long purple robe with a heavy cape.

“Oh, what’s wrong with it?” Yami held up the robe with mock innocence in his eyes.

“You know what’s wrong with it” Yugi said firmly crossing his arms in defiance across his chest.

“It’s ten times too big for me and that cape will have me on my knees as soon as it hits my shoulders. Pick something sensible or I’m walking out of here”.

“You’re no fun” smiled Yami.

“Stop that”.

“Stop what”.

“Teasing me”.

“But it’s so much fun!”

Yugi sighed they were going to be at this all day.

After much backwards and forwarding, in which Yami continued to pick more and more absurd items, they finally agreed on a white silk robe with a short purple cape that draped over the shoulders. As well as that Yami had insisted Yugi wore jewellery befitting his station. Yugi had rejected the big heavy rings and necklaces opting for two gold cuffs that encircled his wrists and half his forearm. He felt slightly uncomfortable in his new finery as he sat beside Yami in the throne room.

“What do I do now?” he asked Yami.

“Well most people of importance have servants and adviser’s, I suppose you should pick some”.

“But I don’t want servants” exclaimed Yugi.

“You will. Normally it’s a rule for people of importance to have at least one. Unless you plan to prepare your own meals and do your own washing”, Yami smiled at him.

“Although to think of it I can picture you down by the well scrubbing the laundry in your finery” Yugi opened his mouth to retaliate but couldn’t think of anything to say.

“Well fine, but it’s a stupid rule”, he said crossing his arms across his chest.

“Where do I start?”

“Well how about picking an adviser”. Yami said

“What do they do?”

“You mean apart from advise.” Yami said with an amused look on his face.

“Be nice”.

“Normally an adviser is there to handle your affairs and give you advice on problems or decisions that need to be made” Yugi nodded.

“Who should I pick?”

“You should pick someone you trust, someone you can talk to, someone you know will always be there” He paused as he turned to Yugi.

“Maybe even a friend”.

Yugi returned Yami’s look with knowing eyes.

“I know just the person” and with that he stood up to walked across the floor.

Many people had flocked to the palace to welcome the Pharaoh home and the throne room was full. Of course they had also come to see the newly discovered prince. Therefore as Yugi made his way across the floor people moved out of his way and bowed.

‘I wish they wouldn’t do that’ he thought.

He was looking for one person in particular and as he looked through the throws of people he spotted him standing at the back of the room, trying to keep out of the way.

“Jou”, Yugi said as he approached.

Jou turned to Yugi and dropped to one knee in front of him.

“Your Highness.”

“Oh stop that”. Yugi said irritably.

“Stand up, you look ridiculous”.

Jou stood but still kept his eyes respectfully on the floor.

“Jou look at me”.

Jou kept looking at the floor.

“Jou?” Yugi sighed

“Oh well I suppose I don’t need you to look at me to ask you this. Yami says I need an adviser. He also says I need servants but that’s another issue. He says I should pick someone I can trust, talk to or even call my friend....”

He paused and Jou lifted his eyes a little way from the floor.

“Will you be my adviser Jou?” Yugi continued.

“I can’t think of anyone else I trust as much as you or who I have the greater honour of calling my friend”. Jou lifted his head completely to look at Yugi

“Yug, I mean your Highness. I don’t know what to say”

“You could start with yes”. Yugi offered.

“And please drop the Highness bit were friends aren’t we. Now what do you say”.

“I would be honoured Yugi” Jou said as he smiled at Yugi, Yugi returned the smile.

“Great, now shall we return to Yami, I think he wants to tease me some more”. Yugi’s rolled his eyes dramatically and then narrowed them mischievously.

“Except this time I have my adviser to back me up”.

Jou smiled, the look on his face mirroring that of Yugi’s

“Well we’ll just have to see what we can do about that”

Together they returned to the front of the hall, both of them ready face what their new lives had to offer.

****

Well that’s it, the final chapter. Sorry but I had to end some time :-( . Thanks to all my reviewers let me know what you think of the final product :-) . I’m furiously typing a sequel to this so watch this space. Might be a couple of weeks but I’ll post as soon as I’m sure where I’m going with the plot. I learnt a lot from writing this so hopefully the sequel will be even better.