The Lost Green Eyes

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 “The Lost Green Eyes", 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

How It Began

Long ago, while Egypt was one of the most powerful kingdoms along the Mediterranean Sea, a seven year old girl was skipping along the banks of the Nile. She had green hair with thin white strands within it that fell to her shoulders. Her eyes were a dark intense grey and her skin was a light mocha color. The tunic she wore was light off-white with a spare piece of brown rope tied around the waist, it was slightly torn at some places, but it still suited her. Her name was Akina, which meant ‘the mighty sea’ in her father’s native tongue.

It was a sweltering hot afternoon and the air was heavy with humidity. Luckily, Akina’s father had given her permission to wash herself off in the cool shallows of the river.

“Be careful Akina,” he had warned. “If you wade to deep into the river, the currents could pull you under or worse...” He did not need to remind his daughter that if she waded out too far the powerful currents could pull her into the territory of the “man-eating crocodiles”, who would be more than happy to have a seven year old Egyptian youngster for supper.

Akina found a tall thick grove of reeds. After making sure they hid her all around she took off the tunic, exposing a pure white cover-up that ended about halfway above her knees. She sank into the cool refreshing waters of the river.

After soaking for a while Akina heard a loud shout.

“HELP! HELP! SOMEONE PLEASE HELP! HE IS DROWNING! HELP PLEASE!!” said a young male voice.

Without hesitation Akina leapt from the water, picked up her tunic, and in a flash was dodging out of the bushes, sprinting to where the voice was coming from. A ways downstream not too far from the palace, she saw two boys standing on the shore pointing at the water and yelling. She rushed over to them.

“What’s the problem?” she demanded in a breathless voice, her sides sore from running.

“Our friend is drowning in the river. Please help us!” said the tallest one. He had light brown hair to his shoulders; his face was long and oval and his radiant sapphire eyes were deep set.

“Leave it to me!” Akina said dropping her clothes and running out to the water.

“You’re crazy! If he’s drowning, you might too.” said the other boy.

“Don’t care!” was Akina’s reply. Without looking back, she dived into the cold waters.

The currents were gentle and slightly chilly at first, but as she swam out further toward the drowning boy the waters became rougher and colder by the minute. When she came up for air, she saw something that made her increase her speed drastically. The boy was drifting closer and closer to the crocodile’s territory and they were beginning to gather around him, practically licking their oversized mouths in anticipation.

Luckily, Akina reached him first. She lifted the boy onto her back, just as a crocodile was going to bite him. Fighting the currents with all the strength she possessed, she worked her way towards shore, the crocodiles in hot pursuit. Their hungry jaws were snapping at her feet. She screeched as one of them grazed her right foot painfully.

Suddenly, the boys she had seen on shore were beside her in the water. One was lifting the load off her back, while the other was helping her ashore. The boy helped her lie down so she could catch her breath and went over to the two other boys. While she laid there Akina took a closer look at the three boys.

The one who had helped her out of the water had a dark tan with bright golden hair that stood up on end and shinning purple eyes. His face was somewhat heart shaped and his eyes were a little too big for his head. He wore a soft white tunic like his other two companions. He came back by her, tore off a piece of his tunic, and wrapped up her foot, which was bleeding quite freely by now.

Meanwhile, the brown haired one was kneeling by the unconscious boy she had rescued. He was scrawny, his skin light colored, and he had hair that was black and purple that stood up above his ears which were quite large and stuck out from his head. He also had bright gold bangs . His face was slightly round, his skin was a light tan color, and around his forehead...

“Oh my word...” Akina gasped as she pulled her tunic back on. “I just rescued the crown prince!”

“Gee, what gave it away?” said the boy who had just wrapped her foot, his voice was light and full of laughter as if when ever he spoke he was telling a joke. “His features, his expensive tunic, or perhaps the gold crest with the Eye of Horus around his head... Ouch!”

“You don’t need to be rude about it Marik!” chastised the boy with chestnut hair, who had delivered a blow to Marik’s head. His voice was deeper and more serious than the boy’s he had just hit. He turned to Akina said “I’m Seth, by the way, and the spike-head is Marik, and you are?”

“Akina, it means mighty sea in my father’s native tongue,” she answered. There was a sputtering sound from the unconscious prince.

“What?” he sputtered, then turning to Seth, “What happened? The last thing I remember is drowning in the Nile.” His voice was slightly higher than the other two’s and had an air of naiveté when he spoke.

“Well, you were, but then this girl, Akina, heard our shouts and dived in after you.” Seth told him.

The prince turned to Akina, his dark violet eyes full of gratitude. “Thank you; I am in your debt.”

“I didn’t do what any other decent person wouldn’t have done.” Akina responded, lightly blushing.

“Wow, check out that sunset. We’d better head back home.” said Marik.

“Sunset?” Akina exclaimed. “Oh no, Father is going to be so angry with me if I come home late! Sorry, I’ve got to go.” She pulled herself off the ground and made to take off.

“Wait,” said the prince, grabbing her arm. “Take this,” he handed her a thick silver medallion, as big as her palm, on a thick leather strap. One side there was a winged scarab and an ankh engraving on the flipside.

“Thank you, but I must go.” Akina said turning around and leaving. “It was nice meeting you three.” she shouted as she sped towards home.

Akina ran as fast as her skinny legs could carry her; however when she reached home she had an unpleasant surprise waiting for her...

It was suddenly hard for her to breathe. Smoke and ash made the air heavy and darker.

“Father...”Akina called, there was no answer. She knelt down to the ground so that she could breathe more easily. “Father,” she called again. Once again, she received no answer. She crawled blindly in the direction of her home.

Men were shouting with hoots of laughter; she could just barely make out their words.

“At last, the Animal Enchanter has been slain.” proclaimed one shout.

“All we need to do is find his hybrid child and our misfortune will be over!”

“Where is that runt anyway?”

Then Akina was pulled up by the back of her tunic. “Here’s the kid.” said a gruff voice.

“Wonderful,” said another man.

Akina opened her eyes a fraction of the way and squinted at her captors. The smoke and increasing darkness kept her from seeing them clearly, but she could see that they all had dark hair and skin. The next thing she knew she had been thrown to the ground. Suddenly several sharp pointy objects were being forced through her; luckily they missed her vital spots.

“That’s enough; she is probably dead by now. And if she isn’t she will die from the blood loss.” said an ancient voice.

Akina struggled to see who had spoken. It had been an aged old man with long grey hair in grayish robes. He was one of the village elders. His sleeves and hands were seeped in blood and, judging from the smell of it, the blood had belonged to her father. Akina felt her heart harden into solid stone; she knew instantly what had happened. She suddenly hated men with a soul-consuming passion.

The villagers had finally betrayed her and her father. For years, her and Father had to deal with persecution for his ability to converse with animals. The older villagers had seen this as a sign of bad luck and her as an omen of misfortune and turmoil, for she had strange colored hair and shared her father’s gift. They had convinced all the other villagers to think as so and they had succeeded. Mothers called in their children at her or Father’s approach. She had never had any friends; however, that was not the only reason Father and she had been persecuted, they were also not tolerated because they were Hebrew.

Father had told her that after her mother’s death he had migrated with her from the Damaskus to Egypt to escape her mother’s angry relatives when Akina was only a small child. For some reason, they blamed Father for her death.

Akina opened her eyes once more and saw that the villagers who had inflicted her wounds and the elder had dispersed. “Aden, Rocsha, come to me,” she cried desperately.

Slowly a dust colored donkey and a red-headed falcon came to her. With great difficulty she hoisted herself onto the donkey and the falcon settled itself onto her shoulder.

“Take me to the palace Rocsha,” Akina murmured. “We have allies there.”

At the palace, the guards were standing watch, as usual; however, they were so lazy that they failed to see a donkey approach with a wounded young girl upon its back. So our little band of travelers was able to get past the guards with ease.

They were able to sneak through the palace easily as well; the servants were so focused on what had to be done that none of them noticed a small girl atop a small donkey slowly making her way to the throne room.

When they reached the throne room the pharaoh was talking with a group of men. The little prince was there as well and they all didn’t notice Akina and her animals until they had reached the middle of the room and the group of people moved aside to let her through.

“What’s this?” the pharaoh demanded. Akina looked at the pharaoh with eyes full of pain.

“Please... please help me...” she pleaded and she fainted.

When Akina awoke she was lying on her stomach in a bed made of fine linen. All her wounds had been bound in bandages, some had even healed.

Damn, she thought to herself, I had hoped what had happened at the village had just been a nightmare. She raised herself on her elbows and tried to look around the room. The bed was surrounded by translucent linen curtains so she couldn’t see much. Suddenly someone put a warm hand through the curtains and on her back gently pushing her back down.

“Relax, you need rest,” a calm mysterious voice said. “Your injuries need to finish healing. I must say, it is a miracle you survived. The gods must have an interest in you.”

“Where am I? Who are you?” Akina demanded in a cold mistrusting voice.

“You are in a bedroom in the palace. My name is Shadi; I am the pharaoh’s best healer. You are in safe hands here.” Shadi was a tall and had dark brown skin; his robes were simple, though looked somewhat pricey. His face was slightly square, he had a light colored turban wrapped around his head and his dark eyes. There was also a golden ankh-shaped key hanging around his neck.

“How long have I been asleep?” she asked.

“About three days,” Shadi answered.

“How is the child?” said a cool calm woman’s voice.

“She needs lots of rest and several of her injuries have healed, but the deeper ones will require more time.” Shadi answered, bowing to the queen.

“Can I see her?” asked a young male’s voice; it was the prince.

“Yes, but don’t hassle her too much.” Shadi answered. A tan hand reached within the curtains and pulled them back. The prince sat on a stool by her bed and began to question her incessantly.

“What happened? Why are you here? Was your village attacked?”

“I don’t want to talk about it, because I am, and no comment,” Akina answered shortly.

“You could probably stay here after you’re healed.” the prince said excitedly.

“She most certainly can not!” said the deep booming voice of the pharaoh. Akina stared at him. So this was the pharaoh, he didn’t look too different than anyone else; well, maybe the ornamental beard and the gold jewelry made him stand out. He was very tall. Like his son, his face was long, thin, and angular and had light brown eyes, his still held onto his youth. (A/N: I made this up because I have no idea what Yami’s father looks like)

“Why not Dad?” whined the prince.

“I am a commoner Prince; it wouldn’t be proper.” Akina explained roughly. “Also I am a Hebrew.”

“Indeed,” the pharaoh, “since you are a Hebrew, if you stay in Egypt you were more than likely to be mistreated because of that. Do you have any idea where you could go?”

“There is a village, in Canaan, where I can go. My father stayed there on his way to Egypt. He told me all about it. Someone there will take me in, no doubt; they don’t give a damn, forgive my language, if you’re Hebrew or Ethiopian, a prince or peasant, male or female... I could go on forever, but basically they don’t care who you are, where you came from, or what your history is, they’ll accept you.”

“I believe I’ve heard of this village...” the pharaoh murmured stroking his ornamental beard. “It’s called the Rogues’ Village, is it not?”

“I believe so,” Akina replied.

“Well then when you are well I will order some of my soldiers to escort you there.”

“Thank you,” then Akina laid down her head and fell into another deep sleep.

Over the next few days Akina’s wounds healed quickly. Marik, Seth, and the prince all come to see her everyday. Seth, the eldest of the four at age nine, had even made a habit of calling Akina ‘Shrimp’ instead of her name. (She was the shortest of the group, after the prince.) She talked very little to them, preferring to listen to what they had to tell her.

One day Marik had noticed her awkward silence and, tried to make her laugh whenever he visited her. Sometimes his tactics worked; however, the rest of the time it didn’t or he got in trouble for it. One day he ended up getting in a squabble with Seth... Marik had poured punch all over his older brother’s head. (A/N: Yes in this story Seth and Marik are brothers, DEAL WITH IT!!)

“Dad saved you because I told him what had happened by the river, so now we’re even.” said the prince one day. “Of course he was mad that I nearly drowned, and now we aren’t allowed to go to the river without supervision any more.”

“I see,” Akina said.

Four days later, Shadi removed Akina’s bandages and said that she was ready to travel. The pharaoh assigned four soldiers to escort her out of Egypt to the village in Canaan. At first the soldiers didn’t take this well and complained profusely.

“We’re supposed to travel over one hundred miles away from home all for the sake of this little girl?” stammered one, putting the emphasis on ‘little girl’.

“What if something should happen while we are away?” asked another.

“No child could make that trip alone,” the pharaoh insisted raising a hand to show he had heard enough objections. “I need you four to go with her to ensure that she makes it to the village. It’s not that long of a journey, the Rogue’s Village is just inside the land of Canaan. It shouldn’t take you more than three or four days to get there and back at the most. So if anything too horrible happens you won’t miss it.”

“But my pharaoh, couldn’t some servants accompany her instead?”

“This child is a Hebrew. She needs protection. Most of the servants wouldn’t be able to give her that protection she needs. Now stop your blubbering and GO!” he stormed.

“Yes your majesty,” the soldiers mumbled meekly as they bowed to him and exited.

Meanwhile, outside the palace servants loaded food and water onto spare horses and the soldier’s horses were prepared for the journey. Akina and the boys were saying goodbye to her beside Rocsha. Suddenly, Marik thrust something into her hand. She stared at it in confusion. He leaned in close and tried to whisper in her ear so the other two hopefully wouldn’t hear, but they did anyways.

“It’s the Eye of Horus, it’ll keep you safe.” Marik whispered. The center of the eye was made out of amethyst, while the rest was blue lapis and attached to a centimeter thick strand of pure gold.

“I wish I had something to give you in return.” Akina murmured.

“You don’t; this is a gift.”

“Aw, isn’t that sweet? Marik has a crush on the Shrimp.” Seth interjected. Marik went beet red.

“Shut-up brother,” Marik mumbled; he and Seth were both the high priest’s sons.

“Then I’ll bring something back for you from Canaan.” Akina continued, ignoring Seth.

“It’s a deal,” Marik concluded still bright red. Both spat on their hands and shook hands, as if they were business men sealing a deal. “And don’t you forget it,”

“All right ‘little girl’ time to go,” said one of the soldiers with slight resentment in his gruff voice.

“I’m coming, I’m com-” but before Akina could finish her sentence the boys had nearly flattened her in a many-armed hug. Finally after several minutes of this the queen ordered her servants to pry the boys off of Akina, who was practically suffocating under the weight of her three friends.

When the boys were off of her, Akina mounted Rocsha, placed Marik’s gift around her neck, Aden settled on her shoulder, and they were off.

Chapter 2

 

Seven Years Later:

Years later, Akina entered the market place of Thebes, Egypt’s capitol city. She was now fourteen summers. In the seven years that had past she had grown quite marvelously. Her green hair now reached her waist and it was kept in plaits in the front, but the rest hung loosely around her. She was tall, muscular, and now had several scars on her body from the myriad of street fights she’s get mixed up in occasionally. The clothing she wore was a caramel skirt that was just past her knees, but had slits up the sides a little to allow movement; the top was white and only encircled her torso. There were several bangles around her wrists and ankles that jingled as she walked. Around her neck she still wore the gold necklace with the eye of Horus amulet she had been given to her long ago. One her shoulder was Aden, who had grown with age, but still had his bright red and grey colors.

The market place was crowded and smelly. Everywhere you turned was someone trying to sell you something. There were fish sellers, fruit sellers, make-up and wig sellers, and just about everything else under the hot Egyptian sun with some sort of value was being sold. One stand even had a selection of finely crafted children’s toys and games; however, the only item Akina bought was a bright pomegranate for later.

She reached an empty place in the market place she began to dance wildly, as Aden flew around her and through the crowds of consumers attracting their attention. People gathered to watch the green-haired enchantress. When a good crowd had gathered she ceased her dance. There was a puff of green smoke and Akina appeared in a long flowing dark green robe.

“Good people, before you, you see one bird,” she announced pointing to Aden who was now flying slowly around her. “But now there will now be more.” She waved her arms intriguingly and in a cloud of green smoke two doves appeared. The crowd cheered enthusiastically as the smoke cleared and the doves were visible. A few threw a coin into a bag she had placed on the street.

Akina walked up to a muscular older man in the crowd and walked up to him.

“Sir, do you believe you are stronger than I?” she asked politely.

“Of course I am stronger than you, child.” he said gruffly.

“Would you care to prove it?” Akina requested placing her fingers together in front of her chest.

The man nodded once more.

“Let’s see if you can pull apart my fingers apart, seize my arms just above the elbows and just use steady force to pull them apart. No jerking,” she instructed in an innocent voice.

The man grabbed her arms and tried to pull them apart. He pulled, and pulled, and pulled, but to no avail. In the end he gave up in utter defeat.

Akina held up her hands and the crowd cheered. Then she pointed to a small child in the crowd.

“Come here little one,” she requested gently. The child came to her. She withdrew a piece of rope and handed it to the child. “Could you put this around your waist and lie down on this please?” She pulled a big piece of brown cloth from nowhere and laid it in the street; the child did as she asked. “Just lie there for a few minutes okay.” she said gently patting the child on the shoulder. The child nodded and Akina turned to the crowd.

“Everyone, you may not believe me, but I will now pick up this child with the rope using only my teeth,” she announced. The crowd gasped and muttered among themselves disbelievingly. Akina bent her knees and placed her hands upon them. “Okay child, fold your arms across your chest and keep your body firm.” Next she put some of the rope in her mouth and began to stand up taking the child with her.

The crowd burst into applause. Akina placed the kid back on the ground and took back her rope.

“Thank you for your help,” she told the child. “And to reward you,” she waved her arm around and the pomengranate that she had bought earlier appeared in her hand, she gave it to the child, who ran to his mother.

Akina turned to the crowd once more.

“That is my final trick,” she announced, “If you all have enjoyed my performance, I pray that you will leave me a token of your appreciation in my bag, so that I may be in full health for my next performance.” In another burst of green smoke, she had changed back into her dancing clothes and began to move once more with Aden flying around her, occasionally giving a loud screech.

When the crowd had dispersed Aden fetched the money bag and dropped it in Akina’s hand. She counted up the coins.

“Four copper coins and two silver, that’s all I’ve earned?” she muttered in amazement. Then she looked at Aden curiously. “No one stole any, did they?”

The bird shook his head.

“You’re right, you should have recieved more. You certianly deserve much more than that,” someone said in a deep voice. Akina felt a hand on her shoulder, so she turned and saw none other than the prince. He had apparently attempted to disguise himself as a commoner, but he had done a very, very bad job.

“Good day Your Highness,” Akina said tonelessly. Unlike many girls in Thebes, her eyes did not grow very wide nor did she get very nervous or excited if she saw the prince. To her he was just another person on the street; however, since he was royalty, she got on her knees and reluctantly bowed to him .

“So my servants speak the truth, the green haired Street Gypsy is beautiful,” the prince said, as Akina got to her feet again. She stepped back slightly and took a good look at the prince.

He had changed very much in seven years. No longer was he the scrawny pale little boy she had known. He was now tall and thin, like his father. His smooth black and purple hair still stood up, and he had completely grown into his ears.

“What is your name?” he asked. He was studying her, as if he thought he knew her from somewhere, but couldn’t quite remember where.

“Akina, Sire,” she said coldly. She heavily disliked how the kept running over her body with his eyes as if they had been his hands.

“Your lovely name suits you. Take this,” he said. The prince shoved a small leather bag into her palm and walked off.

Hesitantly, almost suspiciously, Akina opened the bag; inside were several shining gold coins. She felt her eyes expand to the size of the pomegranate she had given to the child who had helped her moments before.

“Aden,” she whispered hastily to the bird on her shoulder. “This is more than enough. We must go tell Kesi.” And she ran off through the street, not knowing that the prince was following her with his eyes.

Around noon, Akina reached a pub. It was made out of sand and mud bricks, but before going inside she ducked into the stable in the ally and in another blur of green smoke she changed into a brown hooded robe. She tucked her necklace under her robes and just as she was to go to the pub, there was a loud snort from one of the stalls. Akina went inside the stall and smiled at a young unicorn stallion.

He was about three years old. The coat was a rich honey color, and his mane and tail were a creamy white. And in the center of the white star on his forehead was a shinning crystal horn.

“Hi Joshua,” she greeted; the unicorn nudged her expecting a sweet. “You silly unicorn, I don’t have anything for you now; however, Aden and I earned quite a bag of money today. Will you up to another journey to Canaan tomorrow morning?”

Joshua tossed his head and stamped the ground excitedly, his mane flying everywhere.

“Wonderful,” Akina said with a slight chuckle, knowing this meant yes. Joshua was always up for a long journey.

“May I help you Miss Akina?” asked a small boy. He skin was a deep tan and his hair was cropped short amongst his ears. This was one of Kesi’s younger brothers: Atsu. His name meant twin. He was the youngest at age six and littlest when lined up with all his siblings, even his twin sister Kakra was taller than him, her name also meant twin.

“No Atsu, I’m just telling Joshua what happened today. He hasn’t been too much trouble today, has he?” she asked.

“No Ma’am, no trouble at all. It’s amazing how you can talk to animals.”

“Tell that to the people of my former village.” Akina muttered loathingly.

“Pardon?” Atsu asked at her indistinct muttering.

“How many times must I ask you to call me Akina?”

“Always just one more time; besides Mama and Papa said so.” Akina gave Atsu a sweet smile she reserved just for children. As he blushed she gave him a rough pat on the head and headed inside the pub, drawing the hood of her robe to hide her vibrant hair. She didn’t want to attract unwanted attention from slave traders.

Inside there was an assortment of people. All of them were in some sort of linen clothing, varying in condition, style, and length; some people even wore hoods like she did, but you got used to that sort of thing at the Memoshep Pub.

Akina went over to the bar of the pub and caught the attention of a black curly-haired girl in slightly shabby linen clothing with dark eyes. Her body and face were thin and freckled, and judging by the light black and blue on her arms crowds had gotten rough recently.

“Cattle’s milk if you have it Kesi,” Akina muttered.

“There’s always some for you Street Gypsy,” Kesi answered putting a small cup of milk in front of her best friend. “I’ll ask Mama if I can take off for a while so we can chat.”

“Sure,” Akina suddenly grabbed her friend’s arm. “If anyone here gives you a hard time let me know. I’ll set them straight.” She gestured to the black and blue on her friend's arm.

Kesi smiled appreciatively at her best friend.

“You should have been here last night, Father clobbered the guy who gave me this bruise.” she said.

Akina tried hard to stifle her laughter.

At that precise moment two palace guards entered the tavern. One was carrying what looked like a message in his hand. The other turned to Kesi.

“Is this where we can find Akina the Street Gypsy, Lass?” he asked.

Kesi didn’t need to reply because Akina stood up taking off her hood.

“Aye,” she said with a note of irritation in her voice.

“We come bearing a message for you, handwritten by the prince himself,”

“So,” Akina retorted impatiently, walking toward the guard.

“Hmm, hmm...” the guard with the letter cleared his throat.

“Don’t waste your breath,” Akina said, taking away the letter. “I can read.”

The soldiers left without another word.

Akina’s eyes widened slightly as she scanned the scroll.

“What does it...?” Kesi started to say, but Akina cut her off by placing a hand over her mouth.

“And I think we should discuss this in private.” she said through gritted teeth.

Kesi nodded and led her friend back behind the bar into a secluded room.

“What’s it say?” Kesi asked as she looked at the parchment in bamboozlement. Kesi couldn’t read.

“Dear Akina,” Akina whispered so softly that only Kesi could hear her. “You are truly a beautiful and talented young woman. Someone like you should not be on the streets begging for money, so I am offering you a place at the palace with me. If you have any family they are also welcome. I am only thinking of what’s best for you. I pray to the Gods that you will reply to me soon. Come to the palace and tell me your answer in person. The prince”

As Akina finished Kesi’s eyes grew to twice their usual size.

“I don’t think I should completely accept this offer.” Akina muttered slowly.

“Aki, you’d be a fool not to take it,” Kesi said in amazement. “Where has all your sense gone?” She grabbed Akina by the shoulders and shook her roughly, making her best friend’s head flop back and forth.

“First of all stop shaking me; no wonder I can’t think straight.” Akina said prying Kesi’s hands off of her shoulders. “Second, you know men cause me nothing, but trouble.”

“But Aki, this is the prince we’re talking about...”

“And your point is?”

Kesi thought for a moment then snapped her fingers.

“You said you knew the prince when you were younger, so maybe he recognized you...” she proposed.

“Kesi it’s been seven years do you honestly think that the prince would recognize me after all that time?!” Akina said growing exasperated.

“So you’re not going to take his offer, then go up to the palace and tell him that, but I’m telling you this is a chance most girls would die for!”

“I never said I wasn’t taking the offer, I just said I wasn’t sure if I should.”

Kesi gave Akina a suspicious look.

“What I mean is,” Akina continued. “Tomorrow at sunrise I’m leaving for Canaan, I’ll go to the palace and tell the prince that I will only stay when I can, which will be very rare.”

“What if he invites you to stay tonight?”

“That’s a big might, but in case he does I’ll think about it.” Akina gave Kesi a big hug and left the back room.

A while later Akina was back on the streets leading Joshua towards the palace and Aden flying ahead of them. Joshua had a sack over his head with holes of his eyes so his horn wouldn’t attract unwanted attention. After about a half and hour of walking they reached the palace gates.

In her seven year absence the ‘palace folk’ built a wall around the palace to keep out raiders and thieves. The gates were much taller than she was. The walls were made of a white rough stone and mud bricks. The gates themselves were made of some kind of dark foreign wood.

“Ho there Green-hair,” called one of the guards, “Where do you think you’re going?”

“I have business here at the palace,” Akina replied.

“Oh really missy,” he asked.

“Yes really,” Akina retorted tonelessly.

“Akina is that you?” implied a deep voice. Akina knew it belonged to the prince.

“Sire...” Akina said; she turned and saw the prince standing in the shadow of a nearby wall.

“It is good to see you again,” he told her as he approached her.

Akina merely nodded with a look of solid stone on her face.

“Let her in, she’s with me,” he ordered as he put a strong soft hand on Akina’s shoulder.

“Yes, Your Highness,” the guards complied, and soon the large gates were opened.

“Please remove your hand,” Akina requested coldly. The prince looked at her slightly abashed, but he removed his hand all the same and they walked inside.

As they walked toward the palace Akina took a good look at it. There was no doubt that it had been built to impress. It was very large and made of white creamy alabaster bricks. There was a pair of large gold sphinx statues at the main entrance. From here the prince called a young servant to take Akina’s horse.

“Well actually Joshua’s not a horse,” Akina interjected. She removed the sack from Joshua’s head and the prince saw a unicorn standing before him.

“Where did you find it? Unicorns are really rare in these parts. How in the worlds did you capture it?” he asked in amazement.

“It’s a gift,” Akina replied as the young servant took Joshua. She had decided to keep her gift with animals a secret and only use them when she absolutely had to in order to avoid awkward questions.

“May I escort you inside?” the prince asked, extending his arm to her.

“No means to be rude Your Highness, but I can walk inside on my own.” Akina said keeping her arms firmly at her sides.

“Oh don’t bother with that ‘Prince’ or ‘Your Highness’ such and such. Just call me Yami,” with that Yami retracted his arm and led Akina inside.

Inside, the palace was white alabaster and the strong smell of incense hung in the air. Several rooms were colorfully painted.

Without warning Akina became overwhelmed by the strong incense and passed out.

When Akina awoke she was on a large bed of what felt like hay sewn inside a soft thin silky cover. The bed was large, made of ebony, and some of the carvings were filled in with gold. A thin smooth linen sheet covered her. She turned over and saw that the headrest she laid upon was also ebony. There were dyed purple curtains surrounding her on almost all sides. Through the semi-transparent curtains she saw someone standing beside her. The person reached back and pulled one of the curtains back. The prince... I mean, Yami stood before her.

“Are you alright?” he asked as he sat down beside her.

“I’m fine; the smell just overpowered me,” she replied tonelessly. Yami nonchalantly came nearer and sat on the edge of the bed.

“Have you made your decision?” He slowly put a gentle hand on her cheek.

“I have,” Akina backed away from his hand, her eyes becoming icy.

Pretending not to notice Akina’s eyes growing steadily colder, he slid an arm around her waist and roughly grabbed her upper neck with the other.

“What is your decision?” he asked impatiently, strengthening his hold on her.

“I... I’m hardly ever in Thebes much, so... I’ll stay when I can...” A solution of anger mixed with panic began to swirl rapidly in her stomach. She had to try very hard not to throw up, but them again that would show him not to mess with her! The prince’s face was now a finger width away from hers. She muttered something in an indistinct dialect and without warning the prince found himself slammed against the back wall of his room.

“So” Yami groaned, “You’re a mage,” his right shoulder was now stinging vaguely. He pretended to wince from pain.

Akina immediately leapt out of the bed and went over to him.

“Does it sting horribly? Are you bleeding?” she asked, vague concern replacing the coldness that had once filled her eyes.

“I’m fine,” he grabbed Akina around her elbows and stood up abruptly, dragging her with him. His arms encircled her waist and upper back and forced her against him. Then he buried his face in her neck and hair, rubbing his lips gently across her neck as she squirmed incessantly in an attempt to get away.

“Umm... Am I interrupting something Your Highness?” a strange voice asked. Yami let go of Akina instantly.

“No, you aren’t Jonouchi, and what did I tell you to call me?” Yami said.

“Sorry Yami; I keep forgetting.”

“Could you possibly take Lady Akina on a tour of the palace?” Akina’s eyes grew wide. The prince of Egypt was addressing her as if she were royalty herself.

“Who... Miss Quiet, over there?” Jonouchi pointed to Akina who had remained silent and facing the wall this entire time.

“Yes me, what other girl is standing here in this room?” she retorted. Akina slowly around, and saw that Yami had been addressing a young brown boy clad in soldier’s garb with honey colored hair. He had rich brown eyes.

“Sorry,” he said in a careless tone. “Anyways Yami, the pharaoh wants to see you right away, he says it’s important.”

Yami sighed, “Fine then.” He turned to back to Akina and put a hand on her cheek, “I will be back for you my lovely,” he whispered softly in her ear. Not noticing that she had winced a little when he said that he turned and left the room.

“Sorry about Yami, Lady,” Jonouchi apologized. “There was a girl he knew long ago that had the same name and looked similar to you. I suppose that’s why he likes you.”

“I am her, Jonouchi,” Akina said slowly turning towards a window, letting the sunlight fall on her skin.

“Oh yeah, there’s not many girls wandering around with green hair are there?” A foolish grin split across Jonouchi’s face as he said this.

“No,” Akina sighed, “I guess not.” If the prince has turned out like this I wonder how Marik and Seth have grown up, she thought.

“Well, we’d better get to that tour, eh?” Jonouchi said, jerking Akina from her thoughts.

“Yes,” Akina turned and followed Jonouchi out of the room.

“Well, that’s pretty much the palace,” Jonouchi said about an hour later. “Is there any where you want to see again?”

“I’d like to go back to the gardens,” Akina said. “I like the outdoors.”

“Very well then, to the gardens,”

As they entered the gardens Jonouchi and Akina heard two men talking very seriously about a topic.

“My son,” said one voice. Akina could tell it was the voice of the pharaoh. His voice was still very deep, but instead of booming it now croaked with age. “You are now fourteen summers and still you have found no one suitable for a wife. You must have at least one wife to bear you an heir while you are on the throne. That way if, Gods forbid, something should happen to you the throne is secure. You asked me that if I allowed you to move about our people in disguise, you would consider possibly choosing one of our girls... Tell me have you chosen someone?”

“I have,” said the other voice. It must have been Yami, who else could have it been?

“And she is?”

“I have chosen,” he paused, obviously trying (pathetically) to be dramatic.

“Just tell me all ready, time waits for no man, and mine grows short,”

“Fine, fine, ruin all my fun. I chose the peasant girl Akina.”

“Akina, isn’t that the Hebrew girl who saved you from drowning in the river seven summers ago?”

“She is, Father; unless there is another girl running around with green hair and that exact name.”

“My son, she is a Hebrew,”

“Father, you said I could choose whom I wanted to marry...”

“She is not an Egyptian, our people despise Hebrews.”

“Our people don’t need to know,”

“What if she disapproves of wedding?”

“If she disapproves now then I will wait until she is ready, but we will tell our people that we have married.”

“What if she disapproves of marrying you at all?”

“Then I will give her no choice. I will make her my property and take away her innocence before we wed if I must.”

CA-BOOM! The pharaoh and Yami turned and saw Akina standing in a pile of rubble, which had before been a wall, Jonouchi had hidden himself (smart move, dude... very smart).

“How... dare... you?!” Akina growled.

“Akina wait... I can explain,” Yami pleaded. Akina didn’t wait to hear an explanation, she just turned on her heal and ran.

AJay: Well, I hope that pertty much sets the ball rolling. The third chapter should be posted soon... I just wish I could say the same about the other chapters, they may take a while. Anyways R&R mortals!

Chapter 3

Akina ran past several servants, halls and guards on her way. She didn't know where she was going and she didn't care. She just knew she had to run. Run far away so that she could remain a free woman for eternity.

When Akina had reached her limit there was a painful stitch in her side. She leaned against a statue and slid to the ground. She wrapped her arms around her knees and began to sob softly.

What am I to do, she thought helplessly. Several girls would die to be in the position I'm in. But I don't want to marry; I want to be free... She lifted her head, wiped her eyes, and took a good look at her new surroundings. All the scenery had blurred together as she ran.

She guessed she was now in a palace temple, the scent of incense was stronger here. The statue she had leaned against was a huge gold statue of the Egyptian god Ra. Personally she could have cared less what temple she was in, she didn't believe in the Egyptian gods anyway.

"Hmm, you're a pretty one," said a light-hearted masculine voice.

Akina with drew a dagger from her cloak and pointed it directly at shoulder's length behind her.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, easy, I'm not going to hurt you," the person said. her dagger was pointing at a young man about her age with golden hair that stood up on end. He was about a head taller than her (not counting his hair), well built for his age, and his skin was a rich tan. His face still held onto its boyish charm. Gleaming at her through his pure white bangs were ardent lilac eyes.

"How do I know that?" Akina retorted.

"Not the trusting type, are you Jade-eyes?"

"What reason have you given me to trust you?"

"My name is Marik, I'm one of the high priest's sons, and if I disgrace a woman my father will find out and he'll tan me." His eyes laughed as he spoke.

Akina fought to keep herself from snickering.

"I see," she said. So this is how Marik grew up; he hasn't changed a bit, she thought. She smiled slightly and withdrew her blade.

"Aren't you going to tell me who you are?" Marik asked.

"Umm... no," Akina said playfully, egging him on.

"Aww, come on, please..." he begged, pouting slightly.

Once again Akina had to bite back laughter.

"Nope," she said as she plopped back down one the floor next to the huge statue.

"Fine, I'll wait," Marik sat down next to her; then looked at her with a raised eyebrow and a curious look in his eyes. "You sure you're not going to tell me?" he whispered into her ear; his breath tickled as it reached the nerves on her neck.

Akina could no longer hold back, without warning she erupted into an explosion of giggles. She was laughing so hard she nearly cried. After a few minutes she gained her composure.

"I haven't laughed like that in a long time; you're good at that."

"That's what my name means, don't wear it out." (A/N: I made that up.)

"What... laughs?"

"No, it means water's coming out of my ears,"

Akina was bent up in laughter once more. When she had gained her composure Marik asked: "Aren't you going to tell me you're name yet?"

"Well, if you really want to know," Akina stood up and drew out her blades. Then she offered it to him while she drew out the other. "Beat me, either hand to hand combat or with one of these, it matters not to me."

"I accept your challenge, and if I win you tell me who you are and where in this world or the next you're from."

"Fine if you win, but if I win... I'll think about it then I'll tell you when I win."

"Confidant, missy?"

"Yes, but not to the point of arrogance,"

"What's that supposed to mean? Never mind... I haven't even decided how..."

"Then choose!" The impatience that rang in Akina's voice stung like bees.

"Okay Miss I'm-in-a-hurry, we'll fight with the daggers. And, don't worry I'll go easy on you."

"Don't," She handed Marik one of her daggers.

The hilt was silver and it was formed in the shape of a heavily detailed snake. It felt icy in his hand, despite the warm weather. Her aura; it's sub-zero! Something must have happened in this girl's past to make her this way, but what...

"Hey, you gonna fight me or just stand there and stare at the hilt?"

"Yes, let's get on with this..." Without warning Marik charged at Akina.

Their battle went on strike after strike, both only trying to disarm the other, neither drew blood.

He's good I'll grant him that, Akina thought, but he hasn't fought several different people from this side of the Mediterranean. However, he is the first challenging opponent I've had in a long time; I'm going to enjoy this.

She's skilled, very skilled, Marik thought. She must have been practicing for years, with several different teachers. This is actually going to be a challenge; this'll be fun.

Strike after strike their private battle ensued. Eventually Akina had Marik backed against a wall and she was able to disarm him.

"I win," Akina said softly, breathing hard.

Marik merely chuckled.

"I may be disarmed, but I can still fight you." he remarked. Marik gave Akina a swift kick about her ankles. Before she could react, he had pinned her to the ground, his legs on both sides of her, and her wrists were above her head, held firmly in one of his hands. "Is it so hard just to get your name?"

"Try asking where I live cheater,"

"I believe I can think of one more way to get you get you to tell me..."

"Bring it on!"

"If you say so," Marik bent down, put his free hand in the side of her face and forced a gentle kiss on her. His touch was completely different from Yami's; Yami's had been forceful and demanding, but Marik's was surprisingly gentle and simply unconditional. Even though Akina had felt incapable of love since that fateful day when her father had been murdered, she felt herself weakening to his touch.

Someone was poking at their sides with something.

"Eh-hem," said a voice.

Marik and Akina parted, and she saw the face of another person she had not seen in a long, long time.

He had chestnut hair and dark tan skin. His face was long and oval, and his sapphire eyes were deep set, giving him a look of ultra-seriousness. He was dressed in priest's garb and held a long staff in his hand.

"His highness wishes to see his 'pleasure'," he stated.

So this is Seth after seven years, Akina thought. Let's see if I can jog his memory...

"I am no one's 'pleasure'!" Akina spat.

"You're the new servant?" Marik asked in astonishment.

Akina turned to Marik, "Mind your own business;"

Seth had to struggle to hide a small smile. So Shrimp still has her don't-bug-me attitude, he thought to himself. "Well, like I said, the prince wishes to see you."

"I never said I wasn't coming!" She said, and then turned back to Marik, "Just in case you don't know, you're cutting off the circulation in my legs." She gave Marik a rough push off of her.

"My apologies. Don't worry 'Priest Seth' I'm leaving." Marik said gruffly, getting up off the floor, and then leaned down to give Akina a hand.

Akina accepted it and let Marik heave her off the floor.

"I really enjoyed our duel Marik. You'll have to try again some other time," Akina said as she followed Seth out of the temple.

"Uhh... sure," Marik answered.

She turned for a moment and gave him a small smile.

Damn, I still didn't get that girl's name... he thought furiously and banged his fist against a nearby wall.

"So trying to see if anyone remembers you, Shrimp?" Seth asked as he and Akina reached the outside of the temple and he led her to, where she supposed, were the prince's chambers.

"You remember me?" Akina gasped.

"Of course... Not one day has gone by when I haven't heard at least one comment about you from my brother. If you ask me, he's grown fond of you..."

"What of Yami?"

"No idea," Seth looked puzzled for a moment, "He's spoken of you as well, but certainly not as often as Marik; however, I assume that you aren't here just to drop in to say 'hello', are you?"

"Yami invited me..."
"Well, unless you're another one of those hair-brained peasant ditzes who would die to marry Yami, be on your guard."

"I don't need telling twice..." Akina muttered.

"Pardon..."

"Nothing,"

"Well, we're here," Seth gestured to an entranceway, bowed, and left Akina standing there.

Chapter 4

 

P.S. If you’re wondering why Akina called Marik a cheater in the last chapter here’s why: If you’re in a sword fight with someone typically once someone disarms and corners you lose (or at least in this story). So when Marik kicked Akina when she ‘won’ that would be cheating. (Did anyone understand a word I just said?)

 

Cautiously, Akina entered Yami’s chambers with a large feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach.

“You wanted to see me Yami?” she said boldly. As Akina looked around the room and saw that it was the same room she had awoken in earlier. There was a silhouette behind the curtains of the bed, which she assumed was him. A hand drew them back and she saw indeed, she had been right.

“Yes, beautiful one, I did want to see you,” He was dressed quite differently now. A gold crest with the Eye of Horus encircled his head. His skin had been washed and he was now dressed in a pure white linen tunic with gold bands bound his forearms.

Yami got off his bed and approached Akina.

“Where did you run off to?” he demanded softly.

“No where of consequence,” she answered as she strode over to the only window in the room.

“I will be making an announcement to my people soon. They need to know that I have found someone suitable to be my bride.” Yami told her. One of his arms wound around her shoulders while the other crept around her waist, and Akina noticed there was an awkward smell about him, not unpleasant, it was just unusual.

“I’ve heard all about your little plan” Akina growled. “I will never marry you.” As she tried to squirm away she noticed it was extremely difficult to move.

“Don’t think this is an offer I’ll let you refuse, love. I am the son of the Gods; I get all of what I want.”

“Not from me”

“Especially from you, the scent you have been breathing in, if you haven’t noticed, has made it almost impossible for you to move, you’re in no position to resist me.” The arm around her shoulders reached by her ear and pulled back some of her hair. Slowly he began to drag his lips across her neck.

“Don’t be so sure,” With a huge effort Akina somehow reached into her pouch, muttered indistinctly, and in a puff of smoke she had disappeared.

“Where the hell is that woman?!” Yami stormed. He heard a loud whinny and the pounding of hooves. Near the gates he could see Akina riding on her unicorn.

“Open the gates,” Akina shouted as she came to a halt in front of them.

“No way, Missy” yelled one of the guards.

“And why not!” she demanded as Joshua let out an impatient snort and stomped the sand with one of his hooves.

“We’re under the prince’s orders not to let you out,” answered the other.

Akina sighed in exasperation. So Yami was smarter than she had first antisipated; however, what he didn’t know was how stubborn she could be. She threw back her head and let out a loud piercing screech.

Suddenly birds of all colors, sizes, and species swarmed around the guard’s heads.

“Stupid birds!” one guard exclaimed.

“Shoo! Shoo!” bellowed his companion.

During all this chaos Akina drew out a fistful of green powder, muttered: “Opines tarsi,” and the door flew open with a loud bang. She heard distant hoof beats behind her and without pausing to look back she begged Joshua to canter and sped around a corner.

Still hearing the hooves behind her she decided to go the long way to the Memoshep Pub. She took several twists and turns, preferring to stick to the alleys than to venture into the crowded streets and leave a more obvious trail.

At an ally close to the pub, she dismounted Joshua.

“Meet me at the pub,” she whispered in his ear. Then gave him a slap on the rump and Joshua trotted off.

Akina drew her hood over her head and began to walk in the opposite direction when she heard a loud shout from behind her.

“Stranger, did you see a palomino unicorn pass this way carrying a rider with green hair?”

Akina was sure the voice didn’t belong to Yami; it seemed much older, but to be certain not to be caught she kept her back turned when she answered.

“Not sure if it was a unicorn sir,” she said, answering in a deep voice. “But I saw a palomino head that way, moments ago.” She pointed in the direction that Joshua had went.

“Thank you stranger; good day to you.” The rider rode off in the direction she gestured too.

“And the same to you,” As soon as the rider was out of sight Akina added: “Fool,” and walked off in the other direction, towards the Memoshep Pub.

When Akina reached the Mempshep Pub at last she was exhausted and could hardly move. That ride, scent she had breathed in, and magic she had done had sucked up all her energy like a cyclone. Luckily, Kesi was outside sweeping when she arrived.

Recognizing Akina’s way of walking, Kesi rushed to her friend.

“Akina, Aki, tell me what happened!” Then Kesi looked into her friend’s tired eyes. “Oh Gods, you’ve done too much magic again!” She sung one of Akina’s arms over her shoulder and half carried her inside.

Struggling under Akina’s weight, Kesi wasn’t used to carrying big loads; she walked to the back room and kept walking all the way to her room. She laid Akina, who was now fast asleep, down on one of the two cots in the room (Akina and her shared the room whenever she was in town) and went back to work. It was the middle of the afternoon.

About an hour later Kesi’s father sent Kesi, Astu, and his twin sister Kakra out to do the washing by the river.

On the way back there was a huge crowd of people around the palace gates.

"Keep walking," she chastised when she heard her siblings begging to stay and hear the announcement. "More than likely it doesn't concern us."

“Hear all,” said a servant who was standing on top of the gates so that he could be heard and seen by everyone. “It is my great joy to announce that the pharaoh’s son has found a young woman to serve as his bride!” He broke off here because everyone in the crowd began to cheer wildly.

Kesi froze at the servant’s words. Akina had been at the palace that afternoon, but it couldn’t be...

“Hmm, hmm,” the servant cleared his throat. “Her name is Lady Akina. She is known to you as Akina the Street-Gypsy. However she has escaped from the palace. She is most recognizable by her green hair and palomino steed. The prince will give any person who brings her to him three bags of gold coins!”

Kesi stood completely still for a moment and stared, gaping, up at the servant. No, she thought. It’s not possible of all the girls to choose... however, Kakra interrupted her thoughts.

“Sissy, why does the prince want to marry Aki? And why are they calling her ‘Lady Akina'?"

“I don’t know, but I’m certain Aki will explain when she awakens. But for now...” Kesi drew her arms around her siblings and pulled them close to her. “Let’s just keep this a secret between us.”

Little did young Kesi know that her little brother Atsu was already thinking of all the possiblities pf what his family could do with those bags of gold coins.

Chapter 5

 

Later it was around an hour until sunset Akina awoke in Kesi’s room surrounded by Kesi, her three siblings (well, they were the only ones left at home, the rest had all been married off), and her mother and her father.

“Kesi has informed us that that the prince is looking for you. He’s even put a heavy price on your head. If you still have any hopes of getting to the Rogue’s Village tonight you had better leave as soon as possible,” said a tall boy around age thirteen. He had the top of his head shaved off and the rest of his head had hair pulled back in a ponytail. And his gentle yellow eyes shone softly. He was Kesi’s younger brother Odion. (A/N: Yeah, it’s Odion from the show, just younger and with no tattoos on his face.)

“But first, Akina, please tell us all that is going on,” Kesi’s father requested. His skin was the color of light coffee, and his wavy hair was almost all white, except for a few stubborn strands of black. He had dark troubled eyes, not yet hardened by his age, and a short white beard and mustache.

Akina let out a heavy sigh and began to tell them the story of everything that had happened. She started from reading the letter she had received that morning to Kesi all the way to running from the stranger on a horse that had been following her.

“Ha-ha, Akina! You’ve been kissed! You owe me three silver coins!” Kesi shouted.

“This news is certainly striking.” Kesi’s father said softly. Then he got up from the chair he was sitting in. “Everyone, help Akina gather her things. And hurry, we don’t know how many people are aware that Akina stays with us, so the palace guards could be here at any moment. Hold on a moment, where’s Atsu?”

“He probably went out to fetch more water. He normally does at this time of day. Nothing to worry about,” Kakra said.

So everyone helped Akina gather her belongings, water, and food that she would need for the journey, not knowing that Atsu’s disappearance was something to worry about.

A while later it the sun had almost finished setting, and Akina was in the stables double checking her bags on Joshua, who had returned his tiresome diversion ride. Despite his long ride earlier, he had told her that he was more than happy to go on a distress ride to Canaan that night. Just as she was about to go inside to say good-bye to everyone and give them her blessing, Atsu walked in.

“Ma’am can I talk you some?” he asked timidly.

“You already have, I don’t mind talking some more with you before I go. Please as I’ve told you several times before, call me Akina.” she replied.

Atsu smiled innocently and led her outside the stable. “So, you’re going back to Canaan tonight?” he asked, ignoring an opaque figure that was walking towards Akina from behind.

“Yes, back to the Rogue’s Village, my second mother needs me there.” Akina answered, not seeing a dark figure in back of her.

“I’m sorry Akina. She’ll have to wait because you aren’t going back there tonight.”

“What do you mean Atsu?” Suddenly, three small bags of gold were thrown at Atsu’s feet and before Akina could run someone’s arms seized her around her waist from behind and held her firmly against him. She knew instantly what had occurred, Atsu had betrayed her. “You traitor...” she growled.

“I am truly sorry milady,” Atsu said, tears filling up his huge black eyes. “We need the money.” And with that Atsu picked up the bags of coins and crept back into the pub.

“Why did you run off, darling?” whispered Yami’s voice harshly in her ear.

“I won’t...” Akina started to say, but he cut her off.

“You can’t refuse me,” His hands grabbed her shoulders and forced her to turn around and face him.

“Oh yes, I can! I have vowed to have only loved one man my entire life.”

“And that will be me; I will be your dearest love for eternity.” Yami said as his arm slid around her waist once more, still holding her against him and kept the other on her cheek, his face close to hers.

“I never said that man was my dearest love.”

Yami blinked.

“The man I loved was my father!”

Yami continued to stare at her, confused.

“The day I saved your life, mine changed forever. I reached home and found that my father had been murdered, I vowed then and there never to love another man as long as I lived.”

“You’re just incapable of love now; however, one night in my bed and you will wonder how you ever survived without me.”

“You ingrate! I DIED THAT DAY AND I WILL NEVER LOVE AGAIN!” Akina exclaimed. Bloodcurdling anger was coursing through her now, an unbearable hatred pounding in her temples, putting her in an uncontrollable state of mind. She grabbed Yami by his tunic, “And you can die to for all I care,” she hissed in a dangerously low voice. She kicked him low and threw him against one of the walls, and Yami groaned as he hit the wall. Akina whistled loudly through her teeth.

Joshua immediately came bursting out of the stable. As the unicorn trotted towards her she jumped on. To show off a little, Joshua reared onto his hind legs and gave a loud whinny. (A/N: Like in those old cowboy movies.)

“Oh, come now we don’t have time of that, do we?” Akina muttered as they began to gallop away. Yami got up and tried to follow; however, Aden soared down from the pub’s rooftop and flew wildly around his head, distracting him until Akina and Joshua had ridden a safe distance away then flew off to join his master.

Hearing the retreating hoof beats Kesi and her father stepped out of the pub. Kesi could still see her best friend disappearing in the vastly growing darkness. She dropped slowly to the ground and began to sing:

I pray our Gods will protect you, and watch the roads you ride

For one more road calls you to ride, its long and beaten path

Who knows how many more, till your journey is complete?

May the Gods help you to be wise, and strengthen my faith in you

See every remarkable place, conquer every challenge. Ra...

Lead her to where she’ll be safe.”

Yami approached the singing girl and locked his arms around her putting a hand over her mouth. “Not a word,” he whispered as he forced Kesi to her feet. “You’re going to help me snare my runaway bride.” Slowly, he half-dragged Kesi back to the palace.

Meanwhile Akina was getting closer and closer to the outskirts of Thebes. From there she kept rode eastward, keeping the guiding star at her right shoulder. She rode through the night.

A few hours later, Joshua had slowed to a trot and Akina found she had left Thebes far behind her.

“Walk,” Akina requested, and Joshua slowed to a walk. We’d better take it easy now, Akina thought. We still have the whole night to ride through and we need to get as far away from Thebes as we can before morning. We must at least make it to the oasis, and then we can rest. There was a small oasis about midway between Egypt and Canaan within the Wilderness of Shur. It was nothing but a small farm with a well, that made a huge profit out of tending to travelers such as her, but since she knew the family that lived there, she’d be safe. If she could make it there by high noon at the latest tomorrow, just one more day of riding and she’d be home at last. Then if the prince truly wanted her he’d have to find her then get through her people, and her second mother was no pushover.

Joshua suddenly gave a loud snort, jerking Akina from her thoughts. “What?” she muttered cantankerously.

Joshua pounded the sand, telling her that he wanted to go faster.

“Hey, if you want to go faster and wear yourself out, I’m not stopping you.” she said. To her surprise Joshua quickened to a fast bouncy trot. Hardly able to keep her eyes open, Akina tied herself to the saddle so she wouldn’t fall off the horse if she happened to fall asleep, which eventually she did.

When Akina awoke it was dawn and she was in a small cot in a small adobe room with reddish walls. She got up from the cot and saw a small breakfast waiting for her with a girl with waist length red hair and brown eyes staring her. She had a pale face and two bangs as long as her face were hanging in front of it.

“Greetings Shizuka,” Akina said.

“Hey girl, I was wondering when you’d wake up! What’s with coming to us in the middle of the night?” the girl asked with a laugh.

“I got here last night?”

“Yeah, you were sleeping on your horse when you arrived. Your birdie woke us up with a loud screech so loud it could be heard all the way in Damascus.”

After chuckling slightly at Shizuka’s gross exaggeration, Akina realized she was very hungry and began to shovel down the food in front of her.

“So what’s with coming here in the middle of the night?”

“A mad suitor’s after me,” Akina took a breath and began to eat some more.

“Won’t take no for an answer, hmm?”

“You got it,”

“Who is it this time? An unfortunate thief you shamed by beating him?”

“Nope, the prince of Egypt,”

“You don’t say!” Shizuka put a hand to her mouth.

“I do say, and in case he and his goons come here looking for me I was never here.”

“Don’t worry; you came from Thebes last night right?”

Akina nodded and finished up the glass of goat’s milk.

“They don’t have unicorns, so with their horses they won’t be here until nightfall. You’ll be in Canaan by then. You could even rest here for a while here.” Unicorns found in the dessert could go for hours riding at a fast trot or even a canter. They could also go for days with little food, rest, or water.

“I can’t afford to risk it. This one means business. He’s even put a price on my head back in Thebes. He’ll probably try to do the same thing with you and your mother too.” Spying her pack in a corner of the room, Akina got up and slung it over her shoulders.

“Your unicorn rested while you were sleeping.”

“Wonderful,”

“Anything I can get you before you set out?”

“Some more water couldn’t hurt.”

“I’ll grab some for you, and you round up your animals.”

A few minutes Akina and Shizuka were outside by the well saying good-bye.

“Someday I will repay you for all you have done,” Akina said.

“No need, your friendship is more than enough,” Shizuka said, hugging her tightly.

The girls parted and Akina mounted Joshua, turned him in the direction they were headed in, and replied, “I meant I’ll repay you unless I can’t find you or if I don’t remember too.” Then she cantered off.

“As long as this oasis is here you’ll always know where to find me!” Shizuka shouted, waving madly at the back of the departing unicorn. “Be safe and courageous Mighty Sea,” she added in an undertone.

Chapter 6

 

Back in Thebes, two men were discussing Akina's great escape.

"Akina has escaped me once again and this time I intend to follow her," a male's voice said angrily.

"But Your High... I mean Yami, will the pharaoh allow you to go after the girl?" asked the other.

"Chances are high,"

"Do you even know where the girl is headed?"

"She is going to the Rogue's Village in Canaan; I overheard her talking to the boy who led me to her."

"And if she isn't there."

"She'll be there, her mother's there, well actually, she said her second mother, but I have no idea what she meant by that."

Yami and Priest Seth entered the chambers of the withering pharaoh.

The pharaoh's chambers were the most elaborate chambers in the entire palace. The walls were made of the finest alabaster, a gigantic bed made out of obsidian and gold stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by some of Egypt's top quality furniture, including a large ebony sennet set.

Once I become pharaoh, Akina and I will share this room; however, I must focus on finding and capturing her first, Yami thought.

"What brings you to my chambers at this hour, my son?" asked the pharaoh as Yami and Seth entered the room.

"Akina has eluded me once again; she is going to the Rogue's Village in Canaan."

"I can not say I'm surprised,"

"And I intend to follow her,"

The pharaoh blinked. "Did I hear you right? You want to go after the girl."

"I do Father,"

"Are you sure she is worth crossing the Wilderness of Shur over? It's a long journey to Canaan, a five day ride there and back."

"Yes, I will have this girl for my bride, no matter what obstacles attempt to stop me!"

Seth's eyes widened and he stared at Yami. Why do I have the feeling that Yami has forgotten just who he is dealing with, he thought. I had better hope Marik doesn't hear about this. He'll be none to happy; if I didn't know better I'd say he was in love with Akina.

"I see you have learned determination, my son. For that you have pleased me; I will allow you to go after her, but Priest Seth..." the pharaoh turned to the young priest beside his son.

"Yes Your Majesty?" Seth asked, bowing to the pharaoh.

"You, Jonouchi, and at least six of his best men must accompany my son. That way he won't get into trouble. And I must ask you, only take with you the simple things you will need and dress as commoners, any sign that you are royalty will attract thieves."

"Yes Your Highness,"

"My gratitude Father," Yami said.

"You both may go," the weary pharaoh said, dismissing them.

Yami and Seth bowed and left the chambers without another word.

"Yami, what do you plan to do with the black-haired girl imprisoned in your room?" Seth asked.

"She apparently has some connection to Akina. This connection may aid me greatly in capturing her."

"How?"

"Simple, when we find Akina, we threaten her with the life of the peasant."

"You wouldn't really kill her would you?"

"Of course not, but I will also threaten her mother as well, that should break through her stubborn mindset."

"Should I inform Jonouchi of your decision to go after the girl?"

"Please, let him know that six of his best men should be enough. They need to rest up tonight, but they need to have themselves."

"I will," and with that Seth left.

Now, I bet you're thinking: 'Where is Kesi in all this? Didn't Yami bring her p to the palace?' Well now we find out...

While Seth and Yami had gone down to the pharaoh's chambers, Kesi was bound hand and foot, and sitting in Yami's chambers.

Oh, great, she thought. Thanks a lot Akina, now I'm stuck in this mess. No, I can't think that way; it's not her fault.

"Hey, cute little missy," said a voice.

Kesi looked around the room and saw a boy abut her age perched on the windowsill. His skin was pale and he had wild white hair that fell to his shoulders.

The boy leapt off the sill and knelt beside her at eye level. Kesi should see that he had deep brown eyes and straight white teeth.

"Don't be afraid," he said as she shrank back at his approach. "I won't hurt you, as long as you don't yell and give me away."

"Who are you?" Kesi managed to say. Oh Gods, he's handsome... she thought.

"Bakura, and if I may say so Miss, you have got to be the most beautiful girl I've ever seen." He put a hand on the side of her face, she didn't shrink back.

Kesi blushed.

"And if..." He broke off as the sound of footsteps and voices come near. "Oh well, I'll just have to give you this for now." Bakura gently pressed his lips against Kesi's in a passionate kiss. When they parted Kesi's face was bright pink, and putting a finger to his lips to show Kesi to be quiet, Bakura left through the window.

The next morning Yami, Seth, Kesi, Jonouchi, and six other soldiers set out for Canaan, dressed like commoners. They drove their horses easily, moving along at a steady easy trot.

Jonouchi had Kesi's tied arms around his waist as they traveled. After a while he noticed he had a worried look on her face.

"Don't worry, Miss. As long as you stick with us nothing will happen to you." he said comfortingly.

"That's not what I'm worried about." Kesi muttered.

"Are you worried about your friend Akina?"

"Yes,"

"I've seen that girl's powers, she can take care of herself; and like I said, as long as she comes with Yami willingly, there's nothing to worry about,"

"And if she doesn't?" Kesi remarked, knowing full well that Akina would never go with any man without a fight.

"I'd rather not think about it. Let's just pray to Ra she does."

Kesi let out a heavy sigh, after a while she let her thoughts wander to Bakura.

Hours later, the group had stopped for lunch. Yami sat next to Kesi and asked her several questions about Akina after untying her hands.

"Tell me, what are you to Akina?" he asked.

"A friend," Kesi replied shortly. She didn't want to give the prince too much information about Akina and her. Since what she said could, and probably would be, used as a weapon against her and Akina.

"Does Akina have any other friends besides you?"

"Not that I know of," That was a flat out lie. Kesi knew that Akina and the owner of the oasis's daughter, was a good friend of Akina's. In fact, Akina often said that Kesi and Serenity were the best friends she had ever had in her life.

"She saved my life once," Kek said.

"Who... oh Akina, yeah, she told me." Kesi answered.

"I'll never forget that day. I always knew I'd see her again. Ever since I have, I knew she'd be mine."

Seth and Kesi both rolled their eyes.

"Akina will never be yours." Kesi snarled.

"I wouldn't be so sure," Yami said as he grabbed her chin. "I'm certain that as soon as she sees that your life hangs in the balance, she'll do what ever I say." Kesi's eyes got big.

After that, everyone got back on the horses and rode eastward over the endless sea of sand.

Meanwhile, Akina was almost home, another half a day of riding and she'd be home free. Aden had flown ahead to let her second mother in the Rogue's Village that she was on her way.

Hours later, it was dusk and the travelers had reached the oasis. Yami saw Serenity sitting at the door of her house playing a crudely made flute, but Jonouchi, seeing her, dismounted his steed, leaving Kesi atop of it, and ran to her.

"Sister," he shouted.

Serenity jumped up at his call, and quickly ran to Jonouchi and gave him a huge hug around his waist.

"Jonouchi, is it really ya?" she asked as tears of joy fell from her eyes.

"It is sister, what's it been, three years? You've grown so much."

"You've changed too. I'll go get Mother." Serenity let go of her brother and ran inside.

"You know that girl, jonouchi?" Yami asked as the rest of the group caught up with him.

"Yeah, the girl is Serenity, my little sister."

"Interesting,"

Uh-oh, Kesi thought, if they ask Serenity if she's seen Aki, all three of us girls will be in deep trouble.

Serenity came back out leading a woman with curly brown hair at her shoulders and rich chocolate eyes. She had some deep creases under her eyes and as she came closer one could see that she had a few gray hairs hidden throughout the brown.

"Hello Ma,"

"Jonouchi, it's been so long," the woman said in a sweet voice and threw her arms around her now grown up son. "Is there anything that we can get you and your friends?"

"We could use some more water and new goatskins. Ours have broken," shouted one of the soldiers.

"Serenity, you fetch water from the well and I'll grab goatskins." Jonouchi's mother said and dashed back inside.

As Serenity went over to the well Yami followed her.

"May I help you?" he offered.

"Don't trouble yourself Your Highness," Serenity answered, suspecting that the prince didn't come all the way from Egypt with her older brother and seven other men to help her draw water.

"By the way Miss, did anyone else happen to come here today?"

"You'll have to be more specific, Sire. We get all kinds of folk here all the time."

"A woman, about your age, with waist length green hair, have you seen anyone like that?"

"No Sire," Serenity lied, not looking Yami in the eye.

"Look at me in the eyes and tell me that," he ordered.

Serenity looked Yami in the eye and blinked. He gave an impish smirk and called two soldiers over. They quickly came over and grabbed her by the upper arms.

"What are you doing?" Serenity shouted as she dropped the bucket back into the well in surprise. "I am telling you nothing about Akina!"

With the littlest effort one of the soldiers touched a specific place on Serenity's neck and knocked her out.

Jonouchi turned around and saw two soldiers carrying his sister, her hands now tied together.

"Yami, what did you do to my sister?"

"She refused to tell the truth about Akina. Don't worry she won't be harmed. She had probably better ride with you so she isn't too shocked when she awakens." Yami answered as calmly as if he were talking about the weather.

"She'd better not be," Jonouchi muttered.

Jonouchi's mother came back out with new goatskins. At first, she dropped the skins in shock when she saw her daughter knocked out and with her hands tied, but after some consoling from Jonouchi, she calmed down and let her son help her fill the new skins.

"If you ride through the night and all day tomorrow you'll reach the Rogue's Village just after dark." she said as the party prepared to depart.

"Thank you madam, your cooperation is much appreciated." Yami said, and the group headed towards Canaan.

Soon my Akina, I will find you and this wild goose chase will be over, Yami thought. Realize the reason your friends are in this mess is because of your own pride and stubbornness. As soon as I find you, you will be mine!

Chapter 7

 

It was sunset and in the fading light Akina could see a small village not too far ahead of her and at the doorstep of the farthest thatched hut she could see a small fire at the entrance and a huddled figure that seemed to be waiting for someone.

The figure must have heard the sound of Joshua's hoof beats because in a few moments, the figure had jumped up and began running towards the approaching unicorn and rider.

Akina didn't bother waiting for Joshua to slow down; she immediately leapt off the horse and ran to the running figure. She ran past the small garden of herbs in back of the house and threw her arms around her second mother.

"You're finally home, darling. It feels as if you left years ago, even though it has been only two full moon cycles," the woman had a sweet melodic voice that seemed to linger in the air after she spoke.

"It seemed like forever to me as well, Mother."

"Come by the fire, I have made tea. We can talk some while Joshua rests up; Jehovah knows he's earned it." The woman put an arm around Akina's shoulders and led her over to the glowing fire.

As they sat down, Akina saw that her second mother had changed very little since she had left. Her hair was still a light sandy blond combined with several streaks of grey and her eyes were wise water colored blue. She had once been one of the princesses of the island of Cyprus. On her way to a foreign fiancée she had no desire to wed; her ship had been blown to Canaan by a harsh storm. Being the only survivor and having no idea where she was, she had resolved never to even attempt to return to Cyprus. So she had wandered endlessly in the desert until a traveler found her and took her to the village and took her in.

"So Aden found you, Mother?" Akina asked.

"Yes, and ever since he came here I've been preparing for your arrival," the woman said handing Akina a cup of herbal tea from a pot that had been boiling over the fire. "If you will excuse me daughter, I will go inside and get some balsam for that old wound you have on your knee." She turned around and went inside the hut.

Akina sat back against the wall of her home and remembered when she had first arrived in this village seven years ago with the Egyptian soldiers:

"Where is the headman of the village?" one of the guards had asked one of the villagers.

"The big tent," he had replied.

The guards had taken her to the headman's tent, explained that she was an orphan from Egypt, had turned back for Egypt, and left her there.

Later that evening...

"My children," the headman had said. "Tonight we have an outsider among us tonight." He had summoned her to his side. "Will someone give this child a home?"

"I will," a young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes had stood up.

"Marvelous Terentina; I am sure that you will give her a joyous home."

Ever since that night Terentina became her guardian. Having no children or husband of her own, she had protected Akina like a dedicated crocodile protecting her nest of eggs until they hatched. Akina had no memories of her first mother except the stories her father had told her, so she had always had a strange gap in her heart that she guessed a mother would have filled. Terentina had helped fill that gap, thus becoming her second mother.

"All right daughter, show me your leg, and let me see that nasty wound of yours," Terentina said.

Akina lifted her right leg and pulled back the cloth so that her knee was exposed. Close to the outside of her leg, right behind her knee, was a puncture wound about the width of her finger. Even in the dim fire light Terentina could see the wound clearly, it still had not healed. Akina had gotten it when she had gone hunting with the men of the village and ran into a particularly violent desert boar. As she began to apply the balsam Akina told her all the happenings in Egypt.

At the end of the story, Terentina gave a heavy sigh. At last, after several moments of silence, she spoke to her daughter.

"Aki, I don't know what to tell you. All I can say is that if this man has followed you here, he shouldn't be here until sunset tomorrow. We will deal with that when the time comes. Until then you go get some sleep, I haven't moved your cot; and I will unpack Joshua."

Akina threw her arms around her second mother, happy to finally be home, then got up and went inside the hut for some sleep.

Back with Kesi and Serenity, Yami decided that it would be best if the group rode through the night, in order to reach the Rogue's Village as soon as possible. Serenity was riding with her brother (hands still bound together) and Kesi (hand also tied) was now riding with Priest Jahi and the two were getting to know each other, because even though they were Akina's best friends, the two had never actually met in person, only through Akina's stories about them.

"I see, so when you were ten, Jonouchi, who is your older brother, went off to become a soldier in the pharaoh's army, right?" Kesi asked.

"You got it!" Serenity answered. "You have five siblings, two older and three younger, and have helped your father work his pub."

"That's right,"

"I met Kesi on her way to Egypt when I was about eleven. When did you met her?"

"Around the same time, only I met her in Egypt. She stayed at our pub whenever she was in town."

"Interesting,"

"It is, isn't it?"

In the morning she awoke to the smell of Terentina's delicious cooking. She stepped into the main room of the hut, (the bedchamber in the hut was only a small side room) and smelled desert carrots, herbs and meat blending together in a thick broth.

"I need you to go get some more water from the well," her mother requested. "We'll be needing more water for Joshua. Take your time and say hello to the village children while you're gone. They'll be happy to see you."

Akina took the clay water pot and wandered towards the well in the center of the village. As she walked several of the village children surrounded her.

"Akina, you're back!"

"Where did you go?"

"How long are you going to stay this time?"

"Did you bring us back any candy?"

"One at a time, kids, one at a time," Akina said as she reached the well and sent the bucket to fetch water.

"Children, children," said an old cracked voice. The voice belonged to a short man only four feet tall. He was dressed in wool red robes and had grey hair that stood up in triangles and beard; and his eyes were alight with a sparkling brown (Yugi's grandpa). "She shall explain everything to us tonight at our village Feast of the Full Moon, tonight."

"Akina, do we have to wait that long?" whined one of the children.

"You'll have to; however, perhaps you can come by and see me today when your mothers and fathers don't need you." Akina replied, filling her clay pot and setting it on her shoulder.

She was halfway home when she found herself face to face with her village rival.

He had long black hair and shocking green eyes, and in his hand he was tossing small bones as if they were dice.

"Well, long time no see 'Village Champion'," he said mockingly.

"Well Duke, you haven't changed a bit, still can't bear the thought of being beaten by me," Akina retorted.

"The title 'Village Champion' should not belong to a woman. Fight me if you dare."

"Duke, do me a favor and don't waste my time."

"Then we'll let the sheep bones decide," he threw the bones to the ground. "I'll even let you win if there's a tie."

"Very well then,"

The bones rolled and finally they stopped.

What? I got the highest roll, but that's impossible! I'm the best in the village with dice! Duke thought as he saw his roll.

"Well then," Akina said. "The title stays with me." Then without another word she walked off.

The rest of the day passed by in boredom, but Akina was glad for that. After being at the Egyptian palace, escaping from there, and riding for two days straight, probably being pursued by Yami, a day of boredom felt like a blessing.

Often, a child from the village would pass by and talk to her or ask her to talk to their pet on their behalf. Farmers would bring their sick or lame livestock to Akina and Terentina for diagnoses and treatment. Even an occasional guy who had gotten too big for his britches would stop by and challenge her for the title of 'Village Champion'. She beat them all. (The title 'Village Champion' was given to the warrior in the village that was unbeatable.)

Night had fallen once more on Yami and his riders. Kesi and Serenity had gotten tired of getting to know each other and simply slept most of the time.

Off into the distance they could see a large roaring bonfire, after two days and one night of searching, they had at last found the Rogue's Village.

Back in the village, a huge bonfire was alight and cackling for all to enjoy. The villagers sat in a wide circle around an inner circle of splendid foods. There was boar, goat, several fruits, pastries, vegetables, breads, and an assortment of other foods all prepared by all those capable of cooking.

"My children," the headman said, "Let us give..."

"Headmen," interrupted one of the sentries. "There's a band of riders headed our way. They are riding eight horses and have two women with them."

"Well then," the head man said. "Go welcome our visitors. I guess we will all have to wait to get befuddled by the feast we all worked so hard to prepare."

A while later, two sentries escorted a small band of travelers to the outer edge of the circle. The villagers parted do that one of the riders could get off of his horse and walk to the center of the circle by the headman.

Akina took one look at the rider and immediately felt her stomach turn inside out. The man next to the headman was Yami.

Chapter 8

 

"Good people, I have come to ask a favor of you," Yami announced. "I seek a young woman with green ..."

"There is no need to harass my people, Your Highness," Akina said standing up from the circle and stepping into the center. Her hand was on the hilt of a long sword tucked into the belt of her long brown robe.

"Akina, I have been searching for you," Yami said walking over to her; however, just as he got close enough Akina unsheathed her sword and pointed it at him, daring him to move any closer.

"Yeah, I'll bet you've been searching for me," she spat. "Won't take no for an answer, will you?"

Yami shook his head.

"Fine then, Duke, lend him your sword." Akina said.

"Why?"

"You'll see,"

Duke walked over to Yami and handed him his sword. "I hope you know what you're doing," he said to Akina as he passed her.

"All right then, Your Highness, if you truly want me, you'll have to fight and defeat me." She slipped into a fighting stance and prepared to fight the prince.

"I don't think this is necessary." Yami told her slyly.

"What you give up before we begin then?"

"No, just turn around,"

Akina turned and saw that her mother, Kesi, and Serenity were being held by guards with swords at their throats.

"Your Highness, leave them out of this. They have nothing to do with this!" Akina screeched.

"On the contrary Akina, I can assure you that no harm will come to them if..." Yami said.

"If what?"

"If you surrender to me unconditionally, return with me to Egypt with me, and do what ever I command you to from this point onward."

Akina glared daggers at the prince. Never did she hate anyone else more than she hated Yami in that moment, except for the men who had murdered her father, but that was irrelevant.

"You have until three," Yami threatened, putting up three fingers. "One,"

"You coward! You're just like every other arrogant, selfish, brainless peacock of a suitor I've met!"

"Insults will get you no where Akina. Two,"

"Akina, don't worry about us," Kesi shouted.

"We'll be fine," Serenity hollered, following suit.

"Daughter, don't do it! All that matters to me is your happiness."

"Three,"

"Fine!" Akina shouted in defeat. She threw her sword at Yami's feet, walked over to him, and put her fists together in front of her at neck level to show her surrender. "If you won't harm my friends or my mother, I will return with you and do whatever you ask. You have my word," she said icily. Hatred was burning in her eyes and throughout her body.

Yami pushed her hands down and put his right hand gently on her chin. As he nuzzled the side of her face with his, he whispered in her ear, "Prove it to me."

"What?" Akina growled.

"Kiss me," he whispered.

Akina took a painful half glance back at her mother and friends, then placed her hands on the sides of Yami's face and kissed him.

Yami's right hand moved to her cheek and his left encircled her waist, pressing her to him. A soft involuntary moan only Akina could hear escaped his lips. She could tell he had been longing for this moment for a long time. Meanwhile, she wasn't enjoying this one bit.

Everyone in the village's jaws dropped and mothers covered their children's eyes. Kesi was extremely baffled, Shani let out a horrified gasp, and Terentina felt tears come to her eyes, she was very glad Joshua and Aden weren't here to see this.

Akina broke the kiss, forced Yami away from her, and immediately dropped to the ground gagging and spitting.

Yami smirked at her. "Now, now love, is it really worth all that?" He tried to put his arms around her, but Akina shoved him away.

"You disgust me!" she exclaimed in utter revulsion. "Keep your word and free my mother and friends. I gave you mine."

"Not until you come back with me to Egypt," he snarled.

"Then why are we standing around here?" Akina picked herself off the ground and walked towards her home.

"Where are you headed?" Yami demanded.

"Home, to get my things!"

"Akina, my courageous child," the headman said. "You have only been here one night. At least stay so that we may have the rare honor of feasting with you. And your guests may join us."

"Headman, I have done nothing courageous or worth honoring."

"I must beg to differ, child; you have just saved your guardian and friends from a horrible fate. You think that is worth nothing."

Akina stayed silent.

"In your absence you seem to have forgotten what honor and courage truly are."

"It's the knowing that you may not succeed at something, but giving one hell of a try any how."

"Yes, now stay and feast with us, forget tomorrow and enjoy yourself."

Akina turned around and sat down beside her mother, Kesi, Serenity, Yami and his soldiers. When they all had settled down, the headman said a prayer, and everyone began to feast.

The feast was savory and well prepared; however, it all turned to sand in Akina's mouth so she didn't eat much. Jonouchi and the other guards were stuffing their faces, while Yami and Seth ate some of the food.

At the end of the feast, Yami allowed Akina and her mother to return to their home to get their things, but they had to be accompanied by soldiers to be sure they wouldn't escape last minute.

Akina found Joshua and Aden some ways from the house, but at seeing Akina Joshua cantered to her with Aden riding between his ears.

"Hey guys look, Yami has found me and now I'm under oath to go back to Egypt with him and be his servant. If you two don't think you'll be able see me that way, you'd better leave now and roam free." she told them.

Joshua tossed his head and Aden gave a loud screech and twisted his head back and forth, they both meant that they would stay with her come hell or high water. Akina threw her arms around Joshua in appreciation and couldn't help crying a little as Aden settled on her shoulder.

Terentina, who had gathered all their things, was watching this with softened eyes then went up to them and threw her arms around her crying daughter.

After recovering themselves, the group of two women, bird, and unicorn went back to the soldiers. Outside the village, the other soldiers had pitched camp. Kesi and Serenity were sitting around the fire, but at Akina's approach, they leapt up and tried to hug Akina as best they could with their hands tied together.

"Aki, it going to be okay. Don' worry the prince got no idea who he's tampering with," Serenity soothed.

"What you did was really great for us. If I had been in your shoes, I would have done the exact same thing."

"Kesi and I've talked it over. We'll go with you all the way to Egypt and..."

"And we'll stay with you long afterword," Akina's mother finished.

"Thanks everyone," Akina muttered. Then she looked beyond the circle of her friends, and saw Yami staring at them while sitting with some of his other soldiers around the fire. Catching Akina's gaze, he called her over to sit by him.

"Give me your wrists," he said when she had sat down. Akina complied and put her wrists in front of her like she had at the bonfire. Yami took two pieces of rope and tied one around her wrists and one around her ankles. "So you don't run off," he said when he had finished. Then he ran his hands along her calves under her robe.

Akina leaned back, hitched up her feet and had kicked him hard in the chest, all in a matter of twenty seconds. Yami fell back into the sands, his soldiers laughed, and surprisingly he laughed too.

"She's a feisty one, eh Your Highness?" one of the soldiers remarked as he got up to tie Terentina's wrists together.

"Indeed," Yami said getting back up. Then he turned to Akina, her mother and her friends. "You all had better get some sleep. We leave at dawn. Akina, you sleep with me tonight."

"Oh joy," Akina said exasperatedly. "Have you forgotten I can't walk, no thanks to these ropes you've tied around my ankles?"

Yami didn't answer, but placed his arms under Akina's arms and knees and carried her into the tent he and Seth shared. "What?" Akina stammered.

"Aww, Aki's being carried." Serenity teased.

"Serenity, as soon as I'm out of these ropes, remind me to kill you." Akina retorted as Serenity laughed at her best friend's threat.

Inside, Yami laid her down, sat beside her, and stroked the side of her cheek tenderly with his knuckles. "Don't fret, my dear," he purred. "You will adjust to this."

"That I doubt!" Akina spat as she shoved his hand away and turned away from him.

Late at night, Akina was still tossing and turning in her insomnia, thanks to her predicament. She hadn't slept at all.

I really hate this, she thought furiously. I'm supposed to go back to Egypt and serve this spoiled palace brat! Only Jehovah knows how long I'll be serving him. What the hell does he plan to do to me? What about Marik? Will I ever be able to see him again? Will Kesi or Serenity ever be...

Suddenly, Akina sat bolt upright, not knowing what had jerked her from her thoughts. There was a shuffling sound outside the tent and slowly, cautiously, a shadowy figure entered the tent. She squinted at the figure, debating whether to yell or not, but saw the figure was her mother.

Terentina put a finger to her lips and Akina stayed silent. Silently, she moved over to her restless daughter and looped her arms around her. If her hands would have been free, she would also stroked Akina's hair, knowing that she would find this comforting. Softly, Terentina began to sing:

"Sleep now, dear daughter, rest now, no tears

Dream as you're calmed by the sea

Drift and rest within my ocean lullaby

And Jehovah will guide you for all time.

Hesitantly, Akina joined the song, their voices blending in perfect harmony:

"This ocean, it rocks me so gentle and calm

It lulls me to sleep every night

Jehovah, never leave me I need you to stay

Here by my side for all time."

Finally, Akina was able to fall asleep, soothed by her mother's song. Terentina slowly got up and left the tent. From then on both of them sleep peacefully, not knowing Yami had heard their song.

AJay: Well, that's the eighth chapter folks. FYI: Nacht 'night' in German.

Chapter 9

 

“The expression ‘following suit’ is a curious one,

Because it has nothing to do with walking behind a matching set of clothing

If you follow suit, it means you do the same thin someone else has just done.

If all your friends decided to jump off a bridge into the icy waters of an ocean or river,

for instance, and you jumped in right after them you would be following suit.

You can see why following suit can be a dangerous thing to do, because you could end up drowning simply because someone else thought of it first.”

--Lemony Snicket

The Austere Academy

(P.S.: I should be writing a fanfic for him sometime in the future. And see if you can find the expression following suit in this chapter somewhere, it’s in there.)

Back to Egypt:

The next morning Akina awoke only early before sunrise. Not caring if Yami was still asleep or not, she tried to get up and leave the tent, but, to her wrath, her feet were still tied with rope; she also noticed her weapons were gone. She tried to fumble with the knots but the way they were tied was too complex.

Jeez, these guys don’t mess around, she thoughtfuriously. Some how, she was able to get on her hands and knees and crawl out of the tent.

Outside, the embers of last night’s fire were, thankfully, still glowing dimly in the dark. Akina felt around until she found a pile of sticks. With one she stirred the embers until a small flame shot up. She put a few smaller sticks from the pile onto the flame. Eventually a slightly medium-sized fire was burning. She took her main stick and stuck it in the flames, allowing it to catch fire. Then she took the flaming stick and placed it to the rope around her ankles. Just as she began to smell the rope starting to burn, a hand grabbed the stick, wrenched it out of her hands, and threw it into the fire.

“Don’t do that! You could burn yourself!” a voice admonished. Akina turned and saw Yami glaring at her.

“For your information, Your Highness, I knew what I was doing!” she retorted.

“What, burning your feet off?” he said sardonically.

“No, this,” Akina meddled with the rope around her ankles once more and just like she had hoped, the flame on the stick had burnt just enough through the rope that she was able to pull them apart. “It’s a handy old thief trick, one of my favorites. I wanted to be able to walk, not depend on a palace peacock or one of his cockroaches to carry me everywhere.”

“You learned from thieves?”

“None of your business,”

“Please tell me,

“No.”

“Now,”

“You know, is your only purpose in life to piss me off?”

“On the contrary, I’m trying to get you to like me,”

“Well, stop; try being nice to me.”

“I am, you’re simply being stubborn. There are thousands of girls in Egypt that would die to be in your position!” Now Yami was starting to get really frustrated with this girl.

“Then pick one of them! And I’ll bet they’d love to have their best friends and second mother inches from death because some dirty tyrant wants to marry her!” Akina suddenly heard a low hiss.

“I’m not a dirty tyrant; I’m just...”

“Hush, I need to hear.” Akina said shoving her hands over Yami’s mouth as best she could. She that hiss she just heard had given her the ‘look-abouts’. Besides it was about time Yami’s yammering ceased, the argument had been going nowhere.

Almost a second later, they saw a large cobra was headed towards one of the other tents. Slowly, Akina began to speak to it.

“Go away,” she said softly, in a mixture of hisses. Yami’s eyes went wide once more.

The snake paid her no heed.

“I said go!”

Once again the snake ignored her.

She turned to Yami. “Give me your dagger,” she said in normal talk.

“How did you know I...”

“Just hand it over,”

Yami gave her his dagger. Slowly and stealthily Akina crept towards the poisonous snake. It turned at her approach.

Slowly, she began to sway back and forth, humming a soft tune, and the cobra followed suit, its eyes never leaving her. When she had gotten really close, it had forgotten that she held a dagger in her hand, all that mattered to it was that the humming and swaying would never stop. In one swift movement she brought it down and killed the cobra. She took the dead snake and tossed it into the fire.

Yami stared at Akina, stunned. She can talk to animals... he thought in amazement. You and me already knew this, but remember: this is the first time Yami has seen her do such a thing.

A while later, when everything was packed up and ready to go, Yami turned to talk to Akina one more time.

“Will, your unicorn allow more than one rider on its back?” he asked.

“Yes, but let me mount fir...” but she was to late Yami was mounting Joshua. “That imbecile, not smart...” she muttered.

As soon as Yami had mounted Joshua, Joshua went berserk. He started bucking and kicking his legs high in the air in an attempt to get the unwanted rider (Yami) off. Meanwhile, Yami was holding on for dear life.

“Jump off, idiot!” Akina yelled. He jumped and attempted to land a good ways from Joshua’s rampaging hooves.

Once Joshua realized Yami was off of him, he stamped his hooves and tossed his mane in pride, under the impression he had done something heroic.

Akina saw he thought that he had done the right thing: get the bad guy off you’re back when he tries to ride off with you. She strode over to her ‘noble steed’ and gave him a light thump on the nose.

“You behave! Thieves aren’t trying to take you away today,” she scolded in what sounded like a rough whinny.

Joshua stomped the ground indignantly and gave Yami a forbidding glare. Reluctantly, he bowed his head in obedience and snorted an apology to his mistress and then gave a rough loud neigh, as if he thought everyone could understand what he was trying to say. Akina smiled and chuckled slightly then turned back to Yami.

“He say’s he’ll let you ride him, but I have to be the one to guide him, so you ride behind me,” she translated. Joshua gave a lout snort and gave her a soft nudge in the small of her back. “He also says: if you like having all ten fingers, keep your hands to yourself, off of him and me, except to hold on.” Then she grabbed Joshua’s mane and, with a little difficulty, mounted. Yami got on behind her, and this time Joshua behaved, except for turning his head to Yami and giving him a warning glare. Aden came over and settled on her shoulder a desert mouse hanging in his beak. He also gave Yami an ominous glower and Yami suddenly felt as is if he were the mouse in the hawk’s curved beak.

“Be nice, the both of you” Akina commanded sternly, and finally the convoy set off.

It is pointless for me to describe the long monotonous trip back to Egypt through the desert. It was as tedious as the one time I went to a football game in second grade and ended up reading through the entire game, not paying attention at all. I haven’t been to one since.

At the oasis, Serenity begged her mother to let her go with Jonouchi to Egypt and live with him, and after much argument, her mother gave in. Serenity went inside and gathered her few possessions while her mother gave them all more water. When Serenity ran back out the procession continued back to Egypt.

Two droning days later, they were in sight of Thebes.

AJay: Okay, did you find the expression? If not, look again. Review people! I want more reviews please! Also, could you please vote on whether you want this fic to end: Akina x Yami or Akina x Marik? Please and thank you!

Chapter 10

 

As the caravan proceeded through Thebes, Akina felt several eyes staring at her. This was not something she ever truly enjoyed; however, she held her head high and stood firm. There were some children she saw waving at her; she turned and gave them a gentle smile.

After dark they had reached the palace gates. Outside the palace everyone dismounted and the horses and Joshua were given to servants. “Be nice,” Akina snorted in his ear as she dismounted. “I don’t know when I’ll be able to ride you.”

Inside more servants come and whisked Kesi, Terentina, Serenity, and Akina away into rooms to get washed up and fresh new clothing. One of the servants tried to take away Akina’s Eye of Horus necklace and convince her to put on a different one, but Akina refused, saying it was the only necklace she would wear and that was final.

When Terentina and the other girls saw her when the servants finished, they could hardly recognize her. She was in a bright purple tunic dress with a skirt that fell only to her knees and a top that laced up in the back with sleeves just covered her shoulders. Around her neck was her Eye of Horus pendent, there were also gold bands around her wrists, along with a gold serpent arm band on her upper arm and soft thin leather sandals on her feet with straps that wrapped around her calves. As they took a closer look, her eyes were lightly outlined in black, and her hair was now all down and tamed to lie flat pulled back with a thin golden band, much like our modern head band only it encircled her whole head. They all simply gaped at her.

“Is it that bad?” Akina asked timidly.

Terentina walked to her daughter and drew her arms slowly around her. “No daughter, you look beautiful,” she whispered in her ear. “You are no longer my sweet little one, you’ve grown up.”

Akina’s eyes widened. Does wearing jewelry, make-up, and fine clothing really make me an adult, she thought. Her mother let go of her and Akina was able to get a good look at her and the others.

Her mother, Kesi, and Serenity all wore the same outfit more or less: a white linen dress that fell to their ankles and also laced up in the back. There were also gold bands around their wrists and slim necklaces around their necks with pieces of white and green speckled jade in the shape of scarabs attached to them. Their eyes had also been lined with make-up, Kesi were outlined in light red, Terentina in blue, and Serenity in an earth brown.

“Hey,” Akina said, breaking the awkward silence that had ensued. “How about I show you all around the palace?”

“All right,” Serenity exclaimed, trusting a fist into the air.

“And you have to show us everywhere.” Kesi said excitedly.

“You guys can’t go yet. It’s time to eat,” said a young-sounding voice. The girls looked around and saw a short boy in a white lavish tunic step out from behind a pillar. He had indigo eyes and long thick black hair. He looked about ten and only came up to Akina’s elbows, and she happened to be the shortest of the group.

“We’ll go later then, I’m famished.” Akina said, thinking longingly of food. “I’ll just escort you guys to the dinning room then.”

“Is it true you four came all the way from Canaan?” the kid asked on the way.

“Well, actually, I’m from right here in Thebes, Serenity is from the Wilderness of Shur, and Akina and her mother are from Canaan. And I’m Kesi by the way,” Kesi explained gesturing to each of her friends as she spoke.

“And who are you?” Akina asked.

“I’m Mokuba, I’m Priest Seth and Marik’s little brother.”

“I see,” Akina answered pensively, and became absorbed in her thoughts not hearing Mokuba’s other questions.

After the meal it was late, and the girls had decided to tour the palace the next morning. So instead everyone went to their rooms. Akina’s was a side room connected to Yami’s (no surprises there), it was fairly sized with a roomy cot covered in silk sheets and a dresser with a polished shape of bronze to use as a mirror and some containers, that, she guessed, were full of cosmetics, which she never planned to use.

Kesi’s was about fifty paces down to the left. It was a little bigger than Akina’s, and filled with pretty much the same thing.

Terentina’s was fifty paces down to the right, and Serenity slept in her brother’s room which was all the way at the end of the long hallway.

That night after everyone, or at least Yami, was asleep Akina crept out of her room and wandered through the hallways, quieter than a corpse. Eventually, she found herself in the temple of Ra she had met Marik in days ago. Here, she sat down at the foot of the statue with her hands together in a prayer and let everything go.

Rain pours down to wash my sin, but to no avail,

Darkness has hidden the treacherous path I walk

Shall the clouds disperse or forever remain?

They have sequestered me from the bright light

When will I see that divine light once again?

Ever again...”

“Hey,” someone yelled.

Akina gasped, awoken from her otherworldly state.

“What are you doing in here?” the voice demanded.

Akina turned and saw it was one of the elder priests. She spotted a corridor she hadn’t seen before, leapt up, and ran for it.

“Hey, you can’t go down that way,” the priest yelled, running after her.

Akina lost track of how long she had been running, and fortunately for her the priest was older and slower than her. Then, up ahead, in the dim light of the torches she saw a shadowed figure with spiked hair round the corner towards, but, luckily, just before she slammed into him, he caught her by the upper arms, stopping her just in time about an inch from him.

“Akina?” the figure asked. It was Marik’s voice.

She nodded.

Hearing someone coming their way, Marik pulled her back around the corner, opened a store cabinet, and gently pushed her inside it. “It’s a tight fit, I know, but squeeze inside and keep quiet,” he ordered hastily closing the cabinet doors behind Akina.

Master Marik, did you see a young lady pass this way?” the priest asked.

“She went that-a-way,” he answered pointing down the hall he had originally come down.

“Thank you,” the priest said and headed down the corridor.

When the priest was out of sight, Marik opened the door and let Akina out, she was now struggling to breathe.

“What’s... the deal? I couldn’t... breathe... in there,” she said between her gasps for air.

“We aren’t out of the desert yet. Come on,” Marik grabbed her wrist and began running down the passage Akina had just come through. They ran down more hallways until they were well out of the temple and in one of the deserted moonlit gardens.

“So Akina,” he said sitting down to rest by a small pool of water. “Long time no see, eh?”

Akina sat beside him, “Not too long,” she said, sitting beside him.

“Oh yeah, you were that girl I fought a few days ago.”

“I was,”

“You look lovely tonight,”

“Thanks,”

“Was that your first kiss?” he asked her as his arm wound her shoulders.

“Yep,” Akina thought him as a friend, so this gesture didn’t bother her too much.

“Mine to,”

“Really,”

“Yeah, you got a problem with that,”

“Want to try again?”

“What, the kiss?”

“No the fight,”

“Oh,”

“Disappointed,”

“Not quite,” He leaned over and gave her a gentle kiss. His hand went to her cheek and the other touched her hair so lightly she could hardly feel it.

“I shouldn’t have done that,” Marik said as they broke apart.

“No, I liked it,” Akina argued.

“No, I really shouldn’t have done that,” he pointed behind them and Akina saw...

AJay: Mwa ha ha ha! A cliff-hanger! Sorry this was a short chapter people. Also, could you please still vote on whether you want this fic to end: Akina x Yami or Akina x Marik? I’m still curious. Please and thank you! REVIEW! I want more reviews please!

Chapter 11

 

Mokuba had been watching Marik and Akina from behind a small statue in the garden where they sat.

“Run Akina, if you go now, my little brother may think you’re just some servant. Go quickly,” Marik whispered in her ear.

Akina got up and ran trying her hardest to make sure Mokuba didn’t see her face. Praying that everyone was still asleep, Akina sneaked silently down the hallway towards the bedrooms containing Yami, her mother, Kesi, and Serenity. Silently, she crept back into Yami’s room.

“Why did you sneak off, my sweet?” asked a voice ahead of her. Akina squinted and saw Yami’s silhouette by the window. He turned at her approach and snaked his arms around her when she got close. Akina didn’t like the look in his eyes.

Now I’m in trouble, Akina thought. “I couldn’t sleep, Your Highness.”

“I thought I asked you to call me something else, well, no matter. Come to bed with me,” Yami nuzzled her hair, as he half dragged her towards his bed.

“No,” Akina pleaded, horrified of the thought of what could happen. Yami laid her down and stroked her leg possessively. She formed her left hand into a fist and tried to give him one of her punches; however, he caught it before it could reach him.

Yami pulled himself on top of her and shoved his lips onto hers. Suddenly he forced his tongue into her mouth, this made Akina sick. (No, I mean literally, it made her sick.) With a sudden burst of adrenaline she pushed Yami off of her and ran to the pot full of sand that served as a latrine and vomited.

“You foul... you despicable...” she stammered when she had finished, but she was too furious to finish the insult, so she returned to her room.

The next morning at breakfast Yami noticed that Akina was eating as if she hadn’t seen food in days; and he wasn’t the only one, her mother was talking to Akina in a concerned tone.

“Akina, are you all right?” Terentina asked worriedly.

“You eating as if your home just suffered a famine,” Kesi said.

“I got sick last night,”

“Ya gonna get sick again, it ya don’t stop shoveling food down ya throat.” Serenity said, grabbing Akina’s hands to prevent her from eating anymore.

“Thank you Serenity,” Akina said. “I couldn’t stop myself.”

“No problem,”

“Why did you get sick?” Kesi asked.

Before Akina answered, she spotted Yami watching them and guessed he was probably eavesdropping. “A really sick nightmare,” she answered bitterly. “And if you girls are done, I will gladly give you all that tour,” and with that all four of them left their seats.

After an hour of touring, the girls were resting in one of the gardens while Serenity played her flute and Akina danced to the tune. Soon Terentina and Kesi joined in when Kesi began to hum to the tune and Akina’s mother took out a small lyre she had hidden in her tunic.

Then Mokuba came out to them. “Akina,” he said.

“Yes,” Everyone immediately stopped what they were doing.

“The prince requests that you come and dance for the pharaoh’s guests in the throne room.” Aden, who had been watching everything from the top of the palace, flew down and landed on Mokuba’s shoulder and began preening his hair. Mokuba looked a little uncomfortable about this strange gesture from a bird.

“It’s okay, little one, that means he likes you.” Akina explained. She whistled, and Akina flew onto her shoulder and began preening her hair. “And where exactly have you been all this time?” she demanded in a mixture of whistles and screeches.

Aden gave a matter-of-fact kind of screech.

“Oh, watching from the rooftops, eh?” she said in normal talk. “Well, I’ll have you know I really could have used your help last night. Well, whatever, what’s done is done; I have to go entertain some palace folks, you coming?”

Aden rubbed his head against her ear.

“You schmoozer,” Akina muttered and began walking in the direction of the throne room with Kesi, Terentina, Serenity, and Mokuba following.

In the throne room Yami’s father was sitting on a throne made entirely of gold with Yami standing beside him. There were also many people including Marik, Priest Seth, a man who looked like the high priest and Akina thought was their father (he looked an awful lot like his youngest son Mokuba than the other two) , and an assortment of people Akina and the others didn’t know.

“Lady Akina, would you please dance for the pharaoh and his guests please?” Yami requested, seeing her enter the room.

“Yes, Your Highness,” Akina answered, slightly stunned by Yami’s politeness, then smiled invisibly. If he’s trying to get me to forgive him for last night or something it isn’t going to work, she thought. Nonetheless she began to dance. Not too long, Serenity placed her flute to her lips and began to play. Akina’s mother and Kesi joined in with Terentina playing her lyre and Kesi humming along.

The tune they played varied in speed and mood, and Akina adjusted her dance and expressions to fit it. The song itself could go on forever, but Akina, her friends, and mother could not, after about fifteen minutes they ceased.

Akina was sweating and panting for breath, and the others felt they would give anything for a drink of water, or in Terentina’s case: a chance to rest their fingers, but the applause they received was well worth it.

Yami excused them and the women exited with Mokuba, who had offered to take them to the kitchen for refreshments.

“Your son has a lovely servant woman, my Pharaoh,” said the high priest.

“I thank you,” Yami said.

“Is she only a servant to you?”

“She is the woman I intend to marry,”

Marik’s eyes widened, but then he felt the end of a staff on his foot.

“Not a word,” his brother muttered, but it turned out that his words were unnecessary because at that precise moment... BAM! The sound of something breaking rang from the hall.

“Priest Seth, would you please go see what that was?” the pharaoh requested.

“Yes, my Pharaoh,” Seth replied bowing to the pharaoh and Yami and excusing himself.

Outside in the hallway, Kesi, Serenity, and Mokuba were picking up broken pieces of limestone that had fallen from a now badly dented pillar. Terentina was tending to Akina’s now bloody grotesque hand.

“What happened?” Seth whispered, kindly pushing the girls and Mokuba away from the sharp broken pieces of limestone and fixing the pillar with a strange incantation.

“We were walking, but then Akina suddenly went berserk and punched the pillar you just fixed, big brother.” Mokuba said.

“Priest,” Terentina began.

“Just call me Seth, madam.”

“Then you call me Terentina. Anyways,” She let out a heavy sigh. “My daughter is blessed with supreme hearing, sometimes she hears things she is better off not hearing, and with her unsteady temper, well... it’s not a good combination. My guess is she heard something she shouldn’t have, because her aura sparked up and she punched the pillar as an outlet for her fury. Do you see what I am trying to explain?”

“In fact I do,”

After getting a thirst-quenching drink from the kitchens, Akina went out to the stables to see Joshua. When she reached it there were furious shouts and curses from inside. She pulled aside the door and...

AJay: Anothercliff-hanger there! Sorry Also, could you please still vote on whether you want this fic to end: Akina x Yami or Akina x Marik? I’m still curious. Please and thank you! REVIEW! I want more reviews please!

Chapter 12

 

The stable was empty except for a horse in the center of a group of large muscular men. It was blind folded by an old sack and its muzzle tied to a post by a rope. It was flailing its back legs and mane everywhere and bucking madly. The men were shouting and trying to get near it with whips. Meanwhile, one man stood by and was giving them orders. Akina saw an open sack of horse feed, while no one was watching she slipped her hand in, took a little, and slipped it into her pocket.

“Hit it again, it needs to learn obedience,” the man shouted. A whip sailed through the air, but Akina charged forward and caught it before it hit the horse.

“Back away from this horse!” she shouted.

“And what do you know about horses Missy?” the man taunted. From this perspective she could see the man wasn’t muscular at all. He was fat. He also had chin length black hair and tiny beetle-black eyes. His linins were dirty with food stains.

I seriously feel sorry for the poor girl who has or will have to marry this freak, Akina thought to herself. “Obviously a lot more than you do,” she snapped.

Then she turned to the men who had been following his orders. “Now unless you all want to be bloody human breadcrumbs you’ll get away from this poor horse.”

The men backed away and Akina moved closer. “First off, it’ll be calmer if it can see what it’s up against,” she said in an irritated tone. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the fat man make a rude signal at her. All she did was roll her eyes; she assumed that he must be irritating for him to get horse handling instructions from a ‘Missy’. Cautiously, she moved the sack from the horses head.

At first the horse acted even wilder, confused and blinded by the all the light it now saw. Akina backed up a little bit; just enough so she would be just out of reach. Then softly she began to whinny, nicker, and snort.

The horse calmed down with a befuddled look in his eye. It circled around as much as the post it was tied to would let it, trying to figure out where the other horse could be hiding in the nearly empty stable.

Akina cautiously approached the horse again, still letting out soft soothing snorts, nickers, and whinnies.

The horse then turned its eyes to her, ears perked up towards her. It watched her apprehensively as she slipped her hand into the folds of her dress and pulled out a hand of horse feed that she had taken earlier. The horse slowly walked towards her, nose outstretched, sniffing the feed as if questioning if it were really edible. Then slowly it licked up some of it, then came closer and ate it all.

Akina blew onto the horse’s muzzle in greeting, and it blew back(1). “Why were you upset?” she asked in a nicker.

The horse gave a loud whinny and moved his head towards the man who had been barking orders.

Akina chortled and turned to the man. “Don’t be shouting or using a whip with this horse; she’s especially temper mental. Use a calm requesting tone, and this is a she not an It in case you didn’t notice.” she instructed in a disgusted tone.

“Miss, you’re a servant. I don’t take orders from you,” man said.

“Oh really, well if you want your men to get trampled by this horse next time you order them to whip it, be my guest. I’m not telling you not to, just giving you some good solid advice to horse handling and perhaps save a few people their flesh and bone.” Akina said impatiently.

“You don’t know your place, servant,” he snapped.

“Well, I didn’t intend on getting involved with this in the first place. And judging by how you treat this horse, you’re the one who deserves to get trampled by flailing hooves, not your men. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to find my steed.” And with that Akina turned and left the stable.

Outside, Akina had no idea where to begin looking for Joshua. She heard a falcon’s cry and looked up into the cloudless sky. Using her arm to shield her eyes from the sun, she saw a falcon was circling around her, high in the sky.

It sailed lower and lower and she saw it was Aden. After soaring for a while, he settled himself on her shoulder. When she let out a loud whistle he looked at her with a bewildered look and let out an indignant screech, reminding her that he was already on her shoulder.

“Not you,” Akina muttered.

In the distance, the sound of hooves could be heard heading their way. Moments later, Joshua was standing in front of them, tossing his head in excitement. Without dawdling Akina mounted and Joshua went into a steady trot.

After riding one time around the entire palace she saw another horse and rider behind her. Taking this as a challenge, Akina rode faster.

Gradually and steadily, the other rider caught up with her.

Pacing the horse, very wise, she thought. She couldn’t tell who it was, the rider had a dark hood over his head that covered their face and hair.

Their mounts were now neck to neck, cantering at top speed. Then without warning the other horse slipped on a stone in the sand, crashing into Joshua. As his mount went falling, the other rider crashed into Akina, unseating her from Joshua. Her and the other rider went rolling in the sand. As they rolled, the rider’s hood fell off, but Akina had closed her eyes to prevent sand from getting in them, so she didn’t see who it was until they had stopped rolling.

When she opened her eyes, Akina was in the sand and the other rider on top of her. “Marik,” she whispered when she saw his light purple eyes. She reached a hand up to his cheek.

“No,” he said, putting her hand down.

“Why?”

“Why didn’t you tell me Kek wants to marry you?” His eyes were pouring into her green ones.

“Well... I’m not proud of it. If you heard that crash from the hall earlier, that was me hitting a pillar when I heard Yami say that. Plus, when I saw you last night, that wasn’t exactly on my mind.”

“Do you love him?”

“Weren’t you listening? Does it sound like I do?”

“Just answer the question Aki!”

“Of course not! I...”

“You what...”

“I...” but Akina never got to finish what she was trying to say because at that moment there was a loud roar from the other side of the palace.

“Help, it’s Slifer the Sky Dragon! He’s attacking the palace.” someone shouted.

Horses blow on each other’s muzzles in greeting and to figure out who’s who. The Native Americans also did this with their horses.

Mokuba: Anothercliff-hanger!

AJay: Yep! Also, could you please still vote on whether you want this fic to end: Akina x Yami or Akina x Marik? I’m still curious. Please and thank you! REVIEW! I want more reviews please!

Kaiba: Jeez, you sound desperate.

AJay: I just love reading them. They’re funny. Plus...

Malik: She needs more votes.

AJay: I was just going to say that.

Chapter 13

 

Romantic tension now killed Akina and Marik got off the ground and ran towards the other side of palace, their mounts cantering behind them.

“Marik...what in the worlds is that thing?” Akina shouted, when they had reached the other side. There was a long snake-like bodied creature heading towards the palace.

Its body was long and a bright red color. The diamond-shaped eyes were like raging blue fire and the skull they were put into looked almost too big for its body. It had one small jaw and a huge second jaw each equipped with several sharp pointy teeth and along its back were scarelet rigid spines. The creature also had two very skinny arms with small, but treacherous looking claws and enormous leather wings. (A/N: Ya’ll know who I’m talking about: Slifer the Sky Dragon)

“Aki, that’s what we call a dragon. And it’s the only one I’ve ever seen alive,” he answered.

“We don’t get those in Canaan,” Her eyes were now as wide as dinner plates, from trying to see exactly how big the dragon was.

“Come on,” Marik grabbed her hand and ran to the crowd of gathering men trying to fight the dragon. Before they reached the men he pushed her into a corner. “Stay here until Seth, Yami, or I come to fetch you. I’ll tell them you’re safe and where you are.” And with that he left her.

Marik levitated himself to the ledge where his brother and Yami were.

“Where have you been?” Seth asked as Marik reached them.

“Riding,”

“Where’s Akina? I couldn’t find her?” Yami asked.

“Just worry about the dragon, Lady Akina’s safe,” Marik answered. You should keep better watch over those dear to you, he added mentally and sent a spell of purple light at the dragon.

“Where is Akina?” Kesi demanded when a servant told her to stay in her room because of the dragon.

“I don’t know!” a servant argued.

“I’ll go find her then,” Terentina said as she was pushed in by another servant.

“You will stay here,” he said. “The prince has ordered that all the girls he brought back with him from Canaan are to stay in one room of the palace and not make noise or to wander off.”

“No Asim,” yelled Sharon’s voice from the hall. “I is going to look for Aki.”

“Sorry sis. There’s a dragon out there, and the last thing I want is you getting hurt.” Asim said.

Kesi and Akina’s mother watched in amusement as Asim tried to carry his sister inside by an arm around her shoulders and the other around her middle. Meanwhile Sharon was kicking and fighting to get away. Finally, he was able to drop her in the room. “I’ve forgotten how your stubborn ness annoys me sister.”

Sharon gave him a small impish smile.

“You two stand guard, make sure they don’t escape.” Asim ordered pointing at the two servants.

“Yes sir,” they replied and Asim left without another word.

“We need to think of a plan.” Terentina said. “We’ve got to find Akina before that dragon does.”

I wonder if Musud has anything to do with this... Kesi thought.

Back on the roof:

“Why are you aiming at the skull?” Seth asked, as Marik’s spell hit the dragon near the eye.

“I wasn’t aiming for the skull in general; I was going for the eyes.” He shot another purple spell at the dragon and this time it hit.

The dragon roared and writhed in pain as the spell took out its left eye, making the palace tremble as if there were an earthquake. Yami slipped and nearly fell off the roof, but Seth and Marik grabbed him by the upper arms.

“Thank you,”

“Don’t mention it,” Marik muttered. I just saved my romantic rival, he thought. What other senseless thing I do today?

Suddenly the dragon began to crawl up the wall towards them.

From where she was Akina had a full view of what was going on. The men shot arrows at the dragon, all the good that did they bounced right off the armor. Mages were trying different spells, but none prevailed.

If you’re smart, you’ll remember that Akina had never seen a dragon before; however that didn’t mean she hadn’t met people that had. She remembered sitting around the fire years earlier listening to a stranger tell the people about these fearsome creatures.

Some are over one hundred cubits long,” the stranger had said. “Some have a wingspan as large as the city of Thebes. Yet one thing is the same about all dragons, their eyes are their weakest point.”

At this point the thief had turned to her mother. “And my guess it with your daughter’s voice and gift, she would have no trouble taming one.”

Akina came back to reality; she saw the dragon climb quickly up the palace walls towards where Yami and the others were.

All rational thinking left Akina as she left the safety of her hiding place. There’s no way any spell of mine will get there in time, she thought. But perhaps... Slowly, she began to sing, swaying slightly on the spot.

Creature of might, come to me

Creature that inspires fear, come to me

Come and hear this song.”

This was more than just her usual song she was singing. It was also a chant to bring the dragon under her control.

The dragon stopped and turned its great had to the sound of her voice. Its right eye saw Akina and it left the wall soaring in her direction.

What is Aki thinking? Marik thought furiously, spotting Akina’s silhouette in the distance. I told her to stay hidden.

Soon, it was so close it could have engulfed her, had it been big enough. As the gigantic dragon had flown to her no one had noticed it was slowly getting smaller. By the time it had reached her, it could just long enough to circle her arm. In a puff of smoke it became a gold dragon armlet and fell into the sand.

Yami, Seth, and Marik levitated themselves down from the roof and ran over to Akina.

“That was amazing Aki!” Marik told her, giving her a slap on the back.

“You saved our live,” Yami said.

Seth merely nodded at her.

“How’d you do that?” Marik asked.

Akina muttered something and fell back against him, fast asleep.

When Akina awoke, she was in a bed surrounded by curtains. Despite the fact that she was exhausted, she found the strength to pull them back. As she did, she was greeted by Marik staring at her.

“Good you’re awake,” he said. “What is it that you were trying to tell me after that race before we were interrupted?”

Akina thought for a moment. “I can’t remember,” she concluded.

Marik crawled on top of her and placed his hands on either side of her cheeks. “Do you believe in love at first sight?” She could tell he was being completely serious. His face was an inch away from hers, his breath alighted several nerves on her face.

“I’ll think about it; then I’ll tell you.”

Marik moved to kiss her, but Akina hastily pushed him off of her. “Someone’s coming,” she explained, seeing his confused look.

It was Yami. “You saved my life out there. How can I repay you?”

Mokuba: Anothercliff-hanger!

AJay: Yep! Also, could you please still vote on whether you want this fic to end: Akina x Yami or Akina x Marik? I’m still curious. Please and thank you! REVIEW! I want more reviews please!

Kaiba: Jeez, you sound desperate.

AJay: I just love reading them. They’re funny. Plus...

Malik: She needs more votes.

AJay: I was just going to say that.

Chapter 14

Yami Marik: AJay isn’t here at the moment, but please leave a message at the sound of the breaking computer. (Hold Millennium Rod above his head as if to actually break AJay’s computer.)

Kaiba: Better not do that psychoneurotic, she’ll skin you alive.

Malik: Don’t listen to him Yami, do it. Then I’ll be rid of you, finally. Halleluiah!

Yami Marik: What’s that supposed to mean?

AJay: (Enters workroom and tries very hard to control her temper) Yami Marik, what are you doing by my computer with the Millennium Rod made like it’s going to break it?

Yami Marik: My hikari told me to do it!

Malik: Only because I want you to kill him!

Kaiba: Why don’t you kill him, yourself?

AJay: Here, let’s just get rid of that problem. (Picks up Malik and Yami Marik by the scruff of their necks and throws Yami Marik out the window. Then throws Malik out into the hall and locks the door.)

Mokuba: Wait for it... (There’s a sudden crash outside the window and the Kaiba brothers laugh)

AJay: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh. And I have a second fanfic up, my Series of Unfortunate Events x Yu-Gi-Oh crossover one I promised. Oh yeah, Bluegrass Elf, yes, I have seen the Princess Bride.

Akina couldn’t believe what Yami just asked. How could he repay her? Well, there were several things he could do. He could set her friends and mother free and she could simply escape later, or even better: he could set them all free.

“Set my mother, and my friends free,” she said firmly when she had finally made sense of all the possible requests clouding her brain.

Yami turned to Marik, “May I speak to her alone about this Marik?”

“Sure Yami,” Marik said leaving the room.

“Your friends Kesi and Serenity are free to leave whenever they please;” he answered when he thought Marik was out of earshot. “They were only my prisoners until we reached Egypt, but your mother; however, is what is keeping you from running off again. Your mother may go if...”

Oh great, another one of his ‘if and only if’ statements, Akina thought grudgingly. Let me guess, I have to marry him right...

“If you will remain in the palace with me forever,”

“Never,” she spat. I was close, she thought.

“Oh beautiful Akina,” he purred. Yami moved to sit beside her on the bed and stroked her face. “It wouldn’t be so bad, to be mine. You’d have a good life here. You wouldn’t have to beg for food or money any longer. I don’t want any other wives or concubines, unlike many pharaohs before me (1), so you will be the Great Royal Wife (2), and I will be completely loyal to you.”

“According to our deal, I have given my word to serve you, Your Highness. The pact never said anything about marrying you.” Akina replied darkly.

“Perhaps another few days will change your mind.” Yami got off the bed and left.

After Yami had left, Marik came into the room once more. Akina shifted onto her side and noticed he looked slightly hurt.

He saw her disappointed look and asked, “He didn’t grant your request then.”

“You know he didn’t, you were eavesdropping,” she informed him in a matter-of-fact tone. There was a loud screech from the window and Aden flew over and sat on her upper arm. She reached up and gave him a soft welcoming tap on the head as landed.

“No, I wasn’t,” Marik lied.

“Don’t deny it, I heard you out there.”

“Okay, okay, I admit it, you caught me.” He laid down beside her on the bed and put a hand to her hair, running his fingers through it.

What is this feeling when he’s beside me? Akina thought. My heart’s beating so loud I swear he can hear it. Is this what love is? It’s so different from what I felt with my Father...

“Now you need sleep. Your friends and mother explained to us that if you do too much magic at once you collapse, and that was pretty big magic out there.” He kissed her swiftly on the lips and left.

Aden flew over to one of the corners of the bed and screeched, letting Akina know he would keep watch so she could sleep in peace. Akina let out a grateful sigh and feel asleep once more.

Dream

She was in a land of swirling darkness, all around her blue and purple lightening cracked loudly. Where am I? Akina thought. (A/N: Shadow realm)

“Kesi... Serenity...Mother... Marik...” she called. “Where are you?” A small bluish creature with white hair quickly passed her by.

It turned to her. Follow me it said. There is no need to fear me.

“I’m not afraid of anything,”

You’re a fool then, it replied turning around and walking away.

Akina followed the strange creature. It was like a desert lizard only much bigger. The creature was about two cubits long, about a half cubit wide and on its toes were white circular pads that stuck to the ground slightly as it walked.

“Umm... pardon me for asking, but what exactly are you and where are you taking me?” she asked after a while of walking.

I am a dragon, and if you keep following me you will find out.

They came to a clearing of solid black surroundings. “Why did you bring me here?” Akina asked exasperatedly.

You humans are so impatient. Just wait for a minute,

Suddenly the air upon the circle swirled around forming a clear vision of part the palace Akina recognized as the throne room. There she saw Seth and one of the palace guards whose name was Nathan. He had been a foreigner, like his brother Notono. (A/N: There Nthn5... happy now?) And on the throne wasn’t the current pharaoh, it was Yami.

“As the Pharaoh’s loyal servant I will duel you on his behalf,” Nathan shouted

Nathan fought Seth and lost miserably. (A/N: You were never that good of a duelist anyway, Nthn5.)

Then Notono stepped up, claiming that he was going to avenge his brother, but Yami stood up.

“No, I will have no more people die on my behalf.

“My pharaoh I must object, if you were to die...” Notono opposed.

“That’s enough, Seth I will duel you.”

“Why did you bring me here?” Akina asked exasperatedly.

This is what is to come. This is what Jehovah wants you to prevent at all costs. Watch,

Akina watched in apathy as Yami and Seth dueled. It was an extremely close match, but near the end Seth summoned a large blue-white dragon and defeated Yami.

“Finish him off,” Jahi ordered. The surviving dragon attacked Yami and in a blast of fire and smoke he was gone, so was the vision.

“There’s one thing that confuses me,” Akina said, turning to the creature. “Why would Seth do such a thing?”

Isn’t it obvious? He was being manipulated, that is the only way a friendship like theirs could be shattered.

“Who? How?”

It matters not how or whom, just as long as this is prevented.

“You’re telling me that I have to save Yami’s sorry ass, despite the fact that I hate is guts.”

It does not matter that you hate him. To Jehovah, hate means nothing.

“But why are you showing me?”

Don’t you now see why you were brought back to Egypt and kept in the palace, Akina? This is what is to come; Jehovah wants you to prevent this at all costs. Since Kek lost the duel the entire world will crumble,

“How can the fate of the world rest on one duel?”

There is someone working through Seth who wishes to open the world of the dragons onto the world.

“Why?”

The creature left her and the vision began to fade into complete darkness. Thunder sounded and Akina awoke.

Reality

She was sweating and gasping for breath as if she had run a hundred miles. Her head pounded as if someone had been banging it with something.

Father, where are you, she thought in vain, knowing that her father was dead and would never return no matter how much she hoped he would. I need you here now more than ever...

I’ve done research on ancient Egypt and found that several pharaohs had more than one wife and not to mention countless concubines, but that won’t happen here.

Also in my research, I have found that the pharaoh’s principal (main) queen is called the Great Royal Wife.

Mokuba: And that’s the chapter!

AJay: Okay, before you all send me flames that you hate Yami, let me say one thing: Read the dream part again, thus there is a reason behind the jerk-ness. Hate me if you must, but that is how the story goes. All will make sense by the time the story’s finished.

Kaiba: Which will be when?

Malik: She hasn’t decided yet.

AJay: How did you get back in here?

Chapter 15

 

The next morning...

Akina hadn’t slept at all since her dream the night before. Her destiny was to save her enemy? But why her? When?

Well, Akina thought. As long as my mother can’t leave, I’m stuck here. So I guess I have plenty of time to figure it out. She let out an exhausted sigh as she aimlessly wandered the halls. Honestly, how can the royalty stand this? It’s so boring. She lightly slammed her fist against a wall.

“Hey Shrimp,” said a voice.

“‘Morning Seth,” Akina answered.

“Yami, Malik, your mother, and I wish to see you outside.”

“Okay” and she followed him outside.

On the way out she thought of telling Seth her vision, but thought better of it; however, just as she decided this it slipped out.

“I had an odd dream last night, I was in this place. It was dark and had swirls of purple and blue mixed with black. While I was there this blue and white lizard creature came to me and I saw this vision.”

“That place is called the Shadow Realm. Ever heard of it?”

Akina shook her head.

“It’s a place where monsters of incredible power dwell. Any how you had a premonition within a dream, intriguing; tell me more.”

“Well, within the dream there was you and Yami dueling each other. You prevailed, and killed Yami.”

“Is that what you were so pensive about this morning?”

“Yeah,”

“Well, if it would comfort your troubled mind, I’ll let you know that I have no intention of betraying my childhood friend.”

“That helps a little,” Akina said, putting an end to the conversation.

Outside, Yami, Marik, and Terentina were standing by a stretch of barren sand, talking.

“Akina, did you sleep well last night?” Yami asked her.

Akina had to fight her rebellious conscience to say ‘Yeah, and I found out that sometime in this life I have to save your sorry ass’ but before that could slip out she answered, “Well enough,” and bit her tongue.

“Daughter, these boys want to see the full extent of your powers.” Terentina informed her.

Akina raised her eyebrows at her mother, and then turned to Yami. “You want to see how powerful I am?”

Yami gave her a serious nod.

Akina turned to Marik, “You’re all sure?”

“Yes Aki, we are.” he said simply.

Miss Independent, Miss Self-Sufficient, Miss Keep-Your-Distance,

“Fine,” Akina turned to Seth. “Summon a dragon from the Shadow Realm. It doesn’t matter which one, just make sure it’s in some way powerful.”

Seth nodded, put up his arm, and started to chant. A dark portal formed beside him and out of it came a large dark lizard-like dragon walking upon its hind legs. Akina wondered how a creature that colossal could possibly walk on its hind legs like that, but then she saw it was balanced by a massive tail. It was a strange brown green color and its skin looked as if it were made up of many tiny scales.

Miss Unafraid, Miss Out-of my –Way, Miss Don’t-Let-a-Man-Interfere, no-oo,

“Perfect,” Akina muttered, and then she turned to Yami, “I’ll be needing my sword.”

“I gave it to your mother,”

Terentina pulled out Akina’s sword from within her robes and handed it to her daughter.

Miss On-Her-Own, Miss Almost-Grown, Miss Never-Let-a-Man-Help-Her-Off-Her-Phone,

Akina turned and faced the great dragon. Her eyes began to glow a steady grey and she began to levitate a few inches off the sand, then a few cubits, and finally to right up in the dragon’s face, humming a soft tune as she rose.

“You all might want to back away,” Akina’s mother said nonchalantly.

Heading her advice Yami, Marik, and Seth all backed up.

So by keeping her heart protected, she never ever feels rejected, little Miss Apprehensive said ooo, she fell in love...

Akina slowly began to sway as if there were a wind; the dragon followed her with its eyes, the little slits it had for ears straining to hear the tune she was humming, but it wasn’t falling under her spell.

Come on you overgrown scaly thing, take my bait, Akina thought furiously as she noticed this. Then again, it there’s more than one way to ride a horse, so there’s got to be more than one way to kill this thing.

Akina charged at the beast’s neck, aiming where a major neck vain should have been. Then from out of no where its massive tail swung at her, she dodged it, but dropped a few cubits out of the air in the process.

The tail was swung at her again, but this time she was more than ready. As it came at her she cut the end of it off, cutting a big vain and spilling blood on herself and everywhere else.

The dragon howled in pain and tried to swipe at her with one of its clawed forefingers. She grabbed onto it and held on tight. The dragon pulled its arm in front of its face so it could see what was holding on.

Perfect, Akina thought. Just as the dragon had pulled her up to its face she jumped off and landed right on it’s snout. She gave the dragon a smirk and drove her sword into its snout. The dragon’s blood gushed onto her and over the creature’s snout. She stabbed again, then got up and ran at its eyes.

When she had stabbed the dragon’s left eye and drove her sword between them, its right arm came up and the claws grazed her eyes, knocking her off. As she fell Seth chanted a spell to stop her fall and Marik and Yami ran forward and caught her.

Above them the dragon was swaying back and forth. Then it began to fall. Seth chanted another spell and instead of the creature falling on Akina, Yami, and Marik it fell back into the Realm of the Dragons.

Terentina rushed to Akina and the boys. She took Akina from them and rushed her into the palace.

When Akina woke up, she couldn’t see.

“WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?! IS THE DRAGON DEAD?! WHERE THE RUDDY HELL IS I?! WHY CAN’T I SEE?!” she shouted sitting upright.

A gentle hand touched her shoulder. “Calm down everything’s fine,” someone told her. It was her mother. “You defeated the dragon, and your eyes were bleeding so they’re now covered with linen and healing herbs.”

“What happened?” Akina asked in a calmer tone.

“You defeated the dragon, then you fell and Marik and I caught you.” said Yami’s voice.

“Will she be alright Terentina?” Marik’s voice inquired.

“The rest of her will be fine, but I don’t know about her eyes.” Terentina answered.

“How do you mean?” (Yami)

“I mean she may be blind for life, but I don’t know for sure. I’ll need to remove the bandages first.” (Terentina)

“Then remove them,” Seth requested.

“I need to wait until the bleeding stops first. So you all will have to wait until tonight at the earliest.” (Terentina)

“And what am I supposed to do?” Akina interrupted.

“Rest,” (Everyone)

“How did I know?” Akina said sarcastically.

Throughout the rest of the day Akina was superiorly bored. She heard several; people moving about the room she was kept in. She assumed they were servants because when someone occasionally would tell her hello or ask how she was she didn’t recognize their voice, but also they never stayed to talk with her or simply be with her, something she knew even Yami would have done.

After what seemed like an eternity, something with clawed scaly stick-like feet landed on her shoulder.

“Aden?” she asked.

The bird let out a screech.

“No, Aden I can’t see you, do you think I can see through these bandages around my eyes? Now tell me, where am I?”

Through many cries and screeches Aden managed to give her a vague idea of where she was. There was a window to her left. The bed she was in was ebony, like hers and Yami’s were; its sheets were pure white. There was a table that had several pots and herbs on it and in a corner was a chair with a lyre on it. Akina knew she was in her mother’s room. Also, according to Aden, how loud her stomach was rumbling, and the heat of the sun on her skin, it was high noon.

There was the sudden thump-thump of approaching footsteps. The person entered the room, and telling from Aden’s disgruntled screech it was Yami.

“Akina, it’s me Yami...”

“I do not want to see you.” Akina interrupted, turning away from him.

“I just thought you may want some food and company,” Yami answered. He sat down by the bed, took a pomegranate from the tray of food he was carrying, and put it in Akina’s hand.

“Not your company,” Akina said stubbornly, turning back around. “But thanks for the food.” She took a grateful bite out of the pomegranate.

“Are you ever going to stop being so stubborn?” Yami said in what appeared to be a frustrated tone.

I’m doing my job well... Akina thought, taking another bite of pomegranate. “No,” she answered. “I’m having too much fun with this.”

“Akina, answer this question seriously...”

“What, do I love you? No,”

“Good guess, but that’s not my question. Do you blame me for what happened to you this morning?”

Akina thought about this, then answered, “No, for a change I don’t,”

“Why?”

“It’s my own fault, I wasn’t being careful. I was too focused on causing as much blood to spill as possible that I wasn’t watching the dragon’s claws.”

“Thank you, you’ve set my mind at ease.”

“Sure,” she threw the pit of the pomegranate out the window.

Another eternity later Yami left and Kesi, Serenity, and Terentina came to see her.

While they all talked and talked, Akina’s mother checked her for other injuries she may have missed while inspecting her in the morning.

“You’re very lucky Akina. The only thing damaged is your eyes.” She told her daughter when she had finished.

“That is lucky,” Kesi said.

“We should praise Jehovah,” Serenity suggested, putting her flute to her lips and striking up a tune.

Since Akina wouldn’t be able to see where she was dancing, she decided to just sit on her bed and clap and sing along with Kesi.

A long time later, a servant brought dinner to the girls and they ate. Then Seth, Marik, and Yami reentered the room, just as the sun was setting.

Terentina turned her daughter away from everyone and removed her bandages. As she took them off she let out a small gasp.

“What is it, Mother?” Akina asked.

“Try to open your eyes Akina,” Terentina whispered.

Akina tried, but in vain. “I can’t.”

“She can’t what?” Yami asked.

Akina turned towards the voice and she heard everyone gasp, rather loudly.

“Will someone please tell me what is going on?” Akina demanded.

Aden gave a loud screech, which told Akina everything she needed to know.

As she had healed, Akina’s eyes and lids had become horribly scarred. There were three long slash marks diagonally across her eyes, keeping them shut tight. It was her fate to be blind.

Mokuba: And that’s the chapter!

Kaiba: Is Akina going to be blind?

AJay: You’ll have to wait until the next chapter to find out.

Malik: Keep reviewing! And Anaya’s Creator did use part of a song that Kelly Clarkson sings.

AJay: I do not own that song either.

Chapter 16

AJay: Another update!

Malik: No Kaiba today, he had to work. Yey!

Mokuba: Just us three today!

AJay: Mirthful tears: I liked your constructive criticism review. I’m not offended at all. In fact, it was quite useful; however, could you define underdeveloped characters (explain what you mean to me I don’t think I know exactly what you mean). Sorry, since Akina’s now blind she’s going to be talking to animals more often, especially Aden, because she needs them to help her get around. Akina’s weaknesses: 1. quick temper (Almost all chapters); 2. her warrior sense of honor and duty (that’ll be seen in last chapter); 3. her loyalty to her mother and friends (Chapter 8, 9, or 10); 4. and her inability to make a lie sound convincing (this chapter). I’d really appreciate it if you would keep reviewing.

Malik: Anaya's Creator does not own Yu-Gi-Oh.

AJay: And Nthn5 you may want to skip this chapter, it’s not appropriate for you. Why? Because I said so!

 “So, I’m blind then,” Akina said sighing. She heard someone walk over and touch her hand, she pulled it back.

“It’s Marik,” a voice said. Marik grabbed one of Akina’s hands and placed something long and circular in it.

Akina ran one hand over what was now in her other and was able to guess it was a rod of some sort, and at one end was a carved wooden dragon.

“It’s a staff... to help you get around.” Marik said. He was slightly grateful Akina was blind at this moment, she couldn’t see the light blush he felt spreading across his face.

“He carved it himself,” she heard Jahi say. Marik went even redder.

“You did?” Even behind her scared shut eyelids Akina’s eyes lit up. “Thank you so much.” She got up from the bed; Terentina helped her place the staff in the crook of her arm and use it to find a wall; and walked to the entryway of the room. Just before she exited she asked, “Could someone help me find my room?”

Hours later, Akina was fast asleep in her bed, unaware of someone sitting on the window ledge watching her, debating on whether he should wake her or not. Moments later, he stepped silently down from the ledge into her room, crept over to bed and lightly shook her awake.

“Who’s there?” Akina whispered hoarsely, sitting up and grabbed her staff.

“It’s Marik.” He placed a gentle kiss on her lips.

Akina, silenced by the kiss, dropped her staff onto the bed, and stretched her hands toward Marik’s face. They were fishing around in the darkness, so he caught them with his own and held on to them.

“Come with me,” Marik said, ending the kiss and pulling her off the bed. He picked up her staff, put it in her hands, and led her towards the window. He stepped over the ledge and began to levitate himself outside it, feeling the window ledge this is where Akina hesitated. “Don’t be afraid. Trust me, I won’t let you fall,” he told her sensing her uncertainty.

Letting all doubt giving away, she let Marik guide her onto the ledge and into his arms, which she felt encircle her. “Where are you taking me?” she asked putting her arms around him.

“I’ll tell you when we get there.” Marik tightened his hold on her and began to fly upward, not letting go until their feet were on solid limestone once more.

“Marik, why are we on the roof?” Akina asked, completely guessing where they were.

“How did you know where we were?”

“A lucky guess, but why are we here?”

“I wanted to show you something,”

“But Marik, I can’t see.”

Marik took Akina’s hands in his, “That doesn’t matter.” He led her to the eastern part of the palace. “Be careful, we’re close to the edge,” he said when they reached the end of the roof. Keeping a hand on her shoulder so she would know where he was, he to the back of her. “Turn your head this way,” he instructed turning her hand with his hands, then placing them around her waist so she wouldn’t fall accidentally.

In the distance, the stars began to fade and the sky slowly became bright red as the sun began to rise.

On the insides of her eyelids, Akina saw a bit of a glare form in the black. She turned on the balls of her feet and put her arms around Marik’s neck. “You wanted to show me the sunrise?” she asked.

“Yes I did Aki, but...” He was silenced by Akina rising on the balls of her feet once more and silencing him with a long passionate kiss, which he returned longingly. Both of them were so lost in the moment that they had completely forgotten of the possibility of someone watching them.

“Big brother, what have you done...” said a soft voice from the shadows.

When he needed air, Marik reluctantly broke their kiss. “As much as I want more of this, I need to get back to the temple before my father finds out I am gone or he’ll have my hide.” He gave her a last quick playful kiss and levitated them back down to the window in Akina’s room.

As Marik left her, Aden came and sat on her shoulder. At the expression on her face, he gave an indignant screech.

“What do you mean I have a silly grin on my face?” she argued.

The rest of the day Kesi, Serenity, and Terentina took Akina around the palace until she had the whole place memorized. After this it was time to break the news about being blind to Joshua, which didn’t go very well...

He was rearing onto his hind legs, his nostrils flaming, and hooves flailing dangerously.

“Joshua, calm down,” Akina ordered sternly; however, all this did was make Joshua even madder. Kesi could see in the eyes of this usually well composed unicorn was unmatchable rage. If anyone was dumb enough to approach him, he would kill.

“Let go of me,” Akina demanded. (When Joshua began going wild, Kesi and Serenity had grabbed her arms and pulled her out of harm’s way.)

Kesi and Serenity shook their heads and tightened their grip even more. As Akina struggled more to get to Joshua, Kesi pressed a point in Akina’s elbow. Instantly, Akina’s knees and elbows gave way. She dropped to the sand, arms now hanging useless at her sides.

Meanwhile, Terentina approached Joshua, but she stayed far enough back that she wouldn’t be killed by the rampaging unicorn, withdrew something from her pouch, and blew it in the horse’s nostrils. Joshua immediately stopped beating the ground with his hooves. His head dropped and eyes shut, he had no idea what hit him.

“Sleeping powder, Mom?” Akina asked.

“You got it,” Terentina answered.

Kesi pressed another point on Akina’s body and Akina was able to get off the ground and stand up, arms and legs now useful again.

“What’d you do that for in the first place Kesi?” Serenity asked.

“Father taught me certain points on the body that you can press to alter the way the body works.”

“I see, and it obviously works”

That night Akina was lying in her bed not sleeping. If I can’t see what will happen to my fighting skills, she thought glumly. I’d probably have to ride Joshua with someone else now so I’ll know where I’m going. I don’t want to depend on others to help me! She had this great pitiful attitude going. Finally, she got out of bed and decided to go for a walk perhaps that would help her sort things out.

She silently walked out of the room and into the lonely deserted hallways. Aimlessly, she wandered the endless passageways not caring where they led her. After a while of this she turned around, she thought she had heard someone following her, not that simply turning around would do anything since she could no longer see.

Then from her left there was a sudden small “meow”.

Akina jumped. “Oh, just a cat,” she muttered as she heard it meow again. She continued her walking, but then tripped over something soft and furry around her ankles. In the distance she heard someone try very hard to stifle laughter, there was defiantly someone following her.

“Come out, I know you’re following me,” she demanded as she struggled to her feet. There was no answer; if you had been there you could have sworn she was speaking to the walls.

The cat gave another “meow”, this time it was more impatient.

“What, you darn cat, what?” She felt it wind around her ankles, then walk away, giving very loud purrs as it did so. “You want me to follow you?”

The cat gave a loud purr.

Akina rolled her eyes. “Okay, okay, I will. Don’t get your tail twisted up.” She followed the cat’s purring down many corridors and hallways. Not knowing where she was going, she put all her faith in the cat.

When they had reached their destination the cat gave a loud meow and disappeared. Akina felt around where she was. She was at a large doorway; on its edge she could feel a tablet with strange markings on it.

Well, since that cat led me here, I might as well go inside, she thought and stepped inside the entranceway.

“Hello,” she called. “Is anyone here?”

“Um Aki, what are you doing in my chamber?” said a voice.

Akina turned quickly, “Who’s there?” she asked warily.

“Marik and you happen to be in my chamber. What are you doing here?”

“A cat led me here. Was it yours?”

“I don’t have any pets, Mokuba has a cat, but it’s just some stray he found in the kitchen.”

“But why would it lead me here?”

Marik approached her and she felt him place a hand on her cheek. “I have absolutely no idea, but I’m glad it did.”

Akina pulled his hand off her cheek and held it in hers. “I want to show you something. Take me outside.”

Marik turned and reluctantly led her out of his room and took her outside.

The stars were shining brightly and the moon was now a pale waning gibbous. They were now standing in one of the palace gardens.

“We’re here. What is it that you wanted to show me?”

“Look at the stars, tell me what you see.”

“Well, I see...” He tried looking at the stars, but his eyes kept wondering back to Akina. “I see beauty, great beauty.”

“I mean do they form pictures... in your eyes?”

“Some of them,”

“What do you see?”

“A dragon, a powerful one, a stream of water, a winged horse, and a woman so lovely she surpasses all.”

“Andromeda, the beautiful Greek queen?”

“I have no idea who that is, but no.” He leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss on her lips.

Akina’s hands to Marik’s chest as she kissed back hungrily. She felt his arms travel around her waist and press her to him. She could feel him gently pull her lips apart and enter her mouth with his tongue. At first she was timid, but he kept enticing her and soon she was battling with him for control.

Marik withdrew from her mouth and traveled down her neck as her hands went to his hair. He could feel her hands get lost in it as she made soft circles with her fingers. He heard her moan slightly as his hands traveled up and down her back. Then he stopped kissing her just long enough to breathe and return to her lips.

Both of them felt their knees give way and the couple fell to the ground still kissing passionately. Marik crawled beside Akina, shifted onto his side, leaning over her slightly, and rubbed a hand across her stomach lovingly. He stopped kissing her to see her head tilt back in pleasure, but then her hands slid to his cheeks and pulled him back down to her.

“My love,” Marik moaned as he claimed her lips again. Suddenly, Akina pushed him away.

“Someone’s watching us. I can hear footsteps running back to the palace.”

“I’d better get you back to your room.” Marik got up and pulled Akina off the ground.

“No need, I can walk.”

“It’ll be faster.” He handed Akina her staff, which had fallen earlier.

“Fine,” Akina put her arms tightly around Marik and they levitated back to her window.

“Good night my love,” Marik said as Akina stepped back inside her room.

Akina said nothing, but gave him a sweet kiss full of longing and stumbled back to her bed, and not a moment too late, for as soon as she fell on the bed she heard someone enter the room. Her ears listened as the footsteps came closer. Someone shook her and she lifted her head.

“Who’s there?” she said fumbling for her staff, but two hands grabbed her wrists, halting her search.

“It’s Yami,” He let go of her wrists, sat down on her bed, placed a hand on her hair, and felt the sand that settled in it. “Why is there sand in your hair?”

“Well I... couldn’t sleep... so I... went for a walk... and I... must have wandered outside because... I tripped... going down some stairs... and fell on sand.” Akina lied (something she wasn’t very good at).

“Right,” he said in a strange tone. He got up and began to leave the room, but before he exited he said, “Forgive me for disturbing you. Good night, Akina.”

So Mokuba was right, she does love Marik... he thought as he fell on his own bed.

Mokuba: And that’s the chapter!

Kaiba: That was a long one.

Malik: When did you get here?

Kaiba: That’s irrelevant.

AJay: Keep reviewing!

Chapter 17

The next day, Akina was spent the morning with Joshua, who had calmed down considerably since his nap the previous afternoon. Of course, he was still upset about his mistress’s condition, but Akina seemed cheerful so he tried to follow suit. Then after they had eaten...

“Akina,” said a soft voice from behind her.

“Who’s there?”

“It’s Mokuba, do you remember me?”

“Yes, I do. Come here little one.”

Mokuba approached her cautiously, and then put a hand on her arm. “The prince wishes for you to come and see him,” he said softly.

“Alright then, could you take me to him?”

Mokuba took Akina’s arm and led her back to the palace. They walked for a considerably long time, and then reached the throne room.

“Mokuba, just leave her in here, would you?” said a voice from the throne. It was the pharaoh.

“Yes Your Highness,” Mokuba answered as he bowed and left the room.

“Yami, who was standing beside his father and had Akina’s sword at his waist, leaned in and whispered, “Now Father you said I could handle this on my own, so don’t interfere.”

“Handle what on your own?” Akina interrupted in a loud voice.

Yami walked towards Akina and took her free hand in his. “Akina, these past few days you’ve been acting different from when you first arrived.”

“Well Your Highness, I wasn’t blind when I was first brought here so I would be acting different.”

“I understand, but you’ve been happier, for that I was glad. I had hoped you had adjusted to life here, but I was wrong.”

Crap! I’ve been found out, Akina thought.

“I heard from someone that you had been seen kissing another man on the roof yesterday, and not just any man, but a good friend of mine, Marik the high priest’s second eldest son.”

“I don’t deny it, Your Highness,” she answered standing up and facing straight at where Yami’s voice was coming from, showing no fear.

“Let me finish please. At first I didn’t believe this, but then last night I heard you leave my room for no obvious reason so I decided to follow you. After that, I realized that I was wrong again. And so...”

Akina heard a sword being drawn out of a sheath and with a gulp she dropped to her knees. She knew what was coming next... she was going to be beheaded. She fell forward and extended her neck, so there would be a clean cut. As she waited for death to come she prayed for Jehovah to forgive her for all her sins; however, her neck never met the sword’s blade. Next, she heard the sound of metal hitting the limestone floor.

“Get off the floor Lady Akina, take your sword, and, if you wish, you may leave the palace with your mother.” Yami said slowly.

“You’re... setting me free?” Akina asked, lifting her head from the floor and feeling around for her sword.

“Yes, I was wrong to believe you would be mine Akina. As I heard your mother say while you were asleep after fighting that dragon, you are like the mighty sea: you are an unpredictable force that can be tamed by no one, and it is obvious that Marik and you truly love each other. I hope you both can forgive me for holding you captive. If you and your mother wish to remain in the palace you both are more than welcome, but the decision is up to you both. I also hope you would come to my coronation in fourteen moons whether you decide to stay in the palace or not. As for you and Marik you have my blessing, Gods be with you both.”

“Thank you, Your Highness, this means a lot to me.” Akina said, getting up, tucked her sword into the belt of her dress, and hurried out of the room. As soon as she was out of the throne room, she was immediately suppressed by her mother, Kesi, Serenity, and Mokuba in a tight hug.

“Aki,” Serenity said. “We was so worried about ya.”

“Praise Zeus and Hera you’re alive,” Terentina gasped.

“As soon as we heard about Yami wanting to see you about the relationship between you and Mokuba’s older brother Marik, we thought you’d be dead for certain.” Kesi told her.

“Hold it, hold it, hold it... First get off me, I can’t breathe,” Akina ordered. Everyone complied. “Now, how did you all find out about Yami wanting to see me and about me and Marik?”

“I told them everything after I left you in the throne room. I was the one who told the prince about you and Marik. You’re not going to kill me, are you?”

Akina knelt down to where she remembered Mokuba’ height was and, after feeling around a bit, put her hands on his shoulders. “No, I’m not. I’m alive and free, that’s what matters.”

“That’s right; you’re no longer a servant. The mighty sea is now free to make waves where she pleases.” Terentina said, throwing her arms around her daughter.

“Now I need to tell Marik the news,” Akina said.

“I’ll take you to him.” Mokuba said taking her hand and rushing down the hall, dragging her behind him.

“And maybe tonight you two could...” Kesi began, but her mouth was quickly covered by Serenity’s hand.

“Watch your mouth Kesi, not all of us should hear tavern-talk.” Serenity interrupted. “We have a tenderfoot amongst us.” She gestured to Mokuba.

“Will you both shut your traps and follow us?” Terentina shouted back to the girls as she ran after Mokuba and Akina.

“By the way Akina,” Mokuba said. “Seth was looking through some old magic scrolls of Father’s, and I think he may have found a way to make you see again.”

“Really,”

“Yeah, but it may take a while. He has to double check if it will have the effect he wants for your condition. If it will it will take at least thirty moons to find the ingredients and prepare the potion. Then it has to still for at least seven more moons. You think you can wait that long?”

“The sooner I can see again the better, no matter how long it may take.”

“Great, and last I checked Marik and him were talking with Father in this room.” He pulled her into a room where Akina could hear three voices having a heated discussion about a topic. One voice she recognized as Marik’s, another as Seth’s, and the last she didn’t recognize. It was low, harsh, and cold.

“But my sons, this is the chance of a lifetime. Just think about it...” the voice said.

“I don’t need to think about it. I have what I need, and if you talk about Yami that way I am ashamed to be your son.” Marik alleged furiously.

“We will not join you.” Seth said with just as much anger as his brother.

“The woman you love is the prince’s slave Marik, and you defend him?” the cold voice said, clearly trying to provoke his second oldest son.

“Perhaps, but he treats her right, and, regardless of that, he is our friend; we have every right to defend him.” Marik answered.

“I was his slave.” Akina interrupted. “But now I am free.”

“Aki?” Marik asked in a lighter voice. He turned around and saw her slowly walking towards where he was standing, her free arm outstretched looking for him. He reached to Akina, guided her to him, and wrapped his arm around her.

“We will not join you, Father.” Seth said his voice full of hatred.

“There is more than one way to steal the throne, my sons. I’ll do it with or without your cooperation,” the harsh voice hissed.

“Ha, that’s a laugh.” Marik said sarcastically. “Father, you are weakening. Seth will soon become the High Priest and you will be banished for this treason.”

“We will make sure of it,” Akina growled.

“So that’s how it is... My own sons betray me and choose to side with corrupt royals and a vagabond temptress.”

“How dare you insult them! It is you that has betrayed us Father. Now be gone!” Seth ordered.

“You cannot banish me, I am your father.”

“Wanna bet?” Seth challenged.

“No allow me,” Akina said, reaching into a pouch she had tied to her belt. She stepped away from Marik slightly and chanted, “I may be blind, but I still have my own magic. Ashkins sartraska methmosene.” She threw some green powder in the direction of the High Priest’s cold voice and in a powerful explosion, which fortunately did no harm to the room, he was gone.

“Uh... Aki what did you do?” Marik asked gently, pulling her back to him.

“I sent him somewhere in the desert,” she muttered weakly, and then fell fast asleep in Marik’s arms.

When Akina stirred, she had no idea where she was, but she could hear concerned voices talking outside the room.

“You and your brother both denied your father’s offer?” That was Yami’s voice.

“Yes Yami, we wouldn’t betray you. In fact, it was our father that taught us to be loyal to the crown. What a hypocrite,” That was Seth.

“And you say Akina made him disappear.”

“I’m quite sure she did. She mentioned sending him to somewhere in the desert before she fainted.” (Serenity’s voice)

“So she took care of the banishment herself.” Yami said with a slight chuckle.

“I guess so. Is it true you set her free?” (Seth)

“Yes, I had to. I finally realized that she would never love me. Her stone heart was melted by another. Yet, there is one thing that bothers me, why didn’t she side with me after all I did to her and her friends?”

“My daughter is a warrior, Yami.” Terentina interrupted. “She has been taught to do everything in her power to prevent unnecessary bloodshed. She had to give my village her word that she would do so when she became its champion.”

“What’s going to happen now?” she heard Mokuba ask.

“Well, I figure that Akina and I will return to Canaan to give them the good news and say hello. Then depending on what Akina wants to do, we may stay there for a while and then come back here or something like that.” Terentina said.

Akina felt around for her walking stick, grabbed it, and tried to get off the bed, but a hand pulled her back down. “Don’t get up yet, love.” She heard Marik’s voice whisper.

With great reluctance Marik pulled his eyes away from her and toward the others. “She’s up,” he said.

“Good,” Terentina said.

Akina heard footsteps approaching where she was lying, then she heard her mother’s voice once more. “Akina, do you wish to head back to Canaan?”

“For a time yes,”

“Then you wish to come back here?”

“I do, life here is starting to get interesting.”

“Very well,” Yami said. “It would probably be best if you left tomorrow morning. Shall I alert some servants to get Joshua ready?”

“That would be great. Thank you, Your Highness.” Terentina said.

“Please Madame, call me Yami.”

“Then call me Terentina.”

“Deal,”

“Your Highness,” a new voice said. It was a servant. “Dinner is prepared.”

“Well, shall we head to dinner then?” Yami proposed, clapping his hands together.

Marik picked Akina up off the bed, put her on her feet, handed her the staff she used, and everyone headed off to dinner.

Chapter 18

 

After dinner Marik led Akina back to his chambers. Now at long last they were alone. He sat down onto his bed, took her hands, and pulled her next to him...

He took hold of her by her upper arms and pulled her to him. Leaning forward, he claimed her lips with his own. At first, he was gentle with her then gradually became rougher and more passionate as he began to unleash his yearning for her.

At first Akina was a little apprehensive with the hunger in his kisses, but then she relaxed and let him be hard-hitting as his tongue entered her mouth. One of his hands latched itself to her neck and the other ran through her hair. Reaching to him she ran her hands along his sides then up his neck and face to his hair. She felt his lips leave her mouth and travel sensationally down her neck. His teeth gently grazed her neck, not leaving marks, but practically setting her nerves on fire with uncontrollable obsession. She could feel him smirk as he made her moan in ecstasy.

After a bit of this, Marik pried her hands from his hair, stopped kissing her, and moved behind her. He made his hands brushed some of her hair to off of her back to around her shoulders and began to undo the laces at the top of her dress. "Clothing, heh, such a barriar when it comes to passion aren't they?" he muttered against her neck, making her shiver.As he parted the material his lips caressed the newly exposed skin, some of which was scared from her fights. "Interesting, my lover had battle scars," he said kissing them.

"What did you expect, I said I was a warrior," Akina retorted. Eventually, the dress was undone enough that she turned and began to slide it off herself, but he stopped her.

“My love,” he objected. “Before we go any farther, I want you to know that this may hurt a bit at first, being your first time, but only for a...” Akina cut him off by finding his face again with her hands, pulling him to her, and giving him a long loving kiss.

When they parted Marik felt a smirk form across his face; he helped her pull off her dress; then discarded his tunic, laid her down, and got on top of her with one leg on either side of her body. He leaned down and pressed his lips against hers as he ran his hands along her. As the kiss ended, he got up again and this time moved his hands to her breasts. He felt her arch against him as his hands caressed them. He spread her legs and put himself between them, but before he entered her, he bent down to her. “This is when it may hurt, my love,” he said, his mouth a few centimeters from her own.

Akina’s hands found his face and pulled him closer, her lips almost touching his ear. “That doesn’t matter. I know you don’t mean to hurt me,” she whispered as she let go of him. She felt him put his hands on her shoulders and entered her. As she felt a slight pain and let out a gasp of surprise, but as soon as it came it went. Many sweaty moments later, she grasped Marik as she climaxed, then she felt the muscles in his arms weaken as he did as well.

Marik collapsed on top of Akina ravishing her lips with his and stroking her hair. He rolled off of her, pulled a blanket on top of them, and wound his arms around her.

(Okay, end of lemon/lime)

Akina put her head and an arm onto his chest. “How do I match up to your other lovers?” she asked breathlessly.

“I don’t know; I never had any.”

“You’re joking,” Akina climbed on top of him and put her hands on his shoulders.

“No Aki, not this time.” He put his hands on the sides of her face and rubbed his thumbs along her cheeks. “You’ll come back to me after you go to Canaan, right love?”

“Of course I will,”

“Good, because when you get back I want you to marry me. And I’m going with you to Canaan, just in case you’re going to try and chicken out.”

Chapter 19

 

The next morning, just before dawn, Akina and her mother were given back their peasants clothes and Joshua and two other horses were prepared to go back to Canaan with them. Terentina approached Yami and asked, "Why are there more horses than Joshua going with us to Canaan?"

"Isn't it obvious?" Yami answered. "There are more people going with you than just the two of you." Terentina looked confused.

"I'm going with you," Marik said. He did want Akina going anywhere without him to help protect her. Also, he needed to discuss certain things with her mother.

"And you're taking Serenity back to the oasis," Asim said carrying a struggling Serenity over to a horse.

"I'm not going big brother, I want to stay her with you," Serenity argued. She was kicking and squirming and putting up a pretty good fight.

"Yes you are; Ma needs your help managing the oasis, so you're going back to her and that's that."

While this sibling struggle was going on, Akina was helping Marik get acquainted with Joshua.

"You weren't with us in Canaan last time, but I'll bet you probably heard about it from Jahi..."

"What? About Yami going flying, yeah, I heard," he answered.

"Well, to help prevent that from happening to you, follow my instructions: go breathe on his nose." (1)

"What?"

"Like this... Joshua come here for a moment,"

Joshua trotted swiftly her way, stopping directly in front of her.

Feeling his breath on her nose, she leaned forward and demonstrated, breathing back. "Unluckily for you he doesn't like men very much and he's overprotective of me, so you got to wait for him to make the first move. You breathe on his nose, and if he breathes back you can touch him. Give it a shot,"

"What if he doesn't?"

"Don't me silly, he will, but if he doesn't just back away very slowly. Quick movement might inspire him to chase you."

Cautiously, Marik approached Joshua. The unicorn didn't falter, but he kept his eyes on Marik at all times. Warily, he went up to Joshua and breathed on his nose. Joshua hesitated for a moment then breathed back. "He's letting me touch him," Marik told Akina as he patted Joshua on the nose, since she couldn't see what was happening.

"Wonderful, now let's see you get on him."

"Akina it's time to start off, we want to get going before the sun gets high." Terentina shouted.

"Okay, what perfect timing. Now mount him just like any other horse and I'll get on behind you."

"Don't you need help getting on?" Marik asked as he mounted and led Joshua over to her.

"Just lend me your arm and I'll be fine." Akina replied, groping her way to the barrel (2) of the horse. She grabbed Marik's outstretched arm and mounted behind him. Anchoring her arms around his waist, she gave Joshua a soft kick and they started off. "It'll be easier if you just let Joshua take control, he knows the way back to Canaan without anyone's help. When I escaped, I fell asleep on his back and he was able to get me to the oasis in one night."

"Have an enjoyable journey," Kesi said as the horses and unicorn departed.

"Are you joking? We have to cross the Wilderness of Shur; you know how exciting that is." Akina yelled back sarcastically.

The trip through the desert was a boring as ever for Akina, possibly even more tedious now since she had lost her sight. After a long while the rocking of Joshua's swift trot she fell asleep against Marik's back.

Around midday she awoke again. They were taking a small break while the noontime sun was high. Food was passed around and Marik proposed his plan to Terentina.

"I have no objection as long as Akina agrees with it; however, don't expect her to bring much into your home. If anything has happened to the village, and I pray to Zeus and Hera not, she will have little for a dowry, but we'll worry about that later, for now we must rest. Akina, since you were sleeping earlier, you can watch the camp."

"No arguments here," was Akina's reply. "I could use something to do anyhow."

"We will depart when the sun gets lower in the sky."

It is pointless for me to describe the time while everyone was sleeping, and later the trip rest of the journey to the oasis. For it was as monotonous as looking at a blank white canvas that someone claims to be artwork. So instead of torturing you by explaining how dull this time was, I will return to Egypt and tell you what happened there.

After Akina, Marik, Terentina, and Serenity had departed Kesi put a cloak over her palace clothes and went into Thebes to her family tavern.

Immediately her father, mother, and siblings swooped down upon her and closed her in a tight hug.

"Sister you're finally home!" Odion exclaimed.

"Sissy home, sissy home," Atsu and Kakra chorused.

"Where did you go Kesi?" her father scolded light-heartedly, picking her up off of her feet and spinning her around in the air.

"We were so worried," her mother said, enveloping Kesi in her arms as her father set her down.

"You wouldn't believe me even if I told you," she said squirming out of her mother's grip.

"Sit down and have breakfast with us and we can try."

Breakfast was a highly enjoyable affair for Kesi since she hadn't seen them for days. Afterwards, Kesi changed into some of her older clothes and began work. Like Akina, palace life, however relaxing it may be, didn't suit her, she liked having the life of a commoner. It was busy, active, and at her father's tavern she always saw interesting people. After working for a while, Kesi saw someone she hadn't seen in a long time, Bakura. Praying that he would remember her, she got back to her work with her other customers.

Suddenly a man grabbed her arm. "Hey babe," the man said right in her face. She could instantly tell he had drunk way too much by the small of the man's breath. "How about coming to a room with me upstairs?"

"I'd rather sleep in garbage," Kesi retorted, struggling to get away from the drunkard, but he held her wrist firm and she couldn't get away. "Let go of me!" she demanded loudly.

"You're coming with me Missy," the man sneered harshly getting up from his chair and trying to drag her towards the stairs.

"No, I won't!" Kesi yelled as she struggled to get away.

Bakura turned at the sound of the commotion and recognizing Kesi ran to help her, just as her father and brother come out of the kitchen. He got behind the drunkard and held a dagger to his throat. "Let go of the girl," he hissed.

"What are you going to do if I don't?" the drunkard jeered.

"This," Bakura pressed the dagger to the man's neck drawing a drop of blood from one of the man's veins it cut.

The drunkard immediately let go of Kesi, Bakura dropped his dagger, and the drunkard ran off the steps. As the man dashed past her, Kesi launched herself at her rescuer. "Bakura," she cried, throwing his arms around him.

"Kesi, who is this boy," her father asked coldly, eyeing Bakura with an icy stare.

"We'd better not discuss this here, in front of everyone." Kesi said eyeing the rest of the customers. She led Bakura into the back room as her father followed.

In the back her father asked again, "Kesi, who is this?"

"This is Bakura," she answered meekly.

"The tomb raider?"

"What's it to ya?" he demanded.

"How did you two meet?"

"I was going to rob the palace and then I ran into your lovely daughter."

Kesi blushed.

"And you just saved her life. I hate to say this to a criminal, but what can I do to repay you?" her father asked.

(1) Just in case you've forgotten, horses greet each other by breathing on each other's noses.

(2) The belly of a horse is sometimes referred to as the 'barrel'.

Chapter 20

 

Back in the desert, just as the sun began to set, Terentina, Serenity, Marik, and Akina reached the oasis.

“Mama,” Serenity called to a woman who was at the well.

There was a loud splash of a clay pot hitting water as the woman let go of the rope she was pulling and ran towards the group of travelers. “Daughter, you’re finally home,” the woman said helping Serenity down from her mount.

Serenity hugged her mother tightly as Terentina, Marik, and Akina dismounted. When her mother saw that there were more people she ran over with Serenity and had her introduce them. “You have all had a long day, if you wish you may spend the night at my oasis,” she suggested.

“That would be wonderful,” Terentina said.

Later, after a delicious supper Serenity and her mother had prepared everyone was sitting down and talking.

“If you don’t travel through the night it will take another day and a half to reach the Rogue’s Village from here. My daughter and I can lend you tents for the nights.” Serenity’s mother informed them.

“Thank you again.” Terentina stated. “Your generosity means a great deal to us.”

“However, about your village, I had some travelers that had passed that way about two days ago; they told me something about the village being destroyed.”

“No,” Akina exclaimed as she stood up abruptly. “That’s not true; it just can’t be.”

“I heard it straight from the mouths of some travelers.” Serenity’s mother told her.

“I need to see this for myself,” Akina said, walking towards where she had memorized the door was. Before she could get out however, Marik leapt in front of her and grabbed her shoulders in an attempt to block her way.

“Aki, I know this is shocking news for you, but you mustn’t do anything rash,” he chastised.

At first, Akina’s head dropped a little and she seemed to understand. Her hands reached up to his face and she gave him a gentle kiss. “Forgive me,” she begged, grabbing hold of him and shoving him aside as she ran out the door.

“Aki no,” Marik shouted, but Akina barely heard him as she whistled for Joshua. She felt her way onto her unicorn and rode towards Canaan. Had her village really been destroyed? She had to know for certain. There was a screech of a hawk from above her and moments later Aden had landed on her shoulder.

With only the gentle pounding of hooves as the only sound made in their wake, the hawk, blind girl, and unicorn cantered through the night, alone.

Back at the oasis Marik was over by one of the horses, saddling it up. “Marik, what are you doing?” Terentina’s voice asked from behind him.

“I’m going after Akina, and don’t try to stop me,” he retorted.

“I won’t, but feed my curiosity, what makes you think you’re going to catch her? Joshua, at top speed, is impossible to catch up to.”

“I’ve got to try; I can’t afford letting something awful happening to her.”

At this pronouncement, Akina’s mother chuckled slightly. “Something awful, like what?”

“Anything, she could get lost, or thieves might rob her or something far worse. I need to find and protect her from that.”

Again Terentina chuckled. “You remind me of me while Akina was growing up.” She sighed at the thought of these memories. “She was always wild, unpredictable child, always wanting to make her own waves in the world. A woman like that is not easily kept at home sitting quietly. Joshua knows the way to the Rogues Village better than any human traveler I ever met, she won’t get lost, and I pity the man who tries to rob or rape her while she’s with her animals. They’ll protect her. Don’t be anxious about her, even though she’s blind, she can still take care of herself.”

“I just can’t take that risk... I love her.”

A sympathetic look lingered in Terentina’s eyes. She went over and put her hands on Marik’s shoulders. “If it’ll help you feel better, we’ll ride through the night and hopefully we’ll catch up with my daughter by tomorrow night.”

“You’d do that?” he asked, taking her hands off her shoulders and turning to face her.

Terentina walked over to the horse Serenity had ridden (Marik was by the other one). “As much as I hate to admit it, I still worry about her as much as you are now. Besides, if you’re going to become my son-in-law, I should start treating you more like family.”

The two of them mounted the horses, now saddled up, and galloped into the night.

Before I return to Akina or Marik and her mother, I would like to take this opportunity to return to Kesi and Bakura...

“Sir, I would like to take your daughter as my wife.”

Kesi’s father’s face darkened, he had been dreading this. “My daughter is in your debt, it is ultimately her decision to fulfill your request or not.” He was hoping Kesi would deny this ‘thief suitor’.

“I will,” Kesi said.

Her father bowed his head at her statement. “Kesi, you have loved your life here. Do you really want to give it all up?”

“For him, I will.”

“Very well, you may leave whenever you wish. We will miss you. Good-bye my daughter,” Kesi’s father turned on his heel and returned to his consumers in the tavern.

“The life I live is a dangerous one; you truly want to give your safe home up?” Bakura asked Kesi seriously taking her hands in his.

“For you, I’d give all I have.” Her arms moved around him and she kissed him.

As the kiss broke, Bakura saw Kesi’s little brother and sister watching them. “Kesi, you are aware there are little kids watching us, aren’t you?”

Kesi turned and saw Atsu and Kakra turn to each other and shout “EWW!” then ran as fast as their little legs could carry them out of the room. She rolled her eyes and turned back to Bakura.

Much apologies everyone, but I must now return to Akina.

It was the next morning Akina could see flares form on the inside of her eyelids as the sun rose. She had ridden Joshua all night, and had reached the place where her village stood; however, no sound of children’s laughter met her ears. No shouts of sellers or drivers of livestock reached her; nothing, but silence met her trained ears. All that met her was the abnormal overwhelming smell of ashes.

Joshua was moving much slower now. He could barely manage to lift his hooves off the soot filled sand that was now underfoot.

Akina dismounted and walked around, but ended up tripping over something hard, but she felt it crumble as she fell on top of it. She reached in front of her and pulled up some sand. It smelled of ashes and burnt sand, as she lifted it to her face. As she sifted it through her fingers she felt smooth ash crumble and sand particles stick to her fingers. Sharon’s mother was right about the Rogue’s Village... it had been destroyed. Not bothering to get up, she remained on the ground, pulled her arms under her face and sobbed over the loss of her home.

As night fell, Terentina and Marik drew close to the village’s ruins. “Are you sure we’re at the right place?” he asked her, bemused.

“I’m positive. Those travelers must have been right, the village has been destroyed.” She looked around the brunt ruins that was once was the Rogue Village.

All the sand brick homes had been turned to mounds of ashes. The tents that had been standing had also been reduced to charred rubble. After looking around very closely for a while in the slowly growing darkness, Marik spotted Akina. Akina’s mother followed him as he ran to her.

“Aki,” he called as he dismounted and ran towards her. She sat up on her knees as she heard him make his way towards her. He reached her and put his arms around her.

“It’s all my fault,” she sobbed.

“No, it’s not Aki,” he murmured, running his fingers through her hair.

“Raiders destroyed our village; you had nothing to do with this.” Terentina said, also wrapping her arms around Akina.

“Don’t be a fool, Mother. Anyone can see this was no raid. There is a magic aura lingering here, this was sorcery.”

“But that still has nothing to do with you.”

“Yes it does, there’s also the scent of the Dragon Realm in the ashes. The only sorcerer near here that could possibly do that is the High Priest, who I sent into the desert.”

“But Aki, it’s still not your fault.” Marik argued. “We don’t even know if you sent him here.”

“Who else could have done it?”

“Well, whoever it was, they’re gone now.” Terentina said standing up. She looked up and saw Aden soaring overhead. “I’ll go gather some fire wood so we can have some warmth and not freeze our butts off in the night. Akina, seeing that Aden’s here with you, ask him to track down some rabbits for supper or anything of the sort.”

“Is there anything I can do?” Marik interjected.

“Stick with my daughter, and if you want you could help her put up the tents.” Terentina turned on her heel and walked off.

Chapter 21

 

A while later, the tents were up, a warm fire was cackling, and two rabbits were roasting over it speared on two sticks. Akina was starting to feel a little better and was sitting with Marik beside her, while her mother sat across from them with Aden perched alongside her, picking apart a desert rodent he had found to eat.

“Tomorrow we can search the place and see if anything survived,” Marik told Akina as he put a hand on the middle of her back

“Not to mention that if we find any bodies we’ll have to bury them,” Terentina added frankly. She checked the rabbits, “I think these are ready to eat,” she added handing a stick and knife to Akina and Marik so they could split the rabbit. Then taking up another knife, she cut her own in half.

“I know,” Akina said, sighing. After eating some of the meat, she got up and made her way inside one of the tents. She knelt down inside it and felt her way towards one of the cots she and Marik had set up earlier. Lying on her side she placed her staff next to her so she could reach it if she needed it. A few moments later, she heard someone enter.

“It’s Marik,” Marik said (yes, I am fully aware that’s redundant) lying down beside her and putting an arm around her waist. “Are you sure you’re feeling alright, love?” he asked as he nuzzled her hair.

Akina turned and let her hand travel up his arm past his shoulder to his neck. “I’ve been better, but I’ll live.” She felt him lean forward and press his lips against hers. With each kiss his passion increased; eventually he was on top of her and running his fingers through her hair, but Akina felt this was no time for passion. “Marik, stop please,” she begged.

“Forgive me, love,” he said getting off her. He put one of his arms back around her waist and they both feel asleep. (Jee, how strange can I get?)

The next morning Marik awoke to find Akina was no longer with him. He walked outside the tent and saw her someway from their tent, facing east, sitting with her legs crossed with palms face up on her knees, her staff beside her. A powerful grey aura was glowing around her, and there were streaks of grey threading out from her body and into the village’s ashen ruins. Occasionally, there would be a loud crack or a spark from one of them. He saw Terentina watching over Akina with increased concentration; there was a pile of miscellaneous items, he guessed that had survived the attack, at her feet. He walked towards her, but Akina’s mother flung out her arm to stop him.

“Don’t approach her. In this state she could kill you if you aren’t cautious.” She warned him.

Both of them watched in silence as the threads spread farther out from her into the ruins. “What’s she doing?” he asked.

“Using her ki to search the village,” Akina’s mother explained. “In this spell her ki, or life-force, stretches out and detects anything besides the ash, plant matter, and sand. Her ki is why she faints after doing too much magic; her magic is linked to her ki, so when she uses too much magic, she’s used too much life-force for her body to recover instantly.

I’ve never seen so much power in one person before. I mean being able to summon dragons takes a lot of power, but not like this. How can she possibly control all of it? Marik thought.

Suddenly one of the grey strands twitched and all the others went to meet it, forming one long thick twitching strand of ki. “I’ve found something,” Akina said in a gruff detached voice.

Terentina raced over to where the strands met and moved away the rubble, sand, and ashes. There was a person beneath it. She wiped away the ash from the person’s face and saw that it was an old woman. “Sunichan,” she gasped.

The woman appeared to be quite old, at least fifty summers (1). She was small for her great age though, to be easily picked up by Terentina and slung over her shoulder. The woman’s hair was either naturally black or turned black by ashes. Her face was pale and smudged with soot and grime. She was breathing, but she wasn’t awake and she was very cold.

“Marik, could you set a cot for her by the fire pit and light a fire in it, please? Akina and I will be needing to nurse this old one to full health again. She may have some answers for us.” Akina’s mother requested.

“Sure,” He turned and went into one of the tents.

With the woman still slung over her one shoulder, Terentina walked nearer to Akina. “Akina, that’s enough for now. I will be needing your help,” she said.

The grey streams and aura retracted back into Akina’s body. “I’m coming. I’m coming,” she said. She picked up her staff and used it to help herself off the ground.

“You remember where the well is, right?” Terentina asked, handing her a pot from near the fire pit.

“I think so,” Akina said, getting a better grip on the pot.

“A cot’s ready for her and the fire’s going,” Marik interrupted.

“Thank you Marik, I’ll lay Sunichan down and see if I can get her warm. Could you help Akina get to the well? She’ll remember the way, but I don’t want her falling in.”

“Don’t worry; I won’t let her out of my sight.”

“Thank you so much,” Terentina said walking towards the fire pit.

Marik walked over to Akina and put an arm around her shoulders. “So where’s this well your mother mentioned? I don’t see one,” Marik said.

“Look for what seems like a pile charred stone. I don’t think the stones would have turned to ash,” Akina replied.

“Like that one straight ahead,”

“Possibly,” She let Marik put his other hand on her arm that carried her staff and guide her over ash, charred rubble, and mounds of sand until her staff it something hard.

“We’re here,” he whispered in her ear.

Akina tried to ignore the shiver of pleasure he gave her as his breath met her ear and ran her hands over the stone. “It’s the well alright, but not to my surprise the rope burnt up. Luckily, I always carry a spare.” Akina drew out a rope from her clothing and tried to tie it around the pot without much success.

Seeing she obviously needed help, Marik put his hands over hers and helped her tie the knots better. “Thank you,” she muttered and lowered the pot into the well. She turned back to him, “I want you to know that my mother and I are especially grateful for all your help, Marik.”

“What did you expect me to do, sit back and not help? If I’m here I might as well help...” Marik was silenced by a long kiss from Akina.

When their kiss broke, Akina pulled up the pot, now filled with water as if nothing had happened. Then something crossed Marik’s mind. “Aki, if some of the well was turned to ashes, what about the water in the well? Wouldn’t it now be contaminated with ash?”

“It crossed my mind, but no problem even if it is,” Akina said as she turned around and headed back towards their tents, letting Marik guide her once more so she wouldn’t fall.

“How is that not a problem?”

“Are you aware of the properties of the unicorn’s horn?”

“Sure I am, they can cure poisons, oh, and purify water.”

“Exactly...” she gave a loud whistle. “Joshua, come here.”

There was the approaching sound of trotting hooves and moments later Joshua was tossing his mane in front of them.

“Please purify this water,” Akina requested and put the pot in front of the unicorn.

Joshua gave an agreeing snort and tipped his horn into the water. Pure white magic crept into the pot of water and spread like a bush growing out of control. As soon as the magic spread throughout the water, the white disappeared leaving the water cleaner than it had ever been.

Akina gave him a pat on the nose and Joshua wandered back to wherever he had been earlier. When she and Ishaq were back by the fire, Akina asked her mother how Sunichan was doing.

“She’s awake and warmer, but during the attack she breathed in much smoke and ash. She can barely speak. I don’t know if she will survive, but we must do what we can for her.” Terentina stated.

“Who is this woman?” Marik asked.

“A wise woman, one of the oldest in our village,” Terentina answered.

There was a crack from Sunichan’s throat as she tried to say something. “She needs water,” Terentina said as she laid Sunichan against Akina, “Could you hold her up for me?” Akina nodded and her mother took the water pot from her.

Terentina lifted the pot to Sunichan’s lips and after she drank she spoke. “It was so... terrible,” she croaked weakly.

“Madame, don’t speak. You need to rest,” Terentina said gently.

“What was terrible?” Akina asked her, letting her curiosity get the better of her.

“Akina, control yourself,” her mother scolded.

She needs to hear this, Terentina...” The woman paused for a moment to cough. “You all do...”

Terentina blinked, all eyes were on the old woman. Joshua and Aden came over to see what was going on.

We were attacked... by horrible creatures... like gigantic lizards... only some had wings and big tails... There was a dark hole... they came out of it... and destroyed the entire village... A sorcerer released them... he was completely evil.”

“What did the sorcerer look like?” Marik asked her. Akina could hear the anxiety in his voice as spoke.

He was tall... with no hair on him at all (2)... and eyes like magician’s fire...”

“Purple,” Akina muttered softly.

His voice was deep... and angry... He was muttering... about being banished... to the middle of no where... We took pity on him... and welcomed him into the village... and despite that... he summoned... those creatures... and... destroyed... us...”

Marik turned to Akina, “You were right, it was him,” he admitted.

Sunichan spoke once more to them, “Now that I... have been found... you must help me...”

“We will do anything to help you, Sunichan,” Terentina said, tears forming in her sky orbs.

Let... me... die...” and the old woman’s eyes shut and her spirit left her.

(1) This is ANCENT Egypt guys, for that day and age fifty is old! (And I guess it still is now)

(2) Egyptian priests had to shave themselves in order to remain ritually “pure”.

Chapter 22

 

Later that day after burying Sunichan, Akina searched the village with her ki again; however, there was nothing more to find.

The next day at sun rise they headed back to Egypt. This would be the time I would normally tell you that the ride back to Egypt was boring and monotonous... not this time.

Marik, Akina, and her mother had been riding until about noonday since they left the village. Now resting from the heat of midday, everything was as tranquil, monotonous, and humid as it had always been, but a strange heavy dark aura hung in the air.

"Marik," Akina said suddenly, giving him a little shake to wake him up if he was asleep.

"Yeah Aki?"

"Do you feel that?"

Marik raised an eyebrow.

"That negative impression, I sense it crawling around seething into everything."

Marik closed his eyes trying to figure out what to say to her. "I've felt it as well, but why would we sense it here? We're in the middle of the Territory of Shur; the oasis is another day's worth of riding, if you count the rest of today and half of tomorrow as one day."

"But your father, he could be still alive, sending his magic on us."

"But why? It was the pharaoh and Yami he was angry with when we spoke with him last."

"He was also angry that you sided with me and Yami."

Suddenly there was a loud seemingly angry cry, quite similar to that of a dragon. Marik jumped up and squinted towards the sky using his arm to block the glare of the sun. "There's something approaching us, it's really far away and really high up though," he said. "It could possibly be Aden, but why would he fly so high up?"

Aden flew onto Marik's shoulder and gave a loud indignant SCREECH! in his ear, indicating that he was all ready accounted for.

"Okay, okay, I was wrong then," Marik muttered. He looked up into the sky again and the thing in the sky had flown closer. "Oh my Ra! It's another dragon!"

Behind her eyelids Akina felt her eyes grow wide. My sword is useless to me now, Akina thought as her hand automatically went to the sword on her hip. But perhaps... Taking it out of its hilt Akina forced the sword into Marik's hand.

"What's been going on?!" Terentina demanded as she put a hand on her daughter's shoulder and Aden landed on the other.

"A dragon's approaching us. You two take the spare horses, get as far away as you can, I'll take Joshua when this is over and catch up with you." Marik told her.

"What, has fear gone to your head Marik? We're not leaving you behind." Terentina said firmly.

"Go, I don't want either of you getting hurt."

"I'm staying right here to help you." Akina insisted.

"How are you going to do that?"

There was another loud shriek, this one more ear-piercing. Marik turned, the dragon was much closer now, but when it came too close for comfort, he saw that the thing couldn't even be called a dragon. It was tiny, barely one cubit long and about a half cubit wide, and it seemed to be made up of several tiny bones the color of wet sand. It was merely the pathetic skeleton of a dragon. Marik had to bite back his laughter; the creature was barely fearsome at all, but there was still a dark aura around it so it could still have been dangerous.

Terentina felt her jaw drop. They had been fussing over running from a pint-sized moving skeleton?!

As the eyes holes in the skull of the dragon felt several stares fall on it, it gave a loud earsplitting wail. Everyone cringed; the sound had rocketed through their ears and straight to their brains. When the wail ceased Aden flew over to the creature and began attacking it viciously with his beak and talons. This sadly only worsened the situation, the thing wailed again, this time louder and it didn't stop.

Immediately, fingers were stuck in their owner's ears to dim the din, but it didn't help one bit. "Can't anything shut that pile of bones up?! Akina, can you communicate with it?" Marik shouted over the incessant cries, his own magic unusable because of the screeches stopped him from concentrating.

"It's whining is somehow blocking my ability. I can't understand a word it's could be trying to tell us," Akina yelled back. Wait a moment, she thought as she got a sudden idea. If I can block out the sound, perhaps I can try something. She fumbled for something in her pouch until she found what she was looking for and drew out two small waxy blobs of beeswax. She meddled with the blobs until they were soft, the stuck one in each of her ears.

"What are you thinking Akina?" Marik shouted as he saw her stick something in her ears, but Akina could no longer hear him. He saw a small stretch of grey ki reach out from her towards the sky, which began to darken and fill up with clouds. Then a sudden stroke of grey lightening came down and electrified the skeleton, with Aden dodging just in time to miss the blast.

The lightening hit the creature in the throat and engulfed its entire skeleton. It writhed and cringed and twitched in agony. When the lightening and clouds faded the creature gave a stifled cough and moved no more. "Is it dead?" Marik asked her.

Akina didn't move. Marik put a hand on her shoulder and she gave a sudden jump and moved away, not knowing what had touched her. As she moved, he caught a glimpse of something in her ears. He extended a hand towards her ears and removed the wax, then spoke once more.

"Is that thing dead?" he asked, making sure he spoke clearly in case there was still wax in her ears that he had missed.

"I don't know," Akina mumbled, and then she fell back as she fell asleep, but Marik caught her before she hit the ground.

"It's time we be going anyways," Terentina said sighing a little. She picked one of the blankets the three of them had been laying on, folded the skeleton inside it, and then put it with the other packs on the spare horse.

"Why are you bringing that thing along?" Marik asked her as he picked Akina up.

"So your brother can have a look at it when we get back. Things that are dead should not be moving around like this."

"I haven't seen anything like that in our scrolls, but you got a point." Marik said, walking towards Joshua.

Seeing that Marik's arms were full, Joshua laid down in the sand and let Marik mount him from the ground.

"Thanks Joshua," he said rubbing a hand against the unicorn's mane as it stood up.

Joshua gave a soft indignant snort as if to say I did this for her, not for you, and they started off once more.

I'm just going to skip my "It is pointless for me to describe the monotonous..." speech and say pretty much until they reached Egypt noting else happened. By the way in three days they had arrived.

The day before Yami's coronation, the palace was practically in shambles with chaos. Servants were running around everywhere, giving orders and patching up details. Akina was spending most of this day outside with Joshua and Aden.

Sometime near mid-morning Mokuba came out to join her.

"Lady Akina," he said. "It's me, Mokuba,"

"Oh Hello," she said giving him joyous smile.

"Wow, big brother was right you do have a pretty smile."

Akina blushed at this and said nothing, too flustered to speak.

"This may be just be rumor, but I over heard Marik talking about marrying you tonight,"

"No Bes, that's true. Tonight's the night for us at last."

Chapter 23

 

The day before Yami’s coronation, the palace was practically in shambles with chaos. Servants were running around everywhere, giving orders and patching up details. Akina was spending most of this day outside with Joshua and Aden.

Sometime near mid-morning Mokuba came out to join her.

“Lady Akina,” he said, touching her arm gently. “It’s Mokuba,”

“Hello,”

“This may be just be rumor, but I over heard Marik talking about marrying you tonight,”

“No Mokuba, that’s true. Tonight’s the night for us.”

“You must be excited,”

“I am a bit,”

“Can I ride your unicorn?” At this Joshua came over and stood by Akina.

“You just changed the subject, but yes, you may. He loves children.”

Mokuba walked over and put a hand on Joshua’s nose.

“If you want to ride him I suggest you mount on.”

“I’m too short.”

“I’ll give you a leg up.” Akina walked over to Joshua’s side and linked her fingers together.

Mokuba put a foot on her fingers and she helped him over the horse. As he entwined his fingers onto Joshua’s mane and got ready to ride, Akina held Joshua in place and gave him instructions. “He’s not going to go at top speed because if he did you’d be out of here in about three or five seconds. Let him have control, but if he goes too fast pull back gently on his mane. I’m going to let go in three... two... one.” Akina’s hand left Joshua’s neck and he and Mokuba were off.

At first Joshua started off at a fast walk, but slowly quickened to a bouncy trot then a wild, but less bouncy canter.

As the rode off, Akina heard Mokuba give a little yell of excitement. “Don’t go too fast Joshua. You may scare the poor kid,” she shouted sarcastically after them.

This made Joshua go faster, speeding up to a gallop, nearly at his top speed.

As the unicorn went more rapidly, Mokuba felt his adrenaline rise. Riding was the best feeling he had ever experienced. He felt that if Joshua dared to go any faster, they would fly off the ground. He could feel his blood racing in veins and his heart pounding in his ears and brain. The beat of Joshua’s hooves hitting the sand seemed to match the pulsing of his own heart

As Akina heard them pass her, she shouted “Start slowing down there Joshua. Don’t tire yourself out too much.”

After two more heart-racing laps past Akina, Joshua came to a gradual stop by circling Akina several times then coming to a halt in front of her, tossing his mane wildly. Mokuba dismounted with some help from Akina, his feet hurting a bit as they hit the ground.

“How was that?” Akina asked him.

“Fun, but my butt and feet hurt now.”

“That can happen,” she said chuckling and rubbing his head gently. “You seem rather windswept,” she added as her hands reached his flushed cheeks.

“I’m more hungry, than windswept. Want to go get some food Akina?”

“Of course, I’m starving.”

A long while later everyone was preparing for Yami’s coronation. Seth had gone through the orientation to become the new high priest in the early morning, so he would perform the rituals needed to make Yami the new pharaoh. Marik was pacing in his room, occupied with the thoughts of the next ceremony Seth agreed to perform after the coronation while everyone was feasting. Akina and her mother were busy getting her ready for the night ahead. Even though marriage was strictly a legal ceremony for the Egyptians, it was a big religious deal to the Hebrews.

“You ready Akina?” Terentina asked.

“Mother, before we go to the coronation, I need you to do something for me,” Akina requested.

“Sure dear, what is it?”

At the coronation ceremony everyone had dressed in their best. The ceremony was long and, for Akina rather dull, because she had absolutely no idea what was supposed to be happening during the ceremony.

After the ceremony everyone was celebrating in the throne room, four souls were out in the Temple of Ra.

“Do you vow to take this man as your legal husband and remain loyal to him and our new pharaoh above all others?” Seth asked.

“I do,” was Akina’s unshakeable answer. The sun had set and she and Marik were standing under the light of the stars. Seth was performing the marriage ceremony, and her mother and Jonouchi were the two required witness.

“Marik, do you say the same?”

“I do.”

Seth took out a marriage license and a reed pen he had gotten from one of the palace scribes and handed them to his brother.

Marik signed his name and handed the pen to Akina then, guiding her with his hand, she signed, next Seth signed for Terentina, who didn’t know hieroglyphics, and finally Jonouchi. “You are now legally husband and wife,” Seth told them.

Then slowly... hesitantly, Marik placed a gentle kiss on his new wife’s lips and then led her away.

“My ‘Mighty Sea’ is now all grown up,” Terentina said solemnly and walked to her room.

(A/N: WARNING: here comes a lemon scene! –Anaya’s Creator and Malik push Nthn5 out of her workroom-- And Nthn5: if you’re reading this, you aren’t allowed to read this!)

Marik took Akina to what was now their room then suddenly wrapped both his arms around her waist, pulled her to him, and began kissing her passionately.

Akina let her staff fall to the floor and wrapped her arms around his neck. She felt his hands run up and down her sides. A gasp escaped her as she felt the back of her thighs hit something and fell backwards, but all she fell on was the bed.

Marik climbed on top of her and slid his tongue into her mouth as he began to pull off her dress. He felt her hands move to his shoulders as she arched against him. As her hands moved his tunic began to slide off. He stopped kissing her for a moment and took off the upper part of his tunic, then bent back down to her, put a hand on the side of her face, then started biting and kissing her neck. Noticing her breathing had accelerated to short hard gasps. He chuckled against her neck, then traveled to her ear and whispered to her seductively. “Settle down, my dove, we have barely even begun to play.” Then he nipped at her earlobe and ran his tongue over it, smirking as she shivered beneath him. He removed the rest of her dress, as well as his tunic.

Akina felt his hands move to the sides of her breasts and his face move between them. Her head tipped back and she moaned as her kissed and caressed them; her hands moved to his hair and tangled her fingers in it as her sucked on a nipple. She felt him leave her chest and part her legs, then slowly fill her. As he pumped into her, her hands seemed to take on a mind of their own as the moved to his chest and massaged him lovingly. She felt them both weaken as they drove each other to climax.

Marik fell over Akina and placed a kiss in the crook of her neck. “That was wonderful, my kitten,” he purred as he pulled a sheet over them. He got off of her and wrapped himself around her. After a few minutes, he felt Akina crawl on top of him and whisper softly into his ear.

“More please, my love.”

Marik gently grabbed her arms and turned her over. “Gladly darling,” he muttered, climbing over her again.

(End of lemon scene –Nthn5 comes back into workroom. )

Very late that night, long after everyone had gone to sleep two souls were still awake, Terentina and Seth.

Terentina was lying on the soft warm bed in her room holding a papyrus letter in her hand. She tried to put the letter down and think about the joy Akina must be feeling this night, but her thoughts always wandered back to that letter. She let out a long exhausted sigh and stared at it forlornly. No matter how hard she tried the same ominous thoughts kept continuously racing through her mind: What is the meaning of the letter, my daughter? Why did you ask me to write such a sorrowful message? What do you know that we don’t?

At the same time, Seth was in his room making the potion to cure Akina’s eyes. “Add three pits of pomegranate soaked in oil from sunrise to sunset,” he muttered as he read from a scroll his father had possessed. There was a soft plop then a low sizzling sound as the ingredients left his hand and were added to the mixture within the vast cauldron. Yellowish steam began to rise from the surface of the lime-toned medicine. Suddenly, he put his hands over his nose as a ghastly smell arose with it.

Gods, this stuff reeks, he thought disgustedly, as he backed up from his cauldron. But as long as it cures Akina it’s worth it. He approached again as the stench died down and continued reading from the scroll. “Let the potion sit, undisturbed until the next full moon. When this time has come, using the index and middle fingers spread the mixture over the patient’s injured eyes. This will gradually revive his sight as the moon wanes. When the moon is completely gone from the heavens, his sight will be completely restored. Perfect, if it is the Gods will, Akina’s sight should be completely healed within the next month.”

“But the only plan that will be completed shall be mine, my son,” a deep hostile voice echoed throughout Seth’s dark room.

“Who’s there?” Seth demanded as he grabbed the Millennium Rod. He turned and looked around his room, puzzled. By the light of his lamps, he saw his bed, the incense burners, and a table covered in scrolls, blank papyrus, and reed pens. “Show yourself!” His voice had become dangerously low, but still he saw no one. Then he felt the dragon skeleton Terentina had given him to study leap onto his shoulder. “Get off me you vile ghost of a creature.”

“Now, now, is that the kind of welcome you give your father?” said the haunting voice once again.

Father?

“Did you honestly believe that vagabond’s spell finished me off? Now join me my son, and together we will take the throne that should have been ours from the very start.”

“No, I will never join you father! No matter what you say,” Seth shouted as he struggled to get the skeleton off his back.

“You think I’m going to give you a choice in the matter? Such a foolish boy thou art!” Without warning the skeleton plunged its fangs into Seth’s neck, spilling blood.

Seth screamed in anguish and frantically tried to pry the skeleton off of him, but he felt the skeleton begin to melt into his body. The pain felt as if it would tear him apart from the inside out; blood spilled everywhere as it merged with his back. The spine of the creature molded to his. Then the leg and wing bones framed the top and bottom of his back, followed by the skull of the creature sinking into his neck, leaving a few vertebras of the skeleton visible at the nape of his neck.

“Now my son, what do you say to my proposal?”

Seth let out a low mirthful laugh, quite unlike his own. He slowly stood up; his eyes had changed to a glowing shade of whitish indigo. MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA! You are right Father. With my strength and abilities along with your intelligence, the new pharaoh will fall and all Egypt will kneel before us. MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!” In the midst of his laughter, Seth threw back his arm and knocked over the cauldron containing the medicine for Akina’s eyes. The potion sizzled and smoked as it hit the floor, and then it evaporated into nothingness.

End Chapter

Chapter 24

 

The next morning Yami was in the throne room talking with Jonouchi, who had just informed him of Akina and Marik’s wedding. “So they did get married then,” he muttered. A tired sigh escaped him. His father insisted that the coronation feast last long into the night, and Yami was exhausted from it. “May the Gods bring them eternal happiness,” he said finally, dismissing Jonouchi with a wave of his hand.

Jonouchi left, and not a moment too soon, for just as he left Seth entered the room. “I challenge you to a Shadow Game, ‘Pharaoh’,” he demanded. He was going to continue, but Yami interrupted him.

Yami was severely shocked. Why did Seth want to duel him all of the sudden? That wasn’t at all like him. Could something have happened to him? “Seth, why do you do this?” he asked, standing up from his throne.

“Don’t ask questions you coward, and call your greatest creature, not that it would stand against mine.The throne should have belonged to my family and I will prove it by defeating you and taking all you have!”

“I won’t. I won’t duel someone who is a brother to me.” Despite what he had said, Yami felt himself growing angrier with each passing second. Never had Seth treated him this way before. Was this his true self? Without any more hesitation, he threw up his right arm. A black portal appeared a man in a long purple robe appeared flew out of it. “My creature is the Dark Magician.”

Without hesitation Seth did the same. Out of his portal came a gigantic dragon. It was dazzling blue and white. “Ha, ha, ha, Pharaoh, your pathetic monster doesn’t even begin to compare with my Blue Eyes White Dragon. It is far more powerful,” Seth jeered.

“Even you should know it takes more than power to win a duel. If there is no strategy guiding that power, it is nothing but a vacant warning.” Yami retorted. Both he and Seth yelled “Duel!” and the dragons charged at each other, letting out loud roars as they clashed.

Rooms away in the Temple of Ra, Akina awoke in that exact instant. She felt the familiar weight of her husband wrapped around her. Last night had seemed endless, and as they had continuously made love, both their minds fogging up in the ecstasy, she had prayed that morning would never come. That she would always remain here, by his side. As she ran her fingers through her husband’s hair, he was fast asleep on her shoulder; she noticed there was something very wrong about the atmosphere that morning. It was uneasy, and the feeling of strong magic hung heavily in the air. She heard a dragon’s cry once more and sat upright. Beside her, Marik stirred.

“Akina, why are you up already darling? Is something wrong?” he asked groggily, running a hand through her hair.

“My time has come,” she replied. Climbing out of bed, Akina grabbed her clothes, put them on, picked up her staff, and hurried out of the room.

The longer she ran down the cavernous hall of the temple, the quicker her pace became. She didn’t need her eyes to know where she was going; her feet somehow knew the way. Everything was making sense now: why she had that strange dream so many nights ago, why she had been forced to stay at the palace as Yami’s servant, even why her village had been destroyed. Her destiny was now as clear as the Nile had been seven years ago when she had rescued Yami. She knew what she had to do... save him a second time.

There were more dragon cries, but these were mixed in with the cries of another creature she didn’t recognize, by the sound of it, there were two battling each other. As Akina entered the throne room, she heard the sound of a monster giving out a final desperate cry and there was the sudden sound and sensation of a small earthquake as something extremely heavy collapsed to the ground. She heard several assorted objects fall around the palace; that would certainly attract unwanted attention. Suddenly a great and mighty wind blew up; it was so powerful Akina had to cling to one of the walls in order to withstand it. She heard Seth yell “Finish him off, my dragon... the painful way!” There was no time for hesitation, no time to think things through one last time, Akina simply ran to where she knew Yami was standing and blocked the dragon’s blast. The last thing she knew was that she had been blown off her feet and a small stream of blood ruptured from the back of her throat. She was dying.

As she felt life stream away from her body and mind Akina felt no pain, no sorrow, she simply felt empty. Visions of her own life were passing before her eyes at lightening speed as her spirit left her.

She was seeing her own birth, her father taking her to Egypt as he fled from her mother’s angry relatives, the first discovery of her gift, saving the prince’s life when she was seven years old, when she met and fought Marik in the Temple of Ra seven years later...”

Among these memories there were many others, but they all faded away. Darkness absorbed her spirit and all of her magic dispersed from her body.

As the magic left her, it split. Some went over to Seth and hit him in the heart. The magic surged through him, forcing the dragon skeleton to become released from his back, showering blood everywhere. He was now freed from his father’s mind control. Seth fell onto his knees, sputtering and gasping for air, confused about what had been happening. The skeleton fell beside him and writhed into a pile of ash as another shimmer of magic hit his bleeding back, healing it instantly.

Akina’s staff, which had been blown away when the explosion hit her, flew through the air. Just before it hit the ground a stream of magic hit it and it transformed into a black jewel on a long thick cord. There was an inscription on the jewel that said “the Mighty Sea” in hieroglyphics. There was a light clink! as it hit the limestone floor.

“NO!” someone from the far end of the room shouted. It was Marik; he had followed Akina after her awkward departure from their room. He ran forward and caught his wife’s now lifeless form. “Akina, no wake up, please don’t be dead.” He put his ear to her heart and listened... but there was no beat. “No...” he whispered forlornly, he knelt down on the floor, burying his face in her green hair.

“Marik,” Yami said, cautiously approaching him. “I am so sorry.” He put a hand on Marik’s shoulder in a gesture of comfort.

Marik barely hear his words, tears of sorrow and mirth were spilling from his eyes and into Akina’s hair.

There was a sudden woman’s gasp from the entrance of the throne room. “No, my daughter,” said Terentina as she ran towards Marik, Yami, and her daughter’s body; Seth also came to join them. “What happened to you, Seth?” she asked, seeing the blood on his back.

“That skeleton you brought back. Apparently, my father had created it, and somehow it was able to possess me. Then, before she died, Akina’s magic was able to free and heal me.” He answered.

Akina’s mother took hold of her steadily growing colder hand; there was no pulse at her wrist. “Her destiny... has been fulfilled...” she said putting a hand to her heart in calm despair, two small twin streams of tears flowed from her eyes. She was barely able to choke out her words.

Marik stared at her, flabbergasted. “Your daughter is dead and that’s all you can say!” he exclaimed in a mixture of mourning and fury.

Terentina gave Marik a sympathetic look, and then pulled out the papyrus letter she had been looking at the night before and handed it to him. “Akina knew she was going to die, so she asked me to write this for her. It’s a letter... with an exclamation.”

With slightly trembling hands, Marik took the letter, pried open the wax that sealed the letter, and opened it.

My Dearest Husband,

If you are reading this, more than likely I have passed on. Do not be distressed by my sudden death. I know it came far too soon after our wedding night for either of our likings. I would give anything to stay here with you, but, with my heart full of regret, I must leave you. I have loved you more deeply than I even loved my own father. So great is my love that you cannot even begin to imagine the agony of parting with you. To ensure that we met and love again, in time, I am using the last of my magic to create a reincarnation of myself. I am also transforming my staff into a gem that can only be unlocked by her. Good bye my love.

Forever yours,

Aki

The letter slowly dropped from Marik’s hand, but it would take a long time before he truly accepted her death.

In the days that followed, Marik watched over his wife’s mummification and the making of her luxurious tomb. As the priests chanted a spell to keep the tomb from being opened, he slipped back in one last time. He walked over to Akina’s sarcophagus; he had spared no expense to make it and the belongings he had placed in her tomb. It was gold and encrusted with gems. Surrounding him, was a gold senet set, flowers and assorted herbs, fine wine, and ushebti with instruments so she could dance to their music in the afterlife. To ensure that their tomb would never be found or robbed, he sealed the tomb with a spell that could only be broken by Akina’s reincarnation. Unable to continue life without Akina, he pulled a bottle of poison out of his robes and drank it down. As they took effect, he could hear Akina’s voice singing to him, and as he died he vowed never to forget her words:

I dreamed a dream in time gone by

When hope was high and life worth living

I dreamed that love would never die

I dreamed that God would be forgiving.

Then I was young and unafraid

When dreams were made and used and wasted

There was no ransom to be paid

No song unsung, no wine untasted.

But the tigers come at night

With their voices soft as thunder

As they tear your hope apart

As they turn your dream to shame.

I slept a summer by your side

You filled my days with endless wonder

You took my childhood in your stride

But I had to leave when autumn came

Still I dream we’ll meet again

That we will live the years together

But for now this dream, it cannot be

And this storm we cannot weather...

I have a dream my life will be

So different from this hell we’re now living

So different now from what it seems

For now life has killed

The dream...

I dreamed...

As her song faded away, Marik made a promise to himself: I won’t go to the afterlife, I’ll follow you, Akina, and create a reincarnation of my own. If I ever meet the Pharaoh again, I will strip him of his powers and avenge you!

The End

AJay: (ducks behind everybody’s chairs to avoid being hit with anything thrown her way) I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I am so so sorry,

Mokuba: Lay off guys this is just the end of the Ancient Egypt part. There will be a sequel that takes place in the present.

AJay: (still cowering behind the chair) Please don’t throw vegetables at me!

Kaiba: They won’t!

Malik: Review People! And keep your eyes peeled for the sequel!