Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! doesn't belong to me. Duh.
Warning: I am bludgeoning the original Egyptian mythology into pieces. This is fiction. I can
get away with stuff like that.
Yuugi sat in his room, gently cradling Eshe's gem in his hand. She'd hardly stayed long enough
to give him the gem and speak her name before leaving again, saying nothing but that there was danger approaching. What danger?
What was going to happen? What did she want with him?
He twisted the gem so its multi-faceted surface shimmered. Should he trust her? He hadn't spoken
to his friends about why he'd been late catching up with them. He didn't want to worry them yet, and he didn't know what was
going to happen. Should he trust Eshe? He knew what Jounouchi and the others would say – that maybe he shouldn't. But
something inside him told him he should.
And she knew Atem.
She had specifically said “our Pharaoh.”
Had she served Atem? But as far as Yuugi knew, there had only been those bearing the Millennium
Objects. No one else had served under Atem. Right?
It was with a sigh that he placed the necklace underneath his pajamas. He laid back on his bed
and stared vacantly at his ceiling. What danger would he find himself in? It wouldn't have anything to do with Duel Monsters,
of that he was certain. The Duel Monster problem had stemmed from Atem's problems, and they were all solved.
Okay, so maybe he wasn't so certain. Bu he hadn't played in... in a very long time. He would
only pull out his deck when Kaiba insisted. Jounouchi used to, but he eventually saw the pain it brought to Yuugi to play
those cards and let Yuugi put them away. It was, of course, another cause for contention between Jounouchi and Kaiba. As if
they needed any more.
The Dark Magician was never used.
Yuugi rolled over onto his side and tried to look out his window. It was dark; night had come
to cloak this part of the world. His high school life was over. He could go into college; his mother actually insisted. Jounouchi,
with his father's debt, had no choice but to go straight into the work force. Honda was willing to help him out, of course.
And Anzu... well, Anzu was reaching for her dream.
Each of them had chosen their roads. But what about himself? He had no real goals... he had
no concrete road to walk. He was just... floating. And now he was using this newest threat to hold off his decision.
In the end... he closed his eyes and saw nothing but Egypt. He would probably become an archaeologist
like his Grandpa. And he would spend his entire life lost in Atem's world.
“Okay, I have to stop thinking like this.” He pulled out the gem once more. Orange.
Like her eyes. What did it all mean? What was going to happen?
“All right, I've decided.” He stood up and padded softly out of his room. With one
last glance behind him, he made his way over to the phone.
The number was one he'd known for years and years. It was late, but Anzu would understand.
Anzu's voice, when she answered, was sleepy. He could hear her yawn. “Yuugi? What is it?”
Yuugi let out a short breath. “Anzu, I think another... adventure... has come.”
Of course Anzu had demanded a meeting come morning. It was a fairly late meeting – ten
o'clock – only because Jounouchi and Honda would never be able to think rationally before that hour. So it was with
the sun beating on them and the wind cold enough to freeze that they met at the park. Jounouchi and Honda were rubbing tired
eyes and yawning hugely. Anzu warned them to wake up immediately.
Yuugi smiled when he saw them. “Hey, guys!” he called, gaining their attention immediately.
Jounouchi ran up to meet him, walking with him to the others. “So, Yug',” he started,
“why didn't you tell us about this sooner?”
Yuugi blushed and looked down. “Sorry,” he murmured. “But I didn't know what
to do at first. Did Anzu tell you everything?”
“Yeah,” Honda confirmed. Yuugi and Jounouchi stopped in front of him and Anzu. “So
is something really starting again?”
Yuugi nodded. “Yeah. I think so.”
Honda sighed. “Man, what a pain. Guess Jou and I will have to wait to get our jobs.”
Yuugi frowned. “No, you don't. All I know is that some danger's around, but we don't know
anything about it yet. For now, we should continue as if nothing's wrong...”
Anzu frowned at that, but Jounouchi spoke first. “Hey, Yug', do you really think you can
trust whoever that woman was? I mean, maybe she's the enemy.”
“No way,” Anzu argued. “she called Yam... Atem their pharaoh. And anyone
on Atem's side is on our side.”
Jounouchi rubbed his neck. “Yeah, you're right about that.” And then he got excited,
pushing his hands into fists. “So what're we gonna do, huh? You say it's pro'lly not Duel Monsters, eh? Guess you're
right on that. Did she say anything else?”
Yuugi shook his head. “No. Just that danger was coming and when it did come, to touch
this gem and speak her name.” At this, he pulled out the necklace.
Jounouchi whistled. “That sucker's real, ain't it?”
Yuugi nodded mutely.
Jounouchi sighed. “Well, all o' this is making me hungry. I'm starvin'! How's about we
get some food?”
Honda nodded. “True; we can't run around looking for something we don't know, anyway.”
Yuugi couldn't help but agree, since they were so excited about it, but he was apprehensive.
Could he really trust that nothing would happen to them while they ate together? And what was the danger waiting for
He clutched the gem in his fist, taking shelter in the odd warmth it produced.
“See you, Yuugi!” Anzu said with a wave. He returned the gesture and entered his
house, watching as Anzu left to return to her own home. Grandpa was in the shop with a customer, so Yuugi quietly sneaked
past him and went to his room.
Door safely closed, he went to his bed and sat. Again he pulled out the necklace, letting it
twirl idly in the air. He knew nothing of what to expect from the future, from the woman named Eshe or... or from his own
normal, ordinary future. And because of this sudden change, because an Egyptian woman had come into his life speaking of Atem,
Yuugi couldn't get the man out of his head. It... hurt.
He sighed, plopped down on his bed and closed his eyes. There was nothing for it but to wait
and see what happened. He rolled onto his side and took one last look at the glittering jewel before tucking it under his
shirt once more.
He wished, so very much, that he had someone he could talk to right now.
Yuugi felt like he'd no sooner fallen asleep than he felt a firm hand over his mouth. His eyes
“The Keeper,” he heard someone hiss.
“Do not let him speak,” another voice spoke up. “Our Pharaoh says one has
Hands grabbed him then and pulled him up from the bed. He felt two grip his hands and pull them,
tying them behind his back. Something long and thick covered his mouth. Only when he was fully bound did the hands retreat
“Take him,” that second voice said, “to the altar, and quickly. We must be
hasty in this.”
Their voices were accented. His eyes, adjusted to the darkness, could make out about four forms,
each hooded in black. It felt like he was being chosen as the lamb for a satanic ritual. He stumbled back from the hands holding
him and kicked over his bookshelf. Dozens of games and puzzles and paraphernalia crashed to the ground with the shelf. It
was enough of a racket that even Yuugi had a hard time hearing the curse the second man whispered. “Grab him!”
The three moved in unison towards him. Yuugi half-expected Atem's spirit to take over before
noticing that the puzzle wasn't around his neck – and then he felt stupid for thinking that the absence of the puzzle
was the reason why Atem wasn't coming to help him.
Atem's not here anymore, you idiot!
Maybe it was because of that moment's hesitation, but he was quickly grabbed
again and forced to his knees, his head shoved to the ground.
“Take him away,” the man growled, lifting a cloaked
arm and shooing them off with fingers as long as a pianist's and nails sharpened like a demon's. Yuugi just barely had time
to glare at him before a cloud of dark smoke surrounded him. The Shadow Realm?
He felt a cold chill sweep him up and blind him. Then just as suddenly as it arrived it disappeared, and he blinked. He was
somewhere completely different than his room above the Game Shop.
The room was walled and floored by dark, cold stone, and beneath his knees
he could feel the rough texture of it that chilled and hurt his skin. It was a rectangle of a shape, like a small throne room.
Although there was no carpet, the room seemed to lead to the side across from the door, which stood to Yuugi's right. Yuugi
flicked his eyes to the left and froze. On a small stone dais sat what was obviously a marble altar, white and pristine. Candles
lines the wall around it, and on it...
On it was an ornate, obviously ritualistic dagger.
He started to tremble. Atem...!
The dark mists oozed through the room again, and the leader arrived before
him. “Well, that was easier than I expected.” He pulled back the hood of his cloak and grinned down at Yuugi.
One of his captors grabbed his hair and forced his head up to meet that grin. He winced at the pain to his scalp. “I
suppose the Keeper wouldn't need to protect himself normally...” That grin grew. It fit perfectly on that angular face,
with those glowing red eyes and that black hair that trailed down his back. “Ah, well. Take him to the altar.”
Yuugi struggled immediately, even as he was pulled up and dragged
to the dais. He dug in his heels and kicked out with his feet. Then, with a burst of inspiration, he elbowed the man as best
he could. With his short size alongside such a tall man, his elbow managed to rub against the man's nuts just enough to make
him grunt and loosen his hold. It was more than enough of a distraction for Yuugi to wrench himself forward and out of the
other two's holds and launch himself toward the altar. He turned and reached clumsily for the knife, simply shoving the rope
against the edge. The blade was sharp enough, thank goodness; he managed to get the rope cut without harming himself.
“Stop him!” the man screamed, and stepped toward Yuugi himself.
Yuugi wrenched off the gag as the man charged onto the dais. His hand grabbed
underneath his pajamas just as the man snatched his arm.
“Eshe!” he shouted, as loud as he possible could, and tensed,
But the red-eyed man was moving, clutching his arm so tight it cut off circulation,
and he threw Yuugi onto the altar. One of the other men held his shoulders, preventing him from falling to the floor. Another
quickly came and grabbed his feet.
“Let go!” he shouted and struggled, reaching his arms up and
scratching the man's hands, trying to make him let go-
And the third reached around and shoved his hands onto the altar, positioning
himself below Yuugi's waist. The red-eyed man stepped forward and slid the dagger off the dais. The sound of metal on stone
echoed in the room.
“My Pharaoh,” the man began, looking down upon Yuugi with such
a cold gleam it made the boy shiver, “we offer you the Keeper of the Original, so that your reign may gloriously continue
Yuugi's breath hitched. He didn't understand the words, but
he did understand that danger, the fact that he truly was a sacrificial lamb. A sacrifice.
“Stop!” he screeched, pulling and tugging for all he was worth.
He couldn't let this happen. He couldn't die like this, without even understanding why he was killed!
“Please accept his blood as proof that the Original's life is truly
done, that his spirit shall not return. That your glory will forever shine upon the peoples of this planet without interference
from that lowly man.”
He held that knife up in that age-old stance, arms raised, blade down, and
looked down a sharp nose to gaze into Yuugi's wide amethyst eyes. “To Ra,” he murmured, and shoved down the blade.
Yuugi felt a flash of wind and warm skin and suddenly heard the unmistakable
sound of metal clanging against stone.
“Eshe!” he said excitedly, his lips turning up to beam at her,
even as she held him like a baby in her arms. “You came!”
“Of course, Motou Yuugi,” she said with a small smile. Yuugi
turned his head to catch a glimpse of the hooded men, but saw more than he'd prepared himself for. There were two others dressed
similarly to Eshe, but they were both men and they were both obviously fighting the hooded cultists.
“Eshe, what's going on?” he asked, turning back to her.
“We must get you to safety first,” she told him.
“But what about-”
“They will be fine. Akhenaton and Ini-Herit are both very skilled
So those were her two 'companions.' He wondered if he should be concerned
about their loyalty. But, he supposed, if Eshe trusted them...
“Eshe,” he recalled suddenly, “they were talking about
using me as a sacrifice, and the red-eyed man said, 'to Ra.' And they spoke of me being a Keeper of an Original. I think the
Original is Atem, but...”
“He is,” she said softly. “Our Pharaoh is the Original.”
“The original what?” he asked.
“I will explain it all later,” she assured. She slid behind
her two companions and raced out of the stone room, into a hallway so dark it was difficult to see. Still her footsteps were
sure and quick as they followed an almost invisible trail to an unknown exit.
“Will they really be okay?” he asked worriedly, speaking because
the silence seemed almost thick.
“Yes.” Yuugi saw her leap nimbly over a shadowed thing on the
floor; looking at it as they continued running, he noticed it was the form of a man. That must have been why they were so
late in arriving.
Yeah. Not because he'd been taken to an unknown place that could be countries
away from Japan, but because they had to fight their way in.
He was still used to magic, at least.
“Here. We have come upon the exit.” Eshe pivoted and ran to
the left, and now he could see a light flowing down this newest corridor. In just a few seconds they were upon the jarred-open
door and broke through into the light. Yuugi winced at the sudden sunlight and cringed a bit away from it, but then the warmth
of it made him lean out, wanting more of it on him. He sighed.
“Thank you, Eshe,” he said finally. Then he blushed. “U-Uhm,
you can put me down now.”
“Of course.” She did just that, and he took the chance to brush
the dust from the stone floor off his knees. “We should make our way to lodging.”
“But what about...” And he turned back to the tunnel, worried
about the two others who had come to help him.
His breath hitched in his throat.
The tunnel doors were connected to a giant building made of stone, old and
aged to the point where chips in the stone could be seen, some as big as a baseball. Still it rose high into the sky until
the tip of it disappeared into the sunlight, glinting like its own majesty.
“Yes. We must move, and quickly, just in case there are others.”
Others? “You mean other cultists?”
“I do not know if they can be properly called cultists or not, since
what they pray to actually exists.” She took his hand and pulled him through the sands that blanketed the ground all
the way to the horizon. He could see small specks of what he'd first believed to be rocks rising into the sky. And as he looked
around himself in awe, he also saw several other pyramids sprouting from the sandy floor all around him.
“Thank you again for coming for me,” he said when the silence
and heat had become oppressive. “I would have died if you hadn't.”
“It was both a pleasure and a duty, young Motou Yuugi,” Eshe
said. “We must also consider the great loss it would mean if you died, the potential awakening that could occur if you
“Awakening?” he echoed, not understanding. He fit the word with
everything else he'd heard. “Wait – but doesn't Ra or whoever stand to gain if I die?”
“Yes. He will gain his immortal place in the sky.”
“Yeah, because Ra is the sun god, right?”
“No!” she barked. He jumped, shocked. She turned to him. “No,
Ra is not the sun god. Ra was never meant for such a position. That is...” And then she sighed. “I will explain
it all once we reach sanctuary.”
Yuugi's lungs heaved, not knowing whether to still be afraid or to be relieved.
“Where's sanctuary?” he asked instead. It was hard to keep up with her; she moved across the waves of sand like
a sidewinder, while he scuttled along more like the gecko that danced on two legs at a time. And the sand kept slipping from
underneath his feet.
“There is a small encampment just up ahead, over this dune,”
she told him. “We can rest there and wait for Akhenaton and Ini-Herit to return.”
“And they will?” he pressed, still worried.
“Yes. Amun will leave those men to their fate and will return to Ra.”
“As I said, I shall explain everything when we arrive.”
The silence stretched as Yuugi attempted to find something more to say,
until finally it had simply been too long. He just trudged up the dune as fast as he could and waited until they had reached
the top. Eshe had been right; there was a small town down there, or at least what looked to be a sort of marketplace.
It was settled inside a tiny oasis, a place of water and trees. It truly did look like a sanctuary.
It was a much easier trip going down, but the sun never let up its cruel
torture as it beat on them relentlessly. Once they were near the bottom, the noises of the crowd began to reach them, until
the exotic voices mingled into a sort of song, one Yuugi had no chance of understanding. “Wow,” he breathed, moving
forward to join the group of people gazing in interest at necklaces that sparkled like stars in the sun's light.
“No; over here.” Eshe grabbed his wrist and tugged him behind
the stalls, deftly evading the bodies around them until reaching a small alcove in which sat a small hut. Unerringly, Eshe
made her way there.
She gently pushed him inside and closed the door behind them. He looked
around; there was no light source inside, to the point where the corners were impossible to make out. “Um, Eshe-”
“Shh. I cannot give you enough protection alone,” she told him.
“My job is similar to Ini-Herit's, and not meant to fight.”
But didn't that mean Ini-Herit was in danger?
“Ah,” she said, relief in her voice. “Here they come.”
Yuugi tensed; there were no windows, so she must have sensed them in some
way. Would this be when he would be told exactly what was going on? Would he now be told why he'd almost been used as an offering
for an Ancient Egyptian god?!
*sigh* I'm a bad person; I already have plenty of other stories to worry
about, after all...