"Don't you dare!"

"But I don't want to cause any trouble for him," Yugi protested through her tears. "Besides, it's better this way. She's a noble and-"

"I don't care if she's the pharaoh's own daughter! You love him! You love him and he loves you. Ramla's station doesn't matter."

"But I'm not-"

"Don't you dare say you're not worthy! You are better than that noble girl will ever be! Or have you forgotten who your parents are? Your lineage outranks hers, not to mention everything else about you! Just the fact that you left because you didn't want to hurt him makes you a thousand times better! Just that!" Aziza stopped glowering at her younger sister and took the girl's hands in hers. "I know you're frightened. And I know you don't want to cause a fuss." She lifted Yugi's chin until she was staring into her sister's bright, red-rimmed eyes. "But can you live knowing you forced him to marry someone he doesn't love by running away? Do you want that for him?" Yugi shook her head. "Then pack up. You're going back to the palace."

Yugi wiped the last of the tears from her face and she gripped her sister's wrist. "Come with me?"

Aziza reached out and hugged her sister. "If you want me to. Let's go get ready."

Yami slipped around a corner and breathed out. Ramla had been following him all morning, trying to corner him about their upcoming engagement for hours. He breathed out. This had been so much more fun when Yugi had tried to hide along with him. "Yugi, where are you?" His sweet lady had vanished over a week ago, leaving him, Atem, and their father Pharaoh Ahknamkanen somewhat forlorn. He had hoped…but there was no time to think on such things. Footsteps were coming!

Yami started to bolt down the hallway, but a deep voice behind him said, "No need to run." He turned around.

It was his elder brother Atem."Oh. It's just you," he breathed out. "I thought it was-"

"Yes, well, I took care of her." Yami gave the crown prince a disbelieving look. "I mean I showed her the new collection of oils in the bathing chambers." His brother snorted. "What?"

"Well," the younger glanced at the pyramid pendant resting against the other's chest.

Atem rolled his eyes. "Shadow games are for criminals. The only thing she's done is chase after you, hardly a capital offence."

Yami leaned back until his back rested against the wall. "Perhaps it should be. I haven't had a moment of peace since Yugi vanished. She seems to think that I'm free for the taking now."

Atem chuckled. "I will have the servants take her for a ride on the Nile tomorrow. Perhaps then you can relax. Or even go look for your lady love."

Yami's scowled at his brother's teasing before the expression died on his face and his head clunked against the wall. "I would, if I had any idea of where to start. But thank you for the boat idea. That might work." Then the younger prince slipped off into one of the more remote gardens.

Atem followed his brother's retreating form with a sigh. "At least you had a love, brother." He walked off in the opposite direction looking for Ramla to tell her of tomorrow's plans.

Pharaoh Ahknamkanen had a predicament. That predicament was on the piece of paper in front of him. It read, "Unless Crown Prince Atem has found a wife of noble blood by his eighteenth birthday, he will wed the First Princess of the House of Life, Tea, daughter of Tiana. So let it be written, so let it be done." He had hoped his son would find a way out of the predicament using the loophole his father had written into the agreement for him. But Atem's eighteenth birthday was a scant two months away and no suitable candidate had appeared.

A queen was not an easy thing to find. She needed to be a capable ruler for whenever the Pharaoh was needed elsewhere, as in times of war or if he was ill. She must be desirable, to instill in the people that the royal line was perfect. Of course, it wasn't, but appearances were important. The question of standing was important too. No commoner could marry the Crown Prince. The rules were a bit looser for younger royal children, the reason why he'd had high hopes for his son Yami and that lovely girl Yugi, but Atem's bride had to measure up.

If he looked at it objectively, Tea was a good choice. Beautiful and from good stock, she would look very nice on his son's arm. They could teach her to rule, and give her advisors to help. But as a father, he couldn't help wishing.

The girl was painfully shallow. Not as much as Ramla, one of his younger son's chasers, but still not as deep of conviction and feeling as Ahknamkanen's own wife had been. His queen had been all that the kingdom needed, and what he'd needed as well. After all, even pharaohs are human, as much as the public believed they were divine. Sometimes you needed someone who dispensed with titles and ceremony and simply played senet or went for a ride with you. He had a feeling neither Ramla or Tea would be that for his sons. He wished Yugi would come home. Then one of his sons would live happily, at least.

"Maybe this was a bad idea," Yugi stuttered out from in front of the servants' entrances into the palace. "Maybe we should go back."

"Are you a woman or a water beetle?" chided Aziza. "You will go in there-"she pointed at the door "and you will win him back before I push you through the gates. I am not letting you hang around the house and mope over him."

Yugi grumbled. "I wasn't moping."

"You hardly ate anything in the week you were home," barbed her older sister. "You were moping. But it ends here. Now go through that gate!" Yugi smiled beneath her star-shaped hair and put her hand on the door handle. She opened it and let her and her sister into the palace. Within five steps, they were caught by a guard who dragged them to the doors leading to the throne room.

While the guard sent servants in to get permission to enter with the two girls, Aziza got a good look at the throne room. Spacious, with a high ceiling and rows of columns for support, the whole room was lit with sunlight drifting in from the numerous skylights. The walls and rows of columns on either side of the room were covered in beautiful hieroglyphics. Each of the four walls seemed to have a theme of sorts. The wall to the right of the door depicted the previous pharaohs, each having their designated plot of wall space. Most of it was intricate writing, too small for her to see so far away. She wondered if their wives and children were mentioned at all.

The wall to the left of the door was far more obvious, a depiction of the gods in their various forms. She especially loved the pictures of Ra, as a phoenix, dragon, human man, and of course as the sun. And Isis was rarely far away from the fiery deity, joining him in the sky as a sparrow when he was a phoenix or dragon, standing tall as a sycamore tree when he lit the mural as a sphere, and of course standing with him as a beautiful woman the only place he looked human. Hathor was there too.

The wall behind the pharaoh's throne was too far away to see clearly, but she thought it was a depiction of the gods crowning the first king of Egypt. What a fitting placement, being the connecting wall between the gallery of the past kings and the portraits of the gods. Whoever designed this place had good taste.

Then the guards pushed them through the door and onto the floor of the beautiful room, right in front of the Pharaoh's throne. "Well," Aziza commented from her place beside her sister on the floor, "that's one way to get their attention."

Yay! A new story! I don't know how often I'll be updating this since all my muses have abandoned me, but maybe all your splendid reviews will help me get my writing skills back.