CHAPTER 2: THE Lost PHARAOH?


I built a good ukuta with Ryo this morning, rudely waking him up and nagging him to let me go out. I hoped it would last. I don't want him too close to me au the Ring.
Especially me.
I thought about this as I walked toward the coffee shop. I was surprised Ryo didn't demand me to tell him where I was going. Not that I would've told him, but still . . . He always seemed as if he thought I would do something bad au commit theft. (Not that he didn't have a reason to think that. I was the Thief King 5,000 years ago, but Ryo didn't really know that part of my past.) Whatever though, right? I shouldn't care about what he thinks of me.
When I finally got to the coffee place, I walked in without acknowledging the waitresses that greeted me. I looked around the duka and saw him in one of the booths in the back; he had been waiting for me.
He was hard to miss; he was the one almost completely concealed. He wore deep colored clothes, dark brown pants and a vazi, pazia about the same color. His face looked like any other Egyptians, with dark, tanned skin. Of his hair, I could only see that it was brown, turned a dirty blond probably due to the sun. He had deep green eyes that looked much older than the 5,000 years they've seen.
“Hello,” he said. Naturally, his voice was deeply accented.
“Hello,” I alisema back. Something made me feel wary and cautious, like I would have to watch what I say. Yes, we were “friends” in a way, but we both have . . . mysterious pasts, to say the least.
“Sit,” he offered and motioned with his hand.
I obeyed and opened my mouth to speak, but he held his hand up to stop me.
“I will ask maswali first,” he insisted. His eyes were hard, but I could see the same caution I felt in them.
My eyes narrowed a tiny bit and I nodded for him to start.
“My name is Snefru; yours?”
A small part of me was instantly shocked. He picked the very swali I was going to ask him. He smiled a tiny, encouraging smile.
I picked my choice of words carefully. “You call me Bakura,” I said.
“Why did wewe bring me here?” he asked.
“Do wewe see this? Do wewe know what this is?” I pulled the Ring mbele for him to see.
His eyes widened in recognition. “A Millennium Item! How did wewe get it?”
“Long story. But this . . . houses my soul. If I find a vessel, I can live on as if I'm alive and well, using his body.
Snefru still stared at the Ring, half in wonder, half in disbelief. He spoke in a faint voice, not taking his eyes off the Item.
“What do wewe want me to do?” The tenor of his voice made it sound like his “power” was nothing comparable to the Ring's.
Again, I had to choose my words very carefully.“ I need wewe to get me a body of my own. Preferably one I don't have to share with a sixteen-year-old,” I alisema with a slight roll of my eyes.
Snefru looked at me, confused. “That is impossible; I cannot just give wewe a body. wewe would have to find a vessel willing to give up his au her soul. Then that soul would be banished to the Shadow Realm.”
I guessed as much. “Whatever it takes.”
He seemed to concentrate very hard on something for a mgawanyiko, baidisha second, but it vanished quickly. “No, I refuse to do such a thing,” he said, repulsed.
I sighed. It was plain to see he wasn't going to budge easily. Then an idea popped into my head.
I alisema in a low, quick voice, “What about terms of payment? What if I could give wewe the whereabouts of an ancient Pharaoh's life-long treasure?”
His eyes widened again at the corners, but then his face became doubtful.
“You lie,” he said.
“Really? You're from Egypt, tell me: did they ever find Pharaoh Tuscuan's treasure?” I challenged.
He seemed to want to believe me, to want to take my offer, but he still didn't onyesha any sign of considering it. He swallowed and fidgeted in his seat.
I continued talking. “I won't tell wewe how I know, but wewe know I hide some . . . dark secrets.” I crossed my arms. “You've nothing to lose kwa just . . .,” I paused and shrugged (for effect), “checking to see if what I say is true. If wewe find it is, wewe could be rich beyond your dreams.”
He looked hopeful, but he shook his head. “I . . . can not,” he said.
I sighed hard again and kicked the bottom of the booth with my heel. I was getting agitated. “Is there any way, then, to do it without killing somebody and using their body?”
“No, wewe need a body,” he alisema with certainty.
“But there is something wewe can do.” I was sure there was. I called on him specifically because I knew if anyone could do anything, he could.
Snefru's hand started to shake slightly, and he pulled it into a fist on the table, trying to hide it.
I leaned forward, and in a tempting voice, said, “A tomb's worth of treasure: gold, artifacts, gems and fabrics and wealth . . . all for one favor. I'll give wewe all of that for one little-”
“Alright!” he said, a little too loud for the coffee shop. A few heads turned in our direction.
I sat back and crossed my arms again, pleased.
With solemn eyes, he spoke. “What I can do is . . . somewhat of a soul transfer.”
“Which is exactly . . . ?”
He sighed in exasperation. “It switches minds.”
“But wouldn't that mean that . . . that someone would have to share a body with R- I mean, my host?”
“It is probable. And very possible. But at this point I am not completely sure any- every soul will even survive.”
I didn't miss the correction. I small shudder ran up my spine, but I managed to repress it.
A small smile hinted at the edges of Snefru's lips. I narrowed my eyes at him.
Snefru continued, trying to overshadow the short, tense moment. “I have never done anything like this before, myself. I cannot guarantee what will happen to the souls in the process.”
Well hell. For the first time all day, I wasn't so confident.
“That I'll have to think about,” I said, feeling a little defeated.
Snefru hesitated, and said, “The treasure is real, and wewe know the precise location?”
“Yes,” I assured him. Being the Thief King has its advantages, both then and now.
“Alright,” he said, seeming to believe and trust in me fully.
That was odd. I don't recall anybody trusting me the first time I meet them.
It was silent for a while, and the tension slowly grew as neither one of us talked. It became awkward to the point we both stood and alisema our goodbye's and thank you's. We left the little cafe and walked off in two opposite directions.
“Oh, Bakura?” he called. I turned around to see him with his back still toward me.
“Will wewe discuss this with Ryo?” he asked.
“Probably not,” I said. Before I alisema anything, though, he started walking again. I shrugged to myself and headed for home. But about halfway to the house, I realized something.
I had never alisema Ryo's name in front of Snefru. My breath caught and a chill ran up my back. How did he-how could he-know my vessel's name! I racked my brain, but unless he could read minds, it was impossible.
I stopped dead in my tracks and considered the possibility.
“There's no way,” I mumbled to myself and shook my head. The last half mile to Ryo's house I tried very hard not to think.
When I was there, I walked into the door and called to Ryo. “I'm home.” wewe can come out now, I thought bitterly.