What Doesn’t Kill You
Chapter 23: Legends Once Lost (version 2.0 – Minor formatting fixes)
A Yu-Gi-Oh Fanfiction
By: Azurite – azurite AT seventh-star DOT net
Site: seventh-star DOT net
Conceptualized/First Written: 6/28/05 (this was just when I started the chapter planner file. Fufufufu!)
Posted: 3/3/06 – I’m very sorry about the long wait, but I like to get my chapters beta’d by at least 2 people, or I won’t post them. So if you’d like to see faster updates and a better fic, volunteer to be a beta! I need reliable people, though!
Edits: 7/30/09, 4/12/10
Don’t Forget! All Review Replies are now hosted here. Look for a section in my Memories called ‘Review Replies,’ and you can choose from the story/chapter of your choice to see what I had to say to your reviews! Thanks for your continued support!
The whole name thing doesn’t apply to Duel Monsters cards. So while you’ll read about Malik and Isis, you won’t read about Osiris the Heavenly Saint-God Dragon. Instead, it’ll be Slifer. I know it’s a bit stupid, but again, if I changed all the names to their original Japanese, I’d have to go back and change so much more than that. I’m also more familiar with the English TCG card names and rules, while the Japanese translation of many cards is subjective.Ergo, I’ll stick to the Upperdeck Entertainment translations, thanks.
Thank you: to Janime Lee and Winterwing3000, my beta-editors for this chapter. Interested in being a beta-editor for WDKY? Let me know ina review or email!
RECAP: Kaiba left Téa and Mokuba alone to simulate a rematch duel with Yami Yugi at the Duel Dome. When Téa finds out, she’s furious—especially when Kaiba can’t give her a decent explanation as to why he’s doing this, when so much time has passed between Battle City and now, and neither he nor Yugi have had any interest in a rematch up till this point. Téa leaves the Duel Dome, while Kaiba heads to Duelist Kingdom to defeat Pegasus once and for all and get the cards he needs to defeat Yugi’s God Cards, once and for all. He does beat Pegasus, but what does Pegasus know that Kaiba doesn’t? And what will Kaiba do if and when he does beat Yugi?
The answers might lie in an unexpected place: at another museum in Domino, where a mysterious trio is in charge of bringing an ancient Egyptian exhibit featuring the mummy of “Anubis, Lord of the Dead” and the Pyramid of Light to Japan. Both Téa and Malik have had visions, but they don’t know what to make of them, so they think there’s no reason to reveal what’s happened to anyone else. To make matters worse, Yugi’s had a vision of his own, and he thinks Kaiba’s in grave danger, but he won’t tell Téa why before he goes off and running!
There were some things that you could never forget. For Mokuba Kaiba, he supposed that he’s had more than his fair share of excitement in his lifetime and that if he kept on living such a thrilling life, he’d eventually forget about the less exciting things. It was all part and parcel of being Seto Kaiba’s younger brother.
Nonetheless, what happened after Seto returned from Duelist Kingdom would be forever engraved in Mokuba’s memory— somehow, he was sure of it.
That particular day, his elementary school didn’t have Saturday classes, so he spent the morning sleeping in—or trying to sleep, as the case was. He hated being alone in the mansion—or at least, he hated feeling alone. He knew Téa had probably returned home some time last night, but as for when, Mokuba had no idea. On top of that, she probably did have classes that day, so by the time Mokuba woke up from his hardly restful sleep, she was already gone.
‘She’s probably not too hot on coming back and having a heart-to-heart with Seto once he gets back,’ Mokuba realized with a grimace. That meant that Mokuba had to play pacifier again, once Seto returned from Duelist Kingdom. Who knew what his brother had done there, assuming Pegasus was alive like he said, and had been willing to help Seto (as if). So Mokuba, entirely unaware of what new excitement would befall him that day, ate a meager breakfast and left the house for the Duel Dome.
Beep. Beep. BEEEEP!
The beeping grew annoyingly louder, despite all Mokuba’s attempts at shutting ‘that stupid alarm’ off. After a few moments of blinking in groggy surprise, he realized he was not at home in bed, and that there was no alarm clock to send hurling against the wall. In fact, Mokuba’s face was plastered to the plexiglass of one of the many control panels in the Duel Dome simulation arena, and the shrill beeping he was hearing was coming from one of the many devices in the room.
Mokuba only had to glance once at a nearby radar screen to realize what was going on: Seto was back. Or at least, he was on his way back. The shrill beeping indicated that the Blue-Eyes White Jet was within landing distance, and if someone didn’t get to the landing strip fast, there would be nowhere for the massive jet to land. That was the beauty of the Duel Dome— though it was located on the edges of the city, tucked between a few hills and carefully preserving the natural forests, its architecture allowed for maximum efficient use of the tiny amount of space. Buildings had to be shifted aside and a runway extension activated before the jet could even come within kilometers of the Dome!
All at once, the adrenaline started pumping through Mokuba’s veins, and he tore out of the control room as fast as his legs could carry him.
Ten minutes later, he was panting furiously as he watched his brother step out of the Blue-Eyes White Jet, looking as calm and composed as ever. But as Mokuba caught his breath and managed to raise his head to look his brother in the eye, he noticed something…strange. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but it gave him a sick feeling to his stomach. It didn’t help that Seto walked right by without sparing him so much as a glance, only three short words: “Bring Yugi here.”
Mokuba didn’t like being kept out of the loop. He hated not knowing things—probably a trait he shared in common with his brother. But when his brother was the one keeping secrets from him, it hardly helped. Seto was short on patience and details that Saturday afternoon; he kept barking out fierce orders for any and all employees in the Duel Dome to ready the place for a duel, and to make sure that they were gone by the time their “special guest” arrived.
His younger brother was tasked with finding Yugi, as if Seto expected Mokuba to possess some innate psychic ability that would tell him where the famous duelist was that late Saturday afternoon. The Turtle Game Store was closed, and Domino High was already abandoned—but just as Mokuba was about to give up, he spotted Yugi’s trademark hair style emerging from a nearby building: The Domino Museum of History.
“Yugi—I’ve been looking all over for you! My brother sent me to find you and he said that it’s real important that you bring your Duel Disk right away!”
Whatever had happened, this order was the clincher: Seto had gotten some cards that would help him defeat Yugi, or else he wouldn’t have readied the Dome for a duel, or asked Mokuba to find Yugi—and not return until he did.
“Wait…so he’s okay then?” Yugi asked curiously.
Mokuba glanced at Yugi, confused for a moment. It seemed Yugi thought there was something wrong with Seto—though, this sudden urge to start dueling again did seem a little bit strange, even to Mokuba.
“I wouldn’t say he’s okay,” Mokuba admitted at last. “All I know is that Seto hasn’t been acting like himself lately. I think he’s gonna totally lose it!” Of course, that wasn’t true, but Mokuba was running on very little sleep and a great deal of fear. He didn’t know what was going on with his brother. He didn’t know anything about what was happening.
Yugi looked thoughtful for a moment, and then he nodded. “Okay. My Duel Disk and deck are at the shop, so we’ll have to go there, first.”
“Really?” Mokuba seemed astonished that Yugi had agreed so easily, but then he remembered that Yugi wasn’t an egotistical duelist that turned down challenges from people he’d already beaten before. Even with Mokuba as the messenger, that’s what this whole thing was, anyway—Mokuba was sure of it. Perhaps Yugi actually did care about what was going on with Seto, even if the two of them never really got along like friends. And with Téa angry at Seto for not telling her about his duel simulations (though Mokuba figured he himself had some blame to take for that), someone caring about Seto was better than just Mokuba on his own.
Who better to knock some sense into Seto than Yugi?
“Way to hold back the crowd, champ!” Tristan bit out sarcastically to Joey. It had literally taken hours to comb through all the duelists that had bombarded them since their untimely exit from Domino High, and now there was probably no way that Yugi and the others were still at the museum. They decided to head to the Turtle Game Store, in the hopes that Yugi and the others would already be there.
“Oh, like you helped!?” Joey snapped. The tone in his voice wasn’t malicious, though; more like exhausted. Joey had long since removed his Duel Disk from his wrist, and he was massaging it as they ambled along at a comfortably slow pace. “Then again,” Joey laughed, “You duel worse than my mom!”
“You’re just lucky I’m worn out, man,” Tristan growled.
“Ladies, ladies— will the two of you just shut it?” Duke bit out. “At least you got rid of them. We’ll have to ask Téa and Yugi what was at the museum, unless they all want to go again for our sake. After all that crazy dueling, I’d say we deserve a bit of slack from them.”
“Yeah,” Joey and Tristan agreed simultaneously.
At the moment silence broke, they all rounded the corner toward the Turtle Game Store and Yugi’s house—just in time to hear an engine start up.
“Check it out!” Joey jutted his chin toward the store, where a sleek black limousine waited.
“What’s Kaiba’s limo doing at Yugi’s place?” Tristan mused. The only reason why they recognized it as Kaiba’s limousine was because of the license plate: the standard white with green text, from the Shinagawa municipal office. To anyone else in Japan, it would sound like a perfectly ordinary plate, except for the fact that Kaiba’s license plate number was the extremely rare 01 plate. His license plate had only two numbers: zero and one. The other two slots on the plate were printed with embossed dots, with a small “Se” character to the left. Plates with only one or two numbers were extremely hard to come by, except by lottery, but doubtless Kaiba had pulled some strings at the registration office and gotten the “Number One” license plate.
Joey, Tristan, and Duke dashed toward the limo, getting close enough to spot Yugi within, but by the time they called out their friend’s name, the limo was speeding off down a hill and out of sight.
“Three guesses where he’s going,” Duke muttered. “And the first two don’t count.”
The sun was setting to a crisp, clear day, coloring the sky in shades of brilliant orange and red. The brightness of the setting sun only made the giant dome on the horizon ever the more apparent. Not just any dome—the Duel Dome.
“Five hundred yen says there’s going to be a duel within the hour,” Tristan said. “We better get going.”
Joey and Duke only nodded as the two of them sped down the hill as fast as they could.
“I don’t know about this,” Solomon grumbled as he crossed his arms over his broad chest. “For Yugi to take off like that…”
“I’m positive he saw something,” Téa said in a low voice. After the mysterious quake, the disappearance of the Pyramid of Light and Anubis’s mummy at the Domino Museum of History, the police had swarmed on the museum. Téa also got the strange feeling that she was being watched, but whenever she looked around, she never noticed anyone or anything out of the ordinary. Sure, Yugi’s grandfather, Serenity, Malik and Téa were all still waiting near the entrance of the museum, which was flooded with police and museum staff, but…
“Something tells me Yugi won’t be coming back,” Malik stated in that eerie, calmvoice of his.
“What?” Serenity looked absolutely astonished, though this was far from her first encounter with Malik. Like Téa and the others, it had taken a bit of convincing before Serenity believed Malik was pure-hearted. The sprightly redhead remembered that Malik was responsible for brainwashing her brother during Battle City, and nearly getting him killed. But this Malik didn’t seem to have any ill intentions toward any of them; he was just weird.
“Whatever he saw caused him to run out of here pretty fast. He said something about Kaiba being in danger, didn’t he?”
“He did,” Téa admitted, her gaze dropping to the floor. The truth was, Yugi’s words had very nearly incited her to run off and find Kaiba on her own, but she hadn’t the first idea where to look. Was he still at the Duel Dome, simulating a rematch with Yugi? Or had he gone somewhere to find a way to beat Yugi’s God Cards, once and for all? Of course, that thought prompted the next words out of Téa’s mouth.
“Is there a way to beat the God Cards?”
Malik blinked for a moment before his gaze shifted back to the police-infested museum. It didn’t have the main attraction—the Pyramid of Light and the mummy of Anubis—any longer.
‘Maybe that was the whole point in having in brought here to Japan,’ Malik thought. The exhibit had left Japan without Isis’s say-so, which meant someone else was pulling the strings. But who in the world could have that kind of knowledge, that kind of power?
“For both Yugi and Kaiba’s sake, I certainly hope not,” Malik responded at last. “It would all depend on how stupid Pegasus is.”
“Is?!” Solomon, Téa, and Serenity echoed in unison.
Malik blinked at them owlishly. “You thought he was dead?”
Everyone exchanged a glance and nodded slowly at Malik.
“Isn’t that what all the reports said?” Téa asked after a moment. “After Duelist Kingdom, somebody attacked Pegasus. The next thing we knew, the transfer of stocks went through to Yugi, and Pegasus was never heard from again. The media had a field day about it.”
“That’s what my brother told me,” Serenity added. “Of course, all this was news to me up until the end of Battle City…” Serenity stared at Malik for a moment before dropping her gaze to the floor.
If Malik noticed Serenity’s hesitant gaze rise to look at him and then away, he didn’t mention it. Instead, he scoffed at Téa’s words. “From what I heard, the attack on Pegasus involved him getting the Millennium Eye torn out of its socket. Considering Pegasus was both smart and wealthy enough to be protected from those that might hold a grudge against him, who’s out there that you think would have the power to get past his defenses and attack him so brutally?”
It wasn’t a question any of them could answer—though Téa had a sinking sensation about who it could be.
‘I only hope I’m wrong.’
“In any case, what do we do now?” Serenity asked worriedly. “Yugi doesn’t have a cell phone, does he?”
“No,” Solomon sighed. “I suppose it would have been a good investment, back when Yugi begged me to buy him one last year.”
“What about Joey, Duke, or Tristan?” Serenity suggested. “They didn’t make it here to the museum, but maybe they ran into Yugi somewhere along the way.”
It was a long shot, but it was the best idea they’d heard so far. After all, there was no telling if Yugi had managed to find Kaiba, and even if he had, where the two of them might be. Everything was resting on chance.
Serenity took out a bright pink cell phone and quickly skimmed through her phone book until she reached her brother’s cell phone number. Joey wasn’t one to brag about his new phone, unlike most boys his age, if only because he didn’t want to jinx the managerial job that gave him the money that allowed him to pay for it. He still didn’t understand why he’d suddenly been awarded with management of the courier service, but the better hours and pay kept his mouth shut from ever asking.
“Big Brother?” Serenity asked when someone on the other line picked up. “Why do you sound so weird?”
After a few moments, Serenity’s faintly hazel eyes widened and she lifted her other hand to her mouth. “Oh! Oh…we’ll be there soon!” And then she hung up.
“What’s going on, Serenity?”
“Apparently, Joey and the other guys spotted Kaiba’s limo at the game store. Yugi got in and headed off toward the Duel Dome—that’s where the guys are headed now.”
“Somehow, I should have known,” Téa mumbled under her breath. “Let’s go. We need to stop Yugi and Seto before they do something stupid.”
By the time the limousine arrived at the Duel Dome, the sun was just about done setting, casting all of Domino into a brilliant fiery orange color. From high up where the Duel Dome was nestled between a few hills and old forests, one could see the looming shadows of the Tokyo skyscrapers covering the rest of the city in inky darkness. Soon, the twinkling lights of the city would come on, and it would be as if the sun had never set at all.
“My brother’s waiting for you on the top floor,” Mokuba said at last.
He silently wished he could have led a simple life, but he’d never known what a simple life even was. Perhaps he’d hate it. In any case, the only way to get back to what Mokuba hoped was ‘normality’ was by helping his brother in whatever way possible- and if that meant bringing Yugi to the Duel Dome, then…
The look on Yugi’s face as he turned around to look at Mokuba was surprising. It seemed almost sad, but Mokuba couldn’t figure out why.
“I got it. Thanks Mokuba.” And then he turned around and headed into the main building itself. Three glass tubes stretched up into the uppermost wings of the Duel Dome, where the simulation arena rested on the topmost floor. Kaiba spared no expense when it came to any of the buildings where he conducted business, and that was especially true of the Duel Dome.
“Welcome to the Kaiba Corp. Duel Dome,” a female voice spoke from the speakers as soon as Yugi passed through the threshold of the Dome. As he neared one of the glass elevators, the curved doors slid open soundlessly.
“Destination: Sky Top Dueling Platform.” The voice fell silent after that, and the only sound was the low hum of the elevator being pushed upward at an amazingly fast rate.
Yugi sighed. Even though it would only be a few moments at the most before he reached the dueling platform, he still wanted to understand why he was doing this. There was no obligation to, and if he’d stayed long enough to listen, Téa probably would have begged him not to duel Kaiba. Yugi briefly wondered if that was because she cared more about Kaiba or…
‘I have to stop thinking like that!’
But it was easier said than done. Better to think about the duel ahead than events behind.
Yugi’s fingers slid over his deck, and almost instinctively, he pulled the three legendary God Cards from their place within his Duel Disk.
“This is what he wants,” Yugi said aloud. But he wasn’t speaking to himself. As odd as it was, Yugi often felt that when he spoke to his other half—Yami, the former Pharaoh, and known to many as ‘the King of Games’—that he was in two places at once. In a realm of nothingness, and then in the real world. Only in the place of nothing did Yami seem to have any physical form. Yami’s physical appearance always appeared to Yugi as something similar to his own, perhaps because Yugi could not imagine someone that looked wildly different from himself taking control of his body and championing all the games in the world. To Yugi, Yami looked vaguely taller, with spikier hair and narrower eyes. If anything, he appeared merely as an older version of Yugi himself…as everything that Yugi had always wanted to be, and wanted to have.
A true friend with courage…even to stand against his other friends.
“It’s too much of a coincidence that Kaiba would send for us right after the vision we had at the museum,” Yugi said at last. “There must be something more going on here, and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with that Anubis guy. It seems like you had some kind of a battle with him 3,000 years ago.”
“Perhaps,” Yami said, his eyes fixed not on Yugi, but on the God Cards that hovered in the nothingness between them. “But sadly, memories of my days as the pharaoh are clouded. Nor is it clear to me what role the Egyptian God Cards play in all of this.”
Despite having another soul occupy his body and mind, not all of Yugi’s thoughts were privy to his other self. In fact, Yugi was silently wondering at that very moment if it had been a mistake coming here. He could have stayed at the museum and found more about the Pyramid of Light and Anubis from the exhibit or even his own grandfather. He could have told Téa and Malik just what he saw, in the hopes that they would understand him and counsel him on what to do.
‘But Kaiba was going to get crushed by that Anubis guy!’ Yugi defended himself mentally. ‘There’s just no way that he’d call me for a duel right after that vision unless…’
“I sure wish we knew more about what happened back in your past,” Yugi said aloud.
“All that matters is that we face the future together,” Yami said. Yugi wondered about the eerie tone in his partner’s voice; it didn’t seem to be a quality that Yugi’s own voice possessed, but then again, Yugi wasn’t the embodiment of a 3,000-plus-year-old pharaoh.
“And I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Yugi smiled. He pushed aside all thoughts of ‘could-haves’ and ‘should-haves,’ including a memory of Téa in tears, begging him to understand—to the furthest reaches of his mind. “Are you ready, partner?”
There was a brilliant flash of light that only Yugi ever seemed to see. The Millennium Puzzle seemed to wobble and quake on its chain, and in an instant, short, wide-eyed Yugi was replaced with a more confident, masculine side of himself—the side known as Yami, the Pharaoh.
“Time to duel.”
Joey, Duke, and Tristan had run so far, so hard, and so fast, they’d probably completed their year’s physical education requirement in the time that they’d run from one end of town to the other. They’d just done something horribly insane, but when it came to Yugi, Kaiba, duels, and everything else in between, there was just no time to waste waiting for a bus or a taxi.
“Kaiba’s car is outside, so Yugi must be here!” Joey panted. He still didn’t stop running, even though the pain in his legs was burning like wildfire, and Yugi was nowhere in sight.
“Wow, you’re a regular Sherlock Holmes,” Duke griped. He hated running. He had his own car by now, as he’d been eighteen since February 28th. But despite explaining this to Joey and Tristan, they still insisted that they didn’t have time to waste waiting for Duke to get his car and drive them to the Duel Dome.
Duke wanted to choke the two of them, but he hardly had enough strength left in his legs to stand, let alone enough for a proper stranglehold.
“Hey! Yugi’s upstairs!”
The three boys turned toward the sound of the voice, not the least bit surprised to see Mokuba Kaiba standing beside three glass elevators.
“Mokuba…? What’s goin’ on?” None of them had seen Mokuba in the limousine with Yugi when they’d spotted the vehicle peeling away from the game store, but they recognized the car as being a Kaiba vehicle nonetheless.
“My brother’s about to duel him!” Mokuba announced. A second later, his chin fell to his chest. Something about all this just wasn’t right—and he’d been playing right into his brother’s plan. Just like with Death-T….
Tristan, Joey, and Duke exchanged a glance and immediately tried to cram into one elevator. Mokuba smothered the brief chuckle that escaped his lips and headed into an elevator of his own, the shouts and hollers from the next elevator drowned out the moment the glass doors closed.
The Duel Dome was a massive piece of architecture crammed into a small piece of land. The “Dome” part of it was actually a semi-spherical network of steel-enforced glass windows, supported by a primary steel beam that connected with the “floating” simulation control room. A pair of twin spiral staircases that detached from the floating control room led up to the control arena. When the control room was in its usual spot, it led back out to the uppermost C-shaped hallway that granted access to the rest of the Duel Dome. Aside from the single doorway through the control room, the only ways out of the Duel Arena were through the three elevator doors on the side of the Dome opposite the control room.
All of the doors connecting the lower spectator galleries to the arena platform closed one by one, each with a resounding slam. In a few moments, it was just Kaiba in the control room, staring out at the three elevators. When at last he spotted that annoyingly familiar head of hair and that too-smug grin, his own malicious smile widened. Soon, this would all end.
He could ignore his exhaustion and hunger for food—all that he had right now was the hunger—the desire—to beat Yugi once and for all. And for the first time, perfect victory was within reach!
“Welcome,” Kaiba spoke into the activated microphone. His voice sounded much raspier and gruffer than normal, but he didn’t care.
‘Glad you came to duel, Yugi—because this time, things are going to be different.’
The power and assured confidence that Kaiba thought he’d lost to Yugi so long ago seemed to be surging back, like a physical force that he could feel emanating from his Duel Disk, from his deck. With the cards he had, Yugi would play right into his hands—and right into a humiliating defeat.
Kaiba allowed his gaze to drift from Yugi’s figure on the arena platform down to the main computer. Kaiba placed his deck on the computer’s scanners, allowing the system to scan the embedded chips within. It created a simulation of Kaiba’s updated deck against Yugi’s most recently used and registered deck.
“Initializing Duel Simulation,” a pleasant female voice spoke. The voice went silent as numbers flickered by and monster names appeared and vanished.
Des Feral Imp versus Jack’s Knight. Yugi had the upper hand in that duel—Des Feral Imp had only 1500 attack and 800 defense, while Jack’s Knight possessed 2000 attack and 1300 defense—but it didn’t take long for the simulation to reflect the new cards in Kaiba’s deck.
“Calculating player strength…”
Yugi was quickly losing cards in the simulation: he was down to 33, while Kaiba still had 37. It was an easy trick—destroy your opponent’s deck and force them to draw until they could draw no more. But it was also a cheap method of winning a duel, and it wasn’t a method Kaiba intended to use today. No, today, he would achieve perfect victory…
‘At long last!’
Finally, the Blue-Eyes Shining Dragon versus the Sorcerer of Dark Magic—and as Yugi’s life points neared the low hundreds, a finishing blow…!
“God Cards destroyed.” The duel was lost, all without the God Cards having any role in the slight diminishing of Kaiba’s life points.
Kaiba couldn’t help the laughter that escaped his lips then. At last!
Mokuba scuttled out of the glass elevator and dashed down the side of the arena, concealed by the gutters that led to the galleries. Access to the galleries was closed now; apparently Seto had gone and started to seal off all the exits. There was only one place where Mokuba knew he had to be—and that was in the floating control room. He clambered up the metal ladder that connected to the main platform that the control room was usually fixed to; when Seto had the Duel Dome built, he gave the control room the option to detach from its platform and move about the arc of the dome. Dramatic, popular duels could then be broadcast in several different angles, all because of the cameras and holo-emitters fixed to the control room’s outer paneling.
By the time he got into the control room a few moments later, he spotted Joey, Tristan, and Duke emerging from their own elevator and getting out at the top-most galleries, where access was still available. They’d most likely forgotten to push a button in the elevator, so by default, it had taken them to the uppermost floor.
‘But where’s Téa?’ Something seemed awfully wrong about all this. Aside from the fact that Yugi and Seto were dueling again in the first place, it made no sense for Téa not to be there. Unless she wasn’t showing up on purpose, to protest both Yugi and Seto dueling again…? But somehow that seemed unlikely, even in Mokuba’s mind.
Little did he know that Téa intended to be at that Duel, whether she missed the first draw phase or not.
It was just a matter of time.
“I’ve got my motorcycle parked near the school—if we run, we can take it and make it to the Duel Dome in fifteen minutes,” Malik told Téa. They were briskly walking back in the general direction of the school and the Turtle Game Store—the opposite direction of where they needed to be, but the only direction where they could go to get to the Duel Dome within a reasonable amount of time. The route from the Domino Museum of History was still so clogged with policemen that even if they’d called a taxi from right in front, they never would have made it past the blockades.
“Go, Téa,” Serenity urged her friend before the brunette could even respond. “Grandpa and I can take a taxi. We’ll be there in a little bit—but you need to be there now.”
Téa hesitated at first; she didn’t want to abandon Solomon or Serenity. But…
‘I have to be there.’ It wasn’t just a matter of stopping Seto and Yugi from doing something “stupid.” It was more than that, but Téa couldn’t put the feeling into words.
She nodded at Serenity and then at Malik, and within seconds, the two of them were dashing off toward the school.
Within a few minutes, they were panting as they neared Domino High, the stark-white outline of the school highlighted in a brilliant orange. The sun had set only moments before, so they had to hurry. Trying to get to the Duel Dome in the dark would only present greater difficulties for them. Malik tossed his single helmet to Téa and methodically prepared the bike.
“What about you?” Téa asked as she finished strapping the helmet around her chin.
“Don’t worry about me,” Malik said as he straddled the bike. “Besides, you have bigger concerns at the moment. The sooner we get to the Duel Dome…” He never finished his sentence. He revved up his bike with a roar. Téa adjusted herself on the seat behind Malik, but she barely had a moment to find the handles on the side of the bike before he went tearing off into the growing dark.
“I hope you brought your Egyptian God Cards—otherwise this duel isn’t going to be any fun at all.”
“Kaiba, I’m sensing the presence of something far more dangerous than you could possibly imagine!”
The smirk that Kaiba had been keeping in check found its way to his lips. More blather? Just what did Yugi think he was accomplishing by spouting such nonsense?
“Spare me the fairy tales,” Kaiba stated, though his voice came out with a surprising snarl to it. His blood was pumping; adrenaline was rushing through his veins—he just wanted to get the duel started! Normally Kaiba had a much more practiced level of patience, but for some reason, he was aching to defeat Yugi quickly and easily….
‘No! If this is going to be a perfect victory, I’m going to take my time and relish in it!’
But the moment Kaiba thought that, his chest began to ache. Better to concentrate on Yugi and get him to start the duel already.
“I’m serious! We could all be in great danger!”
“I’ve heard enough!” Kaiba thrust a hand out, pointing a finger accusingly at Yugi. “If you think you sense something dangerous, you’re absolutely right—because it’s me and my deck! In this duel monsters match, you’re about to lose big time!”
He glanced up toward Mokuba in the control room, just out of the corner of his eye. “Mokuba! Seal all of the exits!”
Mokuba hesitated, and in that second, Seto’s gaze turned fully on him. Despite the distance between them, the look in Seto’s eyes unnerved Mokuba in a way that had never happened before. If he sealed all the exits, there’d be no way for Yugi and the guys to get out…and no way for Téa to get in.
‘Big Brother really wants this…that badly?’
Without words, it seemed as though Seto was throwing away everything that he and Téa had shared in recent months. He knew that Téa didn’t want him to duel Yugi, but…
“If you say so,” Mokuba spoke into the microphone, his voice hollow and sad. His finger trembled before it made contact with the button, and with a resounding slam, the remaining doors in the Duel Dome shut.
“What’s the deal?” Joey shouted, turning around to stare at the remaining windows and doors as they sealed themselves.
“We’re trapped, man!” Tristan responded. The boys all watched helplessly as window after window and door after door was covered by steel plates, with no apparent way of breaking through or getting past them.
“Now, what do you say we get down to business already!” Kaiba demanded. It wasn’t a question. The last of the rumbles from distant doors sealed themselves off faded away, and soon it was just the boys in the arena.
‘Something tells me that this is not a good idea!’ Yami Yugi realized, but there was no way out now. No physical way, at any rate. It seemed as if Kaiba had reverted back into the obsessive, egotistical duelist Yami had once known him as; he halfway hoped that being with Téa had changed Kaiba, but it seemed not. If so, Kaiba had no place being with her….
“Kaiba, why don’t you stop thinking about yourself for once and listen to what I’m telling you?”
Trying to talk to Kaiba was such a last resort for Yami Yugi (especially in dueling situations), but it had to be done—if not for Téa’s sake, then for Kaiba’s own…even if he was too stubborn to see it.
“You’re in no position to be making demands,” Kaiba snapped. “Now shut up and duel!” As an afterthought, he added snidely, “And may the best duelist win.”
Silently, Yami Yugi believed that Kaiba was beyond hope. It was honestly saddening, especially when he thought of all the time and feelings that Téa had wasted on Kaiba. But these were thoughts that had no place in a duel.
Yami Yugi shifted his hand and snapped his Duel Disk into place, the Life Point counter activating with 4000 points.
“I guess Yugi’s going through with this,” Duke observed.
“Kaiba ain’t leaving ‘im much choice!” Joey gritted out. Like Yugi, he too was having his reservations about Kaiba. Joey had been on the verge of believing that Kaiba had changed, and for the better, too. But to demand a duel out of nowhere and trap them inside the Dome? Kaiba was going too far.
“All Duel Dome exits are secure, all dueling systems online,” Mokuba announced into the microphone. His voice was still hollow and flat as it had been before; with each passing moment, he realized that he wanted no part in this duel because he knew that breaking Téa’s heart came as a consequence. No matter what happened between her and Seto, she still meant more to Mokuba for him to let that happen. But what else could he do?
“You’ve been taking credit for being the best duelist for way too long,” Kaiba stated as he shuffled his deck. He walked over to Yami Yugi, his stride confident and filled with purpose. The two of them traded decks and cut them, and handed them back to each other.
“And to tell you the truth,” Kaiba continued when he reached his side of the arena once more, “I’m sick of it. By the time this duel is over, you’ll be exposed to the world as a total fraud!”
“Been there, tried that,” Duke muttered under his breath. Louder, he said, “Kaiba’s going to need more than his usual share of confidence and ego to get him out of this one. I’d ask Joey to wish him luck, but something tells me you’re not on Kaiba’s side for this one.”
It wasn’t a question, but nonetheless, Duke glanced over to see what Joey’s reaction was. Not including the duelists so desperately after Yugi’s God Cards, they hadn’t dueled at all in recent memory. The duels that they had been through were ones to remember. After all, one didn’t just forget the kind of duels they got caught in—each and every one had a much deeper meaning than just “some game.”
Joey narrowed his eyes as he stared down at the dueling arena. He continued to grip the rail separating the top-most gallery from the arena below, concentrating on every diatribe exchanged between his best friend and the guy who had once been his bitterest rival. Not even Joey could claim that Kaiba was still a rival the way he used to be, but the way he was acting just seemed so out of left-field….
“I’ll start!” Kaiba announced, drawing a card to add to the five already in his hand. “First, I’ll summon my Familiar Knight in defense mode! Try and get past him.” The silver-clad warrior emerged from a gathering of light from the holographic projectors, and a virtual card appeared horizontally underneath the knight. Kaiba ended his turn, shifting the play over to Yami Yugi, who drew a card of his own.
“Very well, I shall! I play Queen’s Knight!” The voluptuous female warrior in scarlet armor appeared on the field, her blonde hair fluttering behind her. She was easily more powerful than the Familiar Knight, with 1500 attack points and 1600 defense points, versus the Familiar Knight’s 1200 attack and 1400 defense.
“And now…say goodbye to your monster! Queen’s Knight, attack!” As soon as the command went through, the massive screen on either side of the galleries revealed the two knight’s attack and defense values. It was the Queen’s Knight’s 1500 against the Familiar Knight’s 1400—an easy victory. There’d be no damage done to Kaiba’s Life Points, but not having monsters on the field was a critical weakness.
The Queen’s Knight leaped forward and thrust her sword straight through the Familiar Knight’s shield. It bent like so much liquid silver, and in a burst of brilliant light, the Familiar Knight disappeared from the field. The light didn’t quite fade though, and soon a massive black creature appeared on the field where the Familiar Knight had been. Within seconds, it was clear that the monstrous shape with spikes protruding from every angle was a dragon—the Rare Metal Dragon, to be precise.
“By destroying your knight, I’ve activated its special ability, which allows you to play a new beast in its place.”
Up in the galleries, Joey and Tristan looked astonished. Duke, for his part, continued to stare at Kaiba, who had a bored expression plastered on his face.
“He did what!?“
“WHAT!? Yugi’s lost it! Why would he let Kaiba play a monster with 2400 attack points?” The dragon was stronger than Yugi’s Queen’s Knight by a long shot, and it would take a chunk out of Yugi’s Life Points if it attacked.
“And you’re being so helpful because…why?” Kaiba asked tonelessly. Oh, he already knew why. Might as well amuse Yugi and feign a lack of awareness about Yugi’s tired strategies. He resisted the urge to smirk when he saw Yugi close his eyes and smile smugly.
“Because I also get to summon a new monster…King’s Knight!” The Familiar Knight’s effect dictated that when it was sent to the Graveyard as a result of battle, both players could then Special Summon a creature of Level 4 from their hand. Both Yugi and Kaiba apparently had the luck of the draw, as both of them had Level 4 monsters in their hand—Kaiba with his Rare Metal Dragon and Yugi with his Knight.
But it still didn’t make any sense—the King’s Knight was barely more powerful than his female counterpart. Even if Yami Yugi now had one more monster on the field than Kaiba, neither of his creatures were strong enough to withstand an attack from Kaiba’s dragon.
“When these two knights are in play…I can automatically summon my Jack’s Knight!”
“Wasn’t there a big to-do about changing the ruling of King’s Knight?” Duke wondered idly. “Something about how its effect should only work when it’s Normal Summoned?”
“You’re whining about that now?” Joey demanded. Duke only rolled his eyes and continued to watch the duel.
“And next…” Yami Yugi continued, “I’ll place one card face down. Make your move!”
Kaiba didn’t respond to Yami Yugi’s overconfident tone and instead drew a card. One glance confirmed it—the start of his victory. Distantly, he thought he just heard something—a deep voice chanting something incomprehensible.
‘Just my imagination.’
“Looks like your luck’s finally run out,” Kaiba said. “I’ll keep this card face down on the field until the time is right.” He placed the Pyramid of Light face down in his magic and trap card zone and waited. The chance that Yugi would have a trap-destruction card either in his hand or already set on the field was slim to none. Such cards, while helpful in a pinch, tended to be useless in a deck like Yugi’s, where his main strategy seemed more toward bringing out his most powerful monsters quickly.
But this would be one time when Yugi’s most powerful monsters didn’t stand a chance.
“Right for me, that is,” Kaiba continued. “And then nothing in your deck will make a difference. Your move, Yugi.”
Kaiba was essentially playing devil’s advocate; he had the ability to attack and prevent Yugi from summoning the God Cards by negating any chance of his ever having three monsters on the field at the same time. But that was the exact opposite of what he wanted—so he didn’t attack.
Yugi narrowed his eyes in suspicion, but he drew his next card anyway. The moment his fingers brushed against the card, he felt a jolt from deep within his chest. A single look confirmed it: Slifer the Sky Dragon. He had the means to summon the dragon now, but something still seemed so wrong about this…
‘An Egyptian God card!’ Yugi appeared beside his other half with an innocent smile on his face. It was clear that he didn’t feel the strange power fluctuating from this place. Or was it really this place, and not Kaiba himself? Yami Yugi couldn’t be sure, so he had to keep dueling.
“I sacrifice my three knights to bring forth my ultimate creature!” The three knights turned into balls of colored light and vanished, and all at once the holo-emitters in the arena seemed to overload. A dark, swirling cloud appeared on Yugi’s side of the field, and from within that darkness, a streak of blood-red slithered and slid out.
“Behold the Egyptian God card…Slifer the Sky Dragon!” In truth, there was no Egyptian God by the name of ‘Slifer,’ just like there was no god called ‘Obelisk.’ But the reasons behind their names were just as much a mystery to Yami Yugi as his own past. “Your monster is completely defenseless against the divine power of Slifer!”
Only those that already knew how the God Cards worked could possibly activate them; otherwise, they were just highly decorative, extremely rare cards. Slifer’s effect wasn’t listed on its card; all it said was The heavens twist and thunder roars, signaling the coming of this ancient creature, and the dawn of true power. In truth, Slifer’s had the ability to increase its attack power by 1000 points for every card in the controller’s hand. Since Yugi had three cards in his hand, Slifer’s power was at 3000 for both attack and defense. It was only a meager amount over Kaiba’s Rare Metal Dragon, but it would be enough to do some damage.
“Now, my Sky Dragon—attack!”
Slifer attacked with its legendary and overwhelmingly-bright Thunder Force attack, destroying the Rare Metal Dragon on the field. Having Slifer on the field also gave Yugi the assurance that no matter what Kaiba summoned, its attack would be reduced by 2000. Any creatures summoned with an attack of 2000 or less would be destroyed, as would any defense-position monsters set. There was no way Kaiba could bring out his signature Blue-Eyes White Dragon card without making the requisite tributes, and even if he did manage to get it on the field somehow, it would have a lowered attack thanks to Slifer’s Summon Lightning Impact ability.
Kaiba shielded his eyes from the crimson lightning that flared out from Slifer and its Thunder Force attack. His Life Points dropped to 3400 points, but Kaiba didn’t flinch. This was all part of his plan.
“Had enough?” Yugi demanded. A pointless question to ask, since Kaiba would never surrender under any circumstances.
Now that Yugi’s turn was over, Kaiba drew another card and pulled another from his hand, placing it in his magic and trap card zone.
“Not only am I not afraid of your God Cards, but I’m going to force you to summon all three of them at once!” He activated Obligatory Summon, a simple magic card with the ability to force-summon creatures of the same type of the ones that were already on the field.
There was a collective gasp from Yugi and his friends up in the galleries; perhaps Yugi wasn’t the one who’d lost it, but Kaiba!
“Thanks to my Obligatory Summon magic card, you have to bring out every monster in your deck that falls into the same category as the one that’s on the field already!” Such summons counted as Special Summons, and theoretically, would only last until the end of the turn since they affected all Divine-Beast type monsters, but it hardly mattered to Kaiba. He just wanted to prove to Yugi once and for all that he wasn’t the best duelist out there.
“Very well then! I play two more Egyptian God Cards: Obelisk the Tormentor and the Winged Dragon of Ra!”
Yami didn’t even have to search his deck for the God Cards; his Duel Disk automatically reacted to the activation of Obligatory Summon and shuffled his deck so that the God Cards were the next two cards on the top of his deck. Yugi barely touched them before his Duel Disk glowed with an awesome display of golden light, the other two God Cards appearing on the field beside Slifer.
“You’ve allowed me to assemble the three strongest and most feared creatures in Duel Monsters, Kaiba—a foolish mistake!” Nonetheless, having the three God Cards on the field all at once didn’t particularly comfort Yami Yugi. There had to be a reason behind all this—behind Kaiba wanting this duel now, after so much time had passed since Battle City; behind the strange feeling Yami was getting, and behind Kaiba making such a foolish move and forcing all the God Cards into play at once.
“It’s no mistake!” Kaiba laughed. “My entire strategy was to draw out your Egyptian God Cards so I can be the first duelist to crush all of them at once!”
Yami narrowed his eyes in suspicion. “And just how do you intend to do that!?”
“You’re about to find out right now!”
The moment he saw Kaiba’s fingers move toward the face-down card on his Duel Disk, Yami realized his fatal error. He’d completely forgotten about that card…but what magic or trap card could possibly affect the God Cards? Unless…
“Reveal Trap card—Pyramid of Light!” The face-down card on the field flipped up, shining as it activated. Yugi couldn’t read the text from his distance, but Kaiba’s words had caught him off-guard.
“So the Pyramid of Light is more than just an artifact! It’s also a card!” And apparently, the two were connected, because the moment Kaiba activated the card, a brilliant blue-white light burst forth from the card, blinding everyone watching the duel.
The voice Kaiba had originally passed off as his imagination grew increasingly louder, and judging by the way that Yugi, Joey, Tristan, and Duke were looking around in confusion, they could hear the chanting too.
When the light dimmed slightly, one could barely make out the outline of a pyramid enclosing the arena platform—and the God Cards were nowhere to be seen.
“Looks like your so-called unstoppable monsters have been stopped!” Kaiba announced smugly.
“Impossible!” Yugi looked around, but all he could see were walls of blue-white light, extending upward further and further to a single point.
“See for yourself!” Yugi stared at the wall closest to him, watching it as it faded ever-so-slightly…revealing the Gods trapped behind it.
“Whoa, check it out!” Mokuba stared from the control room, the highest point where one could still see both into the pyramid and what was out of it. He watched in fascination as Obelisk the Tormentor, the mighty Divine-Beast Warrior stretched a massive hand out toward the Pyramid of Light and was immediately shocked by a burst of lightning. The lighting arced up and tangled around the twin mouths of Slifer the Sky Dragon, and it writhed in agony.
“Your monsters are useless!” Kaiba laughed once more, allowing the feeling of triumph to course through his veins. He watched in mute satisfaction as the God Cards vanished, one by one.
“He actually did it!” Mokuba couldn’t help the smile that started to curve his lips; even Téa knew how long Seto had wanted to prove himself, to be victorious once more. Perhaps she didn’t understand the way Mokuba did—the reason why Seto needed to be champion so badly. If Seto wasn’t the best at something, he felt useless. And now it looked like he would finally win…!
His happiness was short-lived the moment Mokuba’s gaze drifted back to the playing field from the control panels. Instead of the awesome blue walls of the Pyramid of Light, he saw a depthless nebula of crimson and azure, with a massive golden eye in the center. Where the pupil of the eye would have been there was a vortex of darkness, almost calling to Mokuba to come closer, closer…
Down in the playing field, Yami lurched forward as a sharp pain increased to an almost agonizing level in his chest. He saw the spirit-form of Yugi beside him for just an instant, screaming in pain before his other half disappeared just as the Gods had.
Golden lightning crackled around the Millennium Puzzle, and the sharp pain in his chest morphed into a blistering cold as if everything in his body was being sucked away into oblivion. The feeling that Yami usually got from the puzzle—that comfort, that assurance that Yugi was with him, mentally and spiritually was gone.
Outside the arena, Joey, Tristan, and Duke were staring at the quickly-changing walls of the Pyramid of Light. No longer blue-white to their eyes, the walls seemed to have changed to a sickening shade of blood red, with a single gold-rimmed eye in the center filled with the darkest shade of blue.
“Aw man, not more freaky magic!” Tristan groused. Only one look at the eye in the center of the Pyramid sent his stomach reeling, and in order to combat the nausea, he gripped the gallery rail tightly.
“This weird stuff always happens when Yugi duels!” Joey complained. He shouted down to the pyramid that had effectively stopped the God Cards and blocked the rest of the duel from their view. “Hey! Whatta you lookin’ at!?”
The eye seemed to react to Joey’s taunt, as the massive vortex of blue suddenly burst forth with powerful winds. A booming voice chanted in an unintelligible language, louder and louder. As if in response, the winds grew increasingly stronger.
“I think you got it mad!” Duke shouted over the roaring winds to Joey. Joey scowled at him, but he quickly focused his attention on gripping the railing as hard as he could. The wind was threatening to tear him and the others right out of the galleries and down into the arena below!
“Just hang on, man!” Tristan shouted to Joey.
“Easier said than done!” Joey closed his eyes against the fierce wind, but when white-hot pain lanced up his arm, he opened his eyes. To his astonishment, red lightning was spewing from the center of the golden eye, burning everything in its path. Joey closed his eyes to the pain once more, and then everything went black.
When the boys next opened their eyes, they all felt light-headed—and for good reason. They barely managed to spot their own bodies lying on the gallery floor, untouched by the vortex of winds from the Pyramid of Light, before they were pulled into the eye and into darkness.
Mokuba realized things were going out of control the moment one of the ceiling rafters fell from its place and slammed right through the control room roof. One by one, rafters started to fall, and he could barely risk taking a look out the control room windows to see if his brother was still all right. According to the control panels, the duel was still on— but Mokuba couldn’t see anything but the blood-red pyramid, with a brilliant beam of blue-white light shooting out from its uppermost tip.
“This is crazy!” Mokuba exclaimed, ducking another piece of falling debris. He had to get out of the control room if he valued his life—and fast!
They were almost there—just beyond that hill, and the Duel Dome would be in sight. But before they could round that last bend, an amazingly sharp pain filled Téa’s chest, and she lost her grip on Malik’s motorcycle handles. She lurched forward, nauseous, and quickly wrapped her arms around the Egyptian’s waist to try and steady herself. Malik slowed down just a bit, casting a surprised look at Téa behind him.
‘There is something wrong. I don’t know what it is, but I can feel it…Seto, please be okay!’ Téa shook her head fiercely and managed to tell Malik to continue driving, but the ache in her chest wouldn’t go away.
As long as Seto was okay, Téa could forgive him for restarting his rivalry with Yugi, for dueling with such fierce desperation. He’d probably had his reasons, but Téa had been so shocked and upset by his deception that she hadn’t wanted to hear them. Likely Seto had been fed up with her own overreaction and hadn’t bothered to clarify his reasons.
In the next moment, they rounded the corner and saw it—the quickly-deteriorating Duel Dome, with a massive pillar of light bursting from its center.
“That blue beam is the same color as the Pyramid of Light from the museum, and I bet it’s no coincidence,” Malik observed. He could feel the unsteady ground quake beneath the grip of his bike’s tires, but they couldn’t stop now.
‘Whatever’s going on in there, one thing’s for sure—it can’t be good!’ But whether it was part of the prophecy or not, Malik couldn’t be sure. All he knew was that he had to get Téa to where she needed to be.
Little did she know, her need to find Kaiba wasn’t merely a selfish one, based in her own heart, but one dictated by the ancient past.
“Yugi! Where are you?” Yami clutched his Millennium Puzzle desperately, turning it this way and that, but he still couldn’t feel anything. He mentally tried to call on Yugi, even tried to force him to emerge, but nothing happened. Anger started to swell in his chest where that cold, empty feeling once was, and he turned angry eyes on Kaiba.
“KAIBA! Do you have any idea what you have just done?!”
“Well, let’s see…” Kaiba closed his eyes and smiled smugly, “I think I’ve just beaten you!”
Yami gritted his teeth in frustration, but the way it was looking, Kaiba was right. But Yami didn’t care nearly so much about his title as the ‘King of Games’ as he did about Yugi. If something had happened to him because of Kaiba’s idiotic desire to be number one and his mysterious Pyramid of Light card, then…
The first sensation Yugi felt upon awakening was cold. Slowly, his eyes opened, but all he could make out was a vast grayness. As the blurry veil before his eyes lifted, he realized that he was cold because he’d been lying face-down against what looked like a concrete floor. And not just any concrete floor—but one of many, stretching up and up, with staircases reaching up and around, hanging in impossible directions, and heading toward doors that could not be opened if gravity had any play in this realm.
But Yugi knew full well that things like gravity had no part in this realm—the realm of his other half’s heart and soul.
“I’ve gotta find the pharaoh’s spirit so we can reconnect!” Yugi mumbled aloud as he struggled to stand. He looked around, but there didn’t appear to be anything or anyone in sight, just endless walls, staircases, and doors.
“I’m pretty sure that one of these rooms belongs to him…but which one? There must be a million doorways in this place!”
Well, the only way to find out was by looking around.
He opened doorway after doorway, walking up and down stairs. All he had to do was will himself to walk in ways that would normally be impossible, and he did. He continued to open the upside-down doors and the doors that hung on precipices of cold stone. Nothing. Endless black in each room.
“Hello? Hello-oo?” Still no one. Not even a spot of light to indicate a doorway through a door, or a hallway with multiple doors…
“Pharaoh, are you here?” No response again. Although Yugi was unsure if time passed in this realm, the ache in his legs and the emptiness in his chest told him that he’d been searching for quite a long time.
Oh, man…I feel as bad as you look, Joey,” Tristan groaned as he struggled to his feet. The moment he opened his eyes, he shut them again and blinked rapidly, thinking he was seeing things. But when he opened his eyes a second time, his surroundings remained the same.
“Tristan, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” Joey said as he looked around.
“It looks like some weird maze,” Duke observed.
“Yeah,” Tristan agreed. “And we’re the lab rats!”
Not a moment later, they all heard a distinctly familiar voice scream something, but all they caught of the word was an echo. What they did recognize was the voice of their friend—Yugi.
“You hear that?” Tristan stared up, unsure if the voice had come from above or below.
“Yeah! It sounded like Yugi. Come on!” Without an apparent clue as to where Yugi was, Joey took off in one direction in a run, not even stopping to check if Tristan and Duke were behind him.
“It hurts, doesn’t it?” Kaiba sneered, asking the question with a drawl. It was apparent his question was completely rhetorical, especially when he continued speaking without any prompt from Yami.
“When you put your faith in the gods and they let you down. If I were you, now’s a good time to start praying for mercy.”
Yami was sorely tempted to end Kaiba’s arrogance once and for all—the same way he had so long ago, with a quick and simple Mind Crush. But at this time, in this duel, Kaiba hardly deserved it. Yami knew he just wanted someone to blame—someone to take the fall for the disappearance of the Pyramid of Light and the mummy of Anubis, and Yugi vanishing for no apparent reason. But as much as Yami hated to admit it, Kaiba was not at fault.
Part of him—the part of him that had learned from Yugi’s kindness toward others—reminded him that stubborn Kaiba had led a very tough life thus far, and probably wasn’t just talking about the God cards when he mentioned “the gods letting you down.”
Yami blinked fiercely, determined to end this duel, to get Kaiba to realize the truth once and for all—and above all else, to get Yugi back, safe and sound.
“From here on out, I’m planning to take you apart, piece by painful piece!” Kaiba continued. He withdrew another card from his hand and placed it in his magic and trap card zone, activating it. “Let the torture continue with this…the torrential magic of Mystical Space Typhoon! Your face-down card is destroyed!”
The game having switched to Kaiba’s turn, he used his chance to summon a creature.
“And if you liked that, then you’re going to love this! Peten the Dark Clown!”
The smiling harlequin didn’t look like much, were it not for the razor-sharp blade in its left hand. It laughed darkly in that eerie way that holographic Duel Monsters did and bounced on the soles of its rubber feet. Yami swallowed the bile that had started to creep its way up his throat; it was not that he was afraid of losing, it was that he was afraid that he’d already lost something more precious than any Duel Monsters title.
Talking to Kaiba obviously didn’t help matters, but giving up was simply something Yami Yugi did not do. He had to figure out a way to combat Kaiba’s revamped deck and surprising strategy—and talk him out of this insanity before matters got worse.
“Don’t let his name fool you. He’s no laughing matter,” Kaiba said, but the maniacal smile on his face indicated otherwise. He must have indicated that Peten should attack, for the clown vanished from Kaiba’s side of the field and reappeared a moment later directly behind Yami. Without any creatures on his side of the field to protect him, Peten’s dagger sliced right through Yami. Though the blade and monster were both holographic, both the Duel Monsters card and Kaiba Corporation’s Solid Vision holographic technology caused the stab that lanced through Yami’s chest to feel awfully realistic.
He gasped in surprise as he tried to catch his breath, barely seeing Peten bounce back to Kaiba’s side of the field, laughing all the way. His chest was still stinging, hurting far more than any other direct attack had ever hurt before.
“And to top it off, I’ll place this face-down on the field!” Kaiba announced, but Yami wasn’t paying the slightest bit of attention.
‘That attack…it drained me somehow. But I’m far from finished!’
Now that it was back to being Yami’s turn, he had to think fast. He drew a card, feeling a temporary rush of relief. Kaiba’s clown had a mere 500 attack points, while the card he just drew had 1600 attack points and 1800 defense. It was more than enough to destroy Peten and do some damage to Kaiba…but there was that face-down card. After Peten’s attack, Yami had only 100 more Life Points than Kaiba, and he’d be risking giving Kaiba an even greater advantage.
But he would have to take that chance.
“Magician’s Valkyria!” The Level 4 Light Spellcaster was part of Yugi’s trademark Dark Magician-themed deck, one that, even with the God cards in hand, would never leave his side. The Valkyria was a “cousin” to the Dark Magician Girl and prevented any of Kaiba’s monsters from attacking other Spellcasters so long as Valkyria was face-up on the field.
“Attack with Mystic Scepter Blast!”
Magician’s Valkyria raised her jeweled stave while green light coalesced at its tip. Within seconds, a blast went hurtling toward Peten the Dark Clown, effectively blowing it into tiny little bits, and reducing Kaiba’s Life Points to 2300. Kaiba looked upset for only a moment before he raised his hand and flipped over his face-down card.
“Nice try Yugi, but I knew you’d make that move, which is why my face-down card is Deck Destruction Virus!”
A relative of Kaiba’s powerful Crush card and its counterpart, Deck Devastation Virus, Kaiba’s new viral infection card had the loathsome ability of taking ten random cards from Yami’s deck and immediately sending them to the Graveyard. Worse, the card was a permanent trap. The only benefit for Yami was that the card only activated when Dark monsters of 500 attack or less were destroyed. Kaiba likely had very few monsters that weak in his deck.
Although Peten the Dark Clown was gone, the mayhem had just begun.
“You set off this crippling trap when you destroyed my Dark Clown, and now its viral tentacles will infect ten random cards from your deck and send them straight to the graveyard!” Truth be told, Kaiba preferred this card over his age-old Shrink-and-Crush combination, because it affected Yami’s magic and trap cards, too. And if Yami were stupid enough to attack him again, he would only destroy himself. But if he didn’t attack, he would give Kaiba the means of summoning a creature that he couldn’t possibly handle….
“Oh no!” Yami had realized Kaiba’s twisted strategy a moment too late, and the holographic tentacles with razor-sharp fangs for teeth came racing across the arena toward Yami. They latched onto his Duel Disk and disappeared with a crackle of lightning.
“Oh yes, Yugi!” Kaiba laughed. “Now say goodbye to twenty-five percent of your deck!” The Duel Disk II’s mechanism immediately forced ten cards to the top of Yugi’s deck. The automatic drop-shifting device instantly placed the cards in the graveyard and locked them in place so not even Yami could tell what they were.
He had a fairly good idea, though, as he had yet to draw some of his most powerful, non-God-type cards. But if Kaiba had destroyed them along with his only meansof bringing them back, then…
“I hate to be the bearer of even more bad news,” Kaiba began sarcastically, “but when you destroyed my Dark Clown, you activated his special ability, allowing me to summon another Dark Clown to take his place!” As Kaiba spoke, another Peten the Dark Clown pushed its way out of Kaiba’s deck, allowing him to grab it and immediately summon it to the field. Since the clown was summoned as the result of another card’s effect, it counted as a Special Summon and thereby allowed Kaiba to Normal Summon a monster for his turn.
“I summon Des Feral Imp!” The grotesque green creature with fangs was an equal match for Yami’s Valkyria, but that wasn’t what concerned Yami at the moment. Kaiba already had two creatures on the field, while Yami only had his one.
“And next, I’ll activate the magic of Card of Demise! It lets me draw five new cards from my deck… but if I don’t use them in five turns, I lose them in five turns.” More specifically, the card allowed him to draw five new cards all at once, with the provision that he would discard his entire hand in five turns. If he had anything powerful in his hand, it would go straight to the Graveyard, but cards that he set on the field would count as being “used.” Nonetheless, the pressure was on for Kaiba to finish the game in five turns or less—and he seemed to be rubbing the fact that he could win in less than five turns in Yami’s face.
“Now I’ll sacrifice my Des Feral Imp and activate White Dragon Ritual…to summon Paladin of White Dragon!” Since the White Dragon Ritual only required a single tribute of a Level 4 or greater monster, the imp with equal attack strength to Yugi’s Valkyria was completely expendable. The Ritual counted as a Special Summon, and the 1900 attack and 1200 defense Paladin riding astride a small, blunt-headed white dragon had the special ability of destroying any face-down monster cards regardless of their defense points, making it dangerous to anything Yami Yugi had or could possibly put on the field.
“Paladin, attack! Ionic Spear Burst!” The thickly-muscled paladin in white and gold armor swung his spear high up into the air, while his dragon reared back and roared fiercely. A stream of deep blue and white energy charged across the field, sending Magician’s Valkyria flying into a nearby wall. Barely a second passed before she burst into little pieces, disappearing from the field.
Yami’s Life Points dropped to 3200, but he couldn’t risk another attack from Kaiba’s 1900 attack monster. Worse, its name seemed to indicate some sort of connection to Kaiba’s infamous Blue-Eyes White Dragon cards, and Yami couldn’t possibly risk letting them get out on the field….
‘It’s as though when I lose my Life Points, I’m losing my actual life energy…’ Yami thought weakly. Perhaps the Pyramid of Light had something to do with it? Everything seemed to be centering on the artifact. Even Téa had recognized its strange resemblance to the Millennium Puzzle, and if Yugi’s grandfather was right, it had once been the property of ‘Anubis,’ whoever he was.
‘An enemy from my past…’
“And now…” Kaiba began as he removed his Paladin of White Dragon from the field, activating another of its effects, “I summon my Blue-Eyes White Dragon!”
“Take a good look, Yugi!” Kaiba said snidely. “It’s the monster that’s been the bane of your dueling existence ever since our first match! And now he’s back…but he’s not alone! Any last requests?”
Powered by forces beyond her sight and control, Téa thrust herself off Malik’s motorcycle moments before he shut it off. She broke out into a sprint, heading toward the Duel Dome, which came closer and closer to collapse with each passing second. If the blue pillar of light bursting from the center of the dome was any indication, Kaiba’s desperate duel had turned into something much greater than he could have imagined, and now it was all probably out of control.
There were few precious duels between Yugi and Kaiba that tended to be more serious than necessary—there was the first duel that had left Kaiba enraged at Yami Yugi, the subsequent Death-T duel that left Kaiba comatose, and then the life-threatening duel at Duelist Kingdom. Kaiba had cheated by putting his life on the line, but…
‘Seto Kaiba, if anything happens to you, I’m going to kill you!’ Téa thought incoherently as she ran. She didn’t even realize the foolishness of her own thoughts as she neared the falling debris that was once Kaiba’s pride and joy. She determinedly ignored the crushing pain in her chest and the tears welling in her eyes, and she continued to run blindly, hoping to find Seto and Yugi before it was too late.
“It looks like an earthquake hit this place!” Malik stared in astonishment after he finally caught up with Téa. He was beyond surprised that she’d been able to outrun him, but he suspected that there was more to it than Téa’s toned legs and years of dancing.
“What in the world is that thing?” Téa murmured, half to herself. She could barely make out the tip of some sort of glowing blue shape from the massive crack in the roof of the Duel Dome, but whatever it was, it made her feel sick to her very core. If Malik was right and it had some connection to the Pyramid of Light that they’d seen at the museum before it had been stolen, then…
“That’s what I wanna know!” Téa and Malik turned toward the sound of the voice, their eyes widening as they caught sight of a disheveled-looking Mokuba. He idly brushed dust and debris from his vest, but it was clear from the redness of his eyes and the wetness of his cheeks that he was terrified by what was happening.
The strange feeling that had flooded Téa washed away in an instant, instead filling her with concern and worry for her surrogate ‘little brother.’
“Mokuba, are you all right? What’s going on in there?”
“Are Yugi and Kaiba inside that thing?” Malik added quietly, though judging by the way he was staring harshly at the blue light, he didn’t need an answer.
“Yeah, Yugi’s in there…” Mokuba started quietly. It was his fault for not even trying to talk his brother out of going to Duelist Kingdom. Even if such an attempt would have failed anyway, Mokuba felt doubly bad about bringing Yugi to the Duel Dome when he’d known full-well what was going to happen.
To be honest, he hadn’t known anything about his brother’s new cards, or the havoc it would wreak on the Duel Dome, but…
“And so’s my brother.”
‘Forget the Duel Dome! I just want to see my brother again!’
Mokuba had barely escaped the Dome with his life, but he was sure that the strange Pyramid that was emitting that blue light was also holding up the remainder of the structure. That meant that there was at least one route back into the Dome that Mokuba could think of. But if the Pyramid disappeared when the duel ended, who knew what would happen to that single escape route, and all the people still trapped inside?
“Wow, what is it?” Another voice exclaimed in surprise. The trio gathered in the front of the Duel Dome turned and saw Serenity and Solomon appear from a rise in the hills.
“The taxi wouldn’t drive us any closer than a few kilometers away,” Solomon explained with a weak chuckle. “The media’s going crazy about this light show at the Duel Dome. They don’t seem to think that all the electrical outages and earthquakes all over Japan have anything to do with it, though.”
“You think they’re all connected?” Malik asked.
“I don’t think it’d be too far-fetched to assume so,” Solomon said carefully. “It’s just too big a coincidence that something like this would appear right after the Pyramid of Light was stolen from the museum.”
“The Pyramid of Light?” Mokuba blinked in astonishment. “But that’s the name of the card that my brother played! It kicked the God cards’ butts!”
Everyone turned wide, astonished eyes to Mokuba, who nodded and recounted the first half of the duel, in which Kaiba had successfully managed to remove all the God cards from play. Now, despite Kaiba having less Life Points than Yugi, he most definitely seemed to have the home field advantage.
“I still don’t understand how all of this is possible,” Serenity murmured absently. “I get that this thing is like what we saw in the museum—but this thing is super-sized!” After Mokuba had told them all about the beginning part of the duel, he’d motioned them to the only way to get back into the Duel Dome—through a field of fallen rafters and chunks of broken glass and concrete. It was an unsafe route, but the only route they had if they had any intentions of saving their friends. As it was, it didn’t look like even the police and fire departments would venture near the Duel Dome.
“Anubis,” Solomon and Malik said at the same time. The two of them exchanged a glance, but it was Solomon who continued to speak. “Don’t you remember the legend from the museum? Anubis once tried to destroy the world, using the power of the Pyramid of Light.”
It sounded like it went against everything that everyone knew—light as a destructive force, and someone taking an Egyptian god’s name in vain to justify mass murder.
“If the myth is true,” Malik started, “then our Anubis, whoever he is, is using the Pyramid of Light and Kaiba to finish what he started in the past! It probably doesn’t help matters that the Pharaoh and Kaiba are both stuck inside the super-size version of that ancient artifact. We have no idea of its power.”
Unspoken were the words that offered a much grimmer, harsher reality: The Pharaoh and Kaiba could already be dead.
Yugi continued to wander the dark, seemingly-endless halls of the Pharaoh’s labyrinth. His legs were aching with a blinding pain, but he continued to ignore it. He couldn’t give up. He wouldn’t give up! What would his other half think of him if he did…?
When Yugi looked up, he couldn’t help but be astonished—there, right before his eyes, was none other than his other self! But unlike all the other times when they’d appeared in the same “in between realm” together, this time, the Pharaoh was hardly there. He was a spirit, and little more.
“Hey!” Yugi called out, but his other self didn’t seem to register his voice. He started to move—you couldn’t really call it walking, since the Pharaoh’s legs were rather nonexistent—and fade, prompting Yugi to call out again, in the hopes that he just hadn’t been heard the first time.
“Where’d he go?! Hey, come back!”
As soon as Yugi spoke, he spotted his other self again—disappearing into a metal door. Yugi stared at the door in hesitation.
“This isn’t his room….” Yugi knew his other half’s soul well—at least, he thought he did. What he knew was that his other half’s soul room was guarded by a thick metal door with the Eye of Horus emblazoned on its front, with strange veins creeping out from its center. But the door that his other half had just vanished through was a plain metal door, nothing more.
When Yugi finally entered the room, his original suspicions were confirmed. This room was much more massive than the one Yugi recognized as being the place where his other half took residence; it also wasn’t sparsely decorated or the least bit dark. Instead, the lengthy room had towering pillars of stone reaching far up into the darkness, each of them fixed with a brightly burning torch. The firelight lit a path lined with mysterious sarcophagi, and the air seemed to be filled with the distinct odor of dryness and age.
The pathway ended at a short stairway that led up to a single stone tablet with another, ornately-carved sarcophagus at its base, but Yugi wasn’t close enough to notice anything specific. All he could see was the quickly-fading form of his other self….
“Oh no!” In the instant that Yugi ran forward, the spirit of Yami Yugi vanished like so much wind, while a strange laughter started to echo from every corner of the mysterious room. Yugi looked around wildly, but there was no one in sight. Not even the shadows seemed to move.
“Who’s there?” Yugi called out, half out of fright and half out of suspicion. For all intents and purposes, there couldn’t be anyone else within this realm, within the Millennium Puzzle. Someone would have needed to get his hands on the puzzle to imbue it with a “part of himself,” and as far as Yugi knew, the only person who knew how to do that and possessed the means was Bakura…and no one had seen him in a while.
Not as far as Yugi knew, anyway.
The same booming voice started to chant in an incomprehensible language, and to Yugi’s horror, arms started to lift from the coffins scattering the floor. One by one, hollow-eyed mummies rose from their tombs, making all sorts of bizarre noises despite their lack of internal organs. They started to clamber and move toward Yugi, who, out of fright, screamed and ran from the room as fast as his legs could carry him.
Joey, Duke, and Tristan hadn’t stopped running ever since they’d heard Yugi’s initial scream some minutes ago, but now they were running low on ideas as to where the scream could have originated from. They seemed to be going around in circles, if that was even possible in a maze-like place such as this.
“Yugi, you in here!?” Joey continued to peer into every doorway he came across, calling in vain throughout the massive labyrinth.
It didn’t matter whether they all called out at once, or how loud their voices got; Yugi seemed to have vanished—if he was ever in here in the first place.
All of a sudden, they spotted movement in the distance, and they stopped. Yugi came hurtling out of a doorway, a look of sheer terror on his face. Joey, Tristan, and Duke all turned relieved smiles in Yugi’s direction, thinking their friend would slow down once he spotted them at the other end of the hallway, but Yugi kept running at a pace that would have made a track star proud.
“Hey!” Joey called out to Yugi as he approached.
“Hi!” Tristan managed, but in the second it took for him to look down, Yugi was running between him and Joey, ignoring them completely.
“Talk later, run NOW!” Yugi’s voice came as a frantic shout, echoing off the darkened walls of the maze.
“What’s with him?” Duke wondered in confusion. When he started to hear Tristan and Joey stammer in unison, he turned around and got his answer: a veritable army of mummies stumbling and groaning toward them, at what looked like impossible speeds.
“I don’t know what dark powers are at work here, but I can’t let them go unchecked!” As it was Yugi’s turn, he drew a card and then played one in the magic and trap area of his Duel Disk. “I play Premature Burial to raise Magician’s Valkyria from the Graveyard—and I’ll boost her strength with Mage Power!
Though Premature Burial was typically equipped to the monster it summoned from the Graveyard, Mage Power worked by increasing a selected creature’s attack and defense by 500 points for every magic and trap card on the field, including itself. It was also an equip card, but it allowed other equip cards to work in conjunction with it, as well as other normal or permanent magic or trap cards that might be played on the field.
“It may cost me 800 Life Points,” Yami started, readying himself for the inevitable surge of pain that would come with the sacrifice of his Life Points, “but my Valkyria now gains 500 more attack and defense points every time I play a magic or trap card like these two!” Yami set two cards face down on his Duel Disk, watching as they appeared in a shimmer of golden light on the field. His Valkyria’s attack and defense values both skyrocketed over 3000 points—more than a match for Kaiba’s dragon.
Yami’s life points dropped to 2400, and the pain came, as expected, but it was worth it, knowing that Kaiba could be defeated. Maybe this time, he would understand…
“Attack, Valkyria! Mystic Scepter Blast!”
A brilliant beam of green light, much brighter and larger than before, emerged from the tip of the angry magician’s wand, hurtling straight toward Kaiba’s lone Blue-Eyes White Dragon.
“Not so fast, Yugi!” Kaiba smirked as he thrust a hand out. “Attack Guidance Armor will save my Blue-Eyes!”
The same trap card that he’d used on Pegasus in their earlier duel acted as an Equip Magic Card, allowing Kaiba to select the target of his attack. If he wanted, he could have selected another of Yugi’s monsters, but the beauty of the situation was that Yugi had none. He would have to select the defense position Peten the Dark Clown, which would mean Kaiba wouldn’t take any damage, and Valkyria’s power would be stopped—for now.
“Now your attack is diverted!” Kaiba smirked as the bright green attack hurtled toward the dragon and abruptly veered off course, hitting the smiling Dark Clown. The Dark Clown was destroyed in an explosion of green light, but Kaiba was still smiling after the fact. He hadn’t lost any Life Points, and in fact, things were going perfectly in his favor.
“Since my Deck Destruction Virus is still in play, it infects ten more cards in your deck!”
The same translucent eyeless snakes came slithering toward Yami at unbelievable speeds, baring their fangs. They connected with the Duel Disk and disappeared, leaving Yugi with only ten cards left to draw. Ten cards meant ten turns before the duel would be over, whether Yami wanted it to be or not.
“Soon, you’ll lose them all,” Kaiba smiled. “But first, I’ll bring back an old friend who just hates to say goodbye.” At this, Kaiba’s Duel Disk II thrust up the third and final Peten the Dark Clown in Kaiba’s deck. Kaiba placed it in defense position and grinned maliciously. Not only did he have the awesome power of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, but he also had his Life Points protected from any schemes Yugi could cook up while he was in such dire straits.
‘This time, I’ll prove that I’m number one!’
Prove to who was the question, though, but Kaiba didn’t care to think of the answer at that moment.
“And next…” Kaiba drew a card, since Yugi obviously was done with his turn. A Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Perfect—it was the last one of the trio, with the first already on the field, and the second already in his hand…right beside Polymerization. This was it!
“I’m going to summon up your worst nightmare, because if you couldn’t defeat one Blue-Eyes, there’s no way you’ll defeat three, especially when they’re combined as the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon!” Kaiba played Polymerization and the second and third Blue-Eyes on the Field, watching as his Duel Disk II automatically shifted the cards and replaced them with the violet-colored Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon fusion monster.
The massive, three-headed creature infused with the powers of light appeared on the field in a dazzling array of whiteness. It opened all six of its depthless blue eyes at the same time, and when it spotted Yugi on the field far below, it roared, causing the Duel Dome to quake even more.
“If you think he’s scary now, just wait until he attacks! Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, Neutron Blast!” With that simple command, three balls of crackling light went hurtling toward the Magician’s Valkyria, lighting the whole arena and causing the Pyramid of Light to reflect an eerie display of dying holograms and trapped duelists.
If Téa were asked to describe the sudden amount of pain that she felt at that moment, she would have rather colorfully likened it to being hit square in the chest by a speeding 18-wheeler truck, or perhaps having a small black hole eating away her chest cavity, causing her insides to convulse painfully. She clenched her first tightly, her knuckles blanching to an almost white, but she couldn’t show weakness—not in front of Serenity, who admired her so much; in front of Solomon, who was a prime example of being strong regardless of physical weakness; in front of Malik, who believed she had a greater destiny than even she could imagine for herself, and most importantly, in front of Mokuba. The youngest Kaiba didn’t just admire her, he’d actually admitted to being in love with her at one point. And though he was still utterly loyal to his brother, it was obvious to Téa that the boy still cared greatly for her—and she couldn’t let him down.
Téa was still lost in a haze of pain when Serenity screamed. Téa turned pain-filled eyes in the direction of Serenity’s voice, but everything seemed to be covered in a blinding blue-white glow, making it all look hazy and undefined. Everything seemed to be warping and moving so slowly…
Malik turned concerned eyes toward Téa. He could tell by the way she was trembling and just barely sweating that she was in pain. If those weren’t obvious clues, then her white knuckles and the way she was clutching her hands in tight fists were. But there didn’t seem to be much he could do to help her—especially now, when the Pyramid of Light seemed to be destroying everything so long as the duel went on within.
A rafter had just slammed down from the ceiling, taking another chunk of the Dome with it. Worse, it effectively destroyed the one route they’d all taken to get inside the Duel Dome, trapping them inside. If they didn’t figure out how to get through to Kaiba and Yugi fast, they would all be dead meat.
After the haze cleared, Yami found himself nearly face-first with the cold ground. The ache in his chest was undeniable, but this time, he couldn’t attribute it merely to the lack of Yugi’s familiar presence within the Millennium Puzzle. Bit by bit, he was sure he was dying….
At the moment Yami thought this way, Yugi’s head jerked up. He felt a strange ache in his chest, and a strange sadness sweeping through his veins. But what was it? He was no longer connected to his other self, was he?
The pain sharpened at that realization. Yugi knew from the moment that his other self discovered that his past had something to do with being a pharaoh that one day they would have to part ways. But Yugi just never thought it would be like this—so sudden and unexpected, so…
‘So weird.’ It was the honest truth: Yugi never expected that his other half would retain control, while Yugi got lost in the labyrinthine passages of his other half’s mind. He could only hope that the pain he was feeling in his chest was unrelated to what his other half was feeling, and that they’d be back together soon.
“I think we’ve lost them!” Tristan panted, forcing the weight of his upper body onto his knees. Joey and Duke were just as out of breath as Yugi and Tristan, though Duke seemed to be making more of the effort not to show it. In any case, the mummies weren’t anywhere in sight, they weren’t hearing any oddly chanting voices, and aside from being out of breath, they weren’t any worse for the wear.
What Duke didn’t understand was that if they really were in Yugi’s “other half’s” mind, as Yugi managed to say while they were running, then why did they even get out of breath? Wasn’t this place just a dream world?
“So, what were those freaks?” Joey asked, before Duke could even think to voice his own concerns. Yugi just shrugged; he had no idea what mummies were doing in the pharaoh’s mind, especially malicious mummies!
The quartet of boys started walking up another nearby staircase, and it was then that they noticed the looming crimson nebula high up above them. It was well-familiar to Tristan, Duke, and Joey, who’d seen the same thing before they’d tumbled out of their own bodies and into the eye in the nebula’s center.
“Yugi, what the heck is goin’ on?” Joey asked, swallowing in a vain attempt to keep his throat moist. It was true that weird stuff came part-and-parcel with being Yugi’s friend, but even this was a bit much.
“We’ve been drawn into the Millennium Puzzle,” Yugi began in a quiet voice as he stared up at the nebula and its fiercely glowing eye. “And that thing up there is responsible somehow!”
Joey, Tristan, and Duke all glanced up, but they noticed that this time, there was no strange, pulling feeling as they looked into the center of the eye. In fact, if one looked long enough (though for some reason, the desire to look away was fairly strong), a strange beam of almost blue-white light could be seen…
“Then what’s going on down there?!” Duke pointed down, toward the inky blackness in the center of the maze. Below, two massive pyramids collided with one another—one was the Pyramid of Light, with shining blue walls and a glimmering red pupil set into a golden eye. The other was Yugi’s familiar Millennium Puzzle, except the “spirit” puzzle appeared to be made out of stone, just like a real pyramid, and not the golden puzzle pieces that comprised Yugi’s pendant.
“That blue one looks like the Pyramid of Light that I saw at the museum,” Yugi observed aloud, knowing that his friends hadn’t been able to make it in time to see the Pyramid, or the mummy of Anubis.
“Yeah?” Joey queried. “Well, it looks like it’s beating the crap out of your Millennium Puzzle!”
“Fightin’ pyramids and creepy floatin’ eyes…wonderful!” Tristan groused.
“It’s crazy, but this is par for the course when you hang around with Yugi!” Duke chuckled darkly.
Tristan nodded briefly before swallowing the lump in his throat. He didn’t want to keep staring at the grotesque nebula above or the destructive pyramids below, but somewhere in this mysterious place was the answer to getting out.
“So…any idea what we’re up against?”
“Maybe,” Yugi began with his chin nearly pressed to his chest. “I think this all has to do with an ancient Egyptian sorcerer…”
But something still didn’t feel right. Hadn’t Malik mentioned something in the museum about Anubis being the original lord of the dead, in Egyptian mythology? Why would someone take his name in vain? Any time someone had tried to do something like that with the God Cards—using copies of them, or trying to use their powers without fully understanding them—they got punished. It made no sense, considering the God Cards were just that—cards, and the monsters that they saw on the dueling arena just holograms.
Yugi knew better. There was something greater behind all this, behind everything. And today, all roads seemed to lead back to Anubis.
“I knew it was gonna be somethin’ insane!”
“He’s called Anubis, the Egyptian Lord of the Dead,” Yugi explained. “But that’s just the myth. If this guy is really the mummy from the museum resurrected, something tells me he’s from the Pharaoh’s time—which means he’s probably got a grudge, but nobody knows why!”
“Lord of the Dead, though?” Duke asked with a raised eyebrow. “Myth or not, I seem to recall a horde of mummies chasing after us not that long ago…”
“Well…” Yugi hesitated before continuing, recounting the story of what his grandfather, Téa, Serenity, Malik and he had all seen at the Domino Museum of History. “Centuries ago, this Anubis guy tried to destroy the world. I’m starting to believe he’s trying to make a comeback!”
“Never a good thing,” Tristan grumbled.
“There was a prophecy on the sarcophagus at the museum,” Yugi recalled. “Something like, ‘The eye that sees what’s yet to come; its vision shall be fulfilled unless blinded by events predetermined, thus light and shadows both be killed.”
“Well doesn’t that just sound like a bed of roses,” Duke murmured wryly.
“Hey, look!” At that moment, something in the eye up above changed, and it seemed to lighten. For just an instant, they could make out the unmistakable form of Yugi—or rather, Yami Yugi—facing off with a Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon.
“Doesn’t look like the duel’s goin’ too well for your friend the Pharaoh,” Duke said.
“We’ve got to do something to help him,” Yugi said, but the tone of his voice betrayed his uncertainty. What could they possibly do from in here, when the Pharaoh was out there? “All I can think of right now is to head back to the tomb of Anubis…”
“You mean back toward the mummies?” Tristan asked incredulously.
“Hey, c’mon!” Joey interjected with false confidence. “We already know we can outrun ’em!”
The boys headed back in the direction they came, unaware that the very room that they’d run from not ten minutes ago was glowing with an unearthly red light. The stone tablet over the coffin of ‘Anubis’ had a triangular shaped slab in the top center, the very same slab that Téa had seen depicted on the flyer from the night before. In the dead center of the triangular slab was a gold-rimmed eye with a blood red jewel in the center, pulsing as though it were alive…
“Kaiba, we can’t continue this duel!” Yami shouted.
“That’s getting a bit old,” Kaiba remarked as he rolled his eyes.
“No! That Pyramid of Light has created a deadly game of darkness! I know you sense it—we must stop now!”
Kaiba squelched the part of him that, just for an instant, agreed with Yugi. He did feel something, but… “The only thing I sense is your fear! Not that I blame you, but I came here to win, and stopping’s not an option!” Kaiba announced. There, he’d said it. Victory was within his grasp, and no amount of weird feelings, holographic power surges, or lectures from Yugi would stop him now! He was so close…
“For all the times you humiliated me in a duel, when I clearly should have been the champion…for all the times I had to listen to you preach about the heart of the cards…you’re going down, Yugi! And my Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon is going to put you there!”
If anything, Kaiba’s words just added fuel to the fire. Whatever weakness Yami Yugi had been feeling dissipated like so many shards of defeated holograms, and Yami took his chance when he saw it.
“Kaiba, once again, your ridiculously over-inflated ego blinds you to the the truth! I am far from beaten!” Yami drew a card from his quickly-thinning deck and smiled. “I play Monster Reborn…to bring back Dark Magician Girl!” The Dark Magician Girl was one of many cards that had gotten forced into Yami’s graveyard when Kaiba activated his Deck Destruction Virus trap card. Coupled with one of the magic cards that Yami had already placed on the field, it would allow him to bring out two of his most powerful Spellcasters in his deck…so long as Yami was right in his assumption that the Dark Magician had not yet been sent to the Graveyard.
Now was the time to truly believe in the Heart of the Cards, no matter what Kaiba said, or how bleak the future looked…
“Next, I reveal my face-down card—Sage’s Stone! When the Dark Magician Girl is on the field and Sage’s Stone is played, it automatically allows me to summon Dark Magician!” Only a few moments after the bouncy blonde spellcaster appeared on the field, her male counterpart, the stoic, violet-haired signature card of Yugi’s deck appeared, armored arms crossed over his chest.
“Big deal,” Kaiba scoffed. He knew both the Dark Magician and the Dark Magician Girl’s stats quite well, and neither of them were any match for his Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon’s 4500 Attack power.
“Oh, it’s a very big deal,” Yami smiled, an altogether disconcerting smile. “For now I sacrifice both magicians to summon Sorcerer of Dark Magic!” Since Monster Reborn and Sage’s Stone had brought out both the Dark Magician and the Dark Magician Girl as a Special Summon, now Yami could Normal Summon practically any card in his hand—namely, the extremely powerful effect monster Sorcerer of Dark Magic.
“And with his rise to power comes your Blue Eyes’ fall from grace, because for every one of my sorcerer’s fallen comrades in the Graveyard, your dragon loses 500 attack points!”
500 points for the Magician’s Valkyria, Dark Magician, and Dark Magician Girl. A grand total of 1500 points, reducing Kaiba’s dragon back to 3000 attack strength, the same value of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon that Kaiba had sacrificed to bring it out onto the field. Now Kaiba’s dragon was vulnerable to attack from the Sorcerer, which possessed a mammoth 3200 attack points…
“Sorcerer of Dark Magic, attack the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon with Celestial Blast!” A blazing sphere of golden yellow light hurtled across the field from the dark sorcerer’s stave. The Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon was immediately swallowed in flames, and disappeared with a massive, blinding explosion.
As if the pain had been bad before, it seemed to triple in an instant, and the light sheen of sweat that had covered Téa’s skin became thicker. She was trembling visibly now, feeling immeasurably hot and cold at the same time.
‘W-What the heck is going on here?’
She wasn’t just getting sick on a whim, here. This had to be related to the Pyramid of Light, why Seto had been acting so strange, and the disappearance of the mummy and the artifact from the museum! It had to have something to do with the strange feelings Téa had been getting for a while now, especially in the museum during that weird earthquake. But Téa had no mind to wonder just what the connection was; she was focusing all her strength on just standing. It wasn’t just a matter of appearing strong now—she truly had to be strong if she wanted to find Seto and Yugi and get them out of the Duel Dome alive.
Joey, Duke, and Tristan were nowhere to be found. Maybe they, too, were inside the Pyramid, but…they couldn’t count on that fact. Téa was feeling weaker by the second; Serenity was just a whippet of a girl, Mokuba was just a child, and Solomon was nearing his 80th year. Even if they did manage to find all the boys, what was the guarantee that they could all get out safely?
‘Seto, please be okay!’
“Now will you stop this madness?” Yami demanded.
“After one lucky move? I don’t think so!” Kaiba drew a card, but there was nothing that could help him—yet. Unlike Yugi, he still had a nearly-full deck to get through, and that meant practicing a measure of patience. But he’d been on the verge of his perfect victory, and he wasn’t about to let Yugi snatch it right out from under him! He gestured for Yugi to make his move.
“Very well, Kaiba. You leave me no choice—I move to attack Peten the Dark Clown!” The third and final of the Dark Clowns that had been specially summoned by the destruction of the other clowns was in defense position—lucky, considering it was the only thing protecting Kaiba’s Life Points from total devastation and an immediate loss. But if he didn’t find a way to get something powerful enough to defeat the Sorcerer of Dark Magic on the field, then in Yugi’s next turn, the game would be over…and everything would be ruined.
Kaiba grit his teeth. He didn’t believe in the Heart of the Cards, but at that moment, he was hoping that his next draw would save him from certain defeat. He couldn’t stand being humiliated by Yugi, not again!
‘There’s more to it than that!’ It wasn’t just about being defeated and humiliated, but…
“Sorcerer! Attack with Celestial Blast!” Another sphere of fiery golden light raced across the field, “melting” the Dark Clown in an inferno of flame.
“You may have destroyed my clown, but you forgot about my virus trap card!” Kaiba announced smugly. With less than 10 cards in his deck, that meant that regardless of what Kaiba drew in his next turn, Yugi would be defeated if he couldn’t draw a card.
“Your deck’s about to be wiped out!”
Right as the tentacle creatures flew toward Yugi’s duel deck, a massive hexagram of fire appeared, right where the Sorcerer of Dark Magic was standing.
“Sorry Kaiba,” Yami apologized sarcastically, “but my Sorcerer of Dark Magic possesses the special ability of negating the activation of trap cards like yours and destroying them! My deck is safe.” The Deck Destruction Virus disappeared in an explosion of holographic shards, the physical card shifting from the field to the Graveyard.
“But your Life Points aren’t,” Kaiba murmured darkly under his breath. He only had to glance at the card he’d just drawn and sneer before he knew…victory was at hand.
‘Sorry, Pharaoh, but you won’t be walking away from this duel!’
WHEW! I realize that the last two chapters of WDKY have essentially been a novelization of the movie (and you wonder why there’s no English novelization, only a Japanese one… well it’s because it would take FOREVER TO WRITE!), but things are definitely different. This is no re-hashed script. The next chapter is when this arc comes to a close and the next one begins… and BWAHAHA, I will tell you all right now that it is everything *I* have been waiting for, so hopefully you’ll be just as excited as me when it starts to come out!
Stay tuned for more… ‘What Doesn’t Kill You!’