What Doesn’t Kill You
Chapter 27: Adrift – Part 11/13
A Yu-Gi-Oh Fanfiction
By: Azurite – azurite AT seventh-star DOT net
Site: seventh-star DOT net
Conceptualized/First Written: 6/28/05
Completed/Final Edit: 8/6/16
“If you haven’t heard the news yet, you must be living under a rock. The Pan-Pacific Ladies’ Duelist Tournament Cruise champions are none other than Japan’s own Téa Gardner and Mai Valentine–”
Kaiba sighed. He had already heard the news in fact. As a champion-level duelist, he had plenty of contacts affiliated with the cruise. He’d received a text alert as soon as the championship ended. He had expected Téa to call him shortly thereafter, but she hadn’t.
Enough time had passed that the Arielle had definitely made port in San Francisco. Even if Téa and Mai had gone into the city to celebrate, shouldn’t she have at least texted him by now?
‘I’m being paranoid.’
The fear of Téa leaving and never coming back hovered just below Kaiba’s self-control.
But fear in its early stages is just anxiety. Kaiba definitely appeared anxious. He paced back and forth, flipping through various Duel Monsters TV stations. He checked different websites for anything new. He kept watching the same footage over and over again. Téa and her spectacular finishing blow with the Blue-Eyes. It decimating her and Mai’s opponents’ last shrapnel of Life Points.
After that, Téa’s eyes widened, seeming surprised for some odd reason, but then a wide, genuine smile spread across her lips. With a triumphant laugh, she hugged Mai. Téa blushed, no doubt embarrassed by the thunderous applause from Duelists in the surrounding crowd. Then she and Mai started to leave the duel arena, and the clip ended.
That was all.
Though he had watched the clip several times now, Kaiba couldn’t find a single clue. Where had the ship had been in its journey when they’d won? He had no way of knowing what was going on in Téa’s head in those minutes after her victory. He knew her –he was in love with her, after all– but he couldn’t come up with any reason why she wouldn’t call him after winning.
‘Téa, where are you?’
Unbeknownst to Kaiba, Yugi thought the same thing.
As soon as he’d heard the news of Téa and Mai’s win, he’d immediately rushed to his house phone and attempted to call Téa’s cell. During the taxi ride to the harbor, Téa mentioned investing in an international plan for her phone so that she could use it abroad without any issue. Yugi didn’t own a cell phone, but he figured he’d be able to call Téa. Regardless of what time it was in San Francisco, Téa had to be awake and buzzing from her win, right? He needed to talk to her.
The phone rang. Once, twice, three times.
‘Maybe she’s out partying and can’t hear her phone ring?’
Or perhaps she was sleeping by now. It was late there, wasn’t it? Or was it the other way around–and it was early? Could someone get jet lag on a boat? Yugi didn’t know.
Yugi grinned and started to talk, but the voice interrupted him.
“You’ve reached Téa Gardner. I can’t get to my phone right now–”
Yugi moved the receiver away from his face, glancing at it in confusion. ‘Her voice mail?’ Yugi hung up before the beep. His congratulations wouldn’t be appropriate delivered as some recorded message. He wanted to talk to her, not a recording of her. It was all he could think of to say to her, anyway. It wasn’t as if he had any good news about the search for the missing God Cards, or the mysterious monster sightings.
It had been ten days since Téa’s departure, but the so-called “Three Swordsmen of Doma” had yet to reappear. Yugi surmised that all three God Cards were still with them –wherever they were. Until he could piece together some clues, they would remain beyond his reach.
‘Is this what that “phantom limb” syndrome is like?’ Yugi wondered. He could never tell anyone that missing a trio of collectible trading cards felt as though a wind tunnel gaped inside him, hollow and cold.
That, and he didn’t like the idea of the God Cards in the hands of anyone who could make it rain monsters or suck souls from people.
‘Pegasus was the one who made the cards…’ Pegasus hadn’t made it “rain monsters,” but soul-sucking was definitely a talent of his.
The thought gave Yugi pause. Pegasus was still alive–he’d revealed as much when he showed up at the Duel Dome earlier this year, during the Anubis incident. Even if he was “retired” from Industrial Illusions, Yugi knew that Pegasus still had to be keeping an active eye on current events. Especially if they related to his precious Duel Monsters franchise.
Who cared if it was late in the United States? Yugi picked up the phone’s receiver from its cradle once more and started to dial.