Author's Notes: Okay, I really think this is the end this time! I had grand plans for this epilogue, but it kind of took a different direction… It stretches out the time line too, but oh well. Ankh told me he needed to do some things, so I let him. And I'm glad I did, because he's good at tying up a lot of the loose ends I leave. Seth comes back to be a complete jerk, but then he never was the nicest person. But if this chapter seems more than you want from the story, then consider the last chapter the ending, and thanks for reading! You people are all great! ^_^
Just like the Millennium Items, I'm using the God Cards' Japanese names. But only one is in here, and you'll know what I'm talking about!
Yay, I'll get over 500 reviews with this chapter! ^_^ Unless you all decide to conspire against me and not review at all! But anyway, I'm really glad you've liked this story and my dear, wonderful Ankh and Scale. And certain fun lines. ^_^ But don't call Bobasa a lump, that's Shadi's title!

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Indigo: At long last, I DO own Yu-Gi-Oh! MWAHAHAHAHA!!! …Er, well, I own a set of badly subtitled DVDs, anyway. And I think one of them doesn't work. *sigh* But I still own them! And more importantly, I own Ankh and Scale! ^_^

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Three-In-One Combo: By Ra, is this the end!?
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Things returned to normal shortly after that, or as normal as they could be for the guardian of ancient powers and two ancient spirits. As soon as they all had their energy back, Shadi and Scale developed a barrier to keep all the dead guardians and their influence trapped in their corner of the Shadow Realm. This would also restrict Shadi's power when he joined them in death, but he knew it was for the best.

Ankh had taken up an interest in the events going on in Japan. There was little he could do, but he watched closely, sometimes even traveling there himself to see what was happening. He was lucky enough one day to see Isis dueling with the Rod spirit's reincarnation, Seto Kaiba. Malik stood nearby, holding the Rod. Ankh made sure he would remain unseen and stepped closer.

//Seth…?//

\Ankhkare! Look who Isis is dueling! That's Seto Kaiba, my reincarnation!\

//She seems very confident that she'll win.//

\Oh she does, does she? She's the one who gave him his God Card! She shouldn't be so sure of herself!\

//Apparently she was only letting him borrow the God of the Obelisk card. She believes she can win it back, because he doesn't see how he can win…//

Seth mentally shook his head. \He doesn't realize that the strongest creatures aren't always the best. Does he have no trust in his dragons? In MY dragons!?\

Ankh laughed softly. //He reminds me of you, before you learned to respect your monsters.//

\Watch it, Ankhkare… Damn that arrogant, pig-headed bastard! He needs to learn his place… But not now. …OBELISK, Ankhkare! Just look at it!A god's power practically in my hands!\

//…He's about to lose it, though.//

\Not if I have anything to say about it. I'll make him win!\

//But how? You can't interfere --//

\I won't have to. I'll just show him what to do. Ankhkare, I have a memory to show him. Can you make him see it?\

//…I guess so. But what… THAT? Who is she? What on earth are you doing?//

\I asked you to help me, not question me! Do it!\

Ankhkare nodded nervously and burned the former high priest's memory into his mind. The Rod began to glow. Malik – whose spiky-haired dark side had overcome him again – gave a cry of disgruntled surprise, though everyone else was too intent on the duel to pay attention. Ankhkare quickly redirected the memory into the mind of Seto Kaiba.

The young CEO had been about to end his turn and admit defeat, but he gasped as the vision overtook him. Once again he beheld the priest who looked so much like him. This time he held a beautiful woman in his arms. And bending down to take her was… a Blue-Eyes White Dragon. A real one, not a hologram. The great beast delicately took the unconscious human offering in its powerful jaws and swallowed her in one gulp. It roared as strength glowed in its veins. The priest raised his arms to it in triumph, but his face was contorted in anguish.

The vision ended, leaving Kaiba gasping at the suddenness and intensity of what he had seen. But he knew now what he had to do. He had to offer the power he held dear to achieve his goal.

"End your turn and meet your destiny, Seto Kaiba," Isis said in a flat, commanding voice.

"We'll see about that." He smirked. "I sacrifice the God of the Obelisk…" Isis's eyes widened in shock. She hadn't foreseen this! "…to summon my Blue-Eyes White Dragon!" The mighty god's image crackled and dissipated, one of Kaiba's three great dragons rising form the smoke It glowed with power and roared menacingly. Isis could only stand by in shock as it blasted her life points away.

"You'll never get the god's power back," sneered Kaiba.

//He'll keep it now… at least for a while.//

\I know.\

//…Are you still going to try to go to him?//

\... …No…\ Seth sighed. \Not yet, anyway…\

//But you wanted it so badly!//

\Look at him Ankhkare, he's an arrogant pig! He shouldn't have the Rod's power until he learns to stop being so power-hungry.\

//So then you'll start helping Malik? Or at least acknowledge his existence?//

\No, I'll continue on as I have. I have no interest in a renegade tomb guardian.\

//He's only trying to end three millennia of suffering. He thinks this is the right way, and he may even be right… If anything, the Pharaoh can't change what he doesn't know is wrong. But Seth, you can't blame him for what his dark side does. It's not his fault.//

\You're under the mistaken impression that I care. If you're so concerned, go seal the psycho's psycho away yourself!\

Ankhkare frowned. He reached out to Malik's mind, but was completely blocked by the strongest mental barrier he had ever encountered. It radiated evil, making the Ankh's spirit pull away.

\Well?\ Seth asked with a short laugh. \Aren't you going to help him?\

//I can't… That mental barrier's so strong… I could probably get in with the Ankh, but I don't think I'd have any strength left over.//

\That thing's gone as far as he can to keep everything out.\ Seth agreed. \One of these days the spirit will kick the host out of his own body.\

Ankh glared at him. //Have you always been like this?//

Seth glared back. \Yes, so deal with it. I understand that you'd like everyone to be happy, but there's nothing either of us can do.\

Ankhkare gave Malik one last look before turning away. He felt Bobasa's presence, but ignored it. Instead he turned to Isis, walking over and gently putting a hand on her back.

"Ankh!" Isis exclaimed, startled at the still nearly invisible spirit. "What are you doing here? Is Shadi nearby?"

"Ah… no, I'm sorry. It's only me. I've just been watching things…"

"Then you saw… The Tauk no longer responds to me. I am no longer worthy of its power…" Isis looked down in shame.

"Isis… It's not because of you. You know that other Millennium Items can change the Tauk's visions." Ankh gave what he hoped was a comforting smile.

Isis swallowed and stood determinedly, her gaze on the Pharaoh, who was talking to Kaiba. "Thank you Ankh, but I think the time has come for a change. I've worked all my life to help the Pharaoh, and perhaps now I can actually do something for him." She reached behind her neck and undid the clasp on her Tauk.

"What are you doing?" Ankh asked, frowning in concern.

"Something I probably should have done before now," Isis said. She turned to Ankh for a moment. "Ankh, I'm sure Shadi will sense this if he has not already. Please tell him not to worry, because this is the right choice."

Ankh looked worried, but nodded reluctantly.

"Thank you," Isis said with a small smile. She took off her Tauk and walked over to the Pharaoh, bowing to him. Ankh couldn't hear what they said, but he saw Isis hold the Tauk out to Yugi. The ancient Pharaoh paused in surprise, but hesitantly took the shining necklace. He smiled gratefully. Isis returned his smile shakily.

Ankh sighed, unsure of what to think of this turn of events. He turned back to look at Malik once more. He could see the boy's spirit stretching and straining to get out, to remain separate from his dark side. But he couldn't get a hold on anything, so he kept slipping back into his own head. Ankh silently crept behind the Rod-bearer, repressing his life force to avoid being sensed. As the boy's spirit pulled away from his body again, Ankh grabbed on and pulled him out. He gave a vague, reassuring smile to the confused, worn out boy, and looked closely at the air between the mortal's spirit and his body. After a minute, he grabbed something only he could see and snapped it in two. Both Malik and his dark side flinched. Ankh quickly healed both sides of the broken connection shut.

//That will separate you, but you should probably stay with your body anyway. I'm sorry, that's all I can do!// Ankh quickly sank into the floor before Malik's darkness could do something horrible to him.

He rose up again in a dark, nearly empty room on the same air-ship. Ryou Bakura lay in the bed in the middle of the room. There was a bandage around his arm, but that didn't look like the main thing that was wrong with him. He looked completely exhausted, but smiled in recognition at the green-clad spirit.

"Ankh-san? Did you and the others come about the Millennium Items again?" he asked, sounding tired but fairly cheerful.

"Ah… well not really. The Tauk and Rod have probably caused enough disturbance today to bring Shadi here in a second, but he'd have a hard time coming without me. But I only meant to come here to watch the duels. Even though I ended up doing a bit more… I was about to go home, but I wanted to see how you were first. I sensed you around here, but you seem so weak… What happened? Is Bakura treating you better?"

Ryou smiled. "Bakura-san was dueling Yugi-kun. He was about to lose, and he… was forced to put me out so that Yugi-kun wouldn't attack his life points… But Bakura-san wasn't sure that Yugi-kun would stop, so he took over again and took the attack for me…" He smiled. "I didn't see it before, but he really doesn't want me getting hurt." His eyes glazed over and his smile faltered a bit. "Well he's still got other plans, but he's not as bad as Yugi-kun thought. Or as bad as I thought." He gave a small, embarrassed smile.

Ankh smiles back. "I'm glad."

Ryou's eyes suddenly narrowed and his hair's spikes stood up more. Bakura frowned at Ankh. "Your mortal host had better stay out of my mind, healer. And if I ever see your treacherous friend in the Scales again, I may have to kill him! The same goes for you if you get in my way."

"Er… All right. I'm glad you're getting along with your host better." Ankh smiled slightly.

"Are you going to stand there being useless or are you going to heal my host body?" Bakura growled. "That's what you do, isn't it?"

"Ah, yes! Of course!" Ankh moved to Bakura's left side and put his hands over the wound on Ryou's arm. It was deep but clean. Ankh had put some extra energy into Ryou and had almost completely healed the wound when Bakura pushed him away.

"That's enough. I don't want it to look like it was never there."

"Oh the doctors would wonder. You're right." Ankh nodded.

"…Among other reasons. Now if you don't mind, this weakling's body needs rest!" Bakura glared at Ankh. "Shadow Games wear on a mortal's endurance."

"Of course! I'm glad I could help. Goodbye!" Ankh smiled slightly and sank into the floor once more…

…Only to have sand thrown at him as he rose up in Shadi's house.

"What have you been doing, worm?' Scale sneered.

"Hi Scale. I just went to visit the other Item holders for a while… Er, the Ring's spirit says that he may kill you if he ever sees you again."

"Hmph, as if he could… Stupid upstart tomb robber!"

"Well at least he's thinking of you..." Ankh gave a lopsided smile.

"I don't WANT anyone thinking of me! Especially not some grave-robbing lunatic!"

"Ah Ankh, you're back," Shadi said, coming into the room. "Another Item has changed hands. I am sure you sensed it as well. We should go…" he trailed off at Ankh's look. "What is it?"

Ankh sighed. "Isis was dueling Seto Kaiba, Seth's reincarnation, to win the God of the Obelisk card back from him. Her Tauk told her she would win, but Seth had me send Kaiba a vision from his memory, telling him how to win. Kaiba did it, and Isis lost faith in her ability to use the Tauk… She gave it to the Pharaoh."

"WHAT!?" Scale shrieked. "And you didn't stop her? As if the Pharaoh needs any more power than he has!"

"I tried!" Ankh protested. "She… really thinks it was the right thing to do." He looked at Shadi. "She said to tell you not to worry, because it was the right choice…"

Emotions warred silently behind Shadi's blank blue eyes, which looked even more expressionless than usual. Then he sighed. "The Items all grow closer to the Pharaoh with every passing day… I had hoped that his revival might not be in my lifetime, but it seems unavoidable. This may complicate our future."

"I'm sorry Shadi. I should have tried harder to stop her," Ankh said apologetically.

"Hmph, damn right you should have…" muttered Scale.

"No Ankh, you are not to blame for it. Fate will take its course. Even the Items can do little to change that."

"…So you'll just give our Items to the Pharaoh when the time comes, is that it?" Scale asked, every word laced with hatred and quiet rage.

Shadi frowned. "Have a bit of faith, Scale. If Bobasa wishes to give his copies of your Items to the Pharaoh, he may do so. It is my duty to guard the Items before the Pharaoh. I merely serve him when Fate dictates. But I believe that if he is to regain his status, he will have to do so without the powers of the Ankh and Scales, life and death. The only things he really needs are the Puzzle and the God Cards. And I somehow doubt that he will get the Ring, Eye, or Rod without a struggle either."

"Ha, and if you tried to give us over to that idiotic shrimp, I'd kill you! Remember that, lump!" Scale said with a rather twisted smile.

"Thank you so much,Shadi…" Ankh said softly, grinning in complete happiness.

"…Well in any case, I suppose we are saved from a trip to Japan," Shadi said, slightly embarrassed at his spirits' gratitude. "How was the weather there, Ankh?"

"It seemed cold. And very windy," Ankh answered.

Scale rolled his eyes. "That's because you were on top of a BLIMP, reed-brain…"

"I will go to visit Isis, and possibly Pegasus, some time. Perhaps in the spring, though." Shadi shivered slightly at the thought of the harsh winters of Japan.

"Yeah, let's go see the Eye's old host again some time!" Scale said, almost enthusiastically.

Both Shadi and Ankh's jaws dropped as they stared at Scale with wide eyes. "Scale…" Ankh finally managed to say slowly. "Did you just… ASK to be around someone!?"

Scale glared and whacked the other spirit on the head. "If you REMEMBER, that's one rich mortal! Think of all the expensive chocolate he'd have…" He stared off into space, an almost blissful smile on his face.

"I may have to tell him to eat all of his chocolate before we come, then…" Shadi said, with a glint of laughter in his eyes.

Scale's eyes narrowed. "You wouldn't…"

Shadi smiled slightly. "No, though it would be amusing… Ankh, did you happen to see Bobasa there?"

"He was watching, using the Ankh to suppress his life force. But I didn't want him to see me."

"Ah. A good idea, I suspect." Shadi nodded. "Well then, until the Pharaoh comes back to power, hopefully we will have very little to worry about."

"Yeah, and how long's that going to take? A week or two?" Scale snorted in disgust.

"Perhaps. And who knows how the world will change after that. So we may want to make the best of our time."

"…So we can spend all your money on chocolate? Because we might not need it after this…"

"No."

"Rrg… go jump in the Pharaoh's tomb, you worthless lump!"

Ankh tried to cover a laugh.

"AND you, grass face! And don't you DARE try to insult me again!"

"I said I was sorry about that…"

"Ankh? You insulted Scale? I am surprised. Perhaps even impressed."

"I just thought he'd like it…"

"Your desire to please everyone may be admirable, but you are not likely to succeed here…"

"I know. But I try anyway."

"And you fail! You useless, brainless twit!"

Ankh sighed. "All right Scale… And I know, I can't insult you any more than you can compliment me…"

"Are you saying that I'm incapable of such a simple thing!? Don't bring me down to your level… You… you… Rrg… Well then, ANKH… Or do you prefer ANKHKARE?" Scale gave a mock-bow, sarcasm biting at his words. "You're USEFUL… NICE… And a great, wonderful person. What a good FRIEND you are! Are you quite HAPPY now!?"

"…Scale… That must be the nicest thing I've ever heard from you! Thank you so much!"

"Grr… I TOLD you, that just proves that I CAN! Don't get used to it or anything, you moronic pudding-brained… NIMROD! And STOP LAUGHING!"

"Ha… I'm sorry Scale… I'm not laughing AT you…"

"Tch, that 'laughing with you' crap? Quit it. Or I'll send the Wretched Ghost of the Attic to tear up your hat!"

"…You wouldn't. Would you?"

"I would! I'm not a waffle-headed loser like our host!"

"…Thank you Scale, I appreciate it so…"

"Yeah, shut up."

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Endnote: *breathes a huge sigh of relief* It's OVER! Finally! And I loved every second of it! ^_^ My reviewers rule, as always. I'd like to thank not only my favorites, who have given me many long reviews and lots of help, but also that one stupid little person who reviewed the first chapter just to tell me that Shadi has "the key, not a ankh!!!" Yes well, as refreshing as such ignorance can be, that person obviously didn't even read the first author note, much less any of the story. But flamelets are fun, nonetheless. ^_^ Somehow between then and now I've become famous! Gah, how did that happen? People who've never even reviewed know me! *glances around suspiciously* Scary…
Please, if anyone wants to put Ankh and/or Scale into a fanfic or fanart, I'd LOVE to see it! Just let me know so I can grin at it and perhaps advertise fanfiction on my bio page and put fanart on my website.
If you liked this story, go look at some of my others! *grins* I promise they're good too! And I have two chapters of my nice little prequel written, waiting to be typed. Eep, I'll get to that some time! Soon, I hope! It does feature chibi Shadi as the main character, but it's not really funny… Well, parts are, but nowhere near as funny as this started out. ^_^ I think it'll be mainly drama, maybe even deviating into angst sometimes. As usual, all ideas are appreciated. And my writer's block for "The Cost of Weakness" has grown enormous, but hopefully I'll be able to continue that SOME day!
Erm… Yeah. Hope to see you all again when I get around to typing the prequel! Look for something about "Inheritance"! Or inheriting, or something of the sort. We'll see!
Now when you're all done reading this, and while you're waiting for me to start typing the prequel, go read some other peoples' stories with Ankh, Scale, and Shadi! See who can write them well and who's a poor deluded fool. ^_^ Ah, and since no one asked for anything from the contest, none of you gets anything except my undying gratitude. But I'll see if I can recognize some amazing talent anyway…

First of all, the funniest fic by far was "My Sweet" by Unrealistic (under Yami-chan's name). It still makes me laugh, even after reading it about twenty times. ^_^
On the other end of the Scale (pun intended), "Portrait of Pain," by Seena, is quite unfinished, but it wins the award for Shadi angst. That's hard to do, I'll have you know!
The most ambitious one was "Aishiteru" by Jaid Skywalker, because it may not have focused solely on Shadi/Isis, but it was updated frequently and even has a sequel in the works! It's called "Sands of Time." Not to mention that they're both very well-written!
I'm torn between two favorites, I think… Chibigreen Tanuki, if only you updated more often, I think "A Place Lit By Sunlight" would win hands down. But I know how writer's block is… So Crossover Authoress's "Stolen Souls" goes about even with it, even if Scale's just a tad too mushy too fast.
There are other stories, and they're good too. I appreciate the effort. And perhaps if they were updated a bit more, they could achieve such greatness too after a while. But these are the best, and if you want more coolness, go read them! And review, because I command it! These GREAT writers were nice enough to write such wonderful works, and the least you ungrateful slimes can do is give them a review or two!
Eep, sorry, Scale comes out in me sometimes… ^_^

…And I'll shut up now before I need a whole new chapter for notes again. ^_^