Last Time: Unwinding didn't turn out quite the way Yami had hoped. He did get a chance to relax in a spa, but he didn't think he'd see Seto Kaiba enter the same spa. And to make matters worse, the press found their way in and Yami ended up in…an awkward position. But that was Thursday and now…we've reached Friday.

Tiebreaker: Part 5

At first, when Yugi accepted this third duel with Kaiba, he thought it'd be in a more private environment, much like the first duel they had. But this was far from a private duel.

On this Friday, Yugi found himself in the middle of the town square, where a capacity crowd had gathered and a special dueling field had been set up. The stakes were much higher this time around. It was the Millennium Puzzle vs. half of Kaibacorp. As Yugi slowly walked towards his position with his biggest supporter Téa behind him, he accidentally bumped into a vendor, of all people. But he soon realized this wasn't just ANY vendor.


Indeed, it was Joey, wearing a vendor's cap and apron and holding up various memorabilia.

"Hey, Yuge! I was hoping to find you here. I wanted to wish you luck, buddy. But I know you won't need it, because you could beat that sleaze, Kaiba, in your sleep."

"What…exactly are you doing?" Téa asked curiously.

"What, this? I wanted to surprise you two with this little stroke of genius of mine. I'm selling all kinds of merchandise. And look, I've already made a fortune!"

Joey reached into his pocket and pulled out a large wad of cash. In the short couple of hours, he had made a lot of money. Frankly, Yugi was very surprised…and impressed.

"That's great, Joey! I'm proud of you!"

"Thanks, bud. Now go and kick Kaiba's butt! I'll be waiting here and we can celebrate with all my profits!"

Téa reached over and kissed Yugi on the cheek. "Good luck, Yugi. I know you can do this!"

Yugi smiled and kept moving forward until he reached his side of the dueling field. On the other side, Seto Kaiba was waiting for him. But before he could start taunting, a large voice boomed over the vicinity.

"Welcome to the Duel of the Century! You are all about to witness Seto Kaiba and Yugi Moto engage in an epic Duel Monsters battle for the right to be called the #1 duelist in the world! And I'm here to call all the action for all in attendance and everyone watching around the world!"

Kaiba looked around. "I didn't call for an announcer!"

Yugi was expecting his Millennium Puzzle to react by now, but it wasn't doing anything. With the duel about to start within minutes, Yugi was getting worried.

/ Uh…Yami? You want to come out now? /

// I…I can't! There are so many PEOPLE! I'm being watched by an entire audience! Never have I dueled in front of so many! //

/ Yami, please! I really need you! The Millennium Puzzle's on the line! /

// Aibou, I couldn't even beat Téa in front of one reporter. How am I supposed to beat Kaiba with an entire crowd, a sea of reporters, and a television audience watching me? //

Yugi tried to think of what to say. / Uh…use that advice I gave you. /

There was a brief hesitation. // AAAAHHH!! //

/ What happened, Yami? /

// I tried following your advice. Picturing Seto Kaiba in his underwear is not a pleasant thought. Isn't there any OTHER way to take this tremendous pressure off? //

/ Just pretend those people aren't even there. You know I'm here. I'll be right here in case you need me. You have nothing to be nervous about. You're the King of Games! And now the world will see it for themselves! /

// Well…since you put it that way. Thank you, Yugi. I'll come out and show just why I'm the King of Games! //

With that, the Millennium Puzzle began to react.


Joey couldn't wait to count all the money he made. He was selling endless amounts of merchandise, as people were really getting into the biggest duel the world had ever seen. As Joey kept moving through the crowd, he ran into the other vendor.

"How are sales going, Tristan?"

"Better than I could have imagined! I've got to give you credit on this one, Joey. This really WAS a great idea! And we're making tons of money!"

"I'd like to see what Weevil and Rex have up their sleeves."


"Place you bets here!"

Joey and Tristan turned around to find a betting booth was set up. And Weevil and Rex were inside taking bets. Curious, Joey moved closer to see that Weevil and Rex were collecting bets for a giant pool that would be divided among the winners. And they were charging a convenience fee of 100 yen for every bet taken.

"Well, if it isn't Joey Wheeler?" Rex grinned. "Like the little business venture WE'VE got set up?"

"Now THIS is how you profit off this duel!" Weevil added. "You appeal to peoples' inner greed by setting up a gambling booth."

"Uh…how much have you guys made?" Joey asked almost fearfully.

Weevil took out a huge box and opened it up to reveal a cash overflow. It looked like they were making much more money than Joey and his campaign.

"You want to go ahead and kiss those cards goodbye?" Weevil smirked.

"This day ain't over yet!" Joey pointed out. "You just wait! We'll smoke you!"

Joey walked off confidently, but he quickly pulled Tristan over and lost his façade of cockiness.

"Tristan…I think it's time to hit the panic button!"

Yami Yugi attached the dueling disk to his wrist. "I hope you're ready, Kaiba! This may be the day you've been waiting for, but you'll soon wish it never came."

Yami almost startled himself, because his voice boomed over the entire vicinity. He had a microphone attached to his jacket, which allowed his voice to be heard by all in attendance.

"You won't be talking so tough once I'm through with you, Yami," Kaiba shot back. His voice was also amplified with the aid of a microphone. "I've been craving this opportunity to prove my dominance for a long time! And not only do I have that opportunity, but I can prove in front of an audience of millions that I am the world's greatest duelist! Prepare yourself, because I'm about to prove my supremacy to the world and I will defeat you, once and for all!"

"Then what are we waiting for?" Yami smirked.

"LET'S DUEL!" both shouted.

Yugi's LP: 2000 || Kaiba's LP: 2000

With that declaration, the crowd erupted. There was hardly an empty spot in the town square. The crowd didn't show any signs of quieting as Yami and Kaiba drew their first cards.

Kaiba made the first move. "Get ready to experience your greatest defeat! And I'll lead off with something a little familiar to you. I'll start with the Hitotsu-Me Giant in Attack Mode!"

Hitotsu-Me Giant 1200/1000

This was exactly how Kaiba led off the first duel. Yami recognized the brutish, one-eyed monster that appeared on the field. But Yami had something in his deck that would make short work of the lumbering Hitotsu-Me Giant.

"And I'll lead off with Celtic Guardian in Attack Mode!"

Celtic Guardian 1400/1200

With the Celtic Guardian out, Yami wrapped up his turn. "And I'll also lay a card face down. Celtic Guardian, attack with Silverblade Slash!"

Celtic Guardian rushed forward with his sword sheathed. He sliced away and quickly disposed of the Hitotsu-Me Giant. Kaiba's Life Points dropped to 1800. But Kaiba didn't look shaken at all.

"Good move. But I'll quickly take out your Celtic Guardian by playing the Judge Man!"

Judge Man 2200/1500

The Judge Man was a powerful monster that threatened to take Yami down a few notches if he took out Celtic Guardian, but Yami wasn't worried at all.

"Attack, Judge Man!"

"Not so fast, Kaiba! I played a card face down, remember? And you really should have recognized this move, because it's something I've used on you before. It's the Monster Replace card and it allows me to switch out my Celtic Guardian for another card in my hand. And that card is the Summoned Skull in Attack Mode!"

Summoned Skull 2500/1200

Yami smirked. "Summoned Skull! Lightning Strike!"

The Summoned Skull winded up and tossed his Lightning Strike at the Judge Man, demolishing him and bringing Kaiba's Life Points down to 1500.

"You've been all talk, Kaiba," Yami mocked. "But my Life Points are still at 2000 and you're already down to 1500."

"But you forget that I have cards in my deck that are unequalled in power," Kaiba pointed out. "But while I wait to draw those, I'll lay down Grappler in Defense Mode."

Grappler 1300/1200

"Defense Mode? You're running out of moves already, Kaiba?"

"Just biding my time."

"Well, I'll go ahead and lay a card face down and eliminate your Grappler with Lightning Strike!"

The Summoned Skull attacked with another Lightning Strike and took out Grappler. Kaiba didn't lose any Life Points, but he still sat at 1500. Yami was starting to feel more confident.

But he didn't get cocky. He knew Kaiba could come back at a moment's notice.

Seto didn't want to lay a card in Defense Mode. But he had no cards in his hand that could beat the Summoned Skull. But when he drew his next card, he found one that could.

/// Yes! This is just what I've been waiting for! ///

Kaiba smirked. "Your Summoned Skull has wreaked enough havoc! Now it's time to put it down with the mighty Blue Eyes White Dragon!"

Blue Eyes White Dragon 3000/2500

The Blue Eyes White Dragon roared as it came to life. It was the strongest non-fusion monster in the entire game of Duel Monsters and Seto had the only three remaining Blue Eyes in the world all in his deck.

"Blue Eyes White Dragon, attack with White Lightning!"

The Blue Eyes White Dragon warmed up and formed a giant lightning ball in its mouth and launched it at the Summoned Skull. But Seto didn't know Yami had a trap waiting for him.

"I had a feeling you'd have a Blue Eyes White Dragon waiting, Kaiba," Yami said confidently. "So that's why I laid down this Trap Card, the Spellbinding Circle! The Spellbinding Circle will trap your dragon and reduce its Attack Points by 700!"

Blue Eyes White Dragon 3000/2500 == 2300/2500

Seto's eyes widened as he watched the Spellbinding Circle surround his Blue Eyes and reduce its power by 700 Attack Points.

"And with your dragon down to 2300, I can destroy it with my Summoned Skull! Go, Lightning Strike!"

Seto could barely look as the Summoned Skull destroyed his first Blue Eyes White Dragon. Not only did that attack lower his Life Points to 1300, but it also took away his chances at fusing his three dragons together.

However, he didn't lose hope. He still had two more dragons in his deck. He hoped to draw one of them next, but instead he drew another interesting choice.

/// Wait a minute…if I play THIS combo…I could beat his Summoned Skull! He'd never see it coming! ///

Seto had a smug look on his face. He was about to play something very unexpected.

Yami was getting more confident. Kaiba was down to 1300 Life Points while all of his own Life Points were intact. But Kaiba still looked very confident.

"Your Summoned Skull is about to fall, Yami! I play the Battle Ox in Attack Mode!"

Battle Ox 1700/1000

The fierce Battle Ox appeared on the field. Although it looked intimidating, its Attack Points didn't even come close to match the Summoned Skull's.

/ The Battle Ox? What could Kaiba be thinking? /

// He's got something up his sleeve. I don't like this. //

Yami growled. "The Battle Ox doesn't stand a chance, Kaiba, as you're about to see. Summoned Skull, Lightning Strike!"

Before the Summoned Skull attacked, Kaiba played another card. "My Battle Ox stands more than a chance. Especially if I equip him with THIS! The Axe of Despair! With it, I increase my Battle Ox's Attack Points by 1000!"

Battle Ox 1700/1000 == 2700/1000

"Go, Battle Ox! Take down that Summoned Skull with the Axe of Despair!"

The Battle Ox charged forward and took apart the Summoned Skull, much to the oohs and ahhs of the crowd. Yami's Life Points went down to 1800.

/ That was an impressive move. I've never seen the Axe of Despair card before. Kaiba must have really done his homework before this duel. How do we counter something like that? /

// We have the Dark Magician in our hand. //

/ It wouldn't last against the Battle Ox. We need to wait. /

// I'll buy us some time with this. //

"I play the Giant Soldier of Stone in Defense Mode."

Giant Soldier of Stone 1300/2000

Kaiba chuckled. "NOW who's running out of moves? Battle Ox, attack!"

The Battle Ox twirled the Axe of Despair around before slicing the Giant Soldier of Stone to rubble. No Life Points were lost, but Yami couldn't keep this up. But he drew his next card and found just what he needed.

/ Alright! Good card! /

// Let's see his Battle Ox stand up to THIS! //

"Go, Dark Magician in Attack Mode!"

Dark Magician 2500/2100

"And I'll combine him with the Book of Secret Arts card to raise his Attack Points to 2800!"

Dark Magician 2500/2100 == 2800/2400

"Dark Magician, Dark Magic Attack!"

The Dark Magician attacked and defeated the Battle Ox. Kaiba's Life Points went down to 1200.

Yugi's LP 1800 || Kaiba's LP 1200

"And that does it for your Battle Ox, Kaiba!"

With the powered-up Battle Ox out of play, Yami was feeling relieved. The Battle Ox and Axe of Despair was a good combo and could have made a large dent in his Life Points had he not done something about it. Yami was getting closer and closer to victory. He drew another card, but got a shock when he did.

// Waboku! Isn't this one of Téa's cards? //

/ What?! She must have slipped it in when I wasn't looking! I can't believe she'd do that! /

// As long as we have it…we may as well take advantage of it. //

With a powered-up Dark Magician, Seto only had one card that could defeat it. He hoped to draw it, but instead got a Magic Card that wouldn't help at all.

/// Polymerization. A card I likely won't end up using. ///

"I have no choice but to play this face down in Defense Mode."

"Very well. I'll also play a card face down and then I'll destroy your face-down card.. Dark Magician, Dark Magic Attack!"

The Dark Magician easily disposed of Seto's face-down monster. But it gave him another opportunity to draw the card he needed.

And sure enough, he got just what he needed.

"You think you've got this duel wrapped up with your Dark Magician, Yami, but now I'll put an end to it with the Blue Eyes White Dragon!"

Blue Eyes White Dragon 3000/2500

Seto had drawn his second Blue Eyes. And with it, Yami's Dark Magician would go down.

"Blue Eyes White Dragon! Attack with White Lightning!"

The Blue Eyes White Dragon aimed straight for the Dark Magician and fired with White Lightning. But to Seto's dismay, Yami had something waiting.

"I activate the Trap Card, Waboku!"

The card Yami had laid face down was Waboku, which negated the attack of the Blue Eyes. It left the Dark Magician unharmed and bought Yami more time. But Seto remained confident. His Dark Magician didn't have much time left.

"Perhaps I can't stand up to your Blue Eyes yet, Kaiba," Yami began. "But I can hold it off using Magical Hats!"

Four hats fell onto the field, one of them covering up the Dark Magician. For Seto, this all came down to a guessing game. But when he drew his next card, he laughed. He liked what he drew.

"You can play games all you want, but instead of picking a hat, I'll first lay down another Blue Eyes White Dragon!"

Blue Eyes White Dragon 3000/2500

"Blue Eyes White Dragon! Use your White Lightning!"

The Blue Eyes that Seto just laid down fired at one of the Magical Hats. Unfortunately, the hat was empty.

But Seto still had the advantage. For his next turn, he'd have both Blue Eyes attack and he'd have a two in three chance of wiping out the Dark Magician.

Back at the merchandise booth, Joey couldn't believe how bad things were going. He had made a lot of money, but it didn't look to be anywhere near the amount of money that Weevil and Rex had made. He was in danger of losing his Red Eyes Black Dragon and Time Wizard.

"How much have we sold, Mai?"

"We're hardly making anything anymore, Joey. Business is slowing down."

"But business can't slow down! I'm gonna lose my cards!"

"Maybe WE should have thought of a betting booth," Tristan mused.

Joey pounded his fist on the counter of the booth. "There's gotta be something I can do. Something I can do to increase sales."

As soon as Joey said that…

"Hi guys. How's business?"

Tristan shook his head. "Not so good, Téa. Nobody's buying anymore. And we're already getting into 2-for-1 deals."

"Maybe you guys just need a better incentive to buy," Téa suggested.

A light bulb suddenly lit over Joey's head. "Téa! You're a genius! I've got the perfect answer!"

"What's that?" Téa asked curiously.

Joey only got one of his goofy grins on his face as he looked at Téa. Téa could only sweatdrop.

Tristan blinked. "I don't like the looks of this."

Yami knew he was in trouble. With two dragons on the field, he knew Magical Hats couldn't protect the Dark Magician for much longer. He closed his eyes and focused on the heart of the cards. He drew a card and got another useful card.

/ This ought to buy us some time. /

"I play Swords of Revealing Light! That'll stop your dragons for three turns, Kaiba!" The Swords of Revealing light began appearing on the field, followed by a blinking of lights. "Hmm…I've never seen the Swords of Revealing Light react like this before." Then he turned his head and realized those were actually flashbulbs from several cameras being held by reporters. Yami got annoyed. "HEY! Stop that! I'm in the middle of a duel!"

The reporters backed off as the Swords of Revealing light took effect. The Blue Eyes White Dragons on the field froze in place. Yami had three turns to take Kaiba and his dragons down.

Kaiba drew his next card and immediately laid it down. "I play the Gift of the Mystical Elf! With her power, I reinforce my Life Points by 300!"

Yugi's LP 1800 || Kaiba's LP 1500

Yami drew his next card and laid another one he had been holding. "I play Curse of Dragon in Attack Mode!"

Curse of Dragon 2000/1500

With the next turn, Kaiba simply shrugged. "I know how you think, Yami. If I know you, I'd better have this ready, face down."

Yami drew another card and got another good draw. "Now I'll play the Feral Imp in Attack Mode!"

Feral Imp 1300/1400

"I don't see what good these moves are doing you, Yami."

"Just make your move, Kaiba."

"Very well. I'll play one more card face down."

Yami chuckled. "And now, I'll play THIS! The Black Lustre Ritual! Sacrificing Curse of Dragon and the Feral Imp, I'll complete the Black Lustre Ritual and call upon the Black Lustre Soldier!"

Black Lustre Soldier 3000/2500

Curse of Dragon and the Feral Imp disappeared from the field and soon, in their place, was the fearsome Black Lustre Soldier. It was the same soldier that appeared in the battle with Mai at Duelist Kingdom and had led Yami to victory in that duel. With its Attack Points even with the Blue Eyes White Dragon and the Dark Magician still in one of the three remaining Magical Hats, Yami was in a good position.

However, despite all that, when Kaiba drew his next card, he chuckled. "All those theatrics and it won't even matter! Not only can my two dragons move on this turn, but I've also drawn Reborn the Monster! And with it, I'll revive my first Blue Eyes White Dragon!"

Blue Eyes White Dragon 3000/2500

"And now, with this Polymerization card, I'll fuse all three of my dragons together to create the Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon!"

Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon 4500/3800

The crowd was in awe upon seeing the three Blue Eyes on the field all fuse together to become one enormous, three-headed creature. There were spectators taking pictures and looking on in amazement at the Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon.

"That's great stuff!" one of the sideline reporters shouted. "Can you hold that pose, Mr. Kaiba?"

Kaiba flinched as a flashbulb went off. "Stop that! I'm not a model!" Then Kaiba eagerly gave his next order. "Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon! Destroy the Black Lustre Soldier with your Neutron Blast!"

The vicinity got much hotter as the Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon rose into the air and fired down on the Black Lustre Soldier. The result was a huge explosion that nearly toppled the capacity crowd. And when the smoke cleared, the Black Lustre Soldier was obliterated. With the destruction of his soldier, Yami's Life Points went all the way down to 300.

Another sideline reporter took a picture. "Awesome action shot!"

/ I thought that by taking down that first Blue Eyes, we wouldn't have to deal with the fused Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon. There's not much more we can do. He'll have to take down one hat at a time to get to the Dark Magician. /

// But if he gets lucky and draws the right hat, we lose this duel! We can't take that chance! //

Yami drew his next card and gasped.

/ This has worked for us before! /

// It's definitely worth a try! //

"I'm sure you remember this one, Kaiba! I'll play Kuriboh in Attack Mode!"

Kuriboh 300/200

"And I'll combine him with this Multiply Card to create an entire army on the field!"

The lone Kuriboh glowed and got ready to multiply, but something unexpected happened.

"Not so fast! I've seen you use this combo on me before! Come now, Yami. Did you really think I wouldn't prepare for it? Did you really think I wouldn't find a way to counter it?"

"What?! Impossible!"

"Oh, but it's VERY possible! And I WILL counter…with the card I that laid face down. It's the De-Spell card!"

Yami gasped. "Oh no!"

"That's right! I'll use De-Spell to deactivate your Multiply card…leaving your Kuriboh a sitting duck for my dragon."

Kaiba had made a huge play on that last turn. Without the Multiply card, Yami was stuck with a lone Kuriboh. So with an extra space in his hand, Yami drew his next card…and smirked.

// Aibou…I think we're going to be just fine. //

/ Let's just hope this works. /

"I'll lay this card face down, Kaiba. And I'll end my turn."

Yami waited patiently…and smirked.

Seto sensed something extremely fishy. He didn't like the way Yami left his Kuriboh in Attack Mode. That card he laid down must have been a trap. His Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon would ultimately win him the duel, but he couldn't risk it now. If, in fact, the card laid down was NOT a trap and Yami was just bluffing, then Seto could take out Yami's remaining Life Points with any of his other cards.

/// If he thinks I'm going to lead my Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon into a trap, he's got another thing coming. ANY monster can take down a Kuriboh…including this one. ///

That's when he decided to lay a different one down. "I'll keep my Ultimate Blue Eyes waiting in the wings while I take down that hairball with the Rude Kaiser!"

Rude Kaiser 1800/1600

"Rude Kaiser! Attack Kuriboh with Forearm Slash!"

The Rude Kaiser rushed forward to slice Kuriboh into ribbons. And just as Seto suspected, Yami was about to flip his face-down card and reveal a trap. What Seto didn't realize was how severe that trap truly was.

"You were one step ahead of me there, Kaiba, but I STILL got the better of you. Because you've activated my trap! The Mirror Force card! And with it, I destroy EVERY monster you have on the field…INCLUDING your Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon!"

Much to Seto's horror, the Rude Kaiser and the Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon were both eradicated before his very eyes. He couldn't believe it.


/// I can't believe it! Without my dragon, I'm done for! And I STILL have to deal with those infernal hats! ///

Yugi's LP 300 || Kaiba's LP 1500

Seto closed his eyes and began to think about all the implications of this duel. The board wouldn't stand for this. People would never look at him the same way again. And more than all that, Yugi would get equal partnership in Kaibacorp. He HAD to win this duel. His reputation was on the line. His sole ownership in his company was on the line. So he drew one last card.

/// THIS card! I can win with THIS card! That Kuriboh may STILL be his undoing! ///

Kaiba smirked. "I have a way to lure your Dark Magician out, Yami. First I'll use THIS! I'll use a second De-Spell card to take your Dark Magician's Book of Secret Arts.

Dark Magician 2800/2400 == 2500/2100

"Next, I'll play Saggi the Dark Clown…and this card face down!"

Saggi the Dark Clown 600/1500

Seto could have very well had Saggi take out Kuriboh now and win the duel. But he wanted to watch his opponent squirm. He wanted to humiliate his opponent.

"If I were you, I'd better make a move. Because if you don't, I'm attacking your Kuriboh with Saggi and putting an end to this duel."

/// Come on, Yami! Try and attack! And wait for me to POUNCE on you! ///

"Step right up!" Joey grinned as he spoke into a megaphone. "Get your official Yugi/Kaiba merchandise right here! And for a limited time, we've got a special deal for all of you! Buy any piece of Yugi/Kaiba memorabilia and get your picture taken with the lovely Téa Gardner over here!"

Téa grumbled under her breath. "I can't believe I agreed to this."

"And that's not all," Joey continued. "You also get entered into a random drawing. The grand prize is a date with Téa!"

"WHAT?!" Téa demanded. "We never discussed that!"

"Don't spoil this for me, Téa," Joey whispered into her ear. "I really need you to save my bacon here." He cleared his throat and spoke back into the megaphone. "So step right up! The lovely Téa can't wait to go out with one of YOU!"

Mai tapped Téa on the shoulder and shook her head. "How do you think *I* feel? I can't believe he didn't approach ME with this idea first. You're not even that good-looking. Especially compared to me. Of course, not that I'd willingly solicit myself like that. Thanks for taking one for the team."

"You're so welcome," Téa muttered dryly.

Tristan leaned over and whispered into Joey's ear. "You DO know Téa's going to kill you when this is all over, right?"

"She should be thanking me," Joey cracked. "I could be setting her up with a really cute guy. Besides, I'll gladly take a few bruises if it means saving my Red Eyes and Time Wizard."

Joey kept his grin as he looked over at Téa…who didn't look amused at all. In fact, she looked awfully angry.

Joey could feel it. He WOULD end up taking some bruises on this day.

Yami saw Saggi the Dark Clown was right there, waiting for his move. With the Dark Magician still at 2800 Attack Points from the Book of Secret Arts card, Yami could win this duel. But there was one thing that kept him from attacking.

/ You know why he wants us to attack Saggi, right? /

// The Crush Card Virus! He's going to use the Crush Card! //

/ So should we lay low? /

// We can't. If we don't deal with Saggi, he can destroy Kuriboh and wipe out our remaining Life Points. //

/ Then what'll do we do? /

Yami drew his next card…and confidently smiled.

// Here's what we do. //

"You may think you're luring me into a trap, Kaiba, but I'm ready for you this time! You've shown me that you've learned well from our past battles, but it's also obvious that you don't remember ALL of my old moves! I hold in my hand the card that will win me this duel: the Mystic Box!"

Kaiba was in disbelief. "WHAT?!"

"You weren't planning to use a Crush Card on me, were you, Kaiba?" Yami asked mockingly. "I now place my Dark Magician inside the Mystic Box. And I now skewer the Mystic Box with several swords, but as you remember, Kaiba, I wouldn't willingly doom my Dark Magician. In fact, let's see what's inside the box!"

Everything unfolded just as Yami said. The Mystic Box then opened itself up to reveal a card that had been destroyed. Indeed, it turned out to be the Crush Card Virus. And without a Trap Card to protect Saggi, that meant this duel was over.

Kaiba clenched his teeth. "No, my Crush Card!"

"It's all over, Kaiba! Because now my Dark Magician comes out of the Mystic Box, unharmed! Dark Magician, Dark Magic Attack!"

The Dark Magician emerged safely from the Mystic Box, aimed, and fired. With the Crush Card Virus no longer looming, the Dark Magician was free to take down Saggi. But Kaiba had one last surprise waiting that would prove to be his saving grace.

Kaiba flipped over a face-down card. "Negate Attack!"

The Dark Magician's attack stopped in mid-air. Saggi was left unharmed and Kaiba had survived through another turn. Yami couldn't believe it. He could have sworn it was the end of the duel.

Kaiba drew another card and chuckled. "Let's see if you can last through this next turn. I'll lay two cards face down…and play the Swordstalker in Attack Mode!"

Swordstalker 2000/1600

"I no longer have my dragons at my disposal, so the Swordstalker is the best option I have. But let's see if you have the guts to attack."

/ Those two face-down card worries me. It could be just about anything. /

// He could also be bluffing. It would be foolish to risk the Dark Magician. But we have another monster in our hand that could work just as well. And if he takes down Saggi, we'll still win the duel. //

Having decided on his next move, Yami attempted to end this duel once and for all. "First, I'll shift Kuriboh into Defense Mode. Then I'll play Gaia the Fierce Knight! Attack Saggi and end this duel!"

Gaia the Fierce Knight 2300/2100

Gaia the Fierce Knight appeared on the field. The horse reared up and neighed before charging forward. The knight held out his lance and looked to skewer Saggi, but before he made contact, Kaiba revealed one of his face-down cards.

"I figured you'd try and attack…so I laid down this Magic Card. I use the Change of Heart card!"

// NO! Not that again! //

"I take control of your Dark Magician!" Kaiba declared. "Destroy Gaia!"

The Dark Magician fell under the influence of the Change of Heart card and struck down Gaia just before he hit Saggi. That blow left Yami's Life Points dangerously low.

Yugi's LP 100 || Kaiba's LP 1500

// One more unexpected move like that and it's over! //

/ Maybe we SHOULD have taken up Bakura's offer. A Change of Heart card might come in handy. Hey…wait a second! Yami, don't WE have a card just like it in our deck? /

// What do you mean? //

/ Trust me! Believe in the Heart of the Cards and we'll draw the one card we need! /

Yami listened to his other half and closed his eyes. He drew his next card and found that he really did find the card he was looking for.

Yami chuckled. "Kaiba…two can play that strategy."

Kaiba growled. "What do you mean?"

Yami laid down his next card. "I play Brain Control! Brain Control works just like the Change of Heart card in that it lets me control an enemy monster! And I take control of your Swordstalker to obliterate Saggi the Dark Clown!"

The Swordstalker quickly made an about-face and cut down Saggi without hesitation. The sudden move made the match much more even than it was seconds earlier. The duel was now dead even.

Yugi's LP 100 || Kaiba's LP 100

"Amazing move!" the announcer shouted. "Now we are in the midst of a tie! The next move will likely decide the duel! Can you all feel the tension?!"

"SHUT UP!" Yami and Kaiba both shouted.

There were only three monsters on the field now. Only Yami's Dark Magician and Kuriboh and Kaiba's Swordstalker remained. The next move was absolutely crucial. Yami drew his next card carefully.

/ The Dark Magician has enough Attack Points to defeat the Swordstalker…but maybe we should play this face down to be on the safe side. /

// Every move is critical. We MUST play this card just in case. //

Meanwhile, Kaiba made his move. "One card…face down. And I'll get rid of that hairball once and for all. Swordstalker, take care of it."

The Swordstalker lunged towards Kuriboh and eliminated the little monster from the field. Having been shifted into Defense Mode, the last of Yami's Life Points were preserved. The field was down to Swordstalker and the Dark Magician, but Yami was about to change that.

Yami laid his card face down and attacked. "Dark Magician, Dark Magic Attack!"

Kaiba flipped over his face-down card, revealing yet another Trap Card. "This is the card that'll win me this duel! Shadow Spell! Shadow Spell reduces your Dark Magician's attack power by 700!"

Dark Magician 2500/2100 == 1800/2100

"Go Swordstalker! Vengeance Strike!"

The Swordstalker was about to end the duel, but Yami flipped over a Trap Card of his own.

"I counter with the Horn of Heaven! Begrudgingly sacrificing my Dark Magician, the Horn of Heaven destroys your Swordstalker!"

Both the Dark Magician and the Swordstalker were removed from the field. The dueling field was now empty and both Yami and Kaiba remained with 100 Life Points each.

Kaiba growled. "Fool! You've turned this duel into a total game of chance! We now literally have to lay down whatever monster we have in our hand in hopes of having the higher attack strength. Leaving a duel up to chance is a move I'd expect out of Joey Wheeler!"

Yami smirked. "I hope you feel lucky, Kaiba. Let's just see who the Heart of the Cards sides with on this day."

Kaiba grumbled and drew his next card. "I may have used my strongest cards, but so have you! You have no card left to counter THIS! Mystic Horseman in Attack Mode!"

Mystic Horseman 1300/1550

Fresh out of his strongest cards, Kaiba went with the Mystic Horseman. But Yami had one card left up his sleeve. Without even looking, Yami drew his next card and laid it on the field. His faith rewarded him.

"The Heart of the Cards is on my side, Kaiba! Reborn the Monster! Bring back the Dark Magician!"

Dark Magician 2500/2100

The Dark Magician returned from the Graveyard and twirled his staff.


The Dark Magician fired and took down the Mystic Horseman. With nothing left to counter with, Kaiba could not fight back.

The duel was over.

"What an amazing comeback!" the announcer boomed. "Yugi Moto, down by 1400 Life Points, makes a huge play at the end to defeat Seto Kaiba! Yugi Moto is your winner!"

The crowd erupted at the announcement. Kaiba pounded his fist on the ground. He was in disbelief.

Usually, Yami would be happy he won a duel. And in a way, he was. After all, the Millennium Puzzle was still in his possession. But unfortunately, things weren't over. As soon as he stepped off the field, he was swamped by a sea of reporters.

"Yugi Moto! How does it feel to have beaten Seto Kaiba TWICE?"

"Any reactions to this duel?"

"Did you ever think you'd lose?"

"Are you going to Disneyland?"

Yami tried to keep his temper. // Aibou, PLEASE! I have the power! Let me teach them some respect! //

/ Yami, you promised you'd behave yourself! Just say 'no comment'. /

// It's that easy? //

/ It's that easy. /

Yami gently waved his hand. "No comment."

The reporters kept asking questions, but they seemingly parted, leaving a path for Yami to walk through. Yugi was right. It really was that easy. After getting nothing from Yami, the reporters seemed to head towards Kaiba.

With the duel, the pressure was finally off. The tie had finally been broken.

By the time the night arrived, the town square was just about empty. The only exceptions were Joey and the other would-be entrepreneurs. The money was being counted, as Téa sat on a table counting all the earnings from both sides.

"Weevil and Rex…you made ¥54,562."

Weevil cackled. "You might as well go ahead and give us our cards now, Joey!"

"Yeah, I can't wait to get my Red Eyes back!" Rex added.

Joey was sweating bullets as Téa was about to read off how much he had made. It was an eerily long silence.

"Joey…you made ¥53,624."

Joey felt his whole world fall apart. He had lost. He just fell short and it would cost him his two best cards.

"Cough 'em up, Joey!" Rex chuckled. "Give us what's ours!"

Joey was distressed and despondent, but he was always a man of his word. He was about to reach over to hand over his cards, but someone walked up and interrupted the proceedings. It was a man in a suit.

"Excuse me, gentlemen. You two run the gambling booth, correct?"

"That's us," Rex grinned. "What can we do for you?"

"I'd like to cash in my ticket. I successfully bet ¥3000 on Yugi Moto and I'm here to collect."

Weevil's eyes widened. "N-N-N-NO! We're closed!"

"This ticket says I can collect at any time of the day."

Weevil turned to Rex. "You just HAD to put that on the ticket, didn't you?!"

The man in the suit was growing impatient. "I'd like my money, please."

"Yeah, Weevil, give the guy his money," Joey mocked.

"What are you waiting for?" Tristan added.

"Don't keep him waiting," Mai smirked.

Weevil's lip quivered as he handed the man in the suit ¥6000. The man in the suit took his winnings and happily walked away.

Joey grinned. "And that brings you guys down to ¥48,562. And that means *I* win! So cough up the dough!"

Weevil and Rex were both catatonic over the sudden proceedings, so Joey helped himself to all the money on the table. He had almost ¥100,000. Joey was ecstatic. He couldn't believe he had so much money.

"Alright! I'm buying myself a Ferrari! Uh…and I'll keep it in my garage until I'm old enough to drive it!"

But before Joey could even react, Mai took all the money in her hand.

"Hey, what's the idea, Mai?!"

"Little Joey, you don't know anything about business, do you? We have to add up expenses."


Mai sighed and started counting. "Let's see…before anything, I have to take my first cut. And since you're the head honcho, that leaves you responsible for…let's see…there's the cost of manufacturing, the cost of renting the warehouse, and the wages of all the workers we had. And that leaves…"

Mai handed Joey a small pile of cash. Joey counted the money and his jaw nearly dropped to the floor.

"¥100! All I made out of this was a stinkin' ¥100!"

"Actually…that's the cut for you AND Tristan. So you two get to SPLIT ¥100. And I keep my cut. Nice doing business with you, Joey."

Mai cheerfully walked away, leaving a bewildered Joey to ponder just exactly what happened. Mai Valentine had completely conned him.

Téa shook her head. "Oh Joey…I'm just glad I don't get myself into these things."

"That's right, you don't," Tristan grinned. "That's what Joey's for. Remember your DATE? First prize."

Téa sweatdropped. "You actually went through with that?!"

Joey suddenly perked up and chuckled. "We sure did! Couldn't have done this without you, Téa. And here's a little something for your trouble."

Joey left a coin right in front of Téa…who was steaming at this point. Joey and Tristan both recognized that look. They may have had a long experience as street punks, but they knew when it was time to back out of a losing battle.

"Tristan, I think we should run."

"I'm with you, buddy."

Joey and Tristan dashed away like there was no tomorrow while Téa got up and quickly gave chase.

"You two get back here! When I get my hands on you…!!"

Joey wasn't about to stop running. This idea seemed so beautiful on paper, but between Weevil, Rex, and Mai, it turned out so sour.

He started to think it better if he would think out his future schemes better.

Seto remembered what happened last time he lost to Yugi Moto. The board began to plot against him. And this time around, things wouldn't get any better. Especially with Yugi now getting an equal share of Kaibacorp. He couldn't take the chance of there being another insurrection within his board. He had to nip this in the bud. So he headed straight for the new board.

He stormed in and saw the five new board members sitting at the table. They looked like they had been awaiting his presence.

"I'd like to clear something up with you all immediately. The last time I lost to Yugi Moto, the ones who once filled those seats attempted to take over this company, thinking they could overthrow me. They thought I wasn't capable of defending my own company. They thought just because I lost one duel, that I could easily be deposed as head of Kaibacorp. I don't think I need to tell you that those five are no longer around and that I am still here! So I'm warning you all ahead of time NOT to get any ideas. If I hear any rumors of dissent, you will all pay!

"Furthermore, the rumors are true. I am a man of my word, so Yugi Moto will now hold an equal share of Kaibacorp. Therefore, you are to treat him with as much respect as you do me. All his requests are to be honored. You shall give him anything he asks for and he will have free access to all of our resources. Anybody who refuses to honor the stipulations of the duel shall answer to me. I trust there will be no problems. Good night, gentlemen."

Having gotten that off his chest, Seto turned around and started walking away. While he did lose to Yugi and the spirit of his puzzle again, he didn't forget who he was. He was still Seto Kaiba, one of the mightiest duelists in all the world and the head of a huge corporation.

One day, he would defeat Yugi Moto, but in the meantime, he would let the young one cherish his victory.

Big One watched as Kaiba walked away, still holding his head up after what had to be a disheartening defeat. He firmly established who was in charge, but there was still a problem.

"We cannot just sit idly by," Big Three said. "The image of Kaibacorp has been tarnished by this defeat. Things won't get any better with Yugi Moto becoming an equal partner and accessing anything he pleases."

"But you heard Kaiba," Big Four responded. "The last ones to occupy this board attempted to overthrow him and they have since been deposed. We cannot take that risk."

"We will not go to that extreme," Big One explained. "We need not do away with Seto Kaiba. He is just as powerful as he's ever been. No, gentlemen. I propose we go a different route."

"And what route would that be?" Big Five asked.

"Yes, how should we deal with this?" Big Two added.

Big One knew the obvious answer. "We must address this…by disposing of Yugi Moto, once and for all."


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