There are times when a profound lack of response is more striking than even the most colossal explosion of sound. This was one of those times.

In Tristan's living room, there was a tidal wave of silence as Tristan stared, slightly twitching, at the ninja star half-buried in one of his rugs. No one moved, seemingly afraid that he might snap and go into a frenzy at the slightest hint of motion. The ninja star gleamed purposefully.

Tristan reached out and plucked the ninja star from the rug. "That was my favorite rug," he said quietly, deadly ire vibrating in his voice. "It took me ten days to knit this rug. I made the pattern myself."

As one, the group turned their heads to survey the damage. The favorite rug now sported a clean slash right in the center of its pale blue center. The pink note, no longer being pinned up by the star, fluttered lightly to the ground as Tristan gazed upon the injustice done to his shag carpet. His soul called out for vengeance upon the one who dared to harm his carpentry. His eyes blazed with silent rage.

Yugi watched him pick up the note stiffly, and turned to look at Tea worriedly. She shook her head and muttered. "Yami Bakura is going to die."

"He's hit one too many walls with a random oriental weapon," Yugi agreed solemnly, his detached lock of hair in his hand. Yami Bakura was also going to have to pay his hairdresser.

Meanwhile, Tristan had unfolded the pink note and was staring at it. "Your shag rugs suck. Mwahahahaha. Ha. Love, Yami Bakura." He read in funereal tones.

Serenity decided that now might be a good idea to go to the kitchen, lock the door, and have a nice cup of tea. Yugi, Tea, and Joey stared at the offending slip of paper in morbid fascination. A vein twitched on Tristan's forehead as he read the postscript.

"I will win the costume contest, and rule the world. Take that, carpet boy!"

Silence reigned over the living room as the scrap of rose-colored paper wafted gently to the floor. The ninja star followed with a metallic 'ping'. Tristan stared at the wall in front of him, a slightly detached expression on his face as he stared solidly at the maimed shag carpet.

In life, there are passengers and there are drivers. There are people who hitchhike on the side of the road, holding poorly-written signs, and there are people who own the expensive cars that soak the aforementioned hitchhikers with muddy water. Tristan was, in fact, a born designated driver. Nature is a very wise omnipotent force, and she knew that somehow these stupid humans would create some intoxicating beverage that would result in their losing any intelligence they had a claim to. With that same logic, it stood to reason that they'd create vehicles to allow them to obtain the beverage conveniently. And since Mother Nature is a soft-hearted godlike force, she did not want any of her creatures needlessly and idiotically killed. She created designated drivers, people who were always utterly sober, because they were too boring to be anything more. At the end of the day, the world needs people to clean up the vomit and direct brilliant, wobbling individuals to the steps of their home.

But there are times when even the most sober, inoffensive person snaps. Yami Bakura had crossed the line. He had placed the straw on the camel's back. He had overstepped his boundaries. He had insulted...the shag.

From somewhere deep inside Tristan, a lion's head burst through a piece of red-painted canvas and roared.

"Serenity, the ire has entered my soul." He uttered solemnly.

"We have medicine for that, dear." She exclaimed hurriedly, rushing out of the kitchen.

'Not the iron, the ire."

"What's that again?"

"Ire means rage, fury, or indignation."

"Which one has entered your soul, dear?"

"Rage. I think I'll go with rage."

Serenity vaguely remembered the last time Tristan had become enraged. The scorch marks had yet to be removed from the bathroom walls. "Perhaps you would like to take a walk?" she suggested.

"In his state?" asked Yugi, "Think of the poor defenseless trees and shrubbery!"

Tristan seemed to stare thoughtfully off into the distance, channeling the spirits of long gone anime heroes as he stood there attempting to look heroic in his jeans and yellow Woodstock tee shirt. Tea inched away slightly.

"I have an idea." he said thoughtfully as the others cringed in semi- awareness of what was to come. When ideas and Tristan collided, calamity ensued. "I shall go to the costume party with you. There, I will no doubt encounter Yami Bakura, and he will feel my wrath. He will taste shag carpet." If Tristan was a villain, he would have punctuated that sentence with a wild, maniacal cackle. As it was, he just gave a short, eerie chuckle and removed the rug from the wall, a frightening gleam in his eye.

Everyone else in the room unconsciously withdrew from him. There was something about the look in his eye that wasn't quite sane.

"Well, that's settled then." Tea stated. "Now there's only one thing we need to do."

"Sign up for the contest?"

"Make the costumes?"

"Find a way to get home?"

"No. We must find out which of us is going to be which horseman."

"I want to be Death." Yugi announced.

"..."

"What?"

"I can see that this might take a while."

"Would anyone care for tea?" Serenity asked from the kitchen.

In the student council discussion room, the president sat, addressing his newly acquired staff. A large coffee mug was sitting directly in front of him, the contents steaming and giving off an oddly nutty fragrance. There was a hamster emblazoned on it's front.

"And so," the president announced solemnly, "The task of retrieving the prize has begun. It is a dark and troubled time for the student government. We have entrusted our future in the hands of an oddly tan foreign kid with intensely purple eyes. Let us take a moment of silence to fully appreciate this dilemma."

Silence reigned supreme for all of five minutes. The coffee mug steamed silently, and the hamster sticker stared at the occupants of the cheap , square folding table. The president had previously attempted to purchase a round table, but that notion was declared a health hazard. No one knew why.

"As you can see, this will be very trying for our blood pressures." The president said at last. "But I have trust in Mr. Ishtar, and I believe he will return with the necessary items."

More silence from the residents of the room.

"I know it seems like an improbability, but stranger things have happened. Like Molly's new cotton candy flavor at the last science fair. I think it may have blown up a section of the gymnasium."

Silence.

"No, I won't hear any negative comments on this particular venture," he stated firmly, "I believe this was a wise decision."

Silence.

"Well, I'd like to see YOU! Do better!"

Silence.

"DON'T TALK BACK TO ME! I remind you, I am STILL president!"

Yet more silence.

"And what did you mean by that remark? Alright, that's it. From this moment on, you are officially off of my cabinet. Let that be a lesson to the rest of you mindless peons. Objections? Comments? Anything? No? Well, then. On to the next order of business. All in favor of installing a new snack machine in the cafeteria, vote positively."

No one moved.

"Oh, for goodness sake." The president shook the table fiercely.

Simultaneously, the bobble-head dolls lined up around the table busily nodded their heads in favor.

The little red car zipped merrily along the freeway. The driver of the sporty little vehicle was in the middle of a good maniacal cackle, a bottle of fruit juice in his hand. His expression changed as he spoke to himself, earning him some stares from other drivers.

"Admit it. All you really wanted to do was ruin Yugi's hair."

"Why, I'm offended and shocked. How can you suggest that I would be so immature as to indulge in destruction of property just to indulge in a petty, albeit highly amusing joke?"

"I'm waiting for another maniacal cackle to punctuate that sentence."

Yami Bakura obliged.

"What is with that, anyway?"

"What's with what?"

"All villains have some sort of odd proclivity to cackle evilly at things that have no real humor."

"Hey, I thought this was pretty funny."

"Well, of course you did. You're the mad, cackling evil guy."

"I'm not evil. I'm chaotic neutral."

"Since when have you been neutral?"

"Since forever. I can be whatever I damn well please. I mean, I help out either side depending on my own personal, hidden goals."

"Not exactly hidden, seeing that you like to spout them out to whatever victim you're currently terrorizing."

"Ryou, you're lawful good. You just wouldn't understand."

"Lawful good? Who have you been talking to? Where are all these random phrases coming from?"

"I have D&D on Friday evenings. I find it very interesting, and a pleasant way to pass time. It has also given me some excellent strategies for my next evil scheme."

"Don't you mean your next chaotic neutral scheme?"

"Ryou, you are being facetious, and that displeases me. Kindly go to your soul room and leave me alone."

"I can't believe you play Dungeons and Dragons. What, do you read fantasy novels and wear black t-shirts with humorously witty sayings scrawled across them, too? What's your character, anyway?"

"I'm a barbarian, if you must know."

"What, a barbarian? Like, with fur loincloths and messy hair and giant swords?"

"Ryou..."

"One of those scantily-clad warrior types? With bone necklaces and dramatic speeches and all that?"

"His name is Joey."

"That's almost unnecessarily cruel."

"I also play a dwarf."

"Oh no..."

"His name is Yugi."

"You're a real jerk, did you know that?"

"Toss yourself in a shallow lake, Ryou."

"A shallow lake?"

"So you will break your neck in the process. That's a quick, relatively painless death. At least compared to drowning."

"How uncharacteristically generous of you."

"Yes, Ryou, I noticed. I believe your constant, unwavering, and annoying presence has been an unpleasant influence on my character. I find myself doing all sorts of good deeds."

"Good deeds such as?"

"Please note that I could have killed Pegasus's guard dogs in cruel, unusual ways."

"...And instead you simply tied them all together in an unending, cyclic 'chase-the-tail' game?"

"Indeed. It will provide hours of fun for the imprisoned dogs. It is a terrible thing to have a fondness for animals, Ryou. How do you even stand it?"

"I take a glass of orange juice every morning."

"Citrus controls these overwhelming urges of warmth and fluffiness?"

"Oh, it controls many things."

"Was that a bit of sarcasm there, Ryou?"

"Certainly not. You know very well that I have no grasp of sarcasm."

"Excellent."

"I have a bit of a question for you."

"I'm not pulling over for donuts."

"Not that," Ryou waved a hand impatiently, "I want to know exactly what you think you're doing."

"I," Yami Bakura recited dutifully, "Am on a quest to retrieve all of the millennium items so that I may control the world. In-"

"I know that." He said quickly, cutting off Yami Bakura before the fanatical rambling began, "What I want to know is how exactly you are going to do this, using the pink notes and this car. You originally said we were entering the contest, but we don't even have a costume, and we haven't entered. All you've been doing so far is zipping busily around, pinning ninja stars to people's walls."

Yami Bakura lapsed into silence.

"Amazing!" Ryou cried, "You put absolutely no thought into this, did you? You probably just woke up in the morning and somehow thought you could make this work, without any effort at all."

"Silence, Ryou. I am pondering."

"Oh, I see. Pondering. Of course."

"Ryou?"

"Yes?"

"How does one go about applying for a costume contest?"

"Well, they generally go to the school, and talk to whoever's heading the thing. This would be the student president."

"Ah."

More silence.

"Ryou?"

"Yes?"

"What exactly is a 'costume'?"

*** *** ***

Author's Note: Okay, I know you all probably want to disembowel me with some sort of sharp, pointy instrument. I apologize for the astonishing lack of updates. There were extenuating circumstances that I can't go into, but I think I'm okay to write some more of this. I hope you enjoyed this chapter.