High Crystal Guardian here, and welcome to my brand new fiction! Yes, it's the fic you've all been waiting for (Or...maybe just...a few of you o_O;;) Negative Chaos!
Slash: *grumbles* Finally!
Kaiba: I know...what'd it take, a month and a half to write up the outline she said would only take a week?
Karma: ¬_¬;; Knock it off, you guys. Writing's hard.
HCG: ^_^ Thank you Karma, the nicest of my three muses! Okay, for those of you who don't know...Karma and Slash are my own original characters, who are part of a different set of fanfiction (which doesn't appear on this site, so far). And you all know who Kaiba is.
Kaiba: YEAH! An unwilling muse!
HCG: -_-;; Shut up, Kaiba. All three are my "muses." Not that they actually do much.
Quick Summary (in case the FF.net summary limit doesn't FIT all of this ^_^;;): The Shadow Realm's power is beginning to grow too high for the Realm alone to sustain, and now a great amount of energy and magic is overflowing into the True Realm with disastrous results. Yugi and his friends try to stop the power before it completely covers the world in death and darkness, but they aren't strong enough. So the Realms' Balance is put into play, and a new gate to the Negative Realm appears, with three old friends coming through to assist against the dangerous Shadow Powers...
Okay, now as for the notes. This story, "Negative Chaos," is the sequel to my earlier fiction, "Shadow Turned Light." It is absolutely positively vital that you read "Shadow Turned Light" first, or you aren't going to understand one bit of what happens in this fic. Got that clear? If you haven't read STL, go read it now. I command you.
Also (though it doesn't come into this chapter), thanks to WSJ for giving me the use of her Seven Elements. (Thought I'd get that in early. Yeah, so I'm nervous about borrowing writing whatnots and getting in trouble with others' ideas. So sue me. NOT REALLY! O_O;;)
Finally, this'll be starting two weeks before Halloween, as STL started just before school ended, and this story takes place about four months or so after. (And to WSJ, if you're reading this, I didn't notice the similarities to the timeframes of YOUR fic, "All Saints Night," until I finished writing this chapter. So please don't get mad that I used something similar; I didn't copy your story or make anything the same on purpose *cringe*)
Karma: Okay! Enough random notes--get on with the story!
HCG: ^_^;; Right! Oh, and disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh, sadly enough. Karma and Slash, however, belong to ME, as does this particular plot and story. Ask if you want to use MY ideas--thank you very much.
/word/ ~ Yugi speaking to Yami via mind link
//word// ~ Yami speaking to Yugi via mind link
I have not the accent in Tea's name, so I'm going to have to stick with writing "Tea" and hope you all know what you're reading.
Italicized words are thoughts or memories/dreams
Chapter 1: Threatening Shadows
"Kaiba," Yugi said, glancing down at the envelope placed neatly in the center of his desk, "What exactly is this?"
Seto Kaiba, the wealthy CEO of KaibaCorp and genius creator of many top-of-the-line inventions, snorted in disgust as his eyes flickered to the same envelope Yugi Moto was staring at. He sighed before giving his answer. "An invitation."
Curious, Yugi frowned quickly before asking cheerily, "An invitation to what?"
Another sigh of exasperation escaped Kaiba's lips as he set his briefcase down at his own desk in the classroom. Snapping the clasps on the sides of the briefcase open, he said with an air of soon to be lost patience, "To a party."
"A party, huh?" Joey Wheeler, Yugi's best friend, cut in with a snicker. "Didn't think you were into that kinda stuff, Kaiba."
The teen CEO shot Joey an icy glare that silenced the boy within seconds. Quiet achieved, Kaiba turned back to his briefcase, removing several papers and books needed for their first class as he spoke. "I don't, Wheeler. If I had it my way, I'd never have handed out an invitation to you, let alone the rest of your pathetic friends." He snapped the briefcase closed and turned to face the two other teens. "In fact, I never planned the thing to begin with. It's Mokuba's idea. He wanted to have a Halloween party at the mansion; apparently, with the full moon on the holiday, the grounds and building will look spooky enough to draw some attention. He's been begging me for weeks now to let him have the party there. I had to give in eventually, or he'd have driven me insane."
Joey chuckled again. "Are you sure you're not doing some of this for your own fun?"
Kaiba turned to sit down in his seat, saying icily, "I'll be attending a meeting at KaibaCorp while the party's going on. So no, Wheeler, I'm not doing this 'for my own fun.' It's purely for Mokuba, which is why I'm allowing you to get lucky enough to step into my mansion. He chose the guest list; otherwise, you'd be out of luck." With a sneer, the CEO turned away from the two of them, signifying the conversation over.
Yugi grinned despite Kaiba's rather rude attitude. "Great! I'll be sure to come, then. Thanks." Joey nodded his agreement before the two of them scurried away to sit down at their desks as the teacher entered, beginning the day's lesson.
The class dragged on for what seemed an eternity, but soon the period had rolled around to it's end, and second block began. Yugi found it somewhat easier to pay attention in his second class; for one thing, he was further awake than he had been in first period, and for another, the class was history, and ancient cultures to boot. Egypt wasn't their current topic--that wouldn't come until nearly the end of the year--but Yugi found almost any ancient history interesting. Particularly when he had the chance to talk to Yami about the classes, as it seemed to cheer the spirit up when he heard about information from his own time, be it his country or not.
Second period ended all too quickly, and lunch began without a second's hesitation. Yugi eagerly headed to the cafeteria, looking forward to lunch with his friends.
And it soon came, as he stepped through the double doors into the noisy, brightly lit room. He waved back eagerly as he spotted his friends, over in a corner table today, when they waved to show him where they were. Grinning, he walked over, taking a seat between Tea and Ryou.
Conversation began almost instantly, started by Joey. "'Ey, Yugi! What're ya going to wear to the Halloween party?"
Yugi shrugged, pulling a sandwich from his lunch bag to eat as he spoke. "I'm not sure. I really haven't thought about a costume yet."
Tristen, Joey's best friend, grinned. "I don't know about you guys, but I've got my costume all set--I just have to buy a few things more. I'm going to have a whole 'camouflage and army' theme going on. The whole setup doesn't look to shabby either."
Yugi laughed. "It sounds awesome," he said, before biting into his sandwich. He chewed quickly before swallowing and turning to Joey. "How about you?"
Joey's smile, if possible, widened. "Oh, nothing too difficult, but it'll be a great costume nonetheless. I was thinking along the lines of Indiana Jones...I think I'd look pretty cool in that outfit, don't you?"
"You wish," Tea said, laughing.
"I will," Joey hissed back, though jokingly.
Tea continued talking. "I've got something interesting planned. I'm going as a devil. The costume looks perfect by now, but then again I've been working on it for ages." She grinned at the slightly shocked looks around her before turning to Ryou. "What about you?"
Ryou shrugged, toying with the food on his tray but not eating it. "I'm not sure if I'm going," he said finally, sighing.
Joey looked surprised. "What do you mean? Did you get an invitation?"
"Oh, of course," Ryou said, nodding. "But..." he let it hang; they all understood perfectly well, anyway. Ryou possessed a Millennium Item, and with it, a rather abusive yami, Bakura. The spirit enjoyed cutting Ryou off from any social outings, and punished him if the shy boy tried to break the bonds placed on him.
Yugi frowned and watched his white-haired friend carefully before speaking. "Don't worry, Ryou. Yami'll be there too, and the both of us won't let your yami try anything."
Ryou smiled gratefully, though his eyes still held a rather unhappy look in them. "Thank you, Yugi."
"So," Tristen said questioningly, "what'll your costume be?"
The boy across from him paused for a moment, thoughtful, before speaking. "I'm not sure yet," he said slowly, "but I think I'll go as some kind of creature of darkness...like a vampire or something."
Again, stares dominated the table as each one of the friends turned to look at Ryou. He blushed and looked down at his food, picking at it more.
Joey's voice finally broke over the silence of the table. "Well," he muttered, "our two most unlikely people dress as our two darkest creatures. What a weird twist of fate." Tea grinned mischievously, while Ryou's shoulders only sank an inch.
Yugi grinned as he glanced around at each of his friends. "It sounds like you guys all have great costumes," he said, smiling. "I'll just have to catch up and decide what I'm going to wear."
Conversation was cut short as the bell rang, signaling first lunch's end. Tristen and Yugi, both having classes, stood up to leave, while Joey, Tea, and Ryou waved them goodbye and continued with their conversations.
The rest of the day was a blur for Yugi. His final three classes flew by before he had realized that they had started, and before long, the boy found himself standing at the school's entrance, getting ready to leave.
He trotted home in an easy-going manner, only temporarily remembering that none of his friends would be joining him today before quickly going back to ideas for his costume. He had come up with a few ideas, but none seemed good enough to compare with his friends'.
He was so preoccupied, he hardly noticed as his yami contacted him in their mind link. //Yugi? Are you listening to me?//
/Oh, Yami! Sorry,/ the young Hikari apologized quickly, banishing his costume thoughts from his mind. /I was a bit distracted./
//I noticed,// the ancient spirit replied, but he sounded calm, not angry. //What were you thinking about, anyway?//
/Oh, that's right. In a few weeks it'll be Halloween, and I'm trying to pick a costume out to wear./
//A costume? Why would you have need of a costume?//
Yugi laughed mentally. /Because it's Halloween! That's what you do on Halloween, Yami--dress up in costumes and party./
//I see,// came the ancient Pharaoh's reply. His tone contradicted his words, however; plainly, he saw no real reason to be dressing up at all.
Yugi chuckled, out loud this time, before sinking back into his conversation with Yami. /Only problem is,/ he said slowly, /I don't have a costume that can compete with all the ones that the rest of my friends have. I'm trying to come up with an idea, but I'm not having much luck./
//Really, Aibou?// Now his mental voice sounded interested. //You don't have an idea yet?//
Confused, Yugi replied quickly. /No, why?/
This time it was his yami that chuckled. //If that is the case, Yugi, may I take over your costume problem? I think I have an idea that you will enjoy immensely.//
The young Hikari's mental voice rose considerably. /Really?! What is it?/
//Ah, now that, Aibou, will be my little surprise. Just give me some time to organize everything, and I guarantee you'll have a most interesting costume for this party of yours.//
Yugi grinned. /Deal!/
* * * * *
Nearly two weeks went by, all too quickly by Yugi's standards. School passed by easily for him, and before he knew it he would find himself at home, another day closer to Halloween and the coming party.
The party, he soon found, was the talk of the school. Despite the fact that Mokuba was the one throwing the party, it seemed nearly half the high school had been invited, as well as the majority of the black-haired boy's own middle school friends. Rumors were flying thick; how the party food was supposed to be superb, how the DJ hired was one of the highly recommended people in that line of business, how the mansion was being set up to look terrifying enough to frighten Edgar Allen Poe. Kaiba was hard pressed to escape the hordes of students following him around, begging for information on the party, or sometimes an invitation if they were unlucky enough to have not made it onto the guest list.
Yami would often borrow control of Yugi's body so as to work on the costume he had promised his aibou, but as he wanted it to be a surprise, Yugi often found himself sitting in his soul room for hours at a time, blocked so as unable to see or hear anything. Though he was satisfied to know that his darker half was working on the costume, he found it irritating to not know what it was. Each time he asked the spirit, he was confronted with a laugh and a promise of, "You'll find out soon enough, Aibou."
After another such promise greeted him two days before the party, Yugi wearily flopped down into bed, finally having re-gained control of his body and discovering it fatigued. Yami had been out for some time, getting supplies for the costume and adding onto it, and most of the exhaustion had been passed on to his body.
Lucky I finished all my homework in study period today, he thought to himself, yawning. I wouldn't have had time to finish it had I started now. He glanced out his window, which was dark and patched with glittering stars and a nearly-full moon. He sighed quietly, rolled over, and slowly closed his eyes, drifting off into a deep sleep within a matter of minutes.
* * * * *
The shadows rolled around him slowly, endlessly, as he floated in the black void that existed everywhere and nowhere at once. He blinked, startled, as his feet touched ground that had not been there a moment before. It was both solid and clear, made of shadows, and yet made of every existing color at the same time.
Slowly, the boy--Yugi--began to realize what he was doing there. He had been here before, nearly four months ago, when his last adventure had taken place. The Shadow Realm had summoned him when he was chosen to complete the Realms Balance, to fix the problems in a Realm not his own.
My first summoning was a warning, the boy thought to himself slowly. Is that what this is? Another warning?
"No, it is not."
Startled, Yugi whirled around, spinning to face where he had thought the voice had come from. And yet...nothing was there. He turned again, thinking that perhaps he had been mistaken...and still nothing presented itself to him.
"Do not try to find me by sight. I have no visible form for you to see."
Yugi gasped in surprise. That voice again! But...he remembered where it came from now. He had heard it before...
"I see you recognize me, Worthy Light. It pleases me to see this of you."
The boy swallowed slowly at the incredible sound of that voice--so large, so terrifying--yet he chanced to speak. "What am I doing here? Is there a problem in the Negative Realm again?"
"As I said before, there is not, Worthy Light."
"Why are you calling me that?"
"It is your title. You have earned it for performing your duties without fear or hesitation. You are a Worthy one."
Yugi hesitated momentarily before asking his next question. "If there's no problems in the Negative Realm...than what am I doing here?"
"You must answer that question yourself, Worthy Light. For it was you, not I, that called us here."
Yugi blinked in surprise. "But...but I don't know! I wasn't even expecting to come here..." he sighed, shaking his head.
"Perhaps your conscious mind did not expect it, but it was your sub-conscious that called me. Do you know what you feel there?"
The boy paused before shaking his head. "No...I'm sorry, but I don't."
The voice continued, powerful-sounding and from all directions at once. "You fear for your friends in the Negative Realm. You are worried about their survival, about how they are doing since you left them."
"I...I am?" Now that he thought about it, he had been thinking such thoughts over the past few days.
"You are indeed. But you need not worry any more, Worthy Light. I am here to help you see beyond the bonds of your mortal eyes."
"What?" The question was quick, but the odd voice was quicker still. By the time the word had finished leaving his mouth, he seemed to be floating in a room that simply appeared around him.
"Where are we?" He asked slowly, swallowing again.
"We are Viewing your Negative Realm," the voice said easily, almost lazily. "Watch."
As he glanced around the room, which appeared to be a lounge, he noticed both Ryou and his yami, Bakura, resting easily on a pair of couches. Instead of Ryou cowering away from his fearful-looking yami, however, both were laughing and chatting easily. Yugi recognized them instantly as their Negative Realm versions from their ways of acting; in that opposite Realm, Bakura had always been as protective of his aibou as Yami was of himself.
A question arose in his head suddenly, when Ryou's head began to turn towards him the tiniest bit. "Can they see us?"
"They cannot, Worthy Light. This is only a Viewing; though we are in their Realm, it is only in spirit, not body."
"Oh..." Yugi muttered faintly, as he watched Bakura chuckle at a joke Ryou had just finished delivering. "Well, at least Ryou seems fully healed again." The boy had been through an unfortunate accident while Yugi was in their Realm, and the young Hikari had only just been able to save his white-haired friend's life.
"He is, and yet he isn't. The memories will still haunt him at times."
Yugi shuddered this time; he had seen all of Ryou's memories, and even he still had nightmares about them.
Before he had time to speak again, the scenery changed around them. Within a few moments they were in what looked like a bedroom. On glancing around, Yugi spotted Joey sitting on his bed, staring at a handful of cards laid out in front of him with intense interest. They were Duel Monsters cards, Yugi noticed easily, as Joey flipped another card from his deck and placed it down beside the others. So he was perfecting a strategy...
"He is perhaps the only one that has not changed much since you left," the voice said slowly. "Other than a new growth of fierce determination, he has been left untouched by your visitation."
The walls melted away again, re-forming into a second bedroom, though slightly larger than the first. There was a table set up in the middle of the room, at which a lone figure was sitting, bent over a bundle of papers and machine parts. It was recognizable as Seto Kaiba, fiddling with a new invention of some sort as he screwed the metal plates in front of him together with ease.
"We are most worried about him," the voice said carefully. "His beliefs should have been healed after you came to his world, yet he continues to grieve. If something is not done about it soon, he will begin to fall apart at his own hands." What almost sounded like a sigh resounded around the room, though only Yugi could hear it. "But alas. We still have one final person that you wish to check up on, Worthy Light."
Yugi blinked, confused. "Who? I can't think of another that I--"
His voice was cut short as the room changed again, forming what looked like a bedroom and a jail cell mixed together. It gave Yugi a slight chill down his back, though he tried his best to ignore it.
His eyes swept the room carefully, searching for signs of life. He found it in the corner, sitting cross-legged and staring exactly where he was standing evenly, with an un-breaking gaze. His Yami--but in a different Realm.
He shuddered as his eyes met Yami's own crimson orbs. He still had nightmares about the Negative Realm Pharaoh, as well...for Yami had killed him in this Realm, and nearly destroyed the world under his Shadow Madness. It hadn't been his fault, but still...he had tried to kill Yugi a second time, and had only just failed. Yugi had managed to save him from the Shadow Madness, but had not been able to see the effects of his magic on his Negative yami.
The Pharaoh spoke out loud, evenly and with a terrifyingly calm voice. "I can tell you're back. Why don't you show yourself for once?"
Yugi blinked in surprise. "He knows we're here?!"
The voice responded easily. "Calm yourself, Worthy Light. He can sense me, for when you broke him from the Shadow's control, his mind was altered to sense us--after all, he was the cause for the lost balance in his Realm, and when the Balance was fixed, the cause could tell we were there. We have visited him often...he can tell when we enter, and when we leave. No others here can."
Yami continued to speak. "Show yourself. I grow tired of feeling you here, but not seeing you."
The voice spoke again. "He, too, worries us. He has been healed, of course, yet his mind still remains partly broken from the effects of the Shadow Madness. Not even I can predict his outcome for sure..." a slight tone of worry presented itself in the voice, but it disappeared as quickly as it came. "Come, now. We shall leave."
Yami faded away with the rest of the room, and within seconds Yugi found himself standing in the shadowy void once more. He glanced around quickly, almost instinctively, but still saw nothing.
"Thanks to you, Worthy Light, the Balance has been fully restored in the Negative Realm," the voice said, it's loud, powerful tone echoing around him eerily. "The people there begin to adjust to their Realm, though most do so unknowingly. But the Balance is not safe in all Realms; in some, it is ready to collapse without the proper aid."
"Really?" Yugi asked, genuine worry growing in his voice. "Enough for the Realms Balance again?"
"Perhaps," the voice said, almost evasively. "In any case, I have been kept busy for some time. It is only for the Worthy ones that I would grant a Dream favor at this time."
"Oh..." Yugi muttered to himself, slightly confused. "Well then...thank you..."
"You have nothing to thank me for, Worthy Light." The voice sounded almost pleased. "I shall let you return to your slumber again. But remember," it said, and it's tone seemed to gain more power, more authority. "The Balance is becoming unstable for you once again, Worthy Light. Be very careful."
Yugi nodded, still confused. He watched as the shadowy nothingness around him faded away and retreated into non-existence. Then a feather-light feeling within his mind seized him, and he fell softly into an undisturbed sleep, the warning still ringing in his ears.
* * * * *
That night and the day after passed by as quickly as the rest of the week had gone, and in what only seemed like seconds, the day of Halloween had arrived. Yugi eagerly zipped through his classes, anticipating the party to take place that night along with nearly half the school. He wasn't normally so social, but today seemed different...today somehow felt like a day when things happened.
At last the bell rang, and Yugi quickly slipped out of class and down the hallways of the school, walking quickly but still only moving as far as the average teen's single step. For once he didn't mind about his shorter stature, for he was deeply engrossed in a conversation with his darker half.
/What is it, Yami?/
//I told you, Aibou. You'll find out when the time comes, and not a moment sooner.//
/You're driving me crazy!/
A chuckle resounded through the boy's mind. //I never mean to, and you know it.// Yugi could practically feel the grin that his Yami would have had plastered on his face had he been in a physical form as the spirit finished speaking. //But I think you're going to love it.//
Even as he was grumbling good-naturedly, Yugi heard a shout behind him and turned. Joey, Tristen, and Tea were all there, each running up to him to follow him home.
"Hey, guys!" Yugi greeted them cheerfully. "What's up?"
"Hey, Yug'," Joey replied easily, grinning. "We figured we'd hang out with you for a couple of hours, then head home, pick up our costumes, and meet you at the party."
"Sounds great," the young hikari answered, turning and re-adjusting his backpack on his shoulders before heading out into the courtyard. He looked around at his friends before frowning slightly. "Where's Ryou?"
"He said he had a few chores to take care of first," Tea said quietly, walking beside Yugi. "He promised to meet us at the party, though."
The foursome headed for Yugi's family game shop, as they often did when none of them had plans for the day. On reaching the Shop, they went through their various usual activities--that is, Joey bartering for cards from Yugi's Grandpa, followed by several card Duels, which in turn was followed up by simple chatting or fooling around.
After a few hours, Tristen rose to leave, saying he was expected home before he could head off for the party. Tea followed soon after, saying much the same, and Joey was not far behind, though he said goodbye cheerily.
After seeing his friends out the door, Yugi walked over to the window and stared out into the streets, the glowing streetlights obscuring his vision of the slowly-appearing stars. Nevertheless, he grinned eagerly, knowing that in only a few hours' time it would be completely dark and the party would begin.
Still smiling, he turned and walked into his kitchen, grabbing a quick bite to eat before heading up to his room. He finished off some of his homework--most of it geometry and algebra, which he had some trouble with. He was surprised to learn that Yami of all people knew of the Pythagorean Theorem quite well and was able to give his aibou some aid in that particular area; apparently, the same equation was used to build the pyramids long ago.
After another hour or two, he finally checked his watch and discovered that the famous party would begin in little more than a half hour. He chuckled as Yami quickly asked to take temporary control of his charge's body, to which Yugi agreeably obliged with ease. He found himself locked in his soul room, but not for long--it had hardly been ten minutes before the Pharaoh allowed him to return to possession of his body.
Yugi blinked as he found himself standing in front of a mirror and staring at it--and then gasped in surprise, as he found himself gazing at what he was wearing.
Yami was right, he did like the costume, and quite a bit. It had an Egyptian look to it, for starters; a crimson-violet robe without sleeves that covered his torso down to the waist, and an almost skirt-like bottom half to the outfit, though of course it was obviously the sweeping bottoms of his robes. A golden cord wrapped around his waist, like a belt, and around his neck, yet on his robes, were golden fringes--almost like a very valuable, wide collar. Around his upper arms he wore two golden, shining bands, and his wrists bore similar manacles, while his Millennium Puzzle fit in easily with the rest of the costume, resting lightly on his chest while hanging from it's chain. At least four golden rings, simple yet at the same time fascinating, rested lightly on his outer fingers. Yet the most striking part of the costume was the thick golden band wrapped around his forehead, adorned with the Eye of Horus on it's front, which pushed his bangs up to overflow and spill over the edges of the gold and part in front of his face. It gave him an almost regal look, stunningly haunting, but at the same time quite an interesting effect.
"Wow, Yami!" Yugi yelped out loud. "This looks amazing!"
//I told you you'd like it,// the spirit said smugly from within his soul chamber, though he was evidently pleased with how satisfied his hikari sounded.
"Like it? I love it! This costume'll knock all the others flat!" Yugi beamed, almost triumphantly, before starting up the conversation again. "How'd you make it so quickly?"
There was a bright glow from the Millennium Puzzle around his neck, and within a few seconds Yami stood in a slightly transparent form beside him. If anything, he seemed to intensify the effect of the costume; when Yugi looked at him, he seemed almost instantly to think of him as the one in charge. It was hard not to think of him that way, the hikari realized.
"To tell the truth, I was not the only one to work on the costume," Yami explained, his voice now solid and loud as he took a visible form. "I had some help from Isis, as well. You see, those robes are modeled off of one of my own pharaoh's robes, from my time as a ruler. I couldn't remember the details, so Isis took me back to see myself at that time. She then aided me when I made the costume itself." He grinned. "You like it, I presume? It fits you well."
Yugi grinned. "It fits you even better," he said, chuckling, as he stared up at his yami again.
"Well, these are my robes, technically," he said calmly, before grinning. "And there may be another at this party of yours tonight, wearing Egyptian robes much the same..."
"What do you mean?" Yugi asked, now curious.
Yami chuckled evenly. "Isis insisted that I help her create a second costume, which she sent to a particular person in hopes that they will own them once more...if only for one night."
"Ah, that I cannot say, Yugi. Isis asked me to say nothing until the person chose to wear the outfit himself."
Yugi sighed and shook his head. There was no use trying to get his Yami to talk now; if the spirit wanted to keep a secret, he would, and there was no breaking it out of him.
"Well, I guess I'm gonna head off, then," the hikari murmured, changing the subject. Yami nodded and retreated to his soul room, fading out of his visible form in an almost spooky fashion.
At least he's living up to the holiday, Yugi thought to himself, as he pulled his coat carefully over the golden bands on his arms and stepped out the door.
It was a surprisingly warm night outside, so the young hikari didn't mind walking to the Kaiba mansion at all. It wasn't too far away, he thought to himself, and the exercise would do him good.
Nearly twenty minutes later, he had finally succeeded in reaching the Kaiba mansion. He mentally agreed with Mokuba as he gazed upwards at the mansion, resting slightly on a small hill--it did look as if it could be haunted, with the full moon looking as if it was resting just on top of the house, and the fog swimming around the building from the dry ice apparently being used.
Walking quickly, he stepped up to the mansion and rang the doorbell, which sounded in a gong-like chime as it echoed around the rooms within. Faintly, he thought he could hear some fast-paced musical beat coming from within; so other guests had arrived already.
The door was opened by a very harassed-looking butler, who frowned in dismay as Yugi blinked up at him cheerfully. The man sighed, backed up a pace, and allowed the boy to enter, muttering faintly under his breath about "those no-good party kids." He nodded slightly to the right, and Yugi headed through a wide, arched doorway.
The music got steadily louder as he walked, and eventually he stepped into a room playing the tones full-blast. The room was awash with color and lights, sounds and movement. A large crowd had gathered in the center of the room to dance in front of a table, which, Yugi noticed after a moment, held a DJ who was tapping his head to the beat of the song. Those not currently dancing were sitting on seats along the walls, or perhaps lurking near the small second table that held drinks.
Yugi scanned the area quickly, and easily picked out his friends, sitting along one of the walls and waiting patiently. He walked over to them quickly, grinning as he saw each of their surprised faces at his appearance.
"Wow, Yug', nice costume!" Joey said, staring at the gold that was catching the glittering lights and reflecting them back at a few of the nearby dancers.
"Yours isn't so bad yourself, Joey," Yugi said, smiling, as he looked Joey over once again. The boy had a dark tee-shirt on with a heavy brown leather jacket over it. His pants also looked of a heavy material, and again shared the same color as his jacket. Brown boots, worn-looking but certainly for action, not dress, adorned his feet, while a brown, wide-brimmed hat sat on a jaunty angle on the blonde-haired boy's head. To top off the costume, a whip, fake but very realistic looking, sat coiled and resting on his hip.
"Ya think? I dunno, just wait until you see Ryou's costume," Joey said, biting his lip. "He went to go get a few drinks for us all...but he really went all out."
"Yeah," Tristen piped up from the side. His costume looked very similar to his favorite Duel Monsters card; dark blue camouflage pants and dark boots, with hordes of ammo, again fake, strapped across his chest. In addition, he wore a dark colored vest, also with the camouflage pattern. "You wouldn't think he was the same person if you didn't know him better."
Yugi raised an eyebrow in confusion before turning to look at Tea. Her costume looked quite interesting as well. She wore a tight, sparkling, sequined red halter-top over a black mini-skirt. Long, calf-high black boots boosted her up an extra inch in height, and a pair of plastic-looking horns set on a headband rested atop her head. To complete her costume, a long, glittering red devil tail curled from behind her to around her hip, resting at an easy angle with it's pointed tail end facing outwards.
"Hey, nice costume, Tea," he said, grinning.
She smiled back, looking pleased. "Thanks. Like I said before, I've been working on it for a while."
Joey broke in abruptly. "'Ey, here's Ryou with our drinks. Take a look at his outfit!"
Yugi turned obediently and found his eyes widening at the sight of Ryou's costume. He wore a tight black jacket over a white collared shirt. The jacket seemed to shine in the light, and would have been mistaken for leather, but it was far too flexible for that, and too smooth. It was high-collared and came nearly up to the joints in Ryou's jaws, but flared out and contrasted sharply with the cascades of white hair falling all around the black material. The coat lacked sleeves, but the rest of it seemed to cling to his torso, hiding the white shirt underneath. His pants seemed to be made of the same mysterious material, but instead of clinging, as the jacket did, it flowed easily and looked quite comfortable--though still tight, an odd illusion. Black boots produced from the bottom of the odd pants. On his upper arm, near the shoulder, a doodle of a black rose--the symbol of a vampire--stood out clearly like a tattoo, drawn in pencils made for skin. To top off the outfit, a long, ankle-length cape drifted down from where it was fastened around his neck; it was made of leather, the outer side a dark black while the inner color was blood-red.
"Wow, Ryou!" Yugi said, genuinely surprised. "What an awesome costume!"
Ryou blushed visibly as he passed a few sodas to the others. "Thanks...it's based off a character I read in a book somewhere, a vampire." He handed an extra drink to Yugi, explaining that he had seen the boy come in while at the drinks table.
The group sipped at their various sodas, watching the dancers in their wide variety of costumes and commenting on a few of the more detailed ones. Tea eventually slipped off to join the dancers, though she would return every few songs to rest and chat with her friends.
About ten minutes after Yugi had arrived, he was confronted with a boy about his own height, with long, unruly black hair and a cheery smile. "Hey, Mokuba," he greeted the boy easily, grinning. "What's up?"
Mokuba shrugged and looked around the room, which was now shaking slightly due to the fast-paced dance song now being played. "Nothing much. Having fun? They all seem to be." He pointed towards the mass of dancers, chuckling to himself slightly.
Joey nodded in response. "Yeah, it's a great party!" he laughed, finding himself swaying slightly to the beat of the music. "I don't know how you arranged it so quick, but this is awesome."
Mokuba grinned at the compliment, surveying the room once more. "Yeah, well Seto helped me out a bit. It kinda surprised me; he doesn't like parties much." He frowned slightly. "He's at a meeting right now...I tried to convince him to have a little bit of fun, but he wouldn't hear of it. Said he was busy, but I know better...he just doesn't want to be here." He sighed before returning to his ever-present grin. "Hey, are you guys gonna enter the costume contest?"
Yugi was reminded of the costumes present all around him, and suddenly turned back to Mokuba to observe the boy's own outfit. He was dressed to look much like a pirate, he noticed; his clothes were tattered, he wore a patch over one eye, and he had a sabre thrust through his belt that, though fake, looked hauntingly real as the lights glimmered off it's edge.
"What costume contest?" Tristen broke in, responding to Mokuba's question.
The black-haired boy grinned and said easily, "There's going to be a judging later on tonight that'll pick out the top three costumes here at the party. You'll get this really sweet prize if you win the contest." He looked around at the five facing him and added, "You've already got a few good winning costumes right here." This said, the boy turned and waded through the crowd of dancers, stopping periodically to chat with one or two of the people that he met.
"Wow," Joey said slowly, looking around the room. "A costume judging? And if Mokuba says it's a great prize, I wouldn't doubt him...hell, I wouldn't doubt a kid with a millionaire brother, period." He mimicked Mokuba's glances around his friends before saying loudly, "I'll bet Yugi or Ryou wins."
Ryou blushed again, sitting back farther into his chair, while Yugi smiled slightly and turned to watch the dancers once more.
Another hour passed without trouble; each of the five got up periodically to dance, sometimes with the whole group going up to dance at the same time. Several friends from school would compliment Yugi and his friends on their costumes--indeed, a few of the girls in his class gave Ryou rather interested looks--and most would urge them to join the judgment contest later.
However, after the first hour had passed, the party was momentarily disturbed as the large door in the entrance hall slammed open, admitting a rather angry-looking Seto Kaiba. His face was hardened in an expression of distaste, while his movements implied that he wasn't having the best of moments, and any who got in his way would be instantly plowed over and left to lay there without help.
Mokuba instantly scurried over to meet his brother, his face an expression of pleasant surprise. "Brother! What're you doing home right now? I thought your meeting was supposed to go until later!"
"Was," Kaiba snapped irritably. "It was postponed for God knows what reason. I'm going up to my study to work...have fun at your party, Mokuba." This said, the CEO nearly stomped over to the stairs in the far corner of the party room, parting annoyed dancers in front of him in waves as they darted to get out of the way of his quickly boiling down temper.
Mokuba was not a boy to give in to his older brother so easily, however. He quickly darted after the angry CEO, following him up the stairs and attempting to talk to him. From Yugi's point of view, it didn't look as though the black-haired boy was getting through to his brother. He had to give him credit for effort, however, as the two disappeared around the corner in the hall at the top of the stairs.
Yugi sighed and returned to his chair, sipping quietly at his second soda as he thought to himself. He had hardly ventured far into his mind, however, when Mokuba had appeared in front of him once more, looking a bit annoyed and frowning slightly.
"What's wrong, Mokuba?" the young Hikari asked, catching onto the boy's worry.
"Oh, nothing much," the younger of the two replied, though his tone betrayed his words. "Nothing life threatening, anyway." This was said truthfully enough. "It's just that...well, Seto's gone and locked himself in his study again. He won't even let me in. He says that he doesn't want to listen to the noise from the party, and that he's trying to work, but I don't believe him. He's just avoiding the party again."
Yugi shrugged. "He doesn't have to like parties, you know."
Mokuba shook his head. "Seto's not even getting into the holiday!" The boy murmured slowly, sounding on the verge of horror. "He won't even put on his costume! And he didn't even buy one, originally; somebody sent it anonymously. It looks really cool, though, all these purple robes and stuff. Sorta Egyptian-looking if you think about it." He gave Yugi a quick glance, no doubt surveying the costume once again.
"Really?" Yugi asked, sounding appropriately surprised, although he gave himself a mental note to yell at his yami later. "That's odd. But it sure sounds cool."
Mokuba nodded, apparently relieved that Yugi was agreeing with him. "It is cool." He suddenly stood just a bit taller, a resolved look coming onto his face. "You know what? I'm gonna get him into the holiday spirit. I'll make him have some fun here, I promise. You can take my word on that, Yugi." Satisfied with his words, the boy turned and scurried off towards the stairs once more.
Yugi chuckled slightly at the serious tone that had filled Mokuba's voice before turning his attention to his yami. He carefully opened up the mind link, trying not to gain the zoned-out look he usually received when talking to his darker half.
/Yami?/ he thought slowly.
//Yes, Yugi? Is something wrong?// The voice carried a tone that dripped with false innocence, but Yugi knew better.
/Yeah, there might be just one tiny thing wrong,/ the Hikari hissed. /You sent Kaiba a model of his Egyptian Priest robes?!/
Yami tried to keep his mental voice serious, but there was no mistaking the chuckle that could not be surpressed coming from the spirit. //Yes...Isis had the idea, actually, and I went along with it, helping her out.//
/But why?/ Yugi's thought voice was full of confusion, but the annoyance and slight anger was still there. /You guys are rivals!/
//True...but nobody should ignore their ancient heritage,// Yami muttered easily, his tone full of justice.
/Yeah,/ his charge spat back sarcastically. /And you knew it would annoy him!/
//Well, that was an added bonus, but it was not my original intent--//
The Hikari's conversation was cut off abruptly as Mokuba appeared in front of him for a third time, grinning broadly. "Guess what, Yugi? It took some time, but I got Seto to agree to put on his costume. He looks really awesome in it." He winked, his dark bangs swinging in front of his eyes. "I know how to get him out, now. I'll be right back!"
Before Yugi could ask what was on the boy's mind, the younger of the two had darted off eagerly. Sighing, the hikari sat back in his seat and waited patiently for what he was sure would be a rather explosive entrance on Seto's part--and probably not of the CEO's free will, either.
His predictions were correct, as only a few minutes later a loud yell of anger was heard over even the crashing rhythm of the music. Within seconds, Mokuba came darting around the corner of the upper hallways and half-running, half-sliding down the stairs, what looked like a small black briefcase tucked under his arm. As he reached the dance floor, Yugi recognized it as a laptop. He groaned as he realized exactly what Mokuba had had in store for his older brother.
Not too far behind Mokuba came Seto Kaiba, tearing around the upper hallway's corner so fast he should have crashed into a nearby wall. He was no longer wearing his long, flowing trenchcoat, but robes that definitely had an Egyptian model. Violet and white, the robes--more like a cloak--draped down his back and fluttered in the breeze created as he ran, fastened to a collar similar to Yugi's, though smaller, and colored in dark purple and gold. His chest was bare, but around his waist was a skirt-like garment, again colored in the dominant violet, white, and gold colors. Golden bands wrapped his upper arms and wrists, much like Yugi's, and around his neck he wore a pendant shaped like a cross with a rounded top. On his head a rounded golden-and-violet patterned headdress sat, and in his hands was clutched a long, golden staff with a swirled, mysterious-looking tip. His anger only intensified the mood given with the outfit, making him look powerful and dangerous.
He darted down the stairs after his brother, yelling angrily, though none of his words could be made out into clear sentences. This time, the dancing crowd parted before he had even reached the bottom of the stairs, anxious to be out of the way of the enraged CEO.
Mokuba looked over his shoulder, yelped in surprise at how close his brother was, and darted over to where Yugi sat, still clutching the laptop. He sat quickly in the vacant seat next to the hikari and tried to look innocent as his brother approached.
Kaiba growled threateningly as he reached the seats, looking at his brother in annoyance. "Mokuba," he hissed warningly, "give me back my computer. Now."
"Aw, com'mon, Seto," the darker-haired boy muttered. "I only wanted you to have a bit of fun."
"And you expect me to have it this way?" Kaiba asked dryly, waving his hand around and indicating the party. "Having all these people staring at me as if I'm a freak? Interrupting my work?"
"They're all in costumes too, Seto," Mokuba murmured, but he obediently handed over the folded-up laptop to his older brother.
"Thank you," the CEO said calmly, though he looked as if he was hard-pressed to keep from yelling at the top of his lungs. "Now, no more disruptions please, all right, Mokuba?" His brother nodded sullenly, and he turned to leave, walking towards the dancers that were already beginning to part so that he could pass through.
Abruptly, however, he halted, staring in confusion at the large French doors on one side of the room. He turned and walked in the direction of the glass doors, through which could be seen a large, maze-like garden. Disregarding all the stares he was now receiving, he gently placed the laptop on a vacant chair and slid the doors open, stepping through into the warm night air.
Yugi suddenly had an odd sense of foreboding, and he shivered without meaning to. Noticing that Kaiba had stepped outside, he quickly headed over to the French doors, following the company-owning teen out into the darkness of the vast garden.
Almost as soon as he had stepped through the doors, Yugi felt Yami start in surprise. Another wave of foreboding flooded him, but he hastily shoved it aside and contacted his yami with their shared mind link.
Had Yami had a physical body at that moment, he would have been shuddering. //Shadow Powers. Somebody or something is going into or out of the Shadow Realm.//
"So, you followed me?" Kaiba asked dryly, cutting Yugi's talk with his Yami neatly in half. The teen continued, unaware of the conversation he had broken up. "It doesn't matter, really. I thought I saw an intruder out here, but it's probably just a few party-goers." He snorted with disgust before turning as if to head back in.
"Hold on, Kaiba," Yugi hissed quickly. "I think there is an intruder here."
Seto raised an eyebrow, looking suspicious. "How would you be able to determine that?"
"Just...trust me," Yugi muttered lamely, unable to come up with a better excuse. He had a reason, at least; Yami was trying to give him instructions at the same time.
//We'll have to split up and look for the source of the Shadow Powers. If a gate to the Shadow Realm is left open, there'll be more trouble than one could guess at.//
/Right...here, I'll go search one half of the garden, and you look through the other half./
Yugi stepped forward slowly, heading off down one of the many paths slipping through the various plants and flowers. "I think your intruder is this way," he said quickly. Kaiba, still suspicious but curious at the same time, followed. Yami, meanwhile, quietly separated from his hikari and formed a temporary physical body for himself, so that traveling would be easier. Yugi saw him slide away into the darkness, going in the opposite direction as himself.
The two mortals quickly trotted down the winding path, searching the surrounding area for signs of an intruder--or in Yugi's case, evidence of Shadow magic. They hadn't found anything after several minutes of searching, discouraging the young Hikari to no end. His evidence came rather suddenly, however, as he turned a corner within the garden and found himself facing...a hole in the air.
For one instant, he thought he was facing a Negative Realm gate, but he quickly banished the thought from his head. This gate was far too different; it was a deep, shadowy black instead of bright silver, and darkness seemed to seep around the hole, as if absorbed into it.
Another sense of dread swept over Yugi's mind in a wave, and behind him Kaiba gasped in surprise. The hole--a gate to the Shadow Realm, Yugi guessed--was nothing, however, compared to what was happening to it.
From deep within the hole, a low growling was being emitted. The growl grew into a snarl, and then abruptly deepened in tone as something began to claw it's way out of the darkness bored into the air. A long, razor-sharp set of claws, attached to one mighty paw, swept out of the Realm gate with such speed that Yugi jumped in surprise. The paw became attached to one long, lean, muscular limb, which in turn found a body to connect to. A second limb clawed it's way out, followed by a snapping, snarling head of an animal, looking very much like that of a canine's. Now halfway out, the creature howled in a hauntingly beautiful way and tore at the air it was caught in, ripping it's way out and falling completely free to the ground on all four of it's strong, large paws. Now it could be clearly seen; it was a gigantic wolf, with silvery fur, a long, bushy tail, and a head with dangerous jaws and sharp teeth. A Duel Monster--and if Yugi was not much mistaken, one of his own cards, Silver Fang.
"This cannot be good," Kaiba muttered grimly from his place behind Yugi.
"No, it definitely isn't," the Hikari agreed, backing up a pace.
The wolf growled and snapped it's strong jaws in their direction, it's fur rising until the animal looked at least twice it's normal size. Abruptly, it snarled and leaped forward, it's front paws outstretched, claws bared, towards Yugi.
The boy let out a yelp and dived to the side, and the wolf landed behind him by inches, whirling to face it's escaped prey with another low growl.
/Yami!/ Yugi screamed mentally inside his head. /Yami, where are you?!/
//Yugi, what's the matter?!// The ancient spirit's mental voice sounded distinctly worried.
/We found the Shadow Power source...it's a gate to the Shadow Realm. But, Yami, there's a Silver Fang that came out, and it's attacking me and Kaiba!/ Yugi halted his conversation momentarily as he dived into a row of flowers to avoid having his head snapped in two by the jaws of the angry Duel Monster.
//What?!// The pharaoh sounded momentarily confused before jumping into action. //Hold on, Aibou, I'll take over possession of your body and banish it.//
Yugi nodded, despite the fact that his darker half couldn't see the action, and waited impatiently for the familiar feeling of his mind being gently brushed aside from it's commanding duties of his body.
It didn't come.
/What's wrong, Yami?/ he hissed, his nervousness making his mental voice sound harsher than it was meant to be.
//I don't know! I can't return to the Puzzle...the Shadow Realm's not permitting it, for some reason!//
/Oh, great. That can't be good./ Yugi halted again as he scrabbled aside to avoid the claws of the wolf, but he knew he couldn't evade the creature for much longer.
//Never mind, Aibou, I'll just have to get to you by foot.// The spirit sounded nervous as well; apparently he didn't like his charge being in danger, and him unable to do a thing.
He broke off his mind link and gazed around at his surroundings once more. The Silver Fang had darted after Kaiba, now, who was trying to evade it once more. Yugi shouted, attempting to yell advice to the CEO so that he could escape the wolf's wrath, but he only succeeded in drawing it's attention to himself. It turned, and with liquid grace paced towards him. It's toothy jaws seemed to be nearly grinning at him, a sight that was far from pleasant.
"Oh, no..." the hikari muttered, crab-walking backwards in the hopes of escaping the wolf. It only sped up it's own pace, soon coming close enough for it to swipe out it's paw and slice him in two.
With a howl, it leaped at him, intending to knock it's prey to the ground with it's own weight. With another yelp, Yugi rolled to the side, but the wolf anticipated his movement and snapped out it's paw, slamming it down on the boy's chest and holding him in place.
Yugi shivered as the muzzle descended towards his head, the jaws opening to reveal the creature's glittering fangs. Cowering, the boy squeezed his eyes shut tight, praying that the pain would be over quickly.
He was startled to hear a yelp of pain from the wolf, and to feel the sudden removal of pressure on his chest. He snapped his eyes open and sat up abruptly, staring at the sight in front of him.
Kaiba was standing a few feet over to the right, the long staff from his costume now broken in half in his hand. The wolf was cowering away from him for a few seconds--the CEO had obviously hit it over the head with the staff, forcing it to release Yugi.
"Thanks..." the hikari breathed, still shivering.
"Don't thank me yet," Kaiba muttered, watching the silver wolf. It had recovered from the unexpected attack and was now pacing threateningly towards Kaiba. The teen began to back up slowly, never turning his back to the wolf, but apparently it was going to attack him whether he liked it or not.
With a warning howl, the creature leaped high into the air, paws outstretched to slash the teen's head from his shoulders...
...and stopped, yelping and writhing, in midair, now surrounded by a golden light.
"Are you all right?" Yami panted, dashing up to them with his Millennium Puzzle glowing brightly. The wolf, still hanging in the air, began to dissolve into wisps of shadow, howling in angry pain. Within seconds it was gone; the gateway that it had come through followed, blasted clear through by a dangerous golden-green light.
Yugi trotted up to his yami wearily, thankful that the dark spirit had come at just the right moment. "We're okay. Just shaken, that's all."
"Cutting it a bit close, don't you think?!" Kaiba hissed irritably, whirling to face Yami. "Why didn't you let it drop on my head, hmm?" The words dripped with enraged sarcasm.
Yami sighed, fingering the Millennium Puzzle. "I am sorry, truly...I did not mean for it to take so long for me to get here. I reacted as fast as I could."
Kaiba growled in an imitation to have done the Silver Fang proud, before taking the two pieces of the staff and chucking them into a few low bushes nearby. "And a fat lot of good that did--it nearly took my head off!" He stomped off again, new anger to fuel his temper burning brightly. "If you're not interested in nearly beheading me again, then I think that I'll head back to wearing normal clothes and playing games the regular way with nice, safe holograms." He had soon disappeared among the garden paths, no doubt heading back to his study to work--and to nurse his newly grown anger.
Yami sighed and shook his head. "I came as fast as I could, what more does he want?"
"He's been in a bad mood all day," Yugi said quietly. "Don't worry about him." He brought the conversation to other matters. "Yami, can you get back into the Puzzle now?"
The spirit shook his head. "I've tried at least six times by now. It's as if I'm blocked off from it."
Yugi sighed and shook his head to clear out the new thoughts flowing in. "Okay, next question. What exactly just happened here?"
Yami was silent for several minutes, staring about at the trampled flowers and gigantic paw prints. Finally, he spoke, though slowly. "I'm not sure, Aibou, but I am positive that something is very, very wrong with the Shadow Realm."
* * * * *
HCG: And there's chapter ONE done. ^_^
Kaiba: *dryly* Oh, goody, if I nearly got killed in chapter one, I can't WAIT to see what delightful new things will happen to me later on.
HCG: o_O;; Don't get too happy.
Kaiba: *bangs head on wall* One of these days I'm going to teach you what "sarcasm" is.
HCG: ^_^;; Okay! Well, notes. For the costumes: Yugi's costume is actually based off the cover of "Forbidden Memories," the game for..er...some game station o_O;; Kaiba's costume is, of course, in the anime, and Tea's outfit is based off one of my OWN Halloween costumes (though I didn't wear a mini-skirt--I wore these awesome black pants ^_^)
Oh, and thank you again to you all who've read "Shadow Turned Light" and have been patient enough to wait this long. (I know I've received a few emails asking me when I'd post next *laughs*). I hope this satisfies you....and yeah, I realize this chapter is odd, and even a bit comical sometimes, but trust me--enjoy it, 'cause it's gonna get ugly fast.
Karma: Now, please review for this story--HCG has sworn not to start writing the next chapter until she has at least one review. Get her writing! The next chapter's gonna be sweet!