Tea and Mokuba were thrown back by the force of the blast and slammed into the wall.

"What's happening?!" Mokuba cried.

Tea coughed, waving away the smoke. "I . . . I don't know," she said shakily, looking around. "Kaiba?!" she called.

When the debris finally cleared, both young people were astonished to see that the ruby was smoldering, but still intact. Simon and Seto, however, were both laying motionless on the floor, each bleeding from deep wounds.

"Seto!!" Mokuba screamed, running over and collapsing next to him.

Tea was equally horrified. "Kaiba?" she whispered, also kneeling down. Shakily she raised Seto's limp wrist and checked for a pulse, her heart pounding. "Wake up, Kaiba!!" she cried.

"Hey . . ."

Tea and Mokuba looked up as Joey and Tristan peered in.

"What the heck?!" Joey exclaimed, glancing at a slip of paper in his hand. "Accordin' to this thing from the mystery game, there was supposed to be a big explosion that'd kill someone!"

"And we heard that big boom a minute ago," Tristan added.

Mokuba ignored Tristan's comment and just stared at Joey. "What?!" he cried, clutching Seto's body protectively.

"Joey Wheeler!" Tea said indignantly.

Joey paused, blinking. "Eh . . . you're not tryin' to say that these mystery game cards told the future again, are you?!"

"No, they didn't!!" Mokuba screamed, feeling his brother stir.

Tea breathed a sigh of relief and gently squeezed Seto's hand.

Now the older boy groaned and opened his eyes, pulling Mokuba close. "You know, Wheeler," he remarked weakly, "I never was into fortune-telling with cards."

Mokuba giggled and hugged Seto tightly, his eyes shining.

Epilogue

"Man, I still don't understand anything!!" Joey said in frustration two days later as he and all the others talked on the deck of the ship.

Yugi shook his head. "I'm afraid I don't, either," he admitted.

"It is complicated," Shadi agreed grimly from the deck chair where he was recovering from the dark energy attack, "but the criminals who were captured have finally begun to speak concerning the parts they played in all of this."

"Apparently," Yami Yugi chimed in, "the man Shadi chased here from Egypt formed some sort of alliance with Simon and the embezzlers."

"Yes," Shadi nodded slowly. "That is part of it."

"Simon found him ransacking the library that night and they decided to team up," Captain Hardy said, shaking his head in disbelief.

"According to Simon, the man was looking for some sort of ancient spell," Marik chimed in from where he was sitting with Ishizu and Rishid. "Simon offered to help him find it in return for an odd prize the man had found earlier—the Eye of the Mage, which Simon had seen the man hide in a golfball."

"But Simon didn't seem interested in the half of the spell Mokuba found," Tea remarked in confusion.

"He wasn't interested in the counterspell," Seto replied, "only the evil part, which we'd found earlier. Apparently, somehow Simon either found it for him, or he found it for himself." It had been shortly after that when the anonymous caller had threatened Seto's life, much to the boy's annoyance. "Simon was also the one who borrowed the staff and tried to mind-control Bakura," he said now, and Bakura shuddered at the memories.

"But where the heck do those embezzlers come in?" Tristan wanted to know.

"They wanted the Eye of the Mage as well," Shadi replied.

"But Simon wouldn't give it up, eh?" Joey said, raising an eyebrow.

"Of course not," Seto grunted. "He wanted to sell it to someone on the black market, but that was before he knew it could also conduct dark forces."

"Then he wanted it for himself," Yami Yugi put in.

"I have a question," Bakura spoke up shyly. "Who on earth was that Egyptian man who broke in and hurt my Yami?" He glanced over at the old thief, who was sleeping peacefully in another of the deck chairs.

"He was a colleague of mine in Egypt," Shadi said grimly, "but he betrayed me and stole the staff of Khu and the Eye of the Mage."

Bakura gulped. "Was . . . was it Khu who came to get his staff?" he asked slowly.

"I would not doubt it," Shadi said. "And since he has vanished with his staff, I also do not doubt that he is plotting something very deadly." He stood up wearily. "I must leave now and try to track him down."

"Will you be alright?" Yugi asked in concern.

Shadi nodded slowly. "I will be fine." He looked around at Yugi and his friends. "But all of you, take great care. This is not over yet, and I sense that we may all meet again before the staff is recovered." Before anyone could say more, the Egyptian man had vanished.

"Man, I still wonder how he does that," Joey said, scratching his head in confusion.

"There's something else I'd like to know," Tea said, changing the subject. "Why did that ruby cause that explosion, and why didn't it blow up?"

"As I said before, it is full of dark magic," Yami Yugi replied grimly. "Sometimes a burst of that magic is released by accident, stunning and often severely injuring those nearby. It's a miracle that you weren't hurt worse than you were, Kaiba," he said to the blue-eyed boy.

Seto grunted and didn't reply.

"What about those treacherous fumes?" Marik spoke up, looking angry at the memories.

"Simon pleaded guilty to that," Captain Hardy said, shaking his head. "He was also responsible for letting those hijackers come onto the ship, after promising them a share of the profits he would make from selling the Eye of the Mage. Of course, he was going to doublecross them later."

"But why the heck did he do those things?!" Joey cried

"From what he's said, I gather it was simply to cause distractions," Captain Hardy replied solemnly.

"That is outrageous!" Ishizu cried angrily. "We could have all been killed!"

Yami Yugi's eyes narrowed. "I know," he said, shaking his head. "It's terrible what greed can do to a person."

There was a silence, then Joey spoke up. "Hey, what about those freaky mystery game cards? Were they put around as signals for the other bad guys?"

"Actually," Tristan said slowly, "from what I heard, most of them were—all except that last one, the one talking about the explosion."

Mokuba blinked. "Well, where did that one come from?!" he cried.

"I can't imagine," Captain Hardy said with a shake of his head. "It wasn't part of the original game, either."

"One more weird thing," Joey sighed.

"Hey," Rex exclaimed as he and Mai came over to them, "what about that woman we were fighting with? What was up with her?"

"She was being mind-controlled by that Egyptian man right before he broke into Bakura's room," Yami Yugi replied.

Yami Bakura growled in his sleep and stirred, almost as if he'd overheard that part of the conversation.

"Hey," Tea exclaimed, "what about that dog that cornered us in the cargo hold? Where did it come from?!"

"It belongs to one of the passengers," Seto told her. "It's actually a harmless dog, but that Egyptian man let it out of its case and gave it a drug to make it get angry and possibly attack any intruders."

"That's terrible!" Tea said in horror.

"Well," Joey said lightly, "now that the mystery's all over, why don't we settle back and have some fun?"

"That sounds great, Joey!" Yugi said fervently.

The Captain smiled. "Well, Jamie and I have been in the process of rewriting the mystery game," he said wryly. "In light of everything that's happened lately, we decided to completely change the plot so that it wouldn't remind anyone of the disasters we've just gone through. Here's the first incident. What do you think?" With that he proceeded to read from a card.

"'The mystery opens as our heroes are on
a pleasant cruise. As they look out at the
peaceful sunset, they suddenly hear a loud,
earth-shattering scream . . .'"

He trailed off as Yami Bakura suddenly awoke and actually did scream, angry because Joey had accidentally knocked a glass of ice water on him.

"Eh, whoops," Joey said with an angelic grin, not wanting to incur the old thief's wrath.

"Well," Tristan remarked with a smirk as he watched Bakura's Yami wring out his shirt, "it looks as though once again the mystery game has predicted the future."

"I guess there's no getting away from it," Yugi chuckled.