"Are we there yet?" Bakura asked, more resigned than anything else.
"Almost," Yugi answered, his voice sounding strained, as well it should. For the last dozen or so hours of the flight, the two yamis had been at it, competing in varied contests devised in a moment, battling again and again. For the last hour, they had been engaged in a staring contest that neither had decided to yield. It had been a long hour.
Glancing over that other side of the aisle, Yugi saw Alex calmly organizing his deck, going through his cards again and again, checking them thoroughly for flaws. And secretly. He had kicked Joey and Tristan out of their seats to make sure they did not see what his deck contained. He doubted Kaiba himself was as secretive as Alex when it came to their decks.
"This is the captain speaking. We will be arriving at Athens International Airport at 10:30 AM local time. Please exit carefully and have a pleasant stay."
Alex carefully packed up his deck into his deck protector, and the rest of his cards into a binder, which he put into his backpack. Getting up, Alex got his carry-on luggage down, and handed Bakura and Yugi their bags as well. With a smile, Yugi said, "This is your hometown, isn't it? How's it feel to be back?"
Alex shrugged. "Weird as it sounds, I don't have any opinion on my return. I guess its just normal. I'm more interested in dueling. This tournament should be something out of this world."
Yugi frowned as Alex turned his back to them and began to walk off the plane. Joey and Tristran were already at the door, which meant, of course, that Tea would be carrying their forgotten bags. Moving out of the way so that Bakura could get out of his window seat, he went to the back of the plane to Tea's seat. He sighed as he realized he was right, and Tea was now trying to drag out Joey's impossibly overstuffed bag. "Need some help?"
Looking up from where she was dragging Joey's bag along, Tea gave him a dazzling smile. "Sure could. Thanks Yugi!"
Smiling back, Yugi placed his hands on the bag and limped out with it. Once he was outside of the airplane's air-conditioned coolness, he almost fell. While summers back home in Domino City were hot, they were never this hot. Shaking his head to get rid of the dizziness, he managed to make it into the airport without falling down, Tea close behind.
"Yo, Yug! Look who's here!"
Yugi looked up to find that Joey, with an arm around Mai, who was also newly arrived in Greece. He smiled. "Hey, Mai! How are you?"
The tall blonde bombshell gave him a sample of her superstar smile as she ruffled his hair. "Hey, Yugi! I'm doing fine. How about you, sweetheart?"
"I'm okay. Are you sure you're okay now?"
Mai caught the hesitant slip in Yugi's voice, and winked at him. "Trust me, hun. It takes a lot more than a trip to the Shadow Realm to keep me done."
"Speakin' of da Shadow Realm, look at who's comin'. Mr. Personality himself. And he's got someone who isn't trying to bite his head off with him."
Yugi watched as Ishizu Ishtar and Seto Kaiba himself went to greet them. Well, maybe the greeting part could only be applied to Ishizu. Kaiba's arrogant face clearly hinted that he had business with them, and could care less about courtesy.
"Hello, Yugi. It is a pleasure to see you again." Isis bent down to hug him, while Kaiba simply stood aside.
"Skip the formalities, Isis. We have more important business to attend to." Turning on his heel, Kaiba headed outside. Shaking her head, Isis said, "Please, follow our less than gracious host."
Following with their luggage, Yugi was surprised to find a pair of limos waiting for them. Isis entered the first one without pausing, and a loud crack emanated from within. She then stepped back out, as calm as the surface of a lake. "Please, everyone, we are in something of a hurry. Yugi, Joey, please come in this limo." Her gaze passing everyone else, she said, "Everyone else, please go in the other limo."
"What?!" Joey shouted. "You mean I gotta be in the same limo as with Johnny Sunshine in there?!"
Alex gave Joey a clap on the back. "Look on the bright side, Joey. Kaiba likes the idea probably about as much as you do."
Joey looked unhappy. "And dis is da bright side, how?"
"Well, I won't be in there."
"You're a real true blue pal, Alex…"
"I try my best."
Isis looked at Alex. "Are you Alex Macedon?"
Alex suddenly looked wary. "Yes, I am."
"Then you must come with us as well."
For a moment, Alex looked as hangdog as Joey. "Me and my big mouth."
Yugi entered the limo, nodded a hello to Mokuba, and sat down heavily when he saw who else was inside. "Marik! What in the world happened to you?"
The once vicious Marik looked up. His arm was in a sling, his eye and head was wrapped with bandages, and his free arm was heavily scarred. Even so, he managed to inject a little sarcasm into his response. "In a word, Yugi, hell."
Kaiba glared at Marik. "Why don't you use the four words that show just how badly you bungled your task, instead?"
Isis entered with Joey and Alex in tow, and shot Kaiba an icy look. She sat down with her brother, pointedly ignoring Kaiba. Alex looked confused as to why he was in here, and Joey was compensating for Isis by actively glaring daggers at Kaiba. Yugi decided to try to mediate a bit. "So, what's with the tournament?"
Kaiba ignored Joey much the same way Isis was ignoring him. "A rehash of the planning behind Battle City."
Yugi frowned. "But we three have all the God cards, Kaiba."
Alex frowned. "God cards? Those extremely nasty things that were used in the last tournament? I saw them during the broadcast on television, but I haven't found out anything new about them at all."
"Well, Marik? I'm sure you should enlighten them on why I'm hosting yet another tournament."
Marik looked down. "Ra has been stolen."
Stunned silence met his statement. Joey broke this silence by demanding, "Whaddya mean, stolen?!"
"Get with the program, Wheeler. This incompetent lost possession of Ra in a duel."
"It's not entirely his fault, Kaiba!" Isis intervened on her brother's behalf.
"Then let him explain his poor ability to keep control of Ra!"
"Enough!" Yugi felt as Yami took possession of his body, and took a back seat as the ancient Pharaoh took control of the conversation. "What has happened, Marik?"
"After…my defeat at Battle City, I returned home, and ordered my Rare Hunters out. With this back in my possession—" Marik pulled out the Millennium Rod. "—it was not a particularly difficult task."
"What went wrong, then?" Yami demanded.
Marik shifted slightly, adjusting himself to relieve pressure on his arm. "One of my strongest…former servants calls himself Minos. He left with all the others, and assumed control of my Rare Hunters. Then, he returned and challenged me to a duel for control of both the Rare Hunters and of the Egyptian God cards. And Ra was defeated."
"You still haven't explained the true depths of your debacle. Tell them. tell them how Ra was lost!"
Marik did not quite meet Kaiba's glare. Instead, he muttered, and began, "The battle was only a week or two ago. I was on the outside, for once, and…"