Ishizu sprang to her feet, a scream of alarm tearing from her lips. "MARIK!!!" she yelled, trying to run forward.

Seto grabbed her arm. "Don't be a fool," he muttered. "You might get swept over yourself."

Ishizu struggled to get free. "What would you do if it was your brother, Kaiba?" she retorted.

Mokuba tugged on Seto's sleeve. "Big brother, he's my best friend!! We've gotta do something!" he wailed.

Seto looked at Mokuba compassionately, his eyes sad. "I would if I could do anything, kid," he replied gently.

Rishid slowly got to his feet, staring over the edge of the platform. "Master Marik!!" he called frantically. The only thing he could see was Bart's obviously dead body sprawled on the rocks below. "Master Marik, where are you?!"

Behind him, Lorelei was released from the mind control and she sat down hard, blinking in confusion and trying to figure out what had happened to her. "Where's the kid who was here?" she asked finally.

Without thinking Ishizu went up and slapped her harshly. "He was thrown over the waterfall when he tried to halt your foul plot!" the Egyptian woman hissed.

Lorelei glared up at her. "That's hardly my problem," she retorted. "So he just drowned a little sooner than the rest of you. I'll still win out and you'll all still die."

"You will not be releasing the dam's water today," Rishid growled, grabbing her. "Master Marik took your remote control with him."

That was when a huge stone slab in the opposite wall started to slide open. Everyone looked up, startled at the sudden sound.

"Man," Joey's voice could be heard, "your Yami's heavy, Bakura."

"It's the rest of them!" Lou cried.

Lorelei struggled against Rishid's powerful grip. "Even if you've restrained me, the wraiths will come after you," she informed him. "Just as they went after your poor brother."

Rishid glared, tightening his hold on her. "They also attacked your own ally," he retorted. "Again showing their disloyalty."

"You have to be a fool if you think they're actually gonna spare you," Seto grunted.

"Oh I don't," Lorelei smirked. "I'll . . . take care of them."

"I see," Yami Yugi's smooth voice rang out as he and those with him emerged from the panel. "Deceit upon deceit and deception upon deception." He stood firmly, his gaze piercing into Lorelei's soul. "And how exactly do you plan to get rid of the powerful wraiths that have been plaguing this ranch for decades?"

Lorelei looked unfazed as she stared at the Pharaoh. "I have a plan," she said smoothly. "Luckily, Lou wasn't completely useless. He figured out a way to conjure the spell we need to be rid of those spirits forever!"

The third eye glowed on Yami Yugi's forehead. "Yes . . . I see it . . . you need the life forces from two powerful beings," he murmured.

"Was that why Yami was poisoned?!" Bakura shrieked.

"Wait!" Téa exclaimed, horribly confused by everything they'd just stumbled upon. "Wasn't it the wraiths that poisoned him?"

Lou grinned. "Or so you think. They were some creatures we summoned who disguised themselves as the wraiths. They can't get rid of our ghost problem, but they can help us solve it. As our helpless slaves, they do whatever we command them to!"

Yami Bakura, who was riding piggyback style on Joey, moaned and tried to pull himself away.

"Let me take him," Bakura said softly, the Ring's pull finally ceasing.

"Hey, he's all yours, man," Joey replied, relinquishing the thief to Bakura.

"He's not any good to you," Lorelei sniffed. "Because of the way the poison's effects are speeded up on non-mortals, he'll die within . . . oh, about five minutes."

"No he won't!!" Bakura screamed, cradling his Yami's shuddering body.

"Can't you get the antidote from her, Yami?" Yugi pleaded.

Yami Yugi shook his head. "The only way I can break the hold is to defeat the wraiths that poisoned him in the first place, Yugi," he replied.

"Shouldn't that be easy enough?" Mai spoke up.

"They let Yami Bakura defeat them earlier," Yami Yugi told her. "Because they'd already done their job, which was to infect him with their foul poison."

Lorelei looked immensely amused. "Well, if you think you have a chance, go ahead," she shrugged. "It makes no difference to me."

"Are you sure?" Seto smirked, glancing behind her. "I'd say that wraith over there is furious that you've been plotting to double-cross it."

Lorelei looked up and let out a gasp of fright.

Ishizu paid no attention to any of this. Instead she leaned over the edge of the platform, her silky hair getting wet in the water, and frantically scanned across the rocks and jagged shores far below her. "MARIK!! Brother, where are you?!" she screamed over and over, her voice echoing across the dank walls.

Rishid, still holding Lorelei so she couldn't try anything else, looked over as well, his golden eyes narrowed in concern. "Brother!! If you can hear us, please give us some indication of where you are and if you are hurt!" he called.

Mokuba watched worriedly. "He's gotta be okay!" he wailed. "He's my best friend! He can't die!!"

Lou only laughed. "Delusional fools," he said insultingly.

Téa tensed as wraiths began materializing out of the walls. "What's going on?!" she cried, backing up. "Or do I really want to know?"

Yami Bakura struggled to open his eyes. "You're being attacked," he growled in an Isn't it obvious? tone.

"Yami, please hold on," Bakura whispered.

"You have four minutes to get rid of them all," Lou informed them, "or else they'll destroy you all—including that tomb raider your young British friend seems to care about."

"We will triumph if we all work together," Yami Yugi retorted.

Rishid suddenly gave a cry of pain as the wraith abruptly attacked him and Lorelei. Ishizu whirled around and narrowed her eyes angrily. "Let him go!" she cried, trying to help Rishid get free.

"Lorelei!" Lou yelled, finally breaking free of the bonds.

The fight continued for three never-ending minutes, with Yami Yugi and all of the others not faring very well against the powerful wraiths. Not even the powerful Pharaoh could manage to overpower them.

"Big brother!" Mokuba shrieked as Seto was thrown back against the wall and slumped to the ground. Angrily he rushed forward, kicking at the wraith and sending it flying. Instantly three more were bearing down on him and the little boy covered his head frantically.

"Leave him alone," Seto said coldly, getting up and punching one of them. Mokuba was thrown carelessly into his arms and then both brothers were shoved back.

Bakura continued to cradle his Yami, wishing he could do something to help instead of just feeling useless. I can't even save my Yami! he wailed in his mind.

"Yami, please don't die," the boy sobbed again, a tear splashing onto Yami Bakura's right eye.

The thief blinked in irritation, his breath coming out raspily. "Look . . . you foolish boy . . . take this. . . ." He indicated the Ring, which Bakura had placed around his neck again.

"But Yami . . ." Bakura stared at it.

"You want to help, don't you?" Yami Bakura coughed up blood, causing Bakura's poor, sweet eyes to widen in utter horror. "Then . . . take the Ring. . . . Hold it up and . . . command it to . . . to obey you and protect your pathetic friends." He gripped Bakura's sweater tightly as he felt his body go rigid.

Bakura stared at him, tears filling his chocolate brown eyes. "Yami," he whispered.

"Take the Ring," he heard a familiar, accented voice say behind him.

The boy whirled around, blinking in shock. "Shadi?" he exclaimed, but no one was there.

A horrible scream met his ears and he looked up to see Mai being held up in the air by two wraiths that were preparing to throw her over the falls to meet Marik's fate.

"Mai!!" he cried, grabbing the Ring from around his Yami's limp neck and holding it up. "Oh, I hope this works," he whispered, praying for it to do so.

The wraiths paused in their assault and looked up as the British boy rose to his feet, his silvery hair blowing out as he stood bravely to face them.

"Ring, obey me!" Bakura yelled. "Help me protect my friends!!"

Instantly the Ring glowed brightly, beams shooting out from it and hitting the wraiths dead-on. Each one gave a shriek of anger as it began to crumble into nothing.

Mai dropped to the floor of the cave, uninjured. She let out a long breath she'd been holding and slowly got to her feet, glancing around at everyone. "That was some experience. Is everyone okay?" she asked.

Yugi nodded shakily, getting up from where he was.

Lorelei grinned. "Well, so you've defeated them," she said. "But can you get rid of the others?"

She had no sooner gotten the words out of her mouth when she and Lou were both viciously attacked by the wraiths from the burial grounds. The woman let out a scream of panic as she and Lou both disappeared with them.

"Hmmm," Seto smirked as he stood up, "I'd say that the wraiths were more interested in getting rid of the double-crossers than us."

"They may return," Yami Yugi said grimly.

Alyson slowly emerged from where she had been hiding with her grandmother, the Ankh still firmly held in her hand. "I'm supposed to keep this," she whispered.

Yami Yugi turned to look at her. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"I heard Shadi's voice," Alyson replied. "He said that I had to hold on to it." She clutched the Ankh tightly as if she thought it would vanish if she let go.

Yami Yugi turned away, his eyes narrowed.

"Wow, Bakura," Téa smiled after a moment of silence, "I didn't know you had such a mastery of the Millennium Ring! You saved us!"

Bakura blushed and knelt down beside Yami Bakura. Yami Yugi had said that if the enslaved wraiths were defeated, the poison would vanish from the thief's body. But had it?

"Yami?" he whispered worriedly. "Yami, please wake up!! Please . . ."

After a moment Yami Bakura's eyes fluttered open and he smirked up at Bakura. "Not bad," he said gruffly, wiping the blood away from his mouth and sitting up shakily. "You did well, Bakura."

"Yami! You're alright!" Bakura exclaimed, hugging him tightly. Yami Bakura grunted in apparent annoyance, but didn't push the boy away.

Téa smiled, watching their reunion, and then turned to watch as Ishizu again looked over the platform's edge.

Suddenly the Egyptian woman screamed, watching as the waves washed an apparently dead body onto the shore below. "MARIK!!!" Ishizu clutched the platform tightly, her knuckles white.

"We must get down to him!" Rishid cried, looking for a way down.

"Hey! What's this over here?!" Mokuba exclaimed, pushing on a loose stone. Abruptly the floor began to change, revealing stone steps leading down to the shoreline far below.

Quickly everyone descended the steps and ran to Marik's battered form.

"Brother!" Ishizu sobbed, gently taking him into her arms and trying to warm him up. "He's so cold!" she said softly. "That water must be simply sub-zero in temperature!"

"Is he dead?" Joey asked bluntly.

"Joey!" Téa said in disbelief.

"He's not dead!!" Mokuba yelled, running over.

Neither Rishid or Ishizu paid any attention to Joey's query. Instead Rishid removed his cloak and gently wrapped their brother's body in it, whispering to him in their native language and carefully massaging his chest.

"Come on, Marik, please," Mokuba whispered.

Abruptly water shot out of Marik's mouth and he began to cough, curling up tightly in Rishid's cloak.

"Dear brother!" Ishizu cried joyously, leaning down to embrace him.

"Is he okay? Is he okay?!" Mokuba demanded, running forward.

Rishid gathered the shivering boy into his arms, holding him close. "Master Marik?" he said softly, brushing Marik's drenched bangs aside.

"Well, he's alive, at any rate," Joey remarked, concealing his relief.

Marik groaned, clinging to him and to Ishizu when she came over. "So cold . . ."

"Shhh . . . it's alright, Marik," Ishizu said softly, taking her scarf and trying to dry his hair. "You are going to be fine."

"Marik?!" Mokuba cried, laying a hand on his shoulder.

Marik shuddered again, his earrings clinking softly.

A bright light suddenly enveloped them all and Kasumi's shimmering form appeared. "You have broken the curse," she told them. "Now my sister and the others can finally go on to their final resting place." She smiled. "And you can all be on your way to Boston."

Joey just stared in disbelief. "But the plane's trashed!" he exclaimed.

Kasumi shook her head. "Go back to it. It will work," she assured him.

Now the angel girl took out a gold rod and handed it to Ishizu. "I believe this is your brother's," she said quietly.

Ishizu nodded in acknowledgment and then smiled as Marik leaned against her.

"He will be alright, won't he?" Rishid wanted to know.

"He will be fine," Kasumi assured them as she vanished. "Thank you all."

Alyson sobbed, tears splashing onto the Ankh. "What about Shadi?" she wailed.

No one knew how to answer her.


When everyone emerged from the cave, the sun was just beginning to come up.

"Man, it seems like that night was unnaturally long," Tristan remarked.

"It was," Yami Yugi said. "The wraiths were able to stop time for a while."

They gazed at what had been the ranch in utter disbelief. The entire place had been torched to the ground and the skeleton was smoldering slightly. The horses and other animals ran free of what had been their prison, galloping over the plains.

"That was some experience," Mr. O'Dover remarked, coming from out of nowhere.

Everyone jumped.

"Don't do that!" Joey yelled in frustration.

"Is that Egyptian boy alright?" Ms. Myrvyn asked, catching sight of Marik shivering in Rishid's arms.

"We should get him where it's warm," Rishid replied.

"Well, we were all looking for all of you!" Joan exclaimed. "We thought maybe you'd gone back to the plane, so we went out there. And it's working fine now!"

"Oh really," Seto remarked.


It wasn't long before everyone was back on the plane. Marik had gotten into dry clothes and was curled up in a corner with Rishid's cloak wrapped around him while Seto tried to determine how to work the plane.

"Hey, buddy," Mokuba said, coming over to Marik.

Marik looked up at him and smiled. "Hello, my friend," he replied, his lavender eyes soft, kind, and full of their normal sparkle again, unlike the angry, raged flame from earlier.

"Are you okay?" Mokuba asked. "You really had all of us scared."

Marik nodded slowly. "I am fine." He sighed. "It's Alyson I am worried about."

Both boys glanced over at the little girl, who was staring out the window blankly and holding the Ankh. Since they were in the middle of nowhere, both Alyson and her grandmother were going to come with them to Boston, where they just so happened to have another relative.

"That must be awful for her," Mokuba said quietly.

"We're ready for takeoff," Seto called over the intercom.

In a few minutes the plane slowly rose into the air over what once was the Black Diamond Ranch, its occupants leaving with mixed, bittersweet feelings as they thought about everything that had happened.

"We should be in Boston within a few hours," Seto announced.

"Are you sure you know how to fly this thing?!" Téa demanded.

Seto grunted in reply.

"Of course he does!" Mokuba chirped from where he was sitting in the copilot seat. "Seto's a quick learner!"

Ishizu sat next to Marik, taking his hand gently. Marik smiled and acknowledged her gesture with a little squeeze.

Rishid sat on Marik's other side, glancing over at Alyson. "I can understand her pain," the man said softly. "For it was my own when I saw your body wash up on the shore."

Marik looked down, then laid a hand on his brother's shoulder. "I'm alright, Rishid," he assured him.

Ishizu smiled. "And we are so very glad of it," she said.

Now Joey looked over at Alyson as well. "Hey, kid, are you gonna be okay?" he asked.

Alyson stared off into space. "I miss him," she whispered.

"I know," Joey said comfortingly.

Téa smiled gently. "As long as you keep him in your heart, he'll never really be gone," she said.

Alyson turned to look at her and nodded slowly, tears chasing each other down her face as she continued to clutch the Ankh.

Carefully Téa helped Alyson put it around her neck. "There," she said softly. "You have to be brave. He entrusted this with you."

"But why?" Alyson sobbed. "I'm not a guardian! I can't take care of things like he did!"

Téa sighed. "I don't know why he wanted you to take the Ankh," she replied at last. "Maybe he knew that you wouldn't let anything happen to it."

Alyson hiccuped and then nodded slowly.

Out in the cockpit, Mokuba grinned up at his big brother.

"Wow, Seto! I knew you could fly this plane!" the little boy grinned.

Seto smiled back. "Try the radio, will you, Mokuba? We should try to get in touch with the airport and tell them we're coming."

Mokuba gave him the thumbs-up. "Anything you say, big brother!" he said, putting on the headphones and calling into the radio.

After a moment they heard a welcome response as someone from the control tower at the Boston airport replied.

"Everything's right on schedule," the woman told them cheerfully.

Mokuba blinked. "But how is that possible?" he wondered. "We're at least two or three days late!"

Seto grunted and sighed. "Time must've been frozen longer than we thought," he said at last, ruffling Mokuba's hair.

"Yeah, I guess so," Mokuba said with a blink, wondering what new adventures awaited them in Boston.

Scared feelings began to come over him. They'd lost one of their own on this case. It only made him realize more how vulnerable they all were. And if someone like Shadi could be taken out, then . . . then . . .

"What's wrong, kid?" Seto asked, looking at Mokuba in concern.

Mokuba gazed up at him, not answering for several moments. "Big brother . . . you've gotta be careful," he whispered at last.

"What do you mean, Mokuba?" Seto steered the plane to the right.

"Well . . ." Mokuba looked away. "I don't want anything to happen to you like . . ." He sniffled. "Like what happened to Shadi. I don't wanna wind up like Alyson!" Tears filled his eyes and he angrily blinked them back.

Seto quickly switched the plane back on auto-pilot and turned to his brother. "I won't ever leave you, Mokuba," he said firmly.

"But . . . Shadi wasn't planning to die," Mokuba whispered. "He thought he'd be able to make it."

Seto looked at him seriously. "I can't promise that nothing will happen to me, Mokuba," he admitted. "All I can promise is that I will always be there for you, no matter what. Even if I do die, then I'll be your guardian angel." He smiled softly. "But I'll do my very best to stick around in the flesh."

Mokuba managed a smile as well. "I know," he said, climbing up and giving his brother a hug. "Thanks, Seto."

Seto smiled and hugged him back, so very grateful for his brother.