DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm both thrilled and saddened to say that this is the last chapter of 'Another Source of Magic'. This story has been a part of my life for several years and I have loved every moment of working on it. I hope that you have enjoyed reading it, too. I also want to thank everyone who has read or reviewed this story. I greatly appreciate every comment and knowing that people enjoy reading what I have written is the greatest thrill in the world for me. Thank you!
DEDICATION: For my wonderful Friend and incredible Beta, Vash is my Angel, who loves this story almost as much as I do. Thank you so much for applying your beta skills on my behalf, but thank you even more for the gift of your friendship.
Another Source of Magic
Chapter 34: The Book's Secret
By Shadow's Mirror
Midnight. The witching hour.
In Ryou's bedroom, the only sound was the soft breathing of the light and his yami as they slept peacefully by each other's side.
The moonlight shone through the crack in the curtain, but it was another source of light that bathed the room in a gentle golden glow.
The Millennium Ring hanging around Ryou's neck and its shadow twin that hung around Bakura's were both glowing softly, as was the ancient tome of magic lying on Ryou's desk on the other side of the room.
Although the window was shut tight and no wayward breeze had invaded the room, the front cover of the Book of Secret Arts suddenly flew open and the book's pages began to turn as if a wind was blowing them. The rustling sound was oddly soft, as if the book did not wish to wake the two boys sleeping nearby. After a few moments, the pages finally stilled; the book lying open at the final page.
The final... blank... page.
The Ring pulsed once.
The Shadow Ring responded to it with a similar pulse.
The book responded to both of the Rings, but not with a pulse of light. Instead, golden words in a neatly scripted hand began to appear on its last page, as if someone unseen was writing them.
'If Light and Shadow these words see,
Then in balance their hearts shall be.
With this knowledge, shall their gift begin,
Mastery of all the spells within.
While this gift goes to Dark and Light,
They have the way to set things right.
While true to their hearts they remain,
In the Shadow Realm, peace shall reign.
One final wisdom shall I impart,
The Greatest Magic lies in the heart.
So it has been, and will be forever,
That your power is strongest when you stand together.'
As the last word was written, the golden glow around the three magic items faded as if it had never been. The only sign that something strange had happened was the book remaining open.
- - -
"Now that's odd."
Hearing his yami say that first thing in the morning was not usually a good sign, but it was the wary note in his yami's voice that caught Ryou's attention, more than his words. "What is it, Bakura?" Still half asleep, he rubbed his eyes, wincing as his injured wrist complained at the movement.
When no answer came, the white-haired boy carefully got out of bed, favouring the side that he had fallen heavily on, the day before. He joined his yami on the other side of the room and bit his lip when he noticed that the other boy was frowning at the book that lay open on his desk. "Um... Bakura... why are you looking at the Book of Secret Arts?"
"I'm not. Well... no, I am... but not how you mean." Bakura ran a hand through his already tousled hair and sighed as he gestured to the book. "I'm not reading it. It's just... When we went to bed last night, this cursed book was closed. I'm sure of it. I'm also sure that this page was blank, the last time I looked at it." He scowled at the book as if blaming it for his confusion.
Ryou blinked. "The book was closed and the last page was blank?" He frowned slightly. "When did you look at the last page?"
Bakura was still frowning at the book. "The spell that turned me into a kitten was near the end of the book, so I flipped through from the end to find it. The last three pages were blank. I remember noticing them at the time and thinking how odd it was for a spellbook to have blank pages."
"Oh." Ryou bit his lip harder. "That page is not blank." He leaned over a little and read the words, then re-read them, a slight frown creasing his brow.
"Yeah. But what's worrying me the most is that the book's open now. This book... A couple of times, I've wondered if it has some spell cast on it to help find spells when they're needed. But this... I don't see how we could possibly need this. I mean... there's no mention of what it does! Only a fool would cast it." Bakura's scowl became a fully-fledged glare.
Ryou finished reading the words for the third time and shook his head slightly. "Bakura... I don't think this is a spell."
"Not a spell?" Bakura arched an eyebrow at his light, then looked at the words again. "Then... what is it?"
"I think it might be... a message to us." Ryou looked at his yami. "It talks about Dark and Light and look at the first line."
Bakura frowned. "'If Light and Shadow these words see...' Oh Ra. You're right." He slipped his arm around his light's waist and moved back a few steps, gently pulling Ryou with him. Once at a safe distance, he eyed the book with distaste.
"Um... Bakura... What are you doing?" Ryou blinked at his other half in confusion.
"Protecting you. I don't trust that book." Bakura spared his light a glance, then returned to watching the book for any sign of... well... anything that would indicate that it was evil or malicious or had it in for him and his light.
There was no such thing as paranoia when a book of spells that did odd things was involved.
"Now what has that poor book ever done to you? It was hardly its fault that you never read completely through most of the spells you cast from it."
At the first word, Bakura whirled around, snarling. By the end of the first sentence, he had moved between his light and the tall man in the long purple robes and odd hat who had suddenly appeared in the middle of the room. By the end of the second sentence he was bristling and growling softly. "Why are you here? What do you want?" He glared at the man.
The Dark Magician arched an eyebrow and pouted at the white-haired yami. "My, such charming manners and when I came all this way for the sole purpose of explaining everything to you."
"An explanation?" Ryou's soft question immediately quietened Bakura, although he kept glaring at the Shadow Monster to make sure that he didn't think he was welcome there, or anything like that.
The mage smiled gently at Ryou and nodded. "Indeed. I believe it is time for me to tell you and Bakura a few things that may be of interest to you."
"Then hurry up and talk. We don't have all day." Bakura was still glaring at him.
"Of course." The Dark Magician nodded again and took a deep breath. "Firstly... Bakura... if you would be so kind... Please go and look in the book. Any page will do." At the yami's angered snarl, he smiled slightly. "It is all right. You have my word that I am only here to talk. No harm shall befall either you or your light." His brown eyes were gentle and kind as they locked with Bakura's.
An odd look came over the former tombrobber's face, a mix of surprise and concern. He abruptly moved over to the book. His hand hesitated only briefly before touching it. When nothing happened, he relaxed and turned a few pages. Then he turned a few more. Then he began to flip through the book.
Ryou watched his yami with growing unease. He could feel his other's tension and knew he was almost at breaking point. "Bakura... What's wrong?"
Bakura went still and had to swallow hard before he could speak. "The spells. They're not... I can read them, Ryou. I can read them all, as clearly as if I'd written them myself." His voice was soft.
As his light gasped in shock, his hands flying to his mouth, Bakura slowly turned to face the Dark Magician. He eyed him warily.
"You said you came to explain. I'm listening." He still spoke far more quietly than normal.
The mage nodded. "Firstly, I should tell you that the Book of Secret Arts that you have is no mere copy. It is the original. When you summon it into your world, you summon it directly from my own desk." He smiles wryly. "So naturally, I notice when you do so." As Ryou went bright red and Bakura shifted his stance and began to look rather uncomfortable, the Dark Magician's smile brightened. "As it is rather inconvenient for me to have my spellbook vanish at odd times, I have decided that it is probably for the best if you have your own copy."
Ryou gasped and Bakura looked alarmed. "That's... really not necessary. Really!"
"Oh no, I insist!" The mage smiled serenely and waved his staff. The book on the table vanished. A moment later, an identical book appeared in its place. "There you are. Now, I have linked that book directly to your card, so you can still summon it that way. I thought that would be easier for you than having it around all the time. That could be... problematic... for you at times, I know."
Blushing as he realised that the Dark Magician meant that in regards to his father, Ryou nodded. "Thank you very much."
Bakura glared at the mage. "I said I don't want your blasted spellbook!"
The Dark Magician shook his head and looked a little bewildered. "But Bakura... you are not getting my blasted spellbook. That, as the description implies, is somewhat charred at the moment. It would be rather difficult for you to read it in that state."
The yami blinked. He was still trying to work out if the Magician was really that big an idiot when he noticed the soft sound of his light trying very hard to keep from laughing... and failing badly. He sighed as his anger drained away into a pool of simmering mild resentment. "Fine. We'll keep the book."
"Oh good." The Dark Magician beamed at both boys as if he was extremely happy. "For what is it worth, Bakura... now that you and Ryou have unlocked the book's secret, you will have no further trouble with reading the spells. Of course, whether or not they work as you intend, will depend on whether you choose the right spell for the task." He shrugged. "But then, that is usually how magic works, as you know."
Bakura nodded slightly, too distracted by what the mage had said for him to be annoyed that the Shadow Monster also knew about his problems with the spells. "The book's secret... You mean... those words at the end of it?" He turned to the copy that the Dark Magician had given them and quickly checked the last page.
For some reason, the sight of the golden words made him feel both relieved and oddly tense.
"Yes." The Dark Magician nodded, his mood suddenly the most serious it had been since his arrival in the room. "You were having trouble with the spells because you were doing them for the wrong reasons. Any magic used selfishly will always rebound upon the caster." He held up a hand as Bakura scowled at him. "That is not something I added to the spells in that book. It is simply one of the rules that all magic abides by." He smiled at Bakura as the boy silently nodded.
Although Bakura wasn't happy about the rule, he understood it.
The Dark Magician smiled at both boys. "As long as you both use the magic for the right reasons, you may continue to use the book. If you are ever in doubt that a reason is right... ask the book for guidance. It is often quite good at that sort of thing."
Bakura scowled. "Like I said before, I'm not interested in using it anymore. It's caused more trouble than it's worth."
"I know, however..." The mage's deep brown eyes were suddenly filled with what looked very much like pain and sorrow.
Ryou bit his lip and quickly checked himself before he took more than a step towards the Dark Magician, the Shadow Monster's sorrow calling to something deep within him. A glance at his yami confirmed that Bakura had not missed his light's instinctive movement.
When Bakura joined his other half, Ryou found the warmth of Bakura's hand grasping his to be surprisingly comforting.
"However?" For the second time, Bakura's voice was unusually subdued. He too seemed to be aware at the shift in the mage's mood.
"However... I fear that the two of you may soon need the powers of this book... for what is coming." He shook his head and again held up a hand to forestall Bakura's impatient questioning. "No, Bakura. I fear that I can tell you nothing more. Indeed... I have already said far too much." He smiled at the scowling yami. "There is something else I can tell you, though."
"What?" Bakura continued to scowl at the irritating mage.
"When you first summoned the Book of Secret Arts, I felt your thoughts and feelings towards it. You called it into your world, believing that it would be another source of magic that you could master."
Bakura sighed and nodded abruptly. "That was wrong. I know."
"No. Actually... you were absolutely right." The Dark Magician grinned as Bakura and Ryou both blinked at him in shock. "Yes, I know, I can barely believe it myself. But facts are facts. Through this book, Bakura, you have not only learned how to tap into another source of magic, but you have mastered it."
The yami eyed the mage in obvious bewilderment. "Most of the spells I used..." He couldn't quite bring himself to admit to his failure, even though he was sure the man already knew of it.
The Dark Magician was now smiling very gently at Bakura. He looked almost like a proud father or uncle, rather than the long-term nemesis of the former Thief King. "The spells did not work as you wished them too because you cast the wrong spells. The magic you used was never the problem. Or rather... I should say, the magics you used." He placed a slight stress on the plural and nodded as both white-haired boys tensed in sudden understanding.
"There were... two types of magic in those spells? Intertwined?" Bakura looked more than a little startled at the news.
Nodding, the mage smiled. "Yes. Bakura, the Shadow Magic is very powerful, however there are some things for which it requires a little... boost. Another type of magic interweaves with the Shadow Magic for most of the spells in the Book of Secret Arts."
"What other type of magic?" Bakura looked and sounded as if he really wasn't sure he wanted to know, but felt compelled to ask, anyway.
"The magic that is found within the heart and soul of every being." The Dark Magician smiled. "A power that lights are always the first to find, and that they may sometimes lead their yami's to understand."
Bakura's eyes narrowed. "If you say 'love', there is a good possibility that I may hurt you, purely because that's so incredibly corny."
Ryou made an odd sort of strangled squeaking sound and quickly covered his mouth with his uninjured hand before he could burst out laughing.
"Then I shall not say it." The Dark Magician pouted at Bakura. "Even though it is true." He shrugged as the yami began to stalk towards him. "Why else do you suppose that the key to unlocking the book's secret, its true power, was for you to realise where your true place lay in this world?"
His words stopped Bakura in his tracks.
An odd look passed over the yami's face as he looked into the Dark Magician's eyes. "Who... are you?"
His words were nothing more than a whisper, but they had a strange effect on the mage. Suddenly looking rather nervous, the Dark Magician smiled somewhat distractedly. "Well, I have said my piece so it is time I returned to the Shadow Realm. Yes, I had best do that right away. Farewell and use the book wisely." He waved and then vanished in a cloud of purple smoke that smelled rather strongly of cheese and pickled herring.
Cursing the Dark Magician in between bouts of coughing, Bakura ran to the window and opened it up as Ryou made a hasty retreat into the hallway.
A few deep breaths later, Bakura finally managed to catch his breath well enough to call out to his light. "Ryou... please tell me we're not having cheese or fish for breakfast. I really don't think I could handle it."
The sound that came from the hall in response made him sigh loudly. "It's not funny. I was closer to him than you so I got the full effect of it." He sighed again as the sound continued. "Ryou... will you please stop laughing!"
"Sorry... Bakura." Ryou made a concentrated effort to control his giggling and smiled at his yami as he peeked into the room. "How about pancakes?"
Bakura frowned at his other half suspiciously. "With honey?"
Ryou smiled tenderly and nodded. "With honey."
"I suppose that will do." A slight smile eased Bakura's grumpy expression.
His light smiled back. "I'll just get changed, first." He bit his lip. "If it is... safe... now?"
Bakura sniffed the air and nodded. "Yeah. The smell's almost gone." He shook his head and sighed, looking annoyed again. "Wouldn't you think he'd at least be able to come up with smoke that didn't stink?"
"Well, since he's gone by the time it appears, perhaps he's unaware that it does." Ryou began to head for his wardrobe.
"Oh no. He knows. He did it deliberately, just to annoy me. I'm sure of it. Cursed magician and his cursed cryptic comments." Bakura scowled at the memory of the conversation with the mage.
He tensed, then relaxed again as he felt a gentle touch. Turning his head, Bakura smiled slightly at his worried light. His hand rose to cover Ryou's where it rested on his arm. "Don't worry. I'm not really angry with him. I'm just... annoyed."
Ryou smiled and nodded. "All right." He bit his lip and looked a little hesitant.
"What is it?" Bakura grinned as his light blinked at him in surprise. "I can always tell when you want to ask me something but aren't sure if you should. What's on your mind?"
A faint tide of colour washed over Ryou's cheeks. "I was just wondering... what do you think the Dark Magician meant by what he said? About the key to the book being your realisation as to where your true place was in this world."
Bakura was quiet for a moment. Just as Ryou was about to apologise for asking, though, he replied very softly. "Through all the spells I cast that failed, I learned something. I realised that my place in this world... was right by your side."
He turned his head to look at his light just as Ryou moved closer to gently hug him. They both blinked in surprise as they found themselves face to face with only a few inches between them.
Bakura slowly began to lean in, his head tilting a little.
Ryou blushed and his lips parted in a soft gasp.
The sound caused a measure of sanity to return to Bakura and he quickly pulled back. "Um... I didn't mean to... I was just..." He trailed off as he noticed the last thing he had expected to see in his light's eyes at that moment.
Ryou began to ease back. "Oh. Of course you didn't mean to. I... understand." He started to move. "I will just get changed and then I'll make us some breakfast."
Before the boy could even finish turning away, his other half had pulled him into a tight hug.
As he eased back a little, Bakura smiled tenderly at his stunned light and gently stroked the boy's soft cheek. "My light, I don't know what the future holds for us or what the Dark Magician meant by us needing the book for what's coming, and I'll admit that worries me a bit. But I do know one thing. That last line of what was written in the book is something that I know to be true. You and I... we're strongest when we are together. I won't ever forget that again. You are my light. I am your yami. I know you love me. Well guess what... Ryou... I love you too."
He lowered his head again, this time with no hesitation.
During the few minutes that followed, only two thoughts crystallised clearly enough in Bakura's mind for him to remember them later.
The first one was that his light really was as sweet as he looked.
The second... Why in the Shadows hadn't they done this sooner?