Disclaimer: Not Mine. The end. Original characters are mine.
This contains HEAVY spoilers for the Doom Arc. You have been warned.
Comments are always welcome.
Northward Pointing Compass
By Nicole Silverwolf
"Windy! You got the euthasol?"
The woman pushed her black hair back away from her face and into a messy ponytail with a rubber band. Then dug through a worn old desk for the bright pink box that contained the solution. It was removed, a non-descript brown bottle with a neatly typed label with the drug's common name printed in the largest letters.
"Yeah I got it. Be right there D!" She fished about on the desk covered in paperwork for a pen, and noted the removal of the controlled substance in a large black binder with "Controlled Substance LOG 2003" printed on the front and highlighted in neon yellow. Dumping the pen back on the desk, for they were already running late after the morning appointments, she rushed to close the lock box and pack. The Ramos farm would take a good few hours to work through if they were lucky.
But a glint of something moving made her pause, hand about to slam the desk drawer shut.
Lying in the corner, between rubber bands, pennies, paperclips and dead pens was her beat up compass. Worn and rounded at the edges, the face nearly cracked, and a piece of duct tape keeping it attached to the worn red string; this particular compass was nothing worthy of interest. It certainly didn't seem that way at least.
But it had come from her grandfather, who had insisted it was a very good piece of machinery. And now, the point under the glass was lazily spinning on its axis. Compasses, as a general rule did not spin on their axes spontaneously, unless one was over something that confused the magnet inside. But this particular compass had never done that before. In particular had never done that here in the office.
Dark brown eyes narrowed in perplexed wonder. Though she was not especially superstitious, she did remember her grandfather's words. He was not one to speak lightly of anything. A long recognized shaman of the Hoopa nation, his words were still respected in a time and place where little of the Hoopa traditions were either respected or even practiced. A spinning compass point was something to take notice of.
And she had seen this particular compass in action before.
The woman snapped her head up as if waking from a daze. She was making them even more late. A quick glance at the still spinning compass, and she snatched it up and shoved it into the pocket of her vest. If it was still spinning later she would try to figure it out.
Right now three hundred fifty cows were waiting to be vaccinated.
"Do you think we could stop? Just for a little bit? My feet are killing me." Anzu's question was hesitant, almost careful--so unlike her usual confident self--as if afraid of doing something to upset her companion. They had been walking for hours, along the bank of this tiny stream that paralleled the rail tracks, which she hoped was leading them towards somewhere preferably containing civilization. They needed to find Honda, Otogi and Jounouchi so they could try to decide what to do next.
Her companion stopped, and stared guiltily at his shoes, scuffed and covered in red clay. It was hot and the midday sun had been beating mercilessly down on them for a while. They hadn't stopped walking since they had started several hours ago and something in him desperately wanted to keep pushing; start running even.
Towards where, he still didn't know.
He wanted to believe he was heading towards his partner, had thought that something would have told him where to go by now--like a lost soul detector or something. But wasn't that what the Puzzle was for? He wasn't sure, and he doubted it was particularly partial to helping him after what he'd done. Or failed to do, whichever way you wanted to look at it.
And while the heat barely bothered him (something he ironically noted seemed to emphasize that he had probably come from a warm climate like Egypt) it was probably brutal to Anzu. He hadn't meant to get her involved in this, or to ignore her so badly. She was a tough girl, who rarely complained about anything, so for her to request a rest meant she was exhausted.
"I'm sorry Anzu. Of course we can stop." His voice was quiet but sincere.
Eyes both grateful and truthfully concerned, smiled for a brief moment.
They both scrambled to sit beside the water, and Anzu stripped the large converse type shoes she had been wearing off to stick her sore feet in the water. Next time she ended up on crazy adventures with these guys, she resolved, she would just wear jeans and her favorite sneakers.
The water was freezing, which was unexpected. The cold did feel good on her feet though.
The Spirit of the Puzzle beside her however, just sat down Indian style and stared into the water below. Weighing the golden pyramid in his hands, turning it over and over, and tracing his fingers absently along the seams, where puzzle piece met puzzle piece.
A long moment of silence passed between them. "Anything?" Anzu asked hopefully. There was no need to elaborate.
In response, the Spirit closed his eyes and tried to focus, fingers tightening around the precious object in his hands. Perhaps that would help him get his bearings, give him something to guide him to Yugi. Tell him what to do; though he didn't know exactly how to go about getting any of that to happen. He pictured their soul doors, the hallway between them and tried to open the door opposite his own. It didn't budge and he had no idea what to do beyond that. If the Puzzle had some magic that could have helped he didn't know how to tap into it.
Would he even know if Yugi was dead? On the train, could he really be sure that that horrible wrenching feeling that tore through him at the sight of that ripped card was a mistake generated by a lie? It might not have been the card containing Yugi's soul that Haga had ripped in two but there was no way he could tell. Maybe they had already killed him, and that thought made his stomach lurch, head spin and brought something suspiciously like more tears into his eyes. He was tired of crying.
No. He'd be gone if Yugi was dead. He'd know if that had happened.
After a few moments he gave up, and opened his eyes to his own reflection in the river. Even if he squinted really hard, he couldn't see any of Yugi in his features. They looked the same physically of course but that wasn't what he was looking for.
The way he stared down at the sluggishly moving water, as desolately as he had the night before as they were supposedly sleeping in the trailer, Anzu knew the answer. She opened her mouth to reassure him, but was at a loss as to what to say. On the train she had tried to distract him from what was going on--from what Rebecca had accused him of. To be truthful, she knew she was talking in some ways to convince herself that things were fine. That her childhood friend Yugi had just gone wherever he went when the older Pharaoh spirit was at the front of their consciousness.
Awkwardly they sat wrapped in their own thoughts, Anzu watching bright white clouds move slowly across the barren horizon. The sky was so blue here. Domino sky was blue too, but not this exact shade, and never this wide. She wondered for a second if this was what Egypt looked like. If the spirit of the Puzzle saw it like that.
"Yugi would love this," she whispered to herself, low enough that she would never be sure if the young man next to her heard. That sudden realization and the cutting fact that he very well might be gone for good made her feel dizzy. Suddenly the water was too cold and the world a little too big.
She drew up her knees, wrapped her arms around them and turned her head into the golden material of her jacket. For some reason, she didn't want the Puzzle's spirit to see her cry, even if it was only a little.
'Keep it together Mazaki,' she hissed in her mind. 'This won't help Yugi at all will it and you know it.' Holding her breath seemed to keep it from getting worse and she did so even though a few tears still leaked out.
Perhaps ten or fifteen minutes passed, both young people lost in thought and regret. She never knew whether the Spirit was genuinely ignorant about her tears or whether he was just allowing her to save face. He was one of those honor bound type individuals who might try such a thing.
Without a word between the two mutually stood, and continued on in silence the same way they had been traveling.
Veterinary work was hard, sweaty and thankless most of the time. In particular large animal work. Cows and horses were larger, more difficult to treat, and more dangerous to handle. And often they were not called until it was too late to help an animal, limiting options most often to euthanization and bills owners hadn't wanted in the first place. That wasn't even considering the fact that she was a woman.
This particular farm was no exception. The Ramos family had been hit hard by the down economy and in the already depressed region it meant that the required visit from an expensive vet was not a welcomed experience. The FDA required these things if they were to be used for dairy or meat products and so she was at least tolerated to put it politely.
At first no one had taken notice of the two small dots moving towards them.
"Looks like some one's coming," a ranch hand observed. He was pushing an obstinate bull out of the narrow single file pen they had set up to move cattle through, in the hopes of streamlining the process.
She didn't look up from what she was doing. This cow was in an awkward position and she was perched precariously on the bars of the fence; a large syringe with an equally large gauge needle was too near where she was pinching the skin to try and ease the entry. Cow skin was tough.
Quick jab down, and depress.
She capped the needle with the plastic in between her teeth and handed it off to the tech with her, Dalena, who was dumping it into a red hazardous materials bucket while handing her the next one.
"Think they're local kids?"
Glancing out at the late afternoon horizon, she would have to agree. Just from the bare impression she could make out, they were too well dressed to be local kids. And there was something off about one of the kid's hair.
Maybe twenty minutes later the two young people, a boy and a girl, were peeking around the corner of the barn painfully aware of how out of their element they were.
"Can I help you two?" One of the hands, a young man with a thin face and a thick braid down his back greeted them in a somewhat gruff but inviting manor.
The young woman, petite with a contemporary short brown haircut and big, bright, blue eyes spoke. "Ummm...yes...we're kinda lost. We were in a train wreck a bunch of miles back and we're trying to get back to a town. Our friends are hopefully there already."
At the mention of the wreck she turned her head in interest. "Where was the wreck? Are there EMT's on the scene? I didn't hear anything about it on the radio."
The men looked at the two young people who seemed completely unharmed with something close to amazement.
"We were the only ones on the train." The confused looks the rest of the group gave them indicated their thoughts on the matter. The young woman became self-conscious at that and added in a small voice, "It's a long story."
Dark brown eyes surveyed them both. There was something off about the young man. Something in the way he stood; held himself. It was wrong in a fundamental way.
A sound caught his attention and he glanced up at her--eyes that would have burned with inner fire--and she almost fell from the fence, and very nearly lost the syringe. In the instant between blinks, where mucous regenerated its protective coating on her irises, the sight of his face had terrified her.
It was only half there. Not like it had been ripped away in a bloody pulp like a horror movie, quite the contrary. The skin was flawlessly smooth with no indication that there had ever been another eye, ear, an extra nostril or half to the lip.
She almost would have preferred the gruesome horror.
Back in college she had read studies about aversion, how babies and animals instinctively seemed to orient to "complete" faces in psychological studies. But very little had prepared her to see that phenomenon--usually presented in black and white photos--breathing and looking her in the eye with something she couldn't fathom.
In the next instant between breaths and blinks, he was whole again. Though she could still see it burned in, almost superimposed over his petite figure. And even that was fading now.
If the young man noticed her slip or the horror she was sure she had been unable to conceal, he didn't comment. Dark eyes, such an unusual shade of blue--nearly mauve or violet--if she believed such an eye color existed, morosely focused on the ground as if he couldn't see it.
"Alright you two. I don't know what's going on with either of you, but you both look famished and thirsty. Come with me, no one from the ranch is going back right now. But maybe Dr. Windmaker or Dalena can give you a lift back into town when they're done."
At this the young man glanced up at the doctor and tech, disheveled black hair blowing slightly in the tepid breeze. Dr. Windmaker nodded curtly, already back to what she needed to do and aware that the two did look terrible.
"Sure we can give them rides back."
And with no more than that she was back to sticking ridiculous looking needles under the tough cow hide.
He wasn't really sure what exactly had happened; just that he was now sitting with Anzu in the shade of a barn, on a bale of hay that smelled strongly of horse. In his hands was a glass of water, though it looked slightly murky and tasted of sulfur. The man who had brought them here, out of the way of the workings of this crew of people--his name was Thomas--had given them the rest of his lunch which consisted of a sandwich and a piece of fruit. Though they had split it in half, he hadn't managed more than a few bites.
He wasn't hungry.
That doctor woman had seemed a little weird, but that might have been because he expected something else when he met a Native American. He assumed that they would look like Iron Heart had; with feathers in their hair, staffs, patterned cloth, tee-pee's and the men all sporting mowhawks and loincloths. Well, maybe not loincloths.
He certainly did not a woman wearing jeans, a t-shirt and vest with a modern looking set of medical equipment strewn around. Or a house and a beat up set of jeeps in the driveway. The only thing that seemed like a movie, were the long black braids and the occasional glimpse of red flannel and turquoise jewelry.
These men and women seemed thoroughly steeped in the modern world.
Then what had Iron Heart been? Another figment of his and Anzu's combined imaginations? Some kind of throw back to a bygone era?
A tourist attraction? He had thought maybe he had been dropped into the middle of some ancient Native American soul finding ritual. Only to find out the man had nothing to do with Native Americans at all, but had somehow been heavily involved in Duel Monsters far from the land of Egypt where they suspected the game had originated.
And that message, that horrible battle.
So many people had sacrificed themselves to help him. Was he worthy of that kind of devotion? Had he been in the past? Where did Yugi get such devotion, such strength of faith in him? Why did everyone seem to think he was doing the right thing, when all he could do was hope he wasn't 'screwing up more' as Yugi might have put it?
They didn't talk much, Anzu either having decided that the Spirit wouldn't reply or too consumed by her own thoughts he couldn't tell. He watched dust motes blow through late afternoon sunshine and a cat stalk a mouse unsuccessfully. He didn't think about much, dozing in a haze of mindlessness but too keyed up to really rest.
It could have been minutes or hours later when the doctor and her assistant came to find them. Judging by the darker light slanted heavily, and the beginnings of a rich red glow it had been hours versus minutes. Late afternoon was upon them.
The assistant spoke, introducing herself as Dalena. "I'm sorry you two, I only have room for one in my car. Whichever of you wants to can take it. The other can ride with Dr. Windmaker. Is that alright?"
Her voice was kind, but had a tone to it that indicated she didn't care that much. Polite courtesy maybe. The two teenagers exchanged looks.
"You should go with her," the Spirit urged before she could protest. "I will go with the doctor."
"But..." Anzu was almost ready to admit she was scared. Everytime she turned away, one of her friends disappeared. Though it seemed remarkably irrational, if she left him, she was nearly certain he would disappear too.
"It will be fine. The doctor will leave in a few minutes; I will be right behind you."
He stood quietly and turned to her, gripping both her shoulders in a reassuring manner. Ignoring the two older women who were politely finding somewhere else to look. He forced her head up, to look into her bright eyes to reassure her. He could at least be in control of this; be strong for her if not for himself. "It will be fine Anzu. Do not worry. Please? Alright?"
She knew he was right, and the concern he was showing was both touching and a bit embarrassing. Nodding, she smiled--not quite as bright as usual--but there.
Anzu turned to Dalena and stepped up to her side. "Let's go!" Her confidence amazed him.
Tilting her head, the two women made their way towards a beat up sedan, maybe a Volkswagen, though he couldn't be sure.
"Would you mind helping me carry some equipment? It's not heavy, just a little awkward." It was the first time the woman had spoken to him directly.
Nodding with a simple of course, they began to move various pieces of equipment into the back of the truck. The Spirit couldn't name any of them, but it didn't seem to matter either way. In minutes they had finished loading the last red container, with a biohazard symbol on the side into the back and the doctor had closed the door. They hadn't spoken other than to confirm what needed to go where, and he had heard a car pull away, presumably the one that held Anzu.
Unlocking the door and slipping open the back seat one; she gestured to the passenger side of the front. "Hop in, I just have to get my dog."
A curt whistle and a shout for someone named Chemuk.
"C'mon lazy boy...time to go home!"
A small horse of a dog, that might have passed for a wolf came loping their way, not particularly caring about the speed he was traveling. In fact he seemed more interested in a cat that had just darted across its path and had turned to investigate it with a heavy-handed bark. He wasn't chasing the cat, merely watching it.
"Leave it Chemuk. Time to go."
And it took no more than that for the large dog to lope over and hop into the car. The Spirit took a running leap into the car and scrambled into a comfortable position, snapping a seatbelt in place.
A cursory look at him to make sure he had put a belt on and they were pulling away. The road was long, nothing but sand, red clay dirt, and stubbornly clinging-to-life shrubbery. It was bleak and stark, if he was really looking at it at all.
The radio was on, volume low with something about "you're gonna be the one that saves me..." in the lyrics.
"So what's your name kid?" The woman kept her brown eyes on the road, hands on the steering wheel. They were on the highway and the wind had whipped up, stinging her eyes with sand and strands of black hair. The windows were open and it was hard to hear her for a moment until she rolled them up.
His bright eyes were startled by her question and he fumbled for an excuse or an answer. He would not lie and say he was Yugi. No way would he dishounor Yugi like that.
She narrowed her eyes in confusion. 'Strange kid.'
"I...I don't have a name."
He expected some sort of reaction from her. Some loud indignant outburst about how everyone has a name. Everyone except him.
"In some nations, every person in a tribe had to earn their name. That traditon's died out now but a long time ago, that was how it used to be. My grandfather used to yell at my parents about it, since they never believed in any of that. Said that because my brother and me never did that, that we had never become true people of our Nation."
He stared at her like she had grown a third head.
"I'm sure you have a name. You just don't know it yet. Or you're too paranoid to tell the stranger who's giving you a ride. Take your pick."
That brought a quick, nearly involuntary smile and snort from him. A stifled smile and laugh that made him look years younger and handsome in a way that probably had teenage girls swarming and swooning over him.
"Ahh...so you do smile."
"Yes. I do."
They lapsed into silence, somewhere between awkward and comfortable as the truck sped along the highway. Chemuk was placid in the back, and it was probably because the dog did this more often than not. Or so he must have assumed.
It didn't take long for his thoughts to fall back to Yugi, and he felt sick to his stomach. Leaning against the door and drawing his knees up seemed to help for a moment or so, before the sensation returned and he wanted to find a new place.
"So...how is it exactly that you ended up all the way out here, in the middle of no where? This isn't exactly a top destination for tourists." Her brown eyes were trained on the road but she sent him an occasional glance.
"What makes you think we're tourists?" His tone was petulant and defiant. He obviously didn't like being read as an open book. And by the way he was sitting, he felt threatened.
"I won't dignify that with an explanation. No one introduces themselves by family name first around here. You're Japanese."
Uncomfortably, the Spirit drew his knees in and looked out the window, as if it held all the answers to every question ever asked. But also was unwilling to tell him what it was.
"I'm...I'm...lost is probably the only word I could...I don't even know anymore..."
They slowed and turned onto a lesser-used road.
"Like, 'I-need-a-map' kinda lost? Or a 'I-don't-know-where-I'm-going' kinda lost?"
He looked at her for a long moment. There had to be a reason why she had phrased the question that way. He puzzled it out slowly.
"Have you ever...been in a situation where you wanted out, so badly that your body was forcing you to do something to get away?"
She nodded slightly but said nothing else.
"I...I did something I regret so much. And everything in me was pulling away but I didn't listen. I didn't listen and someone else paid the price for that, could be dead because of that! And I can't even tell where I should start let alone where I should go though everyone thinks I should be able to do both. I have to find this person, he means more than anyone could understand and I know this sounds too strange to believe."
"Sounds like you need a compass. Here." She pulled the tattered one from an inner pocket and held it out to him. Almost forgotten, it had been poking her in the side for the past few minutes. "It belonged to my grandfather; he said it was one of the best he ever had."
He took it gently from her hands, turning it over with no small amount of trepidation. Surprisingly the young man with the wild hair knew how to use one, for he oriented it properly.
The relief he felt was beyond comprehension. Finally, someone was going to be able to tell him where to go.
Alright so he didn't expect a shaman to be a woman in a pickup truck or her talisman to be a compass being held together by little more than luck and duct tape. But beggars could not be choosers and he was a little desperate. Holding it out in front of him, orienting it properly he looked down at it expectantly. This was supposed to show him how to get Yugi back, what else could it be? Certainly the Timaeus card hadn't helped him yet, though Iron Heart had seemed sure of its power.
The point spun lazily and slowed to a stop. His eyes widened in almost anticipation. The piece of metal hovered in place for a moment or two, and then arched away, spinning violently before resettling in a completely different direction. That too changed as the compass spun hard in the opposite direction, the point now coming to rest eastward.
Confused anger filled him as he watched it reorient again and again, as confused as he felt.
"It's broken. Why did you give me something that's broken?" His voice was pitched with anxiety. It was supposed to work. It had to work this was all he could think of to do. Why wasn't it working? Yugi was gone, and if this was his last chance he'd never find him.
Her voice was puzzled. "It shouldn't be broken. It works, I used it a couple of weeks ago."
She held her hand out and he placed the compass back into her open palm. Turning it the way he had, she glanced down at it, then back at the road.
"No. It's working."
The Spirit glanced at her palm, and sure enough, the compass point was westward. Steady and only bouncing back and forth slightly. The piece of plastic was set the same way that he had held it, and when she dropped it back into his hand, the point spun wildly again.
Closing a pale fist around the plastic he stared at her. An ache in the back of his throat tainted his words and he might have cried if it wasn't a stranger he was sitting with.
"What am I supposed to do?"
The response wasn't really stunning but it was blunt. "I don't know you."
She continued almost harshly but in a way that sounded like she was trying to drive something home to him. "I don't know anything about you, other than the fact that you don't have a name, and that you bite your lip when you're upset. Didn't think I noticed that did you? So how can I advise you about what to do? This person you're looking for, that part of you that was missing when I first saw you...no one will be able to tell you how to get him back!"
"It's not that I don't want to help you kid, but you're it. You are his best chance to get out of whatever he jumped into. Cheesy as hell? Yeah. But it's the truth. I think you know how to find him, you're just..." she searched for the word and it didn't come to her for a long moment.
They turned again, onto another somewhat deserted road. He didn't object to her statement, staring moodily out the window and she didn't say any more as they drove for another solid ten minutes in silence.
Perhaps another five minutes passed, in which the Spirit actually contemplated her words instead of cursing her as naïve and a hundred other degrading things that came to his mind.
Was he scared?
His immediate response was a sharp denial, so sharp that he would be a fool for not recognizing that for what it was. The response was so swift because it was too close for comfort. He wasn't necessarily scared, but she had struck a nerve none the less.
It hurt; the thought that he had failed. And it did scare him that he had failed and could still fail even when he wasn't under the influence of some evil magic like the soul cards in The Seal of Oracle Curse. He was angry, at the Doom organization and even more-so at himself.
The truck slowed and sputtered to a stop at the edge of a stand of deciduous trees seemingly sprung from nowhere. The engine cut out and it took him a moment to realize they had been plunged into quiet.
"This, is your stop kid."
Confusion was written on his features as she pointed to the woods.
"You were taking me to the closest town," he accused.
"Well you don't need to go to town." His air of anger did not dissipate and she continued. "Walk a quarter mile due north and you'll hit an airstrip. There's a pilot there who'll fly you wherever you need to go. For free, he's on his way to where you need to go."
The Spirit stared at her and then with an almost hurt look in his eyes, he hopped from the cab.
"How am I supposed to go due north when this thing," he shook the compass, "won't show me where to go?"
"That's why you have friends. TO help you when you don't know where to go." She paused and hopped out of the truck, balancing between the swinging door and the frame of the car, looking down at him. "Have a little confidence and faith in your abilities."
"I failed. I can't trust myself. I failed myself."
"Why?" she bit out in a harsh, driving voice.
He spit out the words before he could censor them. "Because it should have been me. But no, he couldn't let me pay for my mistakes. He'd never let me pay for them. Too damn self-less..." As if it had finally caught up with him, he stumbled to an embarrassed stop.
Her dark eyes sobered and she pinned him with a stare only an adult had. "Sounds like he loves you very much. You can take that and interpret that however you want to; they're your emotions. That," she pointed to his fisted hand, "is only able to guide you when you are truthful with yourself."
The question, when she asked it seemed almost offhand. "Why are you here?"
He knew it wasn't meant in that universal one asked for all of time and tried to pare it down to his situation. "I'm trying to find someone. Protect them."
"Who?" The words were far more precise now.
"Yugi," was his startled response.
"Is he important to you?"
"He's my other half." And after what she had seen in their first shared glimpse she knew that to be truth.
"Where is he?"
"Being held by the Doom Organization, a man named Dartz; who was trying to get me. Though I don't know why." He was suddenly surprised that he believed that statement to be the truth and wondered where his fear about Yugi's death had gone. It was still there; he could feel that desolate gaping hole that would swallow him up if it were true but the emotions were not so overwhelming as they had once been only a short while ago.
"How are you going to get to him?"
"I can't because this thing is broken! So I can't find north and find that plane so I can get my friends and find Yugi!"
"Is the compass broken?"
"Yes!" he shouted at her. What the hell was she getting at?
There was an almost comedic pause before the young man unclenched his fist and stared down. "Of...course...it..."
How in those few minutes the compass had come to be pointing steadily North he couldn't begin to comprehend. Angered and bewildered he looked up at her.
"Good luck," was her very simple reply.
She tried very hard to hide her smile as he stood flabbergasted for a few moments before taking a few hesitant steps toward the forest. He stopped once, turned and bowed very formally to her before sprinting off into the trees, eyes glued to the compass and path before him.
"Well...that was easy." Chemuk had stuck his dark black head out of the car. "Good boy!" she praised giving his head a good rub, massaging his scruff thoroughly. A few minutes later, the engine started back up, music came rustily from the speakers and the pickup was gone moments later. Only the dirt stirred up by the wheels floated in the air, and soon that was gone as well.
"Anzu!" He couldn't hide his surprise as he scrambled up the incline to her side. She also looked a little astounded and a little less terrified now that he had appeared.
"She told me to get out here and go straight for a quarter mile. I thought she was crazy." She trailed off and looked back out over the scene before them.
The Spirit turned and gaped.
Seto Kaiba's jet was sitting, in the middle of a field, subject of a less than graceful but intact landing.
"Oi! Yugi-kun! Anzu!"
Anzu's blue eyes lit joyously and she waved frantically to several familiar figures making their way out of the woods from the opposite direction. "Honda-kun! Jounouchi-kun! Otogi-kun!"
Honda was carrying someone draped over his back, but they had been seen and were moving in their direction. They all looked no worse for wear. Smiling very slightly, the Spirit waved and then looked back down at the compass in his hand. The point was spinning again but lazily in a way that didn't seem as threatening as before. Not erratic at least.
With only a little hesitation, he slid the string over his head and tucked the compass under--but securely next to--the Puzzle. He wondered whether he should get it back to the woman who had helped him. She had mentioned it had come from her grandfather. But there was no way she would be at the road; he had heard the truck drive off, transmission sputtering fitfully.
Perhaps it had been the sign he was looking for.
Hang on Yugi. We're coming.
Hoopa is an actual Native American nation located in northern California.
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Thanks for reading.