A/N: Chapter twelve and a heck of a lot of writer's block. Sorry this is a bit late, but I have about zero free time right now, mostly because of a lot of studying plus camp stuff. I have the parts after the next chapter planned out, but it's these two chapters where I'm having a bit of trouble, partly because I don't have details down. . Anyway, getting off the topic of my problems, Starburst™ goes to hobbit13 and Silvershadowfire. Silvershadowfire, thanks for pointing that out… I would've forgotten all about that if you hadn't mentioned it. (sweatdrops) Well, I have that part figured out now, at least, but it's coming later. I'm bored and in a Kuriboh-ish mood (due to all his appearances in the last chapter, this one, and maybe next), so anyone who's ever reviewed and ever will gets a chibi-Kuriboh plushie! KAWAII! (glomps them) Ahem… anyway, on to the story! Oh yes, and on a technical note, Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon is actually a Thunder monster, but I call it a dragon because that's the form it takes.

Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! not mine. For one, I don't even speak Japanese, apart a few random nouns from fanfics, song lyrics, and Fushigi Yuugi, which I don't own either. Now, YGO is an anime. "Anime" is most commonly defined as "Japanese animation." You have to know Japanese to create a Japanese animation. Therefore, because I do not speak Japanese, I can't create a Japanese animation, which means I can't have created YGO… and I don't own it, either. Neither do I own the other anime character that gets mentioned in this chapter, just because I love him so. I bet you all hate that math class I took that taught logic right about now.

Egyptian Shadow Destinies: Chapter Twelve

The Priest, the Castle, and the (Thunder) Dragon

"And the players are all here," Seth murmured, watching the little gathering from his perch on a rock ledge half a mile away. "Or at least, the starting players are. The Pharaoh and his friends will be showing up soon enough after we get the battle started."

"And what if they wreck your entire castle first?" Kaiba asked dryly. "They might decide to completely obliterate your base before they come and fight you."

Seth shrugged. "They won't. They've already discovered where I keep your precious brother, and the Pharaoh's too soft to kill any civilians just to put me at a slight disadvantage. And besides," he smirked, "It took a few millennia to build that castle. It'll take more than an hour to pull it down."

"That's what you think," Kaiba grumbled, turning back to where the rebels were planning what to do next.

Seth shot him a slightly amused, slightly annoyed glance. "You sound almost as if you want them to tear down my fortress. But that would kill little Mokuba, and we'd be spending more time in the unprotected reaches of the Shadow Realm. Your mind wouldn't be able to handle the pressure if it didn't have somewhere to rest."

When Kaiba didn't answer, the priest decided that he had given up and disappeared off to ready the few ground troops that were already there for battle. He wasn't exactly sure what it was he wanted at this point, other then that he was beginning to hate Seth with a passion and that he wanted Mokuba free of the castle – but at this point, getting revenge on Seth and freeing his brother didn't seem very likely. As for Yugi and his friends, if they did decide to destroy Seth's fortress, it would kill Mokuba, but that would mean that Seth no longer had anything to control him with, and he would once again be free to do as he pleased. He loved his brother dearly, but there were times when you had to make sacrifices for the greater good. Mokuba would understand that – wouldn't he?

'But you promised to always protect him,' Kaiba reminded himself. Well, protecting him was one thing, but if Mokuba would be disappointed in his brother because of the lengths he'd go to just to reach that goal… would it be worth it? But what was worth it? Now that everything logical had been turned upside-down, all there was left to go on was emotion. Seto Kaiba was not very well-known for being emotional, and so this was one choice where he'd rather wait and see how it turned out.

Sighing, Kaiba pulled himself away from that train of thought and followed Seth towards the army, where the monsters that had left the castle were gathered. The leaders of the divisions shot him annoyed and critical looks as he approached, and, changing his mind quickly, Seto decided that it would be a better idea to stay away for the time being. Sitting down on a small, rocky outcropping, he wondered for a brief moment why Seth's army didn't trust him, when as much as he hated to admit it, he was the priest's reincarnation. Had his squabbles with Seth really been that obvious? Still, they had to tolerate him, since Seth had decided that he was "instrumental in the Pharaoh's defeat and will be useful in the near future." But that didn't mean he had to tolerate them… Kaiba wondered for a split second how many of Seth's own army he could kill without being caught, but he dismissed the thought almost as soon as it came. He had yet to see the former high priest well and truly mad, and he had a feeling that it wouldn't be pleasant.

Seeing his reincarnation sitting alone and away from the army, Seth's interest peaked and he walked over to where the modern-day teenager was sitting. "Why so sad, Seto? Surely you can't be worried about the battle, and I already told you, the Pharaoh wouldn't dare hurt your precious brother. So what's bothering you?"

"Your monsters don't trust me," the boy grumbled. "I have a feeling they'll stab me in the back as soon as they get the chance."

"I can assure you, the feeling's mutual," Seth said proudly. "But they won't hurt you. You're too valuable for that."

"Hn." Kaiba smirked inwardly. If he was too valuable to be disposed of, that meant he could do practically anything he wanted and get away with it, and they couldn't kill Mokuba for fear of losing him. 'Watch out, Seth. Your "tool" has a mind of its own, and I plan on bending your pathetic rules as much as I can.'

"See? At least I can drive without hitting anyone!"

"Yeah, well, you're driving a police car with the sirens on," Joey grumbled. "If they're smart, people get out of the way. And besides, I didn't hit anyone…"

"No, you nearly hit about twenty people," amended Tristan. "And if they aren't smart?"

"Well, then, you'll hit them, of course. And you can't blame it on me." Joey peered forward, his brow creased as he searched. "Do you see that Duel Monster yet?"

Tristan took a quick glance and shook his head, returning his attention to the road. "No, but we'll probably see it soon enough, if it's as big as the ones we saw back in Domino."

"True… but the guy didn't really give us specific directions…" Joey returned to fiddling with the radio systems, trying to see if there was anything interesting or reports of other monster attacks. "Yugi said that the first monster that appeared was in the schoolyard, and then there were a few more… the Vorse Raider in the park that was in the news, the Bracchio-Radius that appeared in front of the apartment building where I live, and then the Blue-Eyes and the rest of the monsters today. But the weird thing is, I heard rumors that there was another one. It appeared in Kaiba Corp., and that's why it was closed, even before Mokuba disappeared and Kaiba decided to work with Seth."

"Well, that's obvious," Tristan replied dryly. "If he was working with Seth, then psycho priest-boy wouldn't have one of his monsters attack one of his ally's properties. That would only get Kaiba mad, and Seth probably couldn't afford that."

"Yeah…" Joey lapsed into silence. "But what's weird is that all the attacks have been in Domino City so far, and this is the farthest one that's happened so far. I mean that it's not even in Domino."

"Well, that's a strange coincidence," Tristan agreed. "But we can't expect to be lucky all the time and just have to run around the city to fight these monsters. We should consider ourselves lucky that all the attacks so far have been in Japan. But that's what's been bugging me. Isn't it a little too convenient that all this has been happening where we are, when this whole mess started in ancient Egypt? Shouldn't it be the people there who have to deal with these things? Instead, the Duel Monsters are appearing halfway around the world, in Domino City. What's going on here that has them appearing here instead of anywhere else?"

"It may have started in Egypt, but everyone who was there was reincarnated into modern-day Japan," Joey reminded him. "Maybe it has something to do with where we are."

"Maybe…" Tristan fell silent for a second before he squinted. "Hey, is that what I think it is?"

Joey looked in the same direction and a grin slowly spread over his face. "I think so. After all, when was the last time you saw a two-headed dragon as part of the skyline of a normal city?"

Tristan grinned and sped up. "Well, finally. Remind me to tell you to ask for more specific directions next time. And make sure you listen to the radio, in case the police find out about any more attacks. If you're ready, let's go take down that Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon!"

"All right…" Wingweaver mumbled as she studied the map in front of her. "So the terrain's relatively flat, but that can be changed easily enough. We'll need to have some cover if we're going to be attacking from the sides, so we need to create trenches here and here," she outlined sections of the map. "Seiyaryu and I will take care of that from the air, but we have to make it seem casual. They can't think that it's part of our plan, so we have to make it seem like the trenches are accidents while we were trying to attack either the ground or flying army. The thing is, the aiming has to be precise; monsters will be slightly farther, and they'll move forward to enter the trenches. If our aim is off, we might end up blasting our own allies."

"That'd be smart," Seiyaryu piped up. "It might take them quite a while to get past all the Kuribohs, so we'll use them as part of the defense line around the back of the battlefield, and also to float around and provide assistance where needed. They can provide a distraction for the Blue-Eyes and defend our monsters, since there are now so many of them that they can be used as individual protectors, as well as making a wall where we can back up and regroup if needed. We can also use it to slip behind if we need to tend to injuries or anything like that. Injection Fairy Lily and a few others will be in the back to help." The said monsters, magic, and traps nodded.

"There will also be a few traps scattered around, here, here, and here," Wingweaver continued. "There will be a Dark Hole in this section, so I suggest everyone stay far, far away. Some Equip Magic and Quick-Play cards will also be facedown around here, for whomever gets to them first. Graceful Dice and Skull Dice are both set over here, for the weaker monsters to have a better chance. Those will be activated about half an hour after the battle starts, so if you want a quick power boost and better odds, I suggest you go over there, but try not to make it seem like everyone's going over there at the same time to take advantage of it. There will be a Change of Heart here, and also a Brain Control over here, to help take care of the more powerful monsters. We only have two, so make them count. Make sure that, if one is being used to take control of an enemy monster, there's another enemy with the same attack, so we can destroy them both and get rid of two powerful threats at the same time."

Seiyaryu traced one claw over the map thoughtfully. "We have a few Magicians of Faith on our side, and they'll be spread out for maximum effectiveness of the magic cards. We also have some Monster Reborn, Call of the Haunted, Premature Burial, and so on and so forth cards at our disposal, but they're to be used sparingly. We don't want to stretch our resources too far. Also, we only have two Masks of Darkness, so if you can, try to get them into a strategic position to set more traps and protect them if at all possible. We have a Mirror Force over here, to take care of part of the second half of the army, and a Magic Cylinder down here, to take out a lot of them at the same time. Make sure you don't use them unless it's an emergency or the best opportunity we can get."

"Okay, as you know, we've all been separated into divisions: two of the stronger monsters at the head of each of four columns, with five slightly weaker monsters under them, and everyone else under them. One group will be attacking straight ahead, two others from the sides, and the last one consists of the flying monsters, who will be attacking Seth's airborne army and also shooting down some of the enemies from above. We're not going to bother blocking them off from the back, as we're outnumbered three to one anyway, and we don't necessarily need to completely slaughter them."

"And last of all," Seiyaryu finished, "we have our little messengers, the Key Maces. In an hour or so, ten of you will head out to Seth's castle and search for the Pharaoh and his friends. You'll tell them how it's going over here, and they can decide if they want to help or continue doing… whatever it is they're doing."

"All right, anything else we need to get cleared up?" Wingweaver asked. No one answered, so she took that as a "no." "Fine. Everyone in their positions! Dancing Elf, you give the Kuribohs the signal to withdraw and form the walls. Key Maces, spread out around the battlefield, but make sure to stay out of the fighting. All flying monsters, spread out behind the other three armies, and take wing at our signal. Monsters with attack under five hundred will be grouped into fives and can use combined attacks to take down enemies. Let's go!"

They separated quickly, Wingweaver and Seiyaryu going off to instruct the flying monsters while others went to give the army heads their instructions. As an afterthought, Seiyaryu came back and destroyed the map with their battle plan before leaving again, completely defeating the purpose of the hovering Hinotama's Soul, who looked confused for a moment before going off to join the army that would advance straight ahead, lead by a Cosmo Queen and Gyakutenno Megami. The other three divisions took their places, two on either side of the battlefield and one behind the healers. Dancing Elf flew off towards the solid, fuzzy wall about half a mile ahead of them to tell the Kuribohs to get ready, and Wingweaver and Seiyaryu took off, leaving the other flying monsters on the ground slightly behind them, and hovered above the middle of the battlefield for a moment, surveying the troops.

"There's a bit of a slope up there, where Seth's army's coming from," Seiyaryu noted. "That'll help. We have most of the archers in the first group, right?"

Wingweaver nodded distractedly. "Yes, behind those monsters that are attacking on foot. The ones that hover or ride on something, horses or otherwise, are in the ones on the sides."

"And of course, we have control of the ones with wings and that can actually fly," the dragon mused. "Actually, this could be fun."

Wingweaver shot her a sharp look. "Don't let your guard down. This isn't a game."

Seiyaryu rolled her eyes. "Yeah yeah, I know. Some of the healers will join in later, though, won't they?"

"Yes…" Wingweaver answered. "Come on, the Kuribohs are separating. Let's get ready."

The two moved off to opposite sides of the field, just floating in the air as they waited for the first of the opposing monsters to reach them. It didn't take long, and the tension in the air was almost thick enough for a Celtic Guardian to slice through. A couple of the fuzzballs floated in Wingweaver's direction, and she quickly ordered them to the back, where they started forming a loose wall in front of the healers. Two of them stayed in the air, one floating aside Wingweaver and the other resting on Seiyaryu's back. It squeaked out a question to her and she blinked.

"Oh… almost forgot." She flew to the back, over the rapidly multiplying Kuribohs, and deposited a large glass ball in front of Dian Keto the Cure Master. It looked slightly similar to the crystal ball that the magic card held, and she sent a questioning glance at the dragon. Seiyaryu shrugged. "Just a little something I picked up at Seth's castle. Take good care of it; I'm sure the Pharaoh and his friends will be interested. Whatever you do, don't let Seth get it back. I think it's a little too valuable for him to have it."

Dian Keto turned it over in her hands curiously. "What is it?"

Seiyaryu shrugged. "A scrying glass of a sort. It looks into the real world. Don't ask me, but I think Seth needs it. It was near Seth's personal rooms, so it's probably important. Just make sure nothing happens to it." The Kuriboh by her shoulder squeaked, and Seiyaryu yelped. "What, they're that close already? Sorry, but I have to go. Need to be in place in time for the first stage of the plan, ya know." With that said, she unfurled her wings and launched into the sky, heading for her designated spot with Kuriboh trailing behind at a distance.

As soon as she was in place, Wingweaver gave her a glare from the other side of the field, obviously asking, "What were you doing down there?" Seiyaryu just ignored her and focused on the approaching army. The first of the monsters were already advancing, and she winced as she noticed the very large and very angry Blue-Eyes White Dragon headed their way, death-glaring all the cute, fuzzy Kuribohs that were on the field, and there were quite a few of those. Seiyaryu glanced at the one on her back and asked quietly, "You ready for this?" Kuriboh cooed an affirmative and split into two, so that there was now a fuzzball on each of the dragon's shoulders. She turned her attention forward, to both the flying army and, farther away, the monsters on foot. Seiyaryu frowned slightly, sure that there must be some traps in there too. Oh well, no time to do anything about that now. Wingweaver sent her the signal, and she beat her wings a little harder, rising farther up, higher than most of Seth's monsters.

The Blue-Eyes sent a disdainful glance downwards in the direction of the rest of the army and snorted disdainfully, obviously unimpressed with the rebels. Seiyaryu had to suppress a smirk; Seth's prized monster would learn soon enough what they were made of. Just a little more… and the first of the winged monsters flew onto the battlefield. Unable to contain her excitement, Seiyaryu let loose a Razor Flare Blast at the vanguard. It bounced off the Blue-Eyes' plated chest, but other monsters weren't as lucky. Though Seiyaryu didn't see it, Wingweaver shot her an exasperated look. It wasn't the right time quite yet.

The fairy also watched as the first of the army advanced, and calculated when would be the best time to blast the ground. Soon enough, the flying monsters were swarming around them, and Wingweaver had to fly continuously to avoid their attacks and let off a few blasts of her own. Right about now… rising above the rest of the flying monsters with some difficulty, Wingweaver glanced at the ground and gauged the distance. When she figured out where the best place would be to create the trench, she powered her attack up to full strength and fired off a long blast that annihilated at least twenty monsters in its path and made a deep score in the ground, perfect for their purposes. Out of the corner of her eye, Wingweaver saw Seiyaryu doing the same thing, and she couldn't help but smile. Backing out of the chaos quickly, she flew towards the back and let out a long whistle – the signal for the airborne rebels to take off and for the rest of the army to charge. The timing couldn't have been better – it was at that moment that the first of ground army started charging down the slope, and soon enough, the sharp flits of arrows cutting through the air was heard as the archers fired. As soon as Seth's monsters reached flat ground, the monsters on foot rushed forward, followed by those with some sort of mount. And with many loud clashes, shrieks, and yells of rage, the battle was joined.

The police car plummeted towards the dragon at about 100 mph before taking an exit ramp that would adjust their position a little. Tristan didn't even bother to slow down as he took the left turn, jerking the wheel quickly as they sped off in the Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon's direction. Joey was fiddling with the radio, too busy trying to find any reports of attacks on either news stations or closed police channels to complain that Tristan was as bad a driver as he was. As they grew closer, however, and Tristan swerved down a side-street, they fell into the monster's shadow and the blond looked up and whistled. "That's got to be one of the biggest Duel Monsters we've seen so far – not counting the Blue-Eyes, of course."

Tristan nodded silent agreement. "Hold on tight!" Another turn brought them onto the road that the dragon was devastating, and the brunette didn't decelerate until they were about fifty feet from the crimson monster. Tristan wrenched the wheel to the right quickly at the same time as he hit the brakes, and the car skidded to the side with a screeching of tires, leaving the smell of burnt rubber hanging in the air. The sirens didn't go off until Tristan yanked the keys out of the ignition as he stepped out of the car, Joey exiting out of the other side at the same time. All the noise had caught the Thunder Dragon's attention, and it was staring balefully at them, apparently debating whether to slam them into the nearest wall with its tail or simply blast them into oblivion.

Joey grinned and waved cheerfully at the monster, choosing to ignore the way it was looking at them: as if it had just found its next meal. "Hello up there. Nice day, isn't it?" The dragon simply looked confused. This was obviously the first time its victims had decided to talk to it. "Well, now that the niceties are over, I have a question for you. If you'll be so kind to tell us, are you by chance one of Seth's monsters?" The Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon bent so that it was (somewhat) at eye level and nodded.

Tristan gave it as much of a kind smile as he could manage. "We thought so. Well then, we have a present for you." The monster eyed them curiously, and both boys reached into their pockets and pulled out their decks.

"Rocket Warrior!" Joey yelled. "Invincible Mode! Attack!" The little machine changed into its green missile form and shot towards the Thunder Dragon, where its attack did almost nothing. The dragon merely gave it a scornful look before swatting it away with one claw, where it flew through the air before it righted itself and started floating above a building. The move did some good, however, as the Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon lost 500 attack points, due to Rocket Warrior's special effect. (Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon: ATK 2300, DEF 2100)

The monster snorted in annoyance, but before it could blast away the Rocket Warrior, the boys, or both, Tristan made his move. "I'll sacrifice Joey's Rocket Warrior to summon Sword Hunter!" (Sword Hunter: ATK 2450, DEF 1700) "Destroy the Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon!" The warrior obeyed with alacrity, pulling out two of his many swords and dashing at his opponent. The dragon stayed for a moment before its body shattered into a million pieces and it let out a last, pained shriek.

Joey grinned, folding his hands behind his head as he walked towards his friend. "Score another one for the Pharaoh's team! Is it just me, or are these fights getting a lot easier?"

Tristan was staring past Joey and barely heard what he said. "If you ask me, that one was just a little too easy…"

"Huh?" Joey turned around to see a huge, grayish claw poke up out of the asphalt, causing cracks to run down the entire road. He and Tristan backed up a few steps as it was followed by another claw, then two rotting arms, the flesh barely hanging on to them, and then a head – or rather, two heads. The two heads of a Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon. "…Uh oh."

"A Call of the Haunted card!" Tristan gasped, just as the now-undead dragon pulled the rest of its body out of the street, causing half the pavement to uproot itself and big chunks of the street to fall everywhere. It let out a long breath, the corrosiveness of it melting a nearby streetlamp, before it turned to the Sword Hunter. Tristan's monster let out a slight gulp as it stumbled backwards, and the Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon had a cruel grin on its face as it got ready for another breath.

Joey was ready for it, though. As the dragon let out another blast of air, he whipped a card out of his deck and held it up. "Kunai with Chain!"

Sword Hunter's attack power shot up to 3150, enough to beat a Blue-Eyes and more than enough to take down the Thunder Dragon – or so they thought. The warrior cut through the acid mist easily and also sliced into its opponent, cleaving its head in two. Before either of the boys could celebrate, however, the head reformed, Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon grew bigger, and they had an even tougher problem on their hands.

"Call of the Haunted…" Tristan thought for a moment before its effect came to him. "Joey! Attacking will only make it stronger! Each time it's destroyed, it comes back with an attack power that's twenty percent higher!" (Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon: ATK 3360, DEF 0)

"Okay… any other side effects I should know about before wasting any more trap cards?" the blond growled, watching as Sword Hunter narrowly dodged all the attacks the dragon was sending at him, only to be thrown into the air and hit the ground hard when the other monster swung its tail.

"It's a zombie now, and zombies are nearly invincible. There are only two major weaknesses that I know of, and that's that it has a defense power of zero and Call of the Haunted is an equip trap, so that when either it or the monster it's equipped to is destroyed, the other is too."

"Yeah, well, do you have anything that can do either?" Joey demanded, summoning up a Chasm of Spikes just in time to stop the Thunder Dragon from jumping on them and chomping their heads off. He watched it thrash around in the abyss for a moment before glancing back at his friend. "Well?"

"Actually, this should be easy, if you use one of your cards that's already in play…" Tristan answered. A slow grin played across Joey's face as he nodded. Glad that the other teenager got the idea, he turned back to the battle. "Sword Hunter! Attack!"

The warrior turned to look at his master, a look on his face that plainly said, "Are you crazy? That thing has a higher attack power!" As Tristan yelled confirmation of the command, Sword Hunter shook his head and mushroom-sighed, obviously wishing that he'd never come into the possession of such a nutcase. But since there wasn't much he could do about it anyway, he turned back to the dragon and lunged forward, swords at the ready. The Thunder Dragon had the same look of utter disbelief on its face, too, but it recovered quickly and readied itself to shoot a blast at the opposing monster.

Neither of them seemed to realize what Joey was doing. The blond smirked as he toyed with the card that was still in his hand, and had been for the past few minutes. "I activate the secondary effect of Kunai with Chain! It switches any monster on the field to defense mode, and I choose the Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon!" The look of surprise on the face of Seth's monster was priceless as the kunai once again swept out of nowhere, binding it quickly and forcing it into defense position. Sword Hunter made quick work of its opponent, before turning around and bowing to the two boys. He disappeared, signifying that the battle was over.

Joey grinned as he looped an arm around Tristan's shoulders. "Well, that was fun. Wouldn't you say so, pal?"

Tristan chuckled as he slipped deftly out of Joey's half-hug. "Stop acting like Duo Maxwell. We have to see if there's anything else going on."

Heading back to the police car, Tristan once again took the driver's seat, ignoring Joey's complaints. As soon as they were both inside, he sped off back to Domino, and Joey once again resumed fiddling with the radio.

"…threat from the suburbs has mysteriously disappeared," a man's voice announced on the private police channel. "Danger level has gone down to orange in the area, and remains orange in the main part of Domino City. Investigations of Domino High and the other two locations of so-called monster attacks are still being investigated. And as a side note to all, two teenage boys, students at the local high school, have hijacked a police car for their own uses, claiming that they would return it after inquiring about the attack in the suburbs. It is assumed that is where they were headed, so all police in the area should stay alert and pull over a police car with license plate 8FDS9655. I repeat, if a car with license plate 8FDS9655 is seen…"

Tristan glanced over at Joey and sweatdropped. "We're in trouble now. Think we should ditch the car or just head back?"

Joey shrugged. "Head back. Besides," he smirked, "who in their right mind would try to pull over a police car anyway?"

She'd almost forgotten just how much fun it was to be fighting in a melee, where complete chaos reigned and anyone who she didn't recognize was a target for her randomly thrown blasts.


Seiyaryu laughed aloud as she let loose another attack, grinning wildly as she watched at least ten monsters fall, and the others scatter around the crater she had made. Dimly aware of the sounds of battle slightly behind her and the other flying monsters that were swooping down and attacking on all sides, she darted upwards for a split second and Razor Flare Blasted some of Seth's flying army under her. Doing a quick turn in midair, she also shot at the ones above her before diving down again, raking at the land monsters with her claws and blinding a Pale Beast in the process. Flitting upwards again, she continued the cycle, occasionally dodging attacks. Mad laughter came out of her throat, causing one of the Whiptail Crows to quickly back away, right before it was blasted into pieces.

Man, this was fun… Doing a quick flip in midair, the dragon was just in time to notice a few of the monsters pool their power for a combined attack – straight at her. Yelping, Seiyaryu shot upwards with record speed, and the heat of the explosion reverberated on her scales. Slightly irritated now, she quickly scratched, bit, and generally slashed them until they were no more than little pieces of… whatever Duel Monsters were made of… drifting off into the Shadow Realm, where they would eventually be used to create different monsters. Her mind wasn't on that, however, as Wingweaver flew past her at that moment, giving the dragon an annoyed look. "Seiyaryu! Stop fooling around and pay attention to what you're doing!"

"Wha – I'm not fooling around! I'm helping beat Seth's monsters!" she protested, but Wingweaver was out of hearing range by that time, quickly avoiding a Meda Bat's attack to fire off one of her own, obliterating the monster and a few behind it. Giving up on getting the fairy to believe her, Seiyaryu turned back to the battle, surveying the situation for a few moments before diving back into the fray.

If nothing else, the rebels definitely had the element of surprise. Seth probably hadn't been expecting them to be so organized, which probably pleased some of them to no end. The vanguard of the priest's army had been virtually eliminated, thanks to the archers in the back and warriors that had rushed them as soon as they had the chance. They were also forced into thinner lines near the back, thanks to the side attacks. The only problem was the sheer size of Seth's army, which could be used against them to circle around the rebel troops and attack from behind. Thankfully, there was a line of a few more trenches set up around the battlefield, so they'd have to go down a slope and risk being shot at before they had to climb a steep incline to get to the main field. Some of the weaker monsters, such as an Unhappy Maiden, Time Wizard, and a few of the rapidly multiplying Kuriboh were stationed around to prevent that from happening. At the moment, the rebels had the upper hand, thanks to some well-timed trap activations and a few combined attacks from the weaker monsters, but that might not last for long, now that said monsters were a bit tired out and had retreated to the back for a bit of a breather before attempting another devastating combo. The traps were also being attended to by the Masks of Darkness, though that was more easily said than done. Getting from one side of the battlefield to another was difficult, especially for a monster with only 900 attack, but the many Kuribohs were taking advantage of their powers to help protect them as much as they could. For now, none of the leaders of either side had been taken out – but then again, the battle had only just begun. Seth had yet to activate any magic or trap cards, and the Dark Hole and most of the rebel magic cards hadn't been used yet, leaving the Magicians of Faith to wait until the opportune moment before they had a chance to use their powers. But to whom the battle might go, as well as where it would be in a few hours, was anyone's guess.

Wingweaver wasn't having a really hard time of it, but she wasn't enjoying the fighting as much as Seiyaryu. On the contrary, she was feeling a little guilty each time she destroyed one of the opposing monsters. The dragon would call her crazy (though she wasn't exactly one to talk), citing that they were doing this partly to survive and that she couldn't apologize to everyone she killed, but the fairy couldn't really help it. It was in her nature as a fairy (not to mention a Light monster) to be caring and gentle, and she couldn't really change that no matter how hard she tried. Wingweaver wondered briefly if it was in the nature of a dragon to be hyper, crazy, and destructive, but she quickly dismissed it as a thought for a later time. Right now, she had a fight to concentrate on.

Her ponderings ended quickly when an assault from a floating Zombyra the Dark flew her way. The Kuriboh that had been hanging onto the back of her dress for dear life squeaked suddenly, announcing its presence, and split into two quickly. One of the fuzzballs quickly sacrificed itself to deflect the attack, and Wingweaver muttered a quick thanks to the remaining one before destroying the enemy monster. The Kuriboh on her back snuggled closer, trying to keep a decent hold on its ride, and Wingweaver decided to take a quick trip over to the back of the forces to check up on the healing monsters and everyone else. Heading over to the solid – if fuzzy – wall that marked the boundary of the battle, the fairy flew right through the Kuribohs, who parted to let her pass. Landing gracefully on the small space of empty ground beyond, she folded her wings as she came to a stop. The Kuriboh on her back let out a relieved sigh that it was no longer in danger of spiraling off Wingweaver and hopped onto her head, completely destroying the image of majesty and dignity that the fairy had unknowingly created. Striding over to Dian Keto the Cure Master, who seemed to be in charge of the operations in the back, Wingweaver asked, "How's everything going here?"

The magic card barely spared her a glance before she returned to her work, speaking over her shoulder to the monster. "Fine. So far, we've only had minimal injuries, and very few serious wounds."

"That's good…" Wingweaver paused, lowering her voice. "For the moment, things are going well out there, but I have a feeling that won't last long. Enjoy the rest while you can. Knowing Seth, he's got something unpleasant up his sleeve, and he could activate it at any moment."

The look on Dian Keto's face was grim. "I know. We'll just have to wait and see what it is, though, unless you have any brilliant ideas to stop him before he puts his plan into motion."

Wingweaver glanced over the collection of Numinous Healers, Injection Fairy Lillies, Cure Mermaids, Dancing Fairies holding Mooyan Curries, and various other magic, trap, and monster cards, all of which had healing properties of some sort. A Bad Reaction to Simochi was lurking to one side, obviously waiting for Seth to try and use healing cards of his own. "I'm not a mind reader; none of us are. There's no way for me to figure out what he's going to do, so for now, we'll have to just follow things the way they are and hope everything goes the way we want it to."

The old woman snorted, turning around quickly to face Wingweaver. "And what are the chances of that, pray tell? I'm sure we've pleaded to Ra, Horus, Osiris, and just about every deity in existence except for Set to spare us today. If we're lucky, one of them is listening and will actually try to help us. We've done enough praying, so now we have to hope."

"But hoping's not enough, either," Wingweaver murmured. "We can't just sit back and hope the gods do everything for us. We have to do our part, too… and that means I should get back out there. I'll see you later." Bowing quickly to the magic card, she took off again, Kuriboh barely managing to grab hold of one of her wings and crawl onto her back before she plunged back into the skirmish.

Meanwhile, Seiyaryu was busy being chased around the field by a whole squadron of flying Duel Monsters, who were apparently very annoyed because she had set a Berfomet's tail on fire – and of course, said Berfomet just had to be the leader of a group of them. Seiyaryu's Kuriboh – who she had unoriginally dubbed "Kuri" – was having a difficult time fending off the attacks, and every once in a while, a blast would come through and actually strike the dragon. That only ever served to make her slightly more annoyed, and she'd taken to insulting the opposing monsters – not a very good idea when there are at least thirty of them on your tail.

Seiyaryu yelped as one of the attacks clipped the edge of her wing, sending her flight into a sudden turn, creating blood that flowed down her side and turned into Shadow Realm particles as it dripped off, and making Kuri fly off her back from between her spikes. He somehow grabbed her tail on time before he fell off completely and was left to the mercy of Seth's monsters, and he squeaked indignantly.

"Sorry!" Seiyaryu apologized hurriedly, wincing as she beat her wings again. "Darn, that hurt! We've gotta get rid of them… any ideas, Kuri?"

The puffball blinked cutely a few times before letting out a triumphant squeal. Hopping so that he was clutching Seiyaryu's main head-spike, he uttered a few sounds that would seem like gibberish to most monsters and people. Luckily, the dragon had had plenty of prior experience with Kuriboh-talk and understood perfectly what Kuri was saying. An evil grin slowly spread across her face as she took a quick glance back at the creature on her shoulder. "Hm… there's an idea. Thanks." The Kuriboh nodded happily, a semi-evil look on its face. It was too cute to look completely evil… that is, unless you think that cute things are evil like certain people I know, but that's beside the point.

Anyway, Seiyaryu scanned the area around her for a few seconds before she spotted what she wanted, practically covered by a barrier of Kuribohs similar to her own companion. Kuri squealed joyfully at seeing all his clones, and the dragon took a brief second to roll her eyes before swooping down, parting the crowd of Kuribohs, and picking up the figure in the middle. It let out a slight shriek before realizing who was carrying it, and subsided, eyes wide at the dragon that held it in its claws. She rose in the air as quickly as she could, flinching at the pain and the blood running down her right wing, but she ignored it as she continued flitting around the melee.

Seiyaryu grinned down at the Magician of Faith she held, completely oblivious to the crowd of Kuribohs and evil flying monsters chasing after her. "Hey there. Beautiful day in the Shadow Realm, isn't it?"

The spellcaster just stared at her, dumbstruck. Seiyaryu sighed. "Okay, I need you for something important, but the timing needs to be exactly right. We have a plan, and you're part of it. We'll put you down after we're done, okay?" Kuri, still clutching Seiyaryu's head, let out an affirmative. Magician of Faith glanced between the two of them before nodding hesitantly, and the dragon's look turned grim. "Fine. Here we go!"

The section of the battlefield to which Seiyaryu was heading was crammed full of Seth's monsters, though surprisingly enough, there weren't any of the rebels around except for a few Kuribohs. Completely ignoring that fact, Seiyaryu dove to the ground quickly as Kuri filled Magician of Faith in on the details. Luckily, she seemed to understand puffball-talk just as well as Seiyaryu, so she got the idea soon enough and held on tight, apparently hoping that Seiyaryu was as good of a flyer as she claimed to be.

Kuri let out a squeak that could be roughly translated to "Almost there…" Neither of his companions bothered to answer, as they were busy concentrating on the task at hand. Suddenly, Seiyaryu dove quickly, towards the monsters below. She didn't bother blasting them, and those monsters following her were taken by surprise before they quickly followed. A loud shriek from Kuri told the rest of his fellows to stay back, and they hung around above, watching the scene that was unfolding curiously.

The monsters below attempted to strike the dragon on her vulnerable underbelly, and Seiyaryu suppressed a cry as a few of the attacks hit their targets, telling herself that they'd all be dead soon enough. Turning upwards, she used all of the power at her disposal to move upwards, ignoring the blood that had by now slid down her wing and was trailing down her side, dripping off slightly past her back leg. Shooting forward so fast that she was almost a blur, the dragon yelled, "Now!"

The reason quickly became clear why there was no one in the area, and why the Kuribohs had chosen to stay up in the air. Just as Seiyaryu yelled, what looked like an empty point in the Shadow Realm opened up a hundred feet behind her, so black that it absorbed all of the nearby light rather than the light illuminating it. Seth's monsters had barely enough time to wonder what was happening before they were sucked into it. The Dark Hole had taken effect, swallowing at least one hundred monsters in the process.

Seiyaryu had barely made it out of the range of the magic card when she started to laugh hysterically. "Take that! That'll teach you to mess with me! Mwahahahaha – Hey, M of Faith, can you do your job now?"

Sweatdropping slightly at Seiyaryu's sudden mood change, the spellcaster agreed and quickly worked her magic, bringing the Dark Hole card back in facedown mode, for the next monster to use in a tight spot. True to her word, the dragon dropped her off as soon as she got the chance, and the wall of Kuribohs that had been following them resumed their wall around her. Kuri waved goodbye to them with one claw as his ride took off towards the back, where even more of the Kuriboh-clones were gathered.

As she took off, Wingweaver noticed Seiyaryu heading towards the back, along with the blood-turning-particles running down her wing and belly. Sighing and wondering just what exactly the weaker monster had gotten herself into, she kept attacking the monsters around her as the battle continued.

It went on this way for a good few hours – attacking, dodging attacks, activating magic and trap cards, darting around to any section that needed help, and holding off the monsters in problem areas. Seiyaryu emerged from the back ten minutes after she had gone in before diving headfirst back into the tussle, blasting at random and occasionally leaving poor Kuri behind. It was only when one of the Key Maces popped up in front of Wingweaver and squeaked an inquiry. Her Kuriboh answered quickly, and Wingweaver blinked. "The report? Oh yeah… give it a few more minutes. Follow me and I'll tell you what to say when the time comes."

Wingweaver did a quick circle around the field and took a quick note of how everything was going. As of now, they seemed to be somewhat evenly matched, though Seth had yet to bring his magic and traps into play. When that happened, the tide would most certainly turn against them. Not a good thing…

Speaking of Seth, he was nowhere to be seen. It had been assumed that he'd been at the castle when they'd attacked, but even before that, no one had seen hide nor hair of the former high priest. Wingweaver was starting to get suspicious, and for good reason.

The mystery of Seth's whereabouts was answered when she flew more towards the direction of the castle, where most of the monsters were Seth's army and there were very few rebels. Scanning the area quickly and finding nothing, Wingweaver was about to turn back when Kuriboh poked her lightly, letting out a small cry. When she turned back to see what all the fuss was about, he pointed forward, past the edge of the battlefield. Peering in that direction, Wingweaver could dimly see a line of… something… advancing on them. She dove a bit closer to the ground to avoid being seen, speeding forward cautiously. She stopped about five hundred feet in front of them, hovering as close to the ground as she could behind a ledge.

What she did see was not a good thing. The line was a whole collection of Duel Monsters, most of them big, huge, and powerful – and obviously most of the rest of Seth's army. The worst part of it was who was at the head – three humans. Upon closer inspection, she could recognize two and guess at the identity of the third – Seth, Zake, and a boy who looked almost exactly like Seth and was obviously none other than Seto Kaiba.

'…NOT good.' After thanking Kuriboh for his observation, she turned back and made it back to their side of the battlefield without incident. Wingweaver reached the wall of Kuribohs at the back of the battlefield easily, landing behind them and turning to see a harassed-looking Dian Keto. "Hey, what's up?"

Dian Keto shook her head. "It's not going too well." Taking a glance over the magic's shoulder, Wingweaver had to agree. Too many of the rebels were gathered back here, and too many of them had injuries that would prevent them from continuing to fight. "And there's one other thing."

Wingweaver had a foreboding feeling as she turned back to Dian Keto. "What is it?"

Dian Keto pointed behind the fairy, to the solid, fuzzy wall of Kuribohs that created a barrier. The Kuriboh on Wingweaver's back glanced towards them, puzzled, before he chirped an inquiry. The magic card shook her head. "They won't last much longer."

"What's going on?" Wingweaver demanded urgently.

Dian Keto gave her a grim look. "The Blue-Eyes and some of the stronger flying monsters have decided to break through this wall. When that happens…"

"…Then there will be no place for the injured to be tended, nowhere to take a breather, everyone back here will die, and we will most definitely lose the battle."

A/N: Okay, for one thing, I used the effect that Call of the Haunted has in the anime, because that made things more difficult. For another, Sword Hunter has an effect that equips every monster it destroys to itself and raises its attack by 500, but I chained it so that Call of the Haunted was activated after Sword Hunter's effect. Since chains are resolved backwards, Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon was revived before Sword Hunter could equip it. Also, I'm not sure exactly how much Kunai with Chain raises a monster's attack. I think it was 700, but I'm not sure. Even it only gave a power boost of 500 attack points, that would be enough to still destroy the Thunder Dragon.

Hm… sorry that there's none of the mortals and spirits in this chapter. I was planning to add them in, except this is already longer than I planned it to be, so most of next chapter will be about them. Also, since I have practically no free time anymore except on weekends and I have a few other fics where I want to update faster, new chapters will be a little later than expected until I finish chemistry stuff, about a month from now. But hey, at least I got this out before three weeks passed since my last update…

R-E-V-I-E-W! Reviewers, as explained, get ultra-kawaii chibi-Kuriboh plushies. You'll also get Popsicles (since it's summer where I am and getting a bit hot), shaped like Kuribohs! And flames will be given to Kuribohs to do with as they please. Okay, enough with my Kuriboh mini-obsession, REVIEW!