Disclaimer: I do not own Cinderella or Yu-Gi-Oh!

CHAPTER 1:  A New Life

            Serenity Wheeler and her brother Joey stared out the window of their home. The rain was pouring cats and dogs outside. Joey put a comforting arm around his eight-year old sister.

            "I'm scared, Joey!" she moaned. "Our parents have been gone a long time. Are you sure they're okay!" She looked over at her blonde-haired brother, who was two years her senior.

            "Sure, Serenity," he assured her. "They're probably on their way home right now!" His little sister wasn't so sure. The sky was blacker than a shadow outside, and occasionally a streak of lightning tore across its never-ending blanket.

            "Why don't you close your eyes and rest," Joey suggested. "I'll wake you up when they come home." Serenity obeyed, and laid her head into his arms. He rested his chin on her forehead.

            "Good night, Joey," she whispered.

            "Good night, Serenity." Serenity snuggled closer and fell asleep.

………

            The rain was pouring harder than ever outside. Thunder flashed and lightning raced through the clouds. Mrs. Wheeler clasped her husband's hand.

            "Don't worry, my dear," he said. "Carriages are safe!" Mrs. Wheeler wasn't so sure. She eyed the two horses that were pulling the carriage along.

            "What if they get spooked by the lightning??" she asked.

            "Darling, don't worry. Everything will be okay." Mrs. Wheeler rested her head on her husband's shoulder. Suddenly, the horses stopped. The driver jumped off.

            "Sorry, ma'am, sorry sir, if it disturbed you. I realized the bar that connects the actual carriage to the horses is broken on one side. It will take me a second to fix it." Mrs. Wheeler closed her eyes. Soon, very soon, they would be home to see their two children.

            A streak of lightning suddenly hit the tree nearest to them. Thunder roared and the horses whinnied. Blindly, they dashed about.

            "AH!" Mrs. Wheeler screamed. The driver couldn't stop the horses. Her husband wrapped his arms around her. Suddenly, the bar holding the horses snapped. One side fell and the other followed. The carriage bounced off the road and tumbled down the steep side. The carriage turned over several times. Mrs. Wheeler fell out of it somehow and came to a stop as she hit a boulder. Mr. Wheeler and the carriage kept going until they finally fell into the river.

            "MA'AM!" the driver cried as he raced to the woman's side. There was a deep gash on her head and the rain was starting to make the blood flow down the side of her head.

            "Serenity…" she whispered "Joey…" She closed her eyes and breathed no more. The driver frantically tried to locate the carriage, but the river had swept it away along with the occupant. The driver ran up the hill to get help. Just then, five of the king's guards rode up on their horses.

            "Is everything all right? We heard horses neighing near the fire and came to put it out."

            "Please, sire! My carriage fell over and the one of the occupants is dead. The other was swept downriver." The officer jumped off the horse.

            "Lead me to the dead occupant!" The driver made no waste of time leading the five officers to Mrs. Wheeler's dead body.

            "No!!!" the officer cried. "That…is my wife's friend!" He knelt by the woman's side. "She has two young kids that are now orphaned. What are we going to do?"

            "Let's bring her and the two kids back to the castle. The king will know what to do."

………

            Serenity screamed as she woke up. Her brother quickly quieted her down.

            "What's wrong, Sis?" he asked.

            "It's Mother! And Father! They're…they're dead!!" Joey hugged his sister.

            "It's okay!" he said. "It's just a dream!" He stroked her auburn hair. "Just a dream." As he patted her back, a knock sounded on the door.

            "They're home!" he cried, leaping off the couch and heading to the door. He opened it in a hurry. To his surprise, five officers stood there. One of them he recognized as his mother's friend's husband.

            "Mr. Roberts, what's wrong?" he asked. The officer knelt down and put both his hands on Joey's shoulder.

            "I have bad news…you're mother and father met with an accident on the way home."

            "NO!" Joey's yell made Serenity come to his side.

            "Joey…Serenity…they're…they're…they're not going to come home." Serenity burst into tears and kneeled by her older brother, who just stood staring out into space. "You must come to the castle." Joey nodded, though his eyes were far away.

            A few minutes later, they had managed to get cloaks on the children. Five horses and their riders galloped back to the castle where the king was waiting. The rain had started to slow down and their vision improved. In less than an hour, they had ridden through the gates.

            Leaving the horses to the stable boys, the officers rushed into the grand hall. The king was waiting for them, alongside his queen.

            "King Pegasus, your Majesty!" All the soldiers bowed. Joey managed an awkward one, but Serenity was too shaken to bow. "There was a carriage accident down by the river. The parents of these two children are dead." The king got up from his throne.

            "Another one?" he asked. "The rains don't seem to stop these days. This is the sixth carriage accident, and it hasn't even reached the middle of the week. This is the first death, however. We must arrange for a funeral. Come, officer, I want to speak to you about…" The king and the officers left the grand hall. The queen stood up and walked over to the children.

            "What are your names?" she asked.

            "I'm Joey, and this is my sister Serenity, Queen Cecilia, your Highness." Serenity was still crying. Cecilia took Serenity into her arms.

            "Oh you poor thing," she said. "You're so young."

            "She's only eight," Joey said. "I'm ten." The queen stroked Serenity's hair. Serenity's tears slowed to a trickle.

            "There, there. It's all right. I'll look after you." Behind her, a young boy came down the staircase. He had brown hair and the cutest blue eyes.

            "Mommy," he said. "Who's that?" Cecilia looked over her shoulder.

            "Seto, dear, come and meet these children." Seto walked over and stood near Serenity.

            "Why are you crying?" he asked. This only made Serenity cry harder again.

            "Seto, dear, why don't you show her a magic trick?" Cecilia said. Before she could speak more, the king summoned her. With a sigh, she went off to the other room. The three kids were left alone.

            "Look at this," Seto said as he took a pile of cards from his pocket. "I can do this!" He shuffled the cards in unique ways, over his shoulder, through his sleeves, and did the bridge. Serenity forgot all about her crying and started to laugh. Joey joined in as well. Seto tried to do the bridge again, but he bent the cards too much and they flew all over the place. Serenity laughed louder and hugged Seto.

            "Thanks," she said.

………

            "Is it true?" the king asked his officer, Dan Roberts. "You were friends with the two who died.

            "Yes, your Highness. They were quiet folk who lived pretty much on a deserted lane."

            "Do you know if they have any relations that can take Serenity and Joey in?"

            "Well sir-,"

            "My dear," the queen interrupted. "I thought maybe we could take them in. You know…"

            "No, Cecilia," Pegasus said. "They must live with their family. Continue, Officer."

            "Well, sir, they have only one relative. The two kids' mother has a cousin whose wife died in one of the earlier carriage accidents. His name is Gozaburo Kaiba, and he has two children of his own."

            "Perfect," Pegasus said. "I shall write a letter to him explaining the situation. You will take it to him tonight."

            "Yes sir!"

………

            The next day, morning sun's first beams crawled up Serenity's pillow. She yawned and awoke. Seto was sitting on the edge of her bed, with a Deck of cards in his hand. She screamed and pulled the blanket as close to her as possible.

            "Good morning," he said. "I'm sorry, but my mom told me to wake you. She says you have a visitor." Serenity blinked a couple of times and bounded out of bed. She raced to the bathroom.

            "My mom says she left a robe on the chair!" he hollered to her before going downstairs himself.

            After freshening up, Serenity donned the robe and came down the stairs. She remembered what had happened last night as soon as she found that she was still in the castle. The queen had told her that she and her brother were going to live with their relatives. Serenity didn't know that she even had a relative besides her parents.

            "Good morning!" Serenity snapped away from her thoughts by Queen Cecilia's melodious voice. "How was your sleep?"

            "Fine." Serenity yawned. She saw her brother helping himself to four pancakes at the same time. Silly Joey, she thought. Suddenly, she noticed that on the other side of the table, a man was staring at her.

            "This is Gozaburo Kaiba," Cecilia explained. "He is going to be your new stepfather!" Joey almost spit out the pancakes. The man stroked his beard and smiled. It was not a warm, friendly smile at all. 

            "Hello, Serenity. Joey. I haven't seen you both since you were babies." The king walked in.

            "Hello, Mr. Kaiba, sir. I hope you have decided to accept these two into your home."

            "Of course, what other choice do I have? I would never abandon anyone from my own family." His smile seemed to say otherwise.

            "Well, then, after breakfast, we'll sign all the legal documents making you their official guardian."

            "Very well, your Highness." Joey stepped in front of Serenity as if to block her.

            "I don't trust him," he whispered. Seto also stepped in front of Serenity, as if he were her bodyguard.

            "Serenity's my new friend. I don't trust this guy with her…at all."