Author's Notes: Wow! I can't believe I've actually
finished this. XD; It took almost eleven months. Oh dear. And now after
having trapped the gang in a Christmas setting for almost a year, it
brings us to Christmas once again! So . . . well, watch and see. Thanks
so much to everyone who stuck by me while I pondered over chapter after
chapter and had so much trouble putting the story together. You all
As everyone usually did after the solving of a mystery, they gathered at the Game Shop the following day. This mystery, however, was only partially solved. Khu and Seth's side of things had been sorted out, but Del Vinci was still at large (Seto complained that Noa had lied to him about the gangster's men being at the cemetery, though Noa insisted he hadn't) and no one could make heads or tails out of what had happened to Gabrielle.
"Let me get this straight," Tristan said, looking at Duke in confusion. "First Gabrielle acted liked she was arresting you, then she went psycho and tried to off you, then you got away, she shot herself, and the body went bye-bye?" He leaned back on the couch, shaking his head in befuddlement.
"Yeah, basically," Duke replied. "Only we don't know if she actually shot herself." He glanced toward the back of the room, where Atemu was talking to Seth, who looked as though he felt out of place. Khu was leaning against the wall with crossed arms, just watching as his eyes narrowed at the Pharaoh. Nuru stood near Seth, not quite certain what to do. "Remind me again why those clowns are here," Duke said now.
And so Yugi explained as best as he could of the events at the cemetery, adding at the end, "But Khu doesn't act like he's going to give up his hatred for Yami." He sighed sadly, wondering what on earth Atemu had done in the past that had caused Khu's anger to burn steadily for so many millennia.
Joey frowned. "Hey, when he pardoned Seth just like that, you'd think Khu could show some gratitude," he remarked, shoving potato chips into his mouth. "The guy's acting about as grateful as a brick wall."
"Whatever he's angry about, it must be something very serious," Marik spoke up grimly, thinking of the anger and rage that he himself had once had. He wondered if they would still need to worry about Khu being their enemy. At any rate, it certainly didn't look like he wanted to be friends.
Across the room Bakura was sitting on a chair beside his recovering Yami, who was stroking Oreo's fur. After a moment the thief looked up in slight confusion. "What happened to that person Rhea?" he asked. Oh, not that he especially cared . . . but it seemed odd not to hear her endless chatter.
Oreo meowed, looking at Bakura as if to say "Keep the truth about her a secret." Bakura looked back and then at his Yami, still having a difficult time believing that the truth was real.
"Well . . ." he began. Then, wondering how to continue, he struggled on, "I . . . I believe she said she had to go back to her home, Yami." He twiddled his thumbs slowly, not wanting to tell any outright lies. "But she hoped you were going to be alright. . . ."
Yami Bakura grunted. "Well, of course I would be alright, foolish mortal." Oreo purred, putting her front paws on his shoulder. Bakura chuckled weakly.
"Hey," Téa said suddenly, blinking at the news that was just beginning on the television, "it's saying something about people being missing!" The volume was turned down almost to nothing, but the closed captioning was running across the bottom of the screen.
Mokuba blinked worriedly. "Who's missing?" he asked, hoping it wasn't anyone he knew. Seto just frowned. It was one more annoyance to add to the list.
Yugi grabbed the remote control and turned up the volume just in time to hear the news reporter saying ". . . Five people have mysteriously vanished since last night, including Gabrielle Valesquez, whose case is certainly the most bizarre of the five victims." She went on to explain the "alleged" circumstances surrounding Gabrielle's disappearance and then gave descriptions and names for all five people, none of whom were known to Yugi and the others. "If anything is known concerning the whereabouts of these people, contact the police immediately!"
The roomfull was stunned into silence. At last Joey said, "Well . . . it looks like this mystery isn't over yet." He frowned deeply, glancing at a nearby calender. "And there's only half a week left to Christmas!"
Tristan just shook his head. They had all been extremely busy with their mysteries ever since November and Thanksgiving. "It's just getting started," he remarked, just hoping that everything would be peaceful by Christmas Eve but not having much hope.
"And so are we!" Yugi said confidently. "We're going to find out what's happened to all those people and get them home in time for Christmas!" he declared, standing up in determination.
Most of those in the room echoed agreement, save for Yami Bakura and Khu. But those two did narrow their eyes thoughtfully, deciding that whatever had caused those people to vanish could be very interesting . . . and dangerous as well, most likely. They just didn't realize how dangerous. . . .
To Be Continued. . . .