Chapter 6: In the End, at the Beginning
They stepped into the main chamber and blinked. It was much brighter than before. The light seemed to be emanating from something in the center of the room. As they approached it faded revealing a figure.
Before them stood a woman. She was deeply tanned, with large black eyes and long raven hair, so dark it glinted blue in the light. Her slim figure was elegantly draped with layers of white silk that left her shoulders exposed. She wore gold bands, much like Marik's, and had gold baubles in her hair and hanging from her ears. She looked majestic, her expression clam and regal.
"I have been waiting for you." Her voice was melodious and mysterious. She did not move as they approached, but her soulful eyes focused on Yami.
Marik started at her in disbelief. "How?" he demanded, "We've been here a dozen times, and you were never here."
Her lips curved softly in a half smile, "It is not enough simply to be in the right place, one must get there in the correct way." she told him.
"Do you know how we came to be here?" Yami stepped forward as though drawn to her.
"I do." She smiled fully at him, then looked around at the others. They just stared at her, in awe. Yami Bakura and Yami Marik looked to be in danger of collapsing from lack of air, their jaws slightly agape. Laughter sparkled in her eyes, but no sound passed through her lips. "Come, it is time that you know." She raised a hand, curling a finger and as one they stepped forward. She began to walk, speaking to them as they followed her. She did not raise her voice, nor was she facing them, but every word was clear.
"The balance has shifted," she began, "the puzzle, the centerpiece, the heart, of the mystic objects sought to rectify that imbalance by once again consolidation the shadow powers. But the time has not yet come and the puzzle lost control. You were brought here by mistake, through your connection with the items."
"But Ishizu… and Seto" Yugi ventured, "They are connected with the items as well, aren't they?"
The woman nodded, "But they do not currently posses items." She reminded him, "and so, they were not drawn."
Yugi nodded and Marik looked at the woman suspiciously. What had happened to Ishizu's item? Where was the millennium necklace?
"If it was an accident, why are we still here?" Yami inquired respectfully, "why were we not sent back immediately."
"Such is not the nature of the balance. The purpose of the puzzle is to right wrongs, to correct misperceptions," had anyone else said that they might have scoffed; how could something so confusing and mysterious and filled with illusions and traps, be meant to make things clearer? But the way she said it they had to believe.
"The relations between you are not as they were meant to be." She explained, "the puzzle senses this, and once you were in its power it longed to change them. Not until you recognized your need of each other did it allow you to find the answers you sought. You needed to trust, to rely on one another. And you did, though not all entered willingly into that state."
Marik shifted uncomfortably, why did no one protest? He looked around at the others, they were still affected. What was wrong with them? "I don't trust them, nor do I need them." He insisted, hoping to break the others of the woman's spell by discrediting her theory.
"Ah," she turned and focused her soft smile on him, "but when it came down to it you relied on another and even encouraged him," she laughed lightly glancing from him to Yami Marik, "be it ever so grudgingly."
Marik blushed, though he didn't understand his own embarrassment, and then looked away.
She laughed lightly, her voice like crystalline bells. Then the laughter faded and she stopped, turning to face them. Behind her was a door and on it was carved the millennium symbol. The smile left her face and she studied them seriously.
"Take all you have learned here and hide it in your hearts, reflect upon it and learn from it. This is what I wish for you." Her voice held an inexplicable sorrow, "But it is not what is to be." She studied them once more, her sorrowful gaze falling first on Marik, then Yami Marik, and finally Yami Bakura – though at him a small spark of hope lit in her eyes, "For I can see that not all are ready for this lesson. And so, I shall spare you the inner conflict such conviction would bring."
She placed a hand gently on Yami's chest and then on Yugi's face looking deeply in their eyes. She turned to Bakura and his yami and did the same. As she touched them they felt their confusion ease, and the questions still to be answered seemed unimportant. As she touched Marik and his yami tears formed in her eyes, and she removed her hands quickly. Finally turning to Shadi she stretched out her arm but did not touch him. "Remember." She whispered and he looked at her inquisitively. She seemed oddly familiar to him. But then, he had lived so long…
She turned away and went back to the door. "Through this door lies your escape." She told them. "Go now, and do not look back." In that instant the door was gone and a blinding light shown through the doorway. She stepped back so that they might enter, and slowly Yami approached. "Go." She urged him, and something in her voice convinced him, assured him that she only wished to help. He stepped through.
The others followed, first Yugi and Bakura and then the thief and the other two, Shadi went last, still trying to place the woman in his memories. She gave him a last, sad, smile and gently urged him forward. As he stepped through he thought he heard her whisper an incantation. Two words struck him, they sounded vaguely like the Egyptian words for 'return' and 'forget'. Then all thoughts faded in the blinding light.
Yugi was tossing restlessly in his bed on Kaiba's blimp. Thoughts of their time there filling his head. Mai, Bakura he sighed.
"Yami?" Yugi stopped his uneasy movements, lying on his back and staring at the ceiling.
"Yes, Yugi? You should get some rest." The spirit gently admonished him. This battle was a long way from over.
"I know." Yugi sighed, "but how can I when that other Marik is here? He's evil." The teen shuddered.
"Yes," Yami agreed solemnly, "I just wish I knew who he was. I feel somehow I should." Yami would have sighed, had he not felt it would have disturbed the small teen even more. He placed a hand over Yugi's shoulder. "Get some sleep, or we've no hope of defeating him."
Yugi did fall into a restless sleep. But it was soon interrupted…
Tea had fallen asleep in Bakura's room, her head resting beside him on the bed, her arms under it. Now the bed was empty, but she remained. As she slept a restlessness came over her and it was as though a voice whispered in her head. Her eyes opened slowly and she looked around in confusion.
"This is Bakura's room… How did I get here?" she looked down at the empty bed and her eyes widened in shock.
"Yugi!" there was a pounding on the door, "Wake up! Yugi!" more pounding, Yugi slowly opened his eyes. How long had he been sleeping? "Oh, come on! Hello? Yugi?!"
The teen struggled to sit up trying to place the voice. He knew it, but he was just so tired. He rubbed his eyes sleepily, "Who is it?" he managed to ask.
"It's me, Tea, open up!"
"Tea?" he asked in confusion, finally getting a look at the clock. He hadn't been sleeping long. "Just a minute." He dragged himself out of bed and walked to the door, in his weariness he didn't notice Tea's agitation. "It's kind of late, Tea" he rubbed his eyes again, "Can't this wait till morning?"
Tea didn't seem to hear him, "I was just in Bakura's room and he's missing!"
Now Yugi was wide awake. Missing? Bakura was unconscious, how could he be missing?
Grabbing his jacket the small teen ran off after Tea, prepared to search the blimp.
After combing the decks and every room of the blimp Yugi and Tea paused to catch their breath.
"I don't get it, Yugi," Tea looked concerned, "we've looked all over, but there's no sign of Bakura anywhere. Eve non a blimp as big as this one he couldn't just disappear."
Yugi was at a loss as well, but then an idea came to him. "Wait a sec…" There was only one person who would have any reason to move Bakura… "I bet Marik's behind this!"
Yugi ran toward the elevator, a confused Tea following close behind. Running inside Yugi slammed the up button. "The stratus dueling arena is the only place we haven't checked." He explained. It didn't make any sense. Why would the unconscious Bakura be on the dueling deck? But it was the only option.
They emerged from the elevator to see the dark, swirling, purple and blue clouds that signified the shadow realm.
Tea drew back, hugging herself, "Yugi – look at all that fog. It looks like-"
"Yes," he agreed, "a shadow duel. Bakura's in there and he must be dueling against Marik." He didn't know how he knew this, but somehow he was certain of it.
"Bakura's… in a shadow game?" she repeated weakly.
Before Yugi could respond he felt Yami pressing him to let him take control. Yugi acquiesced and Yami took over his body.
"If Bakura loses this duel he'll be trapped in the Shadow Realm." He said calmly, though he was very concerned for his friend, "This is dangerous Tea, and enough people have gotten hurt already," he darted his eyes toward her without turning away from the arena, "So please go back downstairs."
Tea shook her head, stepping forward, hands clutched at her chest, "I'm sorry, but there's no way I'm leaving you here alone." She said stubbornly. "We're in this together, Yugi, till the end. I was with you the day you found out about your past and discovered your destiny."
"But Tea-" he didn't want to lose her.
""But nothing." She said firmly, "I'm gonna help you and that's final."
He knew she would not relent and so he did not ask her again. Instead he watched the swirling fog trying to collect his thoughts. Marik was so evil.
"I must put an end to Marik's evil plans." He hadn't realized he had spoken aloud until Tea responded.
"You will." She said confidently.
He turned to look at her, his face downcast; it warmed him that she had such faith in him, but it seemed impossible. "You make it sound so easy, Tea, but he seems to get stronger and more evil with each duel. And I believe that the darker Marik grows the harder it is to shield the world from his wrath." He clenched a fist, "Now Marik has begun to target my friends because of a grudge he has against me. He must be stopped before anyone else falls victim to his insanity."
"I'll help." She assured him.
He felt a wave of something strange wash over him. It was Shadow magic, he was certain. And it had something to do with Marik and Bakura.
"The time is now." He strode forward, leaving Tea behind. He was so focused he did not notice her sudden trance-like state. Unbeknownst to the Pharaoh, Marik was even now controlling her, seeking refuge in her mind after the loss of the duel.
Yami broke through the swirling fog to see Yami Marik standing with the millennium ring in his hands.
"Marik!" he called warningly.
He stopped several feet from the spirit. The spirit turned, smirking.
"So, how long have you been here?" he asked, knowing full well it made no difference.
Yami ignored his question, "Tell me what you did with Bakura." He commanded.
Yami Marik shrugged, "I don't know who you're talking about. If you are referring to the spirit of the ring," his evil smile widened as his eyes locked with Yami's, "You tell me where one goes after losing a shadow game."
Yami's eyes widened, "No!" his voice was filled with grief.
"Don't be so surprised, Pharaoh; it won't be long before you join him… in the Shadow Realm!"
A figure moved in the shadows, watching the two spirits, mourning the fate of the third. She smiled sadly in the night. Yami's presence there – at the end of the duel - had served its purpose. For them the incident in the puzzle had never occurred. She thought sadly of the thief and the pharaoh. The lesson they had learned had been lost for the sake of the other two. Would they live to learn it again or would they continue in conflict? Only time would tell.
Had to repost because I caught the episode on tape and realized my dialogue wasn't perfect! First chapter is altered too… I forgot Yugi was asleep when Tea came in, so I had to work that in. Cheers ^_^ Somebody please review *pleads and begs*
Heh heh, title sounds like that one song from Anastasia ^_^u Anyway. This was the last chapter. Thanks to all who supported me and reviewed for me. I hope you liked it. If you did you should check out my site www.exclamationanimetion.com If you didn't… why are you still reading this?!? Anyway, no, there won't be any more chapters. Sorry. This story was written months ago, I just like to space out my posts in a shameless attempt to sucker in more readers ^__^ Bad me! However, I do have another YGO! Story finished. It's about Tea and Kaiba. I just need to edit it. (And it's really long so I am so dreading that) Anyway. Thanks again! Bye