Please Note - This is a sequal to my fic Yami's Living Puzzle, and is part of my series with Egyptian Sand of Time. I highly don't suggest reading this unless you have read the others.

Yami: What, no prologue this time?

Una: No, it would diminish the impact of the first chapter.

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At the Beginning by Richard Marx and Donna Lewis

********Theme song of "Journey's End"********

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~~We were strangers starting out on a journey

~~Never dreaming what we'd have to go through

~~ Now here we are and I'm suddenly standing

~~At the beginning with you

~~

No one told me I was going to find you

~~ Unexpected what you did to my heart

~~ When I lost hope you were there to remind me

~~ This is the start

~~And life is a road that I want to keep going

~~ Love is a river, I want to keep flowing

~~Life is a road, now and forever, wonderful journey

~~ I'll be there when the world stops turning

~~ I'll be there when the storm is through

~~In the end I wanna be standing

~~At the beginning with you

~~We were strangers on a crazy adventure

~~ Never dreaming how our dreams would come true

~~Now here we stand unafraid of the future

~~At the beginning with you

~~And life is a road that I want to keep going

~~Love is a river, I want to keep flowing

~~ Life is a road, now and forever, wonderful journey

~~ I'll be there when the world stops turning

~~ I'll be there when the storm is through

~~ In the end I wanna be standing

~~ At the beginning with you

~~I knew there was somebody somewhere

~~ Like me alone in the dark

~~Now I know my dream will live on

~~ I've been waiting so long

~~ Nothing's gonna tear us apart

~~And life is a road that I want to keep going

~~Love is a river, I want to keep flowing

~~ Life is a road, now and forever, wonderful journey

~~ I'll be there when the world stops turning

~~ I'll be there when the storm is through

~~ In the end I wanna be standing

~~ At the beginning with you

~~Life is a road and I wanna keep going

~~ Love is a river I wanna keep going on....

~~Starting out on a journey

~~Life is a road and I wanna going

~~ Love is river I wanna keep flowing

~~In the end I wanna be standing

~~At the beginning with you.

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Chapter 1

What Dreams May Come; A Whole New Life

Nazo opened her eyes to find tears pouring down her face. 'Where am I?' She studied her surroundings. She was back in the ancient Egyptian palace, a sitting room of some sort, and wearing a fine black robe and veil. 'Okay, just over a week ago I would have thought I was having a hallucination of some kind. At least I KNOW I'm not crazy. This is only a vision, or an old memory, from my days as Queen Shukura.'

Her heart ached, and the tears were sparse and hot. Someone died a few days ago, and she was running out of emotion to spare. Nazo learned years ago just to sit back and let the vision take its course. But who died? And if it really occurred days ago, why was she still crying?

A woman wearing another black robe and veil, though not quite as fancy hers, entered the room, followed by a short old man also in black. 'Wait! That's Yugi's grandfather! What was his name back then?'

"How is he, Shimon," she heard herself say.

The old man shook his head. "Staying strong, just like he was taught."

The pretty, blonde woman frowned. "It isn't right, dammit! He shouldn't have to act like he doesn't have any emotions!"

"Its law, Lady Kei," Shimon said. "We must abide by our ascendants' rules. The young pharaoh represents Ra himself!"

Nazo ignored them and walked into the other room. Sure enough, there sat the image of her true love, known to her in present time as 'Yami.' He was speaking to a couple of priests about something, and paid her no heed. Nazo could tell he, too, acted much more somber than usual. His ruby eyes looked dim and his features as if carved in stone. As their conversation went on, Nazo noticed many marks and bruises on his arms and on his face. 'He must have been in a battle. And someone important to him must have died in it.'

"Very well, then," said Yami, waving a tired hand. "Accept the gifts and distribute them amongst yourselves. I don't want anything."

One of the priests said, "Your Highness has not eaten since he woke up. You must keep up your strength!"

"I'm not hungry."

"Sire-"

Yami's eyes flashed a dangerous spark of red. "You are dismissed from my presence, Karim!"

Both priests bowed themselves out, leaving Nazo alone with Yami. 'Shit, he's so upset! Whoever died must have been really close to him!' She found herself walking cautiously to him, sitting down at his feet, and setting her head on his lap. "You must re-join the world of the living someday, Dearest One."

Yami gave a "Keh" sound, like Nazo often did, and pretended to ignore her. They sat in silence for a few minutes, and he finally asked, "Have those damn foreigners left yet?"

"No, not yet. Actually," she lifted her head, "that is what I must speak with you about. Their king still thinks you wish to be his enemy. Minkabh had them so convinced…" She trailed off. 'So THAT'S what happened! Minkabh is part of this! He killed someone Yami cared about!!'

"I don't give a damn for politics anymore," muttered Yami. "He can complain to his own gods for all I care."

Nazo tenderly put her hand on his. 'His eyes… they're dead!' "He is a powerful king. He may send more soldiers and magicians to attack the kingdom. I was thinking… well, the soldiers like me, and they suggested that perhaps I could go as an emissary-"

Yami's eyes flickered to her, furious. "No! I forbid it!"

"But, Dearest-"

His eyes only flared more. "Need I repeat myself?"

"No, I heard you."

"It is far too dangerous! I shall not allow you to leave my side!"

"I feel I can do more good as a peacekeeper than stand here and do nothing all day. I see no sense in-"

To Nazo's shock, Yami violently pulled his hand away and smacked her! She held her cheek and moved away as he stood up. "I am Pharaoh! My word is Law, and my will Kemet's desire! You dare question my judgment?!"

"Dearest, I meant no disrespect!"

He rounded on her, grabbed her shoulders, and lifted her to her feet with more strength than she knew he possessed. His fingers, so cold, dug into her skin. "Hold your traitorous tongue, or I shall have it removed!"

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Nazo opened her eyes, this time to see the plane heading for Egypt over 3,000 years later. She wore her black sleeveless coat (with hammerspace pockets), sandals, sweats, and a T-shirt, all borrowed from Yugi's house. The lights were down, and most of the people aboard were asleep, so no one noticed her wake up. Her heart pounded in her throat. She let go of the armrests and relaxed. 'I'm back! Its about time!'

She looked to her left. Anzu slept soundly with her head against the window. The seat on her right was empty. Ryou must have gone somewhere for a midnight wander.

Nazo peeked over the seats at the row of three in front of her. To her far left and in front were Honda and Jonouchi, also fast asleep and snoring. In the isle seat sat Yugi. He had his flashlight on and read from a book, making markings with a pencil quietly.

"Having fun, Yugi," she asked softly. "Whatcha doin'?"

Yugi made one more mark before answering. "Oy, Nazo! I'm doing a crossword puzzle."

"Can't sleep either?"

Yugi lifted the brim of his hat to make eye contact. Prior to leaving Japan, Ryou lent Yugi a plain, blue fisherman's hat to hide his conspicuous hair. "I gave up hours ago. You?" He fingered his collar.

"I woke up from-," she cut herself off. Should she talk to Yugi, or wait for Yami? His eyes glimmered with innocent curiosity, and Nazo figured she should try. "Can you come over here for a bit?"

"Sure!" He packed up his book into the tray, got out of his seat, and sat down next to his friend. "Man, these seats can't be good for a person's body! My muscles are so sore!" He fingered his collar again.

Nazo chuckled. "Weird not having the Puzzle around your neck, ne?"

"Un," said Yugi, stuffing his hand into his pockets in embarrassment. "I've never really taken it off 'til now. Its stupid that I couldn't bring it aboard!"

"Uh, Yugi, airplanes don't even allow nail clippers anymore. You expect them to let you keep a sharp, gold, heavy artifact like that with you?"

"Its still stupid," he grumbled, pulling his collar again. "Yami got upset! He hates being kept away with the rest of my luggage. At least I can still talk to him."

"Really?" Nazo straightened up hopefully. "Can I?"

"No. Your link with him isn't as strong. It only got stronger in the Shadow Realm. But he's been asking for you every ten minutes! I told him a half hour ago he'd better get some sleep."

"Can you transform?"

"No. Too far away."

"Keh," she said. "Dammit! I really need to talk to him!" She rubbed the cheek where Yami had slapped her in her vision. "I had… a terrible vision!"

Yugi scooted over and faced her as best he could. "Tell me about it."

Nazo described to Yugi in detail all of the events of her dream. By the end, she held herself in fear with the memory of Yami's eyes. "He just felt so cold! It was like he wanted to let loose so much hatred on something, and…"

"You felt like he was your dad beating you all over again?"

"Daddy didn't scare me as much as this! I hated him, but I love Yami! With all of my heart!" She stared at the floor. "I didn't raise a hand to defend myself. I couldn't! Not against Yami!" She turned to Yugi, desperation in her eyes. "He's not like that, is he? I mean, he saved me from being abused, raped, sacrificed, and from myself! He'd never hurt me, would he?!"

Yugi scratched his chin in deep thought. "No doubt he has a temper, and he can go overboard, but he wouldn't attack anyone like that for only saying something!" He shook his head hard. "I'm sure! He protects people he loves!"

Nazo's voice lowered. "Maybe he was different back then."

"No way! I can't accept that!" Yugi grasped his shirt where the Puzzle normally hung, his face very serious. "Yami's a lot of things, but abusive isn't one of them!"

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Zerelli's Air Service provided the gang with a luxury, two story plane, comfortable seats, buffets at meal time, and round the clock service. Yugi and Nazo were able to get fake IDs and passports thanks to one of the passengers.

The group agreed to try and keep a low profile on and off the plane. And considering the journey aboard took a few days, they stayed on the bottom floor, and Jonouchi and Honda got stir crazy an hour into the flight, they succeeded rather well.

Once, a man bumped into Honda and pick-pocketed his wallet. Jonouchi tried to pick a fight, but Honda and Yugi held him back. "C'mon! That asshole needs to be taught not to mess with us!"

"Chill out Jonouchi," whispered Ryou.

"Keep numb nuts away from me," the man muttered, returning to another area of the plane, "or he'll find them chopped off!"

"C'mere and say that to my face," Jou roared. "You'll never be half the man your mama was!"

Oh yes! Quite non-existent!

On the final day, Nazo got the guts to wander off onto the top floor to explore. There, to her delight, was a card table full of gamblers. Her heart skipped a beat, and she sat right down to play. After all, gambling was her favorite pastime in the world!

"Alright," said the attractive blonde dealer, "the game is Blackjack! Dealer up by two grand. New player has entered the game, two players exit." She bent down to ask Nazo, "How many chips do you want, sweetie?"

'I think I'll have some fun.' "Um, I have about sixty US dollars," she lied timidly. To herself, she grinned evilly. 'They'll have no idea how good a player I am until its too late!'

The dealer gave her three blue chips. "So," Nazo asked, "this isn't part of the liner's normal entertainment?"

"This is to entertain myself," the dealer said. She shuffled the cards, passed out one to each player face down, one more face up, then two to herself. Nazo kept track of the woman's confident demeanor as she passed out any extra cards, including one to Nazo. "Who'll start the bid?"

The man to Nazo's right said, "I'll start with ten bucks."

"Call."

"Call."

Nazo said, "I'll put in an extra fifty."

The other players went silent. A few quit the game. The dealer winked. "Well, someone sure likes to spice up the pot!" She added her own chips. "Call, since you only have sixty total. What do you have?"

"20."

"You win. I have 19." She gathered the cards and dealt again.

In fact, Nazo won the next four times in a row, earning about $1,000. The dealer eyed Nazo with increasing interest. 'She knows,' Nazo thought. 'She may be blonde, but she's not an idiot. Better stop before she accuses me of cheating.'

Nazo was about to leave, but the dealer stopped her. "Just wondering, are you a duelist, too?"

"Why?"

"Because I just so happen to be a reputable duelist myself. If you have your cards, I'd like to battle you." She winked again, and added softly, "You shouldn't pretend. You're better with cards than you let on."

Nazo smirked. "Yeah. Okay, I'll duel you. As long as you don't cry when I beat you by over 1,000 life points!"

"Care to stake your thousand bucks on that?"

"Sure!"

The dealer sighed. "Your loss, kid. I've made the cut for both Duelist Kingdom and Battle City!" She pulled out her deck and shuffled. "What's your name?"

"Uh…" 'I forget the fake name on my passport! There's too many people around! I might get caught!' "Call me Shukura. What's yours?"

"I am Kujaku Mai." (To all American fans, it's Mai Valentine.)

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"This is your captain, Elaine Harris speaking," said a voice on the loud-speaker. "We will be landing shortly in Cairo, Egypt. Please return to your seats. Oh, and if anyone finds a violin case with a dolphin sticker on it, please inform the nearest stewardess."

"Minna," said Ryou, hurrying over to his friends. "We're gonna land pretty soon. You guys excited?"

"Yea," Yugi cheered.

"I've never been outside of Japan before," said Jonouchi. "Can't wait to have a real adventure for once!"

"Forgotten Doom already," asked Anzu.

"Well, okay, another adventure outside of Japan!"

"What's Egypt like, anyway," asked Honda.

Ryou began describing what he remembered from his one time of excavating in Egypt with his father when he was twelve. Yugi had heard the story several times, and pictured himself at an actual dig with his grandfather. He'd wanted to go to Egypt for so long! And now he had the chance!

He accidentally bumped into a man walking past, carrying something rolled up in a carpet rug. "Sumimasen," Yugi said bowing. [1]

"Watch yerself," the man said in English.

Yugi's face, lowered in his bow, brushed up against something sticking out of the rug: a human hand. Blood seeped through the lower regions of the rug, and as the man walked away, Yugi saw shoes sticking out of the end.

Honda recognized the rolled-up carpet act. "Wait a sec. 'Zerelli?' That's Italian, isn't it?"

"No shit, Sherlock," said Jonouchi.

"Then, this might be covered by the mafia or something."

Every person in the plane stopped moving. One sitting behind them said, "Mafia? Who said anything about a mafia?"

Yugi slunk behind Jonouchi and Honda. "Uh," he squeaked, "how much longer 'til we land?"

//I've got a better question,// said Yami telepathically.

/What?/

//Where's Nazo?//

/WHAT?!/

//She's not near you guys! I can sense it from here! That wasn't her in that rug, was it?!//

/Don't panic! The dead guy wore shoes. Nazo has my mom's slippers./ //Make sure she's okay!//

"Minna," said Yugi, "where's Nazo?!"

"I don't know," said Anzu. "We'd better split up to find her! Jonouchi, you and Yugi take that direction. I'll check the restrooms. Honda and Ryou, take the upper level.

"I don't get it," said Honda as he climbed the stairs. "She likes to be inconspicuous. Why'd she wander off?"

"She's probably stir-crazy like the rest of us," offered Ryou.

They heard a female scream. Both boys ran to the further end of the plane and saw Nazo sitting smugly at a DM table with her arms folded. Her opponent, a familiar blonde, stood up and pointed at her furiously. "That's impossible! There's no way I could have lost so quickly! You cheated somehow!!"

"I won fair and square," stated Nazo, quietly gathering her cards. "Harpy Lady wasn't as strong as St. Joan, you went down to 0 while I have 2500, meaning I won. Now, if you'll excuse me…"

"No! I want a rematch!"

"Oh Lord," muttered Ryou.

"I don't give many rematches," said Nazo, getting up to leave. "I gotta get back to my friends now. Excuse me."

"Hold it," said Mai, stepping in front of her. "Just tell me your name!"

Nazo's eyes narrowed dangerously. The hairs on the back of Honda's neck prickled. Nazo had the same look in her eyes when she gave Jonouchi a Penalty Game. "Uh, Nazo," he called out

Both Mai and Nazo turned. The latter looked grateful for a way out of this pesky woman's way. "Honda! Ryou! Thank the gods! This woman is-"

"Mai-san," said Ryou, sticking out his hand in greeting. "Nice to see you again!"

Nazo's eyes widened. "You know her?"

They made their way back down to the lower level, Mai questioning on the identity of Nazo the whole way. The others had regrouped, all upset about not finding Nazo. Mai smiled, snuck up behind Jonouchi, and started poking him in the back of his head.

"Just when I think I've figured her, out," complained Jonouchi to his friends, "Nazo goes off and does somethin' as stupid as getting lost! We're almost at the airport, and WHO'S POKING ME!?!" He turned around and jumped when he saw Mai.

"Missed me, Jonouchi," teased Mai.

"Mai-san," exclaimed Yugi. "What're you doing here?!"

"Consider the company on the plane, Yugi-kun," advised Ryou softly. "Do you really want to know?"

Mai sat down in a seat near the groups'. "Long and short, I'm selling off some of my parents' old things to make a bit more money. Most governments don't appreciate certain - let's say 'artifacts' - that I'm selling." She leaned back, lounging comfortably as her friends made their own assumptions. "So, what about you guys?"

"We killed someone," said Nazo casually. "So we're running away."

Mai's eyebrow lifted. "Oh? How'd you get the money to pay for this trip?"

"Nazo took the funds from her dad's account," said Anzu.

"Well," said Nazo. "Kind of. I actually re-routed it from the Kaiba Corp. treasury in my dad's name. It would have been used by him, but since he got fired-"

"You're tellin' me," said Jonouchi, his eyes twice their natural size, "that you STOLE money from Kaiba?!"

"Ano… From the company, yes."

"That's pretty much Kaiba's back pocket," said Anzu, biting her lower lip. Yugi and Jonouchi looked at each other, faces with identical expressions of horror.

"Don't worry! I set up a virus to attack anything that accessed it before my dad's name term expired. And it only had another few minutes left so… Jonouchi, what are you doing?"

The teen stood up and started walking down the isle like a man to the gallows. "Oy! Jonouchi," called Honda. "We gotta stay seated, remember?"

"I'm going to jump out the window now. See ya in Egypt!"

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After they landed, Yugi and Nazo offered to rent the car while Anzu got Honda's motorcycle from shipping, Honda and Mai checked the luggage, and Ryou coaxed Jonouchi to come out of the airplane.

"First he says he's gonna jump when we're still hundreds of feet in the air," said Nazo to Yugi as they approached the car rental. "Now he is threatening to drown himself in the restroom sink. Is Kaiba Seto really that scary?"

"Define 'scary'?"

"What's he like?"

Yugi scratched his hair under his hat. "Uh… He's rich, powerful, strong, intelligent, and women hang all over him!" He smiled at Nazo's confused expression. "He also killed his step father, is overly obsessed with Duel Monsters, has tried to kill us a few times, is the only guy Yami considers a rival, and has an ego the size of the African continent!"

They both laughed. Yugi was about to reach the counter when he felt two strong hands land on his shoulders. "Hello Yugi," said an ice cold voice. "What was that you said about trying to kill you?"

[1] - Sumimasen - "Excuse me"; more polite than "Gomen-nasai."

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Oy minna-san! Its Yugi! Yes, I'm still alive no thanks to Kaiba. He, Mokuba, and Keiko have joined our little group, and Keiko's already chosen the ideal way to get to Thebes... and a way to help Nazo loosen up a little.

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Yami: O_O You stopped it there!?!

Yugi: o_o Ulp!

Bardock: *grinning* I like this Kaiba guy already!

Una: So does FW.

Bardock: How many mafia cliche's didja use, anyway?

Una: At least five. There'll be more next chapter. R&R minna!