Disclaimer: I wouldn't own "Yu-Gi-Oh!" even if you paid me! Wait a moment…lemme rethink that one…

Yu-Gi-Oh! - The Thrill of the Hunt


Chapter 3 - A New Predator

Yugi began and picked up one of the long, but sharp arrows and attached it into the appropriate position in his bow. Sweating a little, he slowly pulled the bow back, aimed the arrow…and released! The arrow hit its target dead on, and the lock must have been a little more old and rusty than he thought, because it seemed like it was ready to fall off even after it had only been hit once.

"Phew!" Yugi said, putting down his bow and wiping off some sweat. "I underestimated how weak the lock really was. So I couldn't be sure of how much strength I should put into it…"

"Ha! I guess hunting's not as easy as you think it is?" Seeker asked.

"We shall see. In the meantime, it's YOUR turn."

Despite the growing darkness at this time of day, Yugi could clearly see the nervous sweat on Seeker's forehead as he reached for an arrow. Still the hunter had too much pride to back off from this challenge. He hunter concentrated hard as he slowly pulled the arrow backwards. Whatever sign of bravado that he had shown before was gone now as he aimed for the lock. The darkness on the other side of the cage seemed darker than the sky above them.

Yugi watched closely as the hunter finally released the arrow, and not too surprisingly, the arrow hit its target. Seeker clenched his teeth nervously as both of them watched the lock break off a little more.

"Ha! Nothing to it!"

"My turn again!" Yugi said, swiftly grabbing another arrow from the table.

For the next few minutes or so, things went on just like that. They took turns shooting off their arrows, but with each turn, Seeker got more and more nervous. That appeared to be one strange lock, which had been underestimated and overestimated. At first, Yugi and Seeker had not taken into account how weak the lock was and how easily it might be broken off, but at the same time it seemed to be JUST sturdy enough to hold on.

Seeker was getting impatient pretty fast. He angrily thought about how horrific it would be if he were to lose, and although he might have had the capacity to pull it off and win, he had places to be and didn't want to waste any more time than he had to with this kid and his games.

As Yugi was getting ready to pull off another shot with his arrow, Seeker's total patience had expired and he decided to end this here and now.

"I'm getting tired of this…" Seeker whispered to himself.

Yugi couldn't hear what the hunter had just said, but he already knew that he was up to something. Something in his mind was telling him that this game was going to end shortly…

"Getting tired, hunter? Or are you afraid of losing?" Yugi said, egging his opponent on.

"I fear NOTHING! And I'd say that you're about to LOSE this hunt, Yugi!"

"Is that so?"

"A professional hunter like me is prepared for ANY situation!" Seeker said as he chuckled, as he reached behind his back.

"Oh, really?"

"TAKE THIS!!" he yelled, whipping out a hidden gun.

Yugi just closed his eyes and smirked.

"So my suspicions were right! You DID have another gun hidden in the back of your belt! I'm surprised that I didn't notice it before…"

"Heh, heh, heh! That's nice work! But I'm afraid it's too little, TOO LATE! I'm going to have to cut this game short! But don't worry! I'll treat you with as much respect as I did with all of my OTHER prey! I'll take your life and score an automatic win!"

Yugi just watched the confident, sick look on the hunter's wrinkled face, and growled in frustration. But the boy wasn't out of ideas just yet…

"Bye, bye, Yugi! Now I will-"

"NOT SO FAST, HUNTER!"

But before Yugi could say anything else, a gun's trigger was once again pulled dangerously within his vicinity.

BANG!!

"Wha…?"

Seeker was confused at what had just happened, especially since his opponent still appeared to be standing, with no visible gunshot wound anywhere on his body. Ready to explain everything, Yugi pointed towards the ground. Lying there was the lock.

"THE LOCK?! You broke it off…?"

"No…you did. You lose, hunter! Before you fired your gun at me, I aimed my arrow at it, and it jerked the gun towards the lock. The bullet then was shot, and broke the lock off completely!"

"But that's impossible! YOU were the one holding the bow and arrow…!"

"Yes, but I my arrow struck your gun just before you could fire off that one shot! And now I'll make sure that you don't try to get off another!"

Yugi swiftly stuck out his leg and kicked the gun out of the hunter's hand. Seeker yelled in pain, but that wouldn't even begin to compare to what would happen next.

"You're no different from others that I've seen. You weren't capable of following the rules after all! Now…as I promised, you must pay the penalty for your crimes!"

"Huh?!"

"Since you broke the rules, you must face the brute force of the animals in this cage!" Yugi said, quickly rummaging through the pile of arrows, and snatching up the key.

The hunter's might have grabbed the key himself, but he was still holding his hand that Yugi had fiercely kicked. His eyes widened as heard additional noises coming from the other side of the cage. And he didn't want to know how hungry those animals were.

"Not so exciting now when the hunter becomes the HUNTED…is it?" Yugi coldly asked, with his arms crossed.

"NO! W…wait! You…you can't just leave me here!" Seeker panicked.

Seeker growled as he saw Yugi unlocking his own shackle that was around his ankle. Then he pocketed the key, and just looked back at the hunter one more time, giving him an icy look.

"Tell that to all the defenseless animals you harmed."

Closing (and locking) the door behind him, Yugi put the key – and his hands – in his pockets and walked out of the cage. He then took one last look behind him just as the door that separated the two halves of the cage swung open.

"Arch Seeker, you think that powerful weapons and good aim makes you a fine hunter. But when it comes to playing a Shadow Game, those who hunt are unaware of how powerful their prey can be!"

And with those last words Yugi left the scene. But his ears were soon stained with the awful sounds of a man's screams, cloth being torn up, and flesh being ripped off.


The sky was completely dark by the time Yugi got to the vet's house. He reached the door and put up his hand to knock, but suddenly his mind stopped for a moment. His thoughts started moving fast about something that didn't make very much sense.

"Hey, wait a sec," he quietly said to himself, "How…how did I get here?!"

Yugi would have thought about it for a few moments more, but he immediately remembered why he came.

KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK!!

"Could you get that, Joey?" asked Mrs. Moto, from inside the house.

"Sure thing," Joey said.

The blonde haired boy swiftly opened the door to reveal Yugi! Joey was glad to see him, but he a few questions to ask, as Yugi had been missing for quite a while. He looked normal on the outside, but there was a lot of stress in his eyes and voice.

"Hey, Joey," Yugi said, with some fatigue in his voice.

"Yuge! Where ya been, pal!?" Joey nearly yelled.

Tristan, Mrs. Moto, Miho, Grandpa, and Tea rushed into the room to see Yugi. Téa was the one who was mostly worried for Yugi, though.

"Yugi, where on Earth were you?! I've been worried sick about you for nearly half an hour!" Mrs. Moto scolded.

She lightly bopped her son over the head, but then quickly hugged him fiercely and tightly, causing Yugi's eyes to bug out from both of her gestures.

"Téa told me what happened between you and that…that horrible hunter person! Don't you EVER scare me like that again, d'you hear?!" she nearly screeched, still holding onto her son.

"Yeah, Mom…I understand," Yugi said, nodding as best he could through the hug his mother was still giving him. "Oh…how's the dog?!"

"See for yourself."

Mrs. Moto finally let go of her son and instructed her to go into the next room. Yugi's fatigue vanished upon sight of the animal.

"Hey, boy!" he called to the dog, who looked much happier than before.

The dog was on an examination table, and its wound was bandaged up, and its tail was wagging. Yugi gave the dog a playful hug. Then he looked at the vet with a smile his face.

"Thank you so very much!" he exclaimed.

"And you're so very welcome," the woman said calmly, but cheerfully. "The wound wasn't too bad. The bullet only grazed the dog's leg. It'll be fine after a little while."

"Great!"

"Well, the next thing to do now is to find its owner. Do you know who this dog belongs to?"

"That's the problem," Yugi said with a sigh. "This dog is a stray. And quite a misfit at times. I'd bring it into my own house, but my mom doesn't really like pets."

"Hmm…well, you know what? Being a vet, I already have a few pets of my own. I'd be more than happy and willing to take care of it."

"Really? Are you sure?!"

"I'm sure," the doctor said in friendly voice, nodding slightly. "I mean, I already have a couple cats around the house…but I'm sure I can manage. And feel free to visit him whenever you like!"

"That's awesome! Thanks!" Yugi said, ecstatic with this turn of events.

Having heard the conversation all too clearly, Joey, Miho, Mrs. Moto, Tristan, Téa, and Yugi's Grandpa entered the room thanking and congratulating the vet for her services and generosity. Afterwards, Mrs. Moto decided to invite the vet and all of Yugi's friends over for dinner. She even let the dog come in just this once. The doctor bought along some special food for her new pet,as well.

Although Yugi's mother prepared a simple dinner of curry rice, everyone was nonetheless glad to be here. Mrs. Moto, Grandpa, and the vet sat at the dinner table while Yugi and his friends ate in the living room, watching the television and working on Yugi's jigsaw puzzle.

"Hey, Yugi?" Téa asked, happily munching her dinner.

"Yeah?" Yugi replied.

"I meant to ask you…why didn't you meet up with us sooner? I mean, after I left you…well, you were gone for a while."

"Yeah, what took you so long?" Miho asked, looking up from the puzzle that she, Tristan and Joey had been working on.

"Hmm…" Yugi said, thinking hard. "I dunno, actually. After you took off, Téa…I remember walking over to where the dog had been shot…I remember smelling the bloodstain on the pavement…I got all angry at the hunter…then things got a little fuzzy. And the next thing I know…I'm at the vet's house, just about to knock on the door."

Had Yugi remembered what happened, he would have contemplated the evil presence he had sensed while walking to the park with the hunter. But that was a mystery for another day…

"That's really weird, buddy," Tristan said.

"What can I say? Everything else in between is just a complete blank," Yugi said, shrugging.

Yugi then took a glance down at the Millennium Puzzle around his neck. He noticed that all of bad feelings that had been built up inside him were gone now. Like they had been wiped clean, like the dirt off of a smooth surface. He then wondered if his Puzzle had something to do with his blackout.

"Well, whatever happened, I'm just glad that your okay, Yuge!" Joey happily said.

"Yeah, and I'm glad that we're all together, too!" Téa added.

Yugi smiled, happy to be surrounded by kind and caring people who would stand by him, no matter what. And they knew that they could count on Yugi, as well. The five special friends all laughed and smiled, knowing that their shared future looked bright.


Back in the park, Arch Seeker finally awoke out of his unconscious state. As he opened his eyes, he slowly realized that he was no longer shackled to the cage bars, nor was he IN the cage, either. He wasn't sure whether Yugi had pulled him out of there or if he had somehow made it out himself, but whatever the reason, he wasn't complaining.

All he felt right now was unimaginable pain. His clothes had been torn up a lot, and there were bruises, scratches, and a number of other nasty wounds covering his body.

"Yugi Moto…" he groaned to himself. "I won't forget this…and one day I'll make you pay."

"That exactly what I was thinking," said a deep voice.

Seeker looked upward and for a moment couldn't see much, due to how late and how dark it had gotten. But after half a minute, he managed to make out the figure of the individual standing before him, dressed in some sort of a robe or cloak. The face of this individual was well hidden, but it wouldn't have taken much to do so, as the night sky only augmented the shadows covering the features of this enigmatic individual.

"Wha…?" Seeker rasped. "Who…are y-"

"I'm just someone who observed your little game with that Yugi boy."

"So…so what?" said Seeker, trying to get up. But he was far too weak to move much.

"I believe that I can help you."

"Help…me? Help me how?"

"What would you say if I were to tell you that I might be able to give you another chance to crush him?"

"I'd…KILL for…another shot."

"Heh…that's EXACTLY what I needed to hear!" the person said, evilly laughing.

Seeker was only confused at this action, but it mattered little as the last thing he saw before he blacked out again was a bright golden glow and the image of a strange eye-like symbol. But the glow revealed the hooded person's face, if only for an instant. The hunter became slightly intimidated when he saw the dark-skinned face, blonde hair sticking out from the hood, and piercing purple eyes staring at him. On this person's forehead was a golden tiara with the same symbol that was on Yugi's Puzzle.

"Wait!" he managed to cry out. "What…what are you doing…to me?!"

"Oh…don't worry, Arch Seeker," the man said. "It's not that I don't want to work with you, or that I'm not going to give you the second chance I promised…it's just that you've got no CHOICE in the matter!"

As the cool nights winds blew through the city of Domino, the hooded figure grinned at the man on the ground who would hopefully provide services that were adequate enough.

Owls hooted by dark and wolves howled at the moon, but this one night held a sound that drowned them all out. It was the ghoulish cackle of a man (with reasons unknown for now) determined to one day vanquish Yugi Moto, the owner of the precious and powerful Egyptian Millennium Puzzle.

More sick chuckling erupted from this person, confident that everything he had planned would all work out in the end. He had a strong goal to achieve, and his determination was fueled by the fury in his soul, the hatred in his heart…as well as the ancient, golden antique in his possession.

A rod.

As the man continued to howl with malicious laughter, he took one last look at the severely injured hunter that would serve him whether he chose to or not.

"Welcome aboard…my RARE HUNTER! HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!!"

GAME OVER


Well, that about wraps everything up for my first "Yu-Gi-Oh!" fanfic! I didn't get as much feedback from this story as I hoped, but it's cool! I still had a lot of fun writing it! As promised, my next story will be posted soon, and this next one will indeed be more focused on the "Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters" series! And if that weren't enough, it'll also partially be a romance story! But which couple, you wonder? I'm afraid that you'll just hafta wait and see!

Okay, I'm about done ranting, so I'll leave you readers be to review my story and make your comments on it! And remember…in the next story, be sure to break out your dueling decks because…IT'S TIME TO DUEL! So long!