Neptune's Wrath

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: The YGO characters aren't mine, neither is the ship's name, the story is, and this was based on The Poseidon Adventure (awesome disaster movie!) and a role-play with Ocarina Kriciana. Enjoy!

No one could have predicted what would happen that late summer night on the cruise ship S.S. Poseidon. It had originally seemed just like any other trip bound for California from Oregon, but what the passengers experienced that night was anything but ordinary. The survivors often spoke of that time with a mixture of loathing and pride, relieved that they had made it safely through but wondering how on earth it had come to pass. After all, it had certainly seemed that everything was against them, especially the very ocean itself. Only by working together and discovering unlikely heroes had they been able to get out.

The fateful day had started quite peacefully for our friends. Serenity Wheeler had played ping-pong and badminton with Tristan Taylor and Duke Devlin, while her brother Joey watched it all like a hawk, of course. Marik Ishtar had dozed in the sun, enjoying the gentle feel of the waves rocking the ship. His sister Ishizu had spoken with the archaeologist she had come to see while Rishid had read a mystery novel he had discovered in the cabin he shared with Marik. Mokuba Kaiba had dragged his businessman brother Seto around to every exciting location he could find, especially the arcade and the indoor pool—not to mention the tour of the engine room and the hull—and Seto had allowed it patiently, glad that his brother was having so much fun. This was actually a business trip for Seto, as it was for the Ishtars. The five of them had boarded the ship together, as a matter of fact, and then they had found Yugi Muto and his friends had also decided to take advantage of the cruise. Ryou Bakura had gone off on his own, with many snacks gleaned from the vending machines, watching his Yami argue with Oreo over the proper behavior the cat should display while on board the ship. Téa Gardner and Yugi had gone yet elsewhere, enjoying their rare peaceful moment. But the peace would not last.

Towards evening the sky began to grow dark and ominous, indicating the beginning of a violent storm. Most everyone had gone below deck by now, save for Marik and Rishid. The teenager rolled over in the deck chair, covered with his brother's cloak which had been lovingly lent to him. Marik seemed to like the feel of the softness, as he wound up hugging the cloth close to him and burying his face in it. Rishid smiled in amusement, turning the page of his book. As the lights of the deck came on, the Egyptian man glanced up and noticed the darkened sky. He frowned slightly, catching the scent of rain in the air.

Gently he reached out, shaking Marik on the shoulder. "Brother?" he called softly, not wanting to suddenly and abruptly awaken the boy from the deep sleep he was in.

Marik mumbled in his sleep and opened his eyes halfway, looking at Rishid sleepily. The man looked back kindly, telling him of the need to go inside. Indeed, as he spoke, the first raindrops began to fall. But neither of them could have realized that this was not a simple rainstorm. No, this was much more severe. By the night's end, they would be lucky if they were still alive.

As Marik and Rishid descended the steps below deck they decided to venture into the dining room. Ishizu was most likely there, as she had told them she was going to have dinner with the archaeologist, and the brothers were now hungry as well. Not to mention that they wanted to check in on their sister. Both were the protective sort, after all, and Marik had found that he didn't quite trust Ishizu's friend's intentions. Often he had caught the man looking at Ishizu in a way Marik deemed "inappropriate."

So they entered the spacious room. Swing music from the forties was being played by the band on the stage and everyone was lining up at the buffet tables to get their share of dinner. Marik spotted his young friend Mokuba right away and he smiled and waved, going over. Rishid watched them for a moment and then turned his attention to discovering where Ishizu had gone. If she wasn't in the room at all, then perhaps he would start worrying. Ishizu knew how to take care of herself, of course, but Rishid had the feeling that Ishizu had started to develop feelings for this man she was with. They had met on several archaeologist expeditions and each time he was around Ishizu seemed to light up a bit more. He was a nice enough man, but Rishid wanted to make certain that he was trustworthy.

Suddenly a scream came from the direction of the buffet table and everyone immediately turned to look. Oreo was happily sitting on the table, munching a turkey drumstick. Yami Bakura didn't make any move to shoo her away and instead greedily grabbed the barbequed chicken. Some people turned away in disgust. Others continued to scream, obviously overreacting. And yet others just laughed it all away but decided to pass the turkey by. Young Bakura distanced himself as far away as possible, turning an extreme shade of pink in his mortification.

Joey came up behind Rishid, blinking at the scene. "Man, Oreo did that the last time we all went out somewhere and there was a buffet," he remarked, referring to the time they had been in Boston at the hotel. Joey's plate was stacked high with various edibles, including burgers, cheeses, and assortments of potato chips. He crunched down loudly on a chip, watching Oreo lick at the meat and then bite into it with her teeth while pulling at it with her paws.

Rishid turned to look at the Brooklyn boy. "Joseph, have you seen Ishizu?" he asked, not having been able to spot her yet. The floor under his feet rocked slightly, but he paid it no heed. Such things were normal on ships, as he knew from spending many hours with Marik on the yacht the boy owned.

Joey shrugged. "Sorry, I haven't," he replied, glancing around in an attempt to find his own sister. He didn't look very happy when he did find her, sitting between Tristan and Duke at a corner table. He was about to head over to them when the floor rocked again, more violently than before. The teen was thrown off balance into someone standing behind him, much to his irritation.

Especially when he found out who it was. Seto was glaring down at him, faintly raising an eyebrow.

"I suppose I should be relieved you didn't spill your plate," he said flatly. Things hadn't been working out for him with his business contacts. He hadn't been able to locate any one of them for longer than five minutes. They didn't seem very serious about what they were doing or about the propositions they were here to talk about. Seto was ready to call it quits and get off the ship, since he really didn't have time to be taking a cruise. He had come in now to find Mokuba and tell him they needed to leave, though he was certain that the child wouldn't be very happy with that decision. Slightly he considered staying longer just for Mokuba's sake. And it was true that they had come with the Ishtars, who still perhaps needed to stay longer. It wouldn't be fair to them for Seto to suddenly decide to call a helicopter and leave.

Joey glared at the cold CEO as he straightened back up. "If I didn't wanna eat this stuff, I'd be tempted to throw it in your face, Kaiba!" he retorted, his blonde bangs flopping into his eyes.

Seto grunted. "Heh. How childish." With that he turned away, his trenchcoat sweeping out with the motion.

Rishid observed the exchange with a shake of his head. Those two never seemed to change. They were always going at each other's throats. And yet, when it came down to either of their lives being in danger, the other would come to the rescue. Rishid had the feeling that they loved to hate each other but were really friends. He sighed, walking away to continue looking for Ishizu.

As it turned out, Ishizu was indeed in the room, in another of the corners. She had opted for the quietest one that was the farthest away from all the action and noise, where she and the archaeologist, Anthony Boyer, could talk privately. He had brought fascinating information to her about one of the dig sites in Egypt and about what had been found and she was intently listening and taking down notes. As usual, she was wearing one of her simple yet elegant Egyptian dresses and a bit of golden jewelry. No makeup adorned her face, as she preferred a more natural appearance, but she had taken great care to look presentable for this dinner. Perhaps a part of her was interested in Anthony as more than just an archaeologist with useful information, but if it were so, she admitted it to no one. Romantic love had no place in her life, especially not now.

She became aware that Anthony was looking into her blue eyes with his dark brown orbs, smiling in a vaguely unsettling way. "Ishizu," he said softly, pushing his plate to the side and reaching for the hand Ishizu had on the table. The woman blinked in surprise, not quite certain how to react at first. He had never done anything like this before.

"Mr. Boyer," she began, but never got further than that.

He smiled more, taking her hand and stroking it gently. "Still so formal, as always, Ishizu," he remarked. "No 'Anthony,' after all the months we've known each other? I would think at least you would address friends by their first names." Then he paused, a soft gleam in his eye. "And those who are more than friends."

Ishizu pulled her hand back now, feeling slightly uncomfortable. "I have never given you the impression that we are 'more than friends,' Mr. Boyer. We are archaeologists interested in the same aspects of studying ancient Egypt, but that is all." She glanced behind her, almost as if she subconsciously wished one of her brothers would appear and bring an end to this discussion. But she knew this had to be taken care of now. It couldn't be put off any longer. Perhaps it had been lingering over their heads for a while now, ever since they had started seeing a lot of each other on the last dig.

"Is it?" Boyer didn't seem ready to give up yet. He stood up, sliding his chair out and coming around to help Ishizu to stand as well. She allowed him to, though she continued to regard him suspiciously, wondering what his next move was going to be.

He led her out through the nearby doors onto the deck. The rain had reached a temporary halt and Boyer wanted to take advantage of the solitude they would have on the deck. Firmly he laid his hands on Ishizu's shoulders. "Don't lie to yourself, Ishizu," he said, tilting her chin so she was looking up at him. "You feel something more for me, as I feel for you. But you refuse to give in to these feelings because you have some notion about needing to stay with your brothers and not living your own life." His hands felt cold on Ishizu's flesh and she tensed, wishing he would just leave her be. But perhaps he was right, at least about Ishizu carrying feelings for him. However, she could tell he did not understand her bonds with her brothers. And he didn't seem the type who ever would. He had no close family ties of his own.

"You are mistaken," she answered him smoothly, brushing his hand away. "My brothers are my life, Mr. Boyer. I was apart from them for many years while tragic circumstances came into being. Now we are finally together again. I wish it to remain that way. But that does not mean I do not someday want to be married." Ishizu's actual plans, in her mind, were that if she ever did marry, Rishid and Marik would continue living with them. In the underground city back in Egypt, the generations had all stayed together in one residence. It was one tradition Ishizu didn't mind from that life, at least when it came to situations like this.

"Then why don't you accept your feelings?" Boyer demanded, slowly running a finger down Ishizu's cheek. "I love you, Ishizu. I love you very deeply. If you feel the same way, you should admit it to us both." He leaned in, almost without warning, and kissed her softly on the lips. It was a lingering kiss, and though some part of Ishizu may have enjoyed it, she pulled away when she had the chance. Something just didn't feel right about this, though she couldn't put her finger on what it was.

"I cannot," she replied softly, opening the door and going back inside the dining room. She didn't realize it, but someone else had seen the kiss. The stranger watched from the shadows, his expression betraying none of what he was thinking. But he had found it very interesting.

Boyer, frustrated by Ishizu turning him down, soon followed her back inside. But his feelings of frustration weren't because he loved her and couldn't have her. They were because he was still failing in winning her over, as he'd won others over before her. The wedding ring in his cabin, the one he had never shown to Ishizu, meant nothing to him. But he could tell that Ishizu was a woman of integrity and he would never have had any chance with her if he had openly worn his ring. He did know that he had gotten his sharp talons into Ishizu's heart, even if the woman wouldn't admit to anything. And he wasn't going to give up yet in getting them in deeper.

For our other friends, things seemed to be going well. At least, as well as things ever go for them. For a couple of hours after dinner, they remained in the dining room, listening to the music and talking. Some, like Téa and Yugi, opted to dance. Joey fumed when both Tristan and Duke tried to get Serenity to dance with them. Marik, who was nearby, chuckled softly but could relate to Joey's feelings. Ishizu had finally been found, though she seemed distraught over something. But she insisted all was well and smiled at her brothers reassuringly. She danced at different points with each of her brothers and admittedly temporarily forgot about the problem with Boyer. Oreo was content to remain under the table Bakura was at, finishing off the last of the turkey.

It was close to ten in the evening when the ship began rocking again. Unbeknownst to the travelers, the rain had picked up again and had become ferocious over the ocean. Massive waves were rising up in every direction and it was all the crew could do to keep the ship on a steady course while not being overcome by the waves. But they couldn't succeed with their efforts forever. Despite their desperate prayers, the next wave was coming increasingly closer and it seemed that the ship couldn't get out of range fast enough.

Ishizu suddenly froze, touching the Millennium Tauk. "There is something happening outside," she said quietly, looking up at her brothers and at the Kaibas, who were at the same table. "Something vicious and violent, as if the very ocean itself has grown angry."

Seto snorted. "That's nonsense," he muttered, crossing his arms. Oh, Seto had seen more than his fair share of supernatural warnings coming to pass, but he still hated believing in them. For once he wanted everything to go along normally, with no oddball occurrences. But it was not to be.

Exactly at that moment, Ishizu's vision came true. The ship gave a horrendous lurch, sending everything to the floor. Screams rent the air and children cried out for their parents as the lights flickered dangerously. Glass shattered and heavy objects flew in all directions. Rishid heard Marik call for him, but he couldn't answer before something struck the back of his head. He crumpled to the floor, everything going black.

Ishizu felt herself being caught by Boyer. She frowned slightly, though she truly was grateful that she hadn't pitched onto the floor. Across the room, Seto grabbed onto Mokuba tightly as the child nearly flew through the air. Marik looked about frantically, still calling for his siblings. Téa grabbed the leg of a bolted-down table, clutching for dear life.

Then the lights went completely out and total pandemonium reigned as the ship began to turn over from the force of the wave crashing into it. It only briefly halted on its side before rolling upsidedown and tossing everyone about like ragdolls. Many fell unconscious after this, while others were forced to remain awake through it all, suffering from fear and the pain.

But at last it was over. Slowly the emergency generator's lights flickered on and those who were still alive began to move. Yugi, Joey, and Bakura all struggled to stand on the new "floor," staring at the scene in front of them. Debris was everywhere. So many people had been trapped and seriously hurt—some killed—while others were missing. The three teens gaped in alarm and then looked at each other, the same expressions reflecting in their eyes.

"What just happened?!" Joey yelled in disbelief. "And where's Serenity?!" He looked around desperately for his sister, his heart twisting momentarily before he saw Tristan and Duke helping the girl up from behind the fallen band instruments. For once Joey didn't feel like yelling at them. He ran forward, taking Serenity into his arms joyously. "Oh man, sis," he said softly. "You had me worried there. . . ." He didn't know what he'd do if anything happened to Serenity. He was the big brother who always had to watch over her. As long as Joey could help it, he'd never let disaster befall his little sister.

Serenity looked at him, tears in her eyes. "Are you alright, Joey?!" she asked, her heart swelling to find him alive. Those horrifying, seemingly endless moments when the ship was turning over had left the girl in a tormented state, not knowing if Joey was alive. They had already come through so much together and Joey almost had died at least once—during the escapade at Alcatraz Island. Serenity couldn't bear for such a thing to happen to him again.

"Am I alright?" Joey repeated, almost about to laugh with relief. "I'm fine! How about you?" He pulled back, looking her over. There was a scratch on her cheek and a cut on her wrist, but she seemed well otherwise.

Serenity smiled softly. "I couldn't be better."

Yugi and Bakura smiled at the scene and then looked to Tristan and Duke, who also seemed none the worse for wear. The foursome then cast their eyes about in every direction, searching frantically for their other friends. Téa hadn't been found yet, nor the Kaibas and the Ishtars. Yami Yugi emerged from the Millennium Puzzle to assist in the search.

A sound from Bakura's right caused him to turn around. "Yami!" he cried in happiness as he saw the thief limp over, Oreo in his arms. Bakura ran forward, his brown eyes bright. Yami Bakura grunted, but looked Bakura up and down to make certain he was alright. Satisfied, he then resumed petting his cat, who meowed.

Seto, in the meantime, was laying dazed near the middle of the room, Mokuba in his arms. Slowly he regained complete consciousness, hearing the child call to him. As he focused, Mokuba's excited blue-gray eyes came into view. "Seto!" he exclaimed, hugging his brother tightly. "Seto, you're okay!"

Seto smiled slightly, returning the embrace. He didn't remember what had happened, only that he needed to protect Mokuba. As he sat up, he became aware of the rocking of the ship under him and it all came back. It didn't take long for him to realize that it was upsidedown. They weren't out of danger yet—not by a long shot. And he wondered exactly how they would get out of it. There weren't a whole lot of escape routes from a tipped over, sinking ship.

He also became aware of another voice calling to him—a female voice. With a confused frown he looked up, only to find Téa kneeling on the underside of the table, which was still bolted to the "ceiling." She relaxed and smiled, seeing him look up, and then leaned back. Not that she would admit it to him, but she had been very concerned when the first thing she had seen upon the return of the lights had been Seto's still form laying on the floor just below her. Now she just looked embarrassed, remembering her current predicament. How would she get down?

Seto raised an eyebrow at her as he stood up. Mokuba also was looking, though he didn't comment. At last Seto grunted and held his arms out. "Jump," he ordered.

Téa blinked in shock. "Huh?!" she repeated, staring at Seto. True, she had figured she would have to jump to get down, but she hadn't expected Seto to be apparently offering to catch her. A slight blush coated her cheeks. She still hadn't really sorted out her feelings for him. It was possible, she knew, that she did love him, as she had sometimes thought.

"Just do it," Seto growled. A plan had started to form in his mind for how they would escape the sinking ship. He remembered something from the tour Mokuba had made him take—something that might now be their only hope for salvation.

Téa swallowed hard. "Okay," she said, getting onto shaky legs. She couldn't stand up straight, as the "ceiling" was right there, so she bent over and took a deep breath. "Here goes nothing!" She leaped off the edge, plummeting downward . . . right into Seto's arms. The blush deepened. Seto set her on the floor, apparently not noticing. But Téa kept the memory of that experience in her heart.

Ishizu was nearby, pinned under a potted palm tree. She pushed it aside and sat up, looking around at all the reuniting people. Yugi and those with him were hurrying over to Téa and Seto. Boyer wasn't around at the moment, nor—to Ishizu's alarm—were her brothers. Quickly she got up, calling for them both in growing apprehension. The ship was sinking already, level by level. Ishizu had to find Marik and Rishid before it was too late!

Abruptly an agonized scream echoed down every part of the room and everyone turned to look, their blood running cold. Over in a far corner a teenage silhouette was kneeling next to a still body, crying and pleading for an awakening. Everyone instantly realized it was Marik, heartbroken over finding Rishid not moving. Ishizu paled, crying Marik's name and trying to pick her way over to him.

Marik couldn't hear her in his sorrow. "Rishid," he whispered, bending over the quiet form and trying to find breath. The man's eyes were closed and he couldn't respond to Marik's pleading cries. Soon Marik found blood trickling down Rishid's face and he gasped, trying to locate the source of the redness. What if his precious brother was gone? What if he couldn't be revived? Marik felt dizzy at the thought.

"Marik!" Ishizu exclaimed then, kneeling down by the trembling boy. She looked at the scene with horror, seeing Rishid's lifeless form and Marik's wide eyes. Immediately she took out a scarf and dabbed at the blood on Rishid's head. The wound didn't look that deep, but if Rishid was already dead—Heaven forbid!—it wouldn't really matter anyway.

Marik looked at her, his expression heartbreaking. No words could he get out, but the eyes, filled with stunned horror and disbelief, said it all. He held Rishid's mighty hand within his own, shaking ones, begging for the brother he loved to get up, to move, to do anything! But nothing happened. "I wasn't here for him," he managed to say then, looking absolutely haunted. "Rishid was always here for me, but now . . . I . . . I couldn't be here for him. . . ."

Ishizu's heart shattered and she gathered the boy into her arms, holding him close. Marik was practically in shock, but still Ishizu tried to whisper comforting words to him, gently stroking his soft hair. Marik was still shaking and Ishizu felt his tears splash onto her bare shoulder as he couldn't stop himself from crying. He couldn't bear the thought of losing his elder brother. He was clinging to Ishizu as if saying, "Don't you leave me too!"

Seto frowned, looking around him at all the scenes of heartbreak and disaster. In addition to everyone he knew, there were many others in the room, both dead and alive. The waves lapped against the large glass window at the back, threatening to shatter it. And something told him that if an escape wasn't made right then, everyone would die—including Mokuba.

"Seto!" the little boy exclaimed, tugging on Seto's hand. Mokuba had seen everything as well and he was horrified, especially when he saw his dear friend Marik suffering such heartache, but he had also seen a possible way out. When Seto looked down at him, Mokuba began to tell him the idea. It involved moving a giant, thick wire tree over to a nearby balcony and climbing up to get to the next level. Mokuba remembered all too well what he had learned on the tour and now he reminded Seto of how, at one part of the hull, it was only a couple of inches thick. If they could get up to there, they might all be able to get free!

Seto listened carefully. Mokuba's idea made sense. So the businessman turned to look at the tree, which had been left over from a "Christmas in July" celebration. It could, indeed, be used as a ladder to get up to the next level. And it was probably their only hope.

Yami Yugi looked over at him, seeing that Seto had an idea. "Kaiba," he asked quietly, "what is it?" He was just as concerned with getting everyone out of the ship quickly and he was willing to hear any possible ways to do it.

Seto didn't answer him. Instead he tried to get the attention of everyone in the room. The Pharaoh would hear his idea soon enough. "Listen to me!" he shouted finally when no one seemed to be paying him any attention. At his yell, most everyone alive looked up. Seto nodded in satisfaction. "The ship is sinking fast," he began coldly, studying those who were watching him. "If you want to get out alive, there's only one way." Then he began explaining his and Mokuba's plans carefully and precisely.

Yami Yugi narrowed his eyes as he considered how it would all work. Seto was right—it was most likely the only possible way to get out. But he could see that most of the people there were not buying it. They stared at the businessman in shock, some frowning while others just shook their heads in negativity. "Kaiba is right!" the Pharaoh joined in when he had the chance. "This is the only way."

But even Joey looked doubtful. "It sounds crazy!" he objected, glaring at Seto. The wire tree didn't seem very sturdy. How would it manage to hold all of them? And even if they got to the next level, what then? They had no idea of what would await them.

Seto glared back. "Do you think you could come up with something better, Wheeler?" he asked frostily. This was not the time for a disagreement!

Joey messed up his hair in frustration, knowing that he didn't even have the faintest idea what should be done. He only knew that he didn't want Seto Kaiba leading them out! If it had to be anyone, it should be Yami Yugi, Joey decided.

"We have to go right now!" Mokuba put in urgently. "The water's gonna come up here any minute!" He glanced back at Marik, feeling his heart rise into his throat. Marik would have to leave Rishid. There was no way they would be able to get the man up the wire tree. Mokuba's lip trembled in horror, the tears falling from his eyes.

Marik realized this as well. He looked at Ishizu helplessly, torn between what to do. How could he leave Rishid here, even if the man was dead?! If Marik didn't have Ishizu to think of, he would opt to just stay here, as it looked like most of the other people were going to. And what if Rishid somehow was still alive?! Then there was no way Marik could ever leave him! Oh, if only he could wake up!

Ishizu looked back, brushing Marik's fringe of bangs aside to see his eyes clearly. Her eyes filled with tears. She could understand Marik's dilemma. This was horrible! They couldn't leave Rishid, and yet, if he didn't wake up, they wouldn't be able to get him up the tree. She almost felt like telling Marik they would both just stay there with Rishid, no matter what happened. But she knew Rishid wouldn't want that. Rishid would want them to get out, even if he could not. But would Marik be able to live with himself? Would she?

Marik closed his eyes tightly, letting the tears slip free. It was all he could do not to again scream in anguish. If Rishid was alive, he had to wake up! Marik had to get through to him! He couldn't abandon his elder brother, not when Rishid had never abandoned him. If their positions were reversed, Marik knew very well that Rishid would never leave Marik. He would carry the boy up the tree on his back if he had to, but he wouldn't leave him behind. Marik wished he had the option of carrying Rishid on his back, but he knew he couldn't possibly. Rishid was much too big.

Shaking with agony, the teenager once again bent over his brother's still form. "Rishid," he whispered in Arabic, his voice breaking, "Rishid, I have to go. . . . I can't abandon Ishizu, Rishid . . . but I can't abandon you either! There's no way I can get you out of here if you can't wake up. But . . . I can't leave my only brother." He gripped at Rishid's shirt, tears chasing each other down his face. "I can't, Rishid. . . . So please . . . won't you wake up? Won't you come back to Ishizu and I?"

Even though only Ishizu could understand Marik's words, it was obvious to everyone there that the boy was in a heartbroken state. Mokuba wanted desperately to run to his friend, but he understood that at this moment, Marik needed the time with Rishid alone. The boy looked up at Seto, sickened, imagining having to leave him behind in such a situation. It was too horrible to think about.

In the next moment the soft sound of Marik singing in Egyptian filled the room. Bakura and Joey, who were both helping Seto move the wire tree into position, looked up in surprise. They had never heard their friend sing before. Actually, he had a very good voice, but at the moment it was filled with despair and sorrow. Bakura felt tears enter his own eyes, unable to forget when his little sister Amane had died. Joey glanced over at Serenity, obviously also sympathizing with Marik's plight.

Ishizu bit her lip, the tears spilling over now. Marik was singing a song of goodbye, apparently resigned to the fact that Rishid would not wake up. At last, breaking down, he trailed off mid-lyric and just hugged his brother, his sobs occasionally becoming strained cries. He was trying to accept that he had to leave, but yet he just couldn't. He couldn't abandon Rishid.

But then a miracle happened. Ishizu was so stunned that she could only catch her breath with a gasp as she watched Rishid shakily reach up, brushing Marik's tears aside with a gentle hand. He smiled softly and weakly as his eyes opened. He tried to get his arms around the heartbroken boy's body, pulling him close in a warm embrace. "You sing . . . quite well, my brother," he said quietly. Rishid had indeed still been alive, but deeply unconscious. Marik's soft singing had finally penetrated the mist over Rishid's senses and enabled him to awaken.

Instantly Marik was looking up, his eyes wide and now full of joy. "Rishid?" he whispered, so awed that he couldn't speak loudly. "You did come back, Rishid! You did come back!" His heart swelled and he laughed a bit from sheer relief as he hugged the man again. Of course, Rishid had come back. Rishid wouldn't leave him. And now they would all be able to get out!

The ship's chaplain, meanwhile, was now standing by Seto as the businessman made certain the tree was set up securely. The elderly man frowned in concern, watching. He knew that Seto had a good plan—probably the only possible plan—but he also could see that most of the people weren't very receptive. And he sighed, deciding that his place was with them. Seto would take care of those escaping. But he couldn't abandon all the rest to save himself. Yes, he would remain.

"Oh, Lord," he prayed quietly as the ship rocked violently and the waves again beat upon the glass window, "watch over us all."