The Shadow Realm has taken over the Earth, Duel Monsters are everywhere and the few humans left are trying to survive.

This is an AU that takes place after Battle City, but the Ishtars kept their millennium items and stayed in Domino city.

Shadow World: Realm I

The skies were dark, The sun impossible to find, He did not know, If it was day or night.

He lived in a nightmare, His worse fears came true, The skies were dark,
No longer blue.

It was cold and dark as it always was since it happened. The seal's final moment came and the protectors failed. The Earth and the Shadow Realm had become one and he was facing his nightmares everyday as everyone else was. For some unknown reason the Shadow Realm now surrounded the Earth.

Ryou Bakura ran to the shadows. He hated the shadows, but he had to hide. One day when everyone least expected it, the skies turned black as the Shadow Realm surrounded the Earth. Duel monsters now ran free in the streets of the city once called Domino. They were hunting for humans, their only food. Humans hid, but they also needed food and water and today it was Ryou's turn to go out and find supplies.

Most monsters were wild, hunting for humans all the time, but a few remained loyal to their former masters. Cards were no good anymore, duelists, now called shadow masters, called their monsters to fight as they wished. When the Shadow Realm first took over, Yami tried to stop it and Bakura for some reason agreed to help him. Ryou remembered that.


"I have to help him..." Bakura concluded, it was something Ryou did not expect to hear. The hikari found guild in his yami's voice. "I don't really care much about that Pharaoh and his hikari, or the people of Domino, or even the people of Earth, but if the Shadow Realm wins then you." The tomb robber did not finish, instead he said something else. "I won't blame you if you never forgive me even after I'm gone." Ryou was confused. What did Bakura mean by 'after I'm gone'? If he worked together to help Yami, they could defeat the shadows and save the Earth, right?

End Flashback

They couldn't and they didn't, regardless of how hard they tried. Yami and Bakura teamed up for this and failed. They somehow knew before everyone else the danger that this meant. They fought against the Shadow Realm's army and lost. All of the monsters loyal to them, all those that used to be part of their decks back when cards meant something were gone. The only monsters left to protect Ryou, Malik and Yugi, who were now living together, were Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl.

What caused the Shadow Realm to become one with the Earth? If the yamis were destroyed, what will happen now? Will the world be like this until the human race is no more? Many questions were unanswered for Ryou. One of those questions hurt the most, was Bakura destroyed thinking that Ryou hated him or did he know he was forgiven?

Ryou ran out of the shadows and into the ruins of what once was a supermarket. He grabbed a bag and put whatever eatable food he could find in it. Most of the food was gone; most of the people were dead. He made haste, knowing that the monsters could come any second. He made his way to the back of the supermarket where at last he found a few old fruits, not much and not tasty, but non the less food.

The scent of the victims was in the air, the scent of death, the death that fed the monsters that threatened to end the human race, a race that had become slave to the Shadow Realm. Even those who were called shadow masters in truth were slaves of survival. Humans, they were all shadow slaves.

Ryou quickly put all the fruits in the bag and was ready to run back to his hide out when he heard footsteps. Those steps did not belong to a human, they sounded like sharp claws. Ryou hid a broken refrigerator. He did not look out for fear that the monster would bite his head off if he did, but he saw the shadows on the wall, shadows of monsters that are hungry for human blood.

Once the monsters were gone, Ryou ran out of the ruins of the supermarket and back into the darkness of the streets. He was in more danger there than inside, but at least he had more room to run, Not that it would matter since monsters ran or flew faster than humans. He held the bag of food close. Yugi and Malik needed these supplies and it was his turn to come back alive, it was more dangerous to travel in groups, the human scent would be too strong to hide. Ryou ran to a nearby alley, hiding in the darkness that he hated, but was his only protector.

When the coast was clear, he ran again. Run and hide, run and hide, it was all he did now. It was all he could do. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Ryou arrived at what used to be Yugi's game shop. The building was in much worse state than it was when he left, that made Ryou think Yugi and Malik were attacked while he was gone. He quickly ran inside.

"Ryou!" Malik called when he saw him come in.

"Hey, guys. I found some food, it's not very good but it's edible, I think," Ryou handed the bag to Malik.

"Anything edible is good," Malik walked to a small table, which was actually just a board on some boxes.

"What happened here?" Ryou asked.

"We were attacked by Winged Dragons," Yugi come from the next room. He had a cloth stained with blood in his hands.

Ryou opened his eyes wide. "You?"

"No," Yugi replied, "Dark Magician was injured."

"He'll be okay, Dark Magician Girl is taking care of him," Mai came from the other room.

"Mai?" Ryou looked at her in surprise.

"Hi, I'm just here for a little while, I'm going to leave this city in search for a better place to live. Somewhere with less monsters and more edible food," Mai explained.

"Joey's here too," Yugi added. "Mai has three Harpy Ladies and Harpy's Pet Dragon, and Joey had Flame Swordsman and Red Eyes Black Dragon."

"He's resting, he said he was leaving to look for," Malik paused, "his sister."

"I see..." Ryou knew the truth without having to be told. It was probably because of Mai and Joey's monsters that they survived the Winged Dragons' attack. What would happen when they left?

xoxox xox xoxox

They shared the food that Ryou found and rested. Later Mai and Joey took their separate ways, leaving Yugi, Ryou and Malik alone again. The three boys didn't need to search for supplies at the moment. They always made the most of what they had, even if it meant small rations.

Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl slept and Yugi sat alone in a dark corner. It was always dark, no electricity and no sun, just darkness. Ryou and Malik sat down beside him, one at each side.

"You miss them..." Ryou spoke.

"Yes," Yugi admitted. "I can't believe that Grandpa and Yami are both gone."

"I know this may sound strange buy I miss Bakura," Ryou confessed.

"I miss Ishizu and Odion," Malik noticed it was getting colder. It must be night time; the cold was the only way to tell the difference between day and night since it was always dark. They hugged each other and stayed close in the corner, hoping tonight wasn't as cold as last night.

Yugi, Ryou and Malik remembered when things started to really fall apart. That time when what was to come finally sunk in. T a was still alive at the time. After searching for supplies with Yugi, Ryou and Malik, they were heading back to the Game Shop.


"We can't give up guys, I'm sure things will improve," T a tried to cheer up the mood, but she didn't really believe it, even if she was trying hard to convince herself that there was still hope. "We have to-" the sentence was literally cut short as a Feral Imp jumped on her out of no where and clawed her head off.

They let their guard down and now T a was dead, just like so many others. Yugi stood there petrified, eyes wide open, jaw dropped, as the Feral Imp began to eat his pray. "We have to get out of here!" Malik called out.

"Run Yugi!" Ryou pulled Yugi away by the arm and the three boys ran, knowing it was already too late for T a. They didn't stop or look back until they were inside the Game Shop.

End Flashback

They had seen so many die this way. They didn't want to think about it, especially since they could be next. The wild monsters outside were getting stronger and more ferocious. They had to be that way if they wanted to survive. Their first instinct on any unknown moving life form was to attack. They were running out of humans to hunt and hunger made them more dangerous.

Most of those who had monsters to protect them, could not call them on time or their monsters weren't strong enough to defeat those who had no master. When a duelist falls, the monsters once loyal to that duelist become like the ones who killed their master, wild, ferocious and dangerous. The three boys currently hiding in the Game shop, or what was left of it, feared that one day there will be so many wild monsters that they could no longer hide and survive.

xoxox xox xoxox

The supplies that Ryou brought were running out and now it was Malik's turn to leave their little hide out. The Egyptian boy left cautiously, looking in every direction for a random rampaging monsters jumping out of a dark corner. He then started running. He didn't know where he was going, but wherever it was, it had to be fast.

Malik was about to run passed what used to be the Ishtar Museum, which was now a pile of rocks. There he made the mistake of stopping. He looked at the pile of rocks that was once his home in Domino City. "Ishizu..." He walked towards the pile of rocks and just stared at it, remembering the day the museum ended up like this. It was a group of Thousand Dragons along with a few Baby Dragons that did this, but the Thousand Dragons made most of the damage.


"Sister I hear them! They're outside!" Malik held on to the Millennium Rod, an item that scared him at some point, but now somehow helped him feel secure.

"Ssh! Quiet they have very sensitive hearing." After that statement from Ishizu, they both remained silent. The only thing that could be heard was the roar of the Thousand Dragons outside.

Soon Malik started to smell smoke. "Ishizu, the Museum is burning!"

"I know," Ishizu expected it.

Malik just looked at his sister. How could she be so calm at a time like this? It was strange; he saw fear and sadness in her eyes, yet no sign of a will to fight. It was as if she was expecting to die soon and knew nothing could save her. Another sound was heard once the Thousand Dragons stopped roaring. It was a strange kind of footsteps. The Thousand Dragons where to big to go inside unless, "Baby Dragons," Malik whispered.

"I know Malik, I know. I have made a choice," Ishizu took off her Millennium Necklace.

"Ishizu, what are you talking about?" Malik looked at her in shock. He had a small idea of what she meant, but that just couldn't be true. He didn't want to believe it. Had she foreseen her own death? Why not stop it? Was it impossible to stop like Odion's had been?

"Take my Millennium Necklace as a reminder of your sister." Ishizu managed to smile one last smile, hiding her sadness in it. Then she hugged Malik like she did long ago when they were younger. "Take care of yourself brother," she would miss her little brother, but at least he would have a chance to live.

"What are you saying?" Malik tried to give her back the necklace. "I can't take this, your keeping it and you're staying alive!" He wasn't going to accept it so easily.

"The dragons will not leave without a human prey. I have foreseen that we will both eventually be discovered." Ishizu tried hard not to cry, but one tear managed to escape her eyes. She quickly dried it and looked away.

"Then use the power of the Millennium Necklace to find us a safe hiding place!" Malik insisted, stepping in front of her so she couldn't look away, "please sister."

"This vision came to me too late, when the Thousand Dragons and their Baby Dragons were already on their way close by. We couldn't leave the museum, we would have both died. If we try to hide and are not discovered, they will simply demolish the museum and we will be killed when it comes down. However, if I go now, you will be able to escape. According to my visions this is the only way one of us will live." Ishizu looked at Malik, it seamed like he was still processing all that information, but he didn't really want to.

"Sister I..." Malik realized then that there was nothing he could do. Maybe if she would have gotten that vision earlier they could both survive. If only whatever caused the Shadow Realm to fuse with the Earth had never happened, then they wouldn't be in this situation. But thinking of what could have, or should have happened, but didn't happen, would not help. He wished that it was him that had to stay instead of her, but he knew she wouldn't give up.

"Listen carefully Malik, I will distract the Baby Dragons heading this way and when I yell, you will run to the backdoor. As you turn the corner I will be killed, but please do not look, do not turn back, it's me or both of us and I don't want you to die. After you're at the backdoor wait there still and quiet until you hear a Thousand Dragon's roar then run. Run as fast as you can to the Game Shop, you will find shelter there." After saying those words, Ishizu unlooked the door of the small secret room where they were hiding and went out to face her cruel destiny.

The stone were pictures of Atemu and Seth dueling were carved was moved and the secret room was revealed. Ishizu ran out and the Baby Dragons immediately attacked her. Her vision was blurry from tears but it didn't matter, no matter how fast she ran, she knew they would catch her.

Malik did as his sister told him, following every direction exactly as she said and he lived. He arrived at the Game Shop out of breath, with the Millennium Rod in one hand and the Millennium Necklace in the other.

Ryou and Yugi were there. Tears ran down Malik's face as he told them what had happened. He knew that his sister was gone forever and hated the fact that he couldn't save her. She gave up her life to save him and even if they would have both died anyway, he appreciated it all the same. He knew she would choose his life over hers no matter what and wished that it was his choice to make instead.

End Flashback

Malik kept staring at the pile of rocks lost in his memories. The Thousand Dragons must have destroyed the entire building after he had ran, but Ishizu was already dead by then, so the museum didn't matter. He knew he should get going because he was easy to find by the monsters out there, but something told him to search the ruins. As if something was calling him.

Malik looked around in the darkness of the empty streets. It was quiet, too quiet he knew he should hurry, but he wanted to look in the ruins. He moved a few rocks out of the way and found a small tunnel that must have been formed when the museum came down. It was too small to go in, but he could see a pair of green eyes inside. Was it a monster? No, it was too small. Maybe it was a baby monster? No, those eyes were too familiar.

Suddenly, the creature with the green eyes bolted out of the little stone tunel and jumped on Malik. "Mr. Fluffy!" It was Malik's cat that somehow survived. The cat jumped off Malik and started running and meowing as if he wanted Malik to follow. Cats had an extra sense. They could almost predict what monsters and the Shadow Realm itself would do, so a cat was good to have around. Mr. Fluffy was a tan spin cat, meaning he was hairless. Malik has had that cat for a while now; he was a birthday present from his sister.

The cat could run very fast and Malik was having a little trouble keeping up but he didn't stop. Mr. Fluffy ran into an alley instead of continuing down the main road. In Egypt cats were very important for a reason; they could sense the monsters' presence as well as the presence of shadow spirits. "Mr. Fluffy, wait up!" It was a strange name for a hairless cat, but Malik thought it would make the cat feel more comfortable.

Finally, the cat stopped in front of a tall iron wall. There stood a large fortress at the other side, with a statue of a Blue Eyes White Dragon on top of it. They called that place Dragon Castle. "Why are we here? This is Kaiba's place but he won't open the gates for us. I bet he has plenty of supplies in there, but doesn't care that everyone outside is dying." Mr. Fluffy continued to scratch the wall trying to climb it, but the cold metal was too slippery.

"I understand, you miss her don't you?" Malik picking up the cat. "Of all the cats in this city, you had to get a crush on the Kaiba brothers' cat. Well she is a cute cat... What am I saying? I'm supposed to be looking for food and here I am playing with my cat. I thought you were leading me to place where I could find food, food that's accessible I mean." Malik started to walk with the cat in his arms; he had only taken a few steps when Mr. Fluffy started hissing. "Monster," Malik jumped into a dark corner near the walls of Dragon Castle, just in time as four Feral Imps ran by.

The memory of what happened to T a replayed in his head and he started feeling sick just thinking about getting his head ripped off in a similar way. Maybe having a cat was more useful than he thought. Once the Feral Imps were gone, Mr. Fluffy calmed down and Malik resumed his search for food. "Ryou told me not to even bother with that old supermarket anymore. Then where should I go? Maybe there's another place that used to be store around here that still has food."

xoxox xox xoxox

In a far away place, outside of Domino City, she felt the tears run down her face, he didn't like it when she cried, but she couldn't help it. She missed her brother so much, but he wasn't here. Was he even alive? Her brother trusted him so much yet she wasn't being treated as expected.

He was to take care of her, to protect her but he didn't. Her current situation scared her so much; she didn't know what he would do. Was he even the same person? Whatever it may be, there was nothing she could do about it. She admired Mai because no one ever pushed her around. She was her own boss and no one could deny that. But it was different for Serenity; she always needed her big brother to protect her, but what if the circumstances and fate itself made it so he couldn't be there for her? Like right now.

She heard footsteps coming her way. They both lived in a small dungeon-like place, hidden underground to keep them safe. All he had left to protect them was Garoozis and that wasn't much. She pushed herself as far into the corner as she could, she was so scared. Her back came in contact with the wall, it was so cold even if they were underground.

The door opened and someone stood there, once familiar to her, now a stranger. "Where are you Serenity?" Tristan's voice came harsh and cold, far from how he spoke before he became a shadow master. The Shadow Realm was affecting his mind, taking over it a little more every day, but neither of them realized it until it was too late and if she did she was too afraid to say anything about it. He was not strong enough to be a true shadow master and this was the consequence.

"I'm here," Serenity tried not to sound scared, but she couldn't help it. She wished with all her heart that Joey would come for her soon.

"Why are you sitting in that dark corner? You won't want me to think you're afraid of me would you?" Tristan grinned evilly. Serenity could somehow sense the darkness around him and kept pushing herself against the wall as if she wanted to go through it. Tristan came closer. "Are you sure you're not afraid? You won't want to upset me, right?"

Serenity was frozen looking into his eyes, something was different and it was worse with each passing day. There was certain darkness in his cold emotionless glare that Serenity had never seen before in anyone, "no."

"That's good; you do know that if it weren't for me you'd be dead, right? Your brother abandoned you!" Tristan said what he shouldn't have said.

Not knowing what happened to Joey was what hurt Serenity the most. "That's not true! My brother would never abandon me!" The fear left for a short moment and she wanted to try to do something, anything, to escape and go find her brother, but she couldn't.

"Silence!" Tristan yelled. "We will speak of him no more!" Without another word from either of them, Tristan left and locked the door, leaving Serenity alone again.

"Joey will save me one day. He has to be alive. He'll save Tristan too, the real Tristan." Serenity remembered the last time she saw Joey.


"This is looking pretty bad." It hasn't been too long since the Shadow Realm came and things were just starting to fall apart. "I'm going to try to make a run for it to the Game Shop. I'll be back as soon as I can." Joey thought it was necessary to somehow contact Yugi and the others. All ways of distant communication were out, so this was all that was left to do. The phone lines had been destroyed by the monsters as had been the electric lines. Cell phones and wireless communication were useless because there was no signal anywhere since this started.

Serenity shook her head and started crying, as hugged him. "Don't go, please don't go! Mom and dad are gone, killed by those monsters outside, please don't go, you're all I have left Joey!"

"Maybe I should go," Tristan was at the time still himself.

"No way pal, you've already risked your life today going out to get some food, now it's my turn. Stay here and keep Serenity company, I'm counting on you," Joey extended his hand.

Tristan shook his hand. "Right, don't worry I'll make sure Serenity's okay, I promise."

"See ya soon!" Joey stepped outside of the Wheeler's apartment. He looked around to make sure the coast was clear and made a run for it.

"Come back soon Joey," Serenity whispered. Everything was quiet until she almost screamed when she thought she saw something moving in the shadows. "Tristan there's something there!"

"Where?" Tristan looked around but didn't find anything.

"Right there in the shadows," Serenity pointed.

"It's okay Serenity, there's nothing there, you're just imagining things. Maybe you should rest and you'll feel better after a nap." Tristan tried to calm her. He wasn't sure what she saw, but he was trying to convince himself it was nothing. He had a feeling they where being watched, but he ignored it. There was nothing there, it was just his imagination, or was it?

"No, I'll feel better when Joey comes back! I won't sleep until he's here, I just can't, I'm already worried about him." With Serenity worried Joey and Tristan consoling, neither of them noticed that a shadow spirit was floating around behind Tristan.

The creature had been watching them, waiting for the right moment to strike. In appearance it looked like a semi transparent black ghost with glowing red eyes. In had no definite form, it just floated around like a strange shapeless shadow, making itself almost invisible in the darkness.

"Tristan, behind you!" Serenity's warning came too late, the shadow spirit now found a new vessel in Tristan's body. After that, he got up as if nothing happened and convinced her that he was fine.

As they waited for Joey, Serenity noticed Tristan was lost in thought, occasionally giving her strange looks, almost glaring. He insisted that they leave and practically dragged her away in the opposite direction of the Game Shop. Even if she kept asking to go back for Joey he didn't listen.

End Flashback

"I know you'll come, I'm waiting for you big brother," Serenity whispered into nothingness.

xoxox xox xoxox

Joey found himself in a deserted area of an unknown city. Maybe his sister was here. He was by now very frustrated and angry. It took a while to accept the fact that Tristan had practically kidnapped his sister. Who else could have done it if he was the only one there? It was either that or they were both killed by monsters. If the first possible answer made him feel depressed, the second made him feel even worse.

"I'm coming, Serenity," Joey tried to think there was still hope, that his sister was alive. Even if in the back of his mind he knew Tristan had to have something to do with their disappearance, he liked to believe there was an explanation for everything.

xoxox xox xoxox

Meanwhile at Domino City, "this isn't good," Malik had been walking for hours with no sign of food. Mr. Fluffy, the cat, lay still in his arms sleeping. Malik continued his search, but he was so tired, too tired. Maybe he should sit down for a minute, just for a minute. So what if he was out in the open. There didn't seem to be any monsters here and if there were, Mr. Fluffy would sense them, wake up, and alert him.

Malik sat on a gray rock. Everything was gray now, except the sky which was black, but that wasn't much of a difference. All was in ruins, it was very rare to find a building still standing, almost impossible. Every time he went out, he could see further into the dark horizon, otherwise impossible when Domino city was full of tall buildings. But the view wasn't good; it was like a nightmare, a never ending nightmare that was real.

Malik lay down on the hard and cold gray stone. It was certainly uncomfortable, but he was so tired. Mr. Fluffy continued to sleep on Malik's chest. The Egyptian closed his eyes.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Ah!" Malik, who had fallen asleep, was woken up by his cat that had to scratch him to get him to move. "Ouch, Mr. Fluffy, I already have plenty of carvings on my back, I don't need more on my chest." Malik still felt dizzy and very thirsty. He hadn't had enough water, if food was hard to find, clean water was even harder. They sometimes drank whatever they found so they wouldn't die out of thirst even if it meant risking poisoning.

Malik shook his head and tried to wake up completely; the lack of water made him feel very weak, but if his cat has woken him up there had to be a reason. Maybe he sensed the presence of a monster near by. Malik looked around yet found nothing. He looked at his cat. Mr. Fluffy's ears were straight up so was his tail. His claws and teeth were showing like he was ready to fight any minute.

"Poo," Malik heard something. "Poo," he heard the same sound again. "Poo, poo," it was like an echo that surrounded him. "Poo, poo, poo," it sounded like there were many of them. "Poo, poo, poo, poo," it sounded like they were all around. "Poo!"

"Kuriboh," as soon as the word escaped Malik's lips, the first little monster came into view, followed by many others.

A heavy fog had formed while Malik was sleeping and it was very hard to see. It may be true that a Kuriboh alone was week, but in such great numbers they could be very dangerous.

The explosive fur balls quickly surrounded Malik and his cat. Trapped with no way out, Malik and Mr. Fluffy stood still, waiting for the Kuriboh to make the first move. Maybe then they could find a way out of the deadly circle the monsters formed around them and run for their lives.

xoxox xox xoxox

Far away, Mai Valentine's journey led her near the ocean. The ocean was an unusual shade of dark blue and all the ships were destroyed. Pieces of wood and metal could be found on the shore. A black liquid appeared to be spreading into the distance in the sea and there was fire on land as well as in a few ships that slowly sank. However, the flames did not disappear as the ships sank, but became stronger as if the sea itself was going to burn; it was that black liquid that must serve as some kind of fuel to the flames, maybe it was some kind of oil or something worse.

"Mai!" She heard someone call her name and turned around to find Mako Tsunami.

xoxox xox xoxox

In Domino city, Ryou and Yugi were at the Game Shop waiting for Malik to return. "Yugi, why is Malik taking so long?" The white haired boy asked.

"I don't know, but I hope he's alright," Yugi was also starting to worry.

xoxox xox xoxox

At the ocean, "it's nice to see I'm not the only one alive here. You're heading across?" Mako asked.

"What's out there?" Mai truly saw no reason to cross the ocean. Wouldn't the world out there be the same? It's true that she was searching for a better place to live, but she was beginning to think there was no such place.

"Some sailors came a while ago, they found an island with no monsters, an uncivilized island with no houses or no sign of human presence, small but monster free none the less. They spoke of fruits and clean water on that island. I'm heading there in search of a better life, they said that their companions who stayed are starting to build a small village there," Mako explained.

It wasn't the first time Mai heard a story like this. In her travels, she had met many people who spoke of a better land, but they were just chasing an impossible dream. She used to be one of those people, but now it was different. She was starting to accept the realty that there was no peaceful land without monsters. "If that place is so great, why did they return?" The question was an obvious one. Who would want to come back to this war, to this fight for survival, if they have truly found a peaceful place to live in?

"For their friends and family that they left when they went in search of supplies. But came back to the cruel truth, near the ocean there was a beautiful town that, as you can see, is gone now." Mako had visited that town before and even stayed there for many days. He always came to restock on supplies before he left in his boat in search of his father. Mako Tsunami had at last accomplished his dream of traveling around the ocean, but this dream was short lived. Not too long after he returned from his first trip, anxious and exited to start the next, the Shadow Realm took over.

"To come back here after they found a safe place, how foolish!" Mai turning away.

"They wanted to find their friends and family!" Mako called after her. "They didn't go on a journey to leave them behind, the left to search for supplies and then when they found that island, they had to come back. Wouldn't you go back for your friends and family Mai?"

"No, because I have no family, they're all dead and my friends... We were never that close. I can't truly call them friends and they're probably dead too!" Deep down Mai regretted her words sounding so careless. Her friends were her true family.

As much as Mai tried to convince herself that she was doing the right thing by leaving, a part of her felt out of place. She wanted to return to Domino city and from there go off to search for Joey and help him find his sister. Yet Yugi had not gone with him, it was all about survival now, had the coming of the Shadow Realm affected them that much?

There was no room for friendship now, just survival; maybe going across the ocean wouldn't be such a bad idea. Mako and Mai could help each other, then go their separate ways when they get to safety. They could make a deal, just a deal. "Let's talk about business, Mako." Mai broke the uncomfortable silence that had formed. "I'll share my food with you if you get me across. I assume you have a boat and know the way?"

"Aye Mai, I do. We must leave now before the sea burns." After a short walk they reached Mako's boat. Mai hopped in and tossed her bag with food inside.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Stupid fur balls," Malik had developed a strong dislike for the Kuriboh right now. After standing perfectly still for a few minutes, finally the fist hairball decided to attack. Kuriboh were usually friendly, but given their current situation, in order to survive they had to become more aggressive and protective of their lands. Malik, although very tired, thirsty and hungry, was going to fight for his life if he had to, he quickly jumped out of the way and the Kuriboh hit another one. They both exploded but did not die, instead they fell on the ground unconscious.

At least Malik knew what to do. He just had to get the Kuriboh to hit each other. Trick one to attack and get out of the way at the last second so it would collide with the one behind him. Mr. Fluffy however, had his own way to do tings. The cat jumped from one Kuriboh to the other activating their attack as he jumped. After a few explosions Malik saw an opening and ran for dear life after his cat.

"Good work, Mr. Fluffy!" The Kuriboh were still chasing Malik, but at least he wasn't surrounded anymore. He saw what looked like the ruins of a tall building that was ready to fall apart. He would run in and the little hairballs would run after him, then he would grab a rock from the ground and throw it at one. That one would most likely hit another while exploding and so cause a chain reaction.

Even if they didn't all explode and get knocked out, they might still cause the building to fall apart and be crushed under it. But what if Malik didn't find a way out on time? He couldn't think about that now, he was in no condition to run a long distance and he felt like he would faint any second, this was his last hope to escape the army of Kuriboh.

Malik carried out his plan, making the Kuriboh follow him inside that building, throwing a rock at one and causing a chain reaction just like he thought it would happen. Finding at exit was the hard part. He couldn't go back out the way he came in because the explosion was there, but what if this building had no back door? What if he was trapped? "Meow!" He looked at his cat.

"Want me to follow you?" Malik followed Mr. Fluffy. How did the cat know where to go? Maybe he didn't, maybe he was just guessing. After running a little more, the building began to shake and fall. It was so dark, all Malik saw was the glowing green eyes of his cat that jumped and disappeared into more darkness. Malik didn't know what had happened but he followed also jumping and found himself in a dark fog.

They were outside, after having jumped out a window. Malik heard the building falling apart behind him and began to run again, getting away from it, the flying rocks and fragments of unknown material, the smoke, the dust and the Kuriboh. Once at what he calculated was a safe distance, Malik stopped to catch his breath.

xoxox xox xoxox

At the ocean, Mako's ship started sailing away just as the fire began to spread into the sea itself. Nothing to worry about, they would get away before it reached them. "Mako, can you make this thing go faster?" Mai asked. It wasn't exactly the best ship ever. The wooden ship that relied mostly on wind to move didn't look like anything Mai was used to traveling over the ocean in, but she had no choice. There was nothing else to travel in.

"Sorry Mai, but there's really not much I can do about this. The wind is very weak so we'll move slowly all the way, but don't worry, with some luck we'll get there in a week." Mako was doing a bad job trying to make something bad sounds as if it wasn't so bad, instead he made it sound worse. Who knows what may happen in a week, the ship could sink by then.

"A week! But I only have supplies for three days at most!" Mai protested. Why couldn't he have mentioned that before? It was too late to go back now, as the fire had created a wall around the land. "It's always the important things that aren't said until it's too late, always the important things," such words brought back memories and Mai asked herself if she had said all that needed to be said.

There she was, leaving to a strange place she wasn't even sure existed and Mako couldn't say he was sure either, he had never been to this island in person, he only heard about it. She didn't know when she would be back but most likely she wouldn't. There was nothing left for her in Domino city. There was nothing left there for anyone. Her goal now was to find a better place to live in, a place away from the duel monsters. Why would she return? Mai Valentine was smarter than that.

"We'll just have to diet," Mako half joked about their lack of supplies. "We couldn't wait any longer, look at the fire now. We would have been trapped and besides, I think it will be worth it if this island is as good as they say it is."

"If..." Mai continued to stare at the fire wall as if in a trance. She was trying to keep her memories out of her head. She was specially trying to forget a certain event that occurred before she left Domino city.


"So you're leaving Joey?" Mai was currently in the Game Shop. "Yeah, I'm off to find Serenity." For a moment it looked as if Mai, Joey, Yugi, Ryou and Malik would stay together, but Joey had to go. He had to go find his sister and it was something he wanted to do alone. It's not that he didn't appreciate help; it's just that he didn't know what he would find on his journey and didn't want to endanger anyone.

Later Mai also left. She wasn't looking for any lost family or friends, she was looking for peace. She was starting to think the way she used to before Duelist Kingdom. That she was better off alone, that she didn't need anyone. She was going back to that life from before. She tried to tell herself it was for the best and acted as if she was convinced, but she never managed to convince herself completely.

End Flashback

"Traveling by ship like this may be slow, but it's better than fighting for our lives all the time, don't you think? Besides, if we call our duel monsters that will attract attention," Mako turned his attention to the waters ahead, everything was darkness. The horizon couldn't be distinguished; there was no place in the distance where the blue of the sky touched the blue of the ocean because there was no blue. It looked as if they were sailing towards an endless void of dark emptiness.

"I suppose so," Mai was still staring at the fire. "When are we going to start moving Mako? The ship seems to be moving only up and down a few inches while floating in the water, but not going forward." That wall of fire was starting to worry Mai.

"We are going forward," Mako was looking at the water. "If you look at the water near the front of the ship you can tell we're moving, slowly but we're moving." Mako hated to watch the ocean in this state. The clear blue sea used to be so beautiful before, but now it was just depressing.

Mai had not stopped looking at the fire. "Are you sure we're going forward? Because that fire wall looks as if..." Mai paused still looking at the fire. "It's closer now; I think we're going backwards!"

"You're not a sailor so you can't tell the difference by how it feels when a ship is moving in a certain direction. You just feel the ship floating and base yourself in the surrounding area to tell if the ship moved or not. Such slow movements can only be interpreted correctly by a true sailor like me," Mako didn't admit it but the movements of the ship and the surrounding area didn't make sense. The ship was moving forward, but the fire was also closer.

"The water is burning isn't it? As impossible as it may sound it's burning even if the black stuff isn't as dark here." Mai directed her attention away from the fire. Her eyes were getting teary from staring at it for so long.

"The ocean, stupid Shadow Realm," Mako didn't want to believe it, but Mai was right.

They weren't safe in the water, the ocean itself would burn and it wasn't because of the oil, it was because of the Shadow Realm. "The water further ahead isn't as dark, it's bluer." Mai pointed a flashlight at the waters ahead. "The fire will be weakened there and maybe eventually stop."

"According to my calculations if the wind continues to blow like this we will reach semi clear waters before the fire touches the boat." Mako hoped the barely perceivable breeze continued. "Once we're in better waters my Legendary Fisherman and the fish he rides will pull the boat, making us move faster than the fire, but we can't risk getting the attention of other monsters here. They could see us from the shore and some can fly after us."

Everything was silent for a few seconds. The boat continued moving slowly. It looked as if they would make it until, it began to rain. But this wasn't ordinary rain; the rain water was black like the strange substance in the sea. The rain ended just as suddenly as it started. The fire that burned the ocean became stronger, surrounding the boat. "Why didn't you get a boat that actually has an engine!" Mai complained.

"It had an engine but it was damaged some time ago," Mako answered.

"Can't you do something?" Mai was starting to panic.

"No, that stuff in the water may hurt my Legendary Fisherman, it's not like he can fly," Mako was beginning to panic as well.

"Come to me Harpy's Pet Dragon!" Mai called. From the darkness of the sky above came a dragon flying down to them. It was Harpy's Pet Dragon. A few flying monsters came but Harpy's Pet Dragon was stronger. None the less, they had to get out of there quickly before they became too outnumbered.

"Sailing is much more fun than flying and safer too!" Mako complained holding on to the dragon he and Mai were now riding.

"Is that so? Look at your boat," Mai pointed out.

Mako looked down and saw that the fire had somehow reached his boat and it started to burn and sink. "My boat!"

"Forget it, just tell me which way is the island before more monsters come." Harpy's Pet Dragon flew higher, away from all the smoke and the smaller monsters.

xoxox xox xoxox

Malik looked around the darkness. It was so dark that he couldn't see anything. "Where am I?" After all that had happened, he truly had no idea where he was, it was as if his sense of direction had been completely shut down by the darkness. "How will I get back to the Game Shop?"

Staying out there was not a good idea and even if his confused state, Malik knew that all too well. His recent experience confirmed the dangers that were all around the city, if he could even call this a city now. Then he remembered he still hasn't found any food. It was his turn to find it and Ryou and Yugi were counting on him.

Malik suddenly felt something touch his leg. "Who's there!" The thing was small from what he could tell. He looked down and saw a pair or glowing green eyes. "Oh, it's you Mr. Fluffy," Malik petted the cat. "You can see in the dark, right? Okay boy, take me to some food!"

The cat meowed and started walking, not too fast so his master could keep up without tripping on anything in the darkness. He occasionally looked back to make sure Malik was still following him. As long as Malik saw the glowing green eyes, he knew he was going in the right direction. Cats were something special back in Ancient Egypt and now once again they were starting to show why. Maybe something similar happened back then.

xoxox xox xoxox

At the Game Shop, Ryou and Yugi were very worried about Malik. He was taking too long to come back and all the fog outside made it impossible to see. "Do you think he's okay?" Ryou feared a truthful answer.

"I hope so," Yugi truly feared the worse. He had lost so much already and he didn't want to lose anyone else, it would be all he could take.

"How will he find his way back?" Ryou asked.

Yugi thought for a moment, he wanted to give Ryou a good answer. He wanted to give him an answer full of hope. An answer that would not only convince Ryou that everything will be alright, but convince also Yugi himself, but he could only say the truth, "I don't know."

Ryou was silent for a moment, then he got up and walked toward the door. Yugi picked up the candle that was their only light and followed him. "Where are you going?"

"Out," Ryou replied simply.

"Ryou, you can't look for him, you'll get lost. I'm sure Malik has found shelter somewhere and is simply waiting for the fog to pass before he comes back. I'm sure once this clears up a bit he'll come back as soon as he can see which way to go." Yugi was worried about Malik and wanted to go out and search also, but he feared what could happen if they did. They could both die, he wasn't worried about himself, with all that happened, Yugi didn't care what happened to himself, but he didn't want any more of his friends to get hurt.

"No Yugi, I can't wait, I have to go now!" After saying this, Ryou ran out into the darkness and disappeared in it. He had to find Malik; Yugi would be okay in the Game Shop for a few minutes. He wasn't going to take too long; Malik had to be near by. Ryou just couldn't stand it when the three of them were apart. Ever since he lost Bakura and allied with Malik and Yugi for the survival of the three Ryou had gotten quite attached to them and couldn't stand the thought of losing either of them. The Shadow Realm had taken Bakura; it would not take Malik also.

"Ryou! Ryou come back! Ryou!" Yugi hoped that he would return, but Ryou did not return or say anything at all, so Yugi ran after him. The candle hardly provided enough light to see where he was going.

xoxox xox xoxox

Malik was still following his cat. The cat stopped and Malik wondered why. "Is everything okay, Mr. Fluffy?"

"Meow! Meow!" The cat didn't move.

"What is it?" Malik took a closer look. It was a Kuriboh that was knocked out on the ground. "It's okay Mr. Fluffy, this one can't attack us. Now let's find some food."

"Meow!" Still the cat didn't move.

"C'mon Mr. Fluffy, please lead me to some food. Oh, no, you don't mean... Fine, fine," Malik picked up the Kuriboh and finally the cat got up and started walking. "I don't like your idea of food. I gave you the best cat food I could afford and this is what I get?" With this thought Malik remembered the time when he tried to turn his cat into a vegetarian. That idea didn't work out so he ended up giving him cat food instead.

"Meow!" The cat protested.

"It's okay; I understand there's nothing else. This will just have to do, let's go back to the Game Shop, you know the way right?" It appeared that the cat had quite a good sense of direction. If he could sense the monster's presence, maybe he could somehow sense Yugi and Ryou also.

"Meow!" Malik and Mr. Fluffy started walking toward the Game Shop. Soon they would be back in the place they now called home and everything would be alright, or as good as it can get in the current situation.

xoxox xox xoxox

Yugi was still searching for Ryou and there was no sign of him anywhere. Then again, he could be near by but there was no way to tell in this darkness with only a candle that was almost burned out. "Ryou!"

"Ryou... Ryou... Ryou..." Yugi heard the echo of his voice coming back in a ghostly way. A cold chill ran down his spine, was it just him or did the shadows that covered Earth get creepier by the day? No, it wasn't just him, things really where getting worse, much worse.

xoxox xox xoxox

After walking for a little longer, Malik and Mr. Fluffy arrived at the Game Shop. "I'm back!" Malik felt around for the door and opened it. "Ryou! Yugi! I'm here!" He called out once again, but just like the first time there was no answer. "Hello?" Malik was beginning to think he was alone in the Game Shop. Could Yugi and Ryou leave without him? Why would they do such a thing? No, they wouldn't just leave him, but then why weren't they here? Did something happen to them?

Did they get attacked and captured or killed? So many questions flooded his mind. "Guys! This isn't funny, please answer me!" Malik held his breath as the images of Ryou and Yugi's possible fates at the hands, or paws and claws, of the monsters replayed in his head. Malik remembered more clearly than he would like what had happened to T a and Ishizu. Could Yugi and Ryou had found their death with the wild duel monsters that roamed the ruins of Domino city also?

Malik could see it so clearly as if it had happened. He could imagine the Duel Monsters coming to attack, Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl fighting to the last of their strength. The two loyal magic users were out numbered and over powered, fighting against the wild reckless beasts. With one last effort they, combine their magic to protect Yugi and Ryou. The duel monsters counterattack and soon Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl fall dead at their feet.

Yugi and Ryou are left without protection. The two humans run for their lives but the merciless beasts are faster. They are cornered, helpless, they are killed. Malik shook his head. That never happened, his imagination was betraying him, yet he couldn't get the images out of his head. How could it be that he could picture something that never happened so clearly? Was it another effect of living in the Shadow Realm? That is what the Earth had become, an extension of the Shadow Realm.

After what felt to Malik like an eternity, he saw a light coming from the next room. He breathed at last and relaxed a little. Duel Monsters didn't walk around with candles, so even if no words were spoken, the one holding the candle was a human, right? He was ready to complain about the joke Ryou and Yugi had just played on him, when the one with the candle came closer and Malik realized it was neither Ryou nor Yugi. Duel monsters did walk around with candles after all.

To be Continued

Disclaimer, I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh! Credits to Laria Kaiba for the character of Mr. Fluffy.

xoxox xox xoxox

My Site: piratesboard DOT net SLASH mikari

Art Archives:
mikaristar DOT deviantart DOT com
mikaristar DOT sheezyart DOT com
fanart-central DOT net SLASH profile-AzureMikari DOT php
artgrounds DOT com SLASH gallery SLASH Mikari
anipan DOT com SLASH 21462
pinterest DOT com SLASH mikariazure SLASH
pixiv DOT net SLASH member DOT php QUENTION id EQUAL 4828776