Disclaimer: I don't own YGO.

Summary: A mysterious card has added itself to Yugi's collection. It causes strange emotions to stir for the pharaoh and begins to affect the Dark Magician's behavior on the field of battle, but why? MahaadoMana

Heart of the Cards: Chapter One

Before class, while Yugi was busy trying to put the finishing touches on his essay, Joey was shuffling through his cards. A tournament was coming up, hosted by Seto Kaiba and Joey Wheeler wanted to make sure that his best friend had the absolute best deck assembled.

"Hey Yug?" Joey questioned, a confused look crossed his dark eyes as he held up an unfamiliar card. Yugi looked up from his paper and his eyes widened in surprise at the sight of the card in Joey's hand.

"Where did you get this?" Yugi asked as he examined the unfamiliar monster card. He had never seen it before and yet it seemed oddly familiar to him. He could feel the soul of the pharaoh stirring within him. This card must somehow be linked to the pharaoh's past.

"I got it outta your set of cards buddy," Joey replied as he began to flip through more of Yugi's cards in search of more mysteries. "She looks pretty cool. Think you'll add her to your deck?"

The card was Dark Magician Girl and Yugi had no idea how she ended up in his deck. With his free hand that wasn't holding the new card he touched the Millennium puzzle that hung around his neck. 'Pharaoh?' Yugi called mentally.

The pharaoh appeared in spirit form to stand beside Yugi. He peered over the young man's shoulder to see what had drawn his attention. For a moment the pharaoh's heart seemed to stop when he took in the sight. There was something familiar about those mischievous green eyes that stared back at him from the dueling card.

"Dark Magician Girl," Yugi read aloud. The pharaoh sighed, no memories surfaced but he was certain that this Dark Magician Girl was related to his past. "It looks like she's a complementary card to the Dark Magician."

Joey snatched the card and placed it within Yugi's dueling deck. "Then she'll definitely be played at the next tournament because the Dark Magician is your trump card." A sly grin crossed Joey's face and he turned around to make sure that Tèa wouldn't be around to hit him upside the head. "This will be great on Kaiba's virtual reality game! She's pretty hot!"

Yugi just looked at Joey blankly, choosing not to comment on his friend's blond moment.

'I'll agree with Joey on this one,' the pharaoh spoke to Yugi. 'She is quite becoming. However, there is something about that card that strikes a strong accord with me. It is much the same feeling I have regarding the Dark Magician. We can place faith in this card.'

"I'll trust in the heart of my cards Joey. The Dark Magician Girl showed up in my cards for a reason." Yugi decided, taking heed of the pharaoh's words, as he gathered his belongings to head to class. He took back the cards that Joey was looking through but for the rest of the day he was distracted trying to figure out how a card magically would appear in his deck.


3000 years ago

After the conclusion of a tedious meeting with the other five priests of the palace, Mahaado made his way back to his place of residence. He had left his apprentice Mana alone for nearly three hours and felt an urge to check on her progress. He felt slightly guilty for leaving her with so much busy work, but he believed in productivity.

Mana was nearly eighteen now and showed so much promise. She was clearly bright and had never disappointed him, but he did frown upon her work ethic. She was always doing exactly what he requested but never exerted any extra effort. If she only applied herself to her studies half as much as she did to her pranks then she would be amazing and unparalleled in her strength. A rare smile crossed his lips at the thought of his apprentice reaching her potential.

He cast a weary glance at the Millennium Ring that hung around his neck as a curse. He knew that its origins were evil but it was his duty to bear the burden and he would do so without complaint. However, because of that burden he would never again be free to perform his magical arts to his true ability unless in his temple.

He knocked softly on the door to his study, "Mana?" Mahaado opened the door and peered into the dark, abandoned room. His eyebrows drew together as he took in the sight of scrolls neatly piled on the desk and a letter addressed to him.

The message did little to appease his annoyance when he read the bubbly script of his pupil. He wasn't so upset that she didn't do her studies as much as he was annoyed that at any moment the High Priest Set was sure to be pounding on his door demanding the where-abouts of a certain pharaoh.

He placed the letter back upon the desk and left his residence to begin his quest for his two best friends. He had grown up with the former prince and held an undying loyalty for the man. The pharaoh had a dream of equality in the kingdom and for that Mahaado's respect had never wavered.

Eight years ago when he was at the age of fifteen, young for a magician and recently burdened with the Millennium Ring, Mana had entered his life. She had just turned ten and her family had been killed in a horrible fire, but her father had been a famous magician in his own right. Word had reached the prince of the tragedy and he had left to collect the girl personally.

Mana had been living with some neighbors in her village and they were afraid for her. Always before she had been incredibly bright and the star of her father's eye. Her talents as a young magician were already famous. Naturally Mahaado accompanied the prince on this trip.

The amazing thing was Mana's reaction to seeing the prince and his priest. For days she had been completely mute and shed no tears. Her emerald eyes were dark in grief. When the prince spoke to her she nodded and agreed to come with him back to the palace. He urged Mahaado to kneel beside him before the young girl.

Upon seeing Mahaado something in the girl changed. Her dark eyes suddenly had a light to them and without warning she lunged forward towards his chest and her hands fisted on the front of his white cotton shirt. She began to sob uncontrollably and after casting the prince a confused look Mahaado reluctantly placed his arms around the ten year old.

"Mana, this is Priest Mahaado. He is a great magician and my most trusted friend. You will be his apprentice." Mahaado looked in shock at his prince; he was not expecting such an occurrence; he was young for a magician himself and just recently arrived at the rank of priest.

Mana pulled back and looked at the prince questioningly. "My prince thank you for this opportunity," she solemnly bowed before the pharaoh-to-be. She then smiled shyly at Mahaado, an embarrassed pink staining her cheeks. "Master, forgive me for messing up your shirt. I have not been myself lately," she bowed her head.

Mahaado looked past the girl to give the prince one more perplexed look, but the boy merely smiled good naturedly at him. "I am honored to have one such as you be my apprentice." Mana looked up at this surprised.

"Come along Mana, we must return to the palace, my father will become anxious if I am gone for too long," the prince explained, his amethyst eyes twinkled warmly. "Have you ever ridden a horse before?" Mana shook her head no. "Then you shall share my horse with me." He offered his hand to the girl that was only three years his junior. She slipped her small hand into his slightly larger one and followed him to his white stallion.

Once again Mahaado was surprised but he shouldn't have been. For after that day the prince and Mana had become the best of friends, though their mischief together was often frowned upon. Who would have thought that the future king of Egypt's two best friends were a couple of magicians?

Mahaado shook his head to clear it of his reminiscing thoughts. One would have thought that in eight years time at least one of those two would have matured enough to not go running around playing games as soon as their respective teachers were distracted.

His first stop would be to check the vases, but he doubted they would be found there. Sure enough High Priest Set was waiting for him at the large vases that lined the main hallway.

"Where are they?" Priest Set demanded as soon as Mahaado came into view. Mahaado raised a brow and surveyed the hallway, assuring himself that they were indeed not present. He returned Set's angry blue gaze with a shrug.

"I doubt if they would have stayed in the palace when they had three hours to escape our boring lessons," Mahaado answered in his calm, impassive voice. It was the sort of tone that he knew irked Set.

Priest Set adjusted his necklace and scowled at the other priest. Mahaado crossed his arms over his chest and glared silently, not blinking his grey eyes. The two stood facing off until the shuffling of feet interrupted their silent staring duel.

Priest Karim and Priestess Isis turned around the corner and noticed the two powerful priests squared off in front of the female magician's favorite hiding vase. "I gather that the pharaoh and your apprentice have gone missing?" Isis questioned Mahaado.

The stern look that Mahaado was giving Set faded as he felt a sense of embarrassment begin to take over. The pharaoh and his apprentice were the two people that Mahaado cared for most in the world; he would do anything for either one of them. No sacrifice would be too big when it came to either of them. However, standing before his peers with knowing looks on their faces sometimes made him question his choices of loyalty.

Before he could answer a familiar giggle could be heard. The four priests in attendance all looked up towards the sounds that were originating from the rafters above their heads. Stepping out of the shadows was the female magician and the twenty-one year old pharaoh.

Mana was clutching the pharaoh's arm and he was sporting a large grin. "Looks like they found us Mana," the pharaoh stage whispered to his companion in crime. He looked down at his priests and took in the angry expressions on both Set and Mahaado's faces. "I think it would be best if we returned to our studies."

"Yes my prince, I enjoyed myself." Mana released the pharaoh's arm and then scratched her head for a moment. "My apologies, I mean my pharaoh," she corrected belatedly. The two climbed down the walls to reach the ground level with the priests.

Isis and Karim took their leave after paying the pharaoh their respects. Isis mouthed 'good luck' to Mana in reference to her teacher.

"Pharaoh, we have a great deal of policy to discuss. You should take your position more seriously. People are starving in the streets. You do not have the time to waste with childhood foolishness." Set gave Mana a pointed look.

Mahaado intervened before Mana said something to anger the high priest and earn herself punishment. He wrapped his arm tightly across her shoulders and turned her away to walk back towards their residence. "Come my apprentice, we have much work to do."

After Mahaado led Mana into their home he shut the door firmly behind him. Mana turned to him and bowed before him in humility and spoke quietly. "I am sorry master for shaming you with my disrespectful behavior."

Mahaado sighed deeply before lifting her chin with a hooked finger, to make her look at him. He offered her a small smile. "You did not shame me. But you can make me proud by focusing on your studies." She looked about to protest but he cut her off. "And do not blame the pharaoh for your mischief. I am afraid to ask what the two of you did in the three hours since I left you."

Mana smiled beautifully at him and the carefree light he cherished in her emerald eyes returned. "We went into the streets in disguise and we helped random people that seemed in need."

Mahaado walked towards his desk chair and sat down. He lifted his brow to encourage Mana to continue. "We snuck into the kitchen and took some of the parcels for dinner and gave it out to the hungry." She giggled. "The prince will pretend to get angry at dinner because his favorite foods will be missing from the course."

"Don't you mean pharaoh, not prince?" Mahaado corrected. Mana nodded vigorously. She opened her mouth to continue with what the devious duo had done in his absence but Mahaado was too tired to listen to it all now. He raised a hand to stop her from continuing. "Mana, continue with some of the scrolls I left you. I'm just going to sleep for a small while."

Mana agreed and left her master to dedicate herself wholly to her studies. Half an hour had passed and she went to check on Mahaado. He worried her at times. She knew that the Millennium Ring he wore around his neck drained him. She knew that because of the ring and some sort of hidden danger involved with it he could not unleash his full powers.

She also knew that High Priest Set constantly taunted him for his seemingly weak powers and though he wouldn't admit it, it upset Mahaado. Mana frowned, just because one does not show off his strength does not mean it isn't there. Looking down at her master brought tears to her eyes. He was so young and yet forced to take on so much responsibility.

The pharaoh was also in a similar role, but he found time to cut loose with Mana. Mahaado never allowed himself that luxury. Mana reached down to brush the dark bangs that fell over Mahaado's closed eyes. His hair was so soft and she felt honored to be one of the few to have ever seen him in such a state.

Normally his headdress hid his hair from view. Other than herself, she doubted if anyone had even seen his hair after he turned fifteen. His face looked so drawn when he was awake and even during sleep he looked tired. She leaned down and gently placed a kiss on his forehead before letting his hair fall back over the skin. She pulled his blanket over his body and then left to return to her studies.

Mahaado opened his eyes as soon as he felt Mana leave him to return to her studies. A small smile crossed his lips as he pulled the blanket tighter over his body. It was times like these that he was grateful that the pharaoh had gifted him with this apprentice. Mana had become family to him as he surely had become to her.

He closed his eyes and slept peacefully knowing that he was not alone.


Yugi was feeling rather desperate. The game was not progressing as he would like and it was only the preliminary rounds of the tournament. He needed to draw a monster card direly.

A grain of hope instilled itself in his heart when his next draw revealed Dark Magician Girl. He was able to play her and protect his life points. This duel wasn't over yet!

He survived three more rounds with his opponent before he drew out the Dark Magician. The pharaoh within him encouraged Yugi in his play.

When the Dark Magician was unlocked from the card something strange happened to the monster. The purple haired being blinked in astonishment as thoughts unrelated to attack and defense crossed his mind. He had a flash of a memory involving a dark haired girl clinging to the front of his shirt; only he was wearing white cotton, not the familiar purple armor.

The Dark Magician frowned in confusion but ignored the thoughts when his master's next order was called and he attacked his opponent. He then returned to defense mode and stood guard ready for his next turn.

From the corner of his eye he noticed something pink and blue shoot across the field and attack. It returned to his side and he was astonished by the sense of familiarity. No thoughts such as this had ever crossed the Dark Magician's mind to his remembrance, but perhaps long ago something like this had happened? He was unsure but tried to focus on the battle.

The next attack against his side was easily deflected. However it was the next move of his master that sent the Dark Magician into a world of confusion. The pink and blue blur fighting alongside him giggled and he turned to look at her. Feelings of familiarity overwhelmed the mage.

The Dark Magician Girl went charging towards the opposing side but was stopped by a trap card. A blast of energy was shot back towards the Dark Magician Girl that would have annihilated her.

Acting without orders, the Dark Magician leapt in front of the Dark Magician Girl and blocked the blast with his green staff. He then returned to his former position and resumed play, no other thoughts other than obeying his master coming to mind.

Yugi blinked in astonishment. "Did you see that?" He asked the pharaoh that dwelled within the Millennium puzzle around his neck. 'I did and I must say that those two monsters must be somehow related to the mystery surrounding me.'

Yugi took a deep breath and looked through his cards to strategize a foolproof way to defeat his opponent. He found the perfect combination to accomplish his task. Using his Dark Magician and his Dark Magician Girl he was able to pull off a sound victory.


A/N: If you are a fan of the Dark Magician and the Dark Magician Girl then join the yahoo group DarkMagicianDarkMagicianGirl in my profile.