Heart of the Cards: Chapter Eight

"Yugi, thank goodness you're awake!" Téa exclaimed when he opened his eyes. He stared at her groggily, having a hard time readjusting to the fact that he had traveled three thousand years into the past. "What happened?"

"We were transported back into ancient Egypt," Yugi explained, feeling a strange hollowness now that the pharaoh no longer inhabited his body. He looked around the room and saw that everyone was there and conscious, with the exception of Kaiba. All those that had taken the field trip to Egypt held a haunted look in their eyes, they remembered.

Yugi stood and faced Bakura, who was still looking down at him from his higher vantage point. "Bakura, it is time you finished your business with Pharaoh Atem!"

Upon shouting the name of the pharaoh, the millennium puzzle around his neck began to glow and unlock, the key finally being revealed. After a blinding flash of light, standing in the middle of the room were the Thief Bakura, Pharaoh Atem, and a large shadow monster by the name of Zork.

Kaiba was the last one to his feet, having just returned to consciousness. He had one arm around his brother for support and the other around Serenity. Duke was standing at her side, not seeming too pleased that she was helping Kaiba stand. Kaiba's eyes focused on the center stage. "Atem, you must call forth the Egyptian god cards if you wish to defeat Zork and end this battle!"

"Yugi, aren't you going to do something?" Téa asked anxiously.

Yugi's brows furrowed, he wasn't sure if he was supposed to do anything. This was the pharaoh's battle after all. He looked down at the deck he was holding. Not all the players were here. He called forth the Dark Magician and the Dark Magician Girl. He glanced back up at Kaiba and wondered if he would call forth the Blue Eyes White Dragon. He did not.

The two magicians appeared simultaneously flanking the pharaoh as his three Egyptian gods loomed behind him.

"Bakura, I am sorry for the loss of your people. There is nothing I can do to set it right but I can not allow you to be the destruction of so many innocents," Atem called out. He united his god cards together. His magicians stood with their staffs in front of him defensively.

Zork sent a blast of power straight for him, but it was deflected by his loyal magicians, but they both vanished in the same move, a sacrifice to save the life of their pharaoh. Atem did not waste the advantage and used his god cards' combined power and annihilated Zork.

Bakura fell to his knees, "No."

Atem walked over to him and placed his hand upon his rival's shoulder. "It is over." Then the two vanished.

Joey was the first to speak. "What in the world happened?"

"Idiot," Kaiba sneered. "Obviously we were witness to the end of the battle that began three thousand years ago."

"But, that can't be it. It was over to fast," Joey argued.

Kaiba arched his brow at the blond haired man. "Most battles when facing the force of three infinitely powered god cards and two friends that gave up their souls to protect you end rather abruptly."

Kaiba gazed at Serenity, an odd look of affection seemed to be shared by the two of them, which made Joey begin to growl. Then Kaiba and his little brother left. Duke leaned down and whispered something to her, causing her to laugh softly.

Then of all things, the two of them held hands and left.

"What is going on?" Joey demanded. Yugi clapped his hand over his irate friend's shoulder and shrugged. "I give up; I never understand what's going on anyway."


When Atem next opened his eyes he was in a world of darkness. Was this it? Was it over? He wasn't sure. It had seemed too easy, if one could consider three thousand years trapped in a puzzle and then the past year of facing challenge after challenge easy.

It was then that he realized he was not alone. Beside him he could hear soft breathing. Then he felt a warm body cling to him. "My prince!" Mana cried happily.

Atem was surprised and caught off balance. He toppled over and took the young woman with him. They fell to the ground in a pile, an experience he didn't mind too much given the situation. He felt a rush of affection for the woman. "Mana? Where are we?" He still couldn't see a thing.

"We are before the gate that leads to the next life," she explained. "Everyone is waiting!"

"I don't understand," Atem started but was cut off by the incessant tugging on his arm.

"Come! We've waited a long time for you to come!"

"But, how did you become a shadow monster?"

"Mahaado was not the only one who would sacrifice for you," Mana admonished.

He allowed her to pull him towards what appeared to be a faint light in the distance. He was pretty confident it wasn't there a few moments ago. "What was it like? To be a shadow monster?"

She paused in her steps. "I didn't remember my past life or anything," she began softly. "I felt my loyalty to you and the need to protect The Dark Magician. Those were really the only thoughts or feelings I possessed."

"How did you do it?"

"After Set and I rebuilt the kingdom I waited until I was at the peak of my abilities and then like Mahaado, I had merged my spirit with my Ka so that I might serve you when you needed me in the future."

They had become closer to the light and Atem could see his old friends, his priests and priestess of ancient Egypt. The stood waiting for him, happy to see him. Mahaado stood with an especially happy expression as he held out his arms.

Mana gave Atem a kiss on the cheek before launching herself at Mahaado. Atem watched in a mixture of awe and jealousy at seeing the two magicians reunited. Mahaado twirled Mana around in a circle and held her close to him. His arm was wrapped securely and possessively around her waist.

They looked back at the pharaoh and he could see a happy sparkle reflected in both of their eyes that he couldn't remember ever having seen when they were all alive.

Isis held out a royal robe for him and Atem slipped into it. "Welcome home Pharaoh," she greeted him. "Come, it is time for you to rest."

Atem looked around at his royal party. "But, are you not all reincarnated?" He saw a shimmering glow cast about each of them and super-imposed he saw who they would become in the future, three thousand years from then.

His biggest surprise came at seeing Mahaado and Mana. In their stead he saw the figures of Duke and Serenity. He shook his head and the vision was gone, replaced by the Egyptians he knew for so long.

High Priest Set, or perhaps Pharaoh Set, he wasn't sure which to refer to him. Stood before him, but he was older, a full grown man. "There will be plenty of time for that," he assured him.