Author's Notes: I tried to use all manga-appropriate names or else names from the Japanese anime.
I wrote this myself, but the main plot was developed in conjunction with my sister, Briallyn. Go check out her fics if you like Bakura.
Dedicaton: I dedicate this story to my sister, Briallyn.
Chapter 1 Another Invitation
The white envelope held the usual weight of paper, nothing extra. All the names of the recipients were in a fine print, but in the left corner was another name in script. It was this name that caused all the recipients uneasiness. For, there, signed with his own hand, was the name Pegasus J. Crawford with the address of Duelist Kingdom proclaimed loudly in black. At least nineteen such letters found their way into someone's hands. None of those hands' owners failed to recognize Pegasus's name.
Mutou Yugi could not stop staring at the letter in his hands. Pegasus always sent bad news to them. How could he rip it open and see some more? At least this time there was no videotape…
Grandpa whistled as he came into Yugi's room. "Oh, I seem to have forgotten something, Yugi!"
The boy jumped to his feet, whiter than the glowing sun. "I don't want it!"
Suguroku scratched his head. "But, it says something about being a winner. Did you enter a contest of some sort? It feels like it might have some cards in it…" his droning came to a halt when Yugi snatched the second particle from him and tore it open.
"Yes! I did win some free cards!" As he looked them over, his other self glancing over them as well, his face fell. "We—I have all these cards already, or else, they're not very strong."
Laughing his way like Santa Claus, Grandpa said, "What? Did you really expect them to give away five ultra rare cards to every winner?" He walked away continuing to chuckle.
Saddened, Yugi put aside the cards he had won and returned to staring at the envelope.
"Aibou, just open it," his other self said, also gazing at the white piece of parchment.
"If you're sure…" Suddenly, he glanced up with a little more enthusiasm. "Maybe the others also got a letter like we did! I should go call them!" He dashed out of the room without another word, grabbing the phone. Breathlessly, he dialed Jonouchi's number.
The phone in his hands rang at least eight times at the other end. Still, Yugi did not hang up but stood waiting for his friend's voice.
Finally, as the twelfth ring went into his ear without ceasing, Yugi sighed and put the phone back down, wishing Jonouchi had picked up. If the invitation was about something to do with Duel Monsters, he was the one most likely to have gotten the same invitation. Then again, Pegasus had not invited him last time to the tournament, so perhaps he refused to again.
Yugi was going to try Anzu next, but then he sensed his other self again, just standing there watching him. More than anything, Yugi wanted to be as brave and tough as this other part of him. He was not blind; he knew Anzu had feelings for his other self and not for him, so he thought if he were more like the spirit, Anzu would begin to like him for himself. It was that reason he did not reach for the phone again. Instead, he returned to the room to be daring and open the letter on his own.
After the sealed flap had been demolished into pieces in his effort to get inside, Yugi finally pulled out a letter, glancing back inside to see if there was a card. Nothing was left within, which made Yugi feel a little better. Then, with his other self reading along, he opened the paper and scanned the words,
"I regret to inform you that I am deceased."
That needed a rereading. Yugi gaped, reading it at least five times, and then he checked the bottom to make certain it was referring to the man who had written to him. Pegasus had signed the bottom. In order to understand, he finally moved past the strange words and continued,
"For a few months, unbeknownst to myself, there has been a malignant tumor forming on my brain. I had headaches, of course, but I thought they were from being so lonely on my island. You never would come visit, you know."
Yugi had to stop again, wondering how true any of this was. Pegasus was talking about his death as if it were a joke? And how was he able to write about it all?
"Keep reading, Aibou."
Obediently, Yugi put his eyes back to the page and continued the letter,
"The fact remains that since you are reading this, yours truly has passed away. You have been one of the select few chosen to see the reading of the will, for something has been left for you. I hope you come and enjoy your stay at my castle. You'll get only the best treatment, even if I am not there to assure it. All you need when you arrive is this card."
Heart sinking, Yugi looked where there was an arrow pointing, wondering why he had not noticed its presence before. Instead of loose in the envelope, the card was taped to the paper. It had a gravestone on it saying Pegasus J. Crawford departed on a certain date.
"I hope you appreciate its beauty, since there are only so many like it, and I will never be making any more. There is no need to send a message of commitment. Indeed, I will never get it. All you must do is be at Domino Harbor on the said date and all will be provided, including the boat ride over. Enjoy the rest of your day.
"Yours ever in amusement,
"Pegasus J. Crawford."
Now that he had finished, Yugi gaped at the entire thing wondering what to do. "Mou hitori no boku, what are we going to do?"
His other self had no answer.
Meanwhile, everyone else invited was wondering what to do. Grandpa, much to his surprise, had been invited. One of his friends, Hopkins, had also been invited. They chatted about it for awhile when the other old man came to visit. To both the Mutou's relief, Rebecca had remained behind.
"I don't even know Pegasus! Why would he invite me?" Professor Hopkins asked.
Grandpa did not have a good answer. "Maybe he read about you in the paper? Wait—were you ever in the American paper?" As Hopkins shook his head in ignorance, Grandpa scratched his own head. "Well, then, maybe Pegasus has been spying on us all and decided to invite people who are friends with us!"
Hopkins stared at Grandpa. Grandpa stared at Hopkins.
Together, in their voices that sounded so different—one had an accented Japanese, after all— they said, "That's kind of creepy!"
High above the highways crawling with cars, Mokuba stared at a letter. Then, though he could guess the reaction, he brought it over to his brother.
"Seto, I think you should look at this." Eyes wide, he held it out for his brother.
"I'm a little busy, Mokuba. Who is it from?"
There was a slight pause. Then, "Pegasus."
Kaiba's typing froze. "What?" Again, there was another pause. Swiftly filling in the silence, he said, "I don't want it."
"I think you should read it. It was addressed to me, but you have one, too." Mokuba's face still held great shock. Kaiba could not even begin to guess what was in the letter. But if his brother looked so shocked already…
He took his brother's letter, flipping it open to scan the words. Yet, it was impossible to read the letter swiftly. Was this some kind of joke? How could Pegasus be writing such banter when he was dying?
"I don't believe it," he said, tossing the paper beside. Then he snatched the letter addressed to him. It was worded the same. "Annoying people like him do not die from cancer. And even the great Pegasus would not pull a stunt like this, humoring his death."
"I'm not so sure, nii-sama." The boy's eyes were very big and worried. "Don't you think we should check it out?"
Kaiba's own eyes narrowed. "I would not have thought you wanted to go back to Duelist Kingdom."
"Well, I don't, particularly. It just seems so sad, Seto. If he's inviting us there he must not have had many friends."
Scoffing, his brother answered, "You want to go grieve the man who stole your soul?" If Mokuba had already forgiven the heartless man, Kaiba still knew he never would. Some things are wrong no matter what. "I can't imagine he has any friends."
Gazing at his feet, Mokuba stopped pressing the issue. "Whatever you want, nii-sama." He turned aside. "I'm going to Duelist Kingdom."
"What!" He stood up. "How do you propose to do that?"
"All I have to do is be at the harbor. But, I do know how to fly the helicopters."
"You will do no such thing!"
He looked at his older brother under his lashes. "Are you going to lock me away? I was invited and I will go. Alone, if need be."
His brother knew how to threaten him too well. Almost growling to himself, Kaiba finally pounded one fist on his table.
"Fine. We'll go to Duelist Kingdom. But we won't take the same cruise ship as others are inevitably taking. We'll fly by Blue-Eyes or not at all."
Mokuba smiled. "All right, nii-sama."
After the big hit of his game, Dragon Dice Dungeon, Otogi Ryuji had been disappointed not to hear further from Pegasus J. Crawford. His email had been sadly empty of any professional congratulations or advice. The mail from fan girls was always welcome, but a part of him still yearned to hear from his great role model.
Today, to his intense excitement, he ripped open a letter postmarked from Duelist Kingdom in glee.
"All right! Mail from Pegasus!"
Otogi Ryuji happily scanned the page. Slowly, his excitement drained away like he had holes in his feet. Something worse bubbled back into him. Shock, certainly, but even a sick feeling of disappointment joined it. He had never gotten to really know Pegasus, but he still greatly honored the man, maybe even revered him.
"I can't believe it," he whispered. He sunk into a chair and put his head in his hands.
There was no doubt in his mind. Otogi owed it to Pegasus to do as his last request indicated. If only there was a better way to express his gratitude rather than go to a reading of the will.
"Eh?" Jonouchi looked closely at the envelope. "Eh?" he asked again. "I guess it won't hurt me to open it…"
He, as so many others did with the same missile, reread it a couple times. Then, scratching his head, he pulled off the card.
"Pretty nice card, I'd say. I wonder if Yugi got one, too."
Fortunately, the phone bill had been paid recently, so it was working. Jonouchi grabbed the phone and punched in the number that he had memorized long ago. It was odd that he still knew a phone number but could not remember all of his times tables.
Suguroku picked up the phone, asking if the Kame Store could be of any help to him.
"I'm sure it could. I want to talk to Yugi, Gramps."
"Oh, sure, Jonouchi." From the receiver, his voice hollered, "Yuuuuuuuuggiiiiiiiiiii!"
The blond-headed boy held the phone away from his ear during the shouting, sticking one finger in his ear. Because of his actions, he did not hear a much quieter voice asking his name.
Finally, Jonouchi answered, "Oh, sorry, Yugi. Your gramps almost deafened me."
"It's all right. Say, did you get a letter from Pegasus?"
"Yeah, I did. Isn't it odd? Should we go?"
Jonouchi looked around his messy place. Right then, to his relief, he could only see his father's boots on the table. The phone was conveniently placed so that he would not have to hear his father's snoring as loudly.
"I'd go. Any chance at cash is one I take."
Yugi hesitated on the other side. "But isn't it a little strange?"
"Yeah, but we're used to that with him. Who would believe he was able to steal people's souls? So, we might as well use it to our advantage."
His best bud was quiet. "Well, if you're sure, Jonouchi."
"'Course I'm sure. You want to meet at the Domino Harbor on the date?"
"Of course, Jonouchi. We should see if anyone else was invited. My grandpa was, so maybe others have been who were not before."
"All right. I'll keep my eyes out. Talk to you later, Yugi!"
"Yup! Bye, Jonouchi!"
The letter on one person's mail pile was a complete puzzlement. She could understand why others might get mail from him, but as for herself, it just did not make sense.
"Huh? Why would Pegasus mail me anything? I'm not a duelist."
Anzu, intrigued, opened the letter like everyone else. Needless to say, she had a few phone calls to make once the mail was read. Yugi and Jonouchi were going, so she decided to go with them. Anything with her friends was worthwhile. Even going back to Duelist Kingdom could be enjoying if she did it with her friends.
"Oh, dear." He stared at the parchment in his grasp. He knew some parts of his memory were gone during the Duelist Kingdom trip, so he was worried the Spirit of the Millennium Ring had something to do with Pegasus's death. Pegasus may have claimed to have a brain tumor, but Bakura Ryo did not put anything past his other self.
Unfortunately, the Spirit never answered any of his questions when asked directly. Instead, their relationship was simply host and parasite.
"I'd better call Yugi. What if he did something to Pegasus?"
The short teen was certainly having plenty of calls today. First Jonouchi and Anzu, now Bakura. Yugi was still recovering from his call from Anzu, so he was a little breathless as he picked up the receiver.
"Yugi, you have to help me!"
"Bakura? Calm down. What's going on?"
"I can't remember things from Duelist Kingdom and now Pegasus is dead! What if I had something to do with it?" He hoped the Spirit of the Ring would not interfere with this very conversation now.
"But, Pegasus said he died from a tumor."
"What if that's the Spirit's way of killing him!"
Yugi wished he could be over at the apartment with his friend. That way, it might be easier to calm him down. "Bakura, just calm down. It's been awhile since we were there. Don't you think the Spirit would have killed him in a quicker way?"
Fretting, Bakura said, "Well, probably…"
"So, I doubt you had anything to do with Pegasus's death. It was just one of those sad diseases that happen to people." He paused. "Are you going to go over to Duelist Kingdom?"
There was a large exhale over the phone. "I suppose. That way, someone else can keep an eye on me and make sure I don't do anything I regret."
"Bakura! Try to be a little more optimistic. You haven't had any gaps in your memory recently, have you?"
"Well, no. But I think he's plotting or has devised new ways to make me forget. The Spirit's making me paranoid!"
Yugi smiled. "Then I definitely think you should come with us. A little time with your friends will do you some good."
The white-haired boy also smiled. "Thanks. I'll go. See you then."
Three letters, all from the same address? Pegasus was writing to all three? Impatiently, Malik ripped his to pieces and had to hold part of the letter together to read it. The card in the middle was still intact, however.
"Isis! Rishid!" He ran down the hall to their rooms and gave each of them their respective letters.
He waited while they read the message. Then, Malik said, "It looks like my cruiser gets to make another journey, and this time, it is to go to the Duelist Kingdom."
"But, Malik, it says we should meet at the Domino Harbor and go that way."
Making a face, Malik replied, "Let me have some fun, sister! How about it, Rishid? Do you want to go to the Duelist Kingdom?"
"I go anywhere you go, Malik."
"Then we have an agreement."
Other letters were sent and read, mused over and scanned. Every single person who had gotten one agreed to go. It was not everyday a billionaire died and offered near strangers to be there for the reading of his will. Pegasus had promised them some type of leaving from his grand estate, so it was worth their time to take off from work or school.
All modes of transportation were provided for no matter where the person was from. Some, like the Ishtars and Kaibas, were using their own crafts. Everyone else was planning on being at the pick-up points.
The date written on the note was approaching. Unfortunately, Jonouchi was having trouble discovering when that date was. Quickly, he went over to his friend's house after school one day in a panic.
"Yugi! Help! Are you still there? Am I supposed to be at the pier yet?"
Suguroku was whistling. "Hello there, young Jonouchi. Go right in. Yugi's over there."
Yugi was looking at his dueling cards and glanced up when Jonouchi entered.
"I don't know what date we're leaving!"
Yugi smiled as he pulled out the card Pegasus had made. The last card most likely. As he looked down at the tombstone, the smile faded from his face. It was always so difficult to know when it was appropriate to be happy after a death or bad event.
So, he got straight down to business. "It's the date on the gravestone. That's the day the boat leaves the harbor."
"Huh?" Jonouchi looked closely at the card. "You're saying that's the one? Then when did Pegasus keel over?"
"Uh, I don't know, Jonouchi. I don't think he wrote that. He couldn't."
Jonouchi was squinting at Yugi's card closely. For once, he had observed something that made sense. That was why it was taking him so long to be certain.
"Then how could Pegasus know what date the boat is leaving?"
A real smile crossed Yugi's face. "That date was written on. And I compared the handwriting with the date of the letter; they aren't the same."
"Ohh, I see now." Jonouchi laughed. "Thanks, Yugi. Now, want to duel?"