Fanfic Chapter 145: Epilogue
Episode Basis: Mostly Original, a little of Burying the Past Pt 2
Ever since I first woke up in that apartment with nothing but a slip of paper with a name and a Duel Monster card in my pocket, I have often wondered that unanswerable question: why am I here? But I wasn't asking this as a philosophical question, I was asking it in the literal sense. Why do I have no memory of my childhood? What was expected of me? I've reached so many dead ends in answering these questions that I eventually gave up and tried to survive to the best of my abilities.
There were times when I felt this overwhelming sense of depression, like I was born and then everyone from God on down had forgotten about me. Too often this depression had resulted in me crying myself to sleep. But then something happened.
I was working part-time at an arcade to earn food money when I heard a voice let out a grunt of rage, "I can't believe this, I took dance for seven years and I'm losing to a lousy machine." I looked over and saw a girl on the dance stage. The screen showed in large, loud letters, GAME OVER.
"Is everything all right?" I asked.
She turned around and my stomach started flip-flopping. She had shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes. She was dressed in a yellow and black T-shirt and pink skirt with stiletto boots. "Yeah, everything's fine, I'm just angry at myself. This game is just so hard."
"But if it was easy, then it wouldn't be fun, would it?"
She chuckled, "Yeah, I guess you're right."
"By the way, I'm Harold, Harold Kumara."
"Tea Gardner, it's nice to meet you."
"So you like to play… I mean games." I felt some redness in my cheeks.
Tea burst into laughter which made her forget about her loss.
Tea treated me like I wanted to be treated: kindly, polite, and very friendly. I was sure to treat her the same way. It seemed like the only reason she came to the arcade was to beat the dance machine game (and she did, after about twenty tries) but a small part of me was hoping that she came to see me. That thought made me feel… special.
One time, I decided to ask if she wanted to get something to eat. She seemed to ponder the invitation for about a minute and for that minute I was afraid I said something I shouldn't have. But then she said, "Sure, how about next Saturday at Burger World." That was the first, last, and only date we would ever be on. I don't know if she expected me to do it again but I was just glad I could take a risk and have it turned out all right.
Tea didn't show up at the arcade for the next three weeks after our date and I was afraid I drove her away. I was beginning to sink into depression again when one Saturday she came in! But this time, she wasn't alone. There was another kid with her: a boy with spiky blonde hair with red tips and black roots. He also had violet eyes and wore a school uniform. What stood out about him was the upside down pyramid he wore around his neck.
"Hey, Harold," she said cheerfully dispersing my fear that I offended her and the depression that was associated with it. "I'd like you to meet someone. Yugi, this is the guy I was telling you about, Harold. Harold, I'd like you to meet Yugi Moto."
Yugi gave me a smile and held out his hand. "Pleased to meet you, Harold," he said.
"Same here," I said. "Any friend of Tea's is a friend of mine."
I meant every word of it.
"Sorry, Tea, but we had to remove the dance machine for a few weeks so we could make room for this." I showed them a virtual reality machine. "It's called Virtual Wars. You choose to be either a wizard or a warrior and you battle each other."
Yugi's eyes bugged out, "Wow, that's so cool."
"We're the only Arcade in the region with one."
"Hey Harold, can I try it out?" Yugi asked.
"Sure," I said. "But it requires two players."
"Oh." Yugi's head lowered.
I smiled at him, "Tell you what, I'll be your opponent."
The two of us set up on the stage and I showed Yugi how to play it. Suddenly the doors burst open and a punk kid stood there. "Oh yeah, there she is, and she's all mine!"
He was staring at the game machine we were using.
He was Victor Bassett, a regular at the arcade. And it's only because he's a regular that he's allowed in. He's rude, forceful, and thinks he is the lord of all video games. He shoved me away. "All right, shrimp, let's battle."
"Hold on, I was going to battle Harold!" Yugi protested.
"That worthless waste of space, forget him! We're going to battle." Victor's insult was a verbal stab right in my heart. Before Yugi could protest, Victor started the game.
Yugi was unprepared for Victor's forceful battling. But what's even more, he was unprepared when Victor actually kicked Yugi in the chest. Normally, if you want to kick, you have to step on one of two squares. But Victor literally kicked Yugi.
"Hey, foul play!" I protested.
"No one asked you, dog crap." Victor continued to assault Yugi's avatar, and his physical body. When Yugi tried to put up a defense, Victor broke through like it wasn't even there. Finally, he kicked Yugi so hard that he flew off the stage and landed at the far wall. He looked unconscious and I was sure that was what it was at the time.
"Yugi!" Tea cried.
I was outraged. Nobody deserved to be beaten like that, least of all a kid. "Let's see how you like it!" I lunged at Bassett but Bassett quickly got me in a judo hold and tossed me to the side. "Man, if you can't defend yourself against a simple move like that, you might as well be dead."
"Oh crap, now I have no more opponents."
A faint glowing came from the side of the room. We all turned to see Yugi's necklace glowing. A strange light emitted from it to Yugi's body. Yugi opened his eyes but there was definitely strange about them. They somehow had a harsher look to them.
"What kind of a warrior leaves an opponent still alive?" He asked.
"That voice!" Tea gasped.
"Huh, what voice?"
"That voice, that's the same voice of the guy who saved my life before. I never saw his face, but… its Yugi… the one who saved my life those times before… was Yugi!" Tea looked like she was about to faint. I had no idea what she was talking about.
"You can't really call yourself a warrior if you haven't beaten your opponent. How about a rematch?"
"So you haven't had enough humiliation, have you, shrimp? Fine, but don't blame me when you fall the second time, you don't get back up."
"Big talk, let's battle!"
Once again they set up. Once again, Bassett decided to really attack Yugi. But this time, Yugi was prepared. As Bassett launched his first kick, Yugi caught it and twisted it. Bassett was forced to bring his foot back. "Why you little…"
"Anybody can sneak attack, but a true warrior fights up in the open."
"Fine, I'll make your avatar toast then!" Their avatar characters went all out. Yugi's health meter was draining rapidly than Bassett's, not to say that Bassett's wasn't decreasing, just not fast enough.
There was only twenty seconds left before the game would end. Once it ends, the player with the lowest health bar would lose, in this case Yugi.
Bassett got another sneak attack on Yugi's body. Yugi's feet fell on the foot squares which started glowing. His avatar started to glow. His health bar rose back to full. Yugi's magician avatar aimed its scepter at Bassett's warrior avatar and fired an intense beam of energy that decimated the rest of Bassett's health bar.
"He won," Tea said happily.
"You stupid, I should be the winner."
"You only choose to play through cheating," Yugi scolded. "That's why, even if you beat your opponent, you will always lose. Now, pay the price for hurting others. Penalty Game: Renewed Pain!" Yugi held out his hand and Bassett's body shook before collapsing.
"What… happened to him?" I asked.
"He got the punishment he deserved," Yugi said his voice deeper than I remembered. "Now for every pain he has inflicted on his opponents in the past, he will feel it ten fold. And…" Yugi's eyes glazed back and he started to fall over. Tea and I caught him.
We decided to take Yugi to my apartment to recover since it was closer than Tea's house or the store where Yugi's Grandfather worked. Tea kept constant vigil during the two hours he was knocked out. When he awoke, I could hear them talking but about what I can't imagine. I couldn't imagine it because I was too busy thinking about what Bassett said to me. Was he right? Was I a mistake sent on this Earth? Because I haven't had too much human interaction, I didn't even think that his thoughts were anything but true. Perhaps it was time to end it all. I stood up and went into my bathroom. I took out a pair of scissors and opened them so that the sharp end would hover over my wrist.
"NO!" Something slammed into my back and I dropped the scissors into the toilet. I turned and saw that Yugi had grabbed me in a reverse hold. "Harold, violence isn't the answer, especially violence to one's self."
"But Yugi, I can't stand this any more. I don't have a family, don't have a past, what could I be here for except through some divine accident?"
"You were put on here to be our friend, Harold!"
"That's right. How do you think Tea would feel if you just took your own life like that? She considers you her friend and so do I!"
"But nothing, you were sent here for a reason and until we find that reason, you're sticking with us."
"Yugi… okay." Yugi finally released me. "You're one incredible kid, Yugi."
"I could've told you that," Tea said from the bathroom door. "Harold, we'll help you find your purpose, that's what friends are for."
"Gee… I never had a friend before."
"Then you've came to the right place," Yugi said. "When it comes to friendship, Tea's the expert."
And so, that was how I met Yugi Moto and became his friend. I later realized that Yugi saved my life, saved me from doing something I would probably regret in the afterlife. I made a promise that I would help him just as he had helped me.
And I've helped him in any way I could, from offering advice and observations…
Yugi and Harold left the school building and began to walk home. "Yugi, you're a lot stronger than you think you are."
"If I am, then why wasn't I able to protect my Grandfather from being taken away by Pegasus?"
"Pegasus pulled a fast one on you," Harold said reaching behind Yugi's ear and pulled out a quarter. It was his favorite magic trick and he knew Yugi liked it as well. "Next time, you'll be ready for him. Plus don't forget, you have the ultimate trump card... or should I say cards."
Yugi nodded, knowing what his friend was talking about. "Exodia."
"Yugi, believe it or not, you saved me that day. I was ready to throw my life away but you stopped me. So if you think I'm going to stand by and watch as you put yourself on the line again for me… for us, you've got another thing coming."
"Screw Pegasus, I'm not scared of some maniacal millionaire because he has a trick eye. Yugi, when the final battle comes, I'm going to be right behind you, backing you up 100 percent. And the others will too. They all care about you, Yugi, and nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to stop us from helping you get your Grandfather back."
To even save his life from a fire, of course he didn't know it was me at the time.
Avatar leapt on to the duel ring. The archaic symbols appeared and began rotating in front of the flames.
"Call me crazy, but I think that overgrown chicken scratch is actually pushing back the flames," Tristan realized.
I had a sixth sense that the Battle City tournament would spell doom for everyone involved, especially Yugi. So I sought to halt his advance to his doom.
"That still doesn't explain why you're out to get Yugi," Tristan reminded him, his temper slowly leaving him.
"One of the armlet's other abilities. It gave me a… sixth sense I guess you could call it, a fine-tuned intuition. And I knew that this Battle City tournament would spell bad news for everyone involved, especially you, Yugi. If you value your life, you would withdraw from this tournament, otherwise I would be force to defeat you and eliminate you."
The Millennium Puzzle started to glow. Yami had broken the seal and the two joined spirits once again. "Harold, I'm sorry, but I must remain in this tournament. It is my destiny."
"Yugi, you decide your own fate," Harold argued. "If you truly value your life, you would withdraw."
"I can not."
"Then I must eliminate you," Harold said.
Fortunately, or unfortunately,I failed. I didn't want to duel him, but I wanted to help him. Kaiba allowed me to participate in Battle City and it was a good thing too, because one of my opponents was able to verbally knock some sense into me.
"But… you're friends with Yugi Moto!" Kevin pointed out. "Doesn't that count for something?"
"Not since I tried to eliminate him from the tournament."
"Are you sure he resents you for that?" Harold looked up at his opponent shocked. "I don't know about you, but I find it hard to believe that Yugi would resent you for failing at doing something to him."
Harold realized that Kevin was right, why would Yugi hate someone for failing to eliminate him? That sounds more like something Kaiba would do than Yugi. He's right, I really have no idea what Yugi thinks of me.
"When Yugi beat you, he didn't exile you, you did that yourself," Kevin was saying. "If you still consider yourself Yugi's friend, you would stand by him no matter what he thinks of you."
But even while I was trying to protect Yugi and his friends…
"Stand close, everyone," Yami-Yugi instructed. "Harold, can your Armlet protect us?"
"We're about to find out," Harold said and raised his arm to the sky. The archaic symbols came off the Armlet and began spinning around the kids. Harold decided to include the Kaiba Brothers as an afterthought. The lightning bolts bounced off of the Armlet's shield.
Yami-Yugi held up the Millennium Puzzle, closed his eyes, and concentrated. The eye symbol on the puzzle's centerpiece started to glow and the same image appeared on Yami-Yugi's forehead. The symbols started to glow brightly and spin more rapidly. A golden ring appeared around the Duelists, a ring that, if seen from above, looked like the Egyptian eye symbol of the Millennium Items with Yugi's puzzle being the pupil.
Harold said something that caused Tea to cover Serenity's ears. "I don't care about this crummy tournament any more, I won't stand by and watch people I care about get hurt!" Using his Armlet, Harold propelled himself onto the platform. He set up a shield between Joey and Mai and the blast. "I may not be able to stop Marik from winning the duel, but the least I can do is lessen the physical damage!" His shield pushed back the blast.
Yami-Yugi was finally able to break free from the Rod's hold. He too leapt onto the field and touched his puzzle to Harold's Armlet. The symbols became gold-colored and successfully shielded them from Ra's blast.
I was still looking for my meaning. And once again I was coming upon nothing but dead ends. What Joey said on the blimp certainly didn't help things, reminding me forcefully of what I didn't have that everyone else did.
"Are we supposed to feel sorry for that spoiled brat just because he grew to be an evil nutcase?" Joey asked, losing patience with every word. "He trapped Mai's mind in the Shadow Realm, now she's experiencing who-knows-what kind of horrors! If you ask me, he doesn't need to be saved, he needs to be smacked and I'm just the guy to do it!"
"Joey, that's enough," Harold said. "You can't place the blame for what Marik did on Ishizu's shoulders. She did her best to prepare Yugi for this trial as a way of redeeming herself for her mistakes. And if you ask me, Marik's father is the one who deserves punishment for the torment he put all three of them through! If he didn't force Marik to go through that hokey ritual, Marik wouldn't even need that dark side. You have every right to be upset at Marik for what he did to Mai but you can't blame the whole family for the mistakes of one person."
"Yeah and how would you know?" Joey retorted. "You don't even have a family!" Harold clenched his fist so tight that a trickle of blood fell onto the floor. Harold turned and stormed out.
I was beginning to fall into a depression again. I thought I deserved it but deep down, I wanted somebody, anybody, to get me out of it. Someone did but it wasn't really who I expected it to be.
Serenity studied his solemn face for a moment and then took his hand. "Harold, you may not have a family, but you do have friends who care about you."
Serenity nodded, "Yugi, Tea, Tristan, Duke… and me too, even Joey believe it or not. We all care about you in one way or another. And friends are just as important as family. Take it from me."
I took Serenity's words to heart and finally realized my purpose when I saw that flaming demon trying to devour us.
The blimp detached turning the zeppelin part into a high-tech jet which boosted away from the flames. Harold saw it out of the corner of his eye. Good job, Kaiba, he thought. I knew you had a heart. He breathed a sigh of relief and turned his shield on the bulk of the flames. The circle of symbols formed a golden disk which Harold, leaping off the blimp, used to plow through the flames to its very core. Harold saw a phantom image of Gozaburo. He put all his strength into the golden disk into the phantom image.
A huge explosion engulfed the zeppelin.
I released the Armlet's full power and managed to push the demon back buying Kaiba enough time to jettison the blimp and take off with the others leaving only me for the flaming beast to snack on.
And so, I sacrificed my life to protect the people I cared about.
Or so I thought.
The shaking had finally stopped. Everyone moaned and struggled to stand. Tristan and Duke each offered Serenity a hand but it was Amara's hand who Serenity accepted leaving the boys dejected.
"Is everyone all right?" Mokuba asked as he and Kaiba came back to check on them.
"I think I have all my body parts intact," Amara said checking to make sure.
Serenity looked around and spotted Harold's Duel Disk on the ground. She picked it up, "Has anyone seen Harold?"
Everyone looked around and started calling out for Harold.
"Kevin, have you seen Harold?" Yugi asked.
"Yeah, I saw him heading for the roof," Kevin replied.
"That's impossible!" Kaiba gasped. "I just jettisoned the blimp. Right now, that explosion would've consumed it."
"You mean Harold's…" Serenity's face went whiter than it has ever been. She dropped to her knees.
"Oh man, this is all my fault," Joey said. "If I hadn't snapped at him last night in Mai's room, I…"
"No, Joey," Yugi said. "I think Harold wanted to protect us. That's why he went up there, to protect us."
"And sacrifice his life in the process." Tristan punched the wall. "Doesn't that blockhead realize that we cared about him?"
"We all did," Tea said solemnly. She looked at Serenity. "Especially Serenity." The others (except Kaiba) lowered their heads in mourning.
A loud clang came from the top. Everyone looked up.
"What was that?" Joey asked.
The clanging sound came again, this time it was more focused.
"You don't think it's…" Tea didn't want to finish the thought.
"There's only one way to find out," Kaiba said and led everyone over to a ladder that led up.
"Get ready, everyone," Yugi instructed. Everyone got into defensive positions and braced themselves for what they believed was the worst.
Kaiba slammed a button.
Harold tumbled down the shaft and landed on the floor. "I'm not doing that again," he groaned. He looked up and saw the others with shocked looks on their faces. "What's with you guys, you look like you're not happy to see me."
Serenity was the first to react. She threw the Duel Disk to Mokuba and ran to Harold grabbing him in the tightest hug imaginable. "Stupid," she said. "Of course we're happy to see you."
The others also ran up to him. "You gave us quite a scare there, big guy," Amara said.
"Wait, how did you survive that explosion anyway?" Tristan asked.
"Well, it's strange. I expected myself to be toast but my Armlet. The symbols somehow formed a ball that encased me from the fire. Next thing I knew, I was on top of this thing."
"We're just glad you're alive," Tea said rubbing his back.
Mokuba sighed and stared out a porthole. "Something wrong, Mokuba?" Yugi asked.
"Noah," Mokuba said. "He… he sacrificed himself to save us." Nobody responded to that. "Do… do you think we'll ever see him again?"
"I suppose anything's possible," Yugi replied. "He's a computer file, right? Maybe he saved a copy of himself on a back-up disk or something. Who knows, maybe we will see him again."
"I hope so."
"Well that little experience was a complete waste of my time," Kaiba said. The comment was like a bucket of cold water thrown over the others. "So let's just pretend it never happened. We need to get back to more important matters: the Battle City Finals." Kaiba touched his pin radio. "Roland, set a course for Kaiba Corp. Island!"
And so, another arc in the Avatar story comes to an end. I'd like to thank all new readers and returning readers. I also like to thank the following people/organizations:
Blue-Eyes White Knight for the character of Kevin. Sorry that he didn't get a lot of airtime here. for episode synopsis and Japanese-English comparisons.
Kent Regal's Deck Master Variation Reference Guide (http/www.kentregal. for descriptions on the various Deck Master Abilities. This web site contains a list of over 173 monsters including Exodia, Blue-Eyes Toon Dragon, and even the Egyptian God Cards. Check it out sometimes, you might be surprised what kind of monsters you might find there. for hosting this series.
Stay tuned, for the next story arc called "Final Battle" featuring the mother of all shockers. Until then, later.