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Fanfic Chapter 168: Epilogue: Many Paths, One Destiny
Episode Basis: One for the Road

Amara: Okay the good news is the tournament's over. Yugi won, got the third Egyptian God Card, the ring and rod trinkets that Marik was toting around. Mai and Bakura are back with us no worse for wear. The bad news: the island's set to explode in less than an hour, the engines aren't fixed and the Kaibas have disappeared. Man, I'm going to be the youngest person ever to have a heart attack the more I hang around with these guys.


"Kaiba!"

"Mister Kaiba!"

"Kaiba, Mokuba!"

"Kaiba, where are you?"

"Kaiba, this is no time for hide and seek!"

Yami-Yugi, Tea, Joey, Tristan, Harold, Amara, and Roland were all outside calling for the Kaibas.

"I don't get it," Tristan said. "Why would Kaiba program the island to explode and then disappear?"

"Your guess is as good as mine," Amara replied.

"Kaiba knew the ship's engines were down," Joey noted. "Maybe he found his own way off."

"Kaiba couldn't have gone far," Yami-Yugi said. "We'll track him down."

"Right, Yugi," Harold agreed. "Let's split up and meet back here in five minutes."

"Right."


Alarms were ringing, danger and warning signs were flashing, red lights were blinking on and off. But despite all this, Kaiba was more content with his own thoughts. Since I was disgraced in my own tournament, the only way I can move forward is by destroying all traces of the past including this island.

"All systems are set," Mokuba reported. "Hopefully the rest of the gang is already off the island." The two of them turned and walked away.

Mokuba was right, my hatred had made me like my Step-Father. It's this hatred that has bonded me to him and the past. But once the tower crumbles, I will be able to cast off those bonds and forge my own path. Now the only question is what path I should forge?

"Hurry, Seto," Mokuba coaxed.

Kaiba opened up his locket and stared at the tiny picture of his brother. There are so many paths I could forge, but which one? Should I stick on the path I'm currently on and still try to reclaim the honor Yugi took from me? Or do I forge a new path, one that would benefit both me and Mokuba?


The pilot tried for the umpteenth time to start the engines but still to no avail. Mai, Bakura, Kevin, Serenity, and Duke all watched him. "Blast!"

"Still no luck with the engines?" Bakura asked.

"None," the pilot replied and put on a head set. "I'm sorry, sir, but the engines still won't turn over."

"Keep trying," Roland ordered.

Another Kaiba Corp. operative came in. "We have another problem."


Joey grabbed Roland by the collar of his shirt, "Listen, you Moron-In-Black, you must know how to stop the countdown!"

"Mister Kaiba and Mokuba are the only ones who can stop it," Roland explained.

"With Kaiba missing and the engines broken, we'll never escape the explosion," Yugi said worriedly.

"Have faith," Yami assured him.

"You don't really think Kaiba would sacrifice himself simply because he lost the tournament, do you?"

"Kaiba cherishes his future too much to throw it away, especially since Mokuba would also be caught up in the explosion. He'll survive."

"I hope so."

"Joey, calm down," Tristan chided.

"How can I calm down when this island's about to blow sky-high and we have NO WAY OF ESCAPING!" Harold slapped him. "Thanks, I needed that."

"Well maybe the engines are fixed," Tea offered. "We should return to the ship and check."

"Yeah, maybe Kaiba's back there, let's go."

"Fine."

"Guys, we have a problem!" It was Duke Devlin who, along with Bakura, came running up to them.

"Don't tell me, the engines aren't fixed yet," Tristan guessed.

"Not only that, but we just found out that there are only ten minutes left before the island's set to explode," Bakura added.

"Harold, can your Armlet protect us?" Yami-Yugi asked.

"An explosion of disastrous proportions at point-blank range, I doubt it, Yugi," Harold commented.

"Fine, then I'll take a crack at fixing the engines," Joey volunteered and started to jog to the ship.

"Since when can you fix an engine?" Amara asked.

"How hard can it be, I'll just… huh?" Joey back-stepped to the chopper that carried the Paramedics that Mokuba summoned for him. "Uh… guys, couldn't we just take that?"

Harold swatted his head. "Well I'll be hoob-scowed, Joey actually has a good idea."

Tristan nodded and turned to Roland, "Tell the others."

"Right."


"Understood," the pilot responded and turned to the others. "We've been given orders to evacuate to the helicopter."

"Kevin, get on board," Mai instructed.

"But…"

"Move!" Mai kneed Kevin in the butt and Kevin went off. Mai turned to Serenity. "Let's tell the Ishtars."

"Right."

The two found Marik, Ishizu, and Odion in Ishizu's quarters. "All right, everybody out, we're abandoning ship," Mai explained.

"But how are we going to escape the island?" Marik asked.

"We're using the helicopter that came over for Joey and Mai," Serenity said. "Let's go."

"Okay."

Everyone scrambled for the helicopter. "You know, Joey, perhaps it was a good thing you were knocked out," Tea said. "Otherwise they wouldn't have sent this helicopter for us and we'd be stuck on the island." Joey gave her a dry laugh.

Tristan and Bakurs ushered everyone on board. The cabin was pretty cramped with not only the finalists and their supporters but the ship crew and the paramedics who originally came over. "Time's running out," Duke told Roland. "We can't wait for them any longer."

Roland sighed, "You're right." He turned to the pilot. "Take off."

"Wait, Harold," Serenity called. Harold had not yet boarded.

"Harold, time to go," Tristan called.

Harold gave up looking for the Kaiba Brothers and made a mad-dash for the helicopter. He leapt up the ramp just as it rose five feet off the ground. The ramp closed.

"You definitely like living life on the edge, don't you?" Mai asked as she and Bakura helped Harold up.

"Only way to live," Harold returned.

"Thirty seconds left!"

Everyone went to a window and looked out at the Duel Tower. The tower started imploding on itself. The island itself actually started breaking apart.

"I hope Kaiba and Mokuba made it out," Serenity said.

"You guys don't really think they chose to go down with their island?" Joey asked.

"Maybe," Kevin said.

"Hey, does anybody hear that?" Amara asked.

"Look!"

Everyone saw something rising from the smoke that was once Kaiba Corp. Island. Something that looked suspiciously like…

"Blue-Eyes White Dragon!"

But as it came closer, everyone saw that it wasn't real, but a jet with Kaiba in the pilot's seat and Mokuba as the Rio.


A/N: In case you're wondering, "Rio" is military jargon for a co-pilot or someone who sits in the rear seat of a fighter plane.


Mokuba's voice came over the radio. "Hey guys, you look like you're surprised to see us."

Most of the others stared bugged-eyed at it. "Do people intentionally like giving me heart attacks?" Amara asked rhetorically.

"I can't believe it," Tea said dryly.

"What I can't believe is that Joey was right about both the private jet thing and the making his own way off the island," Harold said shaking his shirt

"And in some strange way, it makes sense," Tristan added in the same tone.


Onboard the Blue-Eyes White Jet, Mokuba noted, "Hey, everyone's on the helicopter."

"Oops," Kaiba said sarcastically. "I guess the engines weren't fixed." Somehow, he could hear Roland cringing.


Joey stormed the cockpit and grabbed the radio. "Do you guys think it's funny that we almost got killed?"

Kaiba let out a little smile, like he did find it funny.

"We're not going back with you guys," Mokuba said to them. "We got important Kaiba Corp. business to take care of."

"What are you two planning?" Joey asked in a suspicious tone.

"You'll just have to wait to find out," Kaiba replied. "But don't you geeks worry you haven't seen the last of me, especially you, Yugi." He gave his rival a small smile and a sharp salute as the jet vectored away.

"Sounds like Kaiba has finally let go of his past," Yugi commented.

"And his hatred," Yami added.

"He'll still probably try to duel us."

"That's fine, for all his boasting, Kaiba is an honorable Duelist. I'm proud to have him as a rival… and a friend even if he doesn't feel the same."


Onboard the jet, Mokuba was giddy, "I can't believe we're finally going to do it," he said. "We're finally going to open Kaiba Land!"

"Opening a chain of theme parks all over the world isn't all fun and games, Mokuba," Kaiba commented. "It takes hard work and determination."

Mokuba found himself smiling despite himself.

Some things will never change.


The helicopter dropped everyone off at the pier where Yugi and Harold dueled Tea and Joey.

"Thank you, Yami," Ishizu said. "You fulfilled your promise and saved my brother."

"Yes, save me from myself," Marik agreed. "Some day, I would like you to come see us in Egypt, and gaze over the land you once ruled. I hope that despite everything I've put you through, that at the end of days we can still be friends."

"I would like to take you up on your offer some day," Yami agreed. "And as for being friends…" He gripped Marik's hand in a firm shake.

"It was nice meeting you, Ishizu," Serenity said.

"You guys take care of yourselves."

"You too," Marik agreed. "I'm sure we'll meet again." The others said their good-byes to the Ishtars and the three left for their boat.

"Who knew there was a nice guy inside that evil, psychotic nutcase," Joey commented.

"You certainly have a way with words, Joey," Mai cracked.

Tea stared at Yami. Yami technically isn't from this land or even this time period. I guess one day, he'll have to leave us. I'd very much like to see the path destiny has lay out of the Pharaoh But… A light breeze kicked up cooling the heat on her face that had accumulated from the past events. At the same time, as selfish as it sounds, I don't want him to leave. He hasn't just become a big part of Yugi's life, but all of our lives. Maybe one day I'll get to tell him that.

"Well I guess I should be saying good-bye too," Duke said.

"You're leaving, Duke?" Amara asked.

"Yup, I'm not a stay in one place type of guy. Besides, Dungeon Dice Monsters is going global and I'm going with it."

"From what I heard from Joey and Yugi, Dungeon Dice Monsters sounds like a great game," Serenity said. "I hope I get the chance to play it one day."

"I'm sure you will, Serenity," Duke said. "In fact… here." He slipped her a piece of paper.

Serenity opened it and stared curiously, "It's a phone number."

"My phone number," Duke explained. "Call any time day or night." He gave Serenity a quick peck on the cheek. "Bye, Serenity." He took off.

"Why that little no-good lousy stinking…"

"Cool it, Tristan, or I'll send you for a swim," Harold scolded. Tristan let out a puppy-dog like moan.

"Well I guess it's our turn to say good-bye now," Mai said. She turned to Kevin. "Come on, kid, let's go."

"Hey, I'm no kid," Kevin said. "I almost defeated Harold."

"Whoop-de-do I almost defeated Yugi. Now let's go."

"All right, good-bye, guys. Good-bye, Harold."

"Bye, Kevin, thanks for everything," Harold said shaking Kevin's hand.

"Mai, do you have to leave?" Serenity asked.

"Battle City is over, kid, it's time to move on."

"But… ever since we met you've been like a sister to me. You made sure I was there to see my brother duel when I took off my bandages. I owe a lot to you."

"I owe a lot to you too, Serenity," Mai said. "Kevin told me how you took care of me after my defeat by Marik." Mai turned to Yugi and Harold. "Yugi, Harold, thanks for trying to stop Marik from zapping my mind. Yugi, I hope for a rematch someday."

"I look forward to it, Mai," Yami-Yugi said.

Mai turned to Joey. The two stared at each other for a while. Finally Mai nodded and the cousins went over to the convertible.

Tea poked Joey, "Don't be such a dork, Joey."

"Huh?"

"Do something right for a change."

Joey looked from Tea to the departing Mai. He finally sighed, "Hey Mai, wait up!" He ran over to her. "Mai, I…" Joey cast a side-glance at Kevin who was sleeping (or pretending to be asleep) in the passenger seat besides her.

"Save it, Joey," Mai said gently. "You know how much I hate mushy stuff. One of the best things that happened to me at this tournament was that I got the chance to know you."

"Same here," Joey agreed.

Mai gave him a wink, "I'm still planning on kicking your butt in the next tournament though."

"Then until then." The two gave each other a thumb up. Then Mai drove off.


"Joey's really surprising," Kevin said with his eyes still closed.

Mai nodded in agreement, "When I first met him, he was a good Duelist with a big mouth. Now that I got the chance to know him, he's a great Duelist with a big mouth… and a big heart. I don't know if our paths will cross again… but I certainly hope so."


"What about you, Amara?" Tea asked. "I guess you have to head back to America now."

Amara stared at her with a confused look, then her eyes widened and she slapped her forehead. "Holy cow, in all the chaos I completely forgot!"

"Forgot what?" Serenity asked as Joey came over to stand besides her.

Why I came to Domino in the first place."

"It wasn't for the tournament?" Tristan said.

"The tournament was just a bonus. The real reason I came to Domino was because my father was looking for a house."

"A house?"

"Yeah, my father just got transferred to Kaiba Corp.'s Domino Division and he was looking for a house. So… uh…" She scratched her head and her cheeks turned a little red "Looks like you'll be seeing my ugly mug around town more often."

"That's great," Tea said. "It'll be nice to have another girl to talk to."

"Come on, Sis, we should get going," Joey said.

"Okay. Bye, everyone. Congratulations again on your win, Yugi."

"Thanks, Serenity."

"Bye, Serenity, thanks again for your advice," Harold said. "I promise to take what you said to heart."

"I'm glad, Harold, bye."

"What did Serenity say to you?" Tristan asked giving Harold a suspicious look.

"She just told me to keep the faith," Harold said with a small smile.

"Oh. Hey Serenity, wait up!" Tristan ran after Serenity. Yami-Yugi, Tea, Harold, and Amara watched as Tristan said something. And Serenity said something back. Tristan handed her something then kissed her on the cheek. This got Joey upset and he slapped Tristan back a few feet. Tristan came back to them sporting a palm-size wilt.

"Looks like Tristan's trying to mark his territory," Harold muttered to Yami and Amara

"Shot down again, Tristan?" Tea asked.

"Hey, if Duke could do it, why couldn't I?"

"Men," Amara said rolling her eyes. Everyone laughed and went their separate ways.


As the sun started to rise, Yami-Yugi stood at the desk in his room reconstructing his deck.

"The Battle City Tournament isn't over yet," Yugi commented. "There's still one more piece of unfinished business." Yugi held up the Red-Eyes Black Dragon card.

"Joey's dragon," Yami acknowledged. The two nodded. Yugi took over and tried to sneak out.

No such luck.

"Yugi, where are you going?" His Grandpa asked wearily.

"I'm just taking a walk," Yugi assured him.

"Be back soon," his Grandpa said and went back to his room.

As Yugi walked towards the plaza, he thought, Joey and I have both come a long way since I protected him and Tristan from that bully. Since then we have done whatever it took to protect each other. From him saving me from that fire to me sacrificing myself to save him from falling into the sea. He flipped his jacket over his shoulder as Yami took over. Even after he was beaten by Ra and I was disheartened by my fight with Kaiba, we stood by each other. And we've both grown. But it's not over yet, there's still one last thing left to accomplish. He arrived at the plaza. Joey was already there. "You're early," Yami commented.

"Yup," Joey agreed. He turned on his Duel Disk. "You have something of mine and I intend to earn it back."

Yami also turned on his Duel Disk. "Of all the Battle City matches I've been in…"

"This one means the most," Joey finished.

The two slid their decks into their Duel Disks.

"Let's duel!"


Conclusion

And so another story arc comes to an end. I like to thank all of you who stuck around and welcome to all the new ones. I'm sorry there wasn't a lot of originality in this one but the next one will bound to please you and do you know why? Because Avatar is going off-road! That's right, hombres and female hombres, the next story arc will be completely original. And if the title doesn't give away the plot than you must be new to Yu-Gi-Oh! So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take a rest and clean up my computer, then start all over again. So stay tuned to this web site for the next chapter of the Avatar saga.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Avatar: Enter the Shadow Realm

Adios.