Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan Fiction

Courageous Dragon Knight

By: Gema J. Gall and YamiUmiRyu

Disclaimer: This is a co-authored fic. The plot was jointly constructed and we each own our original characters. YUR owns her fanarts on this fic. Nothing of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! plot is ours, though.

AN/ This is a rewrite from the original version, due to a fall-out with one of the co-authors. Those of us remaining are doing everything we can to make this better than the original.

Gema's Personal Disclaimer: I'm putting this in front of every chapter I write, so no one can miss it.

First, the obvious, I don't own anything trademarked or copyrighted.

Second; These are my fics, so y'all will have to deal with my writing quirks. Do not bother telling me about my spelling choices, like Yu-Gi, Joe, Millennial, or whatever else they may be. These are not mistakes, they are intentional. Therefore, I don't want to hear about how they are other wise spelled. If spelling bothers you that much, then leave.

I, and everyone else, do not appreciate personal attacks. My fics are what are open to being critized, not my character. Attacking me is libel, and I will report it as harassment.

I will not include profanity in my writings. Deal with it. Also, I do not appreciate profanity in reviews, so please don't include it. There's over 600,000 words in the English language. I am sure y'all can use something besides profanity.

Some review etiquette should be observed. As says at the bottom of each review page "It is extremely helpful to use this opportunity to comment on an aspect of the story that can be improved. A well rounded critique is often the most rewarding tool for the writer." I would appreciate constructive reviews. "Please continue" is not very helpful. Reviews that are solely demands for updates or explanations about a lack of updates are not helpful. And please, use recognizable grammar when reviewing. A review isn't very helpful if I can't read it.

Please check my bio from time to time. If I am on vacation or something and cannot update, that will be in the first few lines of my bio. I'll try to let y'all know if there's an update delay, so please check.

Feel free to contact me either through IM or e-mail, that information is in my bio as well.

Now, most of you aren't the problem, but this is for the few that are. This might come across as crabby, and I'm not really like this, but I've been pushed to my limit because of certain reviews.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x

It was a nice, sunny day outside. But despite the good weather, three close friends were sitting inside at their computers, IMing each other, trying to make plans on how to enjoy the day. They all lived in the San Francisco area. Gema Gall was sitting cross-legged on her bed in her house in the suburbs, her laptop opened. Kenyon Knight lived inside the city, and was sitting in his apartment with the windows open, enjoying the breeze. Miranda Ryu was in a dimly lit basement of the temple she lived in, barely in the outskirts of the city's limit. The window chimed and a new message appeared.

Miranda: How about the usual place?

Kenyon: Again?

Gema: …one moment, something passed in front of my window…

Gema walked over to her window, parting the blinds with two fingers and peering outside. Her blue eyes went wide when she saw the strange creature fly across her back yard. She had been studying Duel Monsters enough to recognize the bluish-green dragon with a long snout when she saw it. Spear Dragon. Her jaw hung opened as she watched the shadow crossover the two trees and grill. No duelist or duel disk was in sight. But then it occurred to her that holograms don't cast shadows. She scrambled to her laptop.

Gema: That can't be! I swear I just saw a Spear Dragon go by!

Miranda: What?

Gema: I –swear- I just saw a –real- Duel Monster pass!

Miranda: Ha. Ha. Ha. Right Gema, you're not fooling us. Right, Kenyon?

Kenyon: Duel Monster's aren't real, they're holograms. I thought –you- of all people would know that Gema.

Gema: I'm not joking Miranda. There's no duel disks in sight!

Kenyon: I'm more worried about the guy with turquoise hair, fangs, and a violet cape hanging out at the street corner. Now –he's- real. And he's starting to freak me out, cause all he's doing is standing there in the shadows.

Gema: Vampire Lord!

Miranda: This is too disappointing… both of you are….

It went silent on her end for a long moment. Kenyon and Gema were both frequently glancing up at their windows, anxiously hoping to see nothing unusual. Kenyon got up from his swivel chair, and stared into the streets below. To him, it looked like a Rent-A-Zilla shop had opened nearby. Large Duel Monsters freely roamed the streets. Cars skidded to a halt, the drivers frantically untangling seat belts as they tried to bolt the other direction down the street. Some opportunists were using this as a chance to help liquidate Best Buy's inventory. Kenyon blinked a few times, trying to make sense of it all. A chime from his computer finally caused him to break his attention from the streets.

Gema: Miranda! Kenyon!

Miranda: Feral Imp…In my basement! Meet you at the usual ASAP!

Miranda has logged out.

Gema: Miranda!

Kenyon: Are you okay! Did the Rent-A-Zilla people open by you too!

Gema: We need to get out of here! We don't know if it's safe or not! Crap! This is unreal! Where's my TV remote when I need it!

Kenyon: Gema! We need to find Miranda!

Gema: QUICK! Turn on your TV!

Kenyon: Right… The news?

Gema: Right! This is GLOBAL! We need to find Miranda!

Kenyon: Oh man! This is bad! Rent-A-Zilla is taking over the country!

Gema: Kenyon! Don't be so dense!

Kenyon: Er…sorry?

Gema: We need to meet up! ASAP!

Kenyon: The usual hangout?

Gema: On my way!

Kenyon: Be careful.

Gema has logged out.

Kenyon has logged out.

-x-x-x-x-x-

Gema ran into the empty theater via the alley entrance. She had several near encounters with the Duel Monsters on her jog over, but had been lucky enough to run away from every single one of them. Kenyon was already there, waiting, since he lived the closest. Gema was breathing hard; she slid into the nearest seat of the old theater that wasn't falling apart. Kenyon was sitting on the back of one chair, watching her with a mildly amused expression on his face.

They were the same age at seventeen, while Miranda was one year younger. Kenyon was wearing cargo khaki pants with a chain dangling off the right side. He wore a pale blue T-shirt that commemorated some forgotten school event. It had gotten pinched in his belt, giving him a sort of grunge look. An open, orange tech vest was over that. He had spiky blond hair that was held in place by a blue and orange headband. Though that band failed and several of his spikes flopped around his ears and forehead.

Gema sat, panting for a few moments. Her long blonde hair was matted to her forehead with sweat from her run. She quickly brushed it away. She wore a blue and violet long sleeved shirt patterned to vaguely resemble tie-dye. At the last moment she had thrown on a black hoodie, but hadn't zipped it. She wore a pair of flared jeans with too many pockets. Her running shoes were showing signs of wear.

They chatted casually, but soon enough Gema was trying to convince Kenyon of the seriousness of the situation. It took a fully five minutes for her to convey that Rent-A-Zilla did not exist. After that, he was more ready to believe that there actually was a crisis in progress.

A few minutes later Miranda entered, walking her bicycle in. What everyone first noticed about her was the blood red streaks on her bangs, which covered her right eye. She had to constantly tell people they were naturally that way, contrasting the rest of her brown hair. She wore a denim vest over a short-sleeved black shirt. Several lengths of prayer beads spilled out of one of the pockets. She also wore black stretch pants and dark shoes. Her green eyes took in everything. She wore a dragon pendant and a choker with her zodiac sign, Pisces, on it.

"Miranda! You're okay!" exclaimed Kenyon, standing.

"Yeah," she exhaled, shaking her head. "A Feral Imp burrowed its way into my basement!"

"No way!"

"Yes way!" insisted Miranda. "But the card text is true about it being a 'playful little imp.' I threw a ball at it, and it chased after it like a cat after a catnip mouse. I bailed as fast as I could."

"I'm just glad you're okay!" said Gema. She kicked off her running shoes and put on a pair of Earthshoe sandals she had left at the theater last time they were there.

"So am I. I'm glad we all made it here in one piece," Miranda said, sliding down into a seat next to Gema, sending dust into the air.

"And I thought this was going to be a normal day," muttered Kenyon.

A loud monster bellow eerily close to their hideout caused all three of them to stiffen. Loud, reverberating footsteps could be heard by the main entrance. Something else was slithering in the alleyway. They all exchanged a look, hardly daring to breathe until it was quiet again.

"Geesh! It's been nuts! It's like a monster film or something out there!" exclaimed Gema.

"And nothing is a prop," added Miranda.

"What are we going to do?" asked Gema, biting her low lip.

"Well, they are Duel Monsters right?" asked Kenyon.

"Yes," replied both girls in unison.

"So, what has a connection to Duel Monsters like this?" he asked.

"Industrial Illusions makes the cards and Kaiba Corp. makes the holograms," answered Miranda with a slight sigh.

"We go to Kaiba Corp. Kaiba must know what's going on," suggested Kenyon.

"Seto Kaiba would never never never never do anything like this! Never!" insisted Gema, jumping to her feet.

Kenyon's eyes went wide when he realized his mistake. He meekly raised both hands, palms up to show he meant no harm by it.

"Kenyon, Kaiba Corp. is in Japan. But Pegasus does have an Industrial Illusions building somewhere close by," commented Miranda, after a moment's thought.

"Do we have to leave? It's safe here!" protested Gema.

"Well in that case let's go see Pegasus then," said Kenyon, oblivious to her comment.

"I repeat, do we have to leave? It's safe here."

"I was only pointing out the obvious Kenyon, doesn't Gema have some word in it?" asked Miranda.

Kenyon merely shrugged. A loud bellow from somewhere in the streets outside reverberated through the theater. Gema, still on her feet, looked around for an exit, almost as if she was expecting a monster to come barging in at any moment. Miranda leapt to her feet out of shock. Kenyon merely blinked, as if the full implications of a monster bellow didn't occur to him.

"Really I don't know what we can do as three duelists to do any difference now..." sighed Miranda.

"This is way too bogus... I don't know what to think of it!" exclaimed Gema, half in frustration.

"Big monsters, in the streets," said Kenyon. "What else is there to think about?"

"That's because you don't think," sighed Gema. She paused. "But I don't think it's safe here any more."

"Then where can we begin without being nailed by a Reaper of the Cards?" asked Miranda, glancing between the slats of the boarded up windows for danger.

"I second that thought," agreed Gema

"I don't know," answered Kenyon.

"Anyone bring a radio?" asked Gema, perking up

"Does a walkman with AM/FM count as a radio?" asked Kenyon.

"That is a radio!" exclaimed Gema.

"Oh…" murmured Kenyon, pulling it out of his pocket. Miranda was shaking her head. He set the radio on a spare seat that was permanently bent down.

"Turn it on quick so we can listen to the news," said Gema.

"Okay," said Kenyon, tuning it.

"Hope it's the right AM station…" muttered Miranda.

"Every stations going to be blaring with news after events like this," Gema pointed out, sitting down again.

"True...except the station I listen too. 98.1 can't even hold a periodic cycle of school closings," Miranda said while the station came in.

They went silent for a few minutes, listening to the various reports that were coming in. Many were from San Francisco, but others were from the east coast, England, Japan, Australia…just about everywhere. Some people suggested it was a massive holographic malfunction, others insisted the monsters were real, and yet others raved of a corporate conspiracy. The latter Gema huffed at very loud and rudely.

"I never foresaw any of this…" muttered Miranda.

"Man… This really is chaotic," said Kenyon, shaking his head.

"Listen, they're broadcasting from Japan!" Gema suddenly explained, leaping up again and walking close to the radio. "Seto Kaiba's denying he had anything to do with this! I knew it!"

"Maybe he's the cause of all of this to happen," commented Kenyon.

"Kenyon!" Miranda tried to warn him, but it was too late.

Gema crossed the gap between him and herself in record time. Her balled up fist connected with the back of his skull. The hit echoed off of the wooden walls. "HE WOULD NOT!" shouted Gema, her blue eyes burning.

"OW!" exclaimed Kenyon, hitting the dust floor hard.

"Personally I'd blame Pegasus before I go blaming Kaiba," commented Miranda.

"Agreed!" snapped Gema, still fuming.

"Hey! You didn't have to hit me so hard… ow..." complained Kenyon, rubbing his hand through his hair, making it messier as he tried to massage the knot out.

"Yes I did or it would never get through your thick skull," replied Gema, flexing her fist.

"Anybody whom has respect for Kaiba would do the same," added Miranda, leaning back in the chair again.

"You just like hitting things too much," whined Kenyon.

"Point?"

"Um... uh…" stammered Kenyon, trying to figure out his point.

Miranda rolled her green eyes at him and walked over to a window. She twisted a graffiti covered board aside and looked into the streets. "It's a parade of Duel Monsters..."

Gema walked over to her and looked over her shoulder. "Yeah...how could this have happened?"

A Curse of Dragon soared over the street, which was now empty of all human life. Below it a Swordstalker swaggered, its sword poised for any threat. Cars lay abandoned in the streets, some still running. One had even run into a light pole. The light was flickering, occasionally showering the street with sparks. Another monster was climbing up the side of the building besides theirs, but because of the angle, they could only see its shadow.

"I don't know," replied Kenyon.

"About the only monster I haven't seen is Divine Dragon Ragnarok. And thank goodness for that," commented Miranda.

"Knock on wood…" murmured Gema.

"Uh...guys? Don't look now but there's one right outside..." said Kenyon, looking out of a window on the other side of the theater. His sea-foam eyes were growing wider and wider as the monster got closer and closer.

"You didn't knock on wood!" exclaimed Gema, her voice jumping up an octave.

"It's outside! And it's coming here! What are we going to do!" exclaimed Kenyon. "Should we leave? Or should we try to fight it with our decks? Personally, I think we should run!" His tone was quickened and on the edge of panic.

"Are you sure we can outrun it?" asked Miranda, nervously.

"Your screaming will only attract it," added Gema.

"Keep it down and he might go away," suggested Miranda, daring to walk to the window to see if Ragnarok was at.

"Agreed," said Gema, taking a deep breath to calm herself down.

"Right…" stammered Kenyon.

"It's getting closer…" said Miranda, tensely, in a very hushed voice.

"We have to fight it!" exclaimed Kenyon. Both girls winced from his shout, glancing outside to see if the dragon had heard them or not. Then, they turned back to Kenyon, giving him the 'yeah, right' look.

"We don't have any duel disks to even make a hologram," Gema pointed out. "And I get the feeling a hologram won't be enough."

"Aw, you guys just don't believe," said Kenyon, now sounding confident. In a few steps he crossed the cinema to the alleyway door and kicked it open, strolling into the streets right up to Divine Dragon Ragnarok.

"Three, two, one..." Miranda counted down.

"AAGHHHHHH!" a loud scream echoed down the alley and into the theater, shaking dust loose. Gema covered her ears from the volume. Kenyon ran back inside, slammed the door shut, and leaned against it, breathing hard. His face was pale and he was sweating, his eyes wide.

"Men..." muttered Gema.

"Way to go!" exclaimed Miranda. "I hope you didn't make it mad!" Her eyes were glued outside, watching Ragnarok's every move.

"You try then..." stated Kenyon, still panting.

"No thanks, I'm smarter than that," replied Gema.

"Girls..." muttered Kenyon.

"Pardon?" asked Miranda, pulling her uncovered eye away from the broken window for a brief moment.

"We've got you outnumbered boy," retorted Gema

"Um... uh... nothing… stammered Kenyon.

Divine Dragon Ragnarok had floated even closer, and was now coiling its long body around the front half of the theater. Dry rot started to speckle the sidewalk below as beams breaking reverberated through the entire cinema. It groaned, threatening to collapse. Dust particles made the air hazy.

"Good, now about the dragon whose interested on our hangout..." asked Miranda.

"I'm not going outside again! I learned my lesson!" Kenyon instantly insisted.

"You learned something?" asked Miranda in disbelief.

"Out the backdoor?" suggested Gema.

"Good idea," agreed Miranda.

"Ditto," said Kenyon.

"Just don't scream again Ken," added Miranda.

"HEY!" protested Kenyon. "It wasn't a scream! It was…"

"Come on, let's go," said Gema, cutting him off while he was searching for an excuse. She cracked the back door open careful. She knew it creaked.

"The coast is clear."

"Good," Miranda breathed a sign of relief.

"Hmm...I wonder what all of this means for our decks..." wondered Gema, softly

They slipped behind the theaters, carefully weaving around the dumpsters and trash cans, so not to upset one and give away their location. It wasn't easy, the chaos of the day had added to the obstacles that they needed to avoid.

"Yeah...it didn't seem like any of our monsters were in this mess," commented Miranda, after a moment's thought.

Gema pulled out her deck out of one of her many pockets and began to flip through them, keeping one eye on the ground to watch her step. "Well, the pictures haven't changed any...but what does that all mean…?"

"Think there's a logical explanation?" asked Kenyon.

"We've left logical in the dust…" muttered Gema, her eyes still on her cards.

"Nothing is logical if a game comes to life," added Miranda. "But if life becomes game, that's a different story…"

"Huh? I don't get it," replied Kenyon.

"Don't worry. Let's just try not to get eaten or stepped on," commented Gema, half-paying attention.

"My guess is Industrial Illusions," said Miranda. "Nothing of that company popped up in the news."

"It does sound suspicious..." agreed Gema, pocketing her deck again. "Let's go!"

"If we're lucky and the media doesn't catch up to that point, we might have a shot to speak to Pegasus personally," added Miranda, hopefully.

"Off we go to Industrial Illusions!" chimed Kenyon, hurrying forward.

"Lets hope we don't meet any nasty monsters on the way," muttered Gema, anxiously.

"Ditto…" agreed Miranda.

-x-x-x-x-x-

A half an hour later they made it to Industrial Illusions on foot. They stood outside, looking up at the massive skyscraper that was in the middle of nowhere. A few cars rested in the parking lot, but it was completely still. No one else, especially the news media, had made it there yet. The sun was still shining brightly, which seemed overly ironic for the day.

"How'd we manage to go through half the city in one piece?" asked Miranda, in the low in the conversation.

"By seeming small and insignificant?" asked Gema.

"Because we ran?" asked Kenyon.

Miranda looked up at the unusual rectangular building a bit proudly. "Sometimes I have to like it when I'm right. This place is completely empty at the doors."

"Curiouser and curiouser...and not in a good way," commented Gema as they approached the entrance, constantly looking over their shoulders.

"It sure looks deserted..." said Kenyon, glancing through the rows of glass doors and panels and seeing no one. They reached the front doors and looked in, but it was completely empty.

"So who wants to check it out first?" asked Miranda.

"Rock, paper, scissors, odd one out gets to?" suggested Gema.

"Aw no… I'm not playing that game," protested Kenyon. "Somehow you two always team up against me when we do."

Miranda groaned, realizing how her last statement sounded. "Aw man, I'm beginning to sound like the coward."

"That means you're going in?" asked Gema.

"None of us are going in if we keep standing out here."

"Good point... I'll go in if you will."

"Of course I'm going, can't exactly get any farther by staying right here," stated Miranda, pushing against the glass doors. They opened easily under her touch.

The three friends stepped into the lobby area, their shoes tapping across the tile was the only noise heard. The lobby was entirely empty. It was a vast, open space, without a fountain, statute, or potted plant. The large marble reception desk was against the right hand wall, but no one was behind it. A few blue doors were set in the walls. A glass elevator and a stairwell were clearly seen as well. The lobby had a high ceiling, meaning there was a balcony on the second floor which looked down on it. The lights were all out. The silence and the emptiness and the darkness were creating an ominous atmosphere.

"Aw crud... This place is sort of spooky!" complained Kenyon, glancing back the way they came. He then shook his head. "Well, at least Rent-A-Zilla isn't here yet."

"It's just an office building," shrugged Gema.

"…and the doors were unlocked. This isn't right," commented Miranda, turning in a slow circle in hopes of finding some sort of clue or explanation. "I have a bad feeling about this place..."

"Right..." agreed Gema, looking into the shadows.

Miranda shook her head. "All right, focus. Now to find Pegasus's office or one of his suits."

"Man… This place is really big," said Kenyon. "Where are we going to find one guy?"

"Try the office directory?" suggested Gema.

"I would if it was standing out like at the mall," replied Miranda. Her green eye caught something tacked onto the wall. "Map..."

"Perfect, Pegasus is top floor, right?" asked Gema as Miranda walked over to examine it.

Miranda scanned it for a moment, comparing names to numbers and numbers to locations. "Yep, nine stories up."

"Um… You guys sure? What if they get mad about us being here?" stammered Kenyon, backing up so that he was in the light spilling from the glass doors. Gema rolled her eyes at him.

"The doors were wide open," Gema pointed out.

"Right? With the doors unlocked, anybody can come in here," explained Miranda, coyly. "Even the Duel Monsters,"

"She's got a point," commented Gema, checking the room number for herself.

"Um... in that case let's go up," resigned Kenyon.

"I doubt the elevators work," sighed Gema.

"Not as long as the power is out," said Miranda.

"I hope we don't get stuck in here," murmured Kenyon. "I've seen too many shows where people get stuck in elevators for hours."

Gema suddenly stiffened, her eyes flickering around them, her nerves on high alert. "I just had this weird feeling like we were being watched."

"That could be a possibility. There might be cameras if they're on back-up power," commented Miranda, casually.

Kenyon started breathing deeply, imitating Darth Vader. "It's the dark side of the force...Luke... I am your father..." He then chuckled at his own joke.

"Really?" asked Miranda, sarcastically.

"Not that kind of watched...like there's actually someone else here," said Gema, slowly, still looking into the shadows.

"I was only joking," said Kenyon, looking down and rubbing his shoe on the ground at the lack of enthusiasm at his own joke.

"I know you were, it's just that this isn't a time to joke," commented Miranda, lowering her hand.

"Not joke time…" murmured Gema, hardly paying any attention to them.

"Hey look… there's a camera …" noticed Kenyon, pointing to the security device attached to the corner of the ceiling. "Looks like Miranda is right."

"It's not the cameras that bother me…" muttered Gema.

"I'm definitely getting that feeling too but I see no one," agreed Miranda.

"It's like something's about to happen… like in the movies," commented Kenyon. "We need some cool background music about now."

Gema and Miranda both sweat-dropped, sharing looks of disbelief.

"Again with your parodies. I swear I'm going to," started Miranda. But she suddenly stopped, her visible eye sweeping up to the balcony.

"Crap! I hate being right like this," complained Gema.

"I hate to agree with you," added Kenyon. "This is where the music picks up."

"I suggest we just keep moving. Probably taking the stairs will be easier," said Miranda, walking towards them.

"Right…"

"Just try not to look at the balcony," said Gema.

"Right..."

"I'll take to the stairs first if one of you don't mind?" said Miranda, pushing the door to the stairs open.

"Go ahead, I'm going to see if I can catch a glance in my pocket mirror," said Gema, pulling it out of a pocket. She opened it, adjusting the angle. One side was a mirror, the other held a picture of a blue-eyed duelist.

"This is no time for a makeover, Gema," commented Kenyon, sweat-dropping.

Gema sweat-dropped right back. "I'm using the mirror to look behind me, so the people on the balcony don't know I'm trying to see who they are."

"Kenyon, don't be that dense," said Miranda. She put a foot on the first stair and started moving up the curling staircase, trying not to make any noise.

"I'm not that dense…" said Kenyon, with a pout of protest.

"I can see three people, but they're too far into the shadows to tell anything else," said Gema, still outside the stairwell.

"Oh brother…" grumbled Kenyon, following behind Miranda.

"What floor again?" asked Miranda.

"Ninth," answered Gema, bringing up the rear.

Miranda reached the landing to the second floor. The stairs went up no further. They would have to enter the second floor and find a new flight of stairs to get to the office. She pushed the door open, only to meet some resistance when it reached about a foot open.

Miranda was still talking during this. "I know. An empty building so far with only three people, there's bound to be—Ahhh!"

"Miranda!" exclaimed Gema

"Are you okay!" asked Kenyon, hurrying to the second floor.

"I can see why we didn't see any of Pegasus's bodyguards. They're right here. All unconscious!" exclaimed Miranda.

The second floor was littered with several unmoving forms. They were all breathing, Miranda made sure to check. But they would not wake up, no matter what was done. One had fallen against the door, which was why Miranda had a hard time opening it. There were no signs of a struggle. This only added to the bizarreness of the day.

"What!" exclaimed Gema, emerging from the stairs.

"No… way…" gaped Kenyon in total disbelief.

"I'm not joking, but none of them looked like they were taken out by a blow to the head or anything…" Miranda said, checking on another one.

"Freaky factor is a 10," muttered Gema, trying to shake one of them awake.

"More like a 12," said Kenyon, tiptoeing around a body.

"Those three you saw in the shadows must have something to do with it. I hope they didn't get to Pegasus," commented Miranda, again glancing around.

Gema's eyes suddenly went very wide and she inhaled a huge amount of air. "We're on the second floor, aren't we?" she asked, the horror slowly dawning.

"Yes…" said Miranda, slowly, urging her to say more.

"Those strangers were on the second...the powers out, no elevators... meaning we're in the only way up or down in this building," explained Gema, still horrified.

"What's your point, Gema?" asked Kenyon, with less anxiety than he should have had.

"We're stuck on the same floor as three unknown and probably very dangerous people and the only way they have to leave this floor is past us!" exclaimed Gema in a hushed but passionate voice.

"Too late to turn back," said Miranda. "I've got some good guesses about what's going to happen and none of them are good."

"Crap...well, we have no choice but to keep moving…" moaned Gema.

"But we're safe here," protested Kenyon. "No monsters, no one else…"

Miranda edged her way around the unconscious guards, doing her best not to step on any of them. She was aiming for the wall, where she could walk without tripping and where she might find another stairwell to the upper levels. "Not even evidence to a can of knock-out gas. How could have this happened?" she muttered to herself.

"No idea," commented Gema, trying to catch up with her.

SLAM! The loud noise shook the ground and the walls. A three turned around. The door to the stairs they had all left had slammed shut. The unmistakable clinking noise that followed let all of them know they were now locked on the floor with no way back the way the came.

Miranda gulped, trying to control the shaking in her hands. "Told you we can't turn back…"

Kenyon ran back, carefully leaping over the guards. He grabbed the doorknob and pulled, but it would not budge. "Oh no! The door is jammed! We're stuck! How could this have happened!"

Gema whirled around, searching the shadows for any slightest sign of a threat. "Who's here!" she demanded, loudly.

"You think they'll answer to us?" asked Miranda in disbelief. "If they want to play hide-and-seek, looks like we're It."

"Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap," Gema started to chant under her breath, her nerves on edge as she looked for a threat that she half suspected might only be in her mind.

"Come on, open, open," Kenyon said to the door as he tried to pull the door open. He pulled so hard that the doorknob snapped off in his hands. He was sent sprawling backward, right across one of the bodies of the guards. He instantly leapt to his feet with a half disgusted, half freaked out look on his face.

Miranda leaned against the wall, trying to calm herself down so she could think rationally. She started sizing up the situation. "The power's out and the stairwell's close on us..."

"We can't get down and neither can they! It means were trapped here with who knows who!" exclaimed Gema, fighting the urge to give into complete panic.

"So the suggestion is to keep going up, even if the stairwell is closed off?" asked Miranda, having decided it was their only option.

"Cheap door," muttered Kenyon, tossing the doorknob into the darkness.

It hit the wall with a metal ping, then went rolling through the shadows. The sound of the metal rolling stopped unnaturally fast. A shuffling noise was then heard not far down the hall from where they were. The three friends stiffened up straight and turned, six of eyes peering into the darkness for the enemy they all imagined was there. They got the impression that someone had stepped on the doorknob, which is why it fell silent so quickly.

Repeated heavy thuds could be heard getting closer, which they placed as boots on the thick carpet. They shared a brief glance, before scanning for the cause of the noise again. The shadows, however, hid everything from them. It made it that much easier to imagine something dark and sinister approaching them.

"If it's them, here they come," said Miranda, pulling out her prayer beads and looping them around her fingers. Gema nodded, taking a fighting stance with her fists raised.

"Aw crud," sighed Kenyon, reluctantly raising a fist.