Here's Chapter Eighteen!!

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Koenma looked up, his expression very serious. "I think... I know who these girls are," he said.

All eyes were on him in that instant.

Koenma sighed. "Has anyone here ever heard of the triple aspect?"

Botan gasped. "You can't mean..."

He nodded. "Yes, Botan." He looked at them all. "It is something common in many cultures. Sometimes the triple aspect is represented by a maiden, mother and crone. Other times, by the phazes of the moon... waning, full, and waxing. In a few cultures, it's through color... white, grey or sometimes red, and black. In China, it is represented by Yin and Yang... and Qilin. They are said to have each played a role in the creation of the universe itself." He shook his head. "I had thought THIS part to be nothing more than a myth, but..." He sighed. "It is said that on extremely rare occassions, the three aspects will take up residence within three selected mortals... who are always women. Women who best represent them. I believe... that is what we are dealing with here... and the mother aspect is what issaid to tie to both the 'maiden' and 'crone', which is why I believe Kirsten and Tearra experienced the pain of Chrissy when she was attacked by Naraku."

The three girls blinked slowly and exchanged several dubious looks.

"Wait a sec... are you saying... that the three of us each have a GODDESS living inside us?" Chrissy asked, her eyes huge.

He nodded. "That is the only explanation that I can come up with... and it DOES make sense. Each aspect is mirrored almost perfectly with your personalities." He looked at Kirsten. "Innocence and purity," He looked at Tearra. "Wisdom and darkness," He looked at Chrissy. "And you... who would be a medium between the two. The reason you are inextricably linked to the two girls is because the Mother gave birth to the maiden, but also eventually grows into the crone. Not all maidens become mothers, and of course, a crone cannot give birth herself, so there is no way to connect the two of them with each other."

Kirsten blinked slowly. "Okay... I'm... confused..."

Tearra looked at her. "I think I get it. Listen. The mother is the one who gives birth to the maiden. And the Mother will eventually grow into the crone. It's the fact that not all maidens will have children, thus becoming mothers themselves, and the fact that the crone simply CAN'T have children of her own, that makes it impossible for her to sustain injuries when we do, but allows US to sustain injuries when SHE gets them."

Chrissy looked at them. "But once again, why the hell hasn't this happened to us BEFORE? I was injured several times before, and Kirsten and Tearra didn't experience anything!"

Koenma shook his head. "It's because I believe the deities were dormant inside you, but they are now slowly starting to awaken. Another aspect of the myth is that they will take up residence inside the mortals when some sort of a disturbance will soon come... and when there is the start of an imballance, they should awaken. Right now, only the connection has been made by you three. Somehow, you have to get the deities to awaken. When the first has awakened, the others should soon follow."

The three girls looked less than impressed. "Terrific..."

Kaiba stepped forward. "Listen, this is all very interesting, but now that we know who these girls are, there's still the matter of keeping up our exploration. Whether any of us like it or not, we'll have to find out who the asshole is that brought us here in the first place."

Joey stared at him. "Are ya suggestin' that we split up AGAIN?! Even after what happened?"

Kaiba nodded. "Yes. But this time, I think we should take more care in deciding who goes with each girl. For instance, this time each group should have a healer. It might be a risk to split everyone up again, but it's the only way to cover more ground more quickly. And the faster we find out exactly who we're dealing with, the better. And it may be the only way we can find a way to get back to our own worlds. I have a corporation to run and I don't intend on staying here any longer than I have to!"

Hiei nodded. "Hn. He's got a point. Considering the severity of the situation, I think it would be best if we split up again."

There was a moment of hesitation, but the others nodded.

Before anything else could be said on that matter, however, Bakura seperated from Ryu, his expression both annoyed and apprehensive. "Hold that thought! My Millennium Ring is picking up on something... and it's approaching quickly!!"

The Pharaoh looked at him. "What is it? Another Millennium Item?"

He shook his head. "I don't think so! There's more than one of them..." His eyse widened. "It's monsters! Duel monsters!"

Yugi's eyes were huge as everyone was immediately on guard. "But... the only way to battle duel monsters is WITH duel monsters! And the only one who has a duel disk and deck right now is Chrissy!!"

Chichiri blinked. "You mean... people can't fight them, no da?"

Yugi shook his head. "That's been tried! And if Dartz is the one who sent them... then we could be in deep trouble!"

Chrissy grabbed her duel disk and threw it on. her eyes huge. "Just fucking great!! We're about to come under attack and I'M the only one who can do anything!!!"

Kaiba looked at her. "It's not a regular duel! Just draw and if you get a monster, no matter what level it is, just summon it! The rules only apply if you're in an official duel!"

She barely had a chance to nod before the first monster burst forth onto the scene.. an ugly monster with large eyes and horns protruding from all parts of its body.

"It's Beatrix!!" Yugi said. "That's a level four monster!"

Chrissy quickly activated her duel disk and drew a card, setting it on the disk in attack mode. "Gearfried the Iron Knight! Attack!!!"

The Beatrix exploded with the attack, but soon several more beasts flew into the fray, some of which they didn't even recognize. Chrissy was trying to summon monsters to keep up, but it was getting harder and harder. Then one of the monsters lunged right at the youngest human present, claws extended.

Kasumi and Kagome were horrified. "SOTA!!!"

The boy let out a terrified cry as it came closer, but then another beast jumped in and destroyed the monster... this new beast a woman with birdlike arms and claws.

Joey blinked. "Harpy Lady?!"

Then a beautiful young woman with long blonde hair raced into the scene. "Need a little help? Watch this!!" She stuck a card in her magic and trap zone. "Go Elegant Egotist! Turn my one Harpy Lady into three!!"

All the duelists blinked in shock and Joey broke out into a huge smile. "MAI!!!"

Mai smiled at them and raced up to Chrissy. "I don't know who you are, but are you ready to do this?"

She nodded. "Right!" They stood back to back and each drew a card.

"Amazoness Chain Master!!"

"Double Coston!!"

They had their monsters attack, but it seemed that every time they took one down, more just came in to take their place.

Chrissy cursed. "There's no end to them!!"

The Pharaoh growled. "If only I had my duel disk and deck!!"

The moment the words were out of his mouth, he felt a tingling on his arm and, looking down, he saw a duel disk and deck.

Kaiba stared. "I think I get it!" He held up his arm, and a duel disk appeared.

Joey, Marik and Bakura all held up their arms and the same thing occurred.

The Pharaoh nodded. "Let's help!" He drew a card and set it on the disk. "Come forth, Dark Magician!!"

Joey drew a card. "Red Eyes Black Dragon!!"

Marik placed a card on the disk. "Humanoid Slime!!"

Bakura played his own card. "DIABOUND!!!"
Kaiba smirked. "Blue Eyes White Dragon!!"

"ATTACK!!!" they all cried as one.

Everyone took cover as a series of explosions erupted all around. When the dust cleared, the only monsters remaining belonged to the duelists. Everyone waited in tense silence for a long moment before it became evident that the attack was over. Everyone sighed in relief as the summoned monster vanished as well.

Joey looked at Mai immediately. "Mai, what the heck are ya doin' here?" Then he sighed. "Nevermind... let me guess... some weird storm dragged ya to this weird world, right?"

She nodded. "Yup. It went right over my house in New York."

The Pharaoh looked at her. "But how did you survive all these days? You couldn't have battled demons and monsters from this realm with your duel disk..."

She laughed. "Of course not, silly. I would have been toast long ago if I hadn't come across my self proclaimed escorts."

Everyone blinked. "Escorts?"

As they watched, five people came out of the forest. Urameshi's group, as well as Kagome, Sota, Kasumi, and Inuyasha's eyes went huge.

"Toya! Jin! Rinku and Chu!!"

"Grandpa!!"

An old man raced forward and almost bowled the Higarashi family over. "Kagome!! Kasumi and Sota!! Thank goodness you're all safe!!"

A red haired demon with a horn sticking out amongst his hair and pointed ears stepped forward. "Hey there! We thought we sensed you guys over this way!" He pointed back over his shoulder with his thumb. "We were way and hell gone over that way, when we came across that gorgeous lady havin' some trouble with a Bird of Paradise. And this old guy was havin' some problems with a boar monster. We jus' thought we'd lend 'em a hand!"

"They're not the only ones that are here," said a voice, very much familiar to Yugi's group.

They all looked up with a start, while Mai turned, an annoyed expression on her face as a man with silver hair and a golden eye stepped out of the forest.

"PEGASUS!!!" they shouted.

Mai glowered. "You could have helped, you know!!"

He smiled. "But you were doing so well without me, I thought I would only get in your way." He waved. "Hey there, Yugi-boy and Kaiba-boy!!"

Yugi blinked slowly while Kaiba scowled. "Just great. I'm sure we didn't need HIM..."

"Lord Inuyasha!!" a voice cried out, as a VERY tiny form jumped off of Pegasus' shoulder and landed onto the hanryu's.

Kagome smiled. "Miyoga!!"

Joey blinked slowly. "Am I goin' nuts... or did that flea just talk?"

Kagome smiled. "This is Miyoga, the Flea Demon. He's Inuyasha's servant."

Tea blinked. "Now THAT'S weird..."

Hiei looked at them. "Hn. I think we should bring the others up to date on what we've discovered and tell them our plans. And then... we should carry out those plans before too much time has passed. As it is, it's early evening, so it looks like it's going to be one big camp out. I don't think Chichiri can handle transporting everyone back to their original positions after expending his energy like that."

Rinku blinked. "Explain what? What've you guys discovered?"

Yusuke sighed. "Sit down. We'll bring you guys up to date."

So they did, the three girls just sitting quietly and trying not to listen as the newcomers were given an account of what had transpired.

"So now we're going to decide who goes with each girl, no da," Chichiri said. "I think it's safe to say that the one in most need of protection would be Chrissy... judging by the fact that she has almost been killed several times already, no da."

Kurama nodded. "I will go in her group this time. I can act both as a healer and use my fighting abilities to protect her."

Mitsukake looked at them. "Since it appears that the liklihood of her being directly attacked is slim, I shall go with Kirsten's group."

Koenma nodded. "I have my own healing abilities, so I should travel with Tearra this time."

Chichiri nodded. "Each group has a healer to start off. I will go with you, Kurama. I can continue acting as an intermediary between the groups, and so no matter which group Miaka travels in, I should be able to protect both girls, and thus not shirk my duties as a Suzaku Seishi. Also, my abilities would be invaluable, due to my abilities to detect certain rare forms of energy." The fact that there were no 'no da's' in his narrative told them that his decision was non- negotiable.

Miroku looked up. "Kirsten should have a monk in her group as well. There is still a chance that she may be targeted and my wind tunnel can destroy anyone who would make an attempt on her life. Also, in the event that we have to regroup again, my spiritual energy would be very useful in helping Chichiri to teleport."

Sango looked at him. "Like I said before... where you go, I go, monk!"

Kikyo looked up. "I was a priestess in life, and have maintained my spiritual abilities in my undead state. I can shoot sacred arrows, sense jewel fragments, and act as a catalyst for Chichiri, so I will go in Tearra's group."

Botan looked up. "I said I'm not being seperated from Koenma again and I meant it, so I'm in Tearra's group!!"

The Pharaoh stepped forward. "We may experience more attacks from the Dark Duelists... perhaps even by Dartz himself. I will go with Chrissy."

Kaiba smirked. "I have my deck back... and all three of my Blue Eyes White Dragons. I intend to travel with Chrissy this time as well. After all, she did promise me the Blue Eyes White Dragon in her own deck as well, and I intend to get it BEFORE we're all sent back to our own worlds."

Mokuba looked up. "I always go with Seto!!"

Joey grinned. "Kirsten's gonna need a duelist or two in her ranks, so I'm goin' with her!"

Mai smirked. "Then count me in, too! Now that I found you, you're not getting away from me again, Joey." She gave him a wink.

Joey grinned broadly and tried to fight off his blush.

Jin grinned. "Lucky bastard. I've been tryin' ta get with her since I met her. I guess I know who she was talkin' about when she said whe was already involved with someone..."

Pegasus cleared his throat. "Kirsten should have someone with a Millennium Item in her group... just in case. I also created the game of Duel Monsters, and therefore am an accomplished duelist in my own right, so I'll be going with Mr. Wheeler and Ms. Valentine."

Marik nodded. "Then we Ishtars will travel with Tearra this time. My Millennium Rod will provide her protection, and we are also duelists."

Bakura smirked. "I'll stick with Tearra as well."

Naruto stepped forward. "I can draw on the power of the Nine Tailed Fox Demon when I want now, so I should go with Chrissy, too!"

Kakashi smirked. "Not without me, you're not. I still have to keep you out of trouble."

Hinata smiled shyly. "I'll go with Chrissy too."

Gaara shrugged. "I'll stay with Kirsten."

Rock Lee grinned. "Then count me in!"

Kagome spoke up. "I can sense jewel shards and can shoot sacred arrows if any monster or demon with one attacks. Not to mention if the REAL Naraku decides to try something, I'll be able to detect all HIS shards before he gets too close. So I'm in Chrissy's group."

Shippo was on her shoulder immediately.

Inuyasha shrugged. "Guess that means I'm in, too."

Miyoga jumped onto his shoulder.

Tamahome frowned a little. "Kirsten's group will need another powerful person in the event that they are attacked, so I'll go with her."

Miaka was beside him immediately. "Only if I get to go with you!!"

Nuriko shrugged. "Another strong arm never hurts, does it?" He stood beside Miaka and Tamahome.

Sasuke shrugged. "I'll stay with Tearra."

"Me too!" Sakura said immediately.

Hiei stepped forward with his arms crossed. "Hn. I've been with Chrissy from the start and I don't see any reason to change that now."

Yusuke nodded. "The more power in her group, the better, so I'm in."

Jin looked at Chrissy, blinked, and then stepped up to her as well.

Kuwabara snorted. "I think Chrissy's got enough support from Otherworld Fighters, so I'm goin' with Kirsten."

Toya nodded. "Me as well. She should have a full blooded demon in her ranks."

Koga nodded. "Make that two full blooded demons."
"Then I'll go with Tearra's group," Rinku and Chu said as one, stepping forward.

Tasuki grinned, showing off his fangs. "I'll stick with you, Chichiri."

Chiriko nodded. "I will as well."

Tea smiled. "I think I'd like to be with a group that's less likely to be attacked," she said as she steppd up to Kirsten.

Tristan and Duke quickly followed suit.

Kagome's grandfather nodded. "She makes a good point," he said, looking at Kasumi. "We should travel with Tearra's group."

Kasumi blinked. "But what about Kagome?"

He waved it off. "She's been taking care of herself in the feudal era for years now. I think she can handle herself. Besides, she's traveling with Inuyasha. Do you honestly think he'd let anything happen to her?"

She hesitated, and then nodded. They went to stand beside Tearra.

Sesshomaru nodded. "We will continue traveling with her as well. She will also need a powerful demon with her in the event that she is attacked."

Hotohori stood by Tearra. "My swordsmanship skills will be used to protect Tearra until this is all done."

Chichiri nodded. "Good. That's everyone. I think this should be fine, no da."

Kakashi got to his feet. "Then I guess we should set about settling in for the evening. Would anyone care to help me find food?"

Koga, Sasuke and Rock Lee readily volunteered. The four of them set off into the forest in search of food.

Three fires were started, as everyone started settling in and doing their own thing.

The three girls settled down once more, having one last visit before they were seperated once again.

"NOW... I'm freaked," Kirsten said. "I mean... do you really think it's possible... what Koenma said? I mean... how could each of us have a goddess living inside of us?"

Tearra shook her head. "I don't know, but I can't think of any other explanation than the one that he came up with. I mean... one minute I was fine, and then the next..." She trailed off and let out a small shudder.

Chrissy snorted. "How do you think I feel? I mean... if anything happens to me, you two will experience it. I wonder if that goes for those Dark Duelists guys that go around stealing people's souls? I mean... if I lost my soul, would you guys lose yours?"

Kirsten shuddered hugely at this thought. "I don't know, and I don't WANT to know... and I sure as hell don't want you experementing to find out!!"

Chrissy nodded. "If I can stay out of duels, then I will. But I didn't have much choice about that last one I was involved in. There is a chance that I might be involved in another one whether I like it or not. And another thing that worries me, is that Naruto and them mentioned something about their own enemies... more ninja's who work for some guy named Orichimaru. And then there's the enemy of the Suzaku Seishi... the Seirryu Seishi. And who knows what sort of enemies the people from Hiei's world have?"

Tearra shuddered. "You know, this is almost starting to seem like some kind of freaky war or something like that."

Chrissy started. "You know... you're right. It DOES seem like that, doesn't it? It's like someoen brought us here to recruit us or something. Because didn't Inuyasha and them say that Naraku had been TOLD to kill me? That means that he's working for someone now... Do you think it's possible that the whole reason we were brought here was to FIGHT?"

Kirsten's eyes went huge. "I don't even want to THINK about that!!"

Tearra looked at her. "Look, I don't like to think about it either, but right now it DOES seem very plausible, doesn't it? Think about it. It's like the forces of good are facing off against the forces of evil or something like that. In wars, people are always fighting over something. There's always something at stake. And what really has me freaked is that so far, the only one who has come really close to dying is Chrissy... and when SHE almost died, so did we. Do you think that these goddesses that are living inside us are the whole reason we were brought here? That someone brought us here hoping they'd awaken, while someone ELSE brought those bad guys here to try and kill us so they CAN'T awaken?"

All the girls shuddered at the thought.

"You know, that DOES make a lot of sense," said a voice from behind them. The girls all jumped and turned, seeing Kurama, Hiei, Inuyasha, Sesshomaru, Kaiba, the Pharaoh, Kakashi, Naruto, Chichiri, and Miroku standing there. Kurama had been the one to speak.

"WERE YOU LISTENING IN ON OUR CONVERSATION?!" they asked as one, each trying to get their heart rates under control once more.

Inuyasha smirked. "Well, for us demons, it's hard NOT to hear what you're saying. I know I don't miss much with ears like these."

Miroku nodded. "But I think you girls may have just figured out something that the rest of us missed before. The more I think about it, the more it seems that this is some sort of recruitment for a war of some sort."

Kirsten moaned and pulled her legs close to her chest. "Please don't say that..."

Kakashi knelt beside her and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I know it's not something you like to think about, but it is a very likely explanation for why we're here in the first place. And that makes it all the more important that we keep you three safe. Because if this opposing force wants you girls dead, then the deities inside you must be very powerful."

Chrissy and Tearra looked about as impressed as their friend about the whole situation. The thought that the three of them were the reason that everyone had been brought to this strange world did NOT sit well with them. Although they were not the ones directly responsible for bringing everyone ehre, they were the REASON, which was by itself bad enough.

Chrissy frowned then. "Okay, here's a good question. It's obvious that the baddies were already contacted by whoever's recruited them, so how come WE weren't contacted yet by the big gahoona on OUR side?"
Chichiri shrugged. "Who knows, no da? In our world, Tai-Yi-Jun is one who likes to test those under her watch before showing herself. She tested Miaka before she showed herself to our Priestess, and Miaka almost died in the process, no da. I think it might be something like that, no da. There's no way to tell for sure."

The Pharaoh smiled at them and stepped forward. "I think you girls have had far more than enough excitement for today." He looked at Chrissy. "Would you like to have a few practice duels before the others return with the food?"

Kirsten frowned a little, eyeing the duel disk that was on her friends arm. "That's another thing... how come SHE gets one of those things and me and Tearra don't?" However, the instant the words were out of her mouth, there was a tingling on her arm and she saw a duel disk materialize. "Wow... I stand corrected..."

Tearra blinked. "Hmmm..." She held her arm up and a duel disk appeared attached to her arm. She rose her eyebrows. "Cool..."

Joey came forward, grinning from ear to ear. "Awesome! Now Kirsten and Tearra each have a duel disk and deck!" He looked at Kirsten. "What do ya say? I'll teach ya how ta play the game and we can have a few practice duels of our own!"

Kirsten blinked, and then shrugged. "Sure."

Kaiba looked at Tearra. "Well, since the Pharaoh and Wheeler are each taking on a student, why don't I teach you?"

The girl grinned. "Cool! Count me in! So long as there's no soul-stealing magic cards involved in THESE duels..."

Joey shook his head. "None of us have a Seal of Oricalchos. Those cards are evil, and bring out the darkness of the duelist. We don't ever intend ta use 'em." Then he looked at Kirsten again. "The first thing we gotta do is have a look at yer deck and so you can get an idea of what kinda strategies you can use."

So Joey and Kaiba each sat with Kirsten and Tearra, going through their decks with them and explaining the rules of the game, while Chrissy and the Pharaoh immediately started a practice duel, off to the side using the duel disks. Several people stood off to the side to watch the proceedings as they dueled. Chrissy got beaten by the Pharaoh after a duel that lasted the better part of twenty minutes.

Mai smirked, coming forward. "I have to say, you've got some skill for you to duel like that when it's only your second time. You've definitely got a knack for this game."

Kaiba and Joey were finishing their tutorials and the girls were ready to have duels of their own. They each did fairly well for their first times, but ultimately got defeated in the end by their teachers.

The moment Kirsten lost her duel against Joey, the others returned with a huge amount of food... deer, boars, birds and fish, which were quickly cleaned, gutted and prepared. The meal was eaten in relative silence and was then cleaned up by a few volunteers. Chrissy then took the time to ask Miaka if she happened to have any extra clothes in that huge backpack of hers, and was greatly relieved whtn the girl produced a shirt and pair of pants. Chrissy quickly went into the forest and out of sight, Sango at her side, and she quickly changed, handing Tasuki his jacket back.

Then they all decided it would be best to turn in, several people keeping watch... Hiei, since he didn't need sleep, Gaara since he didn't DARE sleep, and both the Pharaoh and Bakura in their spirit forms.

And there's Chapter Eighteen everyone!! Please R&R!! I wanna know what you think!!