The final chapter. Thank you everyone for your reviews.

And now, without further ado…

Chapter 9

A Battle of Gods

Hell around a candle stick

Lilly in a pond

A finger to the petal

As all hell alights in fury

But for whom is the flower

And from whom is the candle?

Only the lady knows

Only the lady knows

Atem's hatred burned in his fiery eyes. This was going to get messy and he knew that Joey was nearby. He couldn't allow his last friend to be killed in the crossfire. "Let's settle this somewhere else Touzoku," he offered through gritted teeth.

Touzoku thought the offer through for a moment before nodding. "Agreed." With a snap of his fingers he had transported himself, Atem, Marik, and Ryou to a different location. The new location was outside of Cairo with the Giza Pyramids as silent witnesses sparkling with a whiteness that mirrored Touzoku's hair.

"Any rules?" Atem asked.

"Just one," Touzoku replied with a smirk, "it isn't over until one of us is dead."

Yami nodded and they went silent. Ryou and Marik stood side by side at a safe distance away from the battling gods. Ryou's hands fidgeted and Marik tried to calm his own nerves.

The wind blew Touzoku's hair and he closed his eyes a moment. Time ticked by at a snails pace, both opponents waited for the other to react first. The sun was beginning to set behind them and it cast a fiery light on the distant monuments. The pyramids turned a vivid red with the light of the falling sun.

When the red light was at its most intense the fight began. It was explosive with the wrath of Osiris. All Ryou could see was sand rise up like an angry demon and surround the fighters with the fury of millennia. Fire rose up within the angry sand storm. Ryou's heart raced as he waited for a sign of his Yami.

From the depths of the fury a hiss gurgled and rose up. Water flowed from the spot where Touzoku stood and it extinguished the flames. Once the stinging fire was no longer an issue Touzoku's hands came together and a furious violet light surrounded him. Behind him the sands parted and from the depths of hell a horde of feral dogs spewed forth like the bile of an unholy demon.

Yami tried to burn them but it did nothing to the creatures. Then he summoned forth lions to fight the dogs and Touzoku smiled. He raised his hands toward the heavens and clouds began to form. Then he brought his hands toward the earth and spikes of stone shot up to try to kill Atem. Yami ached his back and a pair of golden wings appeared. He flew up and away from the spikes of stone.

Touzoku frowned and arched his back. Dark bluish purple wings sprouted and he rose to meet his opponent in the air. The two of them raced towards each other at a blinding speed then crashed in mid air. Their unearthly power collided as well and there was a brief flash of red light. The two of them struggled in the air to try to throw the other one down but they were an equal match.

By this time the sun was down and the clouds were thick above them. A red aura surrounded Atem and a blue aura surrounded Touzoku. Lightning split the darkness in the sky. Touzoku tried to harness his lightening in order to knock his enemy out of the air but Atem never gave him an opportunity. Lightening continued to flash around them and below them their armies were obliterating each other.

Touzoku grasped Atem's throat as a distraction while he kicked the former pharaoh in the kidney. Atem's face screwed up in pain and he tumbled to the earth. As he lay on the ground he shot a beam of white hot light up at Touzoku and managed to singe a wing. He tumbled out of the sky with little grace and landed harshly on his side.

In their rage the two began to grow fangs and their nails became claws. The powers of the underworld were unleashed as they clashed on the earth like titans. Both opponents were undergoing a vicious transformation that even they didn't think was possible. Yami released a roar of anger and Touzoku hissed in retaliation as he struck Yami across the face.

From Touzoku's aura a giant cobra burst forth and from Atem there came a lion. The two creatures battled fiercely. The lightening became more threatening and fire began to rain down. From the boiling storm above them a face appeared faintly. On her head was a sun disk being held up with horns and a cobra was on her forehead.

Ryou noticed her first and recognized her right away as Isis. Osiris's sister and wife. She loved Egypt more than anything and was now a more divine witness of the struggle below. Atem felt her presence but didn't look up. It gave him courage and he fought more fiercely. The lion struck down the cobra and Touzoku wailed in pain. He grabbed Yami by the throat once more and threw him across the field.

Everything was happening in slow motion again. Ryou watched helplessly as the two opponents stood. Both took a stance and held their hands out in front of them. Both glared with passionate fury. From their hands burst forth raw power. It came like a torrent of pure magic. Nothing was deadlier that this. When the forces collided the earth shook and the clouds scattered. Fire rose up around them like a ring and the shock wave knocked Ryou and Marik over.

Ryou jumped up and ran to his Yami. Marik tried to stop him but the boy was too fast. They jumped through the flames and slid down the walls of a crater. In its center were the two opponents. Neither were dead but both looked to be on the verge of it. Everything subsided so that the only thing left was the ring of fire. Silence was king now. Ryou ran to his yami's side and held him close.

Touzoku looked up with bleary eyes at his young hikari. "Ryou?" he whispered. His eyes tried to focus but they couldn't for very long.

"Touzoku? Touzoku, hold on. The fight isn't over yet. Atem is weak, you can finish him," Ryou urged. Touzoku placed his hand over his stomach and winced. His Hikari's eyes drifted down slowly to see just what was the matter. A scream got caught in his throat. In the darkness he hadn't noticed right away but Touzoku's stomach had been ripped open. The fire and the sand had created glass and in the final explosion some of it was thrown in all directions.

Blood poured out of the gaping wound and Ryou tried to ignore the sight of his yami's organs spilling out. Tears of anger and pain began to flow down his face. Marik stood behind him in shock. "Don't die," he begged, "You promised me you wouldn't. Don't die damn it. DON'T DIE!"

Ryou tried to pound on his yami's chest but Touzoku caught his fist. Through his fist he passed on his power. "This will finish," he whispered, "don't fail me." Ryou sobbed and looked into Touzoku's eyes but the light in them was fading. The ferocity was being lulled to eternal sleep as his muscled began to relax.

"Touzoku?" Ryou whimpered. He shook his yami as his muscles went limp and the light in his eyes extinguished. Glassy violet eyes stared up at him, expressionless. In his chest, Ryou's heart was racing. He felt the pressure of it and cried out. The pain he felt was more than anything he had felt before.

His head shot up when he heard a groan. Atem was approaching but he stopped when he saw Ryou. There was a moment of shock. He didn't know that Ryou was with them and when he saw Ryou he thought it was Touzoku. Then when he saw the body of Touzoku in the boy's arms he became very afraid and confused.

Ryou gently lay Touzoku's body on the ground and stood. Marik tried to restrain him but was thrown aside like a doll. Ryou's eyes turned scarlet as he touched the power his yami had given him. One thing though, he was a hikari so his power was of light. One thing that could banish shadow was light.

Wind whipped his hair around and the fire around him reflected in his eyes. He looked even fiercer than Touzoku in many respects. Without slowing down his pace he raised his hand. Atem suddenly understood. This was Ryou and he was about to die. The image of the Hikari's face burned into his mind as white light brighter than the sun shot toward him. It was the white light of a Hikari's magic. Then, when the magic was halfway between the boy and the former pharaoh he saw something.

Over the boy's shoulder was the face of Touzoku. It wasn't a trick or an illusion. The thief's spirit was standing behind the boy. His magic fused with his Hikari's and it produced a magic that not only destroyed, it created. Chaos rumbled toward him. This would kill not only his body, but the divinity of his soul. He would cease to be a god. A look of terror was plastered on his face.

When the force hit him he felt a momentary explosion of pain before everything went quiet. White light surrounded him and he was afraid to move. From the light Isis and Horus appeared. They reached out to him and called out but he felt himself fall away and their images disappeared. Touzoku had succeeded in taking everything from him.

Ryou collapsed to one knee. It was a pain in his heart that brought him down. He turned and crawled to Touzoku's body. The unseeing eyes were still staring up to the heavens. Everything was gone from those eyes. Marik held the broken body and tried to heal it. Touzoku had also promised him the powers of the shadow realm so he decided to put them to use. Once he was done he let the body down on the ground and stepped away.

Ryou crawled over and clung to the cold body. He wanted his heart to stop. He wanted everything to stop but it didn't. He looked up to the heavens and screamed. His soul touched the magic as he cried. "TOUZOKU!" he called.

There was nothing. Even the roaring flames had no sound anymore. A strange feeling came over him and Touzoku's body turned to dust. Then, just as Ryou was about to plunge into insanity he heard a gasp from Marik. His head shot up and he crawled to a kneeling position.

A section of flames acted up and spewed red sparks. Ryou stood and the two friends walked cautiously up the side of the crater to the fire. Sparks shot out with more life than before and the two turned to look at each other with fear. Then the flames roared to life and were more brilliant than before. Ryou and Marik shielded their eyes from the blast. Slowly their hands fell as they saw something in the fire. At first, neither of them believed what they saw, then Ryou fell to his knees.

From the fire a form had appeared and it walked toward them. When the figure calmly and proudly walked out of the fire it stopped and grinned at the two with victory. White hair whipped around his face and violet eyes glinted with life.

Ryou stood and the two dashed for their friend. Touzoku braced himself for Ryou as he slammed into his yami. Tears poured out of the boy's eyes. He pounded on Touzoku's shoulder then calmed down. He looked up with pain and confusion in his eyes.

"Did you really think I would die so easily?" Touzoku asked with playful reproach, "I knew that I needed your power to kill Atem and the only way I new you would be able to use its full force was if I made you think I was dead. We killed him together."

When Marik heard the explanation he burst into fits of laughter. He had a feeling that was the plan when he saw Touzoku bleeding and he was right but he had thought it best to keep his mouth shut and try to act normal. It was perfect, a flawless victory, and so simple in its complexity. Ryou was in shock for a moment but when the truth sank in he began to giggle. It was no wonder Marik didn't freak out like he had. He should have known, but it was good that he hadn't. It was over now.

They left the fire burning through the night. It burned away the remnants of a past already forgotten. All they had ever wanted, all their wishes had come true, and it was all because of a feeling as tender as love and as consuming as fire. A revelation of the path to a new future born from a touch of darkness and brought to life through the fury of light.

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Author's note: Okay, who hates me and who loves me? Yeah, I just had to make you guys think Touzoku was dead. Originally, that's what was supposed to happen. Both Atem and Touzoku were supposed to die. But I felt that Touzoku should live to see his victory so I changed it. I still wanted to fool you all though so I kept his 'death' in there.

As far as a sequel is concerned, don't expect it too soon. I had this story in mind for a week before I started to write it. I really have no Ideas for the sequel, at least not any good complete ones. If anyone has requests I'd be more than happy to oblige.

And now I must thank all of my reviewers. You have been loyal to me and my story and I look forward to reading and reviewing to your stories. Thank you. A million times, thank you.