Author's Note: Well, this is my first attempt at any sort of suspense/mystery story. Many thanks are due to LuckyLadybug, who inspired me to try this genre! The title is German for "Secrets in the Dance Hall" (many thanks to my German professor!). And there'll be a few references to a couple of my other Yu-Gi-Oh fics. Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, except for the people associated with the Dronyche Company.
Seto Kaiba was hard at work in his office when he received a call from Mokuba, who had been waiting patiently in the lobby.
"Hey, Seto!" the boy said. "The computer chips we ordered have arrived! I just saw the delivery truck! What do you want me to do with them? Should I send for someone to take inventory?"
"I'll be there in a moment," Seto replied. "We paid a fortune for those, and I don't want them handled by just anyone."
He got off of the phone, but the second he had, it rang again.
"Kaiba," Seto said, not recognizing the number.
"Mr. Kaiba?" a voice asked over the line. "I'm the CEO of the Dronyche Company, Aranea Vulsor; I had sent you an email a few days ago considering a possible business deal--"
"I'm afraid you've caught me at a bad time, Miss Vulsor," said Seto, who especially disliked being dissuaded from his original plans. "Perhaps if you called back some other time--"
"This won't take a moment of your time, Mr. Kaiba; I would just like to know when and where we could hold our meeting."
"Anytime during Kaibacorp's hours are fine," he said, getting impatient with the caller. "Unfortunately, they are over for today. So if you could call back tomorrow, I'd be more than happy to discuss this matter."
He hung up with a slight sigh of exasperation. When would people understand that office hours ended at 5:00, and that 5:00 was not 6:15? If he was working late, that was his prerogative, but that didn't give anyone else the right to intrude upon his endeavors.
Remembering that Mokuba was waiting in the lobby with the chips, Seto decided to end his work for the day. Shutting down his laptop, he proceeded to the lobby, but Mokuba wasn't there, and neither were the circuit boards. Assuming that perhaps Mokuba was waiting outside with them, unsure if Seto wanted them here or at the manor, he exited the Kaibacorp building.
Mokuba was there, but he seemed plastered to the wall of the building, his face pale.
"Mokuba!?" Seto asked, concerned about his brother's appearance. "Are you alright?"
Mokuba didn't answer. He merely flinched, and that was when Seto saw what was wrong; there was something moving around in Mokuba's thick hair. Upon closer inspection, Seto was shocked to see that it was a large tarantula, which was slowly walking towards Mokuba's face.
"Seto…" Mokuba said, through gritted teeth. "Get rid of it… just get this thing off of me…"
"Alright… just don't move; you don't want to aggravate it, or it might bite," instructed Seto, looking around for something that he could use to remove the furry arachnid.
"Hurry…" Mokuba pleaded, as the spider walked towards his right eye.
Finding nothing, Seto grabbed one of his Duel Monster cards and held it to his brother's face. The second the spider stepped on it, Seto pulled the card away with such force that the creature lost its balance and fell to the concrete. Mokuba stumbled away, sighing with relief. The spider scuttled away under a nearby parked car before Seto had a chance to deal with it.
"Just wait until that thing shows its face back here," Seto vowed. "It will rue the day it ever--"
"Seto, the chips are gone!" cried Mokuba, as he regained his composure. "They were stolen!"
"What!?" Seto demanded, the tarantula banished from his mind. "Who did this!? When!?"
"It all happened so fast," said Mokuba, trying to remove the strands of spider silk from his hair and face. "The delivery truck brought them here, and as it drove away, someone threw that tarantula on my face. Have you ever looked at the underside of a spider's mouth!? Now I know how a bug feels when it's caught in a web! That thing was huge--"
"Are you alright?"
"Yeah, but the chips…" Mokuba went on, upset at having let his brother down. "I couldn't see because of that thing on my face, and I wasn't about to move with it there… Whoever dropped that spider on me must've stolen them while I was trying to get that thing off of me." His face fell in disappointment. "I'm so sorry, Seto; I should've done something to stop them…"
"It's alright," Seto assured him. "But our visitor won't be after I find out who it is…"
Whoever wanted the computer chips was either a thief hoping to make some money on them, or, worse yet, a company rival trying to ruin him. Already, his mind was going through his usual list of suspects. But throwing spiders certainly wasn't the style of Pegasus, Dartz, or the von Schroeders. He wouldn't put it past Bandit Keith, who would have been especially enraged with him after the Capsule Monsters fiasco a few weeks ago, to try to ruin him now. But why would he fling tarantulas around when his little squad of Rare Hunters could easily take the equipment by force? So that ruled him out, too.
"There's nothing we can do at the moment except file a report," said Seto, after pondering over the situation. "But I will not rest until I find out who's behind this. Come on."
Mokuba nodded, still shaken from his arachnid encounter, and the brothers headed for home.
Neither of the brothers had noticed the tiniest fiber-optic transmitters that had been attached to the large spider. These fibers had been slightly damaged in the spider's fall, but were still relaying the brothers' conversation, loudly and clearly, to the guilty party.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Domino, another person was also working overtime. Téa Gardner balanced upon her toes as she held a pose upon the wooden floor of the Domino Center for the Performing Arts.
"Keep your poise," she ordered herself. "You wouldn't want Joey giving you a hard time about messing up, now would you…?"
She had to learn these moves; she had been put in charge of training the younger dancers, which she could only do after learning the routine herself. And that was why she was spending the evening hours alone in the theater. The only one watching her was the mascot of the theater, a green-and-yellow-feathered parrot named Chrissy. Téa leaped from the statue-esque pose and into a series of pirouettes before coming to a graceful pause.
"You can do better than that…" she patronized herself.
She tired the routine again, but was startled out of step by a loud crashing sound. Chrissy squawked and flew into the rafters as Téa got over the sudden shock she had received. No one else was supposed to be in the theater at this hour, so she decided to see what was going on.
She had reached the doors of the auditorium when another series of crashing sounds came from right behind the doors.
"Is someone breaking in here!?" she thought. "What could they possibly steal!? This is a theater, not a storehouse for gold!"
Chrissy squawked again, and Téa shushed her, trying to listen to the low voices right outside the door. The voices faded away, and when she opened the doors, there wasn't a soul in sight. She ventured into the dark lobby of the theater, trying to find any traces of people still there.
"Guess they realized that this place wasn't worth robbing—ow!"
Téa flinched as her thin dancing shoes treaded upon small pieces of what felt like small, plastic figures that kid would have left behind. She turned on the lobby lights, and was astounded to discover that they were, in fact, pieces of silicon chips that had broken apart when they had fallen. But who had left them there? And would they be back anytime soon?
Deciding that it would be prudent to leave before trouble arose, Téa gathered up the pieces, turned the lobby lights off and left the building, taking care to make sure that the front doors were locked on her way out.
A third person was now driving though Domino in a sleek, blue convertible, unaware of the goings-on in town. Mai Valentine was traversing the city with the last of her moving boxes; she had found an apartment, and was keen on calling this city home after reconnecting with Joey, Yugi, Téa, and the rest of her friends. She halted at the traffic light, her eyes gazing around at the familiar, welcoming buildings when a helicopter traveling overhead caught her eye.
"Isn't that an Industrial Illusions helicopter…?" she asked herself. "What would Pegasus be doing back here…?"
She felt a fresh wave of guilt flow through her; Pegasus had been one of the first ones who had felt her Orichalcos-induced wrath. True, her friends had forgiven her, but she felt as though she owed Pegasus an apology, too. Whether he'd forgive her was anyone's guess.
Her thoughts were diverted by the traffic light changing green again. The thought of reuniting with her friends again drove the helicopter from her mind. What did it matter if Pegasus was in town? Did it really matter if he forgave her? She had received forgiveness from the ones closest to her, and that was all that mattered; that was the reason she was moving to Domino in the first place!
But that didn't erase one question: why was Pegasus here?
Seto Kaiba, in the meantime, was trying to develop an elaborate plan to take matters into his own hands and retrieve his stolen equipment. Sitting around and waiting was the last thing he felt like doing.
"Seto!" exclaimed Mokuba, who had been watching the news. "There's something here about Schroeder Corporation!"
"The von Schroeders!?" Seto demanded. "What have they done now!? Don't tell me they're using our stolen computer chips for their latest doomed-to-failure project!"
"No..." said Mokuba, his eyes wide. "Siegfried's suddenly fallen sick; he's been rushed to the hospital, and now Leon's trying to handle the company all alone in his brother's absence!"
"Then we certainly don't have to worry about their status as our rivals…" Seto replied, dryly.
"Seto, this is serious!" said Mokuba. "What if he's not really sick!? What if something worse has happened to him, and they're just not letting anyone know about it!? "
"I understand your concern, and I agree that Leon must have a lot to worry about," Seto answered. "But I don't see why you are overly worried about this whole fiasco."
"Because if he's not really sick, whoever got him into that state might be after you next!"
"They wouldn't be the first, and as anyone can see, none of those attempts have worked," Seto pointed out.
Mokuba sighed. Seto was so busy caring for him and for his work that he never seemed to have any concern for anyone or anything else… including his own health and well-being.
Before the brothers' discussion could progress any further, Seto's cell phone rang again.
"If that's the same Dronyche Company again, I'm going to call off the meeting," Seto growled.
But it wasn't them at all; it was Maximillian Pegasus.
"Why's he calling now?" asked Mokuba, as he glanced at the caller ID.
"I don't know, but with Pegasus involved, it can never be a good thing," he replied, derisively, but still taking the call. "Make it quick, Pegasus."
"Kaiba-boy, you don't even know why I'm bothering to call you!" Pegasus chided. "Let me have a say before you jump to conclusions!"
"Then say it already!" he quipped.
"It's imperative that I meet with you tomorrow--"
"Get in line," Seto replied. "I already have a meeting waiting in the wings, so if that's all--"
"Try listening for once in your life!" Pegasus retorted, his patience uncharacteristically thin. "Otherwise, you may not have a life at all!"
"Is that a threat…?" Seto asked, icily.
"I assure you it isn't," Pegasus replied. "We're in the same boat this time around, and unless you meet with me tomorrow, that boat is going to sink!"
"Spare me the metaphors," Seto replied.
"I can't say too much now, but in the meantime keep one thing in mind," instructed Pegasus. "Beware of any tarantulas you might see!"
"Tarantulas!?" Seto demanded. "Pegasus, what do you know--!?"
But Pegasus had hung up, and Seto's questions were still unanswered.