Hey all! I'm back with Chapter 10. I feel very proud right now to have done this chapter, without taking a whole other year. I'm back on track! ^^ Thank you to those who favourited and reviewed since the last chapter. Honestly, I wouldn't have been surprised if there was hardly anyone left reading this story, because I take so long in updating. To those who came back to read and those who are new, I thank you so very much. It means a lot that people continue to enjoy this story. Especially, since Yu-gi-oh GX is far over, and the show has pushed passed 5Ds into the far future with Zexal. Speaking of which, I find Yuma and Astral to be very good characters. Yuma's silly but still cool; and Astral is very mysterious, but his "observations" can be quite amusing. XD Anyway, this is story of mine is going to get a bit dark from this point on. I hope you continue to enjoy it.

So, without too much delay, on we go!

Chapter 10 - To and Beyond the Dark Gate

It was pitch black. There were no windows at all in the tiny room, where Krai and his soldiers had thrown him. Jesse had woken up soon after arriving. He could feel that his eyes were open, but in this darkness it was hard to tell. Maybe he was still asleep, but had subconsciously stood up, knowing he had been put in some kind of cell. Jesse shook his head vigourously. No, he was awake.

So then, where was he? The room felt damp, and it took awhile before his eyes started to get accustomed to the dark. Jesse reached to his side for his haversack. But it was gone, which meant so were the Crystal Beasts. Krai must have taken it to Yubel, while he was thrown into this dungeon. Jesse started walking around, feeling about the walls. There was no way out, except the door, which was probably locked. After going around the cell a few times, Jesse slumped down against the wall.

"I've really done it this time," he muttered to himself. "I let my guard down so carelessly against Krai, and look where I end up."

A chuckle escaped his mouth at the thought, and the sound of it almost made him cry. Being here in the dark, with no clue as to what was going to happen, had to be one of the scariest and loneliest feelings in the world. He wondered if Jaden would come to rescue him. Their promise had obviously been broken. He hadn't protected himself very well at all. Would Jaden be angry?

Jesse was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of a key turning in the lock. He stood up, backing against the far wall and bracing himself. The door flew open, and two spike-helmeted Demon Soldiers came in. Without a word, they went over to Jesse and forcefully pulled him from the room.

"Hey, let me go!" Jesse cried out, trying to plant his feet firmly to the floor.

They ignored him, dragging him down the corridor. Jesse took a quick glance around, and realized that he had been taken to some black-stoned castle. The two Demon Soldiers took him to a room, with several sets of shackles lining the walls. Spiked whips, various needles, and cords to strange machines were lying on tables around the room. Jesse realized right away that this is probably the torture chamber, and he shivered violently. The pair of Demon Soldiers laughed nastily as they clasped him to the wall.

Despite his nerves, Jesse tried to glare defiantly at them. "Just what are you going to do to me? Doesn't Yubel need me in tact to call on the Rainbow Dragon?"

This time, one of the Demon Soldiers spoke. "That was just to capture you. Now that you're here in the castle, the method she came up with to call on the Dragon is to torture you beyond humanly capable."

Jesse fought back a gulp of fear. He continued to glare at his captors. "And just what makes you think that will work?" he demanded. "The Crystal Beasts are the key to the legend. Just tormenting me won't get Yubel what she wants."

"Oh, how unaware are you, dear Jesse," a female voice crooned.

Jesse glanced over at the door, to see that Yubel herself had entered the torture chamber. Yubel smiled confidently at him.

"You seem to have forgotten," she said, pacing up to him. "It is true that the Crystal Beasts connect with the Rainbow Dragon inside your heart. It was proven as much when they glowed and called forth its shadow to save you from the vampire and the cloak-demons. But be that as it may, the Rainbow Dragon is your ultimate protector. It lives to protect you, even from the depths of your pure-lighted heart. In order to make the Crystal Beasts react and the Dragon appear, you will have to be pushed close to death. That is the reality of the legend, dear Jesse."

Jesse fell silent, the fullness of her words sinking in.

"Shall we begin, Milady?" the other Demon Soldier asked.

Yubel nodded and left the room. The two Soldiers then got to work. They ripped open Jesse's tunic, and attached all kinds of cords to his bare chest. The cords were connected to some kind of electric pump machine. Jesse's eyes widened in terror.

"No!" he yelled, thrashing about. "Don't! Please… don't…!"

His cries of protest were cut short as they activated the machine. Jesse gave a loud scream of pain that echoed around the room.

'Jaden… Help me…'

Meanwhile, Alexis and Syrus had been following Jaden through the forest toward the desert. They had seen him leave through the east side gate from the King's castle. Determined to help, they had quickly set out after him. But Jaden had gotten a good head start, and was walking at a fast pace. They had to jog just to keep him in sight. He didn't seem to have noticed them yet. Alexis had wanted to call out to him several times, but kept thinking better of it. Until they were a good league away from the castle, it wouldn't be good to have Jaden spot them and send them back. Jaden was obviously disobeying the King by sneaking out to rescue Jesse, on his own.

"Jaden's probably not going to be happy that were trailing him," Syrus said awhile later. "What guarantee is there that he'll listen to us?"

"Oh, who cares," Alexis grumbled, glowering. "I'll be the one to yell at him when we catch up. It'll serve him right for ditching us after asking for our aid!"

Once out of the forest and beyond the next village, Jaden stopped for a rest. He had been wise enough this time to bring along a map, and knew that just a bit further ahead was the beginning of the desert. The desert was vast, sometimes windy; so he was taking a rest before starting the trek across it. The Dark Gate was somewhere in the middle of the desert. Where, he had no idea, but the plan was to use a couple of his winged monsters to help him search. As Jaden rested, this allowed just enough time for Syrus and Alexis to catch up.

"Jaden, there you are!" Syrus called out.

Jaden looked over at them in surprise. "Syrus, Alexis… what are you guys doing here?"

Alexis came up, her eyes narrowed in anger, and whacked him over the head.

"Ow!" Jaden cried. He looked back at Alexis, his head smarting. "What's the big idea?"

Alexis put her hands on her hips, her mouth in tight frown as she glared at him. "I should be asking you that, Jaden! Just what are you doing, going off by yourself? Didn't we agree that we would help you when you asked? And then you go and just leave us behind! Just how far do you think you'll get, going beyond the Dark Gate on your own?"

Jaden sighed. "You two didn't even believe the Dark Gate was a possible answer."

Syrus shrugged sheepishly. "Yeah… about that. We think you're right about the Dark Gate. Yubel wants to call you through the Gate, but knowing it could lead anywhere, it will still slow you down."

"So, we've come to help you." Alexis put in quickly. "There will be a better chance of finding Jesse if we all work together."

Jaden relaxed, smiling slightly. "Thank you. I do appreciate your help." Then his expression turned stern. "But if this is all part of Yubel's plan to lure me, then that's all the more reason why I have to go alone."

"Jaden, you're being ridiculous!" Alexis snapped.

"Yeah, Jay," Syrus agreed, glaring at his friend. "You asked us to help protect Jesse when you called us to the castle. We want to do our part to rescue him."

"But it's too dangerous!" Jaden protested.

"Jesse is our friend too," Alexis said firmly. "We're coming whether you agree you need our help or not!"

Seeing that it was pointless to argue, Jaden slumped to the ground in defeat. They were obviously determined to come along, and actually he was secretly glad that they were. He nodded.

"All right. We're in this together then."

Alexis nodded back, smiling broadly. "Good. Because we also know that you're kind of hopeless without us."

"And just what is that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing. Now let's go!"

So, they began the hike out into the desert.

Jaden summoned Avian and Air Hummingbird to help search for the Dark Gate from the sky. He kept up a hard pace, refusing to slow down. Alexis was starting get annoyed that Jaden seemed to be ignoring them. She tried to mention that speeding headlong though a desert isn't a good idea. The heat can make you get tired fast, and without water breaks, it could get dangerous. Realizing the logic behind her reasoning, Jaden finally agreed to a break about an hour later.

As they were taking a breather and a drink, it was then that Air Hummingbird spotted something big and black in the distance. He flew off to confirm if it was the Dark Gate. It was a good mile or so from where Jaden and his friends were resting, but he had good eyesight. As he got closer, he saw that it was a huge door. The door was about 20 feet high, no doorknob at all (even for a giant), and a pair of bat wings were etched around the top. Air Hummingbird flew back to tell Jaden what he had found. Convinced that they had finally reached the Dark Gate, Jaden and his friends headed quickly headed off to the door. About two hours later, they finally arrived.

Jaden was amazed at the size of it. "This has to be it!" he exclaimed, unable to hide his excitement. "The Dark Gate! Yubel and Jesse are on the other side of this, I know it!"

"What are you so happy about?" Syrus asked, scowling. "Who knows where we'll end up when we go through. We could end up in an alternate dimension for all we know."

"Don't be such a worrywart."

"I'm not. I'm just being reasonable."

"Being reasonable and being scared are two different things. I already said it will probably be too dangerous for you, but you wanted to come. In fact, I'd still rather you and Alexis stay behind. Yubel is not after either of you, so you shouldn't be put in danger."

Syrus frowned. "Not this again! We've already said that we're coming."

Alexis heaved a deep sigh. "Would you two stop it? Your bickering is giving me a headache. Besides, we've got another problem."

Jaden stared over at her. "And what's that?"

"How the heck are we supposed to get this huge door open?" Alexis stated seriously. "There's no handle, no special lock. There's no point talking about what's on the other side until we actually open it."

Jaden laughed, looking back over at Syrus. "She has a point."

They sat down on the sand, thinking on what they should do. The door was made of some kind of thick iron. No matter how much they physically pushed, it would not open. Even when their monsters helped them push or attacked it, it remained shut.

'What could be keeping this thing closed?' Syrus wondered. 'We could hit it with everything we've got and it still wouldn't budge. Even the monsters helping us push or attacking it didn't work.'

Pondering on this train of thought, Syrus then wondered if maybe monsters were the key to get the door open. But not by attacking or pushing. He turned determinedly to his friends.

"I have an idea. Jaden, Alexis, summon your strongest monster and pretend to be duelling each other."

Jaden smiled broadly. "Syrus, you're a genius! That just might work."

"You should do it too, Syrus," Alexis said. "Everyone who is going through should take part in this 'duel'."

Syrus shook his head. "You two are way stronger duelists than I am. My strength won't make the Dark Gate open."

Alexis frowned. "That's nonsense, and you know it."

"Oh whatever," Jaden grumbled impatiently, pulling out his deck. "Let's do it. We can't waste any more time. Yubel is not going to wait for long to summon the Rainbow Dragon from Jesse's heart."

Realizing that Jaden had a point about Yubel, Alexis moved to stand opposite him in front of the Dark Gate. They didn't have time to stand around arguing. However, she was still annoyed that Jaden hadn't seemed the least bit concerned that Syrus was thinking himself powerless.

Well, Jaden summoned Neos and Alexis called out Cyber Angel - Benten. The two monsters got into fighting positions, and built up power like they were going to attack one another. There was a rumbling noise, and a minute later, the huge door was slightly ajar.

"More!" Jaden shouted. "It's working. We need more power!"

Neos and Cyber Angel - Benten focused more energy, still aiming at each other. But the Dark Gate only moved about half a meter a minute under the energy. At this rate, it was going to take a full hour before the door was completely open. Finally, Syrus became convinced that they needed his help after all, and summoned Super Vehicroid Stealth Union. Stealth Union built up attack power, aiming at the other two like it had become a battle-free-for-all. It's ATK power was higher than than the other two, so it was just the extra burst that was needed, and soon the Dark Gate was open. The way onward was hidden from view by an aura of dark blue energy. Jaden brushed his hand against it, and it felt like some kind of strange wind. Giving a determined frowned, he jumped into the Dark Gate's portal. Alexis and Syrus followed quickly after him.

'Jesse, hang on. I'll save you no matter what.'

The aura sucked them in, and before they could figure out what was going on, they started falling. Down they all went, until before long, they hit solid ground with a thud. Jaden was the first to recover. He looked around at the surroundings, and noticed that they had landed on the edge of a village. Groaning a little, Syrus and Alexis soon regained themselves as well.

Deciding to get a feel of where they landed, Jaden led the way off into the village. Alexis and Syrus tagged along behind. The village felt a little familiar, not too unlike the east village where they were from in the Dark World. But when they tried to talk to people here, they were avoided. Alexis noticed that she, Syrus, and Jaden were getting a lot of wary looks from the people. No, it was more like the people here were afraid to approach them. Was it because they were strangers to this place?

Awhile later, the three friends were resting in a square of the village. Just then, they were approached by a woman with a crystal ball tucked under her arm. Jaden recognized her as the same woman who pointed him to Zure's fortress back in the Dark World. He couldn't help but stare at her as she came up to them.

"You!" he exclaimed in shock. "How did you get here?"

The fortune-lady shrugged. "How indeed. Even I don't know how I get places sometimes."

"Jaden, do you know this lady?" Alexis asked, confused.

"She's the one who pointed me to Zure's fortress when I was looking for Tory," Jaden explained. He turned back to fortune teller. "What do you want?"

The lady shrugged again. "Nothing," she said, smirking. "I've just come to give you a warning about the one you've all come searching for."

"About Jesse? What is it?"

"You do not know the truth of the legend behind the Rainbow Dragon, do you? How it is to be summoned from your friend's heart into this world…"

Jaden fixed her with a hard glare. "Would you stop talking in riddles? If you know something about Yubel's plans, tell me!"

The fortune teller gave a wicked cackle. "The Rainbow Dragon is your friend's ultimate protector. Yubel believes that the way to call on the Dragon is to subject its possessor to unimaginable pain. Then it will appear."

"You mean by torturing him?" Jaden questioned, his eyes going wide with horror. "That's it, right? She's going to torture him to call on the Rainbow Dragon! But wait a minute, if the Dragon is Jesse's ultimate protector, it will try and stop her, right?"

The strange fortune teller walked off, cackling. "I wonder how long he will last."

And then she was gone.

"Dammit!" Jaden yelled, banging his fist against the ground. "Jesse! We have to find him!"

Alexis put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "We will, Jaden. But it will do us no good to rush because you're frustrated. We have to act calmly to find Jesse."

Jaden fixed her a hard look, his eyes blazing a dangerous orange. "I can't be calm! Jesse's in serious trouble!"

Alexis hit him over the head with a sharp whack. "Jaden, you are about the biggest idiot I know! To jump recklessly into danger for someone."

Relaxing a little, Jaden stared at the ground. Tears welled in his eyes. "Jesse… He's more than just a friend. He's a really close friend, and he means a lot to me. Knowing he's being tortured right now to summon the Rainbow Dragon, I… can't just…"

Alexis smiled. "I'm sorry, and I know what you mean. So, we'd better get moving then. A big lightless place around here should't be too hard to find."

Syrus sighed, sagging a little. "Alexis, I wish I shared your confidence."

Jaden faced them and finally smiled. "Thanks, guys."

After their break, they decided that their first course of action would be get a hold of a map of this place. The world in which they had landed seemed to be similar to the Dark World, but the darkness was more evident here, and that caused fear. Everywhere they walked, people avoided them, refusing to talk. Jaden wondered if the people could tell that they had come looking for Yubel's castle. Yubel's power seemed to be more known on this side of the Gate, that any mention of her would just cause panicked fear. It was still a mystery to Jaden as to what Yubel did that caused people to be afraid of her. It seemed to be more than just that she was a Demon Witch. Because all this, finding her castle was going to be difficult without any aid at all. Jaden hoped with all his heart that the essence of the Crystal Beasts would protect the Rainbow Dragon and Jesse's heart until he arrived.

'Please, Jesse, hold on and keep your heart strong.'

Back in the dungeon of Yubel's castle, as if on Jaden's wishes, Jesse had been trying with all the strength he could muster to keep the depths of his heart hidden. He could feel the Crystal Beasts backing him up, their pure essence acting like a shield. But with each jolt from the electric pump machine go through his chest, the energy seemed to fade. The shield of his Beasts wouldn't hold forever. His screams had subsided for now into grunts of pain as he struggled to hold on with this strength of will. He was surprised when one of the Demon Soldiers suddenly turned off the power to the machine.

"This isn't working," the Soldier said to the other. "The essence of the Crystal Beasts shielding his heart is stronger than we thought; and his will as well."

"Then we'll just have to cause him so much pain that it will shatter."

The second Demon Soldier gave a nasty smile as he attached another set of cords, this time to the sides of Jesse's head. These cords were connected to a different machine that looked like it could cause energy claws to enter the mind. Jesse had fallen silent as he watched them, wondering what was going to happen. His earlier fear had faded and his will had taken over, but now he didn't know how long he could last.

The Demon Soldier activated the machine. In Jesse's mind, a huge set of dark metal claws came at him. A loud gulp of terror escaped him as it got closer, and he started to struggle. He hoped that the Crystal Beasts would continue to be his heart's shield. He imagined them before him, confidently smiling, that they would always protect him no matter what happened. The set of claws pushed at the essence shield. So far, the Crystal Beasts and Jesse's will held strong.

Unfortunately, then the other Demon Soldier activated the electric pump machine again. With the electric jolts and the scrapping of the claws, it felt like the whole of Jesse's inner mind and heart were being attacked from all directions. Then Demon Soldiers thought it was a good idea to subject his body to physical pain as well, and started to hit him with the spiked whips. Jesse's loud screams resumed, echoing throughout the dungeon. In his mind, the Crystals started to fade from view, and he cried and cried for them not to go. The electric jolts, the claws, and the whips continued without relent. Finally his heart could no longer withstand the pain, and the Crystal Beasts vanished, Ruby the last to disappear. Then, from the far depths of Jesse's heart, there came the loud roar of a dragon.

And there we are for today. ^^

The trains of thought just kept coming to me for this chapter. For some reason, I got so excited writing the parts involving Jesse. What is it that makes us want to subject such pain to our favourite characters? I feel kind of mortified at myself for thinking this actually. Poor Jesse. ^^; And also for some reason or another, the conversations that kept coming to me for Jaden, Alexis and Syrus in this chapter kept turning into arguments. Arguments for crazy reasons: the truth of a good friendship right there. XD Oh, the hike across the desert to the Dark Gate might seem a little short and lame, but I was kind of stuck on what should be done. If watching Pokemon has taught me anything, it's that characters find things faster by making their "creatures" do the work from the air. And I was hit by such a spell of writer's block on how to get the Dark Gate open. In the TV show, to get to through the portal to the Dark World, Jaden and his friends had their ace monsters materialize and attack it. But later, in front of the giant door in the desert, Zane and Jaden got into a duel. So, I got the weird idea to combine the two. I don't even really know if it worked out well. ^^;

Anyway, I'm getting pumped for the next few chapters of this story. The Rainbow Dragon is soon going to appear, a major duel is coming up, as well the appearance (finally) of dark king. ^^ Review please (or favourite), and I'll catch you later. Ciao! ^_^