A/N: Well, you asked for it; and here it is, my sequel to Dark Magic Rising, AU after Battle City Finals. Yu-Gi-Oh belongs to Kazuki Takahashi; this story is my own...
Acknowledgements: I 'd like to thank Vathara, once again, for providing the source for my inspiration with the story "Roll the Bones" and the talented folks on YouTube, specifically pichu987 for the group AMV to "I do it For You" and daphne4 for the Joey/Mai AMV to "Crash and Burn." Thank you!
Notes: / = yami/hikari communication or communication through the Shadow Realm (like when Yami sent a message to Pegasus in "Give Up The Ghost.")
August 2011: I've decided to change the name of one of my characters from "Alya" to "Tiye." "Tiye" is an Egyptian name meaning "beloved of Isis." I've also made some minor grammar and spelling corrections.
Summary: Hery-Sesheta is back for revenge, and this time, Mai's caught in the middle. Joey/Mai
~ Prologue ~
"I banish you to the Shadow Realm!" the silver-haired kid had commanded, the one that held the spirit of the thief Bakure.
And so the shadows had swallowed him up.
Back in the warehouse, now devoid of people, Hery-Sesheta chuckled at the irony. "Fool… I have been one with the shadows for many millennia; and you think you can simply banish me to them. Hahahahaha!"
Very little sunlight crept through the dust-encrusted broken windows. As the Master of Secrets stood in the center of a ray of light, his dark robes seemed to swallow that light like an evil sponge.
"As per the terms of the Shadow Game, I have honored your request, little Téa, and have not come to bother you or Tiye." He snickered to himself. "But that does not prevent me from asking someone else to intervene on my behalf."
Hery-Sesheta could scarcely contain his laughter as he pulled a Duel Monsters card from the folds in his cloak and threw it to the ground at his feet. "I summon Nightmare Horse! Come forth!"
The sunlight spun around him, sucked into a vortex of shadows that grew to twice his size.
A horse's shrill mixed with the wind that whistled from the void, and before him a dark, translucent beast stared down at him with piercing red eyes intent on taking his life; but Hery-Sesheta no longer had any life to give. He stared down its threat.
After a moment, the horse lowered its head and regarded him with a sidelong glance.
"I request an audience with the Lady Reswbinet."
A ghostly feminine voice answered him. "And why would my lady be interested in conferring with the likes of you, you who ally with the Pharaoh of the Shadow Games, the keeper of the Millennium Ring?"
Hery-Sesheta glared at the spirit beast. "That honor was never bestowed upon me, and I renounced my loyalty to the pharaoh long ago."
The night-mare snickered. There was a fire in her red eyes. "You have not answered my question, dark priest."
Hery-Sesheta would not be intimidated. Patience, he reminded himself. The night-mare had a way of toying with people's minds. "I can help her attain possession of a Millennium Item."
The night-mare's ears pricked forward. "I thought the Items had been sealed away."
Hery-Sesheta couldn't help a small smile. He'd gotten her attention. "They're back. The pharaoh's Pendent was reassembled."
The night-mare quivered with excitement. "I will relay your message to my master." With that, she turned, brushing him with her tail before vanishing into the abyss.
Hery-Sesheta knelt and picked up the card. He touched it to his lips, which curved back into a malicious smile. "Soon…"
"Ah…" Téa breathed with relief, tapping her clogs against the hospital floor. "Good to be back in my own clothes again."
Tiye stood by the hospital bed, looking the garb over on herself – a yellow and black sleeveless shirt, a black skirt short enough for the temple guards to wear, and strange yellow sandals with uncomfortably thick soles. /This is the fashion of your time?/ She grimaced. /I feel like an ibis./
"They make you feel taller," Téa assured her, packing the grocery bag her clothes came in into a matching purse.
Tiye stumbled. /I'd be content to be more in contact with the ground beneath my feet./
/Would you rather go barefoot?/ Téa paused her hand on the Necklace, debating on what to do with it. She felt odd wearing it. It belonged to Ishizu, after all.
/In this place, decidedly not. I did not appreciate that cold floor you called… concrete? But I do miss the sand./
Téa put the necklace in her purse. /Maybe tomorrow I could take you to the beach./
Tiye jerked her head in Téa's direction.
Téa could sense her attentiveness through their link, making Téa cringe.
/You're not going to wear it?/
Téa hesitated. /It feels odd./
/It used to be Ishizu's./ Téa pointed out.
/-who gave it to Yugi who gave it to you./
Téa groaned, staring down at her purse. She wasn't going to win this argument.
/Téa, what's wrong?/ Tiye walked over to her and put a hand on her shoulder.
Téa looked back at her.
Tiye seemed to read her eyes, and her ghostly hands swept around Téa to guide her to sit together on the bed. /You don't trust me to not take over./
Téa closed her eyes briefly.
/Téa, I swear to you, with Isis as my witness, I would not take possession of you without your permission, unless I felt your life was in danger. You are my hikari. I'm here to protect you./
Téa met her eyes. /Why? Why would you wait for my permission when you can do to me what the spirit in the Ring does to Bakura?/
Tiye looked hurt, and Téa regretted her words, but Tiye answered anyways. /I would not call the Thief Bakure an honorable man, but he'll come around eventually. I sense a growing strength in his hikari. It was Bakura who banished Hery-Sesheta to the Shadow Realm, not the thief./
Tiye's hand brushed Téa's forehead. /Oh, my poor girl, the Rod has harmed you, hasn't it? I don't know why I didn't see it before./
Téa gave a dark smile. /We were both a little distracted by a certain kidnapping./
That surprised Téa. /What do you have to be sorry for?/
Tiye gripped her hand. /I pressed you to wear a Millennium Item after all you've been through./ She turned away. /Leave the Necklace in your purse, if you so desire. I understand./
Téa reached into her purse and held the Necklace in her hand. It gleamed from an unknown light. /No, Tiye, I'm sorry, for doubting you./ Téa took a breath. /I have to overcome my fear./ She pressed the eye against her neck and shivered from the cold metal. Then, she closed the clasp.
There was a rush of everything that was Tiye, and it made Téa dizzy. She had to grip the bed to keep from blacking out. Then, just as suddenly the dizzy spell subsided and Téa looked back at Tiye.
Tiye seemed somehow more real now. She could feel the heat of Tiye's hand as it gripped hers.
Téa swallowed dryly. That's just… really weird.
There was a quiet knock at the door. "Uh, Téa?" It was Yugi. "Are you almost ready?"
Téa finally emerged from the hospital room, and to Yugi's relief, he could see she was wearing the Necklace. He knew how frightened she was of sharing her body with another spirit, but it looked like she was starting to accept it. "I'm sure glad you're out of the hospital, now."
Téa smiled at him. "Me too. There's nothing like the comfort of your own bed."
"Yeah," Yugi agreed.
"Which reminds me." Téa fished her deck out of her purse and picked off the top card. "You left this on my nightstand."
"Thanks," Yugi said without thinking, then he read the card. "Oh, wait a minute, Téa. Goblin's Secret Remedy? I don't have this card." /Do we?/
/Not that I can recall./
"You don't? Then, who…?" Téa touched her chin in thought. "Bakura?"
"Bakura was with me. I don't think he had a chance to put anything on your nightstand, and I'm not sure this is really his style."
"But the only other person was…"
Kaiba, Yugi finished her thought.
Téa stopped in her tracks. "Now, hold on. Why would Kaiba give me one of his cards?"
Yugi shrugged. "Get well soon?"
"Kaiba's never struck me as the sentimental type."
/Actually, Yugi, I think you might be onto something. Read what the card says./
/Huh?/ "Téa, did you read what this card does?"
"Yeah," she said absently. She was still distracted with trying to determine why Kaiba, of all people would be so generous. "It increases a selected player's life points by 600."
Yugi rubbed his thumb across the card, felt the static that indicated there was magic there. "It's been used."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"I can sense the magic's been drained." He felt something like this before from Kaiba. "Remember back in Duelist Kingdom when I dueled against that Kaiba imposter to rescue Mokuba?"
Téa suppressed a shiver. "How could I forget?"
Yugi remembered hearing Kaiba cry out his name through the Heart of the Cards just before the Blue-Eyes was about to attack and win the duel. Then, miraculously it stopped. "Kaiba was able to stop his Blue-Eyes from attacking."
Téa frowned. "Yeah, how did he do that?"
Téa gave Yugi an odd look. "Are we talking about the same Kaiba, Mr. I-don't-believe-in-that-hocus-pocus-nonsense?" She managed a pretty good Kaiba imitation.
Yugi couldn't help a chuckle, and he handed her back the card. "He may be a skeptic, but how else can you explain how you recovered so quickly?"
Téa bit her lip. "Let's see... I got put in the hospital with one card and released with another? … This is too weird." Téa sighed. "So, I should just… keep it?"
Yugi winked with his usual innocent smile. "Think of it as a trade. We did give him that Ice Magic card, after all."
Téa thought about that. "You have a point." She showed the card to him. "But you says it's drained. How do I, you know, undrain it?"
Yugi glanced over his shoulder at Yami. /Well?/
/I think the best move would be to return it to her deck./
/Right./ "If you put it in your deck, it'll be able to draw energy from the other cards until it can fully recharge."
Téa gave him a hurt smile, but she slipped it into the middle of her deck, and returned her deck to her purse. "I used to think Duel Monsters was just a game, but ever since I met Yami, my life's just been getting weirder and weirder."
Yugi outwardly sympathized. Then, he smiled. "Hey, you want to grab a bite to eat? I know this great ramen place just down the street."
Téa grinned at the suggestion. "Sounds good!"