"I can't believe you were accepted to be a beta and a programmer Aki," said a girl with thick brown hair wearing a headband with cat ears. Eyes moved with planned mischief, dyed red. She was sooo glad she ditched her glasses and bought prescription colored contacts.
"Neither can I. At least now I can sleep in," replied another girl. Her hair was a lighter brown, almost as thick, with glasses and a headband bearing wolf ears.
The two girls were so alike they could be mistaken for sisters. The taller girl's name was Sakura Hikari. Her personality could easily be compared to a cat's, her wild side was often made people think she was nuts. But when she was serious, people would swear she turned into a dragon.
Aki Sohma was slightly shorter, and her hair was frizzy. Her personality was similiar to a wolf's, and she was often more serious than her friend. Her darker side was also comparable to a dragon's, only it rarely left survivors in it's wake.
"Where's the apartment?"
"Three blocks down, and to the left. Remember our deal Sakura."
"Ya, ya. I cook and pick the laundry up, you clean the house. You think I'd forget when I hate cleaning?"
When they reached their new apartment, Sakura immediately claimed the room closest to the outside. Aki shrugged, then hooked up the computers. Sakura hooked up her new laptop in her room, then yelled, "YATTA! We have wireless!"
"NOT SO LOUD!" retorted Aki, annoyed.
A knock is heard at the door. Sakura went and answered it.
"Ano...is everything alright?" asked a strange boy with white hair and brown eyes.
"Hai, hai. Sorry if I startled you. I'm just glad the internet is up. Aki really is a master at getting the tech up. My name is Hikari Sakura. The growler behind me is Aki."
"Bakura Ryou. Do you two live here?"
"Yup. I guess that makes us neighbors."
"I suppose so..." said Ryou with a small laugh.
"So Ryou-kun, do you play games?"
"Hai. I may not look it, but I love Monster World."
"You mean the English equivalent of Dungeons and Dragons? I've played it before, but I rarely had enough friends to really get into it."
"Maybe you and your friend can come by and we can play together?"
"Get three other players and I will!"
As Sakura was walking down the street, she noticed something. A tall boy with brownish hair was yelling into his phone. She distinctly heard the words "You're fired!"
"What did that person do to you?" she said clearly. The boy turned; it was Seto Kaiba.
"None of your business."
"The way you act reminds me of Donald Trump."
"Donald Trump? Host of Celebrity Apprentice? Multi-millionaire with too much time on his hands?"
"Whatever. If you'll excuse me, I have to look for a new personal assistant."
"Why not hire me? I can type fast, I can easily tell people to back off when your in a meeting, and I know how to file."
Kaiba looked at her and said, "Any addictions I should know about?"
"Manga, anime and fanfiction. I don't see the point of drugs, and I rarely drink. I also know how to play Duel Monsters, though I'm not good at it."
Kaiba thought it over... "You're hired. But if you ever try to betray me..."
"Why would I bother? If I do well, I won't have to go job hunting."
"Oy, Aki! Guess who has a job!"
"How the hell did you get a job so fast? You just went out to get groceries!"
"Seto Kaiba just fired his secretary. I talked to him and he hired me on the spot."
"Kaiba? That's odd. He's the one who hired me for my skills..."
"Cool! I'm cooking pizza tonight. Any messages?"
"Ryou said his friends were coming over on Sunday to play Monster World. He wants to know if you'll come."
"Why not. I have to order some extra parts though."
"Konnichiwa! My name is Hikari Sakura. It's a pleasure to meet you!"
"This is the girl you hired from the street?" said Mokuba in shock.
"Yes. So long as she does her job...and doesn't try to blackmail me like that idiot..."
"So what should I call you?" asked Sakura.
"My name's Mokuba. Seto's my big brother."
"Do you want me to call you by your nickname or just Mokuba?"
"Eh? How did you know I had a nickname?"
"Someone as cool as you and your brother obviously have nicknames."
"My brother calls me Mokie..."
"So do you want me to call you Mokie-kun or Mokuba-kun?"
Mokuba blushed a bit as he mumbled... "Mokie-kun..."
"Alright then Mokie-kun. Could you show me around the place? I don't want to get lost on my first day!"
Seto Kaiba looked on in shock. He couldn't believe his brother had warmed up to a stranger so quickly. He shook his head, then went into his office.
"I think we may have shocked my brother."
"Don't know why. I've always had a way with younger kids. Probably because I'm just a kid in an adult body."
"What do you mean?"
"Well my personality is so flamboyant that I act like a kid. But sometimes when my serious side shows, people think I'm a dragon."
"Why thank you!"
Mokuba looked at her. She just laughed as she said, "Everyone thinks I'm weird. Even I do! So to me, weird is a compliment!"
By the time Sunday had come, Sakura was considered indespensible to the Kaiba brothers. She took the day off, and went to Ryou's apartment. She knocked, and was greeted by what appeared to be Ryou.
"Hello Bakura-chan. Has the game already started?"
"No, Yugi and the others are still picking their characters."
"Oh good. Here's my character sheets and I have my miniture on me. Lead the way, Bakura-chan."
She meet Ryou's new classmates, then sat down. Bakura took the time to look at her character sheet. He frowned and asked, "What exactly is a Guardian Kaito?"
"Oh...I entered this contest for the creators of Monster World to create a new species and class. Apparently, they choose mine because it was the most original and thought out. In return, I got a full set of figures and a complete diorama of Monster World. It goes into circulation tomorrow."
"Odd that I didn't hear of it. I'll let it slide so you can use your avatar."
"Yay! Making a new one is such a pain. It's fun to create the mini, but a pain to carve."
"So Ryou-kun, where did you meet Sakura-san?" asked Anzu.
"She moved in next door. I heard a loud noise and she answered."
"Sumimasen! I forget sometimes that I have a loud voice. I was just glad to have my wireless internet up on my new laptop."
Everyone chose their characters. Anzu the elf magician, Yugi the half-elf beast tamer, Honda the magic gunman, and Jounoichi the soldier. Sakura was a Guardian Kaito, which Bakura had no clue to what it actually could do.
"So who's the dungeon master?" asked Sakura.
"Thought so. Personally, I prefer dungeon master to character," shrugged Sakura.
"Why is that, Sakura-san?" asked Yugi.
"Let's just say I have a mischeivous streak, and leave it at that. Anyway, don't call me san! It makes me feel old!"
"How old are you anyway?" asked Bakura.
"Bakura-chan! Don't ask a female her age! You're liable to get slapped! Besides, I'm only 22!"
"Then why do you call me Bakura-chan?"
"Because I know you're not Ryou-kun. Ryou-kun's hair doesn't spike upwards like that. Not to mention the aura is completely different."
"Then why did you still come in?"
"Because today's Sunday and I have nothing better to do, Bakura-chan. Besides, I've been wanting to play Monster World again ever since I hit level 7."
They started the game, with enthusiam. After an odd discusion over a NPC, they headed to the forest. Sakura started off with a slash attack on an ogre. Then Yugi and Jounouchi both took out a monster each. When they came across a body in the area, they were unsure.
"I think we should leave him. I don't like the way he just showed up," said Sakura.
Jounouchi poked the figure with his sword. Upon hearing of a sword which could kill Zorc, Sakura's eyes narrowed. The others discussed entering the dark forest, to which she said, "Absolutely not!"
"Why not, Sakura-chan?"
"It's too convenient. A figure just happens to appear and then knows about a surefire way to kill the boss? The chances of that are as likely as you giving up games. I don't trust this at all."
"Why shouldn't you trust the stranger?" asked Bakura.
"For one thing, it's way to early for the team to find a way to kill the boss. I wouldn't be so suspicious if we had learned about this after defeated a mini-boss in a dungeon, or if we had passed a test in a town. But an NPC to show up and freely give the information out of nowhere? Highly unlikely and a little too suspicious."
The others decide to trust the stranger, though Sakura's character remained on-guard. Which is why when the 'stranger' betrayed them and attacked, only her character was spared. Zorc attacked her character next.
"Kaito Neko and Zorc must roll the die to determine who attacks first. Since your character remained on guard against the stranger, you roll first Sakura-chan."
Sakura rolled a 13, while Bakura had a 40. She rolled again and got a 4. Her attack cut Zorc's life down a third.
"Did I mention I was a level 7? Guardians weild magic, while Kaito's are expert magic swordsman, or gunman. Since I weild a level 4 fire and ice sword, my attack doubles when I roll a ten or less."
"When this is over, I want you to explain your character and class. I want to know every detail!"
"Ya, ya, so who goes next, Bakura-chan?"
"Zorc's injuries force him to wait a turn before attacking again. Magician Anzu attacks next."
Anzu rolled a 99, or a fumble. She awakes to find herself inside her miniature.
"I knew it. Ryou-kun can't transfer souls!"
Jounouchi and Honda are enraged at Bakura, and attack before their turn. Both roll a fumble, which causes their souls to be taken as well. Yugi tells Bakura to transfer his soul as well. His darker half takes over for the others. After Yami and Sakura attack, they gained a monster. As they head to the castle, Yami notices something odd.
"Eh?" Sakura looks and says, "How odd."
They are attacked again, only this time Sakura rolls a fumble. Bakura takes her soul, only to find he can't.
Her personality does a 180 as she straightens up. She growls at him, annoyed.
"Not impossible, Thief King. The girl knows more about magic than you may think. Including how to negate it!"
"Impossible. No one can negate the Shadows!"
Sakura's personality briefly went back to normal as she said...
"Iron wasn't around during your time. If it was, then obviously no one bothered to test it against magic. It's common knowledge that iron can block and even dissapate magic, which is why the Celts used to put things like horseshoes and crosses made of iron over children's beds, to prevent fairies and witches from harming children."
"What is with you Sakura-chan?" asked Yami.
Sakura turned to Yami, and gave him a bizarre grin. Though to him it looked more like a smirk.
"Who said I was Sakura? Just like you and Bakura, she also has another side. Before the Egyptians mastered the Shadow through your items, there was a race of beings who controlled the Shadows. They tied their magic into a book, which had instructions on how to make what you lot call the Millennium Items. But they never used it, because the cost was too great."
"99 damned souls. Somehow, you humans gained control of the book and sacrificed a village called Kul-Elna to create the Millennium Items. By doing so, you released a evil being which terrorized Egypt until the Pharoah sealed it away, along with his own name."
"How do you know this?" asked Bakura.
"Over the ages, three fourths of the beings decided to become one with the Shadows, and created another world which they called the Dominion of the Beasts. By making this place humans controlled their souls, and started what you lot know as the Shadow Games. But the rest of us were reincarnated throughout the ages, to monitor and protect the Shadows. This girl was one of the bodies that was reincarnated."
"So she was never there to begin with?" asked Anzu.
"No, she is real. But unlike the others, who have to forcefully take over, she lets me out whenever she feels magic nearby. Which is probably why people seem to think she becomes a dragon when she gets serious..."
"So why didn't you show up earlier?"
"I was waiting until you tried to take her soul, baka kaito."
"Wait, if she's real, then what's with the cat ears?"
"You got a problem with it?" growled Sakura.
"No, no...just wondering..."
"I'm weird for a reason, smart-ass. If people don't take me seriously, then it throws them for a loop when Tsuki comes out. It gives me a mental advantage."
"Wait a minute. I don't see you wearing iron, Sakura-chan."
"I'm wearing an iron bracelet. Well, iron and silver anyway. Silver to purify, iron to protect."
"What about the symbols?" asked Yami.
"The ankh for rebirth, eye of Horus to see through all, the Ouroboros for eternity, and the feather of Ma'at for truth."
"I don't see any Egyptian symbol for Ouroboros. In fact, I don't remember any word like that..." said Yami, confused.
"My bracelet is in the shape of a snake eating it's tail right? That's an Ouroboros symbol. It came after Egypt, but it still works. Besides, it can also represent Apophis, which was the Greek name for the dark god Apep. Apep was the personification of darkness and chaos, which would tie him to the Shadow Realm quite nicely."
"And how do you know this?"
Tsuki shrugged, "Internet. Mythology fascinates Sakura, so she reads a lot of it. Certain things tend to stick in her mind."
They continued the game, and when they reached the castle, it opened up. While the other went into the tower, Kaito Neko stayed outside. Zorc tried to make a sneak attack on them, but Tsuki activated the Guardian characters ability and took the hit. Her life dropped by half immediately, but the others were spared. Yami tried twice to roll the right number, only to barely make in on the third.
Zorc attacked and narrowly missed the players. Neko defended them long enough for Yugi to release the true spirit of Ryou, which manifested itself as an NPC of a white magician.
By the time they finally defeated Zorc, they were all tired. Sakura retook control and said, "Well that was definitely more fun compared to my usual games!"
Everyone sweat-dropped at her announcement.
"Are you going to be okay, Ryou-kun?"
"Hai...now that the dark spirit is gone, I'll be fine..."
"He's not gone. People like him tend to keep coming back. But I think I know how to help you deal with him."
"I'll order another bracelet like this one. It should help a little to control him. At the very least, it will protect you from the Shadow Realm influence."
Sakura groaned in boredom. Once again, she was having trouble sleeping.
/Need help, aibou?/
//I can't sleep again.//
/How about visiting the Kuribohs? They always cheer you up./
//Might as well. Aki took the last of the sleeping pills.//
The shadows grew in her room, and quickly enveloped her. She stood up and began walking, her bracelet glowing in the darkness. Suddenly she stopped. She heard something in the darkness.
"Damn Zorc...he lied to me. He said he would give me power to avenge my village!"
She ran towards the voice, which was cursing quite a bit.
"Ano...who are you?"
"What the... Who the hell are you?"
"My name is Hikari Sakura. Why are you in the Shadow Realm tied up?"
"So you already know where you are. Interesting..."
"Well duh...I always travel through here to visit the Kuriboh. It's the only way I can sleep some nights."
"You can control where you go in the Shadow Realm...but I don't see a Millenium Item on you..."
"Don't need one. Tsuki controls the Shadows through my body. I can probably get you out of here if you want."
"Really? I'd like to see you try. Zorc himself put me in here. It would take a power that either rivals, or exceeds the Millenium Puzzle to get me out."
//Tsuki, would you mind taking over? I think it'll be easier for you to release him.//
/Hai...my power is greater in the Shadow Realm. Not even a Millenium Item could beat me in this realm./
"Hello, little one. Can you tell me your name and how you ended up here before I consider releasing you?"
"My name...is Bakura. I'm the lone survivor of Kul-Elna. After the soldiers attack and murdered my family, I asked the village god to give me power to destroy the Pharoah, who ordered the attack. But I was sent here and he took over my body. I've been here a long time...I don't even know what year it is anymore."
"If you are who you claim to be, it's been 5,000 years. From what I recall, the Pharoah's son took over, sealed the Millenium Items as well as Zorc using his soul. A few of the items acquired a soul, which is usually their past counterpart. It's only recently that the items awoke."
"5,000 years? But that means...!"
"Your body is either mummified or gone. I'd say gone. Somehow, your spirit was reincarnated, because I just helped the Pharoah's present self beat you in a game last week. How you were reincarnated while being stuck in here is strange though."
"Are you going to get me out or not?"
"Considering the fact that you've been stuck here for 5,000 years because you were naive, you're coming with me. You'll have to stick close to Sakura, otherwise your body will come apart. Unless you'd rather help your modern-day self. Then I'd have to seal you inside a protection amulet. Either way, you'll be leaving this place behind."
"What kind of protection amulet?"
"Ankh, Horus, Ma'at, Apep/Ouroboros. All these are represented in a protection bracelet of my design. It contains iron to ward away magic influences that you don't want, and silver to purify evil. I can get you one or you can seal your soul in it to protect yourself."
"I'd rather have my own body, thanks. But I might protect others...I always did protect people younger than me..."
Sakura woke up the next morning, and nearly jumped out of her skin. Laying next to her was a boy with tan skin, whitish hair and a scar next to his left eye. He appeared to be at least the same age as her. Slowly, he stirred...
"Not a morning person, eh, Kura-kun?"
"My name is Bakura..."
"I know, but I already call the spirit of the Millennium Ring Bakura-chan. So I'll call you Kura-kun."
"Chan is the suffix for girls...or boys who look a little too girly... Speaking of which, you're going to at least need a haircut if you don't want to be confused with Ryou-kun."
"I can't afford to have my hair cut."
"I'll pay for it. You look about Ryou's age, so your getting a hair cut. I'll register you as Bakura Hikari at the high school."
"Lucky for you, Aki is the one who has to buy groceries for the week. I'll put down some more fruits on the list. I hope you're hungry, because I'm making eggs and bacon for breakfast."
Kura's stomach roared at the thought of food.
"Everyone, we have another transfer student, all the way from Egypt. His name is Bakura Hikari."
A boy with short white hair, tanned skin and a scar on his face walked in. His brown eyes looked old, and he wore a bracelet similar to Sakura's protection amulet on his left wrist. Half the girls squeled in excitement, for he bore a striking resemblence to Ryou. His attitude was more confident, and he walked with a natural grace. After the introduction, he sat down next to Yugi.
"What are your hobbies, Bakura?" asked Anzu.
"I collect knives. I'm not much for games."
"Do you have any family?"
"Do you know Sakura Hikari?"
"We've met," said Anzu. *She didn't really like her flamboyant personality.*
"She's my older sister. I live with her and her roommate Aki."
"Where did you get that bracelet?" asked Miho.
"Nee-chan gave it to me, to celebrate the fact that I'm in high school. I almost didn't make it in."
"The math portion almost did me in...literally."
"So how was school? Did you get mobbed yet?" laughed Aki.
"Yes... And it was fine."
"Ah, the wonders of fangirl obsession. It's your bad luck that you look like Ryou!" Sakura said, laughing.
"What are fangirls?" asked Kura, confused.
"Fangirls: persistent as cockroaches, impossible to get rid of, makes disturbing fanfiction/art, tend to mob the unlucky sap they like...also, they almost always run in groups."
"How do you know all this?"
"You're looking at one. Me and Aki are anime fangirls. Only we obssess quietly...though I have a tendancy to glomp people..." said Sakura. Kura looked even more confused...until...
"GET OFF OF ME!"
"Nope. This, Kura-kun, is what's known as a glomp. You just have to grin and bear it!"
"ARGH!" yelled Sakura. She had just got off the phone with Kaiba.
"What happened?" asked Aki.
"SOME BAKA MESSED UP MY FILE CABINET AGAIN! THAT'S IT! IF I CATCH THE TEME RESPONSIBLE, IT'S A ONE-WAY TRIP TO THE SHADOW REALM!"
Kura walked in right as Sakura was cursing in ancient Egyptian. He winced as he said, "The baka strike again?"
"Any chance we can calm her down long enough to get dinner?"
"Take out again?"
"I'll get the coupons," said Aki with a shrug.
By the time Sakura reached Kaiba Corp, the guards had gotten a heads-up from Aki to avoid her. When Kaiba saw the look on her face, he wisely decided to spend the night with Mokuba. Sakura was on the WARPATH.
"Finally! Back to normal...for now. Ra dammit, I'm tired of re-organizing every day!"
"I'm staying over at Kaiba Corp to catch the !#$%^&* responsible for messing up my work. It may take a few days though. Think you can live without me?"
"Ya. You're taking out the trash for a week though."
A shadow crept into the building. It made no noise, as it crept up to the 30th floor. A cabinet stood alone near the west end of the building. As the shadow made it's way to the item, it failed to sense the presence from behind. Right as it was about to open the cabinet, it felt a sharp pain on the back of it's head and was knocked out.
"Gotcha, you damn pest!"
Turning on the light revealed Ryou, who had a rather large lump on his head.
"What the hell? Why is Ryou messing up my files?"
"Care to explain, Ryou-kun, why you were messing up MY files?"
"Sakura-san? Where am I? And why does my head feel like it's about to split in two?"
"Don't give me that, Ryou! I'm furious enough because I had to spend the past week coming in and reorganizing my files everyday! Either you explain why you are here, or I'm sending you to the Shadow Realm!"
Ryou's hair spiked up, as he said "I'd like to see you try, on'na."
"Bakura...why have you been messing up my files?"
"I was looking for something."
"Let me guess. The Ring acted up and lead you to my filing cabinet, so you've been sneaking in here to find out why."
"How'd you know?"
"It's acting up now."
It was glowing violently. Sakura sighed, then brought out a file with Egyptian heiroglyphs. The glowing stopped.
"What is that?"
"Designs for my line of protection amulets. Mokuba helped me convince his brother to make them. Since they're actually quite popular, Kaiba had me design more of them. That is most likely the reason your Ring acted up. But if I ever catch you messing up the files again, you are dead beyond recognition. GOT IT?"
Bakura took one look at her when she said this, then gulped and said meekly, "Yes."
"Are they done?"
"Yup. My line of bracelets is complete. Any seeing as they're very popular with the high school students, particularly females, we should have no trouble selling them. Is the board still giving you grief because you accepted my idea?"
"Nothing I can't handle."
"Which reminds me, here's yours. I made it to suit your particular tastes."
She gave Kaiba a bracelet. He gave her an incredulous look, but put it on. When he realized what it had on it, he didn't mind.
It was in the shape of a Blue-Eyes White Dragon eating its tail, the inscriptions were different than the one she wore. It had an inscription with a crescent moon, the usual Horus eye, the feather of Ma'at, stars of Nut, and another Ouroboros symbol on the Blue-Eyes head.
"Care to explain?" asked Kaiba.
"The moon is Thoth, the Egyptian god of Wisdom. Horus for the Sight, Ma'at for truth, the stars represent Nut, the Sky goddess. Nut was considered a barrier between the forces of chaos from the ordered cosmos. The Ouroboros is the never-ending cycle. By putting it twice on that bracelet, it ensures that it continues to protect you at all times. I chose the Blue-Eyes because not only is it your favorite monster, but it also doubles as an Ouroboros, which can be depicted as either a snake or dragon eating its tail."
"You really did the research on these."
"It helps when you actually have someone from that time period living with you. He knows more about ancient Egypt that most archeiologists."
"Is this the same kid who you want to protect Mokuba?"
"Fine. Any addictions?"
"He likes knives. Also, he was a thief before, but I've broken that habit from him...mostly."
"He'll only nick things if the guy really annoys him...which explains why I found Ryou's pendant last night."