A/N: My first solo YGO fan fiction ever. Yu-gi-oh! and its characters belong to Kazuki Takahashi, not me. However, Keren Mizrahi and Victoria "Vicki" Lennox, as well as some other random OCs do belong to me, so if you steal them you will feel my wrath. This takes place during Battle City, and will not follow the saga very well in all places. There will be twists of events here and there, so don't hassle me about things not happening the way they did in the anime'. Will be using dub names, but there will be a mixture of North American dub and original influences (scenes, background stories, quotes), taking what I like best from each. Some dialogue from the show will be used here and there. Rated T for mild language and violence. Feel free to give helpful advice, but rude, hateful comments are not welcome.

Chapter 1

(in Egypt)

Marik sat in his secret hideout, surrounded by his rare hunters. He had summoned them for a meeting to inform them about a very important decision he had made. The robed men glanced up at their master and noticed he looked somewhat happy. They wondered what could have brought it on, since most times he was temperamental and super cranky because he was trying to find a way to escape the task of guarding the pharaoh's tomb. Not to mention the energy in the room didn't feel as tense. 'He must have found that way, based on the smile on his face.'

A man named Odion, dressed in a robe, with hieroglyphics tattooed on the left side of his face knelt in front of his master. "What news do you have for us, Master Marik? Shall we aid you with anything?"

The cornsilk haired young man looked at his lead henchman with a sinister grin. "I know the perfect way to dispose of Yugi Mutou."

'So we were right.' A caped man that appeared to be in his late twenties cocked an eyebrow. "Oh? And which way is that, Master?"

Marik's purple eyes held a sparkle in them as he answered, "I will seize the three Egyptian God cards and use them to devastate that foolish pharaoh's vessel. With the combined strength of these cards and my other rare cards, Little Yugi won't stand a chance against me!"

The rare hunter started to smile as well. It was hard not to with his master so excited for once. "Excellent idea, Master Marik."

"Of course it is a good idea, you imbecile," scoffed Marik. It never ceased to amaze him how dense his servants were at times that they felt the need to state the obvious. "And then, I will snatch that puzzle. After all, he will have no more use for it after he's dead."

Odion knew Marik still thought it was the pharaoh's fault his father was dead, and that was the reason he felt he didn't deserve his powers. He opened his mouth, ready to tell him the truth about what had happened. It pained his heart to see the young lad so different and he hated lying to him, but he closed it, deciding not to tell him then. He didn't think Marik would believe him and besides, his mind wasn't very stable at the moment."Would you like one of us to get them for you?" he asked.

Marik gave his henchman an evil smile. He knew he could always count on the older man to remain loyal, regardless of how harshly he treated him. "Don't bother. It's time for the other tombkeepers to put themselves to better use."

"All right. Let us know how we can serve you."

"Oh trust me. I will." Marik left the hideout and made his way to the room where the Egyptian God cards had been stored. He could feel his heart bursting with pride and excitement, knowing he would soon be free of his dreadful task. 'Those tombkeepers had better do as I say or else.' He would not hesitate to use his millennium rod on them if he had to.

While all this was going on, Ishizu and Keren were in their bedroom. Both of them got a gut feeling in their stomachs that something was amiss and knew instantly what was causing them such discomfort.

"I suspect Marik and his rare hunters are up to no good at this very minute," said Ishizu. She couldn't help but notice how the rare hunters liked to steal all the rare cards from the other duelists. There was no telling which card they would get their hands on. She also knew how much Marik despised his mission and was determined to get out of it, despite her and Keren's protests. Her eyes popped open wide when a possibility suddenly hit her. 'I have a feeling Marik has gone after the Egyptian God cards.' That was her greatest fear since their powers were quite perilous when abused or placed in the wrong hands, and she knew her brother intended to use them for less than noble means. 'I had better go and stop him, or who knows what will happen?'

"I have a feeling you are absolutely right," said Keren. She let out a wistful sigh and ran a hand through her hair, which was starting to become thin from all the stress. She also thought she noticed a strand of gray on the side. "I am especially scared for Odion…he doesn't seem quite like the same person I always loved. Although it was more than five years ago since I have met you all, it feels as if it were only yesterday. "

Ishizu nodded in agreement. "It certainly does seem so, doesn't it?" She had to admit, at first she had her doubts about whether befriending the Israeli was such a good idea or not, seeing as how she and her brother made a grave mistake going to the surface in the first place. 'However the more time I spent with her, the closer we became.'

"Yes. While I cannot say the experience was all sunshine and roses, what with the hostile treatment from your father and the appearance of Marik's evil half, I consider Odion an important part of my life and I do not regret meeting him. Nor you and Marik. I know Odion made a promise to always protect Marik, but..." Keren's voice was starting to crack. She had to exhale before she could continue. "I just wish he didn't have to compromise his integrity in order to do so. " Her eyes grew misty.

Ishizu gave her an understanding look. She could see the physical wear and tear the ordeal was beginning to leave on the older woman. "I know that Odion is trying his best to protect my little brother. However, in case anything should happen to him, something must be done to bring out Marik's good side. Otherwise, the evil within him will grow stronger."

"Of course." Keren knew Marik had potential for good, based on how he acted towards her when they first met. Now she had to pretty much walk on eggshells around him to avoid setting him off. Not what she preferred, but she found it scary when he got angry. "What are you going to do?"

"First things first, we must retrieve at least one of the Egyptian God cards to give to Seto Kaiba. I will be travelling to Domino, Japan in a few days to display my Egyptian exhibition." The ebony-haired woman smiled a bit as an idea of how to retrieve the God cards formulated in her mind.

The older woman wasn't sure about giving the card to Kaiba, given the reports she heard about him being cold, ruthless, power hungry and greedy. 'Obelisk would be much better off in the hands of Yugi or the pharaoh.' She was about to ask Ishizu why she chose Kaiba, but figured the woman must have her reasons and knew not to question her. 'I suppose it is better him than Marik.' The more she thought about it, the more she was able to consider the benefits and how it would mean one less card for Marik to get his greedy hands on. "That's a wonderful idea, Ishizu. Let's do it."

Ishizu smiled, pleased to see Keren had no objection to any part of the plan, although she was aware of the doubts she possessed. "Thank you for your support." She and Keren left the bedroom.

By then, Marik had already snatched up the Slifer the Sky Dragon card, and was now on the way to retrieve Ra. He used his millennium rod on one of the tombkeepers, just in case he were to refuse. "Open the lid, and unlock the safe, my servant," he commanded as a sneer crossed his features.

Like a robot, the man did as he was told. Marik's eyes filled with glee when they landed on the Egyptian God card of the sun. He grabbed it and smiled evilly. "Excellent," he purred. "Just one more card and I'll be unstoppable. " Smiling to himself, he exited the room and was on his way to get the third card. He stopped short and his smile faded when he spotted two people blocking his way. Standing in front of the entrance were none other than his elder sister and Keren.

"Don't take another step," Ishizu ordered. Her tone was even, yet no-nonsense at the same time.

Marik had the urge to just shove his sister aside and just go on his way, but he resisted it quickly. "Ishizu," he acknowledged in a less than pleased voice.

Ishizu could see Marik wasn't pleased to see her, and it made her feel a pang of hurt inside, but she knew she had to remain strong while confronting him. "Brother. My millennium necklace warned me that you would betray me and it appears you have. Don't you realize your destiny is with serving the pharaoh?"

Marik scoffed. "Why should I protect him? He is not worthy of being the pharaoh. He is a despicable murderer, so fate has chosen me to take what should have been mine from the very beginning, sister."

Keren buried her face in her hands. She wanted to just disappear so she wouldn't have to hear the young lad spout such unspeakable accusations. Not only were they malicious, but they were also completely false. 'I have not met this pharaoh, but I know in my heart he would not murder someone who was nothing but loyal to him.' She wanted to cry at how much Marik had changed over the years. She nearly yelled to him that he was wrong, but decided against it, knowing she wouldn't be able to provide sufficient proof. She uncovered her face, shaking her head in disgust at herself. 'I'm so pathetic, letting him intimidate me.'

Ishizu was tempted to tell her brother the truth about what happened, but knew that wasn't an option, considering he wouldn't even listen to reason. Plus, she was on the verge of pulling her hair out with what she had said to him. "If you want to carry out this madness, then you will have to find the last card."

Marik's brows furrowed. He gritted his teeth and let out a growl both at the fact that he was too late and someone daring to oppose him. He held out his rod threateningly and pointed it at his sister. "I'm warning you. Do not interfere with my plans."

Ishizu just stared at the young man with looks of shock and fear crossing her face. She couldn't believe he would think of hurting her. "You'd use your millennium rod on your own flesh and blood, Marik?"

Keren almost turned and ran away. Seeing Marik behave so ruthlessly was making her feel a bit queasy. As far as she was concerned, he was not acting any better than what he accused the pharaoh of doing.

Marik's eyes met his sister's and he saw fear in them Normally he delighted in seeing people be afraid of him, but with Ishizu his hard look softened just a tad and he mentally cursed himself for giving her such a fright, even if she had made him angry. "If you continue to stand in my way, then yes, I will have to." He emitted a golden burst of energy from the rod. Keren stepped away a safe enough distance. She knew if she felt the wrath of a millennium item, she would be in trouble, for she didn't have protection of any kind.

Ishizu braced her hands in front of her face to protect her eyes from being blinded. The rod had no effect on her, for her millennium necklace had shielded her. "The pharaoh's power isn't yours," she protested. She turned her head to look at the spot Marik had been standing and saw he was no longer there. She wondered where he could have gone. She let out a sigh of relief that he had not harmed her. 'I cannot be certain he won't in the future. I must not take any chances. It's time to put my plan into motion.' She turned to face Keren, who still looked a bit shaken. "Let us go, Keren. There is much work to be done."

Without so much of a word, the dark haired woman followed Ishizu. She could only hope whatever it was the Egyptian had in mind would work. She wasn't sure if she could handle another incident like what she had just witnessed.


After a long and tiring day at school, Tèa and Yugi were walking home together. One of the highlights of the day was a new girl joining their class, which was enough to prevent it from being a total drag, at least where Tèa was concerned. "Do you think you did well on the quiz?" she asked Yugi.

The spiky haired teen shrugged. "As well as I could have done, considering that we knew nothing of it. It was a good thing I took a quick glance at the notes beforehand, otherwise I probably would not have understood anything."

"Yeah, I know what you mean." Tèa made a slight face before continuing, "But then again, I hate pop quizzes." In a way she preferred tagging along with Yugi when he had to duel in tournaments or face danger. She pushed the subject of school to the back of her mind, not wanting to think about it anymore for the remainder of the day. "What do you think of the new girl Victoria?" Inside she was squealing with excitement at the thought of possibly having a female friend at last.

Yugi scrunched up his brow in thought. "She seems like a really nice, friendly person. It sure didn't take her long to open up to us."

Tèa nodded in agreement."Yes, I have noticed that. Hey, if we hang out on Sunday, I was thinking, maybe we should ask her to come along with us."

"Good idea, Tèa. It would be great to get to know her better." Yugi wanted to be sure she could be trusted and was friendship material.

The two teenagers were about half-way to Yugi's house when they saw a man dressed in a robe, sitting behind a table and waving his hands around a crystal ball. Something about him seemed sinister. Yugi felt chills going down his spine just from looking at him. "Hey, Tèa, it appears to be a fortune teller."

The brunette girl rolled her eyes. "Don't tell me you want your fortune told. We're both a little too old for that. "

Before Yugi could answer, the caped man cut in, "Step right up if you want me to predict your future."

Yugi frowned in thought, recalling his conversation with the spirit of the puzzle that morning about how he was unsure of who he was and what his future held. 'Who knows? Maybe he can help the spirit of the millennium puzzle, and I promise I will do all I can to help him. Maybe having my future revealed by this man is not such a bad idea.' He slowly walked up to the man, almost as if he were still debating whether he should or not.

The robed man glanced up and looked directly at Yugi with an expression that was between amusement and impatience. "What are you waiting for, young man? Step up if you need me to tell your future."

"Don't do it. Something about him gives me the creeps," Tèa whispered to her friend.

"I know. I think he's creepy, too, but the spirit of the puzzle needs my help, and this man may be the key," Yugi whispered back. Making up his mind, he walked a bit closer to the man so there was only a small distance between them.

Marik gazed at the spiky haired teen through his servant's eyes with a smirk on his face. 'Excellent. The fool is walking right into my trap! Soon, he will be nowhere but oblivion and the pharaoh's powers will be all mine.' The robed man gave Yugi a toothy grin. "To predict your future, I will need your most valuable possession."

Yugi gulped and his eyes twitched. "Huh? And what might that be?" He sure hoped it wouldn't be his puzzle. After the fiasco with Pegasus, he was wary of anyone who asked him for his millennium item. The last thing he needed was someone else wanting to get their greedy hands on it.

The "fortune teller" eyed Yugi from head to toe while pretending to be deep in thought. "That necklace would do nicely," he said, smirking. Marik tried his hardest to make his servant sound friendly, but it was becoming difficult, and tiresome, quite frankly. He couldn't wait until his mindslave showed his true colors.

'Just what I was afraid of.' Yugi gave a pained expression while clenching his fist. He silently cursed himself for being so gullible.

"Be careful, Yugi. It could be a trap," Tèa warned.

Yugi looked at Tèa and nodded to show he understood. He then turned back to the caped figure with a firm expression on his face. "I'm sorry, but I cannot."

Marik growled through clenched teeth, furious that it looked like his plan wasn't going to work after all. He took a deep breath to remain calm. "If you do not give it to me, I cannot predict your future."

Yugi let out a sigh of defeat. He had been hoping there was another way to help his alter-ego, any way but taking such a risky chance, but now it seemed like he had no choice. He reluctantly removed his puzzle from around his neck. "All right...but just for a little while." He handed his item to the robed figure and watched with an uneasy feeling as it was taken out of his hands. 'Something tells me I will regret this.'

Marik's angry look changed into an evil grin. 'Perfect. My plan is working. This fool is so gullible, it's pathetic.'

The caped gentleman proceeded to wave his hands around the small crystal ball. When he opened his mouth to speak, his tone was not the faux friendly one, but sinister and had an electronic effect to it. "Ah yes. It's coming to me. I see that your millennium item belongs to me!" He grabbed the puzzle, knocking the table over and running away.

Tèa's eyes widened to the size of saucers at what she had just seen. 'I knew it!' She was not going to scold Yugi, though, for she figured he already felt like an idiot.

Yugi's eyes widened and his mouth fell open. Mentally he kicked himself for falling for such a decoy. "My millennium puzzle!"

The man gave a sinister laugh and continued to run.

"Get back here!" Yugi proceeded to chase after the man. There was no way in hell he would allow him to get away with this, whoever he was. He turned back briefly to face Tèa. "You go on to the game shop. I'll deal with this." He continued running.

"Yugi, wait!" she called after him. It always drove her crazy when Yugi discouraged her from helping him in a potentially dangerous situation, especially when it was something he couldn't handle alone. 'Well I have had enough. I'm helping him whether he likes it or not, and I'm not taking no for an answer.' She ran down the street, but didn't see Yugi or the faux fortune teller anymore. However, she met up with Bakura and…Victoria. 'Huh? What are they doing here? Not that I'm complaining or anything.' She slowed down a little so they could catch up with her.

"Hi Tèa," Bakura greeted, his voice filled with concern.

"What's wrong, lassie? Why are you so frantic?" asked Vicki.

Tèa panted several times, trying to catch her breath. "No time for chit chat, you two. But if you want to come with me, I will fill you in on the way."

"All right."

Yugi was still running through the alley, trying to track down the robed man. After awhile, he had lost sight of him. He stopped to try and compose himself as well as catch his breath. He then noticed there were arrows taped to the walls. His eyebrows furrowed. 'Could the thief have left these arrows for me to follow? Strange he would do something like that, unless he wants me to find him.' Knowing there was only one thing left to do, he followed the arrows. 'Something tells me I am walking into a trap, but I have to take that risk if I want to get my puzzle back and save the spirit.' The arrows pointed him to a rundown warehouse. 'I guess this is now or never.' Drawing in a deep breath, the young man walked up to the building and entered before exhaling. The room was dark, musky and dreary. There was also an evil vibe in the air. 'I don't like this.' Yugi looked around and tilted his head when he realized he could still sense the spirit of his puzzle. 'Good. My puzzle is in here. More importantly, Yami is all right.' That gave him a little bit of hope that maybe he wouldn't have such a difficult time after all. His thoughts were interrupted by diabolical laughter, making his hopeful look turn into a glare. "Show yourself, whoever you are!" he yelled. He had very little time for foolishness.

More evil laughter followed. The lights flickered on, revealing a massive dueling arena. "So you finally showed up, Little Yugi! For awhile, I was beginning to worry whether you would have the guts!" taunted the uncanny voice.

Yugi's eyes narrowed. "Of course I did! No way am I letting you have my puzzle!" He looked around for his millennium puzzle so he could grab it and get out of there. The ancient artifact was fastened to the wall. He frowned, realizing retrieving it would be far more challenging than he initially imagined. 'What I don't understand is, what could this man want with my millennium puzzle?'

"Your puzzle is safe, but whether it remains that way depends on you. You're a fool if you thought getting it back would be easy. If you want it back, you're going to have to fight me for it! That's right, I challenge you to a duel!"

Yugi froze, looking as if he thought the thief had lost his mind. He didn't understand why he had to duel for his item. The only other thing puzzling him was he couldn't shake the feeling that he met the man before. He shook his head. 'Now is not the time to think about that. He stole my puzzle, and that's unacceptable.'

The robed man revealed himself, and laughed again. "Are you going to accept my challenge? Or are you too afraid?" he taunted.

Yugi gave him a hard look. "Never! I'm not afraid of you, whoever you are. But I will not duel you for something that is already mine!"

The caped man sneered at the spiky haired teen. He had heard stories of him being somewhat defiant, but he had doubts whether the young man would be able to back up his words. "If you don't, I will smash your puzzle into smithereens!"

Yugi started trembling with a fearful expression on his face. 'Oh no! If he does that, then it will mean the end of the spirit inside.' What was worse than the actual threat was that there was no telling if the man would make good on it or not. 'As ridiculous as his challenge may be, I can't let Yami be killed.' He let out another sigh. "All right. I accept your challenge."

The thief let out a chuckle. "I knew you would see things my way. Very wise choice." He and Yugi both ascended the dueling platform before taking their places on the arena.

The spiky haired boy nervously set his deck on the field. He knew there was a chance he would have to fight alone, but he wasn't sure if he could under such dire circumstances. His eyebrows rose a little when he realized he could still sense the presence of the spirit. 'Hmm. Maybe I can still connect with Yami even though I am not wearing my puzzle.' He tried connecting with the mind of his alter ego and succeeded, but just barely.

A silhouette of the spirit appeared. "I cannot help you, because the bond is too weak and I can feel someone watching me. You will have to fight this duel alone."

Yugi looked at his friend and counterpart with wide, scared eyes."But I have never fought a duel with such high stakes on my own before," he protested. "How can I possibly win?"

Yami smiled kindly at his dueling protégé, sensing his fear and dismay. He hated disappointing him the way he did, but it couldn't be helped. "You can. Just believe in yourself and in the heart of the cards. And know that I will be guiding you." With that, he disappeared.

Yugi bowed his head and closed his eyes to mentally prepare himself for the toughest battle he had ever fought alone. 'I will win and save you if it's the last thing I do, Yami, I promise.' He opened his eyes and gave his opponent a fierce look of determination. "Play time is over! It's time to duel!"

The robed man laughed. "Prepare to lose everything, Little Yugi! This duel will be your last!"

"We'll see about that!"

"We will indeed."