Chapter 20

Joey was all fired up from his comeback. Perhaps his victory wouldn't be so hard to obtain after all. He knew Mako had more in store for him, but at this point he felt like he was ready to face it. Not only that, but the ocean duelist was the one who was defenseless this time. All he needed was a monster strong enough and he would be able to damage Mako's lifepoints.

"Your comeback ends now, Joey. Soon you'll be finished and I will be taking two of your locator cards!" announced Mako.

"I don't think so! You have no monsters to protect you! That means I can launch a direct attack!"

The ocean duelist looked shocked at Joey's seemingly selective memory. "I'd like to see you try that, land lubber! You're forgetting that the field is flooded with my ocean."

Joey's confident grin faltered a bit, but he put his game face back on. "No biggie. I'll find some way around your ocean, Mako!" 'I will need the right card or else I'm toast on his next turn!'

"Not likely. Neither of your monsters are a match for the mighty ocean!"

"That's what you think! It's my turn now!" Joey drew a card and was ecstatic with his draw. It was Polymerization. His comeback streak seemed to be continuing. 'Just the card I needed to complete my strategy.' "First I summon Baby Dragon in attack mode!"(1200 attack points)

The sea duelist widened his eyes in disbelief. All that trash talk and the best move he could come up with was Baby Dragon? He was beginning to wonder if he had overestimated his opponent. "A baby? I suggest getting a life jacket for him or else he will be swallowed up by my mighty sea creatures!"

"He may be small now, but who said he would be in this alone?"

"Just what do you mean by that?" He wondered just how Joey planned to conquer his ocean with a mere monster or two.

"You'll see." The blonde played his Polymerization card to fuse Baby Dragon and Alligator's Sword together, which formed Alligator's Sword Dragon. Alligator's Sword was riding on the back of the bright orange colored dragon. The creature had an attack power of 1700 points, which would do a great deal of damage to Mako's life points. "My new monster has the power to dive over your ocean!"

"Excellent move, Joey, except that all fusion monsters must wait one turn before attacking."

"I know that, aqua boy! Consider yourself lucky I won't sink you until my next turn!" 'I only hope I can survive a turn.' "Think you can wait that long?" teased Joey.

"Mako waits for no one!" He played one of his monster cards, hiding it underwater.

Joey got a flustered look on his face. Not only could he not see what he was fighting, but he wasn't sure what mode it was in because his opponent didn't say. 'What if I don't have a monster strong enough to defeat this creature? Hopefully my upcoming move works.' He put his game face back on."Alligator Sword Dragon, attack Mako's life points directly!" The fused monster flew towards the sea duelist and slashed him with the sword. He winced as the attack took effect on him. His life points were down to sixteen hundred.

"Way to go Joey!" cheered Vicki from the sidelines. Tèa, Tristan and Mr. Mutou offered their words of encouragement as well.

Joey gave a lopsided grin, feeling very proud of himself. 'I just might have found the perfect strategy for defeating Mako. If all goes well, I can win this duel with one more direct attack!'

"Once again, you're dueling quite admirably, Joey," Mako told the blonde. 'However I can't allow this to happen any longer. I have to win this duel so I can continue to search for my father.'

*Flashback begins*

Young Mako and his father were sailing on the open seas one afternoon. At the moment, the ocean was calm. They hoped it would stay that way for the duration of the voyage. Soon it would be time to go fishing for their dinner.

"It is such a beautiful day, isn't it Daddy?" asked Mako.

"That it is, son."

"It's the perfect condition for fishing."

Mr. Tsunami sailed the boat to an area where lots of fish usually bit. Mako gathered his net and threw it out. His dad smiled at this. Mako had become such an expert at fishing.

Soon, Mako's net began to feel heavy. He took it as a good sign. The net was so heavy that Mako couldn't lift it out of the ocean on his own. His father had to help him. Inside the net were a school of snappers, as well as a small blue marlin.

"Wow, we will have some leftover for the next day!" said Mako excitedly. He watched as his father placed them in the medium sized cooler. Just as he was closing the container and getting ready to sail back to shore, gray clouds appeared in the sky. 'That's strange,' thought Mr. Tsunami. 'The sky was sunny not long ago. "Son, it appears there is a storm ahead."

Mako quivered as the waves began to pick up. "What are we going to do?" he asked.

"We must prepare ourselves for the worst!" replied the older man.

'He's right. And knowing how unpredictable the storms can be there's no telling how strong this one would be.' Of course he didn't think it would be any worse than the one which occurred about three weeks prior—that one was bad enough.

The seas were becoming more and more tempestuous by the minute. Now Mako really didn't like this. "Daddy!" he screamed as he struggled to sit still. He was now leaning against a pole.

"It's okay Mako." The ship stopped rocking long enough for him to retrieve a long rope. He took it and securely tied his son to the pole so that he would be able to sit still, but not so tightly that he was feeling discomfort. "There, you are safe now."

Before Mako could thank his dad, the waves became even rougher and tipped the boat over. "Dad, look out!" cried the frightened young boy.

"AAAAH!" Mr. Tsunami screamed, falling overboard.

*Flashback ends*

"Never underestimate the power of the ocean!" Mako yelled.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," answered Joey tiredly. 'Will freaky fish guy ever stop his ranting and raving about the sea?'

"To complete my turn I will place one card face down and hide it in the deep." Mako was looking forward to unleashing his ultimate creature.

"Man, I am tired of this," Joey complained."How am I supposed to fight something I can't see?" He didn't get why Mako kept hiding his monsters, but it wasn't like anything mattered. 'Not like he can stop my monsters, anyway. One more direct attack and I will win.' "Alligator's Sword Dragon, attack Mako's life points directly!" Once again, the goofy looking monster flew over the water and dove towards the ocean duelist.

"Joey wins if this attack works!" stated Tèa.

"Let's cross our fingers," said Mr. Mutou.

'Good work, Joey. You've achieved yourself an easy victory considering the rank of this laddie,' thought Vicki, rubbing her fingers together. 'Come on.' The bench was not easy on her poorly hips at all. She rubbed them a little. 'Owww. I should have brought my orthopedic cushion with me.'

Mako gave a smug grin. "I'm afraid that move won't work twice!"

"Say what?" asked Joey. He was almost afraid to see what his opponent was up to.

"I activate my trap card, Tornado Wall!" Joey and the crowd watched as a cluster of cyclones rose vertically, thus repelling his attack. Now what was he going to do?

"You should know it is nearly impossible for you to defeat me!" said Mako. "I also sacrifice one of my hidden monsters for an even stronger one. You're about to feel the wrath of the almighty ocean once again. "

'Now there's an even stronger monster lurking down there. Will have to protect my life points just in case none of my monsters are strong enough to defeat it. And I am sick of hearing him babble all about the ocean.'

Mako eyed Joey's expression. "I can see your curiosity is getting the best of you. Well, I will reveal my monster! Show yourself, my ultimate creature, Sea Stealth II, the Legendary Fisherman!" (1850 attack points) A man with wild navy blue hair that was spiked like an afro, riding on a shark arose from the depths of the sea and hurled a harpoon at Joey's monster.

"Not quite!" The blonde revealed his face down card, Energy Drain. "This card will reduce your monster's attack points to zero." The reptilian monster's sword proceeded to glow and was surrounded with energy. The monster raised its sword and emitted the energy stream at Legendary Fisherman, but the towering water sprouts from Tornado Wall arose again and blocked the attack. This gave Mako's monster the opening he needed to counterattack.

"Legendary Fisherman, destroy his monster!" the sea duelist ordered. The fisherman fired his harpoon at Alligator's Sword Dragon, destroying it. Joey was down to 3050 life points.

"What the heck?! My magic card was supposed to zap your monster!" said Joey, confused. "What's going on here?"

"My ocean on the field makes my monsters immune to magic cards," responded Mako. "Your monsters are powerless against mine!"

'As much as I hate to admit it, he's telling the truth. My strategy is ruined,' thought Joey. 'But even so, if he thinks I'm giving up, he's got another thing coming.' "Two can play at the game of hiding monsters. For now, I place a monster in defense mode to keep you guessing, Mako!"

"Not for long. Your hidden monster is shark bait. Legendary Fisherman, destroy his face down monster!" Though still underwater, the fisherman shot a harpoon at Joey's defense monster, destroying it.

"No! My Tiny Guardian!" Not that it was part of any strategy Joey had to defeat the ocean duelist, but his defenses were being picked off like flies. This meant he had to come up with a way to be on the offensive and fast. "What's the big deal, Mako? Is your fisherman going to keep hiding like a frightened shrimp?" taunted Joey.

Mako gave an angry grimace. "My fisherman is brave just like my father." He called his monster back to the surface. The fisherman re-emerged from the depths of the sea and gazed at the blonde with a fierce look in his eyes, which didn't faze him.

"Hey. Your fisherman looks a lot like you, only a little older and creepier," said Joey.

Mako couldn't help but chuckle. "Watch yourself, Joey. To me that card represents my father, and what a brave and courageous man he was. He loved the ocean…that is, until the sea took him from me."

*Flashback begins*

Mr. Tsunami had managed to tie his son to the mast in time, but just barely. The mighty ocean capsized the boat, just when Mako uttered, "Daddy!"

Awhile later, the storm ceased, and Mako was still tied to the mast. He looked around and saw that his father was no longer onboard. "What happened?" he wondered.

*Flashback ends*

"My father was correct," said Mako. "Tying me to the mast had made me perfectly safe, but he did not have time to secure himself as well. I thought I had lost my father forever. However, I noticed that the lifeboat was missing. So even though I had been told my father's body had not been found, that gave me hope and the belief my father was alive, out there somewhere. So I built a monument to guide him home and held a memorial. Years later, I received a package and an anonymous note that read: Don't give up. The package was Sea Stealth II, The Legendary Fisherman. It inspires me to fight every duel in honor of him."

'Oh, that's such a touching story,' thought Vicki. 'You're such an honorable duelist, Mako. It would be wonderful if every duelist was as respectable an opponent as you are.'

Joey also found Mako's story to be moving. "I've got a lot of respect for you, Mako, but as much as I like you, I'm the one who will be going to the finals," he said.

"Then go ahead and make your move, little minnow."

"Will do. I place one card face down and play this monster card in defense mode!"

"Very well." Mako drew a card. 'Excellent. This card is just what I need to achieve my victory!' "I play my Fortress Whale Oath card!" He used it to sacrifice two of his weaker hidden monsters. "I summon my most powerful monster, Fortress Whale!" (2350 attack points.) An enormous black whale with a long white horn on its snout, and teeth bared, emerged on the field. "And the ocean on the field gives it an extra 200 attack points." The whale had 2550 attack points as a result.

"Oh great…just when I thought I only had the fisherman to worry about," Joey muttered. Of course the sarcasm was only masking how rattled he truly was. 'How am I supposed to get out of this one?'

Marik and Yami Bakura were still engrossed in their dark game in the alley. The dark spirit was struggling to overpower Marik.

"Enough of this farce now. It seems you are just as powerful as I am, and you can handle the power of another millennium item, such as the millennium rod," said Marik.

"Wise decision. I thought you would never say that." The flames that surrounded the sinister spirit disappeared. "So what do I need to do for you to hand over the millennium rod?"

Marik smiled one of his devious smiles. "It's quite simple, actually."

That was just what the evil spirit wanted to hear. "Go on. I'm listening."

"Well first, answer me this. How strong are your dueling skills?"

The evil spirit held up his hands as if he were ashamed to admit that he had lost to the pharaoh. "They are extremely strong. You should know that I've participated in several shadow games throughout history." He looked at Marik, but couldn't read the expression on the tombkeeper's face."Does that surprise you?"

"No it doesn't. It all makes sense now." At least Marik knew the dark spirit wasn't just some weirdo who was jealous of his power. "I ask because I will need you to duel on my behalf."

"I will duel whomever you want me too. May I just ask what is it you expect to gain from this, Marik?"

Marik looked just a bit agitated, for it seemed the dark spirit didn't listen very well. "I told you, I'm a collector like you. Win me the cards I want and the items are yours."

"Agreed." The evil spirit chuckled darkly to himself. 'I hope Marik keeps his word for his own sake. I won't hesitate to use force if I have to.'

Joey looked at the humongous whale above his head in utter amazement and fear. He was beginning to wonder if challenging the ocean duelist was a good idea after all. "That's a whale of a monster, folks. It looks like I may be in over my head," he said.

"Joey, don't say that! You can still win, even if your chances seem slim. Just believe in yourself like you've always done!" yelled Vicki.

Mako looked up at the young lady. "I'm sorry my friend, but Joey is correct. With my Fortress Whale above and my Legendary Fisherman below, my victory is guaranteed."

"Whatever." Vicki didn't understand why Mako was referring to her as his friend because he didn't feel like one at the moment.

"And now I will continue with my onslaught!" announced Mako. "Legendary Fisherman, destroy his defense monster!" The face down monster was revealed to be Rocket Warrior, which was destroyed. "Fortress Whale, attack his life points directly!" The large whale emitted beams from its laser cannon at the blonde, reducing his life points to 500. Joey grunted in pain as he endured the attack.

"Joey had better do something quick or else he'll be fish bait," said Tristan.

"Tristan, you're not helping at all," said Vicki, giving the pointy-haired young man a look.

Tristan shrugged. "Just being honest."

Mr. Mutou ignored the banter between the two teens. "Joey, you still have time to turn this duel around! Just believe in your deck!"

"Come on, Joey, you can do it!" cheered Tèa. She spotted two shadows beneath the ocean. "See those two shadows? I am sure one of those is Mako's Legendary Fisherman. I just hope Joey figures it out."

'Grandpa is right. But first things first, I need to get a decent monster on the field so I can attack, only there's one little problem. I can't find his Legendary Fisherman to destroy him and his whale is way too powerful.'

Just then a killer whale leaped out of the ocean and splashed Joey. 'That's the aquarium's killer whale. The other shadow must be Mako's Legendary Fisherman. Awesome! I found him. Now I just need the right card so I can destroy him,' thought Joey, smiling.

"Make your final move, Joey, so my sea creatures can win this duel," said Mako.

"I sure will." Joey drew his next card and examined his hand. 'I have one monster card, two magic cards and one trap card, as well as one card face down on the field. It's gonna be tricky, but I know how to destroy both of his monsters.' "I play 3 cards face down and summon Panther Warrior in attack mode!" The cat-warrior appeared, giving a fierce battle roar. "Since my Panther Warrior needs a sacrifice in order to attack, I'll end my turn. Consider yourself lucky."

"You played well, but it's all over for you. Fortress Whale, destroy his Panther Warrior!" The whale aimed its laser cannon at the panther, preparing to attack.

Joey gave a small grin. "Nice try, Mako, but you fell right into my trap!" He revealed his trap card, Magic Arm Shield. "Attach to Panther Warrior! Time to go fishing!" Panther Warrior grabbed a hold of the shield and used it to reach inside the ocean. It seized Legendary Fisherman.

"No! My Legendary Fisherman!" Mako cried out. He was afraid to watch what would happen to his most prized creature.

"I don't have to destroy him," said Joey. "Your whale is gonna do that for me. Fortress Whale, attack!" The whale's blast was redirected at the fisherman, destroying him. Mako lost 700 life points as a result, bringing him down to nine hundred.

Mako was in shock over Joey's attack, and then his shock turned into shame. "I destroyed my own was careless of me to let this happen."

Joey couldn't believe his ears. "It's just a card," he pointed out.

"It's more than just a card. I cannot be brave without it," responded Mako.

'Does this guy have low self-esteem or what?' "What are you talking about? You're one of the bravest guys I know. You've gotta give yourself more credit than that, Mako."

The sea duelist sighed. "It's not that easy, Joey. The card reminds me of my father."

"Mako…" Joey couldn't believe how hard on himself Mako was being.

"It's my own fault. I crushed my inspiration."

Joey let out a groan of frustration. Mako was trying his patience with how difficult he was being, but he knew yelling at his opponent wouldn't help. "That's not true. You don't need that card."


"You've already got what you need. It's been inside you this entire duel," continued Joey. "You don't need some freaky looking fisherman sitting on a shark to inspire you. Do you hear what I'm saying?"

Mako gave an angry grimace. "Back off!"

'That's the gratitude Mako shows when Joey is trying to help him? How ungrateful he is,' thought Vicki. 'He's lucky I'm not the one dueling him.' She brushed her long bangs out of her eyes.

'Boy is this guy making it difficult when I am only trying to be nice.' "Look man," Joey began, trying to be patient, "what I am trying to say is you can be inspired by your dad without that card. There's something in every duelist that drives them."

"How would you know that, Joey?"

Joey was hoping he would ask that. "I know. I duel for my sister the same way you duel for your dad, and she inspires me even when she's not next to me. Your memories of your dad and your courage are inside your heart, not in that card. So don't be hard on yourself for destroying your Legendary Fisherman. What would your father say if he saw you?"

Mako looked thoughtful. 'Hmm, I never thought Joey could relate to the way I look at dueling. It's true; father would scold me for being as hard as I am on myself. '

"Anyway, let's get back to this duel," said Joey.

"Yeah, let's get on with the duel so I can win. You've made a great comeback, but it all ends here! Fortress Whale, dispose of his Panther Warrior!"

"I'm gonna have to stop you! I reveal my other face down card, Kunai with Chain!" The long chain wrapped around the whale's horn and Panther Warrior jumped on his back. "This card stops your whale from attacking and raises my Panther Warrior's attack strength by 500 points, giving it 2500!"

"It is still weaker than my monster," Mako stated.

"That's what you think. Panther Warrior, attack his whale now!" The panther stabbed the whale but didn't even scratch it.

"It can't!"

There were shocked expressions on the faces of everyone in the audience."Why would Wheeler attack a creature that is clearly stronger than his? Is he that much of an amateur?" people were asking amongst themselves.

"My monster is stronger than yours so the minute you attack it will be destroyed!" pointed out Mako.

Joey grinned, happy he had managed to outsmart Mako once again. "It's true my Panther Warrior's attack power is slightly lower than your whale's but you seem to be forgetting something."

"And what is that?"

Joey pointed to the card he still had face down. "This face down card down here."

"What about it?"

"I'm glad you asked," answered Joey with a wide grin on his face. He revealed the magic card, Lightning Blade. "This card raises my Panther Warrior by 800 points!"

"Oh no!" said Mako as he knew what that meant. Panther Warrior would have 3300 attack points, more than enough to destroy his Fortress Whale.

"Say goodbye to your Fortress Whale and most of your life points!" The wild cat electrocuted Mako's monster, leaving him with only 150 life points. "Any last words?"

"Yes, in fact, I have six. This duel is not over yet."

"Now you're talking. Give it your best shot."

"I intend to." Mako drew his card. 'I survived the previous turn, but just barely. But I know that I will win.' "I play Return of the Doomed. This allows me to resurrect one of my defeated monsters and hide it underwater."

"Not again," Joey groaned. 'What if my monster isn't strong enough to defeat what's hiding down there? Oh well, I'm gonna have to really trust in the heart of the cards.' He knew everyone was waiting for him to make a move. "Here goes." He drew a card. 'Giant Trunade. I can use this to dry up Mako's ocean. Without it whatever monster he is hiding will be weakened. It's worth a try.'

"What on earth are you waiting for?!" yelled Mako, clearly becoming impatient. "Hurry up so I can win this duel!"

"Okay, okay, don't have a hissy fit." Joey mockingly rubbed his temples. "I activate my magic card, Giant Trunade! Drain the sea!" The cyclone swept up the ocean like a mighty wind from a hurricane, and revealed Mako's resurrected monster, which happened to be Legendary Fisherman.

Mako could hardly believe what was going on before his eyes. Joey was going to win! He was sure he would be able to beat him, since the blonde was a slightly weaker duelist than Yugi."You exposed my fisherman. Just finish him off."

"Will do." Joey sacrificed one of his Scapegoats. "Panther Warrior, attack!" The feline warrior stabbed the fisherman, which took Mako's life points down to zero.

'I will never give up, Father,' the sea duelist mused. His eyes filled with tears and cascaded down his face.

"Yay, Joey won!" cheered Tèa.

Joey raised an eyebrow in confusion before looking concerned. 'Huh? Why would Mako be crying? I hope it's not because of the defeat.' "You all right, Mako?"

Mako quickly wiped his tears away. "Yes, that was an excellent duel. Congratulations." He looked through his deck for the rare cards and two locator cards and handed them to Joey. "Here are my two rarest cards and two locator cards."

Joey took the cards from him and examined them. "Very kind of you, but you don't have to give me your fisherman card," he said, preparing to give it back to his opponent.

"Yes I do. You earned those cards, and besides, you were right. My courage and memories of my father are inside my heart."

Joey smiled, glad to have gotten through to Mako. "Thank you. And don't worry; I'll treat it with respect."

"You'd better. And best of luck in the finals!"

"Thanks. You're all right, Mako!" The two duelists exchanged a high five.

Ishizu had seen the evil plot concocted by Marik and the evil spirit of the ring with her millennium necklace, and got an uneasy feeling from it. 'Now is the time to find my last challenge.' She found the two men in charge of the museum. "I must take an extended leave of absence. Once again, thank you for allowing me to work here. It has been an honor," she said.

"It has been our pleasure to have you, Ms. Ishtar, and we hope you will honor us with your work again."

"I will, someday soon." The young woman went back to the room with the stone tablets, where Keren was waiting for her.

"How did it go?" asked Keren. Her finger finally felt better, even though it still pained her some.

"I have permission to leave now," answered Ishizu.

"That's wonderful. Hopefully we are not too late. 'I wonder what Odion is up to now. I hope he hasn't gotten into mischief.'

"Are you ready to go?" asked Ishizu.

"Yes. Let's go." Keren and Ishizu left the museum together.