DISC LAMER: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh! I never have and unfortunately I never will. I do own a deck based on Magicians though. I make no money from this fic and again never will. The characters within this fic belong to their creator Kazuki Takahashi and Konami. (There, is that enough of a disclaimer for you, Mr Beta Reader?)
Shadi had left Yugi with a lot to think about.
She had known that Oneesan was Ancient. That much hadn't surprised her. That Oneesan had been a Pharaoh however...
It wasn't that Oneesan was a woman that had thrown her. Ojiisan had told her about women who had been Pharaohs before. Sobeknofru for example had succeeded her brother to the throne of Egypt and ruled Egypt and Nitocris had ruled as there had been no male heirs. There weren't many facts known about her reign but it was said she had drowned hundreds in revenge for the murder of her brother, the King. She knew Oneesan wasn't either of those though because there was information left behind about both of them that showed them to be women while Shadi had seemed convinced to start with that Oneesan should be male.
The role of Pharaoh was a very male one, it was a that of a God, the living reincarnation of Horus. The word King was a male one. Queen, as a word, had never really existed in Ancient Egypt, the translation was much closer to 'King's Great Wife.' It was understandable that Shadi might think Oneesan was a man considering that her name had been lost to the millennia and, as Pharaoh, she would have been depicted artistically as a man even if she wasn't pretending to be one because of this issue. The people had to believe that she was the living Horus and as such all art would have depicted her as a guy. Other female Pharaohs had been shown the same way.
Yugi let out a soft sigh and rolled over as her thoughts turned to Oneesan's name. Her grandpa had been an Egyptologist when he was younger and he had tried to instil the same enthusiasm about history in her. It hadn't really worked until she'd completed the Puzzle and had the mystery of Oneesan to solve. She had looked up all sorts in her quest to find something that might help her guardian recover some of her memories or her name. She had even read up on the Egyptian Afterlife, wondering if there was anything there that might help.
Instead the phrase 'Traveller, remember your name' haunted her.
The Book of the Dead, or as it had been called back in Egypt the 'Book of Coming Forth By Day,' had had around 190 spells or chapters within it. It covered everything that the person would need to get to the world after this one. Without those spells it was believed that a person's soul would wander the Earth, or worse Duat for all of eternity. Unfortunately, if Yugi remembered what she had learnt from various sources correctly they all required someone to know their name and Oneesan had surrendered hers to stop the Thief King from destroying the world. Hope wasn't completely lost though. Shadi had told her there was a way to get Oneesan's name back. Yugi just wished he had shared the secret to doing so with her.
A beeping sound startled Yugi out of her thoughts, causing her to reach down the side of her bed and pick up the object emitting the sound. Her virtual pet was going off again. She had thought that the tiny little thing would have died during her three day nap, but surprisingly Jou had been looking after it for her along with the virtual pet that he had picked up for himself.
It was an ugly little thing, but she wasn't going to complain. Jou hadn't had to keep her pet alive while she slept off Shadi's attempt at helping, plus it had one more evolution to go through before it was in its set form for the rest of its eighteen days anyway. Even if it got uglier though, she would love it anyway because it was hers.
She fed the little critter and allowed herself to get distracted playing the mini games. She didn't want to think about all the ways she couldn't help Oneesan anymore. She couldn't help Oneesan get her name back until she could actually interact with her darker self without being doped up on painkillers or at risk of having her soul shredded. Of course the first trick she had to master, long before she could worry about that, was managing to stay awake while Oneesan was in control. Until she could do that, there was no way she was ever going to be able to work with the ancient Pharaoh within her Puzzle.
She had been going over these thoughts in her head for the last few days, ever since Shadi had shared everything he was willing to and so far, no plan had come to mind. There was nothing she could do until her Grandfather finished talking to some of his colleagues in the world of Archaeology and passed her whichever information came in that might be relevant.
Until then she was better off focusing on her studies and trying to work out how to stay awake while Oneesan was in control. Somehow she didn't think energy drinks were the correct answer.
"Mutou Yugi." Sugoroku scolded from the door frame, having spotted that her light was still on, "You're supposed to be asleep."
"I'm not tired." Yugi shook her head, rolling over to face him as she won yet another round against the ugly little blob, "Sorry if I woke you."
"Are you alright?" Sugoroku asked, concerned as he stepped inside the bedroom, "You haven't slept properly since you talked to Shadi."
"I'm okay." Yugi smiled at him, sitting up as she did so. "I just haven't been tired." She moved to get up, only to stop at the look her Grandfather was giving her, "Ojiisan..."
"I suppose sleeping for three days straight would be enough for anyone." Sugoroku allowed, shaking his head, "If you're not asleep before midnight, Yugi-chan, I won't be making breakfast for you."
"I'll try and sleep, Ojiisan," Yugi promised, "Just one more round and I'll..." She trailed off as her digital pet started beeping insistently. "Umm..."
"Ten more minutes, Yugi-chan." Sugoroku chuckled at his Grandaughter's confusion, once again seriously considering getting her a real pet considering how much she doted on her virtual one.
"Sure Grandpa." Yugi replied distractedly, watching as her pet changed shape. She had missed its evolution into its 'teenage' form but she had been awake for most of the time since. She couldn't help but wonder what it would become.
It took but a few seconds for the little form on screen to change from a question mark with legs into its final adult form, a cute little wide-eyed blob with hands, feet and black spikes that looked like her hair when it was playing at being a starfish. The black and white digital display allowed for white bangs and white tips against a black star.
"You," Yugi informed the pet, internally squeeing over the adorable little creature, "Are cute."
The little pet did not respond, she hadn't really expected it to, and she paused as she completed the last feeding and cleaning of the night before she put it into sleep mode. She thought she had heard something about digital pets that incorporated black stars into their design. They were supposedly secret pets that required a lot of looking after and lived long beyond the twenty-one days that most digital pets survived. Not that she knew what the secret pets looked like. It was possible U2, which was what she had named this pet, was one of those special pets. She couldn't know without looking it up.
It wasn't that important. It didn't matter if U2 had turned into a special pet, she was happy with her little starfish head. She just couldn't help but be amused that its hair looked like hers.
She could not help but wonder what Oneesan's opinion of the strange little creature would be and whether the Spirit of the Puzzle actually understood what the thing that was often carried around in her pocket and took up so much of her time was. As far as she was aware, Oneesan had no problems with technology, but she had not played any video games or tried to do anything bar poking the microwave until it worked, so she was not certain she trusted Oneesan with anything more complicated until someone had either seen her using them, or explained their use.
"Sorry." She murmured, wondering if Oneesan could hear her as she took the Puzzle off for the night and feeling a little guilty for leaving her Other Self all alone as she settled down to sleep.
The following morning was hectic as Yugi got distracted playing with her virtual pet, had to rush through her chores and she and Jou ran to school. Once there she settled into her school work, trying to ignore then urge to play with the creature until lunch time when Jou pulled his own virtual pet, which he had picked up a few days earlier from the electronics place around the corner from the shop and started bragging about how awesome it looked.
"Awesome?" Honda snorted, having little patience for the digital critters his friends were fawning over since he had a real dog to play with and tend to, "That is the ugliest little thing I have ever seen."
Jou flipped him off in response, causing Anzu to start scolding him. Yugi just ignored it in favour of trying to keep up with the block stacker game in her digital pet's list of minigames that she swore was faster today than it had been before, though it was possible that it was just the lack of sleep making it seem harder than it was.
"Hey Yuge." Jou grinned, waving his pet under her nose and causing her to jump and lose the game, "You did know they can interact with each other, right?"
"Yeah, it's called breeding." Yugi nodded, "We connect our pets and each of them gain traits from the other." She explained to Anzu, whose digital pet, Peachy, was beeping away merrily, obviously demanding attention and who had been giving them a strange look from the moment Yugi had said 'breeding.'
Not as odd as the look she gave Jou, however, when he demanded that he and Yugi breed there and then. Missing it completely, Yugi willingly handed over U2, who walked onto the screen of Jou's imaginatively named pet, Jou, only to get kicked.
"As big a bully as you used to be." Anzu glowered at him semi-jokingly as she dealt with her pet's demands.
"Jou never hit me." Yugi defended her friend as her pet patted Jou's on the head and then walked back onto its own screen.
"Besides, now Yuge's pet might toughen up." Jou chuckled, "Then she can take lessons from it."
"Hey!" Playfully indignant, Yugi protested Jou's joking insult. She knew he did not mean it and it did not bother her the way it had before they had made friends. Before Jou could say anything else, his pet started bleeping yet again. Jou let out an expletive, and turned his attention on the demanding little monster who seemed to need more attention than Peachy and U2 combined.
Ignoring Jou's cursing since she had been trying to correct his language since long before they had all been friends, Anzu turned to Yugi, glancing between her and her pet as she spoke. "I'm just glad you're better." Anzu said with a brief smile at Yugi as she tried to keep up with her pet's demands, "You had us all worried."
"Sorry." Yugi apologised, sheepishly, still embarrassed that she was so badly affected by the Shadows. Oneesan had explained it to her but that did not mean she didn't feel ashamed of her three day snooze.
"Not your fault, Yuge." Jou shrugged it off, glancing around to check the room was empty before continuing, "Shadi's the one that did you in. I'm just glad some good's come out of it."
"Yeah, I don't think I've seen you this active ever." Honda nodded, referring to how active Yugi had been since awakening, keeping up with her chores and even actually doing half decently in the athletics during PE in the morning. Yugi had not had the heart to tell her friends that most of her speed and agility was less down to natural skill and more down to almost constantly running from bullies before she had completed the Puzzle. "He might have been an arse but Shadi seems to have kept his word."
Yugi nodded, relieved about that herself but not wanting to get drawn into a conversation about what Shadi had said again, slipping off of the desk she was sat on as she did so, "Excuse me." She commented, "I forgot to bring any lunch, so I'll be back in a sec."
"Sure." Jou waved it off, "Be sure to get something I can raid, chips or something. I'm starving."
"Jou!" Anzu scolded as Yugi laughed, her mood uplifted by the typical Joulike behaviour, and left the room.
Yugi sighed as she followed the corridor down towards the canteen. Jou was hopeless. He had been awake longer than her this morning and had thought to make himself lunch, however he had been distracted by his pet and had been rushing to get ready for school just as she had. Still it was not like she could say anything. She had rushed her chores, still enjoying the feel of a body that was not sore and bruised as it had been for various reasons over the last couple of months, and gotten distracted playing games with her digital pet too.
She was on her way back to the classroom with her food when she was stopped in the halls by a classmate, Kujirada, who slammed his hand against the locker in front of her, startling her into nearly dropping the meal.
"Kujirada-kun?" Yugi asked, confused and pleased by her lack of stammer at the same time.
"Mutou-kun," The other replied, moving to block off her route back to the classroom. "I couldn't help but notice you playing with your digital pet during class. Can I have a look?"
Something screamed at her that it was a bad idea. She did not know if it was Oneesan trying to get her attention, having been woken up by her jumping, or whether it was common sense kicking in but decided she shook her head and backed up slightly. "Sorry but no."
"Please Mutou-kun?" Kujirada pleaded, his other hand slamming against the locker the other side, pinning her between them. "I just want a look."
She did not believe him, not while he was trying the tactics so many other bullies had tried over the years and she darted under his arm, dropping a couple of her chips as she did so. "No, Kujirada." Yugi shook her head again as she backed up the corridor, retreating to their classroom, "I don't want to... eep!" Yugi yelped as she stepped on a discarded pen and tripped, landing on her butt and scattering her lunch everywhere. "Hey!"
Kujirada took advantage of the situation to snatch the digital pet out of her jacket pocket, pausing for a moment to look at it, before going to connect it to his pet. He didn't quite complete the motion as Jou, who had shot past Yugi, snatched the toy off of the boy and chucked it back to its owner.
"Hey, Kujirada, you shouldn't take things that aren't yours." Jou snapped at the boy who suddenly turned all apologetic and backed off, escaping down the corridor as fast as he could get away with. Jou watched him go and then turned to Yugi, "You okay Yuge?" He asked, offering her a hand up.
"Sorry Jou." She apologised as she took it, letting him pull her up, "I lost our lunch."
"Eh it's okay." Jou shrugged it off, "I'll grab the next lot." He glowered after Kujirada, "I thought the bullies had backed right off now you've got us and Oneesan."
"They have, or did." Yugi was as confused as Jou was angry as the pair headed back towards the canteen, "Kujirada was just overly interested in my pet for some reason."
"Seriously?" Jou asked, staring at her, "He caused you to spill lunch everywhere because he wanted to breed your pets?"
"Actually I tripped." Yugi looked sheepish as Jou paused, sighed, shook his head and turned back to where they were walking. When they finally got back to the classroom it was close to the end of lunch and it was obvious something had happened because Honda was nowhere in sight and Anzu looked upset.
"What's happened?" Jou asked, looking around, his tone worried.
"Kujirada came in not long after you went looking for Yugi." Anzu informed them, "His pet ate Peachy."
"What?" Jou stared at her, uncertain if he had heard it correctly.
"His. Pet. Ate. Mine." Anzu stated, irritated and upset. "He's supposedly got some rare pet that lives longer than a normal one and eats other pets. My game won't restart now either."
"That's what he wanted U2 for." Jou realised, "He wanted to feed her to his pet."
"Honda went looking for him." Anzu growled, anger rising. "And I'm going to look too. He broke my game!"
"I wonder how many other people's games he's broke." Jou commented before pausing, paling and darting over to his desk, pulling his game out of the drawer within it, only to find his screen was blank too. "That's it. Excuse me..." Jou trailed off as the bell for the end of the lunch period went, averting his attempt to leave to go find the kid responsible.
Kujirada was the last to trail in, looking rather pleased with himself. Jou glowered at him but Kujirada ignored it in favour of turning his attention back to his studies. At least that was what it looked like. When Yugi got bored, as she often did in the classroom, she noticed that he was almost constantly playing with his pet rather than putting it on pause or in 'sleep mode' as almost everyone else did during class.
Keeping U2 close, not wanting her pet to get eaten, she tried to keep her mind on her studies for the rest of the day but it was not easy when she could see Kujirada glancing over every so often. She wondered why he had decided that her pet was the next one he wanted to feed to his pet, it was not like U2 was any different from the other pets that were held by their classmates. The only thing she could think of was that he had marked her as an easy target, just like any other bully that had come her way.
She would not be the victim, not this time, she decided. She was tired of being pushed around. Oneesan and Jou protected her at every opportunity they got and she could rely on them, that was great, but she had asked for friends who could rely on her too and if she was ever going to be someone who they could rely on, she had to start actually being able to stand up for herself. Here was a good place to start.
When class ended Kujirada was one of the first out the door, having had the advantage of being close to exit, Jou and Honda shot after him. Anzu however, stayed behind to help Yugi with her cleaning duties. Between the two of them they got the designated cleaning done quite quickly and they were just about ready to leave when a rather out of breath Kujirada appeared at the door again.
"Lost 'em." He said, more to himself than to the two girls, then realised who was in the room and smirked. "Ah Mutou-Kun, Masaki-kun."
"Kujirada-kun." Anzu replied before Yugi could, "What did you do to my game?"
"Your game will reset itself tomorrow morning." Kujirada shrugged, "But my pet was hungry and as a special, rare, almost unobtainable pet, he must come above your puny little common thing."
"That's not your choice to make." Anzu snapped back, glad that her game wasn't completely broken but still peeved at the boy who had undone all of her hard work. "That was my pet!"
"Well now she's in Super Devil's stomach." Kujirada replied, "And it's hungry again." He turned to Yugi.
"No way." Yugi shook her head, holding the digital pet game he wanted close. "I won't let you take it."
"Since when did you have a backbone, Mutou?" Kujirada asked, looking irritable as he moved around the classroom towards them. Yugi did not respond, internally wincing at the jab as she and Anzu moved towards the door. As much as the shot hurt, Kujirada's comment did validate, at least in her own mind, her earlier thoughts about standing up for herself more often. She just was not sure how to do that without getting into a fight because she refused to get into a brawl with anyone.
Then it occurred to her that maybe Oneesan had the right idea. Instead of getting into a punch-up with someone, maybe she could wager her compliance on a game. She did not have Shadow magic, nor could she or would she use it, but she could lay a simple bet on the table. Her grandfather was a Game Master and she had yet to lose to him, even after he had stopped going easy on her. Surely she could beat Kujirada.
At the same time though she did not want to wager her pet. The little creature in question had done nothing wrong and Jou had specifically kept it alive for her while she had been recovering after Shadi's spell. It would be unfair to both Jou and the pet in question to risk it in a wager. Even one Yugi was sure she could win.
Even if she had been willing to Challenge Kujirada, he did not give her the chance to even offer a game in order to win the digital pet. Instead attempting once again to snatch the virtual pet off of her. She swayed out of the way and darted between the desks to his right, not expecting him to scramble across them and attempt to cut her off that way.
Yugi yelped and darted backwards, narrowly avoiding crashing into the tables. "Kujirada, cut it out." She tried to growl back, only to mentally wince when Kujirada just laughed at her.
"You, Mutou-kun, are not very scary." He chuckled at her as he caused her to back into one of the tables. "Now, I'm taking your pet whether you like it or not."
"Anzu!" Yugi called, tossing the critter over Kujirada's head and then grabbing the boy's arm when he turned to head towards her friend. "Go."
Anzu stared at her for a moment, as if wondering if she really was Yugi or whether Oneesan was in control and then darted off, probably to get Jou or, more likely, a teacher. Yugi kind of hoped it was not the latter since they were not supposed to have the pets in school. Kujirada yanked his arm out of Yugi's grip and tried to follow Anzu, only to find that Yugi was not going to let him leave so easily.
"Piss. Off!" He snapped, shoving her backwards hard enough to cause her to crash into the desk behind her, knocking it over and hitting the floor with it, smacking her head on the way down. He paused, confused as pained amethyst turned angry ruby and she got up, glowering at him and then legged it, escaping out the door before she had finished picking himself up.
"Coward." Oneesan hissed, skimming Yugi's memories of the day as she did so and becoming both even crosser at Kujirada as she did so. She stalked out into the corridor.
By the time she found him it was too late. He had managed to get his hand on the virtual pet game and had plugged it into his. Before Oneesan could Challenge the brat though, the outcome of his actions worked in her favour anyway. U2, who had assimilated some of the data from Jou's pet, had shifted form slightly, eyes narrowing and 'hair' getting pointier, before destroying Kujirada's pet with one punch.
"Noooo!" Kujirada complained, disconnecting the two, tossing Yugi's across the room and pressing every button on the tiny machine, "No, no no no. Do you have any idea how long I worked to get that pet? I was going to use it in the big competition next week!" He complained at her.
"Then you should have been more careful." Oneesan decided to let him walk, still wanting his head for hurting Yugi, but aware that there was a crowd of people who weren't Yugi's friends gathered around to watch the spectacle that was Kujirada making an arse of himself and not wanting to get her Imoto-chan into troube. "And not stolen pets from other people to feed yours."
"But he was special! A black star creature!" Kujirada complained, "I've not slept in weeks! I've lost ground with my studies! I've..." He paused, realisation dawning as he did so, "And I'm free! Free! No more sleepless nights! No more having to hunt down pets to feed him!" Oneesan watched, shocked, as Kujirada practically danced out of the room, chanting 'Free, free, free' as he went.
"Hey Yuge." Jou, who had come in on the tail end of the situation, "Was that Kujirada?"
"And you let him go?" Jou looked surprised as Anzu collected Yugi's virtual pet game from where it had been flung.
"I'm not entirely certain I could make him any more deranged than he already was." Oneesan commented quietly enough that only Jou heard her, still blinking after him as she spoke. She grimaced at Anzu when the girl thrust Yugi's game under her nose.
"Your game." Anzu commented, letting Oneesan see the damage that had been done to the little thing when it had hit the wall rather hard. The screen was cracked, one of the buttons had fallen off and part of the casing was coming away.
"Damn. Can I change my mind?" She asked, examining it carefully, poking the buttons and hearing the blip, but not seeing anything on screen.
"Sorry Yugi." Anzu apologised, looking upset with herself, "I should have been more careful."
"Not your fault, but if I get my hands on Kujirada, he will be paying for a new one." Oneesan shot back, before sighing, "Imoto-chan dotes on this thing..." She hesitated for a moment and then switched with Yugi who saw what she was holding and had to fight not to burst into tears.
"Alright people, nothing to see here." Jou herded the other students away, allowing Yugi some privacy.
"Yugi... I'm sorry." Anzu murmured, hugging her friend tightly, "You trusted me with it and..." She trailed off as she realised Yugi was shaking. "I'll buy you another one."
"No, no," Yugi pulled away, wiping her eyes, "Not your fault. I...It's okay. I should go home." She started heading for the exit, only for Anzu to catch up.
"Yugi... Are you alright?" Anzu asked softly as she followed Yugi down to the shoe lockers, "Oneesan doesn't normally come out unless you're hurt."
"I..." Yugi just scuffed the floor with her foot, "I'm fine. Bashed myself when Kujirada pushed me over. Oneesan must've woken up then." She felt useless. She had not been able stop Kujirada or distract him long enough for Anzu to get away.
"Yugi. You did your best." Anzu offered, realising what was running through her friend's mind. "You weren't the one who Kujirada took it from, I was. I'm the one who failed." Yugi did not reply, feeling a little better but still upset over the loss of her pet.
The pair of them walked home, stopping for ice cream on the way and splitting up when Anzu got a phone call from her parents asking her to come home straight away. Jou had already started on Yugi's chores when she got back, waving to the girl as she passed. Yugi gave a half-hearted wave back and slipped upstairs, making a mental note to go down and help out once she had gotten changed.
She entered her bedroom, dumped her virtual pet by the bedroom door and almost flumped down on her bed, only to find a small ball of fluff curled up on her bed, staring at her with big blue eyes. "Mew."
"Hello." Yugi dangled her fingers in front of the extra fluffy kitten, who was staring up at her like it was not sure whether to stay where it was or hide underneath something. It settled for batting at the fingers being waved in its direction. "Where did you come from?"
The kitten, who had mostly grey tabby markings, but it looked like it was wearing white socks and had a white splodge over one eye, did not respond bar continuing to bat at her fingers. Yugi's bad mood dissipated slightly as she sat next to the kitten, noticing the collar around its neck and spotting the tag as the kitten rolled over to stare at her better.
"That's Ginka." Yugi jumped and looked over at the door as her Grandfather spoke, "A friend of mine needs us to look after her for a week. I'm trusting you with her care."
"She's gorgeous." Yugi grinned, mentally bouncing at the idea of a kitten running around the house, even if it was only for a short period of time. She had wanted a cat for years and the shop could use one to keep the mice out of the store room.
"She's a bit of a handful." Sugoroku warned with a chuckle, "And she's not allowed outside for a few weeks yet, so be careful, okay?" When Yugi nodded and started turning back to the kitten, her attention obviously on the little bundle of fluff. "What happened here?" The elderly gamer asked, noticing her pet game.
"There was a guy at school." Yugi replied, petting the kitten who started purring. "He took it off of me and smashed it."
"What's his name?" Sugoroku asked, "He should pay for a replacement."
"Kujirada." Yugi replied, looking over at him with concern obvious on her features, "But..."
"You want me to leave it?" Sugoroku asked, grimacing slightly.
"He's not very well off." Yugi replied, "At least not from what I've heard. And..."
"Did Oneesan do something?" He tried to ignore the kitten as he spoke but Ginka was not easy to ignore, not when she yawned adorably and snuggled up against Yugi's side.
"No. She didn't have to." Yugi shook her head, continuing to pet the kitten, "I mean she woke up but she didn't get a chance to do anything. Anzu said Kujirada kind of defeated himself." She looked from Ginka to her grandfather and paused, "You find that amusing..."
"Of course, Yugi-chan." Her grandfather ruffled her hair, "The bad guy defeating himself? That's always funny." He smiled at her and she grinned back. "Now, spend some time with Ginka, its Jou turn to do all the work anyway."
"But..." Yugi trailed off when her grandfather shushed her.
"Think of it as a day's holiday." He informed her, "Enjoy."
Author Note: Well I finished NaNo on the 19th of November and since then have finished a chapter of both this and Shadow Treaty. Not bad for just over a month's work I feel. Hope you enjoyed it.
Editor's Note: Well, that was easy. Trading in a digital pet for a real one, even if only temporarily, is always a good move... well, unless you don't have the money, or the space to devote to one. Real pets are more fun and less demanding anyway, unless you get yourself working dog and don't work it.