Two years later. . .
"At this rate," Marik groaned, practically flopping about in the chair. "I'm never going to get to dance with her! It's like every time I get a chance to, her relatives whisk her away. Whoosh! Just like that." He played with the collar of his tuxedo in annoyance, scowling.
"I thought you said that they only get to see her in what, once in a blue moon?" Joey asked about a mouthful of hoe d'oeuvres. They were all sitting at a large table at the reception, which was taking place at the ballroom of a very nice hotel. It was nice to have connections, Marik determined when scoping the place out. It was also nice to be able to have Mokuba's assistance in such matters too. Evidently, dropping the Kaiba name about whilst making reservations was a powerful tool.
"Yeah, and they already had one wedding with her, why do they have to take the second one too?"
"No offense mate, but yer gettin' kin' of w'iny," Valon said, taking a swig from his champagne. "Jus' grab 'er before the nex' song, mate. Easy as pie."
"She's my wife, I have every right to whine."
"Remind me to use that excuse," Joey muttered to Tristan.
"Like Mai would ever let you get away with it," he snorted back.
"Maybe I'll have Aaron do a rescue mission or something."
"When I'm dealing with terrorists, yeah I'll do it," Aaron began, hands upraised. "Angry in-laws. . . eh. . not so much. It was bad enough that they were glaring daggers at me when Odion and I were escorting her down the aisle."
" what I want to know is why you're here," Joey said pointedly to Valon.
"For t'e milliont' time, yer sister invited me along. Ain't t'at what plus one means?"
"Unfortunately," Joey sighed.
"Well, at least I'm not grumpy gills over there," Marik jabbed a thumb to Seto Kaiba, looking a little uncomfortable at his seat.
"Yer still w'inin'," Valon argued.
"I don't do good with weddings," Seto admitted.
"You don't do good with most social gatherings, period," Mokuba agreed. "Usually I'm the one who has to plan everything," he said to the boys in a stage whisper.
"Not helping Mokuba," Seto replied.
"I wonder what's taking the girls so long," Yugi observed, looking about, partly not getting dragged in the middle of this.
"Probably gettin' t'eir makeup done or somethin'. Ain' that what girls do anyway?" Valon asked.
"That's treading in dangerous waters my man," Duke warned. "Like, shark infested waters level."
"You know, I've always wondered why women travel in packs," Aaron mused, fiddling with a toothpick. "It's like watching some African migration on the BBC, they way they go about their business."
"Well, that's one way of putting it," Tristan responded.
Bakura came by the table, his plate full of various snacks or something. "You guys better get to the buffet table. It's like the plague of locusts came by there."
"Before or after you went through there?" Duke drawled, eying the plate.
In response, Ryou threw a grape at him.
"Be nice Duke," Yugi scolded playfully as the man nursed his nose. Bakura had unerring aim, something they had learned one or two times in their friendship. "Besides, I'm guessing that he brought the food for all of us, right?" he winked.
Yugi got a grape to the nose too.
"You mock me now, just wait until later when somebody "accidentally" trips during the dances."
"Oh snap, he's all serious business now," Joey laughed. "I feel bad for you guys."
"I didn't start it," Yugi jokingly protested. "It's all Duke's fault."
"Oh sure, blame this guy."
Marik sighed and turned to Odion. "We do we hang out with these people?"
Odion chuckled, "you invited them, not me."
"What's Joey moaning about now?" Mai inquired, leading their small troop of women: Tea, Serenity, Rebecca, Ishizu—whom had come reluctantly along, and herself. They all wore their bridemaid's dresses, a shade of pale blue that flared out towards the end. As per the request of the bride's relatives, they wore transparent silver shawls over their shoulders.
Joey pointed to Marik. "I'm not that one moaning, he is!"
"Look, it's not my fault that my in-laws have absconded with my wife. I'm about ready to have Aaron over here do some sort of Israeli ninja strike and get her back."
"I said to not get me involved!"
Tea turned to Mai. "And this is why we don't leave the boys by themselves."
"It's like herding cats," Serenity added. "And why are there grapes all over the table?"
"Bakura started it," Duke pointed.
"That's it, I'm sooo tripping you on that dance floor."
". . And the maturity level of the ballroom has dropped exponentially as we stand here," Rebecca remarked. "Hey! You can't use grapes as a weapon! That's cheating!"
"So you say. . ." Bakura chuckled, interlacing his fingers and resting his head on them.
"Is it me or are we getting a creepy suave Bond villain vibe from you, Bakura?" Tristan asked.
"Indeed." Bakura turned to Yugi. "No Mr. Muto, I expect you to die mwahaha."
Marik slumped forward, resting his chin on the table. "No wonder Sivya's relatives think all Americans are crazy. . ." He turned to Ishizu. "Somebody save me from the crazy people."
"You invited them."
As he said this, the music in the background began to die away and the crowds parted just a little, enough for a young woman in a white dress to press through the crowds, a bouquet of blue, violet and white flowers wrapped in silver lace in one hand, as the other held up the skirt of her dress.
"And speaking of the bride," Mai said. "Here comes Mrs. Sivya Ishtar."
Sivya smiled, standing next to Marik. "I'm terribly sorry about that Marik. It would seem that my relatives are a little reluctant to let me go, Hassan most of all."
"You said that he hadn't seen you in years," Odion said. "It is only a natural response."
"Yeah. . ." Marik added.
"Says the man who's been sulking for the past five minutes," Joey said, ribbing the man in the ribs."
"Your husband pouts a lot, doesn't he?" Tea asked.
Sivya laughed a little behind her bouquet. "It depends. . ."
"And now even my own wife is against me," Marik sighed dramatically, waving his hands in the air. "I'm giving up now."
"Don't do that," Sivya pleaded. "Besides, according to Tea and Mai, I still need to throw the bouquet, although I must admit I'm still not very sure why."
"It's tradition hun," Mai answered, draping an arm across Sivya's shoulders.
"What Mai means is that it's pretty much done at all American weddings. Basically, you throw it over your shoulder to where a group of ladies, us and all of your cousins, will try to catch it. Whomever catches the bouquet is supposedly going to get married next," Tea explained.
"Which according to logic, would be me," Mai wiggled her left hand in response, where her ring caught the chandelier lights of the ballroom.
" Which you keep reminding us every fifteen minutes," Rebecca snorted.
"I think it's very gorgeous Mai," Serenity said.
"Thank you Serenity."
Sivya turned to Marik, wriggling free of Mai's grip. "I guess we better go toss the bouquet. Do you want to come?"
He kissed her on the forehead. "If it means I can actually spend some time with you, then yes, I would love to."
Meanwhile, Mai dragged Joey out of his chair. "Come on, I've got a bouquet to catch."
"But I thought it didn't matter since we had set a date already—yeeouch!"
They cleared the center of the ballroom with Sivya standing nervously in the middle, her back turned to her friends and girl cousins. "Why are American traditions so different?" She whispered to Marik. One hand held the bouquet, the other, Marik's hand.
"Ask the Americans," he whispered back. "You'll do fine, I promise."
"I hope so," Then louder, she asked, "I'm doing this right, right?"
"Don't worry kid, you're doing fantastic, now just toss it."
"Okay. . ." closing her eyes shut, Sivya flung the bouquet over her left shoulder. She could hear them jostling over it, then an awkward silence ensued.
Curious, she turned about to find out and looked mortified. "Marik, I think I threw it too high."
Marik broke out laughing. "No, I think you did it just fine."
Seto swore that he had been standing far enough away from the crowds when Sivya was to the traditional bouquet but when the bouquet landed in his arms, clearly it wasn't far enough. He looked down at it, as if waiting for it to spring to life. "This. . Is a bit unexpected," he confessed, looking at the seemingly innocent cluster of flowers. He then caught the flash of light from a camera phone going off. "Wheeler, what exactly do you think you're doing?"
"I'm taking a picture what do you think I'm doing? I have to immortalize this somehow. I think it'll be my screen saver from now on. Wait, maybe not I don't want Kaiba's mug staring at me every time I go to look at the screen. Maybe Facebook instead."
"I swear that if you put that on the internet. . ."
Yugi laughed behind his hand at the scene unfolding. Eventually and almost hesitantly, Seto handed the bouquet over to Ishizu whom smiled behind the bouquet almost shyly, much to the amusement of the Ishtars, now with one additional member. He had to admit, life was good. No supernatural occurrences, no saving the world and relatively little drama—just don't mention the buffet incident and Joey having a habit of forgetting anniversaries. It was as if all the years of trials and tribulations were leading up to this, all these rewarding experiences.
"What are you thinking Yugi?" Tea asked, entwining her hand with his own. Yugi could feel her engagement ring in his palm.
"I'm thinking that we have the craziest, greatest group of friends and family in the world." He said, watching Seto try to get Joey's cell phone away from him before the man posted the pictures, Marik and Sivya laughing heartily while watching this and Mai massaging the temples of her forehead, looking both exasperated and pleased at her fiance at the same time.
She kissed him on the cheek and leaned against him. "I agree."
And he wouldn't have it any other way.
I write this not to tell a tale that has been told, but to keep it from being lost to the sands of time. The war fought between light and dark, of the Shadows and the Orichalcos, it is over. We won. I write this to pass on to the generations beyond my own, to the children and the parents about the fires in the darkest of winters and the darkest of times. To know that even when the night seems endless and the shadows grow ever so closer, there will always be those whom stand in between us and the night. It may be an army of soldiers or it may be a few armed with Duel Disks and shadows, but they will always be there.
I write this to teach of forgiveness and salvation, of love and wrath and of the bonds that tie people more than blood relations ever could. I write to tell of broken relationships forged anew, love won and of faith renewed. Closure has been found, the balance had been righted again.
Even if the men whom walk upon the dusty earth forget, we of the Beast Realm will not and never will, for we shall pass it on to those who are willing to listen and to learn from it.
I will write of this, for I am the only one who can. I am the Emissary and the Prophet, who once walked the sands of Ancient Egypt and the Rings of Atlantis. I am the teller of tales and the weaver of legends, but even I cannot rise to the level of greatness these people have.
I tell of the tale for all and I pray that we may never have need to learn from this tale again. They've earned their rest and as have I. This is not my tale, but theirs and it will always stay that way through the ripples of eternity
Peace unto them and peace unto all who read this tome.
The Dark Magician Girl
And the tale of "Atlantis Rising" is now complete. All the trials and tribulations, the writer's block all throughout those two years, it was all worth it. I don't even know how to begin thanking each and every one of you guys who took the time to give this story a chance and read/review/fave etc. If it weren't for you guys, I doubt I would have gone all the way with such a tale of massive proportions. Seeing the reviews, the support the constructive criticism, it always made my day. I wish I could thank each and everyone of you individually, but it would take so long I don't know where to start. I never expected getting 300+ reviews. . .I never expected any of this and yet here we are, at the end of it.
I don't know how to feel right now, I don't know how to express my gratitude but I can only hope that you guys stick around and continue giving me the undeserved support that I have been given. I probably don't deserve it. You guys are all awesome.
Peace, God Bless, and may all of your dreams and goals be guided by dragon wings,
PS: For all of those who wish to hear more of the tales and plotlines in between, I will be releasing a one-shot collection known as "The Tales of Atlantis" and I so wish to hear any suggestions and comments for the one shots housed within, just a a bit of gratitude for all of your support. If you have any ideas or requests you would like for me to write (and thank you for), please let me know. I'm welcome to hearing all of them. Thanks again.
Seriously, you're all awesome.