"Ow..." Yugi's pained whimper echoed around the deserted Graveyard as he paused to lean heavily on one of the millions of gravestones that stretched the length and breadth of the territory of the Reaper of the Cards.
His hand going to where Medan's blade had had dug in deeply, he couldn't help but be grateful that the wound had mostly healed before he'd awoken. He didn't remember the strike itself, just a sharp, sudden agonising pain then nothing. Obviously the wound had been instantly fatal. Now however, after whatever had healed him, he was plagued by a constant painful, throbbing ache.
He knew where he was, there was no way he couldn't. Obviously, upon his death, he had been far enough along in his transformation into the Duel Monster that rested in his soul that he had come here, to the Graveyard, rather than passed on but there was a down side to that too.
If he was enough of a Duel Monster to end up here, there was a high chance he was enough of one to Resummon if he managed to survive twelve hours in the Graveyard injured and with only the Reaper of the Cards for company.
And those were his two options. There was no 'escape and make his way home' clause. He was too far along in his transformation. Even if he hadn't been, by the time he made it out of the Graveyard in twelve hours time he would be completely changed. His life as Yugi Mutou was over and his future as Responsibilities of Friendship had begun.
"Seto's going to kill me." Yugi muttered as he pushed himself away from the gravestone and wavered on his feet, both glad that his friends weren't here in this mess with him and missing their support. "He always promised he would." He continued quite matter of factly, speaking to the thin air as he remembered the sheer number of times Seto had threatened that if Yugi dared die before he could claim the title from him, he'd bring him back from the dead just so he could kill Yugi himself.
In twelve hours, if he made it, Seto would have the chance.
Yugi knew he had no one to blame but himself. He had been the one who had gotten himself captured. He had been the one to allow Medan's lies to warp his mind to the point that he had fought against his friends. And he had been the one who had thrown himself between Medan and Mahado at the last second. His death was no one's fault but his own.
He knew though, that those facts would be denied by his friends, that they would blame themselves for not protecting him, for not saving him soon enough or worse for not being the ones to do what he had done. More than anything he wanted to survive the twelve hours just to make sure that they didn't rip themselves apart with blame and grief.
Slowly and quietly making his way amongst the gravestones, trying to ignore the spiking pain in his chest, he kept a close eye on his surroundings, watching warily for the Reaper of the Cards. If he was in the Reaper's domain, then he, most likely was vulnerable to the Reaper's powers and if he was caught he'd never see his friends again.
He remembered Joey's story about the Reaper trying to claim him when Bakura had trapped their souls in their favourite cards after all. Yugi wasn't stupid enough to think that his status amongst the Duel Monsters would give him any protection here.
An amused smile crossed his features despite the gravity of the situation at the memory of that duel. He hadn't acted very much like a wise ruler back then. In fact the whole "I'll show you who's the puny one around here" thing had labelled him firmly as a child. And worse, it had backfired, forcing him to leave his friends undefended and embarrassing him in front of Yami.
That was one mistake he was trying to make sure he never made again.
A sound behind him, of cloth fluttering in the air, reminding Yugi far too much of the sounds that the cloaks of Dementors made when they swooped in for the attack caused the heir to wheel around to look behind him. There, approaching fast, was the thing he'd feared most since his arrival in the Graveyard.
The Reaper of the Cards.
Yugi bolted, running for his life down the gaps between the gravestones, attempting to get away from the keeper of the Graveyard. It was a hopeless run, but Yugi had exploded into terrified action the moment his eyes has caught a glimpse of his encroaching demise and wouldn't have been able to stop himself even if he had wanted to.
Fear nipping at his heels, Yugi pushed himself harder than he ever had before, gaining new speeds in his desperate flight from death. The problem was he didn't appear to be getting anywhere. The further he ran the more graves appeared before him, almost as if the landscape was on a looping pattern that never ran out.
Yugi's sprint finally came to an end as his foot came down on a rock that shifted out from under his weight, causing him to go tumbling to the ground and crash into a headstone. Exhausted and temporarily petrified by the agonising pain in his chest where the throbbing had stopped to be replaced by a constant pain as he gasped for breath, he could do little but watch as the Reaper finally caught up with him.
As the Reaper's scythe swung backwards, preparing to take the final strike and send his victim beyond, Yugi instinctively threw his arms up to protect himself.
The blow never came.