Over the weeks Tenebrae had shown up, he had made an unexpected ally in Kaiba. Because of that, he was one of the few to watch the duel between the ego maniac and the dragon otaku.
He stood next to Mokuba, already knowing how the game would end. He had heard about the first duel against the Pharaoh that Kaiba could actually remember before, so he was giving a snarky commentary against the pharaoh to Mokuba.
Tenebrae had actually gotten a job as Mokuba's bodyguard by accident, when he prevented three kidnapping attempts by people planning to use the boy as leverage against Kaiba in the same week.
Mokuba liked Tenebrae, because he was able to get along with his older brother and still knew how to have fun.
Plus Tenebrae occasionally showed Mokuba magic.
When Kaiba lost, Tenebrae did his best to salvage what the pharaoh had stripped from the boy. While Kaiba had been extremely ruthless before, only showing compassion towards his little brother, the pharaoh had stripped all of it away.
And that wouldn't do. Kaiba needed to be ruthless sometimes for his company and dueling skills to survive. His mind was hardwired that way at an early age in order for him to have survived this long. If he was stripped of that, his self confidence would be shattered and it would take him months, if not years to properly recover from it.
That didn't mean Tenebrae put it all back. He found just enough for Kaiba to function normally and had Dharc scatter the rest to the four winds. Anyone seeking to control Kaiba through this event would have to work for it.
Tenebrae saw the box on his doorstep, and curious, waited until Kura was up to watch the tape.
It turned out to be a sound idea, because Pegasus tried to seal Kura away through his Millennium Eye. Kura, on the other hand, was able to resist because (A) he was aware of what the man was doing, and (B) because he was immune to such effects after fighting the chains Zorc used on him for five thousand years.
"I thought Ryou was joking when he said that Yugi's grandfather was sealed through the TV," said Tenebrae as he blinked.
"That was annoying," said Kura.
The ancient spirit went to the stove and made some tea.
Tenebrae was proud to say that he had managed to get Kura up to date enough that he could operate the stove and laundry machines without blowing up anything or knifing anyone afterwords. Kura still gnashed his teeth and swore rather creatively in Ancient Egyptian when he attempted to operate anything more complicated than the microwave or the DVD player, but he was making great progress.
Tenebrae didn't dare allow him near his laptop.
Once he got his things ready (the boat was leaving in a few days) Tenebrae went to see if Kaiba would let him take a days off for the tournament.
Instead, Mokuba came directly to his apartment, breathing heavily.
Pegasus had tried to kidnap him on Tenebrae's day off. He didn't know where else to go, since Kaiba had left for a bit and was holed up somewhere.
Tenebrae had no idea what to do with the boy, until his eyes fell on Kura.
Kura had been trying his best to help with rent (even if Tenebrae technically owned the apartment they lived in) but he wasn't very good at regular jobs. Plus there was the small matter of the fact that he had been dead for nearly five thousand years.
Fortunately things really don't change that much when it came to robbing people. Kura was able to able to keep up with helping with household expenses by robbing people in the underworld blind.
When Tenebrae learned where Kura was getting the money, he looked at the man and said bluntly "I don't care if you rob people and use the Shadow Realm to escape the cops, but they had damn well better not come knocking on MY door looking for your ass."
There was a reason why Kura liked Tenebrae, aside from the fact that they both hated the pharaoh.
Tenebrae decided to make doubles of his dueling glove and the cards. Since there wasn't anything magical about them, he was able to make perfect doppelgangers of the items. With a few well placed changes, Kura and Mokuba wouldn't be recognized right off.
Mokuba had his long hair pulled back into a pony tail, and he no longer had his distinct scarf around his neck. It was ridiculously easy to change the boy's hair color with a spell to a sapphire blue with light amethyst hints in the bangs, as well as darken his whole skin.
Kura had his hair changed to blood red, and was wearing his favorite outfit. He had on a necklace that would lead him straight to Tenebrae should he get separated from him by adding shadow magic.
Tenebrae dressed casually, but in a way that would make it hard to identify him later.
Considering it was his outfits that usually kept him from getting into trouble for casting magic outside of class, Tenebrae had a veritable wardrobe of clothes that kept him anonymous.
It annoyed the hell out of his watchers, who knew he had some ancient artifact that could cause trouble, but they couldn't do anything if the witnesses couldn't identify him.
It made him so happy to make someone else's day worse.
Tenebrae hid a groan when he saw Yugi immediately put a target on his back by sharing his star chips with his friend. He could already see the boy hadn't even bothered to prepare for a camping trip.
He had heard Ryou mention that he wished he had packed properly for Duelist Kingdom, since they had to survive on an isolated island for nearly a week with no food and limited water.
Bearing that in mind, Tenebrae had raided the grocery store and the nearest magical alley for a tent...and something he knew Kaiba was going to strangle him later for...butterbeer and firewhiskey.
(The Fire Whiskey was for Kura and Tenebrae. Butterbeer was for Mokie. It had some alcohol in it, which is why Kaiba was sure to kill him for introducing the rather hyper preteen to the drink.)
Mokuba and Kura passed the inspection, since Pegasus never actually gave the guards the names of those he had invited. Tenebrae happened to see a flash of hot pink, and nearly put a crick in his neck from whipping it around so fast.
"Oh dear Bast...please tell me I was seeing things..."
Kura, surprised by the oath, gave his partner in crime a look.
"I think the pharaoh's cheering section is here," Tenebrae whimpered.
Kura winced. He had only seen the Friendship Squad, but it was enough to make him want to gouge his eyes out. Anzu in particular.
"Who's the pharaoh?" asked Mokuba.
Tenebrae looked at Kura and had an evil glint in his eye.
"Promise you won't repeat what I say to your brother?"
Mokuba was an imp in disguise, which is why he loved the kid. He nodded eagerly.
"He's the arrogant little (BLEEP) who hurt your brother in that duel. Yugi is just the unlucky bastard who's stuck with him popping out every time he duels," said Tenebrae cheerfully.
Mokuba loved Tenebrae, if only because he was the only guard who could take a joke and swear in front of him. Kaiba tended to be a bit uptight, and if he heard anyone swearing with his brother in the vicinity they were fired on the spot.
Tenebrae was spared the brunt of that because Mokuna liked him a lot, and if he left the boy would be extremely unhappy with his brother.
Plus Tenebrae wasn't above slipping Mokuba chocolate frogs, which tended to put him in a sugar rush that drove Kaiba up the wall.
(Little known rule in Kaiba Corp: Anyone idiotic enough to give the Vice President sugar had to clean up the aftermath. Mokuba could go on a sugar high with two or three bars of chocolate, and he tended to annoy the hell out of his brother when that happened. Tenebrae not only didn't care about this rule, he also set the blame on people who had annoyed him greatly in the office that day.)
Tenebrae went to get some fresh air, avoiding the fools who would be sent packing withing a few days, if not hours.
Which was why he was witness to bug boy throwing the Exodia cards overboard, and Jounouchi diving in to get them.
He successfully rescued three, but unseen by Yugi and his group, Tenebrae summoned the ones the boy missed. If all went well, he could blackmail or trade Yugi for some better cards to complete his set.
Living with Bakura, Malik and then Kura had altered the way Tenebrae viewed the world. It made him slightly more pessimistic, but also less prone to jump into a mystery without proper back up and enough flamethrowers to set a house on fire. If you can't set it on fire, then it was time to go to plan B!
By the time they reached shore, Tenebrae was very, very close to gagging. Listening to Anzu's friendship speeches always made him close to barfing.
Kura noted his expression and said "Pharaoh's ego?"
"Friendship spiel... I just thought of a great way to get rid of those idiots and actually enjoy this tournament."
"Hey Mokie, you up to a little kidnapping and tying people up?"
"Who, when and where?" the boy countered with an impish smirk.
(Elsewhere, Kaiba felt a chill go down his spine. His poor, innocent little brother was being corrupted at that very moment, and he was stuck in a little cottage perfecting his duel disks. If he found out who was behind it he was going to have their heads!)
"Yugi's little friendship squad, and on the island. Catching them will be easy. But finding something to tie they up with will be a pain."
Mokuba laughed in such a way that even Kura had chills.
Tenebrae, on the other hand, took it in stride. He was Kaiba's brother after all, and there was a good chance of the boy picking up his brother's attitude somewhere along the line. Tenebrae just helped the boy bring it out constructively.
Probably why Kaiba didn't like him spending so much time with his brother.
Anzu went into the brush alone, mostly to go to the bathroom. After she was done, she went to find the guys...only to get knocked out from behind with a spell. Kura watched over her (after protesting quite loudly only to be appeased with the fact that he would duel the star kid if he ran into him) while Tenebrae lured Honda away from the group.
The only ones out of the Friendship Squad who would be left were Jounouchi and Yugi. Ryou, thankfully, was as repulsed by Anzu as his darker side.
Mokuba was the one to knock out Honda with a well placed piece of rope Tenebrae conjured. Honda should have looked where he was going, if he didn't notice a rope that think springing up from the ground.
Aside from a massive bump on the guy's head, he would recover in a few hours.
Tenebrae couldn't be prouder of the brat. Kura gleefully tied up the two, then they made a point of finding their minders. Pegasus had the two stowaways sent off with the first shipment of losers.
Tenebrae ran into Ryou first, and delivered that news to the boy with no little sense of amusement. He even mentioned how proud he was watching Kaiba's baby brother knock out an idiot, which sent the spirit of the Ring howling.
(Ryou later informed Yugi that Anzu and Honda had been caught by the security guards and sent home. He just didn't mention how they had gotten caught.)
By the time Kaiba arrived on the island, he was horrified to run into Tenebrae teaching what appeared to be his younger brother some of the raunchiest drinking songs he knew.
"Shit! How the hell did you run into us on the cliffs and not Yugi?" asked Tenebrae, hiding the fire whiskey.
"Saw the fire. Please tell me you aren't getting my little brother drunk," said Kaiba, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"Are you kidding? This butterbeer stuff barely has any alcohol in it!" said Kura, drinking another shot.
"Relax Kaiba, they sell this stuff in bulk to thirteen year olds in England. All it really does is get you warmed up," said Tenebrae.
He tossed a bottle to the boy, who took a sip. He had to admit, it wasn't as bad as he feared. He could barely taste a hint of alcohol.
By the time morning came, Kaiba was shocked to find out he had gotten drunk and was inside what appeared to be a triangular house. A house where the walls moved with the wind.
Ow...what the hell did I drink last night?
He went to wash his face, noting that his little brother had curled up beside him in the night. Mokuba looked quite ridiculous with that hair color. Though he was curious as to where his brother had managed to find a hair dye that could work on his dark hair.
He exited the house...and popped his back. It wasn't until he turned around that he gaped in disbelief.
Am I still drunk?
He popped his head back into the tent, and went back out. Either he was having the strangest hangover of all time, or the house he was just in was actually a tent.
Error: Does NOT compute!
"Morning Kaiba. Seems you've noticed the fact that my tent isn't normal," yawned Tenebrae.
"What the hell?" he finally said.
"I would be lying my ass off if I said it was an illusion or technology. Magic is real, though if you still don't believe me I can take you to a few dragon sanctuaries when this is over," said Tenebrae amused.
To his credit, Kaiba only blinked twice before he held out his hand and said "Deal. After seeing that house, tent, whatever, I'm willing to believe."
Tenebrae grinned wider. It seemed that unlike the Kaiba of his time, this one hadn't been forced to suffer through the pharaoh's crappy rants about the fact that he had magic. Which made his job so much easier.
Once they were on their way to the castle, Kaiba had to ask whether Yugi showed up or not. Which lead to the evil laughter of his little brother and Kura.
"Oh, he showed up alright. So did his cheering squad," cackled Kura.
"And you aren't hyperventilating why?" asked Kaiba. He had noted the odd reaction Tenebrae had to Anzu whenever she started on her rants.
"Because I had Mokie and Kura help me send their sorry arses back to the mainland within a day of coming."
Kaiba turned to his little brother.
"I only tripped the idiot with bad hair. He won't have any permanent damage and I did Yugi a favor."
"The mutt?" asked Kaiba hopefully.
"Unfortunately, no. Yugi sacrificed one of his chips to get him in here legally, so you'll have to have him kicked out the old fashioned way. We got rid of Honda and Anzu."
"This coming from the brat who stunned the twit," said Kura.
"She deserved to have her hair turn puke green and all her horrible clothes burned," shuddered Tenebrae.
Kaiba winced as well.
"What the hell?" said Kaiba.
Standing before him was the star kid who beat him...and he was dueling what appeared to be him. Jounouchi and Ryou were the only ones standing on Yugi's side of the platform, while a Mokuba look alike was being held hostage.
Yugi turned at his voice, and gaped.
"Who the hell is this idiot, and when did he steal my deck?" scowled Kaiba.
You could tell he was pissed, mostly because he was actually swearing in front of his baby brother. Ryou raised an eyebrow at Mokuba's hair color, but wisely kept his observation to himself.
(Frankly he found the look-a-like of himself rather disturbing, because the kid acted too much like Yugi's cheer squad.)
When the Pharaoh beat the fake Kaiba (having grossed everyone out when he broke the illusion a few minutes after learning Kaiba was already on the island) Kaiba took back his deck with a scowl.
The guard and the fake Mokuba were gone.
"I'm sorry I couldn't save your brother Kaiba," said Yugi sadly.
"What are you talking about? I'm right here you know," said Mokuba with annoyance.
"Mokuba? But I thought...?"
"Yugi, you mean to tell me you can't tell the difference between a fake and the actual person unless you duel them? People with Millennium Items can create realistic illusions to fool others. Besides, Mokuba came straight to me when Pegasus tried to kidnap him."
"Wasn't that hard to escape... I always keep a few frogs prepared in case something like that happens."
Kaiba winced. He had seen Mokuba on a major sugar high before, and it wasn't pretty. Particularly if his brother had a grudge against someone. One of the many reasons he kept Tenebrae close to his brother was that the boy actually showed Mokuba how to escape and make it look like a really bad idea to try and grab him twice.
Finding out Mokuba kept some of those odd chocolates Tenebrae kept bringing into the office made him twitch. Eating four of those put him on a mild sugar high, eight and he was bouncing off the walls.
"How many did you eat?" he asked.
"Ten. There were twelve guys trying to grab me, and I didn't want to take any chances. We'll have to replace a few windows on the lower floors though..."
"Oh dear god..."
Since Yugi was convinced Kaiba needed help, he insisted that the teen stick near them. Tenebrae allowed it under the conditions that Yugi's group stayed out of his tent.
He gave them a lie that it couldn't hold more than four people.
(What Yugi didn't know was that Ryou had already snuck in and claimed the couch. Everyone else slept in a bunk bed.)
Everyone was bored, so they decided to compare their favorite monsters.
Kaiba, of course, was his beloved Blue Eyes. Jounouchi had his Flame Swordsman, Mokuba had Fairy King Truesdale, Ryou brought out his Change of Heart, and Tenebrae surprised everyone with his Charmers.
"You have no idea how hard it is to just pick one Charmer," he said dryly.
"You actually have a Charmer deck?" asked Kaiba, interested. He had seen a few half assed ones, but they usually ended up being weak.
"Actually it's a spellcaster deck with the main theme being Charmers. I have quite a few magic and trap cards to boost their attack power while I use their abilities to annoy my opponents," said Tenebrae amused.
"Can you pick you favorite Charmer?" asked Ryou.
"Easy. My personal favorite is Dharc, though depending on who I'm up against it can switch," said Tenebrae.
"How about a little fun? We can put our favorite cards into Yugi's deck and have a duel. No star chips or anything else."
"I'm game," said Jounouchi, not realizing he was walking into a trap.
"I'm not putting my Blue Eyes in his deck," scowled Kaiba.
"I'm in," said Mokuba.
"I'll put Dharc in too, though I would rather Bakura play him than Yugi," said Tenebrae.
Only Kura caught the way the boy emphasized that name. He had yet to find any of the modern monsters he liked, since the only one he did like was Dark Necrofear, and it wasn't out yet.
Once they had shuffled the cards into Yugi's deck, Tenebrae felt the hairs on his neck go up. Bakura had brought them into the Shadow Realm before the game even started. This would not end well.