Ok, first, really sorry it's taken so long to update. Any complaints about this, talk to the fates controlling my life. School is over so hopefully that means more writing time, but no promises.
Special thanks goes to Holly and VampireSiren, and all the others who reviewed the early chapters and told me their favorite parts. I like knowing what I'm doing right. As always a giant THANK YOU AND LOTS OF HUGS to everyone who left me a review. they were greatly needed during finals week. you're all AWESOME.
And in response to the typos people have reported, they have been noted and will get changed ... when this story is over. I can't promese that the typos will be fewer from here on out, but I will try harder. Also, thanks to battousaisgirl16 for the edits.
House keeping, i don't own Yugioh. Airi, and the other OCs are mine.
For once in his existence, Yami would like to get information without worrying about his friends losing their souls.
Since arriving in the States, the group had been left at an abandoned gas station, been saved from a motorcycle gang from a disguised Mai Valentine, only to arrive at Industrial Illusions to have Mai challenge Joey to a duel for his soul. Yami was sure Airi would have called this a "typical day."
The duel had just ended, and still no one was really sure what had just happened. At one point it looked like Mai was going to win, but then Joey revealed he had a dragon card similar to the one Yugi had gotten a few nights back. Playing that card turned the tides of the duel, but then it had been interrupted by another member of the Oricalchos group breaking the seal and escaping with Mai. Joey had been passed out on the floor, but was otherwise unharmed. He was still going on how it was impossible for Mai to be on the bad guys side willingly. He kept saying brainwashed and he would save her, but Yami had stopped listening while back.
To top everything off, both Duke and the Kaiba brothers had showed up out of the blue. Duke, mentioning something about visiting Charlotte and driving Rex and Weevil here, was responsible for the security breach, meaning the group was able to move around the company building. Kaiba was his obnoxious self, claiming Pegasus had tried to buy up his company and was going to stop it. Yugi said he felt a headache coming on, and Yami's own mind spun in agitation.
Yami stood detached, and walked a few steps away from the others, trying to collect what sense he had left. Pegasus was out of the picture it seemed, but clearly had something to do with all of this. Also, being the puzzle man he was he probably left something for them to find. Nagging at the back of his mind was another fear; if Pegasus was mixed up with this Oricalchos stuff, then how long would it take them to get to the professor? Or Airi. He pushed the thoughts away. Nothing was going to happen to her, he would make sure of that.
Something touched his arm and he turned sharply, fists ready for contact.
Yugi's eyes widened as he stepped back. "Hey it's only me."
Yami froze, realizing what he'd almost done, and let his hands fall to his sides. "What?"
"I tried to use the link but you didn't hear me. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine." Yami lied. "What did you need to tell me?"
"Well, remember that card with the key on it we got in Pegasus' package back home? Well Duke things he know which door will accept it. They're heading up there now."
"Alright." Yami followed.
Joey was still kneeling on the floor, staring at the place Mai had been standing during the duel. He jerked when Yugi touched his arm.
"It's going to be alright, Joey." Yugi said. "Let's catch up to the others." They could hear Tristan and Kaiba arguing from around the corner.
"Thanks, Yuge." Joey tried to smile. His face was similar to how Yami felt, like something was wrong and he was determined to fix it. Yami followed behind, gaze flitting around the room to make sure no other unwelcome visitors showed up.
They got to the door with a key card lock on it.
"Now what?" Duke said. "You guys have the card right?"
"But it's not that kind." Tea said.
Yugi slid the card through the reader, and it clicked. The door swung open to reveal a dark room.
"Who wants to go first?" Tristan said.
Kaiba stepped though with a "humph" followed by Mokuba.
"Let's shut the door and run." Joey suggested.
The rest followed, but Yugi lagged behind, his expression clearly nervous. Yami wasn't surprised. Despite being on the same side, going anywhere involving Pegasus had an air of distrust. Memories of their first meeting the one eye man still made Yami temper flair.
He put a hand on the Yugi's shoulder. "I can take over from here."
Yugi nodded and they switched. Yami stepped into the room just as the lights came on. It wasn't a pretty sight. Larger than life Toon-Monsters statues and props littered the room, leering down at them with larger than life eyes and grinning with sickening goofy grins.
"I hate Toons." Kaiba muttered, and for once the others were in agreement.
Yami took a few more steps into the room, and the door close behind them with a loud bang. Their shouts of surprise were interrupted by the appearance of Pegasus. Or, more correctly, the hologram version of Pegasus.
"Yugi-Boy." the white haired man's voice was as annoying as ever. "Welcome to my private room. I hope you like it. I did the interior decorating myself. Isn't it impressive?"
"Get over yourself." Tristan muttered. Tea hissed at him to be quiet.
"To get to business" hologram Pegasus said. "If you're watching this then it means I've lost my soul to the enemy. I should really explain everything shouldn't I? Well, it all started when someone wanted to buy up my company. Of course I wouldn't dream of it, but I did get some information about the individual who wanted to do so. His name is Dartz, and he's got power, Yugi-Boy, lots of power. We're all in danger. Dartz is planning on using my game to end all of civilization. He has to be stopped. With some help from an expert I've been learning more about the history of Duel Monsters, and this threat is far from new. According to what I've learned, the duel monsters were being used long before the pyramids were built."
"Atlantis." Yami said.
"Back then there was this really powerful monster called the Levianthan, and I don't like the sound of him at all. This monster used the souls of monsters and humans to increase power, and judging from the current events the process is beginning. Dartz is going to resurrect the beast."
Yami remembered the man he dueled a few days back talking about waking a great beast and how the souls of the duel monsters were being eaten the night he and Yugi got the Eye of Temaeus card. His fist clenched at the mention of human souls. This Dartz didn't sound any better than Evil Bakura.
"You're our only hope." Pegasus said. "I've created an exclusive card just for the occasion, and it's hidden in this room. I can't tell you how to use it, someone might be listening. It's hidden in this room. I'm sure a puzzle genius like you will have not trouble finding it." the hologram broke up and disappeared.
"Great, twisted wise guy." Joey said. "how are we suppose to know where it is in a crazy room like this?"
They all looked around. There was a toon version for the duel monster cards represented. All except one.
"Pot of Greed." Yugi said. "It lets you get extra cards."
Yami repeated his host's words, and Tristan was the first to the giant jar. He reached in and pulled out the card. He stared at it.
"It's blank." he held it up, showing no image on it's surface.
"You dweeps to wake up." Kaiba said. "this is obviously a plot, a joke Pegasus cooked ups just for idiots like you. While he's distracting you with this charade, he's out there plotting on taking over KaibaCorp."
"That's enough!" Yami rounded on him. "This isn't just about you Kaiba. Maybe if you would look around you would see there are more things in danger besides your company."
"Don't preach to me, Yugi." Kaiba snapped. "Unless it involves me, I don't want to hear any more about it."
Yami pulled out his Eye of Temaeus. "Did you get a card like this?"
Mokuba's eyes widened. "Seto, it looks like that card you-"
"Where did you get that?" Kaiba demanded.
"Same place you did." Joey said, pulling out Claw of Hermos. "I guess you got one, too."
Scowling, Kaiba pulled out his own card; the Fang of Critius.
Yami smirked. "Looks like you are involved."
All three cards started glowing. All eyes watched as the shine continued to brighten. Joey's expression was awed, while Kaiba held on to his disdain. Yami watched the cards intently, and felt his host doing the same. He felt drawn to the cards, as if the dragons were speaking to them. In his mind's eye he could see three silhouettes of warriors, which grew into dragons. He blinked and images were gone, and the cards' glow starting to faded.
"That was crazy." Joey said.
"We have been chosen to fight this threat again." Yami said, more to himself and Yugi than the others.
"Get real." Kaiba slid his card back into his deck. "I'm in control of my own life."
"You can't deny what just happened." Yami said. "We're part of a team, and you know it."
Kaiba turned away. "I don't do the teamwork thing. I have a company to run." he left the room, Mokuba following behind him. The door closed with a decisive thud.
"Don't worry about it, Yuge. We don't need him around." Joey held up his card. "With Hermos, those hoodlums won't stand a chance."
"Glad to see you're back to normal." Tristan said.
Outside Duke offered to give them a ride to their next stop. Tristan made a remark about his visiting his 'girlfriend', and their following argument rang through the ally way. Yami climbed into the back with Joey and a still arguing Tristan while Tea got the passenger seat of the convertible.
"So where do I go?" Duke said, pulling onto a major street.
"Well, with all this crazy stuff we better go talk to the professor." Tea said.
Yami had nearly forgotten he and Airi were again on the same continent. They weren't close enough for a clear connection, but maybe he could still sense something. As if in answer, a faint emotion shot through his chest. It was hard to make out. He closed his eyes, focusing on the feeling. It came again, stronger this time. His eyes snapped open. He felt fear and grief.
"Yami, did you feel that?" Yugi's sounded panicked.
"Tea, I need your phone." Yami said.
"Sure, but why?" Tea handed it over. He didn't answer as he dialed the number. The dial-tone was annoying in his panic.
"Gandpa did say she wouldn't have reception out there." Yugi tried to ease both of their rising fears. "She got sent out on a mission for the professor, right, so that doesn't mean she's in trouble."
"Uh, Yugi." Duke said. "I think you need to hear this."
Yami hadn't realized the car radio was and he forced himself to focus on the local news.
"Police were on the scene of a gas explosion this morning at the house of Professor Arthur Hawkins, who recently made the news for the discovery of an underwater ruins off the coast of California. The majority of the crew were away from the house at the time of the explosion, and no official report to cause has been released. One casualty is reported, and Professor Hawkins has been reported as missing. And now we return you to your hour of music."
The following cheerful notes were lost on the group.
Tristan spoke first. "When Pegasus said he talked to an expert, do you think he meant-"
Joey interrupted with a rant of dirty words, which Tea was too shocked to correct. Yami's hand closed into a fist around the phone in his hand. In the back of his mind he felt Yugi trembling with panic, fueling his own rage.
"Duke." Yami's growl scared the others into silence. "Take us there. Now!"
At an unknown location a young woman watched the car's progression on a portable tracking device. She'd been give strict orders to watch the Nameless Pharaoh's progress. From the coordinates, gained from the phone signals, the car was heading towards the Hawkins' place. Memories of what she'd seen from the helicopter flashed across her mind. She shuttered, pushing stray black hair our of her eyes.
Steps behind her made her turn. Rafael approached, returning from the small shed farther down the path.
"How is he?" she asked.
"The drugs finally took effect. He wasn't much help, but he won't be a threat. He seemed pretty upset that we destroyed all of his research. He won't be much trouble from now on." He sat on the stone like bench next to her. "Where is the pharaoh now?"
"He seems to be traveling towards the Hawkins house."
"Good. He'll get my challenge soon." '
She nodded, eyes fixed on the screen.
"Cerys?" his hand stroked her hair. "Something's bothering you."
She sighed before turning to face him. "I need to know. Did you kill that boy?"
His expression didn't change, but she could see something flicker across his eyes. "What boy?"
"On the radio. They said there was a death, and you said something about the pilot giving you trouble."
"You were there. You saw what happened."
"I was in the copter. It's hard to see things clearly." she bit her lip. "Did you mean to do it?"
Rafael looked up at the darkening sky. "Some things are necessary."
She looked back down at the screen. "I don't see things like you and Dartz. I'm sorry, Raf, I just don't get it."
"Cerys, you know why we're doing this."
She didn't answer, but let herself be pulled into a one armed hug. She closed her eyes and leaned against him.
"You know when the beast is released and the new order is established, then you'll see. It will be amazing, just like I promised."
"I know." she kissed him on the cheek. "I'm trying to understand I really am. I guess I'm just slow."
"You will understand soon." he smoothed her hair before standing again. "I need to tell the master our progress." with that he was gone, pulling out his communicator as he went.
Cerys sighed, turning back to the moving dot on the screen. Eventually this would make sense to her, and the world would be better. She just needed to trust Rafael.
The police kept the dig crew answering questions for hours. Airi and the others did their best to cooperate, though no one felt like talking. After her breakdown in the car shed, Nasira was eventually calm enough to answer questions. Despite her haunted expression, she assured Airi she could do it by herself. She walked away from the sounds of police radios and smells of burned wreckage. She overheard some of the other students talk about getting back to the campus to get away from the insanity. She also felt their glances as she passed.
Airi was grateful to have some time to collect her thoughts. The envelope felt heavy in her pocket. She hadn't shown that it to the police. It didn't concern them. She looked over the rest of the group. Rebecca was unnaturally quiet, going over the damage report with the officers. She had to give the girl credit for putting up a brave front. She didn't think she could handle it. A mental picture of the game-shop in ruins flashed across her eyes and she shuttered. She walked a little farther, but couldn't escape the smell of smoke and blood. This was turning into Battle City all over again. She wiped her eyes. She was not going to crack this easy.
Someone held out a tissue, and she jumped to see Zac standing next to her. She nodded her thanks, taking it and wiping her eyes. Zac stood there, unsure what else to do. His hands clenched and unclenched helplessly as they watched the officers and paramedics walking around. Airi didn't know why the paramedics were staying. The only one who was hurt was dead. She crumpled the tissue in her fist.
Zac cleared his throat. "I'll send one of the guys out with the rover to get the camper."
Airi shook her head. "I'm not going back with you."
"That attack wasn't a coincidence. I've dealt with people like this before. They'll go for the duelists, and won't care who gets in the way. If I go back with you they'll suspect the entire crew is involved."
"You're more vulnerable out by yourself."
Again she shook her head. "I don't think so. If they wanted us they would have gotten us by now. They killed Neal …" she took a calming breath. "They killed him because he was always with the professor on his trips to diving sites. They must have now about us girls, but we were always on site doing research, so I guess they didn't see us as a threat. Sending us away kept us from getting blown up." Or soul snatched, she thought, remembering Yugi's recent duels.
"It's out of your hands now." Zac said. "They'll find the professor, and you girls need to stay where it's safe."
"I'm a duelist. My family has a reputation of getting involved with the other side of the game. Best thing I can do stay away from the rest of the crew."
"You have experience with nut cases?"
Airi tucked a loose strand behind her ear, fingers brushing against her diadem. "In a manner of speaking."
He shook his head. "Well, you're not a student, so I can't force you, but I'd wish you'd reconsider. I mean, research is important, but this is going to far. This Atlantis thing has nothing to do with you."
"That's where you're wrong. I'm not the target, but my brother's involved." Airi said. "I'm not going anywhere until these creeps are put away."
"I can respect that." Zac glared at the ruins. "Make sure you take them down."
"You can count on that." Airi said.
Zac walk away, leaving Airi by herself. She folded her arms, trying to hold herself together. She might be good at faking confidence,but she still hadn't mastered feeling it.
She turned to find Nasira and Rebecca standing next to her.
"Zac said something about you're not going back." Nasira's voice sounded about ready to crack.
"If you aren't going, then neither am I." Rebecca readjusted her glasses. "I've made up my mind and there is nothing you can say that will convince me otherwise."
Rebecca stared. "Really?"
"It's your trailer I'm staying at, I can't really kick you out of it." also she'd probably do the same if it was her grandpa missing instead.
"I'm staying, too." Nasira said.
"No your not."
"What?" Nasira's expression hardened. "You think I'm not qualified enough?"
Airi shook her head. "It's not that, Sira. I know what the professor gave you."
She stiffened. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Airi glanced at Rebecca, and then at the others. Who knew what spies could be around, lip reading. Airi switch to speaking in broken Ancient Egyptian. "You have the duplicates of all the files, don't you?"
Nasira's hand felt unconsciously to the pocket of her jeans, before remembering herself and folding her arms. "How did-"
"I just know." Airi glanced around again. "From the state of the place, they managed to destroy all of the main files, paper and computer. You have what's left. If we split up, they'll think your the grieving girlfriend who can't take it anymore and possibly leave you alone."
Nasira blushed, tears again appearing. "We were never-"
"I know, sorry." Airi hurriedly cut in. "I just hope they think that. They're probably watching what's going on, and they definitely know my family if they left a calling card. Splitting up will keep the research safe, and we might need it later."
"So you want me to run while the rest of you run around doing the dangerous stuff? What if you … " her voice failed.
Airi wrapped her in a hug. "Sira, I'm just as scared as you." she admitted. "I'm not doing this to prove anything, I'm just trying to out think them. Don't you want to beat these guys?" she felt her friend nod. "The professor trusted you, so you need to make sure no one gets them. It's going to work out. Do it for the Professor. Do it for Neal."
Nasira's grip tightened. "You'll keep me informed?"
"As much as I can."
Rebecca had been watching, trying to figure out what should could from their conversation. She seemed to have gotten the main gist because she also wrapped her arms around both girls. The three of them stood there a long time, hanging on to each other.
At long last the officers left, followed soon after by the dig members heading back to the city before it got too dark. Zac again offered them a ride into the city, but Airi refused. Nasira gave both girls another hug before climbing into the rover. Zac promised she would be alright. They drove away, making Airi feel ever more like she was being abandoned. She and Rebecca shared a look, before going back to the horses and starting the long trek back.
Rebecca said something about making the radio phone work, and disappeared inside the motor home. Airi led both horses to their make shift shelter. She went through the motions of making sure they were taken care of, but didn't comprehend what she was doing until she stood back outside the door. She sat on the steps, staring out at the darkening landscape. It was quiet, but not peaceful. She rubbed her arms, trying to push back the fear creeping over her skin.
What was she thinking? Out in the middle of nowhere with killer psychos running around and she thought they had a chance? Neal was dead and the professor could be anywhere, in any condition. Yugi and the others were close, meaning they could be under attack right now. She checked her phone again, even though she knew there was no reception. There hadn't been reception at the house either, probably thanks to those villains. She shoved it back in her pocket and let out a dry sob. She just hoped Yugi was alright. She hugged her knees, burring her face against her dusty jeans. She wanted Yami. Things seemed better when he was there. She wiped away a lose stray tear. She was slipping; her poker-face wasn't doing a good job fooling herself.
A banging and a flood of cursing reminded her of Rebecca. She should probably go in an makes sure the girl didn't burn the trailer down. She took another breath, but it sounded more like a sob. Something suddenly appeared in her peripheral vision, nearly knocking her off the steps.
"Airi?" Yami's transparent figure stood in front of her, worry and tension etched in every in of him. "Thank the go-"
Airi ran to him, colliding into him so he staggered back. She latched on to him, letting action speak how much she missed him. She felt his arms wrap securely around her, his hand gently pressing her face against his chest.
"Did they hurt you?" his voice was quiet, but dangerous.
She shook her head. "I'm fine."
"Liar." but he relaxed. "The others will be here soon." he paused. "We saw the ruins."
She didn't loosen her grip, afraid he would disappear if she did. "I'm alright. It was Neal they killed. He tried to stop them taking the professor and they left him by the building when it blew. I could have done something, I could have . . ." she let her voice fade, afraid it would let the tears flow is she continued. She knew there was nothing she could have done, and hating the situation even more.
She felt Yami stroked her hair and she let the feeling sooth her. "We'll get them, Airi. I promise you. I'll fix this. Not matter what, I'll stop them."
A/N: Sorry it's so short, but that's where it wanted to end.
For those of you who know the show, you know what's next. Those who don't, just know it's not going to be pretty. That being said, please review so I'm sure you all still care what's going on in this story so I will make myself sit down and write. I'm really not looking forward to these next few chapters.
Anyway, thank you again for reading. You're the best :) Take care and God bless.