Spector of the Slopes
By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: The characters aren't mine! Just the story idea ^^ Oh, Deer Valley isn't mine either, incidentally ;) LOL! I've always wanted to send some of my favorite characters on a good mystery, so I decided to send the Yu-Gi-Oh! cast to my home state! ^^ Hope y'all like!

"Wow! Are those the Rocky Mountains down there?" Tea looked out the airplane window excitedly.

"There's so many of 'em," Joey said in awe.

"That sure was nice of your grandpa's friend Carl to invite us all to his ski resort," Tristan said to Yugi, who smiled and nodded.

"Grandpa said he was too old for such antics, but that he thought it'd be fun for us," the multi-colored hair boy said.

"I've never been skiing before, but it sounds fun," the soft-spoken Bakura commented.

"There's nothin' to it!" Joey told him airily. "I'll be more than happy to teach you everything I know about it, Bakura."

"That isn't much," Tristan said with a grin. "You'd better get a professional instructor, Bakura."

"Heyyy . . ." Joey protested.

Yugi laughed. "We'd all better, including you, Joey."
"Hey look! Is that Carl over there?"

Everyone turned to look where Tea was pointing. A friendly-looking older man was observing the people milling around the baggage claim, periodically checking his watch.

"That's him, alright!" Yugi said excitedly. "You know, he doesn't even look that much different than the last time I saw him, and that must've been at least five years ago.

"Carl!" he called, waving. "Over here!"

"Yugi!" The man's eyes lighted up, but had Yugi detected a note of worry in them? "How are you and your grandpa doing these days?"

"Just great, Carl," Yugi replied as they made their way over to him. "How are you and Betty?"

"Oh, just fine and dandy as always." There was a slight hesitation before his reply and Yugi started to wonder if something was wrong. "And how are you, Tea?" Carl asked the girl of the group.

"I'm great, Carl," she said. "It's good to see you again!"

"Still the same lovely young lady," Carl grinned. He turned to the others. "And who are you fine young men?"

"Joey Wheeler, ready for some serious skiing," the Brooklyn-born boy introduced himself grandly.

"Tristan Taylor, on hand to keep Joey in line," Tristan said mischievously. Joey responded by throwing a mock punch.

"And I'm Bakura," the shy, quiet boy finished.

"Ahh . . . I see you've made some new friends, Yugi," Carl smiled. "I'll enjoy getting to know them. Do you all have your luggage?"

Yugi nodded. "Yes, we do, Carl."

"Well then, come on out and load it up in the van, and we'll be off," Carl said, then paused. "But first you'd all better put your coats on. Utah winters are very cold!" he warned.

"Sounds good to me," Joey remarked mischievously. "After all, if there wasn't any cold weather, there wouldn't be any snow—or skiing!"

Carl chuckled. "You do have a point there."

"Joey's been especially excited about this trip," Tristan said as they crowded into the van and drove off. "He's done nothing but talk about snow and skiing ever since Yugi told us about it!"

"Skiing's a wonderful sport," Carl said, sounding a bit distracted.

"Is something wrong, Carl?" Yugi asked, concerned.

Carl sighed. "I'll be honest with you and your friends, Yugi. For the last couple of days, we've been having strange . . . accidents," he said finally.

"Accidents?" everyone repeated at once.

"Like, what kinds of accidents?" Joey wondered.

"Well, it started yesterday when the ski lift suddenly stopped working," Carl said, "trapping everyone many feet above the ground. The operator couldn't figure out what had gone wrong, unless someone had turned it off while he was getting a snack. But no one was seen anywhere near the control booth!"

"It sounds like a mechanical problem to me," Joey remarked.

"That's what we all thought too, only we couldn't find anything wrong with the controls at all," Carl sighed.

"Maybe it was a mean prank," Tea suggested.

"Well, if it was, they were certainly determined to scare the guests," Carl said grimly as he drove along the highway leading into the canyons. "That evening, a snowmobile went wild and chased Miss North all over the grounds, and later a rock was thrown through Mr. Bridges' window!"

Everyone gasped. "That's awful!" Yugi exclaimed.

"So I'm really not sure if it's safe for you kids to be here," Carl concluded. "I tried several times to call your grandpa to tell him, Yugi, but I never could reach him."

"Our phone's been acting up," Yugi admitted.

"If you'd all rather go somewhere else for your vacation, I'd understand completely," Carl said. "Deer Valley is very nice this time of year. . . ."

"Go somewhere else? No way, Jose," Joey interrupted. "We're not letting a few runaway snowmobiles and independently-minded ski lifts get in our way, right, guys?"

"I'm with you," Tristan agreed.

"Maybe we could help find out who's behind all this," Bakura suggested.

"I was just about to say that myself," Yugi grinned.

"Well, Carl, looks like we're all staying," Tea said grandly.

Carl laughed. "And I'll be more than happy to have you all here." He sobered. "But if anyone gets hurt, I'll never forgive myself."

"Hey, if anyone tries anything, they'll wish they never had, especially with the rough, tough Joey Wheeler around to give them a sound thrashing! Hi-YA!" Joey swung out in a fierce karate chop and Tristan ducked just in time to avoid it.

"Watch it!" he snapped. "Deck them, not me!"

"Whoops . . . sorry, Tristan," Joey said sheepishly while everyone laughed.

"Wow! Just look at this canyon!" Tea exclaimed abruptly. "It's gorgeous!"

Trees lined the road on either side, climbing up and up. Snow glistened from every branch, making for a perfect Currier and Ives picture.

"Whoa! This place is incredible!" Tristan declared.

"It's even better than I remember from my last visit!" Yugi said.

Carl smiled, pleased at their reactions. "The Ogden canyon is spectacular," he agreed. "Everyone has to pass through it to get to the ski resort. This canyon gives me a lot of repeat guests."

"I can see why," Yugi said. "This place is fascinating!"

Before long, they were driving up another canyon road, taking them deeper into the canyon. "How much farther is it?" Joey wondered.

"We're almost there now," Carl replied.

Sure enough, soon they passed through the wrought-iron gate that led into the resort Carl ran with his wife Betty. Joey watched the skiers riding up in the ski lift overhead. "Where are they going?"

"I believe they're heading for the Daredevil slope," Carl said.

"Hey, that sounds like my kind of mountain," Joey grinned.

"It takes a lot of skill to ski the expert slopes, Joey," Yugi said, "and I think we all could use some more practice and training before we reach that stage."

"Ah, nuts," Joey grumbled. Then, "Well, no matter. I'm a fast learner."

"There's one thing you can do without learning how," Tristan smirked. "Get into trouble."

"Heeeyyy . . .!!"

"Alright, you two, stop your bickering," Carl scolded gently. "We're here." He parked the van next to an old-fashioned looking building.

"Wow! How old is this place?" Tristan said, gaping at the manor, which looked as if it had five floors at least.

"It looks as though it's from the 19-century," Bakura, who'd been mostly silent on the trip, commented.

"You, young man, are correct," Carl grinned as they walked up the sidewalk leading to the porch. "It was built by my grandfather in the 1860s. It's been a ski resort now for fifty years," he said proudly.

"Whoa, that's a long time," Joey said, just as something zipped by overhead. "What's that??!"

"A ski pole!" Carl gasped, picking it up from where it had landed harmlessly in the snow next to Yugi.

"Someone was throwing it!" Yugi realized.