The Legend of Wildfire
Notes: As always, the Yu-Gi-Oh! characters
don't belong to me. The plot belongs to me, tho, and so does Kasumi, so
no stealin' now! And . . . do I really need to say it again? This IS
NOT slash! I'm sorry about the removal of the song, but with
the newly stated policy I had to remove it. Try listening to the song,
Wildfire by Michael Murphy, while you read. It was the inspiration for
Mokuba yawned, rubbing his eyes tiredly. It was the middle of the night . . . what had woken him up? Some kind of song . . . but where was it coming from? He didn't think Seto would be having the radio on at 2am.
Then he realized that it was coming from outside. Slowly he climbed out of bed and crept over to the window, which looked out over the sprawling backyard. There was nothing there . . . no, wait . . . there was a girl. She had just seemed to appear out of thin air, but that was impossible . . . wasn't it?
The girl was singing a haunting song in a language that Mokuba didn't know, and then she called "Wildfire!" in English. Immediately a beautiful silver stallion bounded out from the apple trees, whinnying happily. The girl climbed on the horse's back and rode off, still singing her song.
Mokuba watched as horse and rider vanished into thin air, his blue-gray eyes wide. Had he just been dreaming? It seemed so real . . . how could it have just been a dream? Who was she? Why was she on their property? Where had she gone?
Quickly Mokuba ran to the door and opened it. He had to tell Seto about this.
He knocked on his brother's bedroom door. "Big brother! Are you awake?" Not receiving an answer, he turned the knob and went in. Seto was asleep, but Mokuba felt that this bizarre occurrence was one he should be told about as soon as possible.
Gently Mokuba shook Seto on the shoulder. "Big brother, something weird just happened!"
Seto stirred, opening his eyes and looking surprised to see Mokuba looking back at him. "Mokuba . . . what are you doing up at this hour?" he asked.
"Something woke me up," he replied. "And it was this girl out singing in the backyard in some foreign language!"
Seto was fully awake now. "What?" he exclaimed.
"And then she called 'Wildfire' and this horse came out of the apple orchard and they rode off and disappeared into thin air!" Mokuba told him.
"Mokuba, what do you mean they disappeared into thin air?" Seto asked, getting up.
"They just vanished into nothing!" Mokuba gestured wildly. He paused. "You do believe me, don't you, big brother?"
Seto smiled, ruffling Mokuba's hair. "Of course I believe you, Mokuba. Can you show me where it was that you saw her?"
"It was right below my window," Mokuba replied, leading Seto into his room and showing him the view from his window. "She was right over there by the apple trees," he pointed.
"Could you tell what language she was singing in?" Seto asked.
"No, big brother. It didn't sound like anything I've heard before," Mokuba replied.
"What did she look like, Mokuba?"
Mokuba paused. "Well, I couldn't see her very well, but she had long, kind of mint green hair and she was wearing a long, lavender dress." He looked up at Seto curiously. "Do you know her from somewhere, big brother?"
Seto sighed. "Actually, no, I don't, Mokuba. I don't know anyone like that. What I'd like to know is, what was she doing on the lawn in the middle of the night calling her horse?" His eyes narrowed. "I don't like the sounds of this. I think I'll call extra security guards to patrol the grounds tonight."
The next day during lunch at school, Seto overheard Joey Wheeler talking about wanting to do something scary for Halloween, which was coming up at the end of the month.
"Scary?" Tristan laughed. "Oooh, bad idea, Joey. You know how you totally freaked out when you thought there was a skeleton in your locker because of a leftover chicken drumstick that looked like a bony finger."
"Heeey," Joey grumbled, as Yugi, Tea, and Bakura chuckled at the remembrance.
"Well, we had just come from reading Edgar Allen Poe for that literature class," Yugi said with a smile. "It was an honest mistake, Joey." He paused. "But seriously, we should do something for Halloween. That would be fun."
"If you're looking for something bizarre, what do you think about this—there was a girl standing in my backyard last night who vanished into thin air with her horse."
Everyone turned to look at Seto Kaiba, who was standing near their table holding his briefcase, an emotionless and unreadable expression on his face.
Joey raised an eyebrow. "Are you makin' a joke, Kaiba?"
"I don't joke, Wheeler," Seto replied.
"She really vanished?" Yugi said, his violet eyes wide.
"She did," Seto told him.
"That sounds almost like the Legend of Wildfire," Bakura remarked quietly.
All eyes turned to the silver-haired boy. "The what?" Joey demanded.
"The Legend of Wildfire," Bakura repeated. "It's quite an interesting ghost story that's about thirty years old. According to the legend, a young girl had a pony named Wildfire that she loved very dearly and rode every day. The pony in turn displayed great affection for his owner.
"Then one winter, the girl passed away during a fierce storm. The pony became very upset and inconsolable and ran away, only to become lost in a blizzard. Then the girl's ghost returned to rescue her horse." Bakura paused.
"Is there more?" Seto asked.
Bakura nodded. "Over the years, many people have claimed to have seen the ghosts of the girl and her horse. Some have even claimed to have taken a midnight ride with them."
Seto raised an eyebrow. "Ridiculous. How, pray tell, could someone ride a ghost horse?"
Bakura shrugged. "I'm sure I don't know, but that's the legend."
"How do you know all that stuff, Bakura?" Joey asked, curious.
Bakura looked a little embarrassed. "I read the ghost stories on the Internet," he admitted.
"So what do you think, Kaiba?" Yugi turned to the young businessman.
Seto shrugged. "I think it's nonsense. There has to be a logical explanation for what happened last night."
"I don't know if I'd be so quick to dispute the legends," Bakura cautioned. "You just never know."
"Alright, then, supposing the legend is true," Seto agreed, playing along. "What does she want with those people who've seen her, and what would she want with me?"
"That's a good question," Bakura said thoughtfully. "Some of the people have said that they thought she was lonely."
"Lonely, eh?" Seto mused.
"Hey, if the kid's lonely, there's a lot of better company she could pick to hang out with," Joey teased.
"Alright, Joey, be nice," Yugi said with a smile.
Seto seemed unfazed by Joey's remark. "Well, I still think that legend sounds ridiculous," he said, walking away.
As Seto rode home that afternoon in his limo, he stared out the window, his thoughts wandered. The Legend of Wildfire . . . how foolish. Did Bakura think he would believe that old ghost story?
Suddenly he gasped, spotting the girl Mokuba had described. "Stop!" he ordered the chauffeur, who confusedly complied.
Seto threw the car door open and ran out. "Who are you?" he demanded. "Why were you on my property?"
The girl only smiled and said something in another tongue. Seto caught his name being spoken as the girl waved and vanished. He just stared at the space where the girl had been only a moment before, even more confused than ever.
"Uh, Mr. Kaiba, sir, what was that?" the chauffeur asked.
"I wish I knew," Seto said finally.
That night Seto stayed up on the Internet looking for any information on the ridiculous legend of Wildfire. The computer found at least a dozen different versions of the tale, all with three elements in common, tho everything else varied—the girl always died, her pony always ran away, and their ghosts were always seen by others.
"I don't understand," Seto muttered. "Supposing the legend is true, what would she want with me?"
"Search me," the computer replied.
Seto sighed. "Try another Internet search," he directed. "Look for articles on why people see apparitions."
"You got it," the computer said. After a pause while it searched, it announced, "I've found over a thousand results. Do you want me to show them to you on screen?"
"Yes, go ahead," Seto said, and soon found himself pouring over endless articles that didn't seem to make much sense to him. Eventually overcome by the long hours spent searching, he collapsed across the keyboard and fell into a troubled sleep, peppered with disturbing dreams of the mysterious girl calling his name and beckoning to him to follow her.
Seto awoke with a start, breathing heavily. "What was that!" he exclaimed.
"I don't know," the computer replied, "because I can't read your mind to find out what you saw in your dream. But I did find out some more interesting information. Have a look at this."
Seto brushed his long bangs out of his eyes and stared at the computer screen. One disturbing notation caught his eye. "'Often times, when people witness apparitions, it's due to an impending disaster, even the person's own impending . . . death!'" He growled in irritation, hating the fact that it made an eerie kind of sense, and then looked over the rest of the article, which gave accounts of actual events to back up the writer's musings. Suddenly his eyes went wide. "Mokuba . . . he was the first to see the girl! If anyone's in danger, it must be him!"
"Then why does the girl keep hanging around you?" the computer wanted to know.
"Maybe she wants to warn me . . . or maybe I'm in danger as well," Seto suggested, his eyes narrowing. "That must be it. I have to make contact with that girl!"
"Good luck," the computer said.
"Thanks." Seto stood up and went to the window. Nothing, except an owl hooting eerily. "I have a bad feeling about this," he muttered. "I feel as though I'm going to die before long, and that there's nothing I can do to prevent it." He clenched his fist angrily. "I don't feel that Mokuba is in any danger, but that I am." The owl hooted again. "But I won't die without a fight," Seto said stonily as he looked at the bird.
"Hey, Kaiba, what's been up with you lately?" Joey asked curiously at the end of the week, cornering Seto in the hall at school. "You've been actin' kinda weird . . . not that that's new," he laughed.
"I'm not in the mood for your jokes, Wheeler," Seto replied icily.
"Not that you ever are," Joey grinned. "But seriously, what's eatin' you?"
"Nothing that you need to worry about, Wheeler," Seto said, walking away.
"Man, he's been in a dither ever since he told us about that whole freaky ghost girl thing," Joey remarked. "And everytime I see him, he's reading some new book on ghosts, or on why they make contact with us." He shook his head. "I think that legend you told him really freaked him out, Bakura," he said.
"I don't know," Bakura replied doubtfully. "I never thought of Seto Kaiba as the type to put much stock in ghost stories and legends. I don't think it's really the legend that's bothering him—I think it's something else."
"I think you're right, Bakura," Yugi agreed.
"Whoa, will you look at the storm that's brewin' out there?" Joey commented suddenly, looking out the window at the dark gray, purple, and black clouds covering the sky. "When the clouds actually get black, you know there's somethin' big and bad comin' this way."
"It does look like it could get pretty bad," Yugi nodded. "Why don't you all come over to my place when school's out?" he suggested, and everyone agreed.
Later on, when the last classes of the day were letting out, Yugi found Seto looking out a window on the top floor of the school, all color drained from his face. "Are you okay?" Yugi asked, concerned.
Seto didn't answer the question. "Yugi . . . did you see her?"
"Huh? See who? Kaiba, we're on the top floor," Yugi exclaimed. "No one could be outside the window up here."
"I saw her," Seto replied fiercely, his knuckles white as he clutched his briefcase. "She's come . . . I know she's come . . ." He stopped, trying to get control of his emotions. He had become a real basket case over the past few days. Everywhere he looked, he saw the girl—outside his estate, going down the sidewalk, walking past the school . . . even outside the window he was at now. She wouldn't leave him alone and he was becoming frustrated and concerned.
"Kaiba, what's wrong?" Yugi was starting to get alarmed. Seto's behavior wasn't normal for him. . . . It was almost as if he sensed some kind of doom, the violet-eyed boy thought.
Seto shook his head, turning to leave. "Yugi," he said after a moment's pause, "I may not have always shown it, but I want you to know that I've always been grateful for everything you've done to help Mokuba and me."
Yugi blinked in surprise. Of all things he had expected at the moment, a thank you was not one of them. "I just wanted to help my friends," he said with a smile, looking Seto directly in the eyes to let him know that he was thought of as a friend.
"I haven't always been that good a friend to you, Yugi," Seto said seriously. "But thanks again. It means a lot." He disappeared down the hall, leaving a very confused and worried Yugi.
Yami, what's wrong with him? Yugi asked the ancient pharaoh. He acted almost as if . . . as if he thought he wouldn't get a chance to thank me some other time.
That's exactly what he thought, Yami Yugi replied grimly. Kaiba is convinced that he continues to see the mysterious girl because he's going to die. He paused. And frankly, I don't know but what that might be true.
What do you want? Seto screamed in his mind. What do you want with me!
He was standing in his home office, looking out the window at the same old hoot owl, who had perched outside the window all week. A cold chill ran down the boy's spine and he knew . . . the girl was coming for him. It wasn't his imagination—he could sense it strongly.
Seto turned around. Mokuba was standing in the doorway, looking worried.
"What's wrong, big brother?" the young boy asked. "It's that weird girl, isn't it?"
Seto sighed. There was no fooling Mokuba. With a sad smile he went over to his brother and hugged him tightly. "Mokuba . . . I love you," he said softly.
Mokuba hugged him back, but looked confused and worried. "Big brother . . . you're not planning to go away . . . are you?"
Seto's heart broke. "Not if I can help it, Mokuba," he replied.
"I don't want you to leave me, Seto," Mokuba whispered, his eyes filling with tears.
Seto held him close. He didn't want to die! He couldn't die. What would happen to Mokuba if he wasn't around? "I won't leave you, Mokuba," he promised.
Suddenly the room shook fiercely. "What's happening?" Mokuba gasped.
"Earthquake," Seto responded grimly. "Quick, Mokuba—under the table!"
Before long the shaker was over, and the brothers slowly came out to survey the damage.
"It doesn't look too bad," Seto mused, looking at the toppled furniture. "Nothing that can't be replaced."
The lights flickered. "There will most likely be aftershocks," Seto said grimly.
He was right. The first one came about five minutes later, knocking them both off-balance.
"Big brother!" Mokuba screamed as he was swept off his feet.
"Don't worry, Mokuba. I've got you!" Seto grabbed Mokuba just as the lights went out, plunging them into darkness.
"I can't see anything!" Mokuba gasped.
"It's alright, Mokuba," Seto said soothingly as the shaking stopped. "Let's try to find our way to the telephone to call the power company and tell them what's happening."
They started feeling their way down the darkened hall. That's when a now all-too-familiar rumbling tore through the manor.
"Not again!" Mokuba cried, and then screamed as he tripped and fell over a fallen bookcase.
"Mokuba!" Seto tried to find him in the inky blackness, knowing that it was a very dangerous situation.
"I'm over here, big brother!" Mokuba called, jumping a mile high as something crashed right near him.
"Okay, I've got you, Mokuba. Everything will be alright," Seto assured him, just as another load of furniture tumbled to the floor. Something hard hit Mokuba on the head and he fell unconscious in his brother's arms. "Mokuba!" Seto gasped. He knew he had to get his brother to safety immediately.
Somehow he managed to make it across the room while furniture fell over left and right, and he gently laid his brother in a nook in the corner of the room. "You'll be safe in here, Mokuba," he whispered.
Abruptly Seto was slammed to the floor by something hard and heavy, and pain exploded through him. "Please be safe, Mokuba," he rasped, losing consciousness.
When Mokuba finally opened his eyes, the shaking had stopped, but it was still dark all around him. "Big brother!" he called frantically. No answer. Slowly the young boy's eyes adjusted to the darkness and he groped for some kind of flashlight. He was certain there had been some in this room somewhere.
Instead of a flashlight, his hand brushed against the sleeve of a familiar trenchcoat. "Big brother?" he gasped. "Are you sleeping? Wake up, big brother! Please!"
Just when he needed it, Mokuba found a flashlight on the floor and clicked it on. A soft light bathed the room, revealing that Seto was laying deathly still on the floor, a heavy bookcase across his body, pinning him to the floor.
Mokuba's eyes went wide in horror. "Seto! Are you hurt bad? Please . . . big brother, answer me!" Silence was his only answer, and as he tried frantically to lift the bookcase up, he realized that he couldn't hear his brother breathing. Shaking his head in denial, Mokuba finally shoved the bookcase aside and knelt next to Seto, desperately trying to find some sign of life.
"Seto? Please, you gotta get up!" Mokuba begged in vain. "You can't be dead! You just can't!" He could see his brother was lying too still.
"Dear God, please help," Mokuba prayed, his small body wracked with sobs. "I can't lose Seto! He's all I have in the world . . . I love him so much! Please, he can't die!" He didn't know artificial respiration, and the phones were all out due to the storm, so he couldn't call for help either. All he could do was try desperately to awaken his brother and pray that he would be alright.
Seto looked around, confused, finding himself standing in an unfamiliar meadow. "What the . . . what happened to me!" he demanded aloud. "And where's Mokuba?"
Suddenly a bright light glowed in front of him, and he shielded his eyes. When he dared to look again, he found that the girl was standing there, shimmering, her long, mint-green hair blowing in a gentle breeze.
Seto had never seen her close-up before, only from distances. He now saw that she didn't look that much older than Mokuba, and he stepped back in surprise. "Who are you?" he asked.
"Kasumi," she replied softly. "And I know who you are, Seto Kaiba." She smiled. "Please come and ride with me," she implored.
"Ride with you where?" Seto wanted to know, raising an eyebrow.
"Wherever Wildfire decides to take us," Kasumi replied, calling to her pony, who came trotting over.
It was then that Seto noticed that he was shimmering as well. "What's going on here!" he burst out. "Am I . . . dead! But I can't be!"
Kasumi smiled, coming over and surprising Seto by giving him a little hug. "You remind me of my brother. He was such a special person, just as I know you are."
Seto was caught off guard by the girl's sweet innocence. "You didn't answer my question," he said finally. "But let me tell you something, kid—if I am dead, I have to go back. I want to go back. My brother needs me. And . . . I need him, too."
Kasumi nodded, looking up at him. "It's not your time. Of course we will take you back." She mounted her pony, who had lowered himself down so she could climb on easier.
Seto looked from Kasumi to her horse and back again. Maybe, he thought, this is all just a weird dream and I'll wake up soon. Hesitantly, he too climbed onto the horse's back, and at Kasumi's soft command, they rode off.
They had been riding in silence for several minutes when Kasumi started singing softly in another language.
"What does that mean in English?" Seto asked somewhat curiously when she'd finished.
"It's Hawaiian," she told him. "It's a song about finding happiness."
"And what does it say about finding happiness?" Seto wanted to know.
Kasumi smiled. "One must be with their loved ones," she replied.
Seto nodded. Very true. "Why have you been following me?" he asked.
"I've been watching you," Kasumi said softly. "I didn't mean any harm." She smiled. "I was actually sent to make certain that you and your brother are not separated." Wildfire slowed to a stop in a foggy mist. "This is where you get off," Kasumi said to Seto.
"What? I don't see anything here, kid. Are you trying to pull something?" Seto asked suspiciously.
Kasumi shook her head. "You'll see." She turned around to hug him again. "Take care, Seto Kaiba," she whispered.
"You too, Kasumi," Seto replied, stepping down from the horse. "Goodbye."
Mokuba looked up when he heard the door open. "Who's there?" he called out.
"Yugi Muto," was the reply. "And Joey, Tristan, Tea, and Bakura. Is everything alright in here? I sensed that something was amiss."
"Everything's not alright," Mokuba sobbed. "I think . . ." He hiccuped, trying to choke back another round of tears. "I think my brother's dead."
A collective gasp was heard from the parlor. "Mokuba, what room are you in?" Yugi asked.
"The library," he replied. "Third door on your left."
Soon Yugi and the others had threaded their way through the disaster zone and into the library.
"Oh man . . . what a mess," Joey muttered.
"Mokuba, what happened to your brother?" Yugi asked seriously, kneeling down next to Seto's body.
"I'm not sure," Mokuba replied, unable to stop the tears. "I got knocked out. But when I woke up, he was laying like this and that . . . that bookcase was on top of him."
"That's not good," Yugi said grimly.
"How is he, Yugi?" Tristan asked.
Yugi sent him a message with his eyes that said clearly, I'm afraid Mokuba might be right. After using the Millennium Puzzle to scan Kaiba for injuries, he said aloud, "Help me get him out of here and upstairs. We'll lay him on his bed." Quickly Joey and Tristan went to assist.
Mokuba looked up at Yugi pleadingly. "How is he, Yugi? You gotta tell me!"
Yugi looked at the young boy seriously. "I'll be honest with you, Mokuba. I can't tell whether he's dead or not, but I'm afraid that's a strong possibility."
Seto found himself falling through a strange, seemingly endless tunnel. He heard voices from far away, including Mokuba's, who called to him frantically. He tried to call back but found his voice useless as he plunged into complete darkness.
"Oh man," Joey said softly. "Look at him. I think he's dead."
With the power still out, they had brought the flashlight upstairs to light the room. Seto Kaiba looked pale and lifeless as he lay unmoving on the bed.
Mokuba shook his head. "He can't be gone! He can't be! He said he wouldn't leave me! He said he wouldn't . . ." He collapsed on the bed next to his brother and hugged him tightly, sobbing uncontrollably.
"Yugi, this is heart-breaking," Tea said sadly to Yugi in an undertone. "Isn't there anything we can do?"
Yugi shook his head. "I'm afraid not, Tea. It's up to Kaiba now . . . if he's not already gone."
The first thing Seto was aware of was Mokuba's tearful embrace. For a moment, he couldn't recall what had happened, but then he remembered the earthquake, the aftershocks . . . Mokuba had been hurt, and then he, Seto, had been struck down by . . . something. Then there had been Kasumi. . . .
He struggled to speak. "Mokuba? . . . It's alright, Mokuba . . . I'm back."
Mokuba looked up, his blue-gray eyes wide. "Seto! You're alive! You're really alive!" He hugged Seto tightly, while Yugi and the others looked on in wonder and relief. "I knew you wouldn't leave me!"
Seto smiled and hugged Mokuba back. "That's right, little brother. I kept my promise."
"Kaiba, you must have nine lives or somethin', man," Joey spoke up.
Yugi nodded in agreement. "You were very blessed, Kaiba. I was concerned that you had perished this time."
Seto smiled crookedly. "You know it would take a lot to get rid of me, Yugi."
"And, boy, am I glad of it!" Mokuba declared.
As Seto hugged his brother, he had to wonder if the whole thing with Kasumi had just been a dream. Had he really been . . . dead! Perhaps he'd never know for sure, but one thing he did know—he wasn't going to let anything separate him and Mokuba—not ever.