Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan Fiction ❯ As If! ❯ Shadow of a Duel ( Chapter 77 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

*Author's Note: Welcome, one and all, to the world's latest Christmas present! Yep, you can thank Skye for this chapter, since it's only by her request that I wrote it!

Its lateness is due to the fact that I suck.

Regardless, I hope that you all enjoy this chapter, and rest assured that I will have interest on this present to pay off, as soon as school is either over or magically lightens up.

And oh, yeah -- merry Christmas, Skye!*

*Scene: Everyone stands around the docks congratulating themselves, each other, and no-one who isn't within earshot.*

Joey: We showed that Marik creep, didn't we?! Now we can focus on the Battle City finals!

Mai: Riiight, as compared to all those duels you guys've been having without any locator cards on the line? Yeesh, how do you find so many psychos who are willing to play by Battle City rules, anyway?

Yugi: Magic. Lots and lots of magic.

*Scene: Yugi, warrior-optimist.*

Yugi: *thinking* We may have beaten Marik this time, but he'll definitely be back! Maybe next time he'll actually show his face, now that he knows my friends can't be controlled!

*Across town...*

Marik: *sneezes, then glares around himself* Dammit! Why do I suddenly get the feeling I'd take a lot less potshots if I'd upgrade from boat power??

*Scene: Yugi glaring poutily at the water is apparently not uncommon enough to give anyone there a second's pause.*

Joey: Serenity, I won't forget how you saved my life back there. And now that you can see again, you'll be able to watch me duel all the way to the top and win the Battle City finals, sis!

Serenity: *trying to be energetic* Mmhmm! That's just what I've been wanting to do for practically forever! *mentally; sweatdropping* Yeesh... Battle City can't end soon enough! I can't believe he thought I was being serious when I told him I wanted to see so I could watch him duel. Poor Joey... he tries so hard, but sarcasm is just wasted on that guy.

*Scene: Mai pulls Serenity into a companionable embrace to give her the advice not to get her hopes up. Serenity finds herself staring wide-eyed at Mai's chest while Joey rants, raves, and quickly gets distracted by his curiosity about where the finals are being held.*

Joey: *slapping his locator cards down on his Duel Disk* Word on the street is, we put 'em on our Duel Disks, and the secret site is revealed!

Yugi: *indignant* "Word on the street"? There's a psycho trying to kill us and take over the world, and you're hanging around burger joints chatting?! I can't believe you, Joey!

Mai: What I can't believe is that the people Joey talks to know something other than how to steal cars, or people's lawn ornaments.

*Joey growls*

*Scene: When Joey finishes putting the cards on the Duel Disk, it... You know, Téa's there for a reason -- I'll let her explain it for me.*

Téa: It's projecting something!

Tristan: What is it?

Serenity: This is so cool!

Duke: Yeah, uh... *sweatdropping* The projection's over there, Serenity.

Serenity: Huh? *glances over, looks at it for a second, then shrugs* Whatever! I've seen TVs before. This is the real thing! *laughs happily as she watches some birds flit through the evening sky*

Joey: *sweatdrops* I guess she'll just be like this for a while, huh?

*Scene: The Duel Disk projects something rather reminiscent of a Christmas tree stand.*

Yugi: It kinda looks like a stadium!

Tristan: But how do we get there?

Mai: Stadium, stadium... why, I just can't think of where any stadiums are in Domino! And how could one ever look up how to find one? Oh, my!

*Téa laughs while the other boys cast Mai annoyed glances*

*Scene: Am I the only one that finds the idea of a talking, imitation-sentient Duel Disk somewhat... frightening?*

Duel Disk: Congratulations. Our satellite network has confirmed that you are a Battle City finalist. However, sensors detect that there are non-finalists in the area. Please remove them or retire to a secure location, then contact us again. Thank you. *shuts off*

Joey, Mai, and Yugi: *blink, blink*

*Tristan, Téa, Serenity, and Duke sweatdrop.*

*Scene: Bakura lies inside a hospital, moaning, while Marik waits petulantly on a more astral plane.*

Marik: *sees Yami Bakura flying in and brightens* Seems everything's going according to plan!

Yami Bakura: *less delighted to see him* Yes, and I've already done more than I agreed to do. I "took care" of Bakura like you asked, so you could rescue him, Marik, and gain the trust of those fools. It's your turn.

Marik: *teasingly* You'll get my Millennium Rod and the other Items when you complete your end of the bargain!

Yami Bakura: *with the air of one put off with a weak excuse for the fifth time this week* Look! My patience is growing thin, Marik.

Marik: Come now, haven't you heard that some things get sweeter from anticipation?

Yami Bakura: Anticipation!? I have been living in a ring for the past five millennia! Anticipation cannot get any greater than that. Listen. If you will not give me what I seek, then I shall simply have to satisfy my desires my own way.

Marik: *sulkily* Old you may be, but you're no more mature than a teenage boy!

*Scene: I do wonder, though, why is Yami Bakura saying Marik's name every-other sentence?*

Marik: You'll get my Millennium Rod and the other Items when you complete your end of the bargain!

Yami Bakura: *annoyed* Look! My patience is growing thin, Marik. What's the next part of the plan?

Marik: You'll obtain a Duel Disk and enter the Battle City tournament finals. There, you'll kill Yugi, imprison Kaiba, and use the power and influence from the Millennium Puzzle and Kaiba Corporation to gain social and military control over the world! Then you'll swear fealty to me and I'll assume the reigns of power -- and you can have the Millennium Items from there.

Yami Bakura: ... Tell me, when you were planning that in your head, did it seem even possible to you that it would work?

Marik: *shrugs* Well, it seemed like an even easier Plan A than just mind controlling you and stealing your Millennium Ring.

*Scene: The first five minutes of this episode are worth a rewatch, even if just to admire how insulting Yami Bakura sounds when he throws his head back and laughs. His expression while listening to Yugi's grandpa beg him to wake up is also priceless.*

Grandpa: This'll cheer you up! Yugi and Joey called while you were asleep, and they've both qualified for the Battle City tournament finals!

Yami Bakura: *softly lilting* Hmm. That is excellent news, but I'm not surprised! Did they happen to mention where the finals are being held?

Grandpa: Huh? *slightly embarrassed* Oh, I was so excited about the news I forgot to ask about that!

Yami Bakura: *growls* "Ask"? Who would need to ask about something like that? What kind of duelist could possibly call in, and not mention something as important as that?

Grandpa: Well, I think Yugi was going to, but then Joey grabbed the phone and started talking about this great lunch he'd had earlier, so I never found out.

*Yami Bakura sighs, growling*

*Scene: Yugi's grandpa really is oblivious.*

Grandpa: Yep, I'm really proud of those boys, especially since only eight duelists can make it to the finals! And to think I trained two of them myself! *Yami Bakura sits up* Wait, you must lie down!

Yami Bakura: *not bothering to lilt anymore* I've got work to do!

Grandpa: *grabs his shoulders and tries to push him back into bed* You need rest, and we haven't gotten your test results yet!

Yami Bakura: *thoroughly sardonic* Test results? How many tests do you need to identify a stab wound? "I wonder, mightn't the weakling have passed out because of the bleeding gash in his arm? Oh, I wonder!"

*Scene: This next exchange has continued to bother me even through the end of Noa's arc...*

Yami Bakura: *Ring glowing* Back off, old man! *stands and steps forward, apparently without bothering to take out his IVs* I don't have time for this foolishness, for my destiny awaits!

Grandpa: Who... are you? *Yami Bakura just laughs, and Grandpa groans as the Ring flashes brighter* No! Not again! *collapses face-down on the floor*

Yami Bakura: That ought to hold him for a while. *grins and kicks him in the side* And as Yugi showed with Pegasus before, no-one does anything at all if someone causes this old fool pain. What do you know... safer and easier than beating up Bakura, and even more risk-free, too!

*Scene: You can tell that Yami Bakura isn't a hero because he robs people in back alleys rather than driving them insane or killing them.*

Boy: Help! No!! Please give me back my stuff!

Yami Bakura: I'm afraid they belong to me. Your Duel Disk and your locator card are exactly what I was looking for.

Boy: Please, don't! I need those so I can keep dueling!

Yami Bakura: Stop groveling. It's pitiful!

Boy: ...so, you pity me? You'll give them back, then??

Yami Bakura: I'm impressed, mortal. I had taken you as being merely pathetic. Little did I suspect that you were completely idiotic as well.

*Scene: Yu-Gi-Oh!, always supporting mixed messages as much as possible, quickly goes from one poor duelist in an alleyway being mugged by Yami Bakura to a group of three other people chatting with perfect safety not far away.*

Boy 1: You guys hear the news? Six duelists have already qualified for the finals!

Boy 2: No way! I'd heard it was only four!

Boy 3: Liars both! I heard from a finalist himself that it was five!

Boy 2: No!! It's four, I tell you!

Boy 1: How dare you?! *pounces on the second boy and starts beating him up, a ruckus that's quickly joined by the third boy*

Yami Bakura: *walks up* You, listen! I need to know where I can find... a... *watches them continue to fight, unabated, then stalks off muttering* Just my luck... all the duelists with even half a brain have already retired for the night.

*Scene: A slightly more forceful approach.*

Yami Bakura: *grabs the boy with the bandanna by the shoulder* You, listen. I need to know where I can find a Battle City duelist immediately.

Boy 3: *roughly shrugs his way free* Get lost!

Yami Bakura: I wouldn't do that again if I were you!

Boy 1: *aggressively* Hey, man! Is there a problem?!

Yami Bakura: *grabs the boy by the collar of his hooded sweatshirt and pulls him up to being an inch from his face* Well, then? I must duel now.

Boy 3: Okay okay! There's a rumor that some duels are going on in the cemetery tonight.

Yami Bakura: *growling* You'd better be right. *stalks off*

Boy 2: Man, that guy really needs to get over his fix!

*Scene: More briefly.*

Boy 3: There's a rumor that some duels are going on in the cemetery tonight!

Yami Bakura: *growling* You'd better be right. *pulls out a notepad and pen* And, just to be sure that I can contact you in case there was a miscommunication, would you mind jotting your names and numbers down for me?

*Scene: And, what the heck, third time's a charm!*

Yami Bakura: *as a Southern damsel* Oh, you'd better be right! Why, I just don't know what I'll do if I can't find a duelist right away! Heaven's me, what a state I'm in!

*Scene: Off at the cemetery, a rather dweeby-looking duelist (whose shirt has dark blue stripes, just for a change of pace) walks around, also searching for something other than peace and tranquility.*

Man: Hellllo?! There's no duelists here. It must've been some kind of trick. *accidentally disturbs a crow out of a bush, and cries out with surprise before settling down again (having apparently not seen the creature's glowing red eyes)* Would you look at me? I'm scared of a crow. *shouts, shaking his fist at the sky* Hey, dumb bird!! How dare you scare me like that?! I could've had a heart condition and died! MY LAWYER'S GONNA SUE YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT, YA BEAST!!

*Scene: Bonz and crew break out of the dirt at the duelist's feet, since apparently midgets, people in light-blue-and-white striped shirts, and those with Australian accents should be incredibly feared. The duelist agrees with this and flees, pausing only to unstrap his Duel Disk and cast down his (sole) locator card.*

Aussie, AKA Sid: Bonz, another bloke is comin'!

Blue-stripe, also known as Zygor: *pounding fist* I hope they got a locator card, 'cause if they don't, things are gonna get ugly!

Sid: Things'll also get ugly if they do!

Zygor: As a matter a' fact, things are already ugly!

Sid: Yeah, and they're gonna be ugly all night!

Yami Bakura: *stalks up scowling* More idiots. I should have known. However, rest assured that you do have a purpose on this Earth, as your grating voices make my host's accent seem less utterly horrific.

*Scene: If you're going to walk through a graveyard at night, you might as well look like a demon in disguise.*

Yami Bakura: *thinking* Not a duelist in sight. Those fools deceived me. Yet, not all is without hope. All the other duelists in this city are surely more foolish than I. If I merely wait but a few minutes, I should have all the duelists I could desire slinking into here after me.

*Scene: In a fortunate turn of events, the presence of Bonz's gang means that Yami Bakura will not have to search at all for a worthy band of victims. The other good news is that of all people with blue-striped shirts in that graveyard, Yami Bakura is most definitely the strongest (and snazziest).*

Yami Bakura: *spies a Duel Disk on the ground, while still keeping Zygor in a rather dainty hammerlock* So you are duelists. If this is how you intimidate the competition, you're even more hopeless than you look. Everyone knows that scars and war paint are much more threatening than Halloween masks. Bullies and punks should always make it clear that they're strong enough to show their true colors in public, rather than being able to cast off their identities into a bush.

*Scene: It's a good thing the other punks are too dumbwitted to try to do anything, or there'd be a real slaughter.*

Yami Bakura: If this is how you intimidate the competition, you're even more hopeless than you look. *shoves Zygor away* You're no match for my strength, so we'll do things my way.

Sid: Hey, mate, that scarcely seems sportin'! You come in here challengin' us, so shouldn't you give the underdogs a fightin' chance?

Yami Bakura: I am. The other option is that I cut to the chase and simply embed these pointers into your frail, mortal chests. You were just lucky enough to find me on a good day.

*The robbers gibber*

*Scene: Yami Bakura points out that he has a locator card, a fact which Bonz seizes upon with obvious gusto.*

Bonz: We have five locator cards, so once we win yours, we'll go straight to the Battle City finals! Whaddya say, guys?!

Zygor: *thinking hard on an unrelated subject* I've seen him before... but who knows where? I can't even remember what I had for breakfast today!

Bonz: Gee, you ever looked in a mirror, dumbass? He's wearing the same shirt as you, so to you he probably looks like your identical twin!

*Scene: Apparently those rubber masks are really comfortable, since it takes Yami Bakura's taunting to get Bonz to take his off. Thanks to Sasha for helping me spiff this one up!*

Bonz: I'm afraid you don't stand a ghost of a chance in a duel against me!

Yami Bakura: "A ghost of a chance," you say? Funny, the same could be said of you! After all, just having the appearance of one dead does not mean that you can match up to one who truly inhabits another's body.

Bonz: *blinks* Huh...? But I don't understand!

Yami Bakura: Oh, buy a dictionary, you fool!

*Scene: Yami Bakura, master logician.*

Yami Bakura: I have stated my case clearly, and if you are wise you will duel me. The winner will go to the Battle City finals.

Bonz: I accept your challenge! Besides, with only one locator card, you can't be much of a duelist anyway!

Yami Bakura: Accepting my challenge was your first mistake! And once I'm through with you, it will be your last!

Bonz: Huh? But didn't you just say it would be wise to duel you?

Yami Bakura: Don't be so conceited! Even a wise man can choose wrong... and even a fool can pretend to be wise!

*Scene: I think somebody should really tell Yami Bakura that bragging while having only one locator card just looks pathetic. ...and on reflection, I don't think that person is going to be me.*

Yami Bakura: Listen. This very cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a knight who lost his head in battle

Bonz: What?

Yami Bakura: When the clock strikes midnight he rises up from his grave in search of his missing head!

Bonz: *half-cowering* I... don't believe you!

Yami Bakura: *magics his monster out of the ground, cackling maniacally* Meet Headless Knight!! *Bonz staggers back, screeching*

Headless Knight: *"looks" at Bonz, glances back at Yami Bakura, and casts a final disparaging glance at Bonz before skulking off into the night* As if I would pertain to take the head of one so ill-countenanced as he!

*Scene: How is it that Yami Bakura can get away with wearing a jacket with padded shoulders without looking like a complete dork?*

Bonz: This guy's creepin' me out... I'll show him! Now I'll dig out Snakehair the Sorceress! She'll bury your knight in no time! Snakehair, destroy his Headless Knight with your Stone Blizzard attack! *Snakehair does so with a screech*

Yami Bakura: Hn.

Bonz: *smirks* So, it looks like your Knight just lost a lot more than his head!

Yami Bakura: *cocks an eyebrow*

Bonz: What, got no witty comeback to that, Whitey?

Yami Bakura: Honestly, what rank amateurs! How can you expect to win an intimidation duel if you spend all your time cracking children's jokes?

Bonz: Now is that really the way to talk to the person who's walloping your monsters?

Yami Bakura: It is the only way, believe me!

*Scene: Yami Bakura reveals his magic card Shallow Grave, and also a fondness for resurrections that rivals Yami Yugi's.*

Zygor: Look out, Bonzie, the headless guy came back from the grave!!

Bonz: *stares at him* Did you miss the part before about him climbing up through the ground? It's hard to freak out over zombies when they started out as zombies, too, y'know!

*Scene: This scene affectionately known as "fun with closed captioning!"*

Yami Bakura: This monster may be too weak, but watch as I sacrifice my Headless Knight in order to summon a creature stronger than your Snakehair! Rise up, Earl of Demise!

Earl of Demise: *appears out of a black vortex, hissing* Demise!

Bonz: *staggers back, shouting* Oh, no! It's a POKÉMON!! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!! *drops his Duel Disk and runs screaming from the cemetery*

Yami Bakura: *nonplused* A what?

Bakura: *mentally* Let's just call it an automatic win by severe trauma.

*Scene: On the other hand, CCs have their uses, and I'll take their word for the Earl's attack, since it seems so much more probable than "Sword Ethereal."*

Yami Bakura: And now, Earl of Demise, attack with your Sword of Peril!!

Bonz: Ah, no! SNAKEHAIR!! *sobs* I LOVED YOU!!

*Scene: Oddly enough, I actually wrote this scene before the one before last.*

Yami Bakura: Have you amateurs had enough punishment yet?!

Bonz: We'll see which one of us is an amateur when I do THIS! *turns on his heel and dashes off into the darkness* Yoink!

Yami Bakura: *snaps his fingers in annoyance* Blazes!

*Scene: Bonz proves that he, indeed, isn't an amateur by drawing his card and playing it without looking (just like the pros!) and then fusing his new Dragon Zombie and newly-revived Snakehair into something incredibly improbable.*

Bonz: *plays Polymerization* It creates a monster so terrible that it will send shivers down your spine! Behold! The great Mammoth of Goldfine!

*A giant golden mammoth skeleton appears.*

Yami Bakura: I will admit, your monster is impressively shiny, but when it comes to oversized jewelry I must insist that mine is far more dangerous.

*Scene: Bonz also springs a trap card, Skull Invitation, which deducts 300 life points from a player whenever one of their monsters is sent to the -- as they are careful to qualify it every time -- card graveyard.*

Yami Bakura: *throws back his head and laughs* Your trap card is meaningless to me, and to prove it I'll send every card in my hand to the card graveyard!

Bonz: *surprised* What? So I just have to threaten to stab you in the foot to get you to do it to yourself? It seems like this duel just got a lot easier!

*Scene: You know, now that I come to think about it, Yami Bakura is almost as fun to write for as his lighter half!*

Yami Bakura: You were so distracted by the hopeless thought of winning my locator card and advancing to the finals you failed to notice I've played a magic card! *said card appears, glowing, from underneath the fog*

Bonz: Hey, whaddya mean, "hopeless thought"? Who's been bashing who this whole time, huh? I'd like to see you even try to touch my life points!

Yami Bakura: My point exactly.

*Scene: Yami Bakura reveals his face-down card*

Bonz: *eyes bug out* Oh, no!

Yami Bakura: It's called "Spiritualistic Medium," and it provides my Earl of Demise with an additional 500 attack points for every card destroyed during my turn.

Bonz: *impatiently* Yes, yes, I know. I am a duelist, after all.

Yami Bakura: *somewhat taken aback* Is that so? My, my, the Pharaoh's even more pathetic than I'd thought...

*Scene: Myself, I love presuming other people's ignorance. It makes things much easier for me.*

Bonz: *shrieking* It can't!!

Yami Bakura: Oh, it can, and if you remember correctly, I destroyed four of my own cards, giving my monster 2000 more attack points.

Bonz: No, I mean, it can't! Magic cards aren't active until they're flipped up; the cards you already destroyed don't help you at all!

Yami Bakura: *stops ranting to blink a few times* Is that so? Perhaps I should have followed my host's advice after all and brushed up on the more modern incarnation of the game.

*Scene: Yami Yugi's image always segues into the Dark Magician's when he's calling out a mighty attack. Seto Kaiba does the same with his beloved Blue-Eyes. Yami Bakura, it seems, is best identified with the Earl of Demise.*

Yami Bakura: The end is near, and when I win you and your friends will be trapped here!

Zygor: Whaddya mean by that?!

Yami Bakura: Ha! They lock the gates to this cemetery at midnight, and I don't think you have the intelligence to figure out how to climb them!

Sid: *howls* Nooo!

*Scene: I have no idea why this joke seems more insanity-inspired than the rest, but I suppose one can't argue with gut feelings.*

Yami Bakura: Ha! Just look around you, you fools! *looks around himself rather fondly at the pathetic black shapes that crawl along the ground* We've been dueling in the Shadow Realm! I transported us here when I first arrived. What do you think?

Bonz: Uh, well, it certainly is very spacious, and while the colors might not be exactly my choice, they do make an interesting statement...

Sid: Yeah, and I like the decorations. All the plants; nice touch.

Yami Bakura: *smiling proudly* Oh, good, good...

*Scene: The "lost souls trapped forever in the darkness" apparently look far more vicious in person than on TV, for Sid freaks out and takes off running.*

Zygor: Sid, come back!!

Yami Bakura: He won't get far.

Sid: *comes running up again from the other side, trips, and rolls to a stop at the feet of his comrades* How did I end up back here?!

Bonz: ... *sighs heavily and rubs his temple* We went through this last night, remember? Look! *pulls out a map and shakes it at Sid* This path goes around in a circle! Remember? Around the decorative lake? You have to go THAT way if you want to get out, you numbskull!

Sid: *sweatdrops* Er, ah, right, I knew that!

*Scene: They get back to the duel, and Bonz plays his Nightmare Steel Cage, the unholy, pacifistic version of the Swords of Revealing Light.*

Yami Bakura: *smirking ferally* I draw one card... *looks at it, and scowls*

Sid: *taunting* Aww, disappointed 'cause ya can't move?

Yami Bakura: On the contrary, I'm disappointed because this duel has to end, and I wanted to prolong your misery! *sighs heavily and flicks his wristwatch with annoyance* What a nuisance that I only have a single half-hour allotted for this duel. Imagine the things I could have done with four!

*Scene: Nobody buys Yami Bakura's bravado -- although to be honest, if he wasn't a yami I wouldn't buy it either.*

Bonz: What are you talking about?! As long as you're trapped in my Nightmare Steel Cage, none of your monsters can carry out an attack for two full turns!!

Yami Bakura: That's only partially true. There is one card that can penetrate your cage. *plays* Activate Kuriboh!

Kuriboh: Boooo! *scampers out between the bars and bites at Bonz's ankles, wiping out a full half of his life points*

*Scene: Y'know, this episode actually leaves me with a lot of lingering uncertainties, now that I think about it.*

Yami Bakura: Activate Ectoplasmer! *plays* Ectoplasmer extracts the very soul of my monster and transforms it into an energy so powerful it can penetrate your cage and destroy the rest of your life points!

Zygor: *grabs Bonz by the shoulder* You can stop this, right?! You played that magic card there "just in case," you said, right?! So, I mean, you're all prepared for this -- right?!

Bonz: *sweatdrops* You know, this duel would've been a lot easier if this guy had bought anywhere near as many of my bluffs as you.

*Scene: Yami Bakura traps their souls in the Shadow Realm until such a time as he deems it fit to set them free... in other words, for all eternity.*

Yami Bakura: *picks up the fallen Duel Disk, thinking* Now it's on to the Battle City finals, to fulfill my agreement with Marik! And soon, I will obtain the world's greatest power -- complete control over all the world's sugar manufacturers! I SHALL BE UNSTOPPABLE!!