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I thought long and hard about actually posting this before I finally went with it.  When I wrote this story, I had re-written a lot of characters that were probably defined in other Yu-Gi-Oh! media that I am unfamiliar with.  I thought of researching it out and re-writing my fiction so that the characters matched, but then it wouldn't be my story anymore, would it?  So, I decided against it.  Here, for what it's worth-with my original ideas and characters-is the Legend of the Queen of Hearts...

There's a lot more 'damn' in this one (the mouth on that Yami, I tell you...), so I upped the rating to PG-13, just to be safe...

Disclaimer:  I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh! or any of the characters therein

 

The Queen of Hearts: Part II - The Legend

by Lisa Ann McLean

 

A Question and An Answer

I'm dreaming, thought Yugi. 

He saw himself standing, staring a short distance away. As strange as this may sound to you or I, Yugi was not surprised by this in the least. He had seen this presence before, had spoken to it even, in this same half-formed dreamworld he now walked in. It was spirit of the Millennium Puzzle he wore. He knew this presence looked like him, but at the same time, it was distinctly not him. It was bigger. Older. Wiser. He had developed a respect for this presence inside him, but there had been times when he had feared it. This not being one of those times, however, he walked closer to him. It felt like he was walking through water, slow and ponderous. As he drew nearer, he saw the usually stern face of his other presence-and it was so sad. This upset him, since this part of him had always been so quietly serene, commanding and confident. He stood silent beside him for a moment, and when the spirit did not turn or acknowledge him, he opened his mouth to speak. His words sounded muffled and strange, as though he were enclosed in a small room. 

"You took control of me. Why?" 

The answer came immediately, and though it was not the answer he expected, it did not surprise him. 

"I had to." 

"Why?" he asked again. He was not angry. He was just confused. 

"You don't understand." 

In his dream, Yugi took the arm of his other presence. Looked at him. He felt detached and surreal. 

"I need to," he said. 

The presence looked at him, and the sorrow in his eyes was so unfathomable that Yugi almost looked away. But he didn't, and his presence spoke at last. 

"Do you want to understand?" 

Wordlessly, Yugi nodded. 

"I can show you," his presence said, his voice as sad as his eyes. "But I warn you: you will feel everything-because I am part of you now. You will feel it all as if you were there, as I had been." 

Yugi hesitated. Did he want to understand the terrible sorrow and fury he had felt when Cora had been attacked? Did he really want to know such strong emotion, and such awesome power? 

Fear knotted his stomach. But... he had to understand. He had to know... in case it happened again... 

It was a lesson he had learned before. From a duelist named Mai Valentine. Face his fear... 

"Show me," he said. He didn't even recognize his own voice. 

His presence looked at him for a long time. Yugi met the gaze, became so caught up in its intensity that he almost didn't see the hand of his altered persona before him rise and gently touch his forehead. Even in his dream, the hand felt warm and alive-and it was almost vibrating with a strange power... 

...and there was a flurry of lights and sound and wind. Time-so many, many, many years... 

...he was a magician. A magician in Ancient Egypt... 

* * *

That was close. That was far too close... 

His heels made crunching sounds on the rock floor as he swept down the long corridor from the duel arena. He could feel his hands shaking as much with suppressed rage as from the weakness at the amount of magic he had to use to control that Soul-Sucker they had conjured from the Shadow Realm. He had almost watched another comrade fall. Something had to be done... 

"Yami!" 

Stopping his headlong progress down the hall for the sound of Pharoah's beckon, he turned slowly to face him, still too angry to say anything yet. Pharoah approached him, his face white. 

"Thank you for saving Potiphera's life," he said quietly. "He is my only son..." 

He faltered when he saw the look on Yami's face and, misunderstanding, turned his own face away in shame. 

"You feel I should not have allowed him to play the Game when he is so young," Pharoah said. "I probably should not have taken his..." 

"Potiphera was not the problem, Zaphnath," Yami snapped. "What kind of... mockery... was that supposed be? It surely wasn't the Game." 

Zaphnath looked stunned for a moment. 

"The Game was always a risk, Yami," Zaphnath reminded him hesitantly. "We knew that from the start..." 

"The Game was a risk to the personal welfare of the magician," Yami retorted, his anger spilling out. "It was a test of his skill and strength. It was a risk we were willing to take. The dark ones seem to have forgotten, however, that the Game was never supposed to allow a magician to put his opponent at risk. Never! 

"We had agreed not to conjure monsters, Zaphnath! To summon only, remember? Conjuring was too dangerous-the monster too powerful and too free to do what it wanted once conjured, too difficult to control. We agreed on this! What happened in there only proves that we were right! That was only a small Soul-Sucker! It wasn't even completely conjured when I stopped it! And it left me like this!"-Yami held up his hands before Zaphnath's face so he could see how much they were shaking-"I tell you, if they succeed and complete the spell the next time, I don't know if I could stop it." Yami dropped his voice to a whisper, finishing almost to himself. "It was almost too much for me." 

There was a pause, in which Zaphnath's aged face slowly began to register alarm as Yami's words sank in. "But," Zaphnath said haltingly, "but you are the strongest, Yami. If you cannot stop it..." 

"I cannot do this alone. I have no power to control their Hearts," Yami bit off every word, his voice a sharp hiss. "I have said this before: I need to conjure a Helper." 

Zaphnath looked dubious. "Giving a Shadow Realm spirit that kind of power would be"-he stopped, shaking his head-"taking a great risk, Yami." 

"I told you, Zaphnath," Yami said, "only a Shadow Realm spirit could have control over the Hearts. There is no other way. If we do not want the dark magic-users to continue to draw on this kind of power with thought for neither our safety nor their own..." 

Zaphnath held up a hand, silencing Yami's fury-soaked words. He gazed into the young magician's face, suddenly looking even older than he was, if that were possible. Pharoah's hair was already white and thin, and his face was as creased and cracked as the sandy ground in the desert to the south of them. Yami felt a twinge of pity for the man. He didn't need this kind of trouble at the end of his rule... 

"Let me do this, Zaphnath," Yami urged desperately, "I know I can." 

Zaphnath sighed and turned away from Yami-but before he broke his gaze, Yami saw the almost imperceptible nod. Yami watched him progress slowly down the hall, his steps far slower than he had ever seen him move, as though he was under some incredible weight. 

"You will not regret this, Zaphnath," Yami whispered to himself. 

* * *

 

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