Yugi and Joey are on a quest for the millennium items and find magic, a mysterious girl named Mai, a mad scientist named Seto and more! JoeyxMai
Questing for the Unknown
"Joey, Joey! Wake up!" Yugi shook his cousin by the shoulders until the blond finally woke up. "Today we're going to explore the cave remember?"
Joey yawned and nodded he hasn't had a good awakening, tonight just like most nights, he had nightmares about his sister's disappearance. He didn't remember many details, but that day they lost their parents, Serenity had ran into the house regardless of the fire, he tried to get her and their parents out, but it was too late.
Joey's parents where dead, his sister stood there staring at them with tears in her eyes, she ignored his screaming at her that they had to get out. The smoke was too much, he began to feel dizzy and the last thing he saw was his sister disappearing in a flash of light before he lost consciousness. He wondered if it was just an illusion, if Serenity really was dead but her body was never found. The fire was put out and Joey was rescued, his parents were buried in the village's graveyard, but his sister had just vanished.
After that, Joey came to live with his cousin Yugi and grand father Salomon. Both of them were orphans, their grandfather and each other, were all the family they had. Joey headed straight for the wooden table where his breakfast was, causing Yugi to give him an impatient look. "Cool it Yug, it's not like the cave's going anywhere."
Yugi sighed and waited for Joey to finish. Salomon had already left for work earlier that morning, not that there was much to do in their small village anyway. People occupied their time by growing vegetables and fruits; of course plenty of those grew by themselves in the forest anyway.
Yugi glanced around for anything interesting to do while waiting for Joey, yet found nothing. A note lay on the opposite side of the table from Joey, candles, matches, orange juice and other things where listed on it. As soon as Joey finished, Yugi practically dragged him outside and they headed to explore the cave north from their little village.
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This cave was the only special thing around there, or so thought Yugi. They've been in it before, but now Yugi was especially interested in it because it was growing, becoming deeper every day. Neither knew why a cave would become deeper and deeper everyday in such proportions, but Yugi was determined to find out.
At night strange noises were heard coming from the cave, but Salomon wouldn't allow him to go to the cave at night, saying that he may encounter some wandering spirits or something like that if he left the village after dark. Secretly Yugi wished he would find a spirit or something similar, at least it would make life more interesting and maybe he could see his parents or aunt and uncle's ghosts.
Joey and Yugi had been walking inside the cave silently. The only light came from their candles, which really wasn't much light. There used to be bats in that cave, but there weren't any left, the villagers said something scared them away. After walking for a little longer, the ground under their feet began to shake.
Both of the tried to run out of the cave, but couldn't help it but to look back when there was a bright light coming, apparently from the ground. A large metallic creature made its way to the cave from the ground; the light was coming from the metal monster.
The metal creature was on a rampage, ramming into the cave's walls, causing rocks to fall from the cave's roof. Once the boys regained movement after the shock, they tried to run out of the cave, but the large falling rocks left them trapped. The metal monster focused its light on them and for a moment they screamed at the top of their lungs, thinking that the strange beast would attack them, but soon the creature dug a tunnel and disappeared into it.
They sighed in relief, now that the strange monster was gone. "What was that?" Yugi asked.
"I don't know but we're trapped," Joey pointed out.
They knew that Salomon would come looking for them, but they both felt curious about the metal monster. So against their better judgment, they decided to follow the strange creature. After a long time of walking in the tunnel, oddly enough there was no sign of the creature. Joey had suggested heading back several times, but Yugi somehow wanted to continue his trip as if something called him on the other side of the tunnel.
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When Yugi and Joey finally arrived at the other side and climbed to the surface, they found themselves in a valley. Looking around, they realized that they where surrounded by tall mountains. There was a very tall mountain near the cave, from where ever they looked at it, it was just a tall mountain that no one ever bothered to climb. They never saw it as a round wall with a valley in the middle, it was just too high to see it that way, but now they knew.
In the center of the small valley, there was some kind of temple. Several jewels where encrusted in the fine pearl walls. "I wasn't expecting guests but welcome," a blonde girl was sitting at the steps to the temple. Yugi wondered how she got there since it appeared that the only entrance was the tunnel and he hasn't seen her in the cave, but if she was there, then there had to be some other way out somewhere. Joey however was too busy staring to even think about how she got here, he was just glad she was here.
"Who are you" Yugi finally asked. He elbowed Joey to make him snap out of his trance.
"My name is Mai Valentine, I live here. I would ask you to come in, but my house just got trashed." She opened the door to show them what she meant and right in the middle of the floor there was a large tunnel. "Digger did this."
"Who or what is Digger?" Yugi thought that whatever it was could certainly dig, so the name fit. The answer came to him, the metal creature that must be Digger. "Wait, are you talking about hat metal monster?"
Mai nodded. "Yes, but let's not worry about that now, I'll pay a visit to certain mad scientist later and have a word with him about this." Mai ran inside and took a golden item from a chest in a corner that had remained undamaged. "What is your name?" She asked Yugi.
"Yugi, this is for you," Mai place a golden puzzle around his neck.
Yugi felt the puzzle's weight, which indicated that it was made of solid gold. The peaces looked like they have been melted together to keep the puzzle from breaking. "This is real gold!" Mai simply nodded calmly at Yugi's words. "This is too valuable; I can't accept something like this."
"Take it, it's rightfully yours anyway. The seven golden millennium items belong to you and the other destined one, together with the guardian, the three of you will save the world. Both the destined will survive, however the guardian must be sacrificed." There was a hint of sadness in her voice but it was hardly noticeable.
After a little arguing, Yugi simply nodded, concluding that it would be impossible to return the item; Mai just wouldn't take it back. Yugi felt bad for taking such a valuable thing from someone he hardly knew, but she was very insistent.
"Don't you have something for me?" Joey thought her story about millennium Items, destiny and guardians was strange, but she appeared to be nice enough and certainly very pretty.
"Only this," Mai gave Joey a kiss, making his face turn. "Well now, we must embark on a quest, but first I need to speak with a certain mad scientist about a hole on my floor." After saying that, Mai jumped into the tunnel in her house. Yugi and Joey quickly followed, trying to convince her not to go in there. "Relax, Digger doesn't hurt people, not on purpose anyway. It was malfunctioning so it must likely headed home, that's where we'll find the mad scientist who created him, then we can move along with our quest." Mai explained. Yugi was beginning to think she was insane and Joey didn't really care if she was sane or not, he just liked her.
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Coming out the other side of the tunnel Yugi's and Joey's small candles were practically burned out. They arrived at a large room with metal walls and ceiling, the ground wasn't covered by anything and Digger sat in a corner with its lights off. "It's that monster," Joey whispered, as if it could hear him.
"It's a machine, it's not alive," Mai headed over to Digger and giving it a light kick, "it's deactivated."
"Stop picking on Digger!" They all turned to the source of the voice and saw a man. He was wearing black boots and gloves, a long white lab coat and goggles. His brown hair was a little spiky as if he just received an electric shock. "You very mean girl picking on defenseless machines!"
"This must be the mad scientist," Joey pointed.
"Quiet mutt!" The mad scientist scolded. "I am the great Seto Kaiba and I'm not mad, I'm furious! How dare you pick on innocent machines? You are a very mean and abusive girl! In the name of technology, I shall punish you!"
Mai rolled her eyes. "I'm not picking on that thing," she paused, noticing Seto was about to open his mouth and quickly corrected herself before he had a chance to start ranting. "I'm not picking on Digger," she referred to the machine by its name.
"Liar, I saw you!" Once again Seto pointed.
Mai sighed, it was useless to argue with a mad scientist and as much as she hated to do it, she decided that she should just apologize to the inanimate object to get Seto to shut up. "I'm sorry Digger, do you forgive me?" Mai looked at the digging machine, trying to ignore Yugi and Joey's strange stares.
"Digger says he accepts your apology, but that you should never hurt him again, ever." Seto spoke after placing his ear near the machine.
"I won't do it again," Mai was getting impatient. "But Digger can't ruin my house again, there's a huge hole in the middle of the floor!"
"Digger was sick, so he had to come home and took a shortcut and he's sorry he broke anything," Seto excused the inanimate object.
"Fine, fine, apology accepted, just tell Digger to be careful," Mai suppressed the urge to tell Seto he was going to nod his head off if he kept nodding like that, but she decided not to say anything just in case his head really did come off. "Well!" She turned to face the confused looking Yugi and Joey while clapping her hands together. "I guess we better get going, the quest waits for us!"
Mai was about to leave and Yugi and Joey were prepared to follow, when Seto called after them. "No, the guests can't leave so soon! Its lunch time and you must eat lunch!" As much as Joey didn't want to think about a mad scientist's lunch, he never refused food, even if he had slept in and ate breakfast late.
"Let's stay and eat lunch, I'm sure grandpa will understand if we're a little late and then to make him feel better, I'll eat lunch at home too." Joey's mind was suddenly occupied only by food.
There was a hopeless collective sigh from Mai and Yugi, as the three of them followed Seto up the metal stairs and passed several corridors, into a dining hall where several robots were serving the meals.
Seto, Mai, Yugi and Joey were joined by two younger boys. One had bright green hair and blue eyes, he looked a lot like Seto, save for the hair color. The other boy had long black hair and purple eyes. "My guests, they are my brothers, my brothers they are my guests!" Seto sat down at the table. "Assistant number one won't be joining us today and neither will be assistant number two, so we may begin eating." Seto then started stuffing his face with all kinds of strange looking foods.
Joey gave the food a suspicious look, but started eating anyway and soon he was eating the same way as Seto, the food may look strange but it tasted good.
"Hey Mai, who are your new friends? I'm Mokuba, by the way," the black haired boy properly introduced himself.
"Yugi and someone whom your brother nicknamed mutt," Mai realizing she didn't know his name.
"He's also known as Joey," Yugi added.
"I heard that!" Joey complained with his mouth full.
"I think Mutt fits better," the green haired boy laughed.
"Don't listen to Noa, he's just cranky because Seto put green dye in his shampoo. He said that they looked too much alike and he needed to be an individual," Mokuba revealed.
"Oh no!" Seto suddenly yelled. "Who let the mutt eat at the table?" He quickly took Joey's plate away and dragged him off the chair making him sit on the floor. "Bad doggy, this is people food not doggy food!"
"I'm not a dog!" Joey tried to get up but Seto pushed him down again.
"Just play along so he'll shut up," Mai suggested. "Besides, he has a large arsenal of fighter robots, mechas and weapons; it's not smart to make him mad, even more mad that is."
Joey growled but stayed sitting on the floor. "Maybe he isn't so badly trained after all," Seto commented. "You should put a collar on him Mai, then again, I can't blame you if you actually want to lose him and not have him be returned."
Joey looked like he was going to say something, but a look from Mai made him stay quiet.
"Good doggy, stay right there," Seto then ran out of the dinning hall, returning with a plate of food and a plate of water, which he set on the floor in front of Joey. "I don't have doggy food for you mutt, but I have kitty food, I guess it's not that different. Now be good and eat your food." Seto returned to the table and the rest of lunch passed by without any other events of importance as Joey lamented not being able to finish his real meal.
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After lunch was over, Mokuba insisted that the guests stayed for a little longer. Joey wanted to leave as soon as possible, or at least teach Seto once and for all he wasn't a dog, even if he did act like Mai's obedient puppy during lunch. Yugi hasn't said anything about Joey's situation, but he certainly wouldn't let him forget it.
At Mokuba's suggestion, they took a tour of the metal castle. "This is where I keep all my rejected projects," Seto opened a door, to reveal a large room full of all sorts of strange looking gadgets.
One particular thing caught Mai's attention. "This doll is very life like. Wait a minute, she is alive!"
Joey's jaw dropped when he saw the girl. "Serenity! Serenity, wake up sis, I'm here!" He gently shook her, but received no answer. "Please little sister, wake up!"
"I've called her much worse things than little sister and she won't wake up," Seto commented.
Joey glared at Seto angrily. "What did you do to her?" He tried to remove a strange looking helmet she had on, which had a cable plugged to a wall. Joey knew nothing about electricity, since it wasn't truly discovered yet; only mad scientists had it at the time.
"You shouldn't remove that, If you remove that she'll die," Seto warned. "She is assistant number two and also a rejected experiment. One day I was testing my indirect teleporter and assistant number one suggested that I used it on some girl trapped in a fire so I did. She came here in good health, but her memory was erased in the transfer process so she became assistant number two. Since I already had assistant number one fully functional at the time, assistant number two was a back up assistant, which at the moment was working as a guinea pig, since real guinea pigs are itty bitty cuties and I don't want to hurt the little ones, so instead I tested my experiments on assistant number two. The helmet is a sleepy helm for those who suffer from insomnia; as long as she's wearing it, she won't wake up. While she's sleeping, the electric plug connected to the helmet provides the energy the sleepy helm needs to produce electro magnetic nutrients that keep her from starving to death even if she's asleep for years. My experiment would have been completed, but then I realized that if I removed the helmet so that assistant number two could wake up, then her brain activity would stop and she would die. So I can't remove it, she's stuck that way, asleep forever. It's a pity but a scientist can't get stuck on a project, if it won't work right after trying a few times, it goes to the reject pile and on to the next project. I instead built Digger who makes caves bigger and this really cool force field that automatically activates when it senses violent intentions and it's keeping you from punching me right now!" Seto happily explained, finishing his rant with the classic mad scientists laugh.
Joey punched and kicked the invisible force field around Seto, but nothing worked. "Enough!" Mai screamed at the top of her lungs, getting everyone's attention. "I thought your experiments weren't meant to hurt people."
"They don't, she's not hurt, she's just sleeping," Seto made faces at Joey, who couldn't get to him because of the force field.
Mai sighed; sometimes it was best not to try to argue with a mad scientist. "It's alright, I will wake her up." Mai pointed her finger at Serenity and began to chant something no one but her understood. Serenity began to glow in a golden light and Mai removed the helmet, making Serenity wake up. "There now, are you alright?"
"Where am I?" Serenity looked at her surroundings confused. "The fire, Joey!" She hugged her brother, she didn't know how she got there, but at least Joey was there.
"Oh, yes, I restored her memories too." Needless to say, everyone was quite surprised with Mai's unusual powers, but that look in her eyes told them to just be thankful and not ask about it.
Joey's attention was now focused in his little sister; the last thing she remembered was being trapped in the fire right before she was teleported away. Joey then had to explain how it all ended. Joey and Serenity talked and Yugi tried to comfort them.
Seto examined Mai's finger with a magnifying glass. "Very interesting, can you also repair assistant number one?"
Mai moved her finger away. "I guess I might as well, show me assistant number one." They left Joey, Serenity and Yugi alone for a while to catch up, while Mai and Seto went to see assistant number one.
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"This is assistant number one's room," Seto entered a room full of plushies. "and that is assistant number one," he pointed to a girl sitting in from of a computer, she had black hair and pale skin, she stared at the screen while typing and moving the computer mouse. "That is called a computer," Seto explained. "They will exist in the future; I installed a time travel devise on it so it can access the internet, which will exist in the future too. Making data time travel is easy, but I still haven't perfected making people time travel. She likes to play with the internet all the time and won't listen to me anymore, can you repair assistant number one?"
Mai looked at the girl then at Seto. "Sorry but she appears to be perfectly fine. She's sitting there on her own free will so there's nothing to repair."
"That's too bad," Seto shook his head. "Assistant number one was a good assistant. I think assistant number two will probably retire soon, so that means I won't have an assistant and a mad scientist needs an assistant. Do you want to be assistant number three?"
"No," Mai walked out the door.
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Mai returned to find Joey, Serenity and Yugi right where she left them. "It's time to go on our quest now, so we're out of here!" After climbing many stairs, they finally reached the exit. It was a hidden exit in yet another cave. Once outside, Yugi, Joey and Serenity started walking back to the village. "Wait!" Mai called out. "We need to go on the quest and you're going the wrong way!"
"Quest? Look Mai, you're pretty and all, but I don't know what you're talking about. I'm going home with my sister, she's been through enough already, being thrown in a storage room like a common reject experiment. If that mad scientist didn't have that force field on, I would show him who's boss!" Joey shook his fist at the air.
"But Joey, I might have not escaped from the fire if not because of the teleporting machine and at least I'm alive now, maybe I should have thanked Mr. Kaiba," Serenity pointed out.
"Let's just forget that jerk!" Joey pouted. He looked at Mai and smiled. "Hey, Mai, why don't you come with us to the village? You must be bored living all by yourself in the middle of that mountain."
"We really need to move on with the quest, but I suppose I could tag along until you understand the importance of this quest," Mai agreed.
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After a long walk Yugi, Joey, Serenity and Mai arrived at the village. Salomon was surprised to see his granddaughter Serenity had survived the fire after all and happy that Joey had a girlfriend, or at least that's who he thought Mai was. Everything was looking good for them now. Joey moved to Yugi's room so Mai and Serenity could stay in his room.
Things were peaceful for a few days, until one night they where awakened by the scent of smoke and screaming. "The village is on fire! The village is on fire!" Their neighbor Tea yelled, while pounding on the door to the house.
Salomon came out to see just how bad the fire was and Tea wasn't exaggerating, most of the village was already on fire and it was spreading quickly towards their house. "Run Tea, I'll make sure everyone get out safely. Joey, Yugi, Serenity, Mai we have to go!" Salomon yelled as he ran get his grandchildren. "There's no time to take anything, the fire is too big, we have to leave now!"
Joey ran to the girls' room while Salomon tried to get Yugi to leave, however the tricolor haired boy didn't leave until he found his golden puzzle under the mess Joey had made in their room.
Serenity was very frightened by the fire since she had almost died in one. "Serenity, Mai, let's get out of here!" Joey took each of their hands. Serenity held on to Joey while crying and Mai just looked sad, almost as if she felt guilty for some reason.
"Let's go," Salomon urged once they were all together after Yugi found his puzzle. "Follow me and try not to breathe in too much smoke." They ran out of the wooden house, avoiding the growing flames that had quickly surrounded it.
They had only taken a few steps outside of the house when they heard a voice. "Why are you in such a hurry?" There stood a man with blue-green hair. One of his eyes was the same color of his hair and the other was yellow.
"Dartz, you did this!" It was clear Mai knew a lot of things about what was going on, that everyone else, though but this wasn't the time to ask.
"This guy set the village on fire?" Joey ran right towards him, but Dartz jumped into the air as blue-green energy wings appeared on his back.
"Ignorant human, you will never defeat us and the traitor will pay!" Dartz laughed evilly as Joey jumped up and down, but couldn't reach him. "Allester!"
A man with red hair, silver eyes and red energy wings flew to him. "Fire!" Allester called out as flames formed on his hands. The fire ball grew bigger and when it was big enough, he threw it at Mai. Joey quickly tackled her out of the way getting a burn in his arm.
"Looks like the traitor has a little protector," Dartz glared.
Allester was about to throw another flame at them when the ground began to shake and a larger version of Digger came from it. The hatch opened and Seto was there. "I knew I detected specimens two and three, my radar is never wrong!"
"Oh, shut up and get us out of here!" Mai jumped in the larger Digger and pushing Seto back inside in the process. Joey, Serenity, Yugi and Salomon soon followed.
"Ice!" Dartz yelled as daggers of ice formed on his hands, he threw the daggers at the large Digger, causing the metal to dent but no significant damage was made. Allester looked at Dartz confused; he could do better than that, a lot better. "Have patience Allester, the time to end their lives is not here yet." Dartz flew away, followed by Allester.
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"Isn't Digger Two wonderful?" Seto's invention emerged in the surface near a village, causing people to run away screaming that the mad scientist was back.
"Very nice," Mai commented sarcastically, as she got out of Digger Two followed by Joey, Serenity, Yugi and Salomon.
"I left my little brothers by themselves and I can't leave those two unsupervised for long, so I better go, but since I helped you, you can do something for me." Seto then handed Joey a box. "Here mutt, be a good doggy and carry your owner's box." Joey looked like he wanted to choke Seto but remembered the force field around him and didn't do anything. "Mai, since I saved your friends, in exchange, place the contents of this box all over the villages you come by during your quests." Seto jumped back into Digger Two, making a few poses before waving goodbye and starting up the digging machine again. Digger Two disappeared into another underground tunnel.
"An amazing machine," Salomon astonished, "and a dangerous enemy. Mai you seamed to know Dartz, who or what is he and what does he want?"
"I think you've been through a lot today, look its morning. That trip on Digger Two took a little longer than we thought, why don't you go rest for a while?" It was clear Mai was avoiding the subject, but no one asked anymore. They were too worried about finding out if anyone else had survived also.
"Joey what's in the box?" Serenity changed the subject.
Joey opened the box to find many fliers. He read one of them. "Mad scientist in search of assistant. Must be smart or will be used as a guinea pig instead," Joey crumbled the piece of paper and threw it away.
He was about to throw the box but Mai took it. "Let's not anger the mad scientist." They wondered just how much she knew about Seto, Dartz and Allester, but that would have to be asked later.
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It wasn't until later that night that the survivors from the village fire began to arrive. The people of this neighboring village called Domino, decided to help them and let them stay. That night, exhausted from everything, Salomon went to sleep early, while Serenity talked to Tea about what happened.
Yugi tried to sleep but he couldn't. "Sleep young one, tomorrow the quest starts and you'll need to be well rested." Yugi had been hearing that voice since he received the golden puzzle, but hasn't told anyone about it. The truth was he somehow trusted the voice, but was afraid they'd think he was just imagining it or going insane it if he told anyone. When he had asked mentally who was speaking the voice said that he was called Yami.
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Just outside the village, Mai and Joey were going for a walk. Mai set the candle down on a tree truck and sat down next to it. Joey sat down as well and picked up the candle. "Gotta be careful with these." His father was pretty careless with candles and that was most likely the reason the house burned down with him and his mother. Too bad there wasn't another method of light. "Mai, can we talk?"
"Sure," Mai hoped Joey wouldn't ask about Dartz, but deep down she knew he would.
"Could you tell me what you know about Dartz and Allester?" He asked.
"They're not really evil, but they follow the wrong purposes and they must be stopped. They're not human as you might have noticed," Mai stopped there.
"What else?" Joey inquired.
Mai shook her head, "I really can't say more, Joey I'm so sorry."
"Please tell me, what's happening? Who is Dartz? What's that quest you kept talking about?" Joey insisted.
"A long time ago, creatures other than humans lived on Earth, with time they were extinct almost completely. They could use element magic and were always fighting among themselves, some call them fairies now. New beings began to appear, they later came to be known as humans. Unlike the fairies, they could not fly or use magic, so they were taken as slaves. However, their numbers kept increasing while the fairies' numbers kept decreasing. Not many fairies where born anymore and no one knew why, it was as if nature itself was trying to wipe them out. With each new generation, their numbers kept decreasing until even with their powers, they where no match for the humans that out numbered them. The humans took over their kingdoms and later the fairies were just a legend. Most people thought they didn't exist or if they did, that there weren't any left, but there are and you saw them," Mai explained.
Joey blinked, "wow, I always thought fairies where supposed to be small, but I guess they're actually human sized. I guess that would explain the energy wings."
"I won't lie to you Joey, there's more, but for now, all I can tell you is that in order to stop them, we must find all seven millennium items before Dartz does. That is the quest I told you about. Yugi is one of the two destined." Mai revealed.
"Are you saying Yugi will die?" Joey yelled worried.
"No," Mai clarified. "The destined will live, it is their guardian that must be sacrificed, I don't know all the details, but I'm sure we'll find out as we go along. Now let me see your arm, you've been ignoring it all day pretending it doesn't hurt while I've been trying to make you stay still so I can heal it."
Joey backed away, "really, it's okay."
"It's not going to hurt you big baby," Mai came closer.
"Promise?" Joey asked.
"I promise, now stay still." Mai placed her hands on Joey's arm and began to chant in a language he didn't understand. There was a golden light and he was healed.
"How is it that you can do this?" Joey was amazed.
"It comes naturally," Mai avoided the subject. "It's getting late, we should head back to the village so we can get an early start tomorrow."
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The next day Mai, Joey and Yugi set off on their quest. Salomon agreed to let them go, it appeared that he too knew more than he said. A long time ago he heard a legend, but if it's true or not, that was yet to be seen. It took a while to convince Serenity to stay in the village. Joey felt he needed to go and he somehow knew it would be dangerous, so he didn't want to put his little sister in danger. In the end, Serenity understood and so Joey, Mai and Yugi left.
"Where are we going?" Yugi and the others had been walking for a while.
Mai appeared to know exactly where she was going, even if she had not told them. "We're going to visit a friend of mine."
"Another mad scientist?" Joey was not looking forward to meeting another like Seto Kaiba.
"No mad scientists this time, just a girl and her brothers," Mai left out an important detail on purpose. After a good deal of more walking, they arrived in front of a mountain. "Here we are!"
"Does your friend live in a cave?" Yugi didn't want anything to do with caves for a while and Joey would agree.
"She doesn't live in the cave; the cave simply provides an easy way up the mountain. You could always climb from the outside, but I prefer to use the stairs. The house is at the very top," Mai explained.
Joey and Yugi both looked up the mountain then nodded. "We'll take the cave stairs," they agreed in unison.
Mai let the way through the cave. "Make sure to stay close, this place is a maze if you don't know your way around." By the time they reached the top, Joey and Yugi were exhausted. They've never seen so many stairs in their lives, plus the stairs were going around and around like a spiral around the cave walls with many tunnels. To top it all up, in order to get to the right tunnels they sometimes had to go down then up again. Tunnels were bad enough, but tunnels with stairs were much worse. Mai on the other hand didn't appear to be tired; she was probably used to walking a lot.
There was tall tower in the middle of the mountain as if that place wasn't tall enough already. "Finally, we're here! I hope your friends have some good food prepared and lots of it, I'm starving!" Joey ran over to the door and knocked.
"Joey, no!" Mai tried to warn him, but it was too late, someone threw a rock at him from a floor above and hit him on the head. Joey was knocked unconscious.
Yugi ran to Joey and tried to wake him up. "Ow!" Joey woke up, still a little dizzy from the bump on his head and feeling a headache growing by the second.
"Joey, Joey! Are you alright?" Yugi shook him gently.
"No offense Yug, but I just got hit on the head by a rock, I am not alright," Joey rubbed his head, he would probably have a huge bump there the next day, maybe even before that.
"Sorry Joey but I tried to warn you," Mai reminded. "Seto raised the rent payment so he could afford more spare parts to work with, that's what Ishizu told me last time I was here. Marik was angry because he wanted to buy golden jewelry, but Ishizu used his savings to pay the rent so he said that next time Seto came to collect the rent, he would throw a rock at him."
"More mad scientists! You said it was just a girl and her brothers." Joey complained.
"It is!" Mai insisted. "It's just Ishizu, her older brother Odion and her younger brother Marik. They're not mad scientists; they just rented the tower from Seto."
"Wouldn't his force field stop the rock?" Yugi inquired.
Mai nodded, "yeah, but Marik doesn't know that."
The doors to the tower were opened and there stood a girl with black hair, tanned skin and blue eyes. "Mai, I've been expecting you." She looked at Joey. "Joey, please excuse my brother, he thought you worked for Seto Kaiba and were here to collect the rent. Come in everyone. Yugi, it is time for you to obtain more millennium items." She waited for them to come in but they just stared at her strangely. "Don't worry about my knowing of your names, it is something psychics know."
"You're a mind reader?" Joey thought the surprises would never end.
"Yes, but I did not read your minds so do not worry, Mai telepathically told me your names." Ishizu made up an excuse.
"Mai's a psychic too?" Yugi asked.
"Well you see, I'm not really a psychic but Ishizu is so it works anyway", Mai tried to get out of the conversation without letting them know about Ishizu's bad habit of reading people's minds without permission.
"Let's go now; we have a lot to do." Everyone followed Ishizu inside. "Odion, please take Joey and Yugi to the hieroglyphics." Ishizu said to her older brother; then addressed her guests. "Odion will show you around while Mai and I discuss several important things."
Yugi and Joey nodded and left with Odion. As soon as they were, gone Mai spoke. "What did you find out?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Ishizu tried to sound innocent.
"Come on Ishizu, you know very well denying it won't work, so you better share the details," Mai insisted.
Ishizu gave up on denial. "Very well, I admit it, I did read their minds, but it was for their own good. Yugi appears to be getting along well with the spirit of the millennium puzzle. He has not mentioned it to anyone, but he's starting to trust the spirit and realizing that it's not just his imagination. Yami sang a lullaby to Yugi when he couldn't fall asleep."
Both girls laughed imagining Yami singing a lullaby. "What can you tell me about Joey?" Mai asked.
"You like him don't you?" Ishizu teased.
"There's no use in denying it, just don't tell him." Mai waited to know about Joey's thoughts.
"Joey appears to be a nice guy," Ishizu revealed. "He really cares for his family and he already misses his little sister. He will wish to go back to her, so you'll have to try to remind him that the best way to protect her is by going on this quest. Also he likes you, even if he thinks you're a little insane and have very weird friends."
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, Odion was showing Yugi and Joey some hieroglyphics that basically told the same story that Mai had told Joey the night before they left to start the quest. After Mai and Ishizu had their talk, much to Joey's relieve it was finally time to eat.
No one told Joey he couldn't eat people food this time, however, he couldn't finish his meal, since Mai and Ishizu left in the middle of it. Ishizu had said an interesting thing, "just because I can predict it, doesn't mean I can stop it." At first Joey understand what Ishizu meant and why she and Mai left, but then the answer came to him.
The delicious food Joey wanted to eat became weapons as Marik started a food fight. Odion tried to lecture him, saying that he shouldn't hang around Mokuba and Noa so much. Marik used to get along well with all three Kaibas until Seto got between him and his jewelry, but he was still friends with Mokuba and Noa, who according to Odion, were bad role models, even if Marik was older than them.
After lunch, Yugi was given a golden necklace and a golden rod. So now they had three of the seven millennium items, this quest was easier than he thought, maybe too easy.
xoxox xox xoxox
They had decided to spend the night at the tower and continue their quest the next morning. Around midnight, Joey went to the tower's top floor, curious about the view, and found Mai there. "Hey, Joey aren't you tired?" Mai asked.
"Kind of, but I wanted to check out the view," Joey went closer to the balcony and looked down; because of the distance and the darkness, it was impossible to see the ground. He stared at the horizon. "The world's a big place, but I guess it might not feel so big if we visit it all."
"We might end up visiting most of it some day," Mai voiced.
"I miss my sister and grandpa," Joey admitted. "I want to travel, but I feel like this journey will become dangerous and I can't take Serenity along. When this is over, let's all go on a vacation trip around the world!"
Mai tried to smile back and even if she did, there was sadness in her eyes; she looked away trying to hide it. "We'll go to many places; you'll get to see the world."
"Yeah, as long as we don't get too close to the end of it and fall off. I really don't want to fall off the world, they say people get lost forever in the void and they just fall and fall until they die of starvation. That must be horrible, I'm making sure to stay on top of this flat world," Joey nodded to himself.
Mai looked at Joey strangely. She would have assumed he was kidding, but his tone of voice and expression made him look as if he was serious. "Joey..."
"Yes Mai?" He looked into her eyes and there was a pause.
They both just stood there looking at each other's eyes, their faces came closer and closer, until Mai snapped out of it and forced herself to ruin the moment. "Idiot, the world's not flat, it's round!"
Joey jumped back at he unexpected reaction. "What? You're kidding right? The world's flat!" He thought for a moment, not too sure about it. "Isn't it?"
"No Joey, its round, trust me." Mai assured.
xoxox xox xoxox
In Seto's secret hide out, "elliptical, not round! The world is elliptical!" Seto shook his head hopelessly. "How can people be so ignorant, they'll probably never notice my beautiful satellite spying on everything that happens on the Earth's surface!" Seto took another handful of caramel covered popcorn and ate it.
"I want to watch something else," Noa took the remote control and changed the image on the screen to show a ship on the ocean.
"No more ship spying that's boring!" Mokuba complained.
"Ships aren't boring, I like them!" Noa argued.
Mokuba took the remote control. "I want watch something else!" He kept changing the image on the screen, not really choosing anything to watch.
"Enough!" Seto took the control and held it up, away from his little brothers' reach. "I need to watch specimen number one." Seto changed to the image of Joey and Mai on top of the tower again. "Specimen number one is different from specimens number two, three, four and five. Specimen number one wants to help the humans instead of destroying them, but I don't think the mutt knows the truth about his owner."
xoxox xox xoxox
"Hey Mai," Joey said.
"Yes?" She asked.
"When this quest is over, do you want to come travel with us too? I mean, you're not going to leave after it's over, right?" Joey asked.
"I'm not leaving," Mai sounded sad, as if there was more to it than that.
xoxox xox xoxox
In Seto secret hideout, our favorite mad scientist put down his popcorn and was writing on a clip board. "Specimen number one shows, what's the word again? Oh, yes, mushiness. Specimen number one shows mushiness towards her pet," Seto paused. "Wait, mushiness? I'm allergic to that!" As if on cue, he sneezed. "I can smell the coodies all the way here!"
"You're not really allergic to mushiness, you just think you are and there is no such thing as coodies," Noa pointed out.
"Nu uh, Noa, there is too coodies! It's just that girls don't use them all the time, but they have them it's a defense system," Mokuba argued.
"That's right, they exist and you better watch out Noa, you may be safe while you're young, but you just wait till you're older and I'm pretty sure you'll develop an allergy to both coodies and mushiness. There's a 99.9% chance that you will develop those allergies, since I have them and I'm your big brother," Seto explained.
"But if she's getting all mushy why would she use coodies if it's a defense mechanism?" Noa tried to use his insane brother's logic against him.
"Elementary my dear brother. It's like saying, you're a good doggy but I'm still your boss so you better keep being good. I can't watch this, I'm too allergic and my eyes are starting to water. One of you will have to take notes about specimen number one's behavior for me." Seto placed the clipboard on the chair picked up his bucket of caramel popcorn and left. As soon as Seto was gone, Noa and Mokuba started fighting over the remote control again.
xoxox xox xoxox
The next morning after having breakfast Joey, Yugi and Mai were about to leave, when they heard someone yelling outside the door to the tower. They ran to see what it was and upon opening the door, they found an unconscious boy with blue-green hair, he was wearing a pink shirt and black pants. Several others boys identical to the first, except they were smaller, were also there.
"Marik!" Ishizu yelled. "You hit the wrong person again!"
Marik looked out the window from the floor above. "Sorry, I thought you worked for Seto and were coming to collect the rent!"
"If the rent is such a problem, why doesn't you move somewhere else?" Yugi asked.
"Now that you're taking the millennium items with you we can do that, but before we needed a good place to hide them and since Seto found out we really needed this place, he kept raising the rent," Ishizu explained.
The blue-green haired boy slowly woke up. "Ow, what hit me?"
"A rock," one of his brother's pointed at the offending rock.
"I'm so sorry about that," Ishizu apologized.
"It's alright, my name is Espa Roba," the blue-green haired boy introduced himself. "I'm here to become-"
"Yes, yes I know who you are," Ishizu interrupted, "I also know you're here to become my apprentice because you wish to be a psychic. You have talent, but you really need to develop it. Tell you what, you can become my apprentice if you help pay the rent, maybe that way we wouldn't need to move after all, this mountain is so peaceful without annoying people asking me to tell them their future. I'm a psychic not a fortune teller."
xoxox xox xoxox
Joey, Mai and Yugi once again set off to the stair filled tunnels, this time to go down the mountain and continue their quest. After what felt like another eternity, they finally reached the ground.
"Where are we going next?" Joey asked.
"You'll see when we get there," Mai continued walking.
The entire time Yugi was kind of quiet, but he was actually mentally communicating with Yami. Every now and then he would smile or laugh for no reason, earning a strange look from Joey, but Mai knew that he was talking to the spirit of the millennium puzzle.
"Are we there yet?" Joey asked for the millionth time since they left the Ishtar's tower.
"No Joey, we're not there yet," Mai answered for the millionth time since they left the Ishtar's tower.
Yugi was too busy mentally chatting with Yami about anything and everything to notice anything going on around him, so Joey was left alone in the activity of complaining. "Let's rest," Joey let himself fall to the ground.
"Joey, get up, we need to continue our quest!" Mai pulled him to his feet.
"I'm tired and hungry! Ishizu gave us a picnic basket; let's have a picnic before we starve!" Before Mai could say anything Joey started setting up the picnic.
Mai knew there was no use in arguing with Joey if it involved food. "Fine, fine, we'll take a short break."
xoxox xox xoxox
After a nice picnic and some yelling at Joey to make him understand that he couldn't nap right now, they were on their way again. Much walking later and after passing a small village that Mai insisted they didn't have time to stop in, they finally reached their destination.
Yugi and Joey looked at the place before them. "Great, it's another mountain with another cave. Isn't it wonderful?" Joey said sarcastically.
Mai rolled her eyes. "Silly Joey, this isn't a mountain cave, it's a volcano cave!"
Yugi was distracted from his mental conversation with Yami upon hearing the word volcano and Joey just stared as if he was in denial. "Are we really going in a volcano?" Yugi asked.
"Yes, of course we are," Mai started walking towards the cave.
"I can't believe this." None the less, Joey followed them in. If the golden millennium items were there, then that was the next stop in their quest. Joey didn't even understand why he trusted Mai so much and why he felt that if she said this quest was necessary then it was, but there had to be some reason for that.
The cave looked just like a normal cave for the most part, excluding the heat. After going deeper into the volcano cave, they saw a light up ahead. Joey and Yugi stared wide eyed at the source of the light; it was lava, lots of it.
Obviously volcanoes have lava, but they didn't expect to come this close to it and they didn't expect the volcano to look so active, as if it was going to erupt any second. "Are you sure this place won't blow up on us?" Joey asked.
"It's alright let's go," Mai assured. They made their way across a stone bridge and entered another tunnel which let to a large cave chamber with yet more lava and a rope bridge.
"I wonder if whoever put that bridge there is still alive," Joey commented.
"Who wants to go first?" At Mai's question, Yugi and Joey pointed at each other. "Alright, why don't I go first, just to show you it's safe." Mai then crossed the bridge easily, with no fear of falling into the lava, but she had her reasons for that. "Who's next?"
Joey and Yugi looked at the rope bridge over the burning lava. The bridge was kind of long and it looked old. Even if Mai reached the other side, they were afraid it might break now. Looking at Joey's expression and after hearing a few words of encouragement from Yami, Yugi volunteered to go next. He made it to the other side safely without any problems. "Joey, it's okay, it's not so bad!"
Joey nodded and made a victory sign. "Here I go!" Joey also crossed the bridge. Maybe it really wasn't so bad, maybe he was over worrying about the fact that they were inside an active volcano. Their volcano exploring continued with a little climbing and several similar bridges, but so far everything appeared to be going well.
The volcano felt like it was bigger than it looked from outside, or maybe it was the inevitable uneasy feeling that they got while inside it, even if things appeared to be going well. "Right this way," Mai pointed to a large metal pipe that led under the lava. The pipe was completely vertical and big enough for a person to fit in it. "Don't worry, there's a hot spring at the bottom so the fall won't be so bad. Just make sure not to touch the walls of the pipe on your way down or you'll get burned."
"You're kidding right?" Yugi hoped so.
"Mai, one thing is asking us to go inside an active volcano, one thing is to ask us to cross a dangerous rope bridge over a boiling lake of lava, but another very different thing is asking us to jump in a boiling pool of doom!" Joey complained.
"You're not going to die, the water is warm but it's not hot enough to burn, it's actually a nice temperature, that is assuming the cooling system Seto installed on the hot spring is still working, but I'm pretty sure it is," Mai tried to reassured them.
"That's it!" Joey yelled. "I'm out of here; I don't want my life to depend on anything that mad scientist built!"
"Right now we don't have a choice so follow me," Mai jumped in, ignoring Joey who was trying to stop her. A small splash was heard but no screams of agony or anything like that.
"I guess we might as well continue if we got this far," Yugi jumped in also. Another small splash and the absence of screams of agony indicated that he made it to the bottom unharmed.
Joey sighed giving up on arguing, he just hoped they didn't have to depend on any more of the mad scientist's inventions in the future. He jumped in and fell into the hot spring, which wasn't even all that hot after all.
Suddenly a question came to Yugi's mind a little too late. "How are we going to get back up there if we can't touch the walls of the pipe?"
"Guys, relax. I know what I'm doing here. There's a way out so don't worry about that." Mai continued walking towards the light at the end of the tunnel, which indicated the presence of another cave chamber full of lava, with yet another rope bridge to cross. Across the lake of lava there was a wooden door. Mai knocked on the door. "Pegasus, it's Mai, I've come with the destined one!" She then turned to Joey and Yugi. "He's a little strange; don't pay too much attention to him."
The door opened and there stood a man with silvery-white hair and brown eyes, two of them by the way. "Mai! I'm so glad you came to visit! I don't get many visitors in here, what with this being a volcano and all. Aside from all the troubles from living in a volcano, do you know what happened?"
"You need to pay a high rent?" Mai guessed.
"That's right!" Pegasus exclaimed. "The mean, mean mad scientist raised the rent, how could he?"
Yugi and Joey blinked. So Seto owned the volcano too and he was actually renting it? "Does Seto own everything?" Yugi asked.
"Most unusual things belong to him. I don't know anyone else who would rent out a volcano or build a tower on top of a mountain with a stair maze to get to it." Mai admitted.
"Well don't just stand there! Come in, come in my new friends!" Inside the cave room, the cave walls had been polished and painted pink, the room was just too pink. Several comic books were piled up in a corner and in another corner, there was a pile of pink bunny plushies. "This is funny bunny," Pegasus picked up one of the plushies. "He wants to say hello," he moved the plushie's hand as if to make it look like it was waving. "Say hello to funny bunny!"
Mai waved and stepped on Joey and Yugi's feet at the same time to get them to wave as well. To play along was the fastest way to get what they came for and leave.
"All the others are funny bunny too," Pegasus pointed at the pile of pink bunny plushies.
"Hello funny bunnies!" Mai cheered, causing Joey and Yugi to look at her strangely. "Just play along so he doesn't say that we hurt the plushies feelings and make us apologize to them one by one before he gives us the millennium eye," she whispered.
"Hello funny bunnies!" Yugi and Joey instantly said in a fake cheerful voice.
"You're nice to the funny bunnies," Pegasus observed. "The funny bunnies like you because you're nice to them."
"Pegasus, we came to pick up the millennium eye that I left in your care some time ago." Mai informed, to which Pegasus simply gave her a confused took. "The golden golf ball."
"Oh! Yes, yes! I have that!" Pegasus dug in the pile of pink funny bunny plushies and found a fuzzy pink bag at the bottom. From the bag he took a golden eye shaped millennium item. "Here you go," he handed it to Mai.
"That makes four," Mai gave it to Yugi who placed it in his bag, along with the necklace and the rod since he had the puzzle around his neck. "Well Pegasus, we must be going now!" Before she forgot and Pegasus ran after them demanding an apology, Mai waved. "Bye-bye funny bunnies!"
Mai glanced at Joey and Yugi; they quickly got the message and also waved. "Bye-bye funny bunnies!"
"The funny bunnies say bye-bye," Pegasus once again picked up a bunny, making it wave. "It's too bad you're leaving so soon, it gets to lonely in here."
"We'll come to visit some time," Mai hoped that Pegasus would be satisfied with that and not get the idea that he could tag along with them. Of course she wasn't planning to return.
Luckily Pegasus fell for it and waved more happily now. "I'll be waiting for my new friends. What are your names? I'm Pegasus or Pegsy for short."
"Just yell out your names and run," Mai instructed.
"Joey!" "Yugi!" They ran after Mai.
xoxox xox xoxox
Mai, Joey and Yugi arrived at the hot spring, which wasn't really all that hot. Yugi and Joey waited curiously to see how Mai was going to get them out of there. Hopefully, she wasn't going to ask them to jump all that way up. "To get back up there we just have to stand right here directly below the pipe and say the password," Mai explained. "Blue Eyes White Dragon!" There was a noise like a machine starting up and Mai was shot up into the pipe and landed above.
Yugi and Joey looked at each other then at the hot spring and finally at the pipe above it. They mimicked Mai's action and got the to level above.
xoxox xox xoxox
The way out was rather uneventful, until they were almost out. "How goes your quest so far? Encounter any troubles yet?" The voice sounded familiar. Dartz flew above them near the cave chamber's roof. "You didn't think the quest would be that easy, did you?" Ice began to form in his hands again. For a moment Yugi, Joey and Mai thought he would aim at the bridge, but instead he threw several large peaces of ice at the lava. The ice pieces melted, causing smoke to come up. "Did you hear the rumors about a mad scientist throwing toxics in a volcano to keep it active? If the lava is left as it is, it does nothing more than keep this place burning, but if ice melts on it creating steam, it can be poisonous!"
Dartz laughed evilly, throwing more and more ice blocks at the lava until the entire room was filled with steam. Yugi and Joey coughed but it didn't appear to affect Mai. Finally, Dartz threw some ice daggers at the rope bridge, making it fall into the lava. He flew away leaving an unconscious Joey and Yugi.
Mai glared in the direction Dartz have left. She started to glow in a gold light and golden energy wings appeared on her back, she wasn't called specimen number one for. She picked up the unconscious Joey and Yugi and flew away.
Once out of the volcano, Mai tried to wake them up. "Joey! Yugi! This isn't working, if only I knew what Seto put in that lava I would know what to do about it, but he's too far to go ask, I'll never get there on time."
The ground began to shake and suddenly, an even larger and faster version of Digger came from the ground. Seto came out of it and made a victory pose "Digger Three is successful!" He saw Mai, Yugi and Joey. "Hello specimen number one aka Mai. Showing your wings now, eh?"
Realizing she still had them, Mai made her golden wings disappear. "No time to talk, I need to know what you put in the lava in the volcano and what it does."
"It's just a simple chemical to keep the volcano active, it's not deadly or anything, but it can render a human unconscious if said human breathes in steam from it. Of course, it doesn't create steam in the first place unless you throw ice in it." Seto made a pose.
"Then they'll be alright?" Mai asked.
"Of course they will be. Just let them rest for a while and they'll wake up naturally. I must go collect the rent now." After another pose, Seto started walking towards the volcano.
"The rope bridge is gone, Dartz destroyed it," Mai informed.
"Specimen number two has damaged my property? That is unacceptable! I shall do something about that! But first the rent." Seto stood a few feet away from the entrance to the volcano cave and kicked the volcano. The stoned wall moved away revealing a secret passage. "This way is easier anyway."
"There was another way in and you didn't tell me?" Mai glared.
Seto took a notepad from his lab coat pocket and a pen. "Specimen number one shows signs of anger and or annoyance towards the one conducting this study," he wrote.
"Specimen number one is going to throw you in the nearest lava pit if you don't at least give us a ride to the next town!" Mai added.
"Specimen number one has referred to herself as specimen number one," Seto wrote on his notepad. "Success! I am happy that specimen number one is finally accepting her place in this study."
Mai glared, "just get your stupid rent and hurry."
"Specimen number one shows more signs of anger and or annoyance towards the one conducting this study." Seto then turned to another page in his notepad. "Note to self, make force field resistant to fairies."
"I'll remember that," Mai whispered as Seto finally made his way inside the volcano to collect the rent.
xoxox xox xoxox
Later, Joey and Yugi woke up in a room at an inn. "It's about time you two woke up, it's dinner time already!" Mai pointed to the food at the table, which she had brought to their room. "You guys better eat up, then get some rest and we'll move on tomorrow."
"What happened? How did we escape from Dartz?" Yugi asked.
Mai couldn't tell them who she was, not yet. "Seto got us out of there; he found us when he went to collect the rent and brought us here."
"The mad scientist saved us? That sucks," Joey pouted and went to eat.
Yugi went to eat as well. "Hey Joey do you still have the fliers?"
"Yeah, I have them just in case we need something to burn to build a fire. Why do you ask, Yug?" Joey's mouth was already full.
"I just thought that since Seto helped, us we should put the fliers up for him," Yugi reasoned.
"Yug, you're kidding, right?" Joey almost choked on his food
"Why not?" Yugi smiled.
Joey gave up. "Oh, alright, we'll put up a few fliers for him, but just a few."
xoxox xox xoxox
That night, after putting up the fliers, Joey had a nightmare and woke up in the middle of the night. He glanced at Yugi who was sleeping soundly while hugging the millennium puzzle. Lately, he never took it off.
Joey decided to get a little fresh air to try to get the nightmare out of his head and climbed to the inns roof. He remembered when he and Yugi used to climb to the roof if their house and watch the stars while making up stories about adventures.
"Can't sleep?" Joey looked to the other end of the roof and saw Mai sitting there, so he went to sit with her.
"I had a nightmare," Joey admitted.
"What was it about?" Mai asked.
"I don't remember a lot of it. You were in it and something happened, I'm not sure what. You were in danger. I was really worried that you would get hurt," Joey narrated.
"Dreams can sometimes reflect your own doubts. I'll be fine Joey, don't worry about me." Mai paused and whispered to herself, "deja vu..."
"What?" Joey didn't quite understanding the last word.
"Nothing," Mai smiled. "Let's just stay here for a while then get some rest so we can get an early start tomorrow."
xoxox xox xoxox
The next morning, Mai, Joey and Yugi set off exactly as planned. There was Joey's usual complaining about the walking, hunger, while Yugi appeared to be lost in his own little world. This time Mai had let them to a forest, which was a nice change from the caves. Getting around the forest was simple. It was actually quite calming. "This is the place," Mai announced, but there didn't appear to be anything there.
"Where is it?" Yugi asked.
"We're not going to jump into a secret passage and go to an underground cave are we? The cave scenery is getting old and I thought this forest would be a nice change," Joey voiced.
"No caves this time just an invisible castle," Mai explained.
Joey and Yugi blinked and looked around, before realizing it was no use if the castle was invisible. "Does the mad scientist own this one too?" Joey feared a yes.
"Seto doesn't own the castle, but he did build the invisible shield. The castle is right here." Mai touched what appeared to be thin air. Joey and Yugi reached over as well and felt a solid wall. "To temporarily deactivate the invisible shield a password is needed, White Lightning!" The invisible shield was deactivated and they saw the entrance to the castle, which consisted of a miniature castle big enough for thee or four people. "This is called an elevator, it's a box that automatically goes up and down and yes, it was installed here by Seto to replace the stairs. The actual castle is underground."
"I thought you said we weren't going underground!" Joey complained.
"I said we weren't going to an underground cave, I didn't say anything about an underground castle." Mai stepped into the elevator followed by Joey and Yugi. She pressed a button on the elevator's wall and its doors closed automatically, as it began to move down to the underground castle.
xoxox xox xoxox
The castle was very dark and eerie. "This isn't a vampire's castle is it Mai?" Joey asked. All of Mai's friends were so strange, that he wouldn't be surprised if they did find something like a vampire in a place like that.
"Shadii lives here and he's not a vampire, he's a human." Mai assured, "a sane human. Shadii! Shadii! I'm here with the destined one!"
Someone came from the shadows. "Mai, I see you have made it and sooner than I expected. Who are your traveling companions?"
"Joey," Mai pointed at Joey. "And Yugi, the destined one," she pointed at Yugi. "Guys, this is Shadii, he's been keeping the millennium key and the millennium scale hidden from the enemies."
"So that would make six golden millennium items so far," Yugi calculated.
"Have you encountered trouble on your journeys?" Shadii asked.
"No, not really," Mai replied.
"Unless you count a mad scientist and an insane bunny obsessed guy who lives in a volcano. Not to mention Dartz trying to kill us," Joey reminded.
"No more trouble then was expected." Mai added.
"Dartz must be up to something," Shadii suspected.
"It's pretty obvious," Mai agreed. "He wants us to get all the millennium items out of their hiding places because he couldn't find them by himself. He's probably letting us collect all the items without much trouble so he can steal them later, but I guess there's nothing to worry about until we have all of them."
"How about you rest first and then I will give you the items and some supplies for your quest? I'm sure you must be hungry by now," Shadii offered.
Joey never said no to food, unless it was dog or cat food. They had been walking for a while so the meal was very welcomed.
xoxox xox xoxox
Later Yugi was given the millennium key and scale and Shadii showed them to their rooms. He thought that it was best if they stayed the night while he tried to contact Seto to see if his spying satellite could help figure out what Dartz was planning, or at least where he was.
There was a small machine that Seto had called a cell. Seto had gone into a detailed explanation about how the cell worked and how to use it. The devise worked well most of the time. All Shadii need to do was enter a number by pressing the small buttons, then press another small button to start the communication. The problem now was that Seto wasn't answering and Shadii was starting to wonder if maybe Dartz had taken over his laboratory.
It was late at night when Seto finally answered. "Hello! Seto Kaiba here, the universe's coolest mad scientist!"
"I've been trying to talk to you for hours. I thought Dartz took over your laboratory. Has something happened?" Shadii asked.
"Don't worry Shadii; I've made my force field to be fairy proof too! I can't talk now, my little brothers invited those two other kids over and they might break something if I don't keep an eye on them. One of them insists on petting the raptor I have in the basement even if I told him several times that dinosaurs bite if you're not careful and the other one keeps whining because there are no bugs here. We'll have to talk after they're gone, Bye!" Seto hung up before Shadii could even start explaining the latest news about the quest.
xoxox xox xoxox
The next day Joey, Mai and Yugi were ready to continue their quest to find the last millennium item, the millennium ring, and the other destined one, Ryou. Just before they left, Shadii had finally managed to contact Seto. "Seto, we need information from your satellite about Dartz."
"I'm not home now, I'm in a place called Domino," Seto replied.
"Domino? What are you doing there?" Shadii asked.
"The friends of my little brother, the boys who are obsessed with dinosaurs and bugs, eat too much. They ate all the food so I had to go grocery shopping," Seto sounded annoyed. "I hate going grocery shopping but assistant number one won't go, she's still looking at the internet. All she ever does is go online, play video games, watch TV, sleep and occasionally eat. That's why I need a new assistant! I used to send robots to do the shopping, but the ignorant low tech town people fear them!" Seto didn't realize that they also feared the mad scientist.
"He's in Domino?" Joey asked and Shadii nodded while listening to Seto's endless rambling about things he didn't understand. "But my sister is in Domino!" Joey took the cell from Shadii and hold it near his ear like Shadii had been doing. "Hey mad scientist, you better not test any strange experiments on my sister!" Seto wasn't listening, he continued rambling on and on about how his brother's friends were so annoying. "Mad scientist! My sister!" Joey yelled.
Finally Seto heard him. "Reject project number fifty-five, ah yes, there she is. The mutt's sister aka ex assistant number two aka human component of reject project number fifty-five has been found, I shall proceed with observations. Reject project number fifty-five is with a human male who has pointy hair" He said and wrote. "He is... Achoo!"
Suddenly Joey was interested by Seto's observations. There was a guy near his sister? How dare he? "Achoo? Who is this Achoo guy? I demand to know!"
"Joey, I don't think Achoo is a name, it just sounds a like sneeze," Mai commented.
"I need to know who he is!" Joey insisted. "Mad scientist, what's going on, tell me!"
"Achoo! Cannot continue observations, sniff, allergic to mushiness. Achoo!" Seto hung up.
"Hey mad scientist, what do you mean allergic to mushiness? What's going on? What's that guy doing? Mad scientist, are you there?" Joey shook the cell but no sound came out of it.
"The communication has been lost," Shadii was calm as usual.
"Find it!" Joey handed Shadii the cell as if it was that simple.
"It doesn't work that way," Shadii tried to call again, but Seto wouldn't answer. "If he doesn't answer there is no communication."
"There's no use in waiting around for him to answer," Mai concluded. "Let's move on with our quest." They all headed for the elevator again.
"Be careful, Dartz might strike soon," Shadii warned as the elevator closed and went up to the surface of the forest.
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"What's our next stop?" Joey asked as they walked through the forest.
"I'm sorry to say it's another cave," Mai revealed. There was a collective sigh from Joey and Yugi. Couldn't they find a better place to hive the millennium items than caves? Luckily the cave wasn't too far, it wasn't inside a mountain and it wasn't a volcano. In fact, from the outside the cave looked pretty small compared to the other caves they have visited. "Don't look so relieved yet guys, this cave is a lot bigger then all the others, it goes deep below the ground, but don't worry, we've come this far so it shouldn't be hard to find the last millennium item and the other destined one."
At least it was almost over, or so they thought. It was a little strange that they haven't encountered any more trouble so far, but it was good as long as things continued that way. The first few minutes of walking around the dark cave with nothing but candles to light the way went alright.
They were starting to think that this would be easy, the ground began to shake. "Is that mad scientist going to pop out of the ground with another version of Digger again?" Joey hoped not.
"I don't know," Mai thought Seto had no reason to be there and the earthquake felt different from when it was Digger. The ground shook more, as rocks started to fall from the cave's ceiling, until the ground they stood on was no longer solid and they fell.
Their screams echoed in the darkness as they fell into the underground river below. The river carried them away, it was impossible to swim in such strong water, they tried to stay together, they tried not to let go at each other's hands, but in the end they were all separated.
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As the river slowed down, Mai was able to get out of it. "Joey! Yugi! Where are you?" No one answered. "I'm such an idiot, why didn't I fly and catch them? Keeping a secret is not worth endangering their lives. Why is it that it's so hard to think fast enough in situations like this? I should have been ready!" Mai looked around trying to see in the darkness, but it was impossible. "I can't just sit here; I need to go find them."
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Yugi had managed to get out of the river and realized he dropped his bag with the millennium items. At least he still had his millennium puzzle, but he needed to find the other five millennium items again, who knows where they landed, but first he had to find Joey and Mai.
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Joey hasn't been as lucky as Yugi and Mai. A rock hit his head and the river carried him off deep into the cave until it reached an area where the water fell to the level below through a metallic net, thanks to that, Joey didn't drown, but he was still unconscious.
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Mai had only walked a short distance when someone else found her, "hello Mai."
"Valen! What do you want?" Mai glared.
"You know I'm on your side," Valen assured
"I don't believe it, it's pretty obvious you're with Dartz, but maybe you would like to tell me why he hasn't been making a real effort to stop us?" Mai asked.
"Because he already won Mai," Valen came closer. "Doesn't this all look too unreal to be true? Isn't it strange how you go from one place to another and the items are right where you hid them. Haven't you forgotten a few details?"
"What are you talking about?" Mai backed away without even realizing it.
"Mai, this is all an illusion, your real quest wouldn't be this easy, he already won Mai. The humans will be exterminated but we will survive," Valen stepped closer again.
"The humans and we are the same. Our people have changed so that they could not longer use magic," Mai argued.
"Are you going to take that? Even if is nature and destiny itself trying to exterminate us, we're not going to let it happen. Come back with me Mai, wake up from this dream. All you have to do is call my name and I will answer you." Blue wings appeared on Valen's back he flew a few feet above the ground, extending his hand to her.
Mai shook her head. "No!"
"You feel it don't you; you feel that you're trapped in a virtual world while the real millennium items are out there. Capturing the mad scientist was a good idea. You don't need to come now if you don't want to. You don't need to believe it right away, but the truth will become obvious sooner or later. Until then, good bye Mai," Valen disappeared.
Mai knew this was all too easy, but fake? Had Dartz truly already won? No, Valen was just playing with her mind, she had to find Joey and Yugi, yet she couldn't help but to feel as if Valen was telling the truth.
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In his search for Mai and Joey, Yugi had found a white haired boy that apparently lived there. His name was Ryou and he appeared to know everything about the golden millennium items and about what was going on.
"Fake? No, that can't be," Yugi wouldn't belie it. The boy had just told him this entire world was an illusion.
"Yugi, how else would I know these things? You did go on a quest with Joey and Mai and you had many difficulties along the way, but then you were captured," Ryou tried to explain again. "The millennium items were hidden in several places. One was in a temple surrounded by mountains, two were on a tower on top of a mountain, two more in an underground castle in another continent and another one was in a volcano on a an island, but I guess Dartz decided he wanted all those places closer to each other for his own amusement. Finally, the millennium ring was in my village, an normal place no one would look in. In the end we were captured when we were heading to the desert, a place called Egypt, where the millennium items were created by the Dark Magician. The magician made the items in case the humans needed to defend themselves, they're not here to save us, they're here to exterminate the fairies, because humans are selfish and want this world for themselves. Mai, a fairy, wanted so badly to fit in with the humans, especially Joey, that she decided to use the millennium items to make herself human, even if it meant losing her magic. That's what we where questing for, to save the faeries and grant our friend Mai her wish, but Dartz believed we were out to destroy them."
"All this time..." Ryou watched Yugi's look of disbelief.
The white haired boy heard the spirit of the millennium ring telling him to just forget it, because the tricolor haired boy wouldn't understand, but Ryou didn't want to give up. "They captured Seto's little brothers to make him build this world to keep us in. You don't remember because our memories were modified when we were taken to this world. This is was they call virtual, it's an illusion. There was a glitch and that's why it didn't work on me and Bakura, but they're watching all the time, they've already won and they won't believe we were never trying to hurt them. There are no destined or guardians, just seven millennium items of destruction."
Yugi didn't believe it, or maybe he didn't want to believe it. After all that had happened, they were truly prisoners of Dartz all along? How could that be? How could all of this be in vain? True that most of their quest was easy except for some parts, but still. They went on a real quest? If they had a quest that was real, then why didn't he remember it? Could a machine truly manipulate his memories like that and even the memories of the spirit of the millennium puzzle? "It just can't be..."
"Deep down you know it's true," Ryou voiced.
Yugi didn't want to think about it, the more he thought about it, the more sense it made. It was as if the realization was bringing back the memories of their real quest that were suppressed by the virtual world they were in. "How are we going to get out of here?"
"I don't know," Ryou admitted.
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Mai remembered the legend she told them at the beginning of their quest. The destined ones would survive but their guardian wouldn't. If the legend was a lie, then Joey wouldn't need to die to save the Earth. Then again, if what Valen said was true, then they were in big trouble anyway.
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In Seto's real laboratory outside of the virtual world, "I build your machine and kept them there on a fake quest, now return my little brothers!" Even outside of the virtual world, Seto was still the same mad scientist.
"Not yet," Dartz replied. "I'm only beginning to have my fun. Maybe I'll restart the quest and make it harder this time."
Seto glared, "You very evil specimen number two! You must let them go right now before I rearrange your DNA structure and turn you into a frog or something!"
"Quiet!" Dartz yelled. "Do not forget, mad scientist, I hold your little brothers prisoner and if you want to see them alive again, you better cooperate with what I say."
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In a place called Egypt a strange machine on a table inside a temple started beeping. "You have reached the temple were Dark Magician sleeps eternally, or until someone wakes him up. Since he's too lazy to record his own answering machine massage I, the one who build this answering machine, the greatest mad scientist in the universe, the only and only Seto Kaiba, have honored Dark Magician by recording a message for him."
Upstairs in Seto's laboratory in the real world a girl looked annoyed. The mad scientist talked too much. It would be a miracle if she could record anything at this rate. All she wanted to do was to return to her precious futuristic internet, but those people down stairs were making so much noise and the virtual world machine was draining too much power. She had to do something about it, but saving the mad scientist and his friends was not in assistant number one's contract.
All she was responsible for doing was playing with the internet, that is, conducting a very advised futuristic scientific study on the internet about future of human kind. She decided to call Dark Magician by using the device Seto gave him and see if he could do something about the situation. After all, he did create the millennium items.
However, Dark Magician had later realized the millennium items could do and decided to hide them. It wasn't until years later that the fairy who wanted to fit in with the humans finally decided to find them, because of that, Dartz took the opportunity to take them. The millennium items could not be activated easily even when all seven were together. Either way, Dark Magician should do what he should have done from the very beginning, instead of hiding the golden millennium items, they had to be destroyed.
"And that is how the answering machine works," Seto's recording finally finished his rant. "Leave a message after the beep!" A beeping sound was heard.
"Finally!" Assistant number one took a deep breath. "Dark Magician, this is-" Another beep interrupted, indicating that the time of the recording was over. Seto talked too much and there was hardly any time for the actual message. The girl tried again, this time remembering to keep the message short and after listening to Seto's rant, she quickly spoke. "Come to Seto's lab asap!" A beep indicated that time was up, but this time she got the message in. Now it was time to go back to the internet. Good thing those evil villain fairies didn't checked all the rooms in the lab.
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In the virtual world, Mai walked around searching for her friends. Ever since Valen spoke to her, her real memories and false memories were fighting for her mind and she wasn't sure what to believe anymore. One thing had become clear and it was that this world was truly fake. How they would get of there, she didn't know, but she knew they had to do it fast. Who knows what might be happening in the real world?
This world started getting to Mai as if it was suffocating her, part of her memories were starting to return. It could have been a glitch in the machine. She knew Seto's experiments were often glitched, but she wondered if whatever this glitch was would help them or kill them.
Mai actually considered the possibility of calling out for Valen to get her out. Then at least she would be outside of the virtual world and in the real world. Then maybe she could do something from there, at least she wouldn't be trapped. No, she couldn't do that. She needed to get out of this on her own and get everyone else out of it as well.
Mai felt guilty for what happened since it was her idea to start the quest for the sake of being accepted into Joey's village, even if he said he would leave to be with her if he had to. But Serenity, Yugi and Ryou were there and Mai didn't want to change Joey's life, making him leave the village were they grew up. She just wanted to fit it.
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In Egypt of the real world, inside a golden box there slept Dark Magician. There was a cable that connected the box to the answering machine. Dark Magician woke up, wondering what incantation had awakened him. He noticed the cable and the machine. He couldn't believe the mad scientist was actually able to tap into the spell that kept him asleep with his technology.
If he was awakened then it had to be important. Dark Magician pressed the flashing light button to hear the messages on his answering machine. "You have two messages! But before you can hear them, it's time for the random fact of the day!" After listening to Seto's ranting about random useless information, there came yet another rant that the mad scientist dared to call answering machine message. Finally, Dark Magician heard what appeared to be the beginning of a message, but it was cut off before any important information could be explained.
Once again Seto's endless ranting came and finally, Dark Magician managed to catch the actual message. He shook his head. "Create items of destruction and you wouldn't be able to sleep for a hundred years before someone complains about it." He somehow knew this was related to the millennium items. What else could it be? That was the only reason anyone ever called him.
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With his magical powers, Dark Magician quickly teleported to Seto's laboratory in the real world and with a wave of his magical staff the seven millennium items appeared before him and were turned into golden sand. "The millennium items are destroyed, I will return to my slumber now."
"Wait!" He has my little brothers hostage!" Seto pointed at Dartz, who was totally confused by Dark Magician sudden arrival.
"Very well," Dark Magician teleported Noa and Mokuba there, before disappearing back to continue his nap.
"Well that was random. Now that my little bothers are safe I can capture you without danger!" Seto pointed at Dartz.
Thus the mad scientist saved everyone with his amazing technology and they all were rescued from the virtual world. With the millennium items destroyed, they all lived happily ever after. It was the end and so the credits rolled.
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In the present time at the Game Shop, the real Joey Wheeler blinked. "This is one strange video game, Kaiba."
"Be thankful I let you test it mutt," the real Seto Kaiba replied. The game allowed the players to name the characters and they had been named after people Joey knew. At least the video game appeared to work well, except for the ending, which was a little too fast paced and not spectacular but Seto was tired and overworked so he had to end it.
Joey then glanced at his watch, "my date, I'll be late! Wait for me, Mai!" Joey ran off.
Yugi looked amused, "I liked the game, it was fun; we should play videogames together more often."
This gave Seto an idea, if he couldn't find a way to defeat the king of games, he would make one. He would make another game, a game Yugi couldn't win. "Yes, we should."
Disclaimer, I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh!