Tag Archives: Bakura

Sands of Time chapter 6

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Author’s note: Ever been to a roller coaster? You know that first abrupt drop? That would be the time lapse from last chapter to here… I do have more of the kid!Ryou snippets coming up though. Seems like that’s my go-to trope when I get stuck. Go figure… Anyway, Duellist Kingdom episode here. Funnily enough, this was actually one of the first episodes I watched a thousand years ago when I was a kid…

***I’d give it all to you/ Letting go of me/ Reaching as I fall***

The Thief was restless, pacing up and down his soulroom, while his hikari searched the island for the Pharaoh’s vessel. Ryou had been nervous about hurting his friend and the only way Akefia – or Yami Bakura – as he had been called lately, had secured his cooperation was by promising that no mortal would end up trapped in the Shadow Realm. There was something wrong in Duelist Kingdom. The Ring reacted to not only the Puzzle’s presence but also to something else. It made the Thief uneasy that he could not identify what it was. He paused his contemplations when his Landlord sent a warning his direction. Moving to the corridor between the soulrooms he met with Ryou and with a quiet nod of acknowledgement he took control.

 

As his shadow game with the Pharaoh continued, Akefia’s uneasiness – well hidden under his arrogance – grew tenfold. The shadows were hungrier than in his previous games. It took almost all his concentration to keep them at bay. He drew and had to hold back a sigh of relief when the angel of Change of Heart looked up to him from the card. He had placed Ryou’s soul there to keep it safe. In the unlikely case that he lost the duel his spell would be released and Ryou would return to his body. With a smirk he played the card.

 

It took Ryou a few moments to realize what was going on. His eyes scanned the field, noting his friends dressed as their favorite cards, the Pharaoh dueling in Yugi’s place and finally his Yami facing him. He was about to ask the Spirit what was he supposed to do when the shadows behind him rose and a pair of red eyes appeared. He heard behind him his friends gasp and huddle close to each other but he remained frozen in fear as his Yami jumped to his feet and faced the shadow.

“You have forgotten your place Thief King,” the shadow drawled. “You’re loyalties lie to me, not some mortal boy.” Akefia’s eyes narrowed in anger.

“My loyalties lie to whoever I choose to Zorc,” he said defiantly, moving to shield Ryou at the same time, ignoring the Pharaoh and his merry band of friends for now. He would deal with them later. “You have no say in that.” The red eyes narrowed and the shadows drew back a bit. Akefia braced himself for the hit he knew was about to come, gripping the Millennium Ring tightly.

 

The shadows charged towards him and he prepared to counter-attack when a flash of golden light tore them apart. Zorc shrieked in anger and disbelief as his victims returned to the real world. Akefia allowed Ryou to resume control of his body, the souls of the Pharaoh’s friends returning to their bodies automatically when a thud drew his attention.

 

The body of an unconscious woman dressed in a bloodied dress and a long red cloak was lying in front of Ryou’s feet. Separating from his Landlord he knelt next to the woman, gently turning her so that her face was visible. His eyes widened when he recognized her. In a reverent whisper he called her name.

“Elena…”

Sands of Time chapter 5

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Author’s note: And we finally reach the 20th century and the other character who, in my humble opinion, did not get nearly enough screen-time. About Ryou’s age in this one…I’ve watched Season 0 and in that flashback scene Ryou seemed to be about five or six when he wished for friends, so I figured he must have got the ring around then… And maybe I wanted an excuse to write the Thief King with a little kid… At this point it’d be pretty pointless to put an OOC disclaimer. I’ve read a theory that explained Yami Bakura’s mercurial moods (especially in the Millennium World manga, yes I’ve read the mangas!) as the result of him being the result of a fragment of Zorc merging with the soul of the Thief King, one side being more prominent at times than the other. In this case, no random Zorc fragments littering the Ring, which would probably make for a much different first meeting between the two.

Preaching over and done with, on with the show!

***I share my world with no one else/ All by myself I stand alone***

The Thief did not even bother moving from his bed when he felt the Ring. It had moved through various hosts over the centuries and he had noticed that none of them had lasted long before going insane. Instinctively he knew what this had meant: that the poor soul was not the Ring’s destined carrier.

 

Even from within the apathy that had taken over his mind and heart he could feel his host’s excitement and admiration for the shiny gift. A young one, Akefia mused, feeling a tinge of regret for the boy’s inevitable fate. His eyes drifted again to the only source of light in his soulroom; a mural of her enveloped in his arms as she had been the day they declared their love for each other. He was half-asleep when a wave of fear and alarm hit him.

 

Without thinking, Akefia jumped to his feet and raced to the door. He closed his eyes when he crossed the threshold and when he opened them again he found himself in control of the body of a young boy. A barrage of memories pelted his mind, shocking him with their intensity. At his feet lay the body of a little white-haired girl whom he instinctively recognized as his host’s sister. Her blood had painted the ground red and the Thief knew that she was dead. Looking around, he noticed another body nearby.

Mother, he recognized her. No, not his mother, the boy’s mother. The line was blurred at the moment. A man approached him and Akefia tore himself from the sight and followed him. No child should have to see what he had just seen.

 

Ryou woke up in a strange room after he cried himself to sleep that night. His father had stayed at the hospital and so the little boy had been alone for the first time in his life. Looking around curiously he took stock of the soft light, the various games scattered on the white carpet and finally his family’s photo at his bedside. Feeling the tears coming back the little boy blinked and stood from the bed. His new Ring’s weight felt comfortable around his neck. For the first time he noticed the door on the far wall.

 

Curiously Ryou opened it and found himself on a shadowy corridor. At the exact opposite wall there was another door, this one made out of rough wood and the eye from his Ring engraved on it. Ryou felt something pulling him towards the ominous door and hesitantly pushed it open. The room he entered was made out of stone and almost bare of things. At the opposite wall there was the engraving of a fierce-looking monster that made Ryou gulp nervously. Looking to his right he saw the picture of a man and a woman hugging, surrounded by neat columns of hieroglyphics. Finally, on the wall opposite of the picture, there was a bed and on it a sleeping man.

 

As if he sensed another presence nearby, the man’s eyes snapped open and landed directly on the boy. Ryou took a step back, scared by the glare he received and rushed to the door. He tried to pry the heavy door open but he wasn’t strong enough. A sigh came from the bed’s direction and its occupant stood up and walked over to the boy. He rested a hand on the wood, over his host’s head.

“And what do you think you’re doing?” he asked the boy. Ryou looked up to him, tears ready to fall from his eyes.

“I…I…I’m sorry!” he stuttered nervously, looking up at the man. “I didn’t mean to bother you sir.”

 

Akefia was taken aback at the boy’s response. In all his years no one had ever addressed him with any type of courtesy. He just might like this host of his. Kneeling so that he would be at the boys eye-level he made an effort to smile.

“You did not bother me Landlord,” he said calmly. The boy was traumatized as it was. “I have been meaning to meet you soon.” As he said the words, he realized that they were true. For the first time in millennia he could feel the Ring accept its bearer as it had welcomed him when he gathered it from that Priest’s corpse. Ryou looked at him confused.

“Why am I your Landlord?” he asked, gathering courage now that he knew he wasn’t in trouble.

“You are the owner of the Millennium Ring,” the Thief King explained patiently. “I live inside it, so that makes me your tenant and you my Landlord.” The boy nodded in understanding. Then looked up in confusion again.

“But why me?” he asked innocently. Akefia bit back another sight and settled down for a long conversation.

“Let me tell you a story little Landlord…”

 

Sands of time chapter 4

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Author’s note: I don’t know, Viva la Vida always seemed such an appropriate song for Yami B’s storyline…

***Just a puppet on a lonely string, oh who would ever want to be king?***

He lay at the outskirts of the desert, struggling to breathe; his battle with the Pharaoh and the summoning of the Dark One had left him spent. In retrospect he should have understood this was a mistake. His Phoenix had always protected him, he should have heeded her warnings and tears. She had told him that Zorc was treacherous, that he did not care for justice but he had been drunk with power, so much power cursing through his Diabound. Now there was nothing in him to remind the people of the once fearsome Thief King. He was only twenty-five yet he felt his life slipping out of his body.

It was only a matter of time before the shock of the outcome of the battle left everyone and he was found. They would execute him, he knew as much. Closing his eyes Akefia wondered if there would be a chance to see his people before Ammit devoured his heart. Maybe if the gods were merciful he would die before they found him. Warmth enveloped him and he felt like he was soaring at the skies. If that was what dying felt like, he didn’t get what there was to worry about. With a light smile he allowed himself to fall asleep.

When he woke up again he knew instantly that he was most definitely alive. His body still felt like lead from the exhaustion and the heavenly warmth had receded. Forcing his eyes open Akefia took stock of his surroundings. He was back home in Kul Elna. The spirits’ presence was hardly there, exhausted as they were from Zorc draining their hatred. Something moved in the corner of his eyes and he struggled to turn his head to see who was there. A flash of golden eyes greeted him and his mouth tasted bitter with regret. They had parted fighting, why did she save him?
“Because I love you,” she answered the unspoken question. Elena sat next to him and traced a hand over his scar. “That will never change.” He wanted to answer, apologize, tell her that he loved her too with all his soul. He didn’t get the chance.

Elena had hoped that the Pharaoh’s men would fear the spirits of Kul Elna and avoid coming to the village. The shouts that suddenly tore through the streets proved her wrong. The blue-eyed priest charged inside the house they had been living, flanked by two soldiers. Akefia tried to stand, summon Diabound, anything to protect Elena. He had no strength left. It all happened in an instant.

One of the soldiers saw him move and, fearing that he was about to fight, threw a knife. The weapon arched through the air and started falling, a graceful arc that would end in his heart. Elena threw herself at him, taking the knife for him. Her blood sprayed everyone around, painting her white dress red. She smiled at her love one last time before darkness claimed her. Akefia held her frozen, feeling her heart stop. Her dead face was the last thing he saw before his soul was torn from his body and imprisoned within the Millennium Ring.

In which I reminisce past loves

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I’ve been in a bit of a fandom kick lately but my holidays are almost done so I thought I’d do one last fan-post before I become distracted by the new academic year. I’ve been mentioning Yu-Gi-Oh! on and off lately (and re-watching it for the matter) so I figured it was about time I did a post on it. What’s my history with the show that teaches kids that any problem can be solved with a card game? To start, I was in a strange age when I first watched it (miraculously catching it from the first episode). I was just hitting puberty and although I was never really a tomboy it appealed to me more than Winx Club (which was the only other cartoon airing at the same time). Looking back I can’t explain what it was that captured my attention. I was watching a re-dubbed version of the 4Kids dub, so it wasn’t like the dialog was riveting or anything. Even then I thought some of the lines over-dramatic and perhaps it was exactly that that I liked. At least the show sounded like it was taking its story and audience seriously. How many kids’ shows today do that? There were stakes -bizarre stakes no doubt, but still- and even us kids understood that the words “Shadow Realm” carried a certain weight to them.

I’m not ashamed to say that this was the show that gave me my first character-crush. Yes, folks! While other eleven and twelve-year-old girls were sighing over Orlando Bloom I was crossing my fingers and hoped that my favourite, standoff-ish character would be in this weekend’s episodes. No, I’m not gonna say any names. I will only say that he wasn’t the main character. Whether it was my flair for the dramatic or my newly-emerging, loving-all-things-fantasy side that spurred me on, I was devastated when they stoppe0d airing the show one season short. Life moved on however and for a few years Yu-Gi-Oh! remained in the back of my mind as the show I used to love back in grades 6 and 7.

In the meantime the internet took off big time and with it Youtube and all those other wonderful places where you can watch your childhood’s obsessions armed with Nostalgia Goggles and lots of Ben&Jerries. I was looking for somewhere to watch Naruto when I stumbled across a website that had the entire 4Kids’d version of Yu-Gi-Oh!, including the elusive season 5. I watched the entire thing in two weeks (I had school) and from there moved to the manga (which was delightfully violent if not poorly scanned at times). To my disappointment I couldn’t find the subbed version of the anime anywhere (I’m still looking in fact) but I made do with what I had. And what I did have was good headphones and an ever-increasing familiarity with fanfiction.net and its curious ways. It didn’t matter that there were only two hundred and something episodes to watch and that I had already screenshot all my favourite scenes in the manga because the available fanfics -even narrowed down to not including the more…disturbing ones- numbered the thousands. -fangirl glee-

I watched and read and shipped and searched for interesting AUs and had a new favourite every other week. Not character, mind you, but ship, which is kind of strange for me. I’m usually pretty solid on who I ship with whom. Of course my OTP was, is and will be Azureshipping but I don’t really rage against other pairings. Except for the really weird ones and Peachshipping. It reminds me FAR TOO MUCH of Kataang…. (Mum, if you are readig this ask me before you google them!)

But surely, you say, something had to change with the passing of years. I wasn’t the plucky twelve-year-old anymore, surely my understanding of the show had change. In a way it had. I was more interested in the subtleties of character development than in the question of which monster would blow which up. And that was in part what led to a slight rearrangement of my list of favourite characters. Sure, Seto Kaiba was still in the top five (shoot! I gave myself away here!) but the number one spot was claimed by somebody else: Yami Bakura. Big shock, I know. And before anyone makes any assumptions, no, it wasn’t his ability to make the freaking Joker look tame by comparison. It was something really small that many people probably missed. In episode 84, Dark Spirit Revealed (part 3), Yami B. is faced with the choice of letting his  host take a hit and possibly win the duel in progress or protect Ryou and watch his plan crumble…again. So far the character has been presented as a Bad-To-The-Bone so this should really be a no-brainer. But it isn’t. While the conundrum is being presented, the animation does a short close up to his eyes. For those who have not spent as much time as I have browsing trope pages and/or analysing books/movies/plays/whatever, a short explanation is in order. To my experience, this short of close-up is usually reserved for when a character is going through an internal clash of morals or other similar conflict. It is a very important clue to character motivations, especially when it is a character whose inner thought process is hardly explored.  It is doubly important when one considers that this short clip was kept despite 4Kids’ habit of removing clips left, right and center…

Where am I going with this treatise? It excited my curiosity at the time. Then I watched Season 5 and a lot of Yami Bakura’s actions made a looooooot more sense. And before anyone goes off at me about the whole “I am Zorc” line, I would like to point out that at the original timeline (not the Memory World arc) Thief King Bakura and Zorc were both sealed inside the Millennium Ring. After three thousand years living in close quarters with the Master of All Evil (in-universe) it would be no surprise that they would feed off each other. And there was certainly enough of the Thief King left to rage against the Pharaoh’s court in episode 202…I believe. Fangirl soapbox moment over. What I’m trying to say is that there was a serious story being told under all the cheesy one-liners. Perhaps it wasn’t delivered quite the way I wanted (Bakura being the only main villain in the show not get a chance for redemption even though he was the one most deserving in my opinion…) but they managed to deliver a high-stakes game in a way that showed they understood what they were writing. There was no easy solution and the tension was rising with every episode until the rather deus ex machina resolution. And even that didn’t bother me. Zorc was a villain that required this sort of ending.

So here is why I still like Yu-Gi-Oh! even after all these years. Nostalgia aside, 90s cheese aside, there was a good story being told. There were likable and sometimes even relate-able character (and how often can you say that in a manga where people have magical artifacts at their disposal?). And, all things considered, it was a rather gentle introduction to the mad, wonderful world that we call anime. Am I glad to have watched it. Definitely.