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.