Color of Life
Chapter Four
by Eternal SailorM

Disclaimers and such: See Chapter One.

A loud and annoying ring drags me out of a rather nice sleep.  I think I'm going to have to kill someone, preferably in horribly painful ways.  Evisceration might not be a bad plan.  Yep, that sounds like the way to do it.  I fumble around till I have my cell in my hand, cursing briefly but rather thoroughly before switching it over to the uninjured hand.  I stare at the number a second or three, long enough to note I don't recognize the number, click it on, and snarl, "I hope you have a damn good health plan because I'm -"

"Bakura?"  Huh?  What?  It takes me a few moments, and I still haven't placed the voice.  "It's Yami.  Aibou and I are outside.  Let us in?"

I glance around, blearily looking for a clock.  "What time is it?"  I can't have been asleep that long, can I?

"Ten after one.  The door, Bakura.  We can't walk through it."

It's tempting to cut the phone completely off and go back to sleep, but somehow I get the feeling His Highness is twice as persistent as any spirit and a dozen or so times harder to get rid of.  I start to roll out of bed, literally, and stop when I encounter a body.  It almost blends in with the white pillow, but that's definitely Ryou's hair sticking out from under the blankets.  And now that I'm thinking semi-coherently, this isn't my room; it's way too clean and uncluttered.  Guess I didn't make it all the way back to my own this morning.  Not that this hasn't happened before; I think I've crashed in Ryou's room and he's slept in mine almost as much as we've slept in our own.  It's not Sunday, though.  Why isn't he in class?

A pale hand slips out from under the covers and bats at me.  "Lemme sleep, niisan," he complains sleepily.  "They cancelled school today."

I pat the lump beneath the blanket that is his head.  "Sleep then.  I'll deal with the freaks."

I roll out of bed the other direction and am to the door before he gets another word out.  "Don't kill them, niisan.  I don't want to have to get blood out of the carpet."

Can I even kill anyone anyway?  With my luck, I'd kill someone's body and their spirit would rip me a new one.  Ugh, that's a mental image I didn't want this early in the morning - afternoon, whatever.  I stumble towards the door, barely registering my reflection in the hall mirror.  My hair looks almost like... it's growing antennae.  Big, fat, white antennae.  And ugh, I'm still wearing the same clothes as yesterday, so I must have slept in them.  Gross, but I guess that's what they get for waking me up.  Still, I want a shower now.

I'd say they knock on the door before I can detour into the bathroom, but it's less a knocking and more a pounding.  Guess His Highness is impatient, but I already knew that really.  I'm not even going to ask how he's going to run Kame Games.  He'll be more of a terror than Treeboy.  He'll... be my boss... And I'll be answering to him instead of the Old Man!  Great.  Someone, shoot me now, please.

At least I can see I remembered to lock the door when I managed to drag my sorry ass home last night.  Good thing too, because otherwise the freaks would probably already be in the apartment and making themselves at home.  I shudder to think of it, really.  I finally manage to get all the locks off  and open the door.  I'll be damned.  The Bossling owns semi-normal clothes after all, though I would be willing to bet he had to be poured into those jeans.  Mini-Me doesn't change much, I've noticed; I think he's worn that same damn school uniform every time I've seen him.  Doesn't he own any other clothes?  Does the princeling spend their entire clothing budget or something?

I step aside and let them in without a word.  I swear Mini-Me bounces into the place like a kangaroo on speed.  It's all I can do to watch him.  I mean, it's exhausting to do just that much.  Where the hell does he get that kind of energy?

"It took you long enough to answer the door."  I will not smack the Bossling.  My hand would probably end up getting impaled on one of those spikes or something, and frankly, I don't fancy another injury, even if it would be entirely his fault.

"I was asleep.  Deal with it."  I shove the door closed behind him and throw all the locks home again.  I glance into the living room, where Mini-Me is looking through the framed pictures Ryou's built up of us over the past two years.  "Did you give him sugar for breakfast or something?"

The Bossling smirks, staring at his brother.  "Aibou loves sugary breakfast cereal, has for years really.  He'll bounce it off sooner or later."  And apparently, the Bossling gets babbly where it concerns Mini-Me.  Funny; the opposite applies to me where the brat's concerned.  But we've spent much of our lives hiding what we can about ourselves.  It's understand, right, that we'd be a bit tight-lipped?  Too many people know too much about us as is.  That can't be good.  Sooner or later, it might get back to sources we'd prefer it didn't.  Again, I shudder to think of it.

"Well, I hope it's sooner rather than later," I mutter in response, stalking past him on a direct course for the coffee pot in the kitchen.  A caffeine IV would be better, but maybe after half a pot or so, I'll be ready to deal with the Bossling.

I'm being trailed.  I'm pretty sure it's just the Bossling, but they've already proven they're freaky enough to time their footsteps.  A quick glance over my shoulder proves it is His Highness following me and Mini-Me's still checking stuff out.  Are we really that interesting?  Doesn't he get out much?  See, this is why I don't much care for Mini-Me; I always end up with more questions than answers.

"You look like hell, Bakura."  Once again, I could hit him.  Or maybe this passes for concern his little 'holier-than-thou' world.  Still, he needs to brush up on his methods of conveying this, if that is indeed what it is.  Wow, did that make sense?  Need caffeine.  Ah, coffeepot.  Good thing I can handle this part on autopilot.  "Did you get any sleep?"

"A bit, I think."  Mouth, kindly stop and consult with brain before going off.  Okay, thanks.  "So what's the plan for today?  Unless we're intending on hanging out in my apartment all day."

"It's a thought."  The hell?  I guess my confusion must show on my face because he elaborates, "I mean it.  You really don't look like you're feeling great."

I roll my eyes at the coffeepot then turn to face him, leaning the small of my back against the counter.  "How I feel doesn't really matter.  If I don't get this worked out soon, Makiko'll be back to drive me nuts.  She'll probably bring friends along next time too, for that matter.  So, since I value what remains of my mind, I'd like to get this over as soon as possible."

He picks up like he's been agreeing with me the entire time.  Freak.  "Then we should start by going over what we do know about the Master role.  Some of the covens might be helpful there."  Okay, he's a useful freak, but a freak all the same.

I nod.  "I know some people we can talk to then."  It'd be better if Mahaado was in town (I swear, the man's a walking, talking encyclopedia), but we might be able to get some info out of Mana or Jounouchi's girls.  I mean, his mom know some stuff and Shizuka-pixie's no slouch, but I'd still prefer to go through the database that passes for Mahaado's mind.  It's so much fun to pick his brain.  "Or did you have someone specific in mind?"

He considers it a moment then shakes his head.  "Then only person I know is Isis, and she's in Osaka right now."  Which probably shouldn't amuse me as much as it does, except that's where Mahaado is also.  To hear him explain it, some kind of routine possession case.  Really, he tries so hard to make his job sound boring.

Ah, coffee's finally ready.  Whoever invented this stuff should be canonized, deified, something.  Right up there with the guy who invented chocolate, French fries, and sake.  What can I say?  I'm a creature comforts kind of guy.  The brat's worse, though, honest.

A cup or so later, and I'm feeling a little closer to ready to deal with His Highness and all the other problems headed my way.  "So, Mister Man-with-a-Plan, when do want to get started?"

"When does the sun set?"

"Roughly six-thirty, give or take fifteen minutes."

"Then as soon as possible.  We wouldn't want to keep Kaiba-sama waiting."  Wow, he can do dripping sarcasm that I'd be proud to do.

I nod, setting my cup down in the sink (No, the brat's domesticating me!), and state, "Just give me long enough to get a shower and change clothes then.  I'll be back in ten.  Don't.  Touch.  Anything."

Yeah, right.  Like that'll happen.  The freaks are twice as curious as any cat.  Just watch.  I'll come back out and they'll be going through the... souvenirs I've held onto from various jobs.

So, of course, coming back out to find Mini-Me and His Highness sitting on the couch is something of a shock.  Well, His Highness is sitting; Mini-Me's leaning over the back, watching the brat puttering around the kitchen.  "Are you sure you don't want anything, Mutou-san?" he calls to him.  How the hell did he turn out so polite?  It's strange.

"We ate before we came over, Ryou-kun!" the Bossling returns.

"How about you, niisan?"

I can't help snickering to myself.  His Highness is going to get whiplash turning his head that fast.  Guess he didn't hear me coming.  Damn, I'm good.  I rub the towel over my hair, trying to get it to dry a little faster.  "Nah, I'll grab something while we're out."  I move past the couch and lean on the doorframe leading into the kitchen.  "I want you to stay in the building today, brat.  If you get bored, go hang out with Mana, but don't leave the building."  I let my voice drop a bit, till only the brat should be able to hear it.  "At least till we find out what's going on  with the new Master."

He stops bustling around to stare at me.  "Why he's been slacking off on the job, you mean?"  I nod.  "You think this is going to be his way of running this city?"  This time, I offer a shrug, resisting the urge to shudder as well; I can feel eyes boring into the back of my neck, and it's taking everything I have not to start trying to rub the creepy-crawlies off my skin.  The brat's grinning.  This'll be interesting.  "Well, if it is, I'll just whip him into shape like I did Kaiba-kun that time!"  He turns and... flounces back into the kitchen.

Crap.  Did he get into the sugar also?

Behind me, I hear a soft thudding sound and a muffled "oww".  The hell?  I turn, just as the Bossling starts to snicker.  Mini-Me's picking himself up off the floor, rubbing his nose.  Unless I miss my guess, and I don't believe I do, he fell over the back of the couch.  He turns a glare on His Highness that might even be funnier than Ryou's 'rabid bunny' glare, and I lose all ability to hold back laughter.  Of course, he starts pouting.  "It's not funny," he mutters.  Which just makes it more so.  I don't think I've laughed this hard ever.

"What's so funny, niisan?"  The brat's standing in the doorway shoulder to shoulder to me.

"Mini-Me's embarrassing himself.  Nothing bad," I reply, mustering my most innocent look (something Ryou says reminds him of a cat caught with canary feathers in its mouth) and slowing my laughter to mere chuckles.

"Bakura-kun!"  Oh, that was definitely a whine.  I have to resist snickering more.

"Oh, okay.  Yuugi-san, you need to be more careful," he scolds before returning to the kitchen once more.  Well, that's certainly low-key for him.  Then again, he hasn't been up that long either.  Neither of us are good at this waking up thing.

"Are you going with us or staying here, Aibou?"  Somehow I get the feeling he was not intending on me overhearing.  "I'd feel better if you stay here with Ryou-kun."

"I want to help you and Bakura-kun.  Besides, bad things happen when we get separated, remember, Yami?"

And against my better judgment, my interest level's officially gone through the roof.  Hmm, kind of like the Toaster Incident, but that's another story all together.  'Bad things' happen when they get separated?  What the hell does that mean, anyway?  Better yet, why would it make the Bossling go completely white as a sheet?  Typical for those two, I have more questions than answers; all I can do is guess.

Apparently, they've been separated before and something happened.  And I guess this would have had to have happened  more than once for Mini-Me to make such a broad statement like that and the Bossling to react like that.  And I guess it now makes a bit more sense to me why this is the first time I've seen the Bossling letting Mini-Me any place other than Kame Games (and their home, I assume).  It makes a lot of sense to the older brother in me:  it's easier to protect the people you care for on your home turf than anywhere else.

Does this mean they trust us or something?  I don't know whether to feel proud of that fact or upset by it.  There is still honor among thieves, but still... What kind of an idiot trusts a thief after all?

Mana's obviously at her day job and no one's answering the phone at Jounouchi's mom's place, though we did leave messages for them, so it looks like we're going to have to hit the books a bit.  I doubt the university here in Domino is going to have the preternatural interests section that University of Tokyo has, but it beats standing on the street corner and asking the people passing by what they think.  And I guess if we don't luck out here with the info, it'll be on to one of the shrines.  I suppose we'll have to leave University of Tokyo on the list, even if I'd really rather avoid the entire city for safety's sake.  I don't want to go back to Tokyo.  In fact, I think I'd rather be locked in a room with a pack of starving wolves and no gun than go back there.

I send the freaks a rather comparatively mild glare as I push the door open and head inside.  Mini-Me follows me closely, like I'm going to ditch them if I get a meter away.  The Bossling brings up the rear (I am not going to think of the implications of that!), with a scowl of his own on his face.  "What?"

"They don't cover this sort of stuff in school here?"  I know before we left Tokyo, we were about to start the unit on vampires, but that was in biology - and was two years ago besides.

Both of them are shaking their heads.  "It's not offered at my school.  Sorry," comes from Mini-Me.

"All we have available is preternatural biology, not preternatural law."  He glances around.  "Our section's in the back of the library, next to the rare documents room."

Okay, so His Highness knows his way around the local library.  Color me shocked.  Guess he is smart enough to know how to crack a book after all.  I need to quit hanging around him like this.  He's ruining all my preconceived notions of him.

Of course, if I'd realized the preternatural interests sections here consists of so few books, I probably wouldn't have wasted the trip and would have gone with that street corner idea.  "Four books?"  I demand as Yami sets them on a table.  "That's all they have?  Four books?"

Mini-Me scrambles up on the table and seizes one of the volumes, pulling it close to him and starting to flip through it.  Just as well he's on the table, I guess; I didn't see any booster seats coming in.  "It's better than none at all, isn't it, Bakura-kun?"  Have I mentioned how persistently optimistic Mini-Me can be?  It's somewhere between really annoying and kind of cute, one of those where it's hard to decide if you want to pet him or smack him.  In a strange way, it reminds me of the brat.  They might sweetness and light each other into early graves, though, but it'd be fun to watch, provided one can live with the cavities it'd produce.

"It's scarcely better," I have to sourly put in.  "We'd probably have better lucking asking opinions on the street corner."  Mini-Me looks up with a pout that quickly turns to a grin when he notices I'm sitting down and grabbing up one of the books.

"You can try that later if you want to."  How rude would it be for me to hit the Bossling?  I mean, this isn't exactly the part of the library I'm used to; that's the part of the reference section that has blueprints for several of the buildings here in town.

Why does it strike me as fairly odd to see the Bossling with his nose in a book?  I still can't quite wrap my mind around the image of him being enough of a bookworm to know his way around a library.  Better still, why haven't I seen him in here with as often as I've been here researching for jobs?

Okay, I think I need to pay more attention to what I'm supposed to be doing - and less to the Bossling and his weirdness.  That'd be a lot easier to do, of course, if he wasn't so good at being distracting and if my mind didn't keep wandering away on its own.  That persistent buzzing is back  (What?  Did Makiko out me to every ghost and spirit in the area?), and Yami - the Bossling - does a pretty good job of keeping my mind off it.  I can't say which is more annoying:  that damned noise or the fact the Bossling's presence is just about my only chance of a break from it.  I'm not even going to try to figure out why that is.  As far as I can tell, he's stone cold normal, nothing special about him.  Of course, I'm hardly the best judge; I mean, hell, I thought Malik was sane the first time I met him.  I learned better later though.  That might be true again here.  And, damn, I'm babbling again, aren't I?

Still, I have to at least take a glance around the room and try to guess who it could be setting me off.  With the exception of Mini-Me, no one I can see is even so much as looking at me.  There seems to be no shortage of odd characters in here.  Then again, giggling schoolgirls are strange to me, and we have plenty of those to choose from in here.  I don't see any of them sitting alone.  Why is it that those creatures always travel in packs?

Let's see, who else is there?  Who else is alone?  I know I saw an older woman in a kimono when we came in.  Ah, there she is.  She would be the most likely suspect - if it weren't for the fact one of the schoolgirls just bumped into her and nearly knocked her over.  I didn't know little old ladies could glare like that.  I mean, that's really impressive.  Anyway, moving on... Well, there's the creepy-looking little guy with the strange glasses in the science section of reference, there's the blonde flipping through magazines at a table not too far from ours, and there's the brunette striding purposefully our direc... Holy shit, she just walked through the creepy-looking little guy?  Now, why does she look familiar?

Mini-Me's voice goes real soft.  "Yami?"  Out of the corner of my eye, I can see the Bossling look up from his book.  "You have an Anzu incoming."

Anzu?  Anzu?  Why do I know that name?  Evidentially, she must not have struck me as important enough to remember well.  What's a lot more interesting is the way the Bossling is trying to disappear under the table.  I'd been wondering what was bumping my legs; it's him, apparently.  Very faintly, I hear him mumbling, "You don't know me.  I'm not here.  I am not here.  She does not - will not - see me."  Words can't describe how hard it is right now for me to hold back laughing my ass off.

She breezes right by Mini-Me and me like we don't even exist then stops before the Bossling (or rather, what is still visible of the Bossling, which is pretty much from the eyes up) and is all sunshine and flowers and smiles.  People like that piss me off to no end.  I think if anyone else was ghost-scoping right now, they'd probably decide Mini-Me and I are ones, with the way we don't exist in her world.  Hmm, makes me wonder if I could rob her blind if she's not seeing me this hard.

Believe it or not, it takes till she opens her mouth for me to place her.  "Atemu-kun," she drones out.  Good God, how long did she just make his name?  I think I just heard about twenty or so of each vowel sound and at least ten of each consonant.  So Bitch Queen Mazaki has a bit of a crush on the Bossling?  How... disturbing.

"I thought your name was just 'A-t-e-m-u'."  I can't resist teasing him; it's too good to pass up.  He sends me a level glare as he sits up slowly.  Not really any point trying to hide now that she's acknowledged he's there.  It'd be like hiding behind a leaf and hoping the wereleopard doesn't notice you.  Like I said, kind of pointless.  And the Bitch Queen doesn't even so much as blink in my direction.  "So this is what it's like to be invisible?"

Mini-Me grins.  "Anzu ignores everyone when Yami's around."  A sudden, confused expression covers his face as he looks at something over my shoulder.  "Eh?"

I turn, for now not paying attention to the Bitch Queen's attempts to gain the Bossling's attention, and snicker.  The creepy guy with the insect glasses is hauling a book that's got to weigh more than he does over.  I guess that, to anyone else, it looks like it's floating our way.  I take it he doesn't like being run through like a rabid bull.  "Well, that's something you don't see every day," slips from me.

My eyes are locked on the freaky guy (ghost?), Mini-Me's seem to be glued to the book, Bitch Queen's blathering on about something or other, and the Bossling looks ready to try seppuku to get away from her already when the ghost pitches the book.  It hits her in the back before falling to land on one of her feet.  Now that had to hurt.  "What the -?"  She whirls, trying to see who did it, and I can't help bursting out laughing.  Hell, while the bitch's back is turned, I give the ghost a discreet thumbs' up and point towards the globe on one of the nearby displays.

"You can see me?"  God, what a nasal voice.  It's almost enough to make me want to start twitching, but I resist and nod.  "Hmm... Interesting..."  And he goes after the globe.

I think this might be the first time I've been kicked out of a library.  I'm almost positive it's the first time I've been kicked out when I wasn't doing anything.  (Okay, maybe I was encouraging it a bit, but still!)  The brat'll never let me live this one down.  Oh well, at least we got rid of Bitch Queen Mazaki.  And I don't particularly feel bad about taking the four books they had, especially since the guards nearly tried to literally throw me out.  Of course, the best part was when they tried to toss the Bossling out, and he went all "Do you know who I am?" on them, and then when he told them who he was, they went all white.  I couldn't tell who was laughing hardest: Mini-Me (who made a break for it at the first sign of guards, and so was already outside), my new ghostly friend we left in the library, or me.

Glancing over, I can see the Bossling's still being all huffy.  I mean, pouting, jerking steps, the whole nine yards.  It's just great.  Mini-Me keeps bursting out in spontaneous laughter, and honestly, I'm not much better.  It's just too funny to watch and not be amused.  I doubt we'll be getting away with laughing at his expense long, but...

Finally, he lets out a put-upon sigh and turns long-suffering eyes on us.  "Well, that was a wasted trip.  We didn't even get to finish going through those books."

I can feel a grin about to split my face.  I can resist picking on him.  Really.  "Oh well.  Ready for lunch?"

Whoops, I think I went too innocent there.  The Bossling looks suspicious.  "Bakura, what did you do?"

"Who?  Me?  Nothing?  I just... 'borrowed' the books we need."

"...I think most people call that stealing."

"Well, I'm not most people."

"Of that, we are already aware."

Smirking bastard.  That's what the Bossling is, a smirking bastard.  Not that I'm all that much better, but at least my head isn't as swollen as his no doubt is.  "Look, I'm going to eat and go through those damn books.  I know you've already eaten, so you're welcome to scram if you want.  I don't give a shit either way."

Hmm, in hindsight, stomping off might have been more effective if I wasn't wearing sneakers.  Note to self:  next time I feel the need to go stomping off, nick Jounouchi-kitty's boots first.  They would make an impressive sound when you're stomping around in them.  At least, better than sneakers do.

"Yami!"  Hey, cool, I got the Bossling in trouble without even trying!  That takes talent, so yeah, I'm good.  "Bakura-kun, wait up!"

I slow down a bit and glance over my shoulder.  Mini-Me's just about caught up back with me (not that I left them all that far behind), and His Highness is slumping his way towards me.  God, that's just great!

Still, I do have a nice bone or two in my body and pick the first restaurant we can sit down in to eat at and pull out the books to start going through once again.  It's always been so much fun trying to eat and read at the same time (mind the dripping sarcasm if you will), and it's even more so with a bandaged hand.  I vaguely note the Bossling ordering something to drink and starting to go through one of the other books.  I'm not even going to look up to see what Mini-Me's doing.

I push away the first book in disgust.  I'm sure I've seen a more useless piece of shit, but it's been a while.  If this is what they keep in stock, they deserved to have them stolen.  I wonder if I can make better use of them in a bonfire.  I grab the next book and open it roughly.


I glance up at the Bossling.  "What'd you find?"

He shakes his head slightly.  "I'm not sure how much it's worth, but this one quotes a witch's journal from about seventy years ago, and she wrote about when the last Master took over."

Interest finally perked, I nod.  "Kaiba Gouza-baka, yeah."  He sends me a rather droll look this time, and I have to grin in response.  It's fun to be as annoying as shit.  "So what's it say about him?"

"Not much.  'The old Master is dead.  We must now welcome the new Master.'"

"'The king is dead.  Long live the king'," I quote absentmindedly.  "Nothing on how he actually became Master though?"  I lean over across the table to look closer at the text.  Hey, you never know!  He could be missing something important!  I'll maintain till my dying day that the Bossling's no rocket scientist.  That, we leave for Treeboy.

"Nothing.  Some vague reference to a transfer of power of some sort, but nothing on how." 

"Damn."  I lean back and rub at my head.  Please, tell me it's still the freaky guy with the glasses.  Tell me I haven't picked up another one already.  "Know anyone who was close to Gouza-baka?  Maybe he told them how he became..."  Hang on.  Where did my train of thought go?  Oh yeah.  "Became Master."

Red eyes glance up at me briefly.  "I would think Kaiba would know, wouldn't you?"

Oww... Not looking up.  Not looking up.  There's going to be a ghost coming up to stand right behind Yami's shoulder shortly; it's somewhere in the restaurant right now.  This settles it.  Someone told all the spirits in this accursed town about me, and when I find out who the one with the loose lips is, I'm going to find a way to kill them a second time.  It's either that, or someone stuck a goddamn welcome mat on me.  Either way, someone's going to be wearing their guts for garters.  Hmm, that's a pretty good one.  I wonder where I got it.  Some movie for sure.

Yuugi's coming back.  I'm not quite sure how I know, but I do.  A second later, he slides in on my side of the booth.  That's weird.  Why's he sitting here when Yami's over there?  And why am I thinking of them by their names?  Augh!  Mind, get back on track here!

"Gouza-baka turned Seto, didn't he?"  I answer, still keeping my eyes glued on the book before me.  "So, yeah, he might know something."  That came out fairly coherent.  I'm rather proud of myself.  But wait a minute.  If Seto knew -

"If Kaiba knew something, why didn't he mention it before?"  Whoa, freaky.  Maybe he's a mind reader.  God, I hope not.

"Because he was moments away from unconsciousness?  I can't even begin to guess how his mind works."  Fuck, it's starting to get worse.  Probably a ghost and not a spirit then.  Ghosts tend to have much shorter leashes on their tempers, while spirits usually are at or are moving towards some kind of peace.  Whoever this is, they're not happy.

Yami's quiet a moment.  It's weird, but I can practically feel worry radiating off Yuugi.  And behind it all, I can faintly hear a dripping sound over all the buzzing.  Yami - the Bossling - bites his lip and speaks,  "There's a spirit behind me, isn't there?"

I half-nod.  "A ghost, I think."  I finally look up - and have to fight the urge to lose my lunch.  It's hard to tell if this used to be a man or a woman, beneath all the blood and gore.  Whatever it is, only half its face remains, with the other half being little more than scraps of meat, bone, and brains.  I can see far more of its internal organs than I would ever want to.  The sad thing is, I think I recognize the work.  You don't work Domino for long without getting to where you can recognize the locals' trademarks.  And the more I think about it, the more likely lunch is to make a reappearance, so I focus on its one remaining eye and ask, "Something I can help you with?"

"The Master," it gurgles.  How the hell is it talking without a throat?  I hear two well-muffled gagging sounds.  Gladly dragging my attention away, I can see they're coming from Yuugi and Yami as they both reaffix their concentration on the table.  The hell?  Not now.  "Find the Master," it repeats, and I force myself to meet that one perfect eye again.  "Find the Master and end this."

"I will."  At this point, I think I'd promise it just about anything, as long as it leaves.  And it does, fading away.  I let out a sigh, glance down, and shove my plate away.  I don't think I'm going to be eating anything else today.  And now that I look, the Bossling and Mini-Me look a little green around the gills.  Someone's not telling me something, and I.  Do.  Not.  Like.  It.  "How?"  And I think Jounouchi-kitty would be proud of that snarl.

His Highness looks up from the tabletop.  Yeah, he definitely looks a little queasy.  "What?"

"You both," I turn slightly to include Mini-Me in this, "saw that.  How?"

First draft: 07 February 2005
Revision: 03 December 2005

Wow, another chapter done.  Like I said up at the top, this one is dedicated to Marika Ikeda, as her belated birthday prezzie (to go with the Sennen Puzzle I got her ^__^)!  She's going to be my Atemu at Anime Weekend Atlanta (and maybe Animazement also).  I think it's an easy guess who I'm going as:  Yami no Bakura and Thief King Bakura!

Anyway, sorry this chapter took so long to get out.  I'm still trying to get over a bad case of bronchitis that hit mid-January.  Apparently, the medicine I was given for it ate my creativity. -.-; Needless to say, it sucked.  Still, thank you all for bearing with me during the wait - and extra thank you's to the nice people who've reviewed so far! I appreciate it!  See everyone next chapter!

[ Color of Life 01 | Color of Life 02 | Color of Life 03 | Color of Life 04 | Color of Life 05 | Color of Life 06 | Color of Life 07 | Color of Life 08 | Color of Life Epilogue ]
[ Blood and Sacrifice 01 | Blood and Sacrifice 02 | Blood and Sacrifice 03 | Blood and Sacrifice 04 | Blood and Sacrifice 05 | Blood and Sacrifice 06 | Blood and Sacrifice Epilogue ]
[ Spellbound ]
[ Automatic Paranoia 01 | Automatic Paranoia 02 | Automatic Paranoia 03 | Automatic Paranoia Epilogue ]
[ Route 666 | Route 666 Epilogue ]
[ Cyber Fake 01 | Cyber Fake 02 | Cyber Fake 03 | Cyber Fake 04 | Cyber Fake 05 | Cyber Fake 06 | Cyber Fake 07 | Cyber Fake 08 | Cyber Fake 09 | Cyber Fake Epilogue ]
[ Last Waltz ]