Much as he wanted to, Kaiba could not refuse the old man's request. His actions had nearly cost the old man's life AND resulted in the destruction of a priceless card. So, he would fulfill the obligation Motou had to withdraw from due to illness. Honor and pride demanded it, even if he hadn't felt some remorse. ( He just wished Motou had asked for something simple, like half ownership of Kaiba Corporation.)

So far it hadn't been TOO bad. No one had recognized him in the ridiculious getup and the children had been generally well behaved. (And no one had tried to set his beard on fire.)

Just when he thought he would escape with his dignity intact, a mini tsunnami of squealing children (AND their parents.) swept toward the dais upon which he was enthroned, along with two giggling "helpers" dressed in mini dresses and go-go boots. He wasn't too alarmed when the mob parted enough for him to see Yugi signing autografs at a frantic pace, after all, there was no way his rival could recognize him, even if Yugi were able too see him over the heads of his fans.

Unfortunatly, Yugi had not come to this event unaccompanied. Honda and Jonouchi were with him, and had noticed "Santa". AND had come up with what their miniscule brains cosidered a great idea.

Even as Kaiba started to move it was already too late. A galaxy of flashbulbs went off as hundreds of cameras captured for posterity the moment when the two grinning idiots lifted a protesting "King of Games" off his feet and dumped him in "Santa's' lap.

Ho ho ho...

Happy B-Day Scribbler. Hope this provides some needed cheer!
How could he have forgotton? HOW?!

He'd make up for it somehow. He'd take his little brother anywhere he wanted to go,do whatever he wanted. If Mokuba was still speaking to him after this. How could he have forgotten?


He was out of the limo even before it had come to a complete stop in front of the mansion. Mokuba dashed out the front door and jumped into his arms.

"Mokuba I'm SO sorry-"

"Seto it was awesome-"

"I promise I'll make it up to you-"

"I wish you could have been there-"

"I wish I could have been there-"

Wait, what?

"They took me to the water park and the rides. and we ate at Burger World and Anzu and Shizuka made a cake for me and oh Seto it was great to go everywhere just like a regular kid! Thanks for letting them take me out for my birthday! I want to do it again next year, but I want you to come too, You'd have a great time!"

Let them take you out? What was his little brother going on about? He had totally forgotten Mokubas birthday until the flight home. It was then that he saw Yugi and the others watching the reunion.

"You don't owe us anything, Kaiba." Yugi half whispered.

"Yeah, you do moneybags-OW! Anzu! that was my foot!

Yes, he did owe them, but for once, he didn't mind at all...


Happy birthday Dragon!! (Whew, I didn't forget! :) )
"Isono! We are in the middle of a crisis here! What is the reason for the delay?"

"I-I'm sorry sir! It's the car sir, we've had to send for another car."

"Another car? What happened to the car we arrived in?"

"Sir- it's difficult to explain-"

"Difficult is what I pay you to handle, is it not Isono? And quite handsomely I might add. Now kindly stop dithering and tell me why we are not on our way to that idiot Pegasus's office."

"Well sir, the creatures that have been sighted-"

"- Have NOTHING to do with Kaiba Corp! I made that very clear in that ridiculus press conference. now what is going on with the car?!"

"I um, well it would be best if you were to see for your self..."

Kaiba's mood was not improved by the fresh hoarde of idiots swarming around the entance to the building snapping pictures of...of...

It had to be his enemies. The same faceless enemies behind this latest attempt to discredit him. There was no other explanation; neither Yugi would ever seek to humiliate him in this way and the bonkotsu didn't have the means to pull this off.

He found himself wishing that he WAS the one capable of summoning the hoarde of duel monsters rampaging world wide. If he had been, he'd be summoning a Blue Eyes to fry the gigantic Niwatori chicken roosting placidly on the roof of his limosine...


Happy birthday myaibou! XD
Alright, Honda thought glumly, Maybe they shouldn't have just dived into the food but jeez Kaiba it's not the end of the world.

"A drunken pig has better table manners!"

How were they supposed to know Kaiba had invited a bunch of bigshots over to his brand new resturant? It wasn't as if the place had signs annoucing a private event...

"The Chamber of Commerce... the mayor... the govenor..!"

Cut us some slack already Kaiba! Did any of those hotshots help save the world, let alone your company?

"GORDON RAMSEY WALKED IN AND FOUND YOU AND YOUR DAMMED SPELLCASTER DANCING ON THE BUFFET TABLES!!!"

Oh come on, it's not like Yugi had a choice! Kaiba should have been going after that crazy Vivien Wong! She kidnapped Yugi's grandpa to force Yugi into that duel. (And he was dueling, NOT dancing!)

It took a good hour and forty five minutes, plus Yugi's promise to endorse Kaiba Corp products for the next twenty years to get Kaiba to stop foaming at the mouth. But just when it seemed they could avert the creation of another Death-T, Jonouchi opened his mouth;

"It aint all bad Moneybags. You'll get lots of publicity when that Ramsey dude puts your resturant on his show... What? What did I say?!"

Not A good idea Bro... NOT a good idea reminding Kaiba that his Kaibaland resturant was going to be featured on an upcoming episode of "Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares"...


Happy birthday Guardianlunnaei! XD
"Why does he fight me?" The Spirit of the Ring grumbled as he finally regained control of the body. "Does he WANT to be beaten to a bloody pulp?! Does he care more for these bullies than his own well being? How did the fool manage to survive before I came to him?"

No matter, he was back in control With more than enough time to get to school and make an example of those fools who thought tormenting Landlord was acceptible amusment. If only his host would put the effort he expended fighting the spirit into defending himself, then the spirit wouldn't have to intervine...

Making a final ajustment to the school uniform, the spirit paused at the mirror in the hallway, then froze jaw dropping in horrified disbelief. His hands flew to his hair rubbing frantically. (What in the name of Ammit had the idiot done to himself?!?!)

There was no way. They could not go to school like this. He'd spend the entire day fighting for their lives should they appear in public. And already he could hear the dammed pharoah snickering in his mind...

"Alright Landlord, you win THIS time. We will stay home and you will remove every trace of whatever you used to dye your hair pink!!"

Happy birthday Not Hathor! XDD
Somewhere in Alaska:

Kaiba never imagined that there would come a time that he would actually relish being cut off from almost all communication with the outside world.

Mokuba had wanted to come with him, and he did miss his little brother, but it was better that Mokuba stayed in school and maintained something of a normal routine while they waited for the uproar to die down.

He did recieve letters when the supply plane made it's weekly visit, updating him on the status of his company. Business at least was still booming, in spite of, or even because of his being the laughing stock of the planet. The U.S. authorities wanted him to testify at the upcoming congressional hearings on video piracy, but he was confident that they wouldn't be able to locate him or Yugi.

His rival had been remarkably forgiving about the whole disgusting affair,and the Motou family seemed to be enjoying their extended vacation in Ulan Bator, according to the latest letter from Yugi. Kaiba in turn had promised the Other Yugi that when those responsible for their predicament had been identified, he would personally hand them over for whatever punishment the Puzzle Spirit wanted to inflict. Hell, he'd even provide the refreshments.

Video piracy had been an ongoing problem since the invention of the VCR, and Kaiba wasn't surprised when bootleg videos of his Battle City duel with Yugi showed up on the black market. While Kaiba Corp. might lose money that people would otherwise have been spent on official releases of the footage, it would not have become a world wide embarrasment if not for the awful translations provided by the idiots who apparently couldn't speak Japanese or English! A loss of profit, Kaiba could cope with, hearing Yugi repeatedly asking if Kaiba was trying to seduce him and he in turn declaring that his rival looked good as "The Naked King", THAT was another matter entirely!

Happy birthday icthyopook!

This was indeed inspired by recent posts in playthedammedcard regarding the hilarious HK subs.
He had no intention of taking the Items or the God Cards. He knew now that his purposes would be better served by letting Yugi gather the Items and open the doorway. Nevertheless, he needed to keep his skills sharp and this little exercise would do that AND provide the opportunity to deliver a crushing blow to the Pharaoh's insufferable ego...


Yugi bolted from his bed in the middle of the night, his other's warning of shadow magic being invoked startling him almost awake. THE ITEMS!! Groping for the light switch, he blinked againest the sudden onslaught of light, while reaching for the bag which held the Rod, Necklace, and the God Cards. They were all there, nothing had been disturbed.

"Partner, I'm sorry. I was SURE-"

"It's okay, Other Me. I know we have to be careful." Yugi gave a reassuring pat to the Puzzle resting against his bare chest...

Wait,what?! Yugi stared in confusion, he wasn't wearing his pajamas. In fact, he wasn't wearing anything BUT the Puzzle! The hell-?

He went over to the dresser and felt the first stirrings of panic as every drawer was opened and found to be empty of clothing. Checking the closet revealed the full magnatude of the disaster. There had indeed been a shadow attack, and it had left poor Yugi feeling particulatly vunerable.

His other was swearing all manner of hideous vengence on the ring spirit, but it would have to be accomplished without Yugi's cooperation. He wasn't going anywhere, not after every stitch of clothing he owned- even the pile of dirty laundry hidden under the bed -had been spirited out of his room!


Happy B-Day Lucid! :)
"Um... Hi... I kind of feel wierd talking to a christmas tree ornament-not that I'm saying YOU'RE wierd-it's just, well I wanted to say thanks for what you did for my brother. I know he he can be a real jerk at times, and he's not very nice to you in duels, but he really has been trying to be a better person. Flying with the dragons was so cool, and It was great seeing him so happy! He'll never admit it,but I think he's having a great time with everybody being here. I think it's awesome that Other Yugi's teaching him magic- do you think maybe I could learn any- well probably not, I suppose Seto's always had some kind of magic, and thats how he could read the god cards. I know you have to go home with Yugi, but I hope you can visit us once in awhile. I promise I won't tell on you if you do. Well, I suppose I better get back to bed before anybody wonders why I'm talking to the tree in the library. Oh, and if there really IS a Santa Claus and you happen to see him, can you ask him for me to tell Jonouchi to quit picking fights with Seto? Seto really IS trying to be a better person! Oh well, Merry Christmas..."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Hey! Ow! Dammit Honda, quit poking me- AHHHHH!!! Oh shit! What did I do now?!?"

"Jonouchi," Said the Dark Magician. "Let's have a little talk..."

Happy Holidays!
All in all, Mokuba thought, his brother was handling his vacation time rather well.

Oh there was the usual growling and snarking when the hoard of houseguests descended on them, and Seto was definitely uneasy when they saw Yugi's grandpa getting out of the limo. But he didn't attempt to bolt until he saw the cat carrier Yugi was bringing in. In spite of their best efforts, Reaper and Bubbles always managed to find their way into various decks. (While they soon got used to having Dark Magician wandering about the mansion, poor Jonouchi had to spend an entire day hiding from an enraged Anzu after she had stepped out of the shower and come face-to-face with an embarrassed Flame Swordsman.)

Seto almost seemed to enjoy the chaos. Keeping the promise he had made to his little brother, (He could deny Mokuba nothing after they had spent a night flying over Domino on the back of the Blue Eyes.)He avoided all work related activities, joining in the snowball fights,snowboarding and almost any other activities they came up with. (He did draw a large firm line at caroling however.)

Evenings were spent in the gameroom, where Mokuba regularly trounced Honda, Jonouchi,and Anzu at any and all video games, except DDR, where Anzu trounced them all. Seto would be off in a corner having long discussions with both Yugis and Yugi's grandpa. Surprisingly, no one tried to start a duel, except possibly the cats. It was only their first real non-working vacation, but Mokuba was sure it was going to be the best one ever...

To be continued...
"Yugi! What are you doing?!"

"I'm going back to bed, Other Me."

"But we have to get to Kaiba-"

We're going this afternoon, in the car that's coming to pick us up. We are not dashing through the snow at 2:00 am, not even if we HAD a one horse open sleigh!"

"PARTNER!! DID YOU NOT SEE THE DRAGONS?!?!"

"They aren't there now Other Me. If Kaiba has that much control over the shadows, I doubt it will make much difference when we see him. Except that, if we arrive at a civilized hour, there will be much less chance of him trying to feed us to the Blue Eyes."

"Partner..."

"And if you even THINK about trying to take over my body to sneak over there, I'll...Yawn... I'll let Reaper play with our deck."

"... !! ... You wouldn't dare..."

"Yawn... Watch me... Go back to sleep Other Me..."

"... Dammit..."

To be continued...
He was alone in the silent library, except for the ghost of a memory.

He saw the ghost boy fling himself on the couch in utter exhaustion, only to be roused by his step-fathers repellent servant flinging the book at his head. he watched as the boy opened the book and discovered the secret treasure his brother had smuggled to him...

"Your brother knew your heart even before you did." He told the boy, watching as he moved to the window, an unspoken dream whispering in the unfelt breeze from a not so distant past. "You've finally embraced the happiness you cast aside for the sake of survival, hold on to it Seto. You have paid the penalty for your wrongs, your scales are balanced."

His pharaoh had first set his rival on the path out of the darkness, but it had been a hard road with too many detours. Honor had been regained, but honor and duty alone could not overcome the guilt, anger and mistrust that crippled the young dragon lord. Joy and play and friends were needed in their turn. Pharaoh in his tragically brief life, had had little time for such frivolities himself, it would fall to Yugi and the others to show them the value of fun for its own sake. (And they WOULD bring fun to the Kaiba mansion, even if some furniture was smashed along the way...)

"You've overlooked something Magician" /Seto, do you EVER sleep?!/

"Indeed?"

"Thanks to your little games,your masters have gotten hold of the strange idea that I have shadow magic. What will happen when they realize I'M not the one responsible for the purple tree and the flying ornaments?"

"Seto, Seto, It was I who set the game in motion, but my power alone is not enough for ALL that was done this night. And whose power was it that destroyed the Blue Eyes when my masters battled the false Kaiba? Whose power swept aside the future foretold by the necklace? Whose power did the Rod answer to, even when Marik held it in your duel with his sister? Whose power commanded a god beast?"

"But-but- It had to be you! What about the trap card-"

"Have you forgotten Seto? Collected Power is a one turn trap card."

"... Oh shit ..."

To be continued...
Was it a really strange dream, or just another day in the life of someone who knows Yugi Motou?

Mokuba honestly couldn't tell. All he knew was that a duel monster had dragged him out of bed, bundled him into a warm coat he didn't remember owning, and hauled him off to...

Wonderland...

He was standing on a snow covered hill, looking up at a sky of deep purple velvet. Diamond stars twinkled like the lights on a christmas tree...

And there were dragons. Dozens of dragons flying all around him. Green dragons, blue dragons, dragons with huge diamonds on their snouts, And most amazing of all...

He watched transfixed as the Blue Eyes hovered above him, the familiar figure on it's back beconing to him.

"Want to go for a ride little brother?"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yugi wasn't sure what had awakened him, a vaugely familiar sound, like the trumpeting of some great beast? Or maybe it was the weird purple glow coming from the window? Wondering what new threat to the world he was supposed to battle next, he got out of bed and went to the window...

"OTHER MEEEE!!!"

"YUGI! Whats wrong? What-? OH...MY..."

They watched in silent awe as the dragons flew over the stangely silent town of Domino, bathed in the light of the shimmering purple sky...

"That does it! His lessons start tomorrow!"

To be continued...
"Is it so hard to accept that they are also YOUR friends?"

"I-I've had lots of 'friends' so has Mokuba. They all wanted-"

"Wealth? Power? Their concern was not for you but for what they could get from you. Fawning sycphants, parasites, there were many of that ilk in Pharaoh's court. Better to deal with honest open enemies- but that is a lesson you have already learned, is it not so Seto? True friends are a much rarer treasure, and they can only be found with an open heart. Look into your heart now Seto and ask yourself; Why do you challenge my masters again and again?"

Great. Back to THAT again. He was really starting to miss hanging around in the tree. With the dragons...

"I challenge them because they make dueling worth my time. THATS why I keep searching for rare and powerful cards! THATS why I spend hours coming up with new combos and stratagies! I want to be the best, and only the best can beat them!"

"And is it fun?"

Kaiba just stared. /he's doing it again, dammit! He's SMIRKING at me!/

"Is that your point Magician? all right, it is fun! Especially when my dragons fry you! And I'll go even further, I like dueling them because I...LIKE...THEM! Now, can I go back to my tree?"

"You want to be in your tree..?"

Some how Kaiba was finding this hysterically funny. "I've cracked," He thought. "I've finally cracked."

"Yeah, I wanna be in my tree. I want to fly with my dragons. I want to take Mokuba for a ride on a dragon. I want to duel Yugi, (Both of him.) while flying on a dragon. Think 'Santa Claus' will make that happen?"

Dark Magician smirked some more. The purple santa hat was back on his head...

To be continued
First the christmas tree, now a private movie theater. Kaiba had to admit that Dark Magicians talents were definately being wasted on the game of Duel Monsters. Still, had he been given a choice, he'd have prefered the tree and the dragon ornaments to being (literally) glued to his seat, watching the most painful moments of his life in IMAX.

On the screen, a dejected Mokuba opened their front door to admit... YUGI? In answer to Yugi's hushed question, Mokuba merely shook his head. The two of them went up the stairs and down the hall, stopping before a door Kaiba recognized with increasing dread. He shut his eyes against the sight of the slack jawed, unseeing figure in the wheelchair...

"He came to see you every day Seto-and not to gloat. He came as a friend."

"A friend? I tried to kill him and those other dweebs. I nearly killed his grandfather. He gave me exactly what I deserved. I didn't deserve a friend-even if I had wanted one!"

"Yes Seto, you got exactly what you deserved-a second chance. From Yugi, from my pharoah, from Mokuba, even Jonouchi who you treat with distain, has been willing to fight for you and along side you against common foes. The only one who will not forgive you, is you."

On the sceen the scene changed. Battle City. He stood with Mokuba at the top of a hill watching Yugi driven to his knees in the first duel against Marik. He heard himself shouting for Yugi to get back on his feet, not to let God keep him from their road of battle...

More scenes; Watching in horror as Yugi and Jonouchi were forced to duel to the death at Domino Pier. Alcatraz Tower; Forcing Yugi to see that protecting Jonouchi would in the long run only hold the bonkotsu back from being the true duelist they all claimed he was. Throwing his trump card to Yugi, Yugi saying; "I believe in you Kaiba...

"You are their friend for all you deny it. You have proven it many times. Is it so hard to accept that they in turn are YOUR friends?

To be continued...
"No good deed goes unpunished."

Dark Magician had little time to ponder the truth of that saying as he narrowly evaded another aireal bombardment, trying to keep the trunk of the tree between himself and the Blue Eyes Glass Dragon.

The good news was that Seto Kaiba had found something that made him happy. The bad news was that siccing his dragon ornaments on a certain minature spellcaster was what was making him happy. The purple santa hat had already been barbecued. And he had really liked that santa hat!

"Seto! Enough! We need to talk!"

The CEO's response was a burst stream that shattered three silver ball ornaments. Great. He'd be combing glass shards out of his hair for days. Time for drastic action. "MAGIC BOXES!"...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kaiba fell out the box and landed facedown on his living room carpet. seconds later, a large purple duel monster fell on top of him.

"GET...OFF...ME!!" He wheezed. The crushing weight rolled off him, but before he could catch his breath he was lifted off the carpet and unceremoniously dumped in a chair.

"You burned my hat!"

"It was a stupid hat!"

"Seto..."

"And Magic Boxes doesn't work that way in duels!"

"Then it is fortunate for you that we are not in a duel. Or do you enjoy being impaled with swords?"

"I enjoy being left alone!"

"Seto... You ARE alone, inside your heart, and that lonelyness in your heart cries out to us all." Abruptly, the magician pulled him out of the chair and back into the shadows.

"Come with me Seto, there is something you should see..."

To be continued...
He was numb. The last of his rage had been absorbed by the final preformance of "Kaibalands Enchanted Christmas Tree". (No doubt ensuring that Other Yugi's magic instruction would take him all the way to post graduate level, if they didn't kill each other first.)

Of course, that was assuming he got himself out this Shadow Realm production of "The Nutcracker" by admiting that the damm spellcaster was right about him. And why did the bastard even care?! Alright, he got it, Mokuba wanted friends! He wanted his big brother to have friends! Fine! He'd just stay in the tree, thank you very much! Dark Magician was doing a better job than he had been,let him take over being the big brother. Hell, let him take over the company. At least Kaiba would have a good time imagining Other Yugi giving magic lessons to his "Ultimate Wizard'...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Arrangements having been made for Yugi and the others to stay at the Kaiba Mansion, Mokuba had finally gone off to bed, leaving Dark Magician to deal with the problem of the elder Kaiba. It seemed he'd made a slight miscalculation in thinking that Seto would meet his challenge with with a counterattack. It seemed the young dragon lord was stubborn enough to try and wait him out. While he was determined to help Seto find the key to his own happiness, (For his own sake, as well as Mokuba's and all the others who really DID care for him.) time was not on his side. With the others all gathered in one place, it would only be a matter of time before his masters sensed the true strength of his magic and realized he was not Kaiba. Before that happened, he would have to take the game to the next level...

To be continued...
"Hey guys, come look at this!"

"Jeez it looks just like him!"

Yeah, even has the same 'I'm so superior to you mere mortals' look on his face."

"I don't know guys, he looks constipated to me...Wait a minute, do you hear that?"

"Hear what? I don't hear anything."

"For a minute I swore I heard something in this tree growling at us!"

"Growling?! in the tree? Honda, did you and Jonouchi spike the punch..?"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mokuba was relieved to find his brother at the buffet table, apparently over whatever had been bothering him. Looking up from his food, "Kaiba" noticed Mokuba watching him and waved him over...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Partner, he's back."

"It looks like Mokuba got him to eat something at least. What do you think they're talking about?"

" I don't know... But it seems to have made Mokuba VERY happy-OOF!"

"YUGI! GUYS! GUESS WHAT? Seto's taking two whole weeks off for the holidays!" The younger Kaiba yelled, somehow bouncing up and down while crushing Yugi's ribs in a bearhug. "AND he said I can have anyone I want stay over at our place! When I asked if he really meant ANYONE, he said 'Yes Mokuba, even the dweebs.'So I'm inviting all of you!"

It was at that precise moment that the majestic tree began spinning like a top, while dozens of glass dragons roared in outrage.

To be continued...
Dark Magician's words bothered him more than he wanted to admit, even to himself. So Kaiba did what he always did when something bothered him. He went on the offensive, making sure to BE as offensive as possible.

"If this is going to be another boring friendship speech, why not get Mazaki in here to deliver it? She's the expert, and it would improve the view."

Dark Magician gave him a very odd look. "As you wish."

The phrase "Be careful what you wish for" was familier to Kaiba in the abstract, but it took the terrifiying display unfolding before him to truly pound the meaning into his head. The magicians long blue hair shortened to just above shoulder length, while changing color to a medium brown. His eyes rounded and went from their icy mint shade to a true blue hue. It was when he saw the rounded swelling of the chest beneath the armor that Kaiba decided he'd had enough.

"Dammit never mind! I TAKE IT BACK!!" /GODS MAKE ME UNSEE THAT, PLEASE!!/

After counting slowly to ten in an ancient language he refused to admit he knew, the traumatized CEO decided it was safe to open the eyes he had shut in mental self preservation.
Fortunatly for his sanity, the sadistic duel monster was back to his normal appearance, save for that stupid purple santa hat and the obnoxious smirk he was sure would replace Gozaboru in his nightmares.

"Perhaps you need some time alone to reflect on what I have said Seto. And your guests are growing concerned about your absence." With no further warning, Dark Magician vanished.

Any hopes "Ornament Kaiba" had of seeing the end of this "Penalty Game", or at least getting some peace and quiet, were dashed as he realized the tall figure approaching his place on the tree was...himself.

He glared in impotant fury as his doppleganger waved a mocking finger at him before heading toward the buffet tables.
Kaiba the christmas tree ornament swung from his branch making a mental list of those he considered responsible for his current predicament. Best to keep his mind occupied. He was not going to dignify Dark Magicians ridicilous pronouncement with a response!

He didn't want to win?! He had won! At Pegasus's castle! So what if the victory came by forfit? Yugi held back because of his own weakness-

"No Seto, It was Yugi's strength that held my pharaoh back when HE would have destroyed you. Choosing to die because you could not accept defeat was YOUR weakness Seto."

"Stop reading my mind!"

"Speech of the mind is how we are conversing here. And the truth of what I say is in your heart."

"If I didn't want to win, why the hell would I keep challenging him?" Why was he even HAVING this conversation?

"Seto, you have wealth, you have power, you have done all that you set out to do. The challenge my Masters represent to you is all that is left. So long as victory eludes you, you have something to strive for, a goal that inspires you. But, if you win, what then? What will you do-"

"This is stupid! Dueling, even dueling Yugi isn't my whole life. I have a company to run. I need to keep it strong for Mokuba-"

"For Mokuba, yes it is all for Mokuba. But your brother will be a man someday, he will live his own life. But what then will become of you Seto Kaiba? You've built an empire for him to inherit, your works bring joy to so many. Your heart is great enough to do all these things, yet you leave no place in it for your own happiness...'

The magicians tone disturbed him, because there was no gloating in it, only sadness...

To be continued...
On his first visit to the Shadow Realm, he'd been torn apart by his own monsters. His second trip had resulted in his being locked up in a card with only the knowledge that he had utterly failed to protect his brother to keep him company. The third time around, he was getting an ornaments- eye view of just how wonderful and magical his tree truly was.

What ever his latest transgression was, it couldn't have been too awful if his only penalty was this peaceful purgatory nestled among the twinkling lights and silver tinsel, in the company of the mightiest and most majestic monsters in the game, in all their delicate glass glory...

"Seto, You will never defeat my masters in a duel-"

And there it was, the voice that ushered him straight to the deepest pit of hell.

"I've overcome much worse than anything your masters could ever dream of. Either of them." Well well, he could talk. He must be a battery powered ornament!

"Very true Seto. You have indeed overcome great hardship and cruelty. Think on why you were able to do so and you will understand why you will not defeat my masters."

Oh that was low! Make what he endured- what MOKUBA endured into a stupid riddle!

"Damm you! Do you think I did it all for FUN?!! I needed Mokuba to be safe! I didn't matter! I had to win for him!"

"Exactly Seto. If you listen, if you truly understand what I am going to tell you, you will free yourself of the prison you have locked yourself in. You WANTED to win your brother's safety and freeedom. You wanted it more than your own life. But, the duels you fight with my masters, the duels to which you bring all your power and skill, you do not win. Because Seto Kaiba, you do not WANT to win!"

To be continued...

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August 2012

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