"You should be doing your homework," Atem chastised for the umpteenth time that night.
"But I've been so busy lately, and I hardly ever get to update our deck," Yugi whined as he stared down at the God cards.
"Alright, but then you should at least get some sleep," Atem reasoned before he returned to the puzzle around Yugi's neck.
The King of Games continued fantasizing about dueling again, really dueling. He longed for the speeches, the high-tech holograms, pulling out a victory at the last moment, and the feel of the cards as he drew them. Yugi sighed and wondered when he would duel for real again as he slowly became unconscious.
Yugi found himself in a place he was sure he had never been before. He was wearing his school uniform but his Millennium puzzle was missing. Before he could completely lose his mind looking for it, he realized he was not alone in this place.
Atem stood a few feet away looking utterly baffled. He was wearing his ancient Egyptian robes and was completely decked out, the Millennium puzzle hanging around his neck instead of Yugi's.
"Yugi, what have you done?" Atem asked as he poked his own arm. He wasn't used to being this present when Yugi was as well.
"I don't know. I think I may be dreaming though." Yugi was at a loss of words after this statement, too consumed with his surroundings.
They were at a lake… that was about as much as they could see because of all the fog that was emitting from it. The water glittered, though there was no sun to cause this phenomenon. Suddenly the wind changed directions and there was a thinning in the fog across the lake from them.
"Yes Atem, I felt that too," Yugi said before his counterpart could ask about the change in the wind. The pharaoh looked at Yugi with a sense of amusement. How long had they been this close? Yugi had known what he was going to say before he said it. The boy with violet eyes looked down at his feet in embarrassment at his thoughtless interjection.
"Hello," a quiet but confident voice called from across the crystal lake. Both Yugi and Atem's heads snapped up at the unexpected sound. There, across from them, was a figure in a dark black cloak that flowed to the ground.
Yugi couldn't help but feel terrified; it seemed that things were beginning to repeat themselves.
"Welcome to the Lake of Shadows," the cloaked figure said. From the way it sounded the figure was a woman, a very sophisticated and potentially beautiful woman. "Care to duel?"
"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid we must decline. You don't seem like the type to play fair," Atem said statically as he addressed the woman.
"I promise you, my intentions are nothing but honorable. I would simply like to play a game of Duel Monsters against the two of you," she replied back calmly.
"What's your name then?" Yugi asked, hoping that if she really meant no harm she would answer.
"You may call me Aeris, and it is a pleasure to finally meet both of you."
"You know us?" Atem asked with suspicion evident in his voice.
"Not personally," she stated before adding almost silently, "not yet. Now, are we going to duel?"
"The two of us against you? That hardly seems fair." Yugi said with a frown.
"You're right, but I don't see another person around to give you more help." Even though her face wasn't visible it was obvious from her tone that she was smirking.
"You're on," they both replied.
And so they dueled; the two of them against the mysterious woman in the cloak. It was a very intense duel. They went back and forth hacking away at each other's lifepoints. Even while dueling the woman, Aeris, projected an air of grace. She drew another card and looked… scared? She was trembling in her cloak, obviously afraid of whatever card she had drawn. However, she simply put the card in her hand and continued the duel. Eventually the winner was declared; Aeris.
"That was fun," Yugi said sincerely, because he had truly enjoyed dueling with her.
"Indeed it was…" she paused only a moment before adding, "thank you."
"It was our pleasure," Yugi said as he smiled warmly at her.
"Even in a loss, we can still display good grace," Atem replied as he smiled slightly as well.
"I just got lucky."
"I don't think you did. Aeris, can I ask you a question?" Yugi inquired of her.
"Of course," she replied immediately.
"What card did you draw? The one that you seemed to be so terrified of." Both Atem and Yugi looked at her for her answer and noticed she seemed… nervous? Her hands were clasped behind her back.
"I'm sorry, but I can't answer that question just yet." And she did seem truly sorry too.
"May I ask you something as well?" Atem asked politely.
"You may." Aeris said, keeping it as formal as Atem had.
"This isn't a dream… is it?"
A small but crooked smile slowly spread across her face as she replied, "That's very insightful of you, pharaoh. You are correct in thinking this is not a dream, and yet it is time that you awaken. Watch out, things in Shadows have a way of finding themselves in the light. That's all I can say. Until next time, farewell."
She bowed at the waist and the fog seemed to devour her, obscuring her from their sight. Yugi and Atem looked at each other in confusion again.
Seconds later Yugi awakened in his bed wondering if that could have been real. Several miles away Seto Kaiba jolted upright in his bed, his back ramrod straight.