A/N: Hey, guys! Yes, I’m finally back and I apologize for the long hold. Sorry to those who commented and have not received a reply from me. It has been a really long time since I’ve logged in too, but thank you all for the feedback. It’s just been crazy the past two years since I started uni, work and had plenty of life drama, and eventually, I just lost the time to do any writing at all. Anyway, I finally logged in and realized you guys wanted me to continue this story and I was motivated to go back to the drawing board. So now, I’m back to update TBDAE and I really hope that you all would enjoy this long awaited chapter! A big shout out to those who have been following this story and those who have supported me this far! I will admit. I have gotten rusty from my fanfic writing retirement, but I will try to get back into it! ☺ Again, feedback is always appreciated!
Ch. 6 : Grey Road to Realization </b>
There was panting. Breathless gasping was the only sound that resonated in the deafening silence. There was something approaching. The sound of pattering footsteps suddenly grew louder, echoing in this strange unknown place.
Where was this place? There was no sky; neither was there ground. It was simply an empty abyss that went on forever like a depthless pool of nothingness. It all seemed like some abstract nightmare. The emptiness. The silence. It inflicts a sense of hopelessness and nonexistence. The nothingness in this void made it excruciatingly difficult to remain in; in fact, it was impossible to remain here any further. How could one exist when there was nothing in such a barren place? In a place such as this, there remained no reason for existence.
“No, I can’t allow this. I need a reason. A reason to exist.”
All that was visible in this empty void were two contrasting sides that divided into two conflicting extremes: the bright blinding light in one half of this abyss and a dark overwhelming gloom in the other half. Both were dreadfully overwhelming and threatened to engulf one’s soul, regardless of the choice one made. This abyss was an empty canvas of black and white representing light and darkness. The contrast between light and dark. Perhaps they would consume one’s soul, no matter how far one tried to run away.
But how could there be the existence of light and darkness in an empty void? How was it that said empty void represented anything at all, let alone light and darkness? Did it truly have a meaning at all or was this some delusion that has taken over the mind--- but, whose mind?
“Who am I? Why am I here?”
All that was could be done was to run. You were running right on the tightrope between light and darkness, and there was an unidentified force that chased you. You knew not why you ran, but you did so regardless. There was no reason, but you needed to discover one. You needed a logical reason to exist and move forward in this world. Ultimately, did it really matter which side would engulf you as long as you found a reason for existence?
The force that threatened to overwhelm you tailed you for what seemed like an eternity. It was driving you forward, forcing a reason for you to trudge onwards. Or was it that it was trying to shove you off that tightrope, so that you could finally choose a side? What was in the light or darkness anyways?
However, there was a change in scenery. The once distinguishable contrasting extremes of light and darkness had merged. The abyss or void, as one could call it, was engulfed in a murky grey. How could one distinguish between light and darkness now? Soon, the threatening aura has caught up. Was it too late?
Was it destiny? Was this force destiny imposing upon you a choice that you must make? Or was this a visualization of one’s true uselessness hidden under the façade of being destined to ‘do something’ in an empty and meaningless world? Was it right for one to believe in destiny or not?
Perhaps it was not simply a distinction of light and darkness, but the mashing of both clashing energies that was creating this obscure conception of destiny.
The confusion is suffocating. The force is engulfing. Perhaps it’s something that can’t be escaped, but accepted.
RINGGGGGGG!!!!!!! A loud noise boomed from the small device on the nightstand beside your bed.
“AHHH!” a startled scream came out of your lips before your eyes snapped open as you tried to catch your breath. Your eyes then darted to the annoying contraption that resounded ceaselessly on the nightstand beside you. Picking up your cellphone, you switched off the alarm you had set the night before and dropped your head back down as you rested a hand over your face.
The morning light seeped through the window blinds, brightly illuminating your dark non-lit room. The birds sang like they habitually did in the mornings, and you were here on your own bed, awake as you always were, same time every morning during the weekdays.
“It was just a dream,” you said aloud with a relieved sigh.
Despite this short-lived relief that washed over you upon your realization that it was just a dream, confusion still plagued your mind. You did not know what to make of this immaterial and almost nonsensical dream.
‘What did this all mean?’
Could it be that destiny was catching up to you?
“I wonder where (Your Name) is. I’m worried about her. She hasn’t shown up to school since yesterday,” Teá muttered as she stared out the window from where she was seated in class.
One might ask why they were even bothered being so worried over you; however, it was only natural since they were the last people to have seen you, or so they thought. Regardless, it seemed odd that you would have skipped school when you were so concerned on getting back home early just because it was a school night. Something just did not seem to add up right.
“Yeah, who knows what might have happened,” Yugi added with concern before speculating the worst, “I hope she’s alright because it seems like everyone who comes in contact with my puzzle and I has always been put into immediate danger.”
“Oh, come on, Yug! Don’t be so hard on yourself there! Let’s pay her a visit after school and see if she’s alright!” Joey exclaimed in attempt to lighten his friend up.
“One problem, genius. We don’t know where she lives,” Tristan stated the obvious, rejecting his friend’s idea.
“Oh yeah, ya’ have a better idea than that, wise guy?! “ Joey retorted.
“Wherever she is I hope she’s alright,” Yugi muttered, speaking to the spirit inside him rather than to his friends.
Staring at the ceiling, your trail of thought was jumbled into a heap of unanswered questions. How could it be that life took a swift and abrupt turn in the oddest of ways? How has destiny been changed simply in a matter of hours on that fated day? Two days ago, it started out merely as an ordinary school day where your primarily role was a student who lived a simple life without some pre-determined destiny. Destiny was something one created for one’s self along the path called life. We, as individuals, were all born painters with empty canvases, and those empty canvases that represented our lives were to be painted by our hands. After all, we were responsible for drawing our own paths; we were creating our own roads and making our own life choices as diverse individuals. That was what you thought and still believed regardless of what had transpired. However, you could not help but consider that perhaps there was a certain road that must be followed; certain boundaries had to be kept. We were only allowed to paint our life road as far as the canvas allowed us. There was always limitation to the amount of control one might have. Perhaps destiny keeps us within those boundaries as to keep us from being led astray.
“Had a good nap?” a voice asked almost in an amused manner while your thoughts clashed.
It was the spirit. That spirit who claimed to be an ancient manifestation of what you were in your past life. It was that very day you met this spirit that your simple life goal of being happy and living a simple hassle-free life was destroyed. Your liveliness and fundamental beliefs on life were all jumbled up when you were informed you had to serve some pharaoh. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
“You. I thought what happened a couple of days ago was just some ridiculous nightmare. Guess not,” you chuckled bitterly before voicing out.
The ancient spirit of (Your Name) decided to emerge out of the relic on your arm in an intangible form just like the time you first met her. Ever since that day, you have desperately tried removing the silver bangle on your arm in an attempt to halt these crazy hallucinations, but the bangle refused to slip off. It was as though some force interfered and prevented you from removing said relic. Or actually, maybe you had no real desire to be rid of it? For the longest time, that bangle had become a part of you. It was a family heirloom that you had, for as long as you could remember. That very artifact preserved a side of you that wanted to believe in the events that were to occur. It made you desire to believe in a universe outside of rationality and to believe that you had a duty that you had no knowledge about.
The spirit’s translucent form hovered just a slight distance away from you as she eyed your empty expression.
“Listen. Perhaps it’s best you forget this for a little while. In time you will understand, but it seems like your mind is in distraught,” she voiced out, sympathetic at your bewilderment.
That was a first. Ever since the day you first met the spirit, she refused to stop speaking of all these crazy ancient fairytales and myths. Now, she was relieving you of it? For now at least, but for that, you were grateful just to acquire some peace and comfort away from this mess of fairytales.
“Yeah. You’re probably right.” you mumbled, “I feel like I’m going crazy. These hallucinations. You. Just everything. The human mind works in the strangest way.”
“Denial is not the answer. Forget not that life goes on no matter how you try to escape your destiny,” she advised again.
You grunted before sitting up in your bed. It has been hours that you’ve been staring at the ceiling, contemplating the subject matter that caused you so much confusion.
“I guess I agree with you a little. Moping on bed all day long probably isn’t the best way to spend life. I have school. It’s enough that I missed yesterday,” you knew exactly what she meant, but changed the context of this conversation. You refused to have any more discussions about destiny, for now at least.
“For now, I shall abide by your wishes of being left to create your own path, but when the time has come, I hope you will have come to understand the situation that we must face together,” she says with a small hopeful smile.
A small laugh was emitted from your lips. “Alright, spirit. Here’s a deal. I am confident to say that this craziness isn’t going to stop me from living my life as I have before. But I shall humor you from time to time by listening to your tales and cooperating when you require. So, do we have a deal?”
The spirit looked at your outstretched hand and the small smile that graced your lips. Was this a look of acceptance or was it a look of tolerance that was displayed on the face of her modern counterpart? Regardless of what that look was, it was definitely a start.
“Deal,” the ancient spirit agreed.
“Shoot! I’m so late! SPIRIT! Why the heck didn’t you tell me it was already friggin’ 11:30AM!” you yelled before jumping out of bed and running straight to the bathroom.
A small smile graced the spirit’s lips. You reminded her so much of herself, yet you two were so different, disconnected only in the centuries you both were from. This reminded her of those times the priests would reprimand her for being late to training. And yet another memory has slipped into her mind, filling up the missing pieces of the puzzle. This was going to be interesting, living with a host such as the modern(Your Name). Maybe the two might get along after all.
The noisy chatter in the class was as typical as it could ever be. It was lunchtime after all. There was mindless chatter from most of the students present; there were some who played duel monsters while others just observed the game. But there sat one who quietly minded his own matters as he furiously typed away at his laptop.
Seto Kaiba. CEO of the most prestigious gaming corporation in the world. What more was needed to be said? It was a wonder that he even attended school, despite having to run his fancy billion-dollar company.
‘Why do I even bother showing up to class? I can’t work in this mind-numbing room filled with pointless chatter and small talk. Well, I guess school’s almost over anyways. I might as well get some work done here and finish off programing my new duel disk system before taking off,’ Kaiba pondered to himself as his sapphire blue eyes scanned the chaotic classroom.
“And Yugi wins! Again!” Teá exclaimed.
“Hey, Yug! Tell me your secret! How is it that ya’ beat me every time?!” Joey cried out in frustration.
‘Hmph. That whimpering fool. It’s no surprise considering he is just a third-rate duelist. He couldn’t duel even if it was to save what little pride he has left, if he even has any. I don’t know what’s more pathetic, his dueling style or that obnoxious attitude of his. Oh, don’t forget his astounding stupidity as well.’
Kaiba’s eyes then shifted to a character that avoided any contact with anyone at all. The individual’s white tresses covered his face as he silently watched a duel that commenced. It was none other than, Ryou Bakura. Well, that miserable countenance of his was not very typical.
‘Something’s off about him. If I remember correctly, he acted rather suspiciously yesterday when some girl didn’t show up to school. Huh, what do I care? This is a waste of time. Lunch has been over five minutes ago. I have more important things to do than to sit here doing absolutely nothing, and if that sorry excuse of a teacher doesn’t show up within the minute, I’m leaving this repulsive place.’
Unfortunately for Kaiba, just as he considered leaving, the teacher leisurely strolled into class before putting down all his belongings on his desk.
‘Well, just fucking perfect.’
“Listen up class! I shall be assigning you to work in pairs today for your upcoming history project. Pay close attention as I will not be repeating these names again!” the teacher bellowed, gaining everyone’s attention.
‘Again, just fucking perfect,’ Kaiba thought in displeasure, glaring daggers at the instructor.
“Yugi Motou and Teá Gardner,” the teacher announced.
‘Well, how convenient. At least Yugi’s off my back. Anyone but Yugi and his team of dweebs,’ Kaiba thought to himself in relief.
“Joey Wheeler and Tristan Taylor,” the teacher continued.
‘Seems like luck is with me after all. Being stuck with either one of them would be tiresome, especially Wheeler.’
“(Your Name) and Seto Kaiba.”
‘Huh, isn’t that the missing girl? So I’m expected to pick up her pieces and do her work while she slacks off. This is unacceptable. I will do this pointless project myself after I have finished working on that duel disk,’ Kaiba thought before he finally packed all his belongings and slamming his suitcase shut.
Soon after, Kaiba rose from his seat and proceeded towards the classroom door. The teacher eyed Kaiba as he made his way towards the front of the class.
“Is there something wrong, Kaiba?” the teacher questioned.
“This is a waste of time. She’s not even here. There’s no reason I should waste my time here. I will submit that assignment before the deadline via e-mail,” Kaiba grunted before throwing the teacher a dirty look.
Kaiba proceeded to open the door, but before he had a chance to do so, the door swung open. If he were any closer, it would have hit him in the face. To the person on the other side of the door, they were just lucky that that did not happen, as Kaiba was definitely not someone one should mess with.
“Shit! I’m so late for class! I bet lunch is almost over as well!” you yelled to yourself as you grabbed your school bag and keys before throwing your front door open and scramming out immediately.
It did not take you too long to arrive at your destination at the speed you ran. You arrived at school in your frenzied state in no time, and as soon as you arrived in front of your classroom, you forcefully threw the door open.
“I’m here! Sorry I’m late!”
All eyes were now on you but the ones that caught your attention were those blue irritated ones. You were soon brought face-to-face with icy blue eyes that glared daggers at you, sending chills down your spine. And no, not the good kind, whatever that meant. Those chills were the kind you would get when some tall intimidating person stared you down, which was also happening right now.
“Uh… Sorry?” you chuckled nervously.
“Well, now she is, Mr. Kaiba. So I would appreciate if you two quietly return to your seats and spend classroom time to plan for the upcoming project,” the teacher suddenly said, as though he was talking to Kaiba about something prior to your barging in.
Confused about the situation, you just stared between the teacher and Kaiba. Kaiba’s glare never faltered as he redirected it to the teacher before striding back to his seat with a grace that was unique to Kaiba alone. If you thought about it, even when comparing Kaiba and the teacher, you would say Kaiba definitely had an air of charisma surrounding him that gave him that more respectable aura despite the power relations in the classroom. Then again, it seemed as though Kaiba could ruin any individual’s career as he pleased, making him the more dominant one in the social hierarchy.
You were soon brought out of your stupor when you heard someone clear his throat. The teacher sensed the confusion that was clear in your eyes.
“Miss (Last Name), I'd appreciate it if you went back to your seat. I’ve assigned you to be paired up with Mr. Kaiba to work on the upcoming project. So, feel free to ask Kaiba to fill you in on the details,” the teacher informed before returning to the board.
You nodded before facing the class as you walked towards your seat. As you were inspecting your classmates, you caught a glimpse of the looks of relief that washed over Yugi, Teá, Tristan and Joey’s faces. Yugi lightly smiled at you and you returned the smile as you advanced forward, passing by his seat. However, you were soon approaching dangerous waters. From the corner of your eye, you also noticed Ryou Bakura, but shockingly, he looked just as pleased to see you. Shortly, your eyes met his eyes, but you averted your gaze immediately, ignoring the albino altogether. After what happened that night, you were afraid of who he really was. For all you knew, he could have killed you if he truly desired. Although you thought there was the possibility that he was not actually himself when that happened, as was explained by his psychopathic ‘counterpart’, you were going to keep a safe distance for the time being.
Unbeknownst to you, Ryou’s eyes saddened considerably due to the coldness you displayed, although he could not blame you, considering his yami could have badly hurt you.
Instead of going to your seat, you brought your things over to Kaiba’s table, so that you both could begin brainstorming some ideas for the project. However, as you did so, you could not help but notice how coldly he stared at you. It was as though he hated everything around him and hated the fact that he was to be confined here, working on some project with someone like you. Unexpectedly, he was the first to speak and break the silence. between the both of you.
“Do you think it’s funny to be skipping school and putting others’ grades at stake? If you think you can slack off and I will pick up where you screw up, think again,” he said in a demeaning manner.
“Pardon me?” you asked, blinking at his rudeness.
“Listen here. I will work with you on this project simply because I don’t want to stoop to your grade level and jeopardize my grades or reputation. But next time you decide to slack off, just drop out of this class. I will not be tolerant of any screw ups,” he sneered aloofly.
Who did this guy think he is? Some big shot?! Well, yes, he was a big shot, but that did not give him the right to condemn others and treat you like you were beneath him.
“Excuse me, but that’s quite ironic for you to be saying, considering you’re always absent from class, Mr. I’m-So-Rich-And-Famous!” you retorted.
Azure eyes glared intently at you, and in response, you rolled your eyes.
“What, cat got your tongue?” you spat.
“I don’t have time to waste on someone with the likes of you,” he countered.
“Well, neither do I,” you responded.
“Well, the sooner we get started and stop this pointless bantering, the sooner we won’t have to deal with each other,” he snapped back as he took out his notes, flipping through the pages all in attempt to block you out.
“Seto…” you heard a voice in your head whisper.
It was the spirit. Her mind seemed restless as she whispered his name again as though she was trying to remember something that was once lost in the depths of time.
‘Hey, spirit. Are you ok?’ you asked quietly, communicating with her through your mind.
‘I’m sorry. He just looks so much like him. I think it is him…’ the spirit mumbled, but then disappeared in your cognizance. Perhaps she needed some time to herself and you ultimately decided to discuss it later because clearly you were not off in your own world. At least, the jerk in front of you would not let you have the time of day if he caught you daydreaming.
“So, are you going to stare off in space all day?”
Sighing, you decided to ignore the sarcastic rude arrogant rich CEO in front of you before you flipped through the pages of your textbook.
‘Hmm, Ancient Egypt… Interesting. Maybe we have found our topic. Of course, that’s only if the almighty Seto Kaiba approves of this topic, ‘ you wondered in your mind before mindlessly reading the text.
A/N: And that was it. So, this was more of a Kaiba-centric chapter since I did no mentioning of him in the earlier chapters, save his sexy ancient Egyptian past self heheh ^_^ So I will be going more in depth about the past relationships that the ancient (Your Name) held with the pharaoh, Akefia and Priest Seto. I’ve been trying to keep those undercover, just so that my readers will sympathize with her feelings and confusion, but all will be revealed gradually. The first quarter of this chapter was talking about the abstract realities and insecurities that the ancient (Your Name) and modern (Your Name) face and how those ideologies collide. I definitely hope to improve and make some tweaks to this chapter though, and if I ever find the time, I will! Well, hope you guys enjoy this chapter and feedback is appreciated!