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rose_of_pollux in 20_cities

Two posts: Folgen Sie Ihrem Traum Chapter 21, parts 1 and 2 (Yu-Gi-Oh, Seto/Téa, #15 and #9)

Title: Folgen Sie Ihrem Traum (Follow Your Dream); Chapter 21: The Jackal's Curse, part 1
Author: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Pairing: Seto Kaiba/Téa Gardner (Anzu Mazaki)
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Theme: 15; Madrid, Spain
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine (except for the OC dancers), and the story is
Warnings: none
Rating: PG13


Hours passed by. Caerii did not talk to Téa; she merely avoided her gaze. Apparently, she was feeling guilty for putting Téa through this, but not guilty enough to let her go. And all Téa could do was go over the chain of events of the previous month and try to figure out where exactly everything had gone so wrong.

There was a knock on the door, and Caerii opened it to allow Aurus to enter.

“What’s up?” she asked.

“Hesper said for me to take over here while you go eat dinner,” he replied.

“Right,” Caerii replied. Without so much as a word to Téa, she left the room.

Aurus turned to Téa now, who seemed even miserable than before. She propped her face with her hands, staring a spot on the floor.

Et tu…?” she thought, miserably. And to think that he had all but admitted that he had a crush on her…

Aurus crossed to the balcony, looking into the night.

“Do you think you can climb down the fire escape?” he asked.

Téa’s head shot up, hardly daring to believe what she was hearing. Why would he turn against the troupe, not to mention his own cousin? She glanced at Aurus, who glanced back at her.

“But… I thought you… I mean, why would you...?”

“Why would I help you?” asked Aurus. “I dunno; call it a whim.”

“They’re going to be furious if they find out that you helped me escape,” said Téa, crossing over to the balcony.

“Yeah, I know,” he agreed. “That was why I was wondering if you’d let me go with you…”

Téa blinked. She knew that Seto would be furious is she let Aurus come along, but she couldn’t abandon him—not after he was helping her escape. With a smile, she nodded.

“I think if we pool in all of our money, we should have enough to get out of here,” said Aurus, handing Téa her suitcases; they had come with the troupe’s luggage, so he saw the opportunity to return them to her.

“Oh, we don’t need money,” she said. “I have a friend waiting by the docks; he can take us out of here.”

“Do you mean that he has tickets on the next flight out of here?”

“I would assume so; he owns it,” she replied, as they made their way down the fire escape. “He’s the man who met us back at the meet-and-greet: Seto Kaiba. He was at the hotel in Tokyo, too—remember?”

“Yeah… hey; he was the guy who looked like the statue head!” Aurus replied, his eyes widening as he recalled the statue.

“Did he?” asked Téa, trying to change the subject.

********************************

The wait by the docks was long and agonizing for Seto. Darkness had begun to fall, but she had not arrived. Where was Téa? Why wasn’t she here yet? He knew that it was all too possible for the Rare Hunters to have caught up with her.

And yet, he shook the thought from his mind. She would be alright; he would have to trust in that (in spite of the being a difficult task for him). His main problem would be to figure out what it was he was going to say to her; it wouldn’t be so simple as to greet her with opened arms and say that he accepted her feelings; that was a step too forward. But he could tell her of how he had been so concerned; there was no harm in that. And perhaps something could come from that; they would have to wait and see.

“Kaiba? Kaiba!”

He had to force himself to not turn around too quickly; he wasn’t sure why he was maintaining such a façade, but he did so all the same. However, the momentary feeling that had come over him upon hearing Téa’s voice (which had been vague reminiscent of happiness) vanished as he saw that she had someone in tow. He recognized the young man as the one whom he had been introduced to in Chicago; it was bad enough that she had brought someone else, let alone the mastermind’s cousin. Seto turned away, trying to hide his disgusted expression. And to think that he had come very close to saying something to her… Well, she had ruined it for herself; he wasn’t saying a word about his feelings in front of another person.

Téa could sense what he was thinking.

“Kaiba, you have to understand,” she said. “If it hadn’t been for Aurus, I never would’ve made it here today; I told the troupe about what Kayser was doing, and they all turned on me!”

“Why on Earth would you tell them!?” asked Seto, exasperated. Clearly, she wouldn’t be learning her lesson anytime soon; what would it take to convince her once and for all that trusting others was too foolish?

All the same, he attempted to keep an open mind as he led them both to his jet; Téa was narrating the story of what had happened between London and Dublin. They were halfway to Madrid when Aurus added in how he thought that their dance steps were strange, but never would have guessed that they were dancing in Morse code.

“Téa really opened everyone’s eyes, even if they didn’t agree with her,” he said. “She’s quite a girl; don’t you think so?” Seto cast him a cold glare in reply, and he turned back to Téa. “You’re going home to Domino to hang out with friends like this…?”

“They’re not all like him,” she informed Aurus.

“And we’re not going to Domino,” said Seto. “I tracked Kayser’s cell phone signal to Rome; after refueling the jet in Madrid, we’ll take him by surprise.”

“No wonder he vanished so quickly…” mused Aurus. “But Rome wasn’t on our itinerary; what’s he doing there?”

“Undoubtedly meeting with more of the Rare Hunters,” Seto replied. “Now if you don’t mind, I prefer to have absolute silence while I’m flying this jet.”

Aurus glanced at Téa with raised eyebrows, who shrugged in reply, as if to say, “You’ll get used to him…

“He’s the one, wasn’t he?” Aurus asked, softly, so that Seto couldn’t hear over the roar of the jet. “He was the one you were thinking of all this time?”

Téa didn’t reply to this, but she didn’t have to; the look in her eyes told Aurus that his suspicions were correct. He turned away now, looking out the window of the craft, absent-mindedly tapping the Anubis medallion around his neck, bored.

But their arrival in Madrid led to an interesting revelation as they passed by a newspaper stand: a newspaper featuring the headline, “Famosa Compañía de Baile Forzó a Disolver después De Combate de Hotel.

“What does that say?” asked Téa, reading it.

‘Famed Dance Troupe Forced to Disband after Hotel Fight,’” Seto translated, a satisfied expression crossing his face. “Apparently, some Rare Hunters showed up in the Dublin hotel last night; I’m guessing that they were sent to pick you up. And when you vanished, all madness broke loose. And it somehow got loose about how ‘one member of the troupe’ had uncovered some underhanded secrets. Kayser was unavailable at the time, though he later called, saying that the Dancers of the Elements have officially disbanded and all performances are cancelled. So, that’s done it; Kayser’s lost his cover. There’s nothing that can save him from being exposed as the mastermind behind this dancing scam.”

“But what’s going to happen to the dancers?” asked Téa.

“Why do you care?” asked Seto. “They obviously didn’t care about how they were aiding this loser--”

“Kaiba, his cousin is standing right here…” she reminded him.

“Don’t bother,” said Aurus. “You have every right to be upset with him. So am I; that was why I started the fight.”

“What!?” asked Téa.

“Yeah,” he said, with a sheepish grin. “Someone had called my cousin, and he must’ve sent the Rare Hunters there. I sort of tripped them up and pinned it on someone else. That was when I convinced Caerii to swap places so that I could get you out of there.”

Seto rolled his eyes; even he had to admit that sounded like something Joey Wheeler would’ve done.



Title: Folgen Sie Ihrem Traum (Follow Your Dream); Chapter 21: The Jackal's Curse, part 2
Author: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Pairing: Seto Kaiba/Téa Gardner (Anzu Mazaki)
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Theme: 9; Rome, Italy
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine (except for the OC dancers), and the story is
Warnings: none
Rating: PG13


“But if the Rare Hunters are still in Dublin, what’s Kayser doing in Rome?” Téa was asking as they finally arrived in the historic Italian city several hours later.

“I think I know,” said Aurus, and he pulled out his Anubis pendant. “A day before Téa showed up, he kept asking me for this pendant back. I thought he was crazy; he told me that it was a hideous trinket that was some sort of ancient costume jewelry. But I think he met with someone just before he asked me for it; he was a man with dirty blond hair and a nasty-looking expression.”

“Bandit Keith,” said Téa, exchanging a glance with Seto, who nodded in agreement. “He must want the pendant; I expected something like this with Anubis involved… Where did you say your cousin got it from? Didn’t this used to belong to an opera singer who said it was cursed?”

“Yep, that’s right,” he agreed. “I think the woman who owned it was named by some Signora Gudiccelli; after discovering that it was cursed, she gave it some researcher named Dr. Vulsor, who passed it down to her descendants. A lady named Aranea Vulsor gave the pendant to my cousin.”

“What!?” Seto and Téa both exclaimed.

Aurus blinked. “You know her, too?”

“Unfortunately. But this helps to explain how that Carmen Sandiego act-alike became involved with the Rare Hunters,” said Seto. “Vulsor must’ve known something about the pendant, told the Hunters about it, and gave it to Kayser.”

“And he gave it to me so that I’d just lug it around everywhere for him,” Aurus finished. “I wonder what’s so cursed about it…”

“Well, I’ve heard of Signora Gudiccelli,” said Téa. “She was involved with some fiasco in a Paris opera house a couple hundred years ago. Maybe one of her descendants lives here in Rome; he or she could tell us about what happened.”

“And that’s why Kayser is here, too,” concluded Seto, as they passed by the Coliseum. He checked his handheld computer, searching in the inline directory. “He must be desperate to find the pendant; perhaps he wants to find out why Keith wants it so badly. Here it is… The Gudiccellis do live here; Kayser might be trying to find them, too.”

“So we need to get there first,” Téa finished.

There was no time to stop and savor the city, however much Téa wanted to try some of the authentic Italian cuisine; they had to reach the Gudiccelli villa first. Fortunately, the villa looked calm and normal upon their arrival; Kayser had, apparently, not been able to find it first.

Téa was the one who explained their situation to the young lady who opened the door. She regarded the pendant with some apprehension as Aurus held it out to her; clearly, she knew something about it, but was reluctant to allow the cursed pendant into the house.

“But you still insist upon knowing,” she said, with a shake of her head. Finally, she relented, and allowed them inside. She offered the three of them refreshments as she told them her story. “The portrait you see on the wall is of my ancestor, Carlotta Gudiccelli; that is her in costume, in her glory days as the lead soprano of the Opera Populaire. I assume you’ve heard the famous legend of the ghost who haunted the theater?”

Téa and Aurus nodded, though Seto rolled his eyes.

“The ghost drove my ancestor from the theater,” she said. “After several years, she came back in the hopes of returning to her former glory.”

“And based on the way you described that, I can assume it didn’t work out that way,” said Seto, emotionless.

“Indeed, it did not,” she agreed. “Someone gifted that very same pendant to her. After a while, she claimed that it bewitched her mind…”

Again with the hocus-pocus…?” Seto thought, derisively.

“Apparently, it was the work of Anubis himself,” she went on, dropping her voice to a whisper. “There were lapses in her memory, and she was doing things without her own awareness. And there were voices… She would always hear strange voices. It was terrible, Signor Kaiba. But it all ended after she gave away the pendant. She never spoke about what exactly happened that made her realize the true horror of what was happening to her; she as reluctant to even admit that she was bewitched in the first place. It is still a mystery as to what exactly happened; there were a lot of secrets kept about it, Signor. They are secrets which no one must know.”

Unbidden to the CEO’s mind came the hazy memories from the time that Anubis had allegedly possessed him. He hadn’t fully grasped what had happened that fateful day; perhaps his mind, in his relentless quest for rationality, had refused to let him admit that he had been possessed. And yet, the lapses in memory and the strange voices that the woman described seemed hauntingly familiar…

“Aurus, you haven’t been having gaps in your memory or hearing voices, have you?” asked Téa, concerned.

He shook his head, wide-eyed, still holding the pendant in his hand.

Seto didn’t want to think too much of Gudiccelli’s story, in spite of how similar it seemed to his own. After all, Anubis was gone; perhaps that was why Aurus wasn’t seeing any signs of the jackal-headed creature.

And yet the jeweled eyes of the medallion glared back at him. But that soon became unimportant as a frantic pounding was inflicted upon the villa door. Gudiccelli rose to answer it, but Seto held out an arm to stop her.

“Is something wrong, Signor?” she asked.

“I’ll bet on it,” he replied, his eyes narrowed. “Gardner, take a look through the window.”

She did so, confirming his suspicions; Kayser had finally found his way to the villa, with a squad of Rare Hunters in tow.


This chapter will be cross-posted (as one part) to 30_nights and http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4336463/21/

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