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Chapter 5

                Having run as fast as his body allowed him, Yami found himself out of breath and sick with worry, when he finally approached a narrow street, lit only partially by the pale moonlight.  Hearing voices coming from that direction, he moved closer, trying to focus on the sight before him.  Though in shadow, he knew that there were people gathered there.  Squinting his eyes, he cautiously continued onward.  The figures he saw…there were about half a dozen….  They were….seemingly overpowering someone….one person in particular….a girl….  It was….Teana!  He had found her!  She was there!  Among them!  

                For a brief moment, Yami could only gaze in horror as she was being threatened, forcefully restrained by a group of malicious looking men, ruthless thieves by the looks of it!  Quickly studying them he noticed that they were such filthy men as well; each of them drooling like a rabid dog!  And yet despite their poor hygiene, as seen by their shabby, matted hair, or the unshaven beards and whiskers that a few of them wore, it was evident that they were all strong…..  Even through their loose clothing Yami became aware of each thief’s muscular build, dimly noting that perhaps staying fit was a necessity in their way of life, if one would call it that, where back stabbing could both literally and metaphorically could occur at any time!  Or, it was possible that these men had escaped captivity, hard labor that criminals were sentenced to in the middle of the desert.  Either way these crooks were evidently still in their prime; perhaps some only slightly neared middle age. 

                But it wasn’t their ages or their physiques that concerned Yami; even though he was sure that their brute strength would perhaps double his own!  It wasn’t their heights that fazed him either, though nearly all of them surpassed Yami in this respect as well.  No…  It was their eyes….  Within them he could see an awful, bloodthirsty glint, eyes that were visible, seemingly unnatural, even in the dark of night!  Again, just staring into them told Yami what these men were capable of….  He wanted to get Teana away from them, to get their disgusting hands off her!  He hated the fact that they had dared to lay even a finger on her!  Their ominous cackling….  The weapons that they held before her….  All of this mixed with his already conflicted emotions; Yami could stand no more of it!  Yes, he had watched the scene unfold before him for long enough!  It was time to take action! 

                                “Let her go!”  Yami demanded as he walked towards them.

                The men turned to face him, as did Teana, despite her restricted movements.  She was being held by one especially large man; a cutthroat thug was more like it, who had his arms securely, and rather tightly, positioned around her neck.  Yami then saw that her terrified expression had grown softer at the sight of him, her eyes begging, pleading with him to help her!  That single glance, the fright that they had instilled in her….  Having just experienced a touch of this emotion himself, seeing Teana respond in such a manner was more than Yami could bear!  He could feel it….  The anger inside him pulsating, boiling….  But the thieves only laughed; unimpressed by the foolish hooded young man who had had the nerve to approach them when it was clear that he was out numbered!  

                                “Hmph!  What’s it to you boy?!”  One of the men asked him.

                He drew even closer to Yami, revealing a sharp blade that had been hidden inside of his clothing.  The thief then proceeded to lunge towards him, shocked to see that Yami hadn’t flinched, that he hadn’t even made an attempt to move out of the way.  Yami just continued to face him head on, his eyes showing no signs of fear.  At the last possible second, Yami easily maneuvered past the man, not even stopping to looking behind, as the thug crashed face first into the ground!  Yami, however, focused only on the man that held Teana. 

                                “I said, let her go!”  Yami growled.  He attempted to control himself…..  He indeed found it increasingly difficult to maintain his demeanor.  His anger….  It was beginning to eat away at him!  

                                “Careful now….”  Teana’s captor warned.  He tightened his grip around her neck even further as Yami looked on in anguish.  She let out a cry….  He watched as she swallowed hard, as she wheezed.  There was no doubt that the man was cutting off a large portion of her air supply!  “You wouldn’t want to risk me hurting this pretty little thing, would you?  Just one swift clean crack….  That’s all it would take.”  The man smirked.
                                “What do you want?!”  Yami challenged.
                                “Anything of value.  The girl had nothing to offer us so we were willing to accept….another form of payment.”  The man said with a menacing grin.  “Yes…  She is lovely isn’t she?”  Once again, Yami found himself completely horrified as he gazed at the man slobbering over Teana, licking her cheek as she struggled to face away.

                                *That animal!*  Yami yelled from within. 

                He felt himself slipping….  He was now having real trouble suppressing his emotions, the force of his rage!  What was wrong with him?!  Why couldn’t his mind simply come up with some sort of plan, some sort of strategy to overcome them?  He knew that he could do so with ease under normal circumstances!  But no, these weren’t normal circumstances…..  He couldn’t risk Teana’s safety!  These men were serious….  Dangerous!  They would kill her without a second thought, without even a hint of remorse if Yami wasn’t careful!  He had to be careful…. 

                And yet, deep inside, Yami was seething!  For the first time in his life he felt the desire to kill, to rip these men apart, limb from limb!  But he looked towards Teana again, who was whimpering, too afraid to move, too scared to even try to speak!  Unfortunately, Yami knew that she was at their mercy and theirs alone.  Though he hated it, despised all of it, the entire situation, the only thing he could do to ensure Teana’s freedom was to cooperate.... 

                Hidden from within the sleeve of his modest attire, Yami dug out a solid gold bracelet and calmly threw it to the ground.  The men gasped, each marveling at the treasure that he had unveiled!  They then looked at Yami in utter disbelief; wondering how one such as him could possibly possess such riches.  “It’s yours.”  Yami told them.  “All I ask is that you release her at once!”

                With a nod from the man that held Teana, one of the other thieves walked towards Yami, kneeling to retrieve the bracelet.  As he then stood up, he faced Yami directly, staring straight into his eyes.  Even in the midst of all that was occurring, Yami still showed no fear, not from him anyway!  There was something else too….  Something about the expression in Yami’s face….  That strange sense of pride…  The way that he looked down upon him and the other thieves; how he loathed them….  It puzzled the thief….  It angered him….and in response he had quickly stepped forward and punched Yami violently in the stomach!  With a groan of pain, Yami collapsed.  The unexpected blow had reduced him to his knees!  His knees….  “Release her NOW!”  Yami screamed through clenched teeth. 

                                “Release her, he says”  Teana’s captor mocked.  He laughed again “All right then.  I suppose I am feeling generous tonight.  The little wench is all yours now!” the man exclaimed.  In that instant he had indeed released his grip on Teana, only to roughly fling her into a heap of wooden scraps that had been gathered together among the wall!  Yami’s eyes widened!  In less then a second, he noted that Teana hadn’t moved after she had collided with the debris, the trash that they had thrown her into!  They had dared to treat her in such a manner…..!? 

                                “DAMN YOU!!”  Yami bellowed as a sudden burst of air, a violent gust had appeared, seemingly coming….from him! 

                That was it….  Yami had reached his limit….  The very peak of his tolerance for even the very sight of the vicious beasts in front of him!  These monsters!!  Monsters…..  Before he could comprehend what was happening, Yami had felt something inside of him snap!  He felt his rage over take him, consume him….a mass of energy flowed throughout his body, reaching every part of him!

                The men could only look on in complete and utter shock as they struggled to hold their positions, to stand their ground against the dust and sand flying towards them.  Fighting the windstorm that had emerged, they watched as the hooded young man was shrouded in a blinding light!  As it began to diminish they continued to look on as the fierceness of….what could only be described as a miniature squall had managed to blow the covering off his head!

                                “In the name of Ra…..It’s HIM!”  One of the men cried.  With a trembling hand, he pointed in particular to the glowing golden eye that had briefly appeared on Yami’s forehead.

                Yes, Yami had revealed himself….but at that moment he could care less….  A small part of him that could still manage to think clearly amongst the chaos, relished in the recognition, better yet the panic, the hysteria, on the men’s faces!  He found it rather humorous, entertaining really, that they had all become cowardly fools before his very eyes…..  And yet, the majority of Yami’s mind was in turmoil.  He struggled to contain this new power… resist the enticing temptation to use it to tear these men to shreds….!  And he knew he could….  Any control that he had had over himself, had vanished the moment they had hurt Teana.  He now truly had no fear!  There were no moralistic rationalizations left inside that could stop him from carrying through, from giving in to the fury!  He was lost within his emotions….

                Seemingly frozen in place, the terrified men looked on.  They watched as Yami’s eyes narrowed….as he tilted his head downward….  And yet Yami continued to stare back at them, eerily, almost as if he were looking straight into their very souls!  Yami then proceeded to speak….  Though he spoke above only a whisper….and what he did say was buried within the howling wind.  One thing was certain, however…..  These strange words, these syllables, were flowing out of his mouth at an alarming rate!  He had begun murmuring….the incantation….

                In mere moments Teana had became aware of herself.  She felt her body beginning to awaken, to stir as she slowly began to open her eyes.  She was on the ground….lying on her back….  Lying in a pile of…. wood?  Yes, even aside from the darkness of night, some of the wooden boards and planks above her were obstructing her view.  She then noted that a strange and unusually strong wind was blowing….  This was apparent by some of the wisps of her hair that had begun tickling her nose and the grains of sand, which rested and continued to accumulate on her face and arms.  Perhaps that was even the cause of her awakening; that or the sound…  The whirling of air….the noise banging against the fragments that were positioned around her.  The source of it all…..  It appeared to be coming from…whatever it was that was occurring before her!  If she could only rise up, if she could focus!  But her head…it was pounding!  She remembered it forcefully smacking into something….and then…..  She could only assume that she had blacked out! 
                At that moment, she felt the sting from another part of her body as well, but her mind was too clouded to even figure out exactly where.  Bringing a hand to her forehead she slowly rubbed her temples, moaning.  And then suddenly she remembered everything!  Running….  Stumbling across the thieves….  They had restrained her….  Threatened her!  Before…..

                                “Yami….”  She said to herself.  “Yami!”  She called louder as she forced herself to a sitting position.  Moving the scraps out of her way, she began to look frantically in all directions until finally she saw him….  He was still standing there….where she had last seen him, and yet the wind that she felt, it was encircling him, emanating from him!  *What’s happening?*  Teana thought as she began to grow frightened.  The thieves were still there as well.  They were all petrified, unmoving….  They simply stood there with their arms raised as if they were shielding themselves from….Yami?  Yes, Yami seemed angry….  The look on his face…  No…..  He was far beyond feelings of anger!  His expression; a complete contrast to the one of warmth and fondness that he had given her only a short time before, made even Teana shiver.  What was he doing?  What was he saying…..? 

                As she looked towards the ground she then noticed an ominous black mist that had begun to envelope the surrounding area.  It was moving….approaching the men, approaching….her too!  “Magic….”  Teana gasped as she inched closer to the wall, away from the threatening fog that crackled with dark energy.  As she did so, however, she winced, feeling a sharp pain in her leg.  She looked down to see that there was a deep gash near her left ankle, probably caused by the sharp and splintered ends of the wood that she had fallen into.  But she ignored that thought, ignored her pain.  Her only concern was Yami.... 

                What she was seeing….this sorcery….  Was all of this Yami’s doing?  Whatever his intentions were, Teana knew that she had to stop him!  She couldn’t let him give in to this….this darkness!  She was about to call out to him when she saw a light in the distance.  That direction…..  It was coming from….the south!  Near the palace!  She had once heard about a temple, south of the palace.  What was kept there was a mystery….but whatever it was she sensed that Yami was summoning it, calling it forth…..  Unless she could do something Yami would cross an invisible line!  He would actually kill these men in cold blood! 

                                “Yami!”  She cried.  “Yami!  No!”  He didn’t seem to hear her.  As the light she had seen flew towards him, something began to materialize, to slowly take shape behind him!  Teana felt the need to get closer!  But the black mist was growing thicker….  Something about it made her chest hurt, it made it difficult for her to breathe…..  But her discomfort appeared to be nothing compared to what the thieves were experiencing.  She watched as some of the men had begun to stagger, seemingly lightheaded, from what Teana could tell.  A few others that were far enough away, proceeded to use the wall as support.  They tightly latched on to their clothing too, near their hearts in particular.  Those remaining, who were much nearer to Yami, were already on their knees.  At first glance it would appear that they were groveling to him, finally paying the respect that they failed to show him previously.  But a closer observation revealed that the men were actually severely weakened, gasping, breathing deeply, inhaling whatever oxygen that was left to them in this….mystical torture chamber!  Teana actually began to pity the thieves.  In fact, the entire scene was just too difficult for her to watch!  But above all she felt scared….  She feared not only for what Yami would do, but what this, all of this would do to him as well!

                Yami had finished chanting…..  Only moments remained......  Soon, a real monster would appear to crush these men….to punish them….to make them pay…..  He felt his lips form into a smile at that thought, as he allowed himself a slight chuckle at their expense…..  And yet despite the satisfaction that he was beginning to experience, he could still feel himself burning with a fierce wrath that refused to be quelled!  Everything that was happening….  What he was doing….  He felt almost as if it were occurring to someone else, as if he himself were watching the events unfold!  But no, he knew all of this was very real….  His mind was flooded with nothing but horrible, brutal images of the men before him and their impending demise…..  Yes….  They deserved it after what they had done to Teana……  Teana…..  

                                “Teana….”  Yami said softly as he had glanced in her direction.  She was awake!  As he gazed deep into her eyes, in her face, he saw her terror, the same fright that he had seen minutes before, when she had been held captive by the men that he wanted so badly to slaughter….!  Or so he thought…..  As he continued to stare into her face he had finally gotten hold of his senses.  He was almost surprised at what was going on, horrified was more like it!  The enclosing mist…..  The flickering bolts of light…..  And Teana…..  She was there, sitting near the wall…..  Her hand near her chest….  She was seemingly in pain…  She was simply trying to endure the-….  No!  He understood it now!  That look of fear that she had worn had returned….  But this time it wasn’t because of the men!  It was because of him!

                Yami had to look away…..  He couldn’t bare the thought that she was looking at him in the same way that she had looked at these savage crooks….  The thieves!  Even they were on the ground, slowly being consumed by the darkness that he had called forth…that he had summoned…..  He then remembered something else…  He began to turn his head backward, almost dreading to look behind him.  But no, there wasn’t time for that!  He had to regain control!  He had to make it all stop!  If he didn’t then Teana too would be-  Yami began to concentrate.  He struggled to contain the energies, the ferocity of the power he had unleashed!  As he continued his labored efforts, he felt himself growing dizzy.  The magic that he was using, much less the abrupt recalling of it all, was beginning to take its toll on his body!  It was too much!  And yet he couldn’t give in to it.  He had to be sure to retract every particle of it…..!

                Yami felt relief wash over him as he witnessed the black mist slowly beginning to disappear from the surrounding area.  At that same moment, he also knew that whatever it was that he had summoned was no longer at his heels.  The men’s senses had begun to clear as well.  They groaned briefly, trying to recover, to take hold of their weary bodies.  But afterwards, without another word, they had all run away screaming in absolute terror!  Only Teana remained.  Teana….  Giving her one more apologetic look, Yami felt himself slowly falling forward, unable to sustain his balance any longer.  Even during his plummet, he felt his body beginning to numb….  The contents of his mind dimming….  The last thing he remembered before hitting the ground, was hearing Teana calling his name….followed by the sight of the Millennium Puzzle tumbling out of his cloak pocket…. 

Chapter 6