Disclaimer: I don’t own Yu-Gi-Oh! Only Yami’s father and Yugi’s parents are mine.
Chapter One- Land and Sea
It is the same old fairytale. The innocence is the light and the shadow is the dark. Universally accepted, never questioned. No one asks or wonders if the dark is the innocence. Why is dark considered evil, everything that the light is not? Such a thing isn't so because a dark soul can indeed be innocent, as this tale will tell.
The ocean was a sparkling blue with foam capping each cresting wave. It is a sight humans see often and take for granted. The young man sighed dreamily. Even though he had lived in the sea all his life, the surface is a spot he enjoys every time he visits it, despite the fact that merpeople are forbidden to go above the waves.
The salty ocean breeze ruffled through his tri-colored spiky hair and he closed his ruby eyes in pleasure of the wind blowing across his face. He could have stayed there forever, but he knew they would be looking for him soon. Reluctantly, he slipped down below the water, allowing his eyes to adjust to the dim lighting.
"Yami!" a familiar voice called. Turning in the direction of the voice, he saw his younger brother, Bakura, swimming towards him, his long white hair billowing gently behind him.
"Yami, where in the Seven Seas have you been?" the youth demanded, sounding more like the older brother as he placed his hands on his scaled hips. His sapphire tail twitched in the current.
"I was...swimming among the coral," Yami lied.
Bakura gave him a look, disbelief evident in his chocolate brown eyes. "Right," he scoffed. "Anyway, Father wants to see you. Right now."
"Alright." The tri-colored haired teen flicked his shimmering blue-violet tail, propelling him towards his home, the castle. Yami and Bakura, as well as Mai and Malik, were children of the Sea King and very much desired by the rest of the kingdom.
Yami swam up to the double doors of the throne room and knocked, using the giant door knocker.
"Come in," an authorative voice commanded.
Yami pushed the doors open and swam up to the wizened old man that sat on a throne on the opposite end of the room. "Father," he said, bowing to the merman.
"My son. You've become a handsome young man. You're, what now, fifteen?"
Yami giggled at his father's teasing. "Sixteen, Father."
"Of course. And that is why I called you today. I'm happy to announce that you're soon to be married."
"That's wonderful news." Yami gave his father a hug. "Who am I to marry?"
The merboy's smile dropped from his face in a nanosecond and was replaced with a look of horror. "Not him, Father. Please, not him."
"Be reasonable, Yami. Seto is a respectable businessman. You've heard of the wall that connects our ocean with the Pacific, right? Well, Seto is the one that makes sure that wall doesn't crack. He has dozens of merfolk working for him. I was ecstatic when Seto's father suggested that you and his son should be betrothed."
"Why am I marrying a male? I thought it was a mermaid."
"I have two other sons and a daughter to produce heirs. This match will benefit from fame. Now, I've arranged for Seto and his father to come by tonight so I expect you to be here to meet your beloved."
"Yes, Father." As the prince left the room, a sense of frustration and helplessness washed over him. Seto, in his opinion, was a power-hungry merman and cared only for power. Marrying Yami would provide an opportunity for absolute power. Even though he never met Seto, he heard of his business tales and therefore, disliked him for them. His dislike of Seto held no weight and made him feel powerless to do anything.
Furthermore, the two of them were not a perfect match. While Seto care only for power and material things, Yami cared for the sea and all its creatures. Yami could sense the sea's moods in ways that baffled other merfolk. Oddly enough, sometimes Yami's mood and the sea's were in synch. Therefore, how could he love someone that didn't show the same compassion toward the ocean?
"Just what do you think you're doing?" a jeering voice called out.
Yami paused in his swim. He suddenly became aware of how close to the surface he was. Apparently, his body went into autopilot with the destination being the surface. Looking down, he saw his youngest brother Malik below him, a smirk on his face.
"You almost went to the surface big brother," he said as Yami came down to his level. "Good thing I stopped you."
"Yeah," Yami muttered. "Good thing."
"By the way, I just heard about your engagement. I'm absolutely jealous. I wanted to marry Kaiba."
"If I wasn't already engaged to him, I'd say you can have him."
"Well, at least there's Anzu. Father's already approved. When the time comes, we'll get married."
"Good for you. Listen, I've got to prepare to meet Kaiba tonight, so I'll catch you later."
Malik nodded before flicking his deep purple tail in a goodbye gesture. Yami swam off, feeling frustrated again. Malik had Anzu, Bakura had Isis, and Mai had Duke. Why didn't he have a girl like his brothers? Of course, they couldn't marry until Mai did and they turned sixteen, but that wasn't the point. It was about his unfair engagement.
Certain that no one was looking, the spiky-haired merboy quickly headed up, breaking the calm surface of the sea. The sky was ablaze with the occurring sunset. The sinking sun turned the sky vivid colors of blue, pink, purple, orange, and yellow.
As Yami admired the scene, movement caught his eye. Turning, he saw a ship, floating in the water. Ducking behind a rock, the merboy watched as it drew closer. Yami was scared and interested at the same time. He had never seen humans before, but the supposedly horror tales of them that spread through the kingdom were well-known.
Yami's interest soon overcame his fear when a human appeared on the boat's side closest to him. His mouth dropped.
'He looks just like me! And he's...so beautiful.'
The human did, indeed, look like him, except for a few details. There were no golden streaks in his hair, save for the bangs. His eyes were large and purple instead of slanted and ruby red. His eyes and innocent face certainly gave the boy a beautiful appearance.
The look-a-like stood at the boat's side alone for a few minutes before a blond-haired human joined him. Yami swam close enough to the boat to hear them, but not be seen.
"So, Yugi. What are ya thinkin'?"
"I'm thinking that this spot would be perfect my birthday party tomorrow night."
"Not in the palace?"
"No, Jou. That's Mother and Father's idea. Grandpa felt that I'd rather have it on the sea with just my closest friends. He was right. I feel so carefree out here."
"Well, if you feel that way, I'll be here with you to make it a birthday you won't forget."
Yami smiled as he slipped beneath the waves. So, the boy's name was Yugi. And he was a prince, too. All thoughts of falling for a girl had vanished. His heart now belonged to the human prince and he'd be back to that spot tomorrow night in order to see him again.
Chapter Two- The Meeting
As Yami approached the castle, he was grabbed by his sister, Mai and dragged to his room. He didn't hear a thing she was saying as she spruced him up for the evening with Seto. His thoughts were on Yugi and how to properly meet him. Yugi was an adorable human and so much like himself. So pure, so innocent, so...
"Yami, are you listening?"
"Sorry, Mai. I was preoccupied."
"I should say so. I was saying that you're lucky to be betrothed to Kaiba and you need to be polite to him."
"But, I don't like him."
"You never even met him, so be nice. He can't wait to meet you." Giving his hair one final stroke, Mai pushed him to the throne room doors. Planting a kiss on his cheek, she said, "Go get him, brother." before swimming off.
Squaring his shoulders, the innocent dark pushed the doors open to reveal his father, another merman that had to be Mr. Kaiba, and a boy about his age. That had to be Seto.
Seto had an icy calm facade that was well-matched with his deep blue eyes. His hair was the same color as Bakura's eyes and a tail as white as the foam on the sea. He was handsome, there was no doubt, but Yami knew a certain human that was much cuter.
"Ah, here's my son. Gozaburo, I'd like to present my eldest son, Prince Yami. Yami, this is Gozaburo Kaiba and his son, Seto."
Yami bowed to his guest, who returned the gesture. Seto approached the prince and began to circle him, inspecting him from all sides. His inspection caused the prince's fins to twitch slightly from nervousness. Seto smirked from this interesting response. He found Yami attractive, but wasn't sure if he was the one. Knowing a method that never failed him, he took Yami's hand and an electric jolt shot through his hand from the touch. Yes, this was the one he wanted to marry. This one was special.
"Yami, it is my understanding that we will not marry until I turn sixteen the following week. Until then, I present this simple pearl hairpin as a token of my affection and our engagement." Seto held up a pale pink pearl surrounded by four pink petals that were a shade darker than the pearl. The entire thing was mounted on a gold hairpin. Seto placed the pin above Yami's right ear so that it gave a resemblance to a butterflyfish. "At the ceremony, the hairpin will be moved to the left ear."
For the rest of the evening, the foursome talked. The fathers discussed the benefits that would come of this union. The sons made small talk, trying to find some common ground. There was none, just as Yami suspected. He knew then and there that he couldn't go through with this marriage. He loved another, although Yugi didn't know that yet. But, tomorrow night, he would know of Yami's feelings for him.
Chapter Three- Innocence
At sunset the next day, Yami swam to the spot where Yugi's ship was scheduled to arrive. The spot was far from the castle and gave Yami comfort that his brothers and sister wouldn't see him violate merfolk law.
Breaking the surface, Yami moved to hide behind the nearby rock. There, he waited for the ship to appear. He watched as the sun continued to sink, tinting the sky vibrant colors, before turning an inky black with a pale white crescent moon illuminating the sky and water. Still, Yami waited.
His wait was not in vain. The ship carrying his heart's affection sailed through the water, colored light exploding in the sky. Curious about a human's birthday celebration, he swam closer, hoisting himself up with a cargo net and onto a overhanging wood plank next to a rectangle opening where he could see on board and not be noticed.
Peering through his 'window', Yami saw humans laughing while dancing and clapping. Other humans were playing instruments. Scanning the crowd, the innocent one found his love near the opposite rail, smiling and clapping in time to the music. Yet, the merboy could see a hint of sadness in those violet orbs. Despite that, he was apparently having fun. Oh, how he wished they could meet somehow.
Getting an impulsive idea, Yami leaped from his perch and swam to the other side. Just as he had hoped, there was a net and overhang. Climbing up, he sat there, listening to the conversation between Yugi and Jou.
"Hey, Yug, how about a Shadow Game?"
"Not tonight. Maybe tomorrow." There was a tint of sadness in Yugi's voice.
"Still bummed about this morning, huh?"
"Hmm-mm. How can my parents expect me to marry soon? I haven't met anyone I love yet."
"You could always marry my sister."
"Nice thought, Jou, but I think Honda would have a fit."
"Oh, right. I forgot. I think I'll go see if your cake's ready." With that, Jou took off for the gallery.
Pleased that Yugi was alone, the innocent merboy softly hissed, "Yugi."
"Huh?" the prince looked around for the owner of the voice.
"Don't be afraid. I'm down here."
Turning, slowly towards the rail, Yugi looked down into an almost exact replica of his face. Only the eyes and extra gold hair streaks were different. And he was wearing a flowered hairpin. Crouching down, Yugi whispered, "Who are you?"
"I am Prince Yami. I've been watching you for two nights now and I've fallen in love with you."
The stranger's words confused Yugi. Watched him for two nights? How was that possible? He didn't notice any other boats out last night and there certainly weren't any tonight.
"How could you watch me? There are no other ships out here."
Fear gripped Yami's heart. If he told Yugi the truth, would he scare him away because of what he was? A rejection of this magnitude would certainly kill him. His eyes fell on his tail, which was swishing with anxiety. He was unsure how to tell him or if he should tell him.
Squatting a little bit more to see Yami better, Yugi noticed that the boy seemed to be staring at something with great intensity. Glancing around to see if anyone was looking, he saw everyone busy with other activities. Satisfied, he leaned over the edge. What he saw made his eyes go wide. He saw a bare-chested boy, but instead of legs, he sported a blue-violet fishtail!
"Of course," the human whispered, suddenly feeling lovestruck. "You're a merman."
Yami's head jerked up at Yugi's voice, his eyes wide with fear and panic. His breath came in fast and ragged.
"I'm okay with this," Yugi assured him. "I always believed merpeople existed. I just never though I'd meet one, let alone fall in love with one."
"You-you love me?"
"When I fully saw you. I love you very much. I don't care if we are two different species."
"If I knew a way to become human, I would do it."
"I could tell you where I live so you can come visit."
"Is it near the ocean?"
"The beach is right outside my front door."
"Go in the direction of the western horizon to the shoreline and go north. The first palace you see is mine."
"I hope to see you soon my love." With a quick peck to the cheek, Yami leaped off the ledge and into the sea.
Yugi watched the merboy plunge gracefully into the water below. The merboy seemed to radiate innocence as well as curiosity about humans. Otherwise he would never have ventured this close to the ship.
"Hey, Yug. What are ya doin'?"
"Huh? Oh, nothing, Jou."
"Well, then come on below deck. Cake and presents are waiting."
"Coming." Getting up, Yugi followed Jou down below deck, but his thoughts were on a certain merman who lived below the waves.
Chapter Four- New World
Yami swam about for a while, sorting out his feelings. As obligated as he felt toward his father, he couldn't marry Kaiba. It was just wrong. The way he felt toward Yugi was love, but it was a forbidden love. Falling in love with a human was forbidden and was punishable by death. But, he wasn't giving up. Determined, Yami headed home and went straight to the library. Scanning the shelves of books, he found one on ocean myths. Hoping it contained a spell to turn a merperson human, he curled up in a chair, opened it up , and began to read.
"The Millennium Puzzles!?"
"Yes, Yugi. As you can see, one of them is already complete. I did that and made a wish on it that you find true happiness whatever that may be. Now, it's your turn. When you complete the second one, make the dearest wish of your heart on it. I know you'll wish good fortune on someone, so the second puzzle is for them. The first one is yours."
"Oh, thank you Grandpa. I already know the wish I'll make when it's completed." As Yugi said this, he had put on the completed puzzle and had the first two pieces of the second one together already.
Yami gave a frustrated sigh as he turned the page. No spell in sight. At least, not the one he was looking for. There was, however, a small section on Human/Merfolk Love, so Yami flipped back to it and read in earnest. One sentence seemed to suddenly leaped out at him from the passage.
"If an engaged merperson were to fall for a human, the merperson's mate is given the privilege to kill the human," Yami read out loud.
Yami gasped as the book floated from his hands and to the floor. He got up quickly and started to head for Yugi's palace as fast as his tail would move him. He had to tell Yugi what he found out! Their forbidden love was truly forbidden. He had no choice but to marry Kaiba and sacrifice his happiness in order to protect the prince.
'I only hope I can Yugi's ship before it reaches the palace!'
'It's almost done. Just a few more pieces.' Yugi sat at his cabin's table, an almost completed puzzle in his hand and a few golden pieces in a box on the table.
A knock at the door drew the prince's attention. "Enter," he called. The door opened to reveal his grandfather on the other side.
"We're nearly home, Yugi. Wow, you're almost finished! This wish must be very dear to you."
"It sure is. I hope to make the wish before getting off the ship."
"Then I'll leave you to your task." Once the door had closed, Yugi returned to his puzzle.
Yami panted when he broke the surface. He had followed the shoreline as Yugi instructed and found the palace. He saw Yugi's ship heading for the dock. He made it! Slowly, he made his way to a flat rock in the shallowest part of the ocean. It was almost sunrise. Hopefully, Yugi would spot him before anyone else did. Just to be safe, he stayed crouched beside the far side of the rock. There, he waited for Yugi to emerge.
'I can't believe Grandpa gave me such rare artifacts for my birthday! He's the greatest! One more piece!' Yugi held the last piece. The Eye of Horus was carved into it and he ran his fingers over the raised carving.
'I bet this is when I make my wish. Just as I'm putting the last piece in.'
As Yugi began to put the piece in, he closed his eyes tightly and wished with all his heart.
'I wish Yami was human.'
The piece fell into place with a definite click. Yugi stared hopefully at the completed puzzle. "I hope I get my wish," he whispered to himself.
Yami watched the ship while keeping an eye on the horizon. The sky was starting to change colors. He wouldn't be able to stay once the sun rose. It would be too risky. He would be spotted by anyone.
An itchy sensation covered his tail and he scratched at it in an effort to relieve himself of it. The itch worsened and spread to his fins. He squirmed, wishing it would go away. But it didn't work. If anything, the itch began to burn as well.
Yami thrashed and writhed in the shallow water, hoping to douse the burning and put it out. It felt like his tail was splitting in two! In a blind panic, Yami pulled himself up onto the beach, where he collapsed from the pain as the sun rose into the sky.
Yugi climbed onto the deck and headed down the gangplank. His birthday party had been great. Jou, Honda, Ryou, and Shizuka had been there and the five of them had a great time. Even though he hadn't been up to a Shadow Game, he did watch one between Jou and Ryou.
His visit from Yami had been the highlight of the evening. Yami's words about finding a way to become human bounced around in Yugi's head after the merboy's departure and for the rest of the trip, even as he worked on the puzzle.
'I wonder why Yami would give up his life in the sea and become human. Surely, we could be as we are and still be in love. But, being the same race would help.'
Yugi looked up at Jou's panicked voice and saw the teen rush towards him. "What's wrong?"
"We found someone on the beach. He might be hurt!"
Worried, Yugi followed Jou across the beach where their friends (Ryou and Honda, actually) and a few sailors were gathered. The sailors parted upon seeing the prince and let him through. Yugi looked at the prone form and gasped.
Lying in the sand was the innocent merboy he met last night. Only he wasn't a merman anymore. He was human! His brilliantly colorful tail had been replaced with a pair of long slim white legs. The two princes' dearest wish had been granted.
Yugi suddenly blushed when he realized that Yami was naked, but he seemed unable to turn away from the beautiful sight before him. Fortunately, Jou stepped in front of him, blocking his view.
"Yug, do you know him?"
Yugi thought fast. "Uh, yeah. I met him the other day in the marketplace."
"But I was with you the entire time that day."
"Not on the way home. That's when I met him."
"Well, it seems like someone robbed the poor guy of his clothes," Honda observed.
"Honda, why don't you carry him to my room," Yugi suggested. "I've got some clothes that are too big for me. They should fit Yami."
"Can do buddy." Placing the former merboy on his back, Honda followed Yugi to the palace, unaware that his royal friend kept glancing at his now human love.
'Welcome to your new home my love. And a new world.'
Chapter Five- Encounters
Yami awoke to the feeling of sheets covering his body. The realization of this made him wonder if everything about Yugi was just a dream. He let out a small groan.
"Yami? Are you awake?" a gentle voice asked. He recognized it as Yugi's.
Yugi! So, it hadn't been a dream! Opening his eyes, he blinked to clear his vision. He was laying in what was obviously a human bed with Yugi sitting on the side of it. The prince sighed.
"I'm glad you're alright."
"I am now. But, my tail was itching and burning earlier." Yami pushed the sheets back, hoping his tail wasn't too dehydrated from being out of the water too long. His mouth fell open at the sight that greeted him. His shimmering tail was gone! Below his waist was a pair of long, slim legs. He was human!
"My tail! What happened?" he exclaimed.
Yugi beamed. "My grandpa gave me a puzzle that is said to grant the dearest wish of the heart when completed. I finished it before sunrise and I wished for you to be human."
"That was very sweet of you. Now, we won't have to break up."
"I read that if an engaged merperson falls in love with a human, the fiancé has the right to kill the human."
Yami tapped the hairpin. "This thing says I am. I could take it out if you want me to."
"I have a different idea. Can I see it?"
Curious, Yami removed the pin and gave it to Yugi, who had studied how Yami removed it. He turned it ninety degrees before replacing it in Yami's hair.
"Now, we're engaged. The previous engagement's broken."
Yami smiled at Yugi's brilliance, but then he frowned. "But, what if Seto finds out?"
Yugi didn't know who Seto was, but he was guessing that he was the one Yami had been engaged to. "How can he? We're far from your castle, not to mention, on dry land. He can't reach us."
Yami sighed with relief. "You're right, we're safe. And you can show me this dry world I now live in."
"Sure. What's first?"
"Well, you can show me how to use these legs."
Yugi blushed at his forgetfulness. "Oh, right. And maybe afterwards, how to get dressed."
Yami, likewise, blushed. "Ah...Excellent idea."
For the next ten to fifteen minutes, Yugi demonstrated walking and then another ten to fifteen minutes was spent in Yami imitating Yugi's walk without falling down. Once Yami mastered walking, it was on to the clothes.
Yugi explained each article and where they went and in what order. As Yami attempted this task, Yugi stood behind the boy and thought about last night. When he first glimpsed Yami's face, he had been left breathless at seeing such innocent beauty. When the boy spoke, it was deep and seemed to hint of darkness. Never had he encountered someone whose soul held darkness, yet was so innocent.
Yami had Yugi on his mind as he dressed. Here was a human who didn't mind that he had been a merman. He had instantly fallen in love with the merboy. Love at first sight apparently. Just as he had done. The young face, though almost like his own, was entrancing.
"Now that that's done, what's next?" Yami asked, turning to face the shorter prince.
Yugi stared at the handsome boy before him. Blue leather suited Yami perfectly. The pants adhered to his shapely legs and Yugi felt like he was under a spell. He shook himself out of his thoughts and answered the prince's question.
"I'll introduce you to my parents. Hopefully, they'll approve of my choice of mate and allow us to get married." Grabbing Yami's hand, Yugi led him out of the room and towards the throne room.
Seto swam back and forth, fins twitching with each pass. He had sent a messenger to tell Yami to meet him for lunch in the courtyard. That was an hour ago. Where was his messenger?
"Master Seto," came the voice of his messenger. Seto waited until the mermaid came closer before saying, "Yes?"
"There is a rumor that Prince Yami has vanished."
"Vanished? But how?"
"Uncertain, sir. Some say he just vanished, poof. Others say that humans might have captured him."
"Did these rumors say which way he went?"
"Yes, they did. They say he went west and followed the shoreline north."
"Tell my father what's happened and that I've gone to find him."
"Yes, Master Seto."
Seto headed off, cursing himself silently. He had heard of Yami's fascination with humans and their world. Now he's possibly been caught and he hoped he could save his beloved. He knew he couldn't help directly, but the creatures that can leave the water can help locate Yami and do the rescuing.
"You there," he called to a sea turtle. "Have you seen a merboy about sixteen with spiky tri-colored hair and a blue-violet tail?"
"No, but I've seen a human who bears the age and hair you mentioned."
The turtle's response intrigued the businessman. A human with Yami's hairstyle?
"You seek Prince Yami?" a starfish spoke up.
"Yes, I do. Do you know where he is?"
"Yes, but you won't like the answers."
"I have to know. Where is he?"
"He lives on land...as a human."
"WHAT!? No way! My Yami's human!?"
"It is said that human magic is what changed him."
"How far away is he?"
"You are about four whale lengths away. I do hope you bring the prince back to the sea."
"I will. The sea can remove human magic that is replaced on any ocean being. I will bring Yami back to his home." With that pronouncement, Seto set off to fulfill his vow.
"Father, this is Prince Yami and with your approval, I wish to marry him."
Yami shifted slightly from one foot to the other. He was fascinated with his new limbs and how they moved. He still found it hard to believe that he was human now. The voice of Yugi's father brought him back to earth.
"What kingdom do you come from, young man?"
Yami thought fast. He couldn't tell the truth! Humans aren't supposed to know merpeople existed! "My kingdom was attacked by invaders. I was the only one who survived."
"I'm so sorry to hear that. Yugi, I've decided and I approve of your choice. The ceremony will take place in about a week."
"Oh, thank you Father!" Yugi exclaimed as he hugged his parents.
The king laughed before saying, "Why don't you show your beloved the marketplace? I'm sure he'll like it."
"Sure." Taking hold of Yami's hand, the little prince led him out of the palace and toward their next destination.
Yami gaped at the bustling marketplace before him. It looked an awful lot like the one back home, only with humans. Yugi grinned as he pulled him through the crowd, pausing at different stalls along the way. He showed Yami stalls that had food, clothes, flowers, or jewelry. Speaking of jewelry, both princes wore their respective Millennium Puzzles. Wearing it felt heavy to Yami at first, but it soon felt comfortable and natural.
Yugi's love for him guided him to complete the puzzle and grant his wish. He couldn't dream of returning to the sea. He intended to remain human for the rest of his life. There was nothing left for him in the sea. His engagement to Seto was invalid and the engagement with Yugi was just beginning. Yugi's parents approved and wedding plans were already being made. Soon, the two of them would be married. Nothing could go wrong and ruin their happiness.
Chapter Six- Confrontation
It was getting dark when the young princes reached the beach. It had been a busy day for both of them and both had fun. Yami had thoroughly enjoyed his first day as a human and he knew that many more days like today would follow. For example, Yugi promised to teach him how to play a Shadow Game in a day or two.
Yugi loved showing someone the marketplace and Yami's naivety towards human objects was somewhat amusing. He almost constantly picked up everything he saw and asked Yugi to tell him all about the object. Yami's fascination reminded him of the first day his parents took him to the market.
As the two of them strolled hand-in-hand along the shoreline, Yami said, "Yugi?"
Yami's heart fluttered at hearing Yugi say his name. Smiling, he said, "Thank you. I had a wonderful time today. I always wanted to see a human's market. You made that possible."
"You're welcome. Grandpa is the one who made it possible, actually. He's the one who gave me the puzzles."
"But, you were the one who made the wish and our happiness happen."
As the two princes looked lovingly into each other's eyes, Yami leaned down and gave Yugi a passionate kiss. He felt the little prince return the gesture by pressing his lips against Yami's. Their tender moment was interrupted by the sound of something rising out of the water. The two of them looked towards the sound.
'That starfish must have meant four adult humpback whale lengths. That's how far I've gone so far. Wait. I think I see Yami!'
Craning his neck, Seto peered through the water to a pair of humans on the shore. One was short with large purple eyes while the other was taller with slanted ruby red eyes. That was his Yami. There was no mistake.
Seto's mouth suddenly dropped open when Yami leaned down and gave the small human a loving kiss. The sea seemed to roar in his ears (even though it was reflecting Yami's happy mood) and his blood started to boil at seeing this sweet scene. All logic left his mind as the merman broke the surface to interrupt the moment.
Yami gasped. "Seto!"
The merman fixed Yami with an icy glare. "I knew you had an interest in humans, but I never thought you would double-cross me."
"Don't try to act innocent. You've taken a human form. And I saw you kissing that human just now."
Yami paled. He had been caught, just as he feared. Who knew what Seto would do in his rage?
Yugi stepped forward to defend his love, for it seemed as if Yami had lost his voice. "You have no right to come between us, so just swim on home."
Seto, at first, was surprised that this human was unaffected at seeing a merman. Then, he laughed at the bold demand that was made. "No right? You obviously don't know about merfolk courtships."
"Oh, you mean the hairpin?" Yugi said casually. "I think you better take a good look at it."
Seto obliged and looked. The pin was still there, fixed so that it resembled a star. The merman frowned. Didn't he put it in at a different angle? He certainly did. He could picture it clearly. He gasped. That meant...
"That's right. Your engagement to Yami is broken. He's engaged to me now and it's going to stay that way."
Seto glared at the smaller prince. "Not if I can help it."
"You can't stop us."
"Oh, yes I can." Seto lunged forward and snagged Yami by the arm. "Return to the sea, young prince," he said, pulling both of them underwater.
Yami had enough warning to take in air before getting pulled under. Was Seto trying to kill him? If he died, he wouldn’t turn to foam. He was human now.
As he struggled against Seto's grip, he felt a tingle envelope his lower body. Looking down, he saw, to his shock, that his legs were starting to merge together and his feet were becoming fins. He was changing back into a merman! That was why Seto had dragged him under!
"No! I don't want to be a merman anymore! I want to be human. Human!" Yami closed his eyes tightly and poured his heart and soul into his thoughts.
There was a golden flash and the prince felt Seto release his arm. Yami wasted no time in heading for the surface. He broke through, taking in a huge gasp of air.
"Yami! Are you okay?"
The sound of Yugi's voice made Yami realize that he was near the shore. "I think so."
"What happened down there?"
"Well, I think the sea had the power to reverse your wish, because I was starting to revert. I concentrated on being human again and then there was this gold flash and I was free."
"I think the puzzle responded to your desire. Come on, I'll help you up." Yugi extended his hand and Yami took it, even though he was unsure of Yugi's theory. His doubt turned to joy when he realized that he was standing on two legs!
"You were right, Yugi. The puzzle made me human again!"
"And I think, this time, it's permanent. You won't be able to become a merman again."
"That's just fine with me." Yami gave Yugi another kiss as the stars twinkled above them.
Seto watched this scene with anger from behind a nearby rock where he heard everything. He cursed silently. The humans' magic ruined everything. Now, Yami was a permanent human and he had lost his chance to gain the power royalty had to offer. He knew he would have to lie to his father about Yami. He couldn't tell him the truth. He'll say Yami got caught in an undertow and was killed by jagged rocks while trying to escape. Yes, that sounded plausible. He turned to leave.
"Yugi! Yami! I think you two need to get back to the palace. The king and queen are starting to worry!"
Seto froze upon hearing the voice, which sounded hauntingly familiar. Turning to look back at the shore, he saw a blond male, conversing with the princes. His mouth fell open upon seeing this human. He looked like someone he knew from his childhood. Someone he thought was dead.
"Joey," he whispered. "He's alive. I don't believe it. He's human, but he's alive!"
Seto almost rushed over to embrace the blond, but he remembered that he couldn’t leave the water and he couldn't be seen. Chances were, Yami didn't tell anyone, besides Yugi, that he used to be a merman.
'But, I have to meet him face-to-face to see if he remembers me. I'll return tomorrow and watch for him. I'll keep coming back until he goes swimming. That's when we'll meet.'
Satisfied, Seto headed for the palace, thoughts of the blond on his mind. Someone had entered his life and, quite possibly, his heart.
To Be Continued in Sea of Rage II: Changing Tides.