Kaiba Seto had seen no shortage of strange things in his lifetime. But the creature before him? He was 95 percent sure it had to be some hologram or costume of some sort. To his left was a picnic table overturned by some Tokyo citizen, upon seeing the creature jump out of the bushes, had fled with a loud scream. It set off through the rest of the park like a domino effect as the surrounding area quickly emptied. But the creature showed no interest in the rest of Tokyo's citizens. It was focused solely on Kaiba.
"I want your heart crystal!" The thing screeched as he ducked to avoid a well-timed high-kick. He could feel the air brush past his temples as the creature's leg flew by.
Maybe it wasn't a hologram after all.
It gave another screech before attacking him again. Kaiba managed to dodge another series of kicks and punches as he tried to put some distance between them. The creature let out another cry that sounded surprisingly akin to frustration.
"Hey, ugly, leave him alone." A large rock nailed the monster in its temple as soon as a familiar voice spoke.
Kaiba quickly ducked behind the overturned picnic table. Glancing over to his "savior," he groaned- it was Jounouchi. The rest of the cheerleaders and Yugi were thankfully nowhere in sight, but he didn't know if they were capable of not traveling in a pack. There was another young girl- the bonkotsu's sister- who was also standing behind Jounouchi.
"Run away, Kaiba, you stupid bastard!" Jounouchi screamed as he and his sister backed away into another cluster of trees.
"Shut up, bonkotsu. I don't need you telling me what to do!" He fumbled to get his briefcase open for the gun inside.
Behind him, the monster hefted the table over its head while grinning broadly. Kaiba brandished his briefcase like a shield instead and braced for the next attack.
"Not so fast," someone else- female this time- interrupted the creature's attempt at a menacing flex. "How dare you disturb families and couples spending precious time together. In the name of-"
Kaiba's metal briefcase collided squarely with the daemon's jaw, sending it flying several feet back. The partially undone snaps on the case came completely loose, sending documents flying through the air. His small revolver landed on the grass between them, but he wouldn't going to get to the gun before the monster got him first.
Behind him, a group of sailor suited girls were frozen in poses with slackened jaws. Kaiba chose the devil he knew, rather than the ones he didn't. While the monster was still recovering, he raced toward the glade of trees to the left where both Jounouchi and his sister were staring in shock.
"Let's go, bonkotsu."
Jounouchi blinked rapidly for a few seconds before grabbing his sister's hand and pulling. "Shizuka, we gotta book it."
"But Onii-chan, I want to see the Sailor Senshi in action!" she protested.
As they ran away, Kaiba repeatedly cursed the city of Tokyo in his head.
Back at Kaiba's hotel suite, Kaiba phoned his business partners about his absence while Jounouchi and the girl caught their breath. They were surprisingly understanding about the whole thing when he reluctantly told them about the incident at the park. The fact they even believed his excuse would have been surprising even if the Sailor Senshi and their fight for justice wasn't a widely believed urban legend.
"We're so glad that you made it out in one piece, Kaiba-san."
And he might have actually thought Oshi Tetsuo to be sincere if it wasn't for the fact they were all in the midst of contentious negotiations. Much to his growing displeasure, Jounouchi was still on the couch when he returned from his phone call. He crossed his arms over his chest before coming to a stop before the two. "You can leave now."
Jounouchi jumped to his feet. "Don't you want to know why I'm in Tokyo?"
"No. Now leave before I call security on you," he snapped.
"But Kaiba-san, you were just attacked by a daemon," Shizuka said.
"A daemon; from what people have gathered from reports, they're hunting for some sort of talisman. A number of high-profile male figures in Tokyo have been attacked in the last month," she recited with absolute certainty.
"How could you possibly know all that?"
Jounouchi snickered as he spoke, "Shizuka's kinda a Sailor Senshi fan."
"Sailor Jupiter is my favorite," she piqued with a bright smile.
Kaiba pinched the bridge of his nose to fend off the developing headache. Honestly, the Sailor Senshi? He was well aware of the tall tales Tokyo liked to peddle to the rest of the world. He wasn't ever inclined to believe their veracity. For one, he had much more important things to think about. But after he was dragged into Yugi's misadventures, he was forced to reevaluate- yet again.
Shizuka continued, "The point is, they're probably going to show up again. I don't think they'll give up that easily."
"I'll be fine."
But it was already too late. Kaiba had seen the determination flare in Jounouchi's eyes and he knew what came next before the words even left the blond's mouth. Unfortunately, he had also known Jounouchi long enough to know he wasn't going to give up easily.
"Let me help!"
"You can't stop me."
"Like hell I can't."
"I'll call Yugi and let him know you're in trouble."
Jounouchi's words made Kaiba's blood run cold. The thought of Mutou Yugi-recently-sans-magical-alter-ego rushing down to Tokyo in some misguided attempt to save him was too much. He had no doubt that Jounouchi would follow through on his threat. He also had no doubt that Yugi would be here with his insufferable entourage before nightfall. At that point, it wouldn't matter what he tried to do or how he threatened them. Yugi and company always did have that pesky tendency of getting behind the scene, no matter how unwanted they were.
"Fine," Kaiba snapped. "But you have to do what I say."
Jounouchi tugged uncomfortably at his collar. "I feel like a monkey," he complained.
Kaiba paused to consider his classmate in the standard suit that was issued to all his bodyguards. He snickered as the suit was probably about two sizes too large for Jounouchi. "That's still evolutionary steps above a dog."
"Har har har. So what's the plan today?"
Kaiba snapped his large metal briefcase shut- his people were able to retrieve it and some of the documents after the fact yesterday. "I have a meeting, rescheduled after what happened yesterday. After that, I'm receiving an award at the Hyatt. Then I'm done with this damn city, and I can go back to Domino and you your sister."
"What type of award?"
Jounouchi blinked vapidly and Kaiba sighed loudly.
There was a long pregnant pause before Jounouchi burst out into loud and howling laughter. Jounouchi spent the rest of the car ride filled with choked laughter and wiping away his tears. Despite all the mystical crap he had been subjected to, Kaiba still hadn't developed the ability to asphyxiate others with his death glare alone.
The announcer that stepped up to podium wasn't anyone Kaiba recalled meeting earlier at the rehearsal two days ago. The bright orange of her hair put him at sudden unease when she turned large doe-like eyes toward him.
"Tonight, we are here to honor both a brilliant businessman and a philanthropist," Her voice was high-pitched like a middle-school girl. He wondered where the organizers got this freak from. "To be gifted with such brains, beauty, and generosity-"
He snorted quietly to himself at that last part.
"Is surely the mark of a pure heart!"
She whipped around and tore off her business suit and thick-rimmed glasses to reveal an outfit that reminded Kaiba of Vegas showgirls. From under the podium, she pulled out a large metal case with a black five-pointed star printed on the front. She knelt and unsnapped the box with practiced ease. Just as his bodyguards finally realized this wasn't part of the evening's program, rolling clouds of pink smoke spilled out over the stage and the rest of the room.
Screams erupted through the banquet hall, and Kaiba could make out the stampede of footsteps heading toward the exits. From behind, he was tackled to the floor and he struggled against his assailant's grip.
"Kaiba," Jounouchi hissed. "Relax, it's me."
The urge to slug the blond across the face refused to go completely away though. They stayed low to the ground, using the smoke as cover.
"Seto-sama!" The rest of his bodyguards filed onto the stage.
A sudden gust of wind from nowhere cleared the smoke completely. The girl from before remained posed by her open briefcase with another monster by her side. It was different from the one yesterday- for one thing, it had a lot more limbs and neon bright green skin. His bodyguards charged forward, but Jounouchi hovered around him as if he would be able to protect Kaiba. The girl gracefully back-flipped out of the way as the group of suited men jumped the monster. She smirked as the daemon threw back each and every one of the bodyguards, leaving both dents in the walls and broken tables where the unconscious bodies fell.
"Who are you and what do you want?" Kaiba growled as he stepped forward.
She pulled a staff with a large black star from nowhere and brought the head to her lips. She smiled and winked flirtatiously in return, "I am Mimete of the Witches 5, and I am here to take your pure heart."
Kaiba threw back his head and laughed. "That was your first mistake, I don't have a pure heart. You're going to regret this."
"We'll see, I've never been wrong. Navida," she addressed the monster. "Get him!"
As the monster jumped into the air, both he and Jounouchi wheeled back. It crushed another table as it landed several feet away. Jounouchi grabbed a centerpiece off another table and hurled it at the monster's head. He hit his mark, but the thing barely flinched.
"You," Mimete pointed at the blond. "Stay out of this if you know what's good for you."
Jounouchi closed the distance and threw a punch at the monster. One of its many hands caught Jounouchi's fist and squeezed, causing him to cry out in pain. It lifted him by that hold alone and sent Jounouchi into a spinning fly across the room.
"Bonkotsu!" Kaiba's stomach lurched with sudden guilt.
The monster trained its attention on him now with a smile showing off rows of razor sharp teeth. He dodged the first few attempts to strike him. But it was fast- much faster than the one from yesterday.
"Stop fighting back!" Mimete pointed the head of her staff in his direction. "Charm Buster!"
Kaiba's knees buckled under him as his head screamed in pain. When he tried to stand, it felt like there was nothing solid beneath him and he went crashing to the floor again. Even after the pain in his head had subsided, the world spun dizzily and without end. By the time he noticed the monster again, it rammed into him and pinned him to the ground before he could do anything. No matter how he struggled, he couldn't break free. The daemon's numerous limbs clamped down on his arms and legs with superhuman strength.
"Do it now!" Mimete screamed.
He glimpsed the sharp edges of a bright crystal before his world darkened completely.
Moments later, he awoke to the faint sensation of movement around him. His body was heavy and almost completely unresponsive to the commands his brain sent forth. If he concentrated, he could almost make out the far-off noise as disembodied voices; but he couldn't understand what they were saying. Through the complete blackness, Kaiba instinctively reached for the scattered pieces of his heart puzzle, but his hands grasped only empty air. The awareness of the world beyond his body and his headspace was fading quickly. He could sense his heart puzzle growing more and more distant.
He wondered if this was what dying felt like.
Kaiba became aware again like a small and sudden flame fending off an eternity of complete darkness. Slowly, he registered the feeling that he was warm and cradled by a familiar and comfortable presence. Words echoed out from the darkness, and they became louder and clearer. The black brightened to gray and finally white, as a sense of something replaced came over him.
His eyes snapped open and his vision instantly cleared as he stared straight into the face of Jounouchi Katsuya hovering over his. In that split second, he could see the relief wash away the fear and worry in the blond. Kaiba wasn't sure how he felt about his classmate's concern. His body and head still ached, but most of the pain had dulled. He reluctantly turned his head after another commotion to his left. The sailor suited girls were back again. There was also a tuxedo-ed man with them. They advanced on an off-put looking Mimete, who screeched about getting them next time before fleeing the hall. Much to his annoyance, the Sailor Senshi did not give chase.
"Kaiba, are you okay?" Jounouchi placed a hand on Kaiba's shoulder.
He shook off the grip and gritted his teeth. "I'm fine. I don't need your help."
Jounouchi drew back, looking both hurt and dejected.
"You!" The Sailor Senshi dressed in red pointed an angry finger at him. "Don't be such a jerk to your friend."
The one in green jumped in. "Yeah, he almost got himself seriously injured trying to prevent the daemon from running off with your heart crystal. You would have been a dead man."
He looked over at Jounouchi again and found that the blond was sporting a few new bruises and lacerations. Mokuba would be scolding him for his heartlessness if the boy were here.
"We should go," The senshi in blue tugged on the glove of one of her colleagues. "The police will be here soon."
Before Kaiba could demand any further explanation, the group jumped through the broken skylight overhead and vanished. Jounouchi offered him a hand, and he took it after a few moments of consideration. They both climbed to their feet and surveyed the damage. Several other bodyguards thrown across the room were also beginning to regain consciousness.
"Do you think they're going to reschedule your award ceremony?" Jounouchi asked.
"I don't give a damn. The charity work that Mokuba and I do is not for anyone's approval or recognition. I only came here for the good press it would give to Kaiba Corporation. I'm going back to Domino now." He yanked his cellphone out of his suit pocket while noting the tears in his suit jacket.
Jounouchi plopped down on a nearby discarded chair, undoing his tie and the top few buttons of his shirt. The fabric hung limply around his neck as he slumped back against the chair. Kaiba discovered a few more patches of bruised red skin under the collar. He admitted that Jounouchi look exhausted.
"Jounouchi, I'm taking you to the hospital."
"What? I thought you said you were leaving."
"I'll send back to your mother and sister after that so they don't think I've killed you and dumped your body in the bay. Since we have school tomorrow, you can go back to Domino with me on my private jet later this evening."
Kaiba only hoped he wasn't going to regret the offer.
"Really? You're not just messing with me, right?"
"Do you want a ride or not?"
"Hell, yeah! Anything beats the four hour bus ride back!"
A bright smile was better suited to Jounouchi's face, and Kaiba was forced to admit to himself that it made his day feel just a little less of a complete disaster. He didn't know exactly what had happened when he was out, but he would find out. Maybe he would just ask Jounouchi later.
"Thank you, Jounouchi."