Anzu stopped in her tracks.
"Did you guys hear something?" she asked, her voice an octave higher than normal as she looked around the dark hallway.
Yuugi, Otogi, Honda and Jounouchi all turned to look at Anzu, shaking their heads in negative.
"No, Anzu. What did you hear?"
"I didn't hear nothin'!" Jounouchi exclaimed, though he was looking about just as suspiciously, "Come on, let's get outta here!"
When Anzu's gaze met Shizuka's, the younger girl nodded slowly.
So. There was something.
In trying to escape from Noa's underwater fortress, Yuugi, Anzu, Shizuka, Otogi, Honda, Jounouchi, Kaiba, and Mokuba had gotten trapped in a virtual reality world that had blurred the line between reality and… whatever the virtual world was. Something much more sinister and dangerous than anything they'd ever faced before, that was for sure.
Their small group had finally escaped Noa's virtual world, and were desperately trying to get back to the Kaiba Kraft 3 before anything else could go wrong.
They'd finally found a small map of the fortress bolted to one of the walls— and after a few minutes of tugging, Jounouchi and Honda had succeeded in yanking it off (only after they'd been thrown back against the opposite wall, while Kaiba chuckled to himself).
The hangar was just up ahead.
Yet, Anzu couldn't shake the odd feeling that was enveloping her senses.
She'd felt it before, but only once, and…
"Okay, I know someone had to have heard that!" Anzu yelped, swallowing the bile in her throat. She really hoped that she was wrong, and that the odd, hissing sound was some mechanism within the fortress-ship, and not— NOT…
"Er… maybe we should start walking faster?" Otogi suggested with a wry smile. "Let's go."
Kaiba and Mokuba were the unofficial leaders of the group, with Yuugi and Honda following, then Anzu and Shizuka, and lastly, Jounouchi and Otogi.
"Why does that damn Kaiba gotta be walkin' in front like he owns the damn place?" Jounouchi grumbled under his breath, "Who died and made him leader?"
"Jounouchi," Anzu whispered under her breath, "He *is* a Kaiba, and this is a Kaiba vessel, same as the blimp the duels are on." She cast a sidelong glance at Seto, whose gaze remained riveted to the only what was in front of him, "And Gozaburo is the one that died and made him leader. So just shut up."
Jounouchi would have come up with some sort of retort, but Shizuka was glaring at him, too. And… Anzu was right. After all they'd seen and experienced in the VR world, one had to sympathize with Kaiba— even a little. He'd had an awful childhood…
Not like I give a rat's ass about that jerk! Jounouchi seethed. He just wanted OUT— out of the damn dark, out of the damn hall, out of the whole damn fortress!
Thus, when Kaiba's arm blocked entrance into the hangar, Jounouchi stormed his way past Honda and Yuugi, demanding to know what the hell the holdup was.
"Those don't look like virtual monsters," Jounouchi murmured with his eyes wide. Corner to corner, grotesque beings like nothing any of them had ever seen before growled, hissed, and stared at them with predatory gazes.
"They're not," Seto Kaiba said simply, his voice not betraying any emotion.
Inside, though, a fear surged up in him.
Everything Isis had said —about his Destiny being unavoidable, inalterable… about things beyond his understanding appearing to show him the way.
"Oh no…" Shizuka breathed, having found her way to the front of the crowd. The small group filed through the doorway, spanning out in front of the only opening that was either their only hope— or a trap.
Row after row of ghastly beasts blocked the only way into the Kaiba Kraft 3; the exit staircase of the vessel ripped in two. Even if there was a way to get past them, there was no way to get up to the door now; the staircase that had once been attached to the door was now scattered in pieces on the floor.
Mechanical parts, wires, and scorch marks littered the floor and walls; it was obvious there had been a fight here before. But… who?
"Shizuka, get back!" Jounouchi thrust his arm out, intending to protect his sister from whatever danger they were about to face this time. But to his surprise, Shizuka pushed his arm away and walked right past him.
"No!" She stopped a half meter in front of the astonished boys, glancing out of the corner of her eye towards Anzu, who had slipped past Seto Kaiba and now stood not far from him, leaning against the wall.
"We're going to do this, right?" Shizuka asked, addressing Anzu.
The brunette nodded slowly, using her foot as leverage to push herself forward. At first, her expression was grim, but when she glanced up, a deadly smile curved the corners of her rose-colored lips, her eyes twinkling with mischief.
"It's what we do. The boys can do the dueling… the girls can do the ass-kicking."
Anzu flicked her wrist as if she'd been pulling something from one of her pockets— and yet, she hadn't done any such thing. From out of nowhere, she'd produced a golden wand sharply resembling a small dagger.
Anzu didn't even spare the astonished boys behind her a glance as she walked up to Shizuka and fixed the ugliest monster with a sneer.
"You monsters picked the wrong girls to mess with!"
The two girls thrust both arms out in front of one another, their bare arms crossing one another, while the golden dagger —and the silver microphone, which no one had seen Shizuka bring out— sparkled in the fluorescent light of the hangar.
The two girls murmured briefly under their breath, eyes closed as the power surged up and over their arms… through their entire beings.
They felt it… The Power.
There was a brilliant burst of light that blinded all the boys, forcing them to shield their eyes from the sheer explosion of power that came from the area where, just moments before, their two friends had stood.
When the light died down, Mokuba was the first to speak, his voice tinged with wonder and excitement.
"No way! Anzu and Shizuka are Sailor Senshi!"