Ishizu stared at Téa in wide-eyed disbelief. “You want us to do what?”
They were all sitting in a booth together in a diner in Cairo, Marik and Ishizu on one side of the table, and Odion sitting next to Tea on the other. Téa waited until after the waitress came and took away their dirty dishes and then continued.
“I want you to send me to the Egyptian Afterlife,” Téa said. “I want to be with Atem.”
Ishizu shook her head. “What you’re asking us to do is strictly forbidden by the laws of the Tomb Keepers.”
“And even if it wasn’t, you do realize it would entail giving up your earthly existence, right?” Marik added. Ishizu and Odion nodded, agreeing with their brother.
“I don’t care, my life’s a dumpster fire right now anyway.” Téa replied with a sigh. “Joey and Mai are busy with the Couples Dueling Tournaments, Tristan and Serenity moved away, and Yugi’s now dating Rebecca.”
Odion placed a hand on Téa’s shoulder. “We do sympathize, Ms. Gardner, but we can’t do what you’re asking of us.”
“Well, even discounting the reasons Ishizu and Marik just gave you,” Odion continued, “The only possible way to do it would be to inter you in the Catacomb of the Concubines.”
Téa looked at him with a raised eyebrow, “And?”
“And that catacomb has been lost for eons,” Ishizu said, “No one on Earth has any idea where to find it, not even us Tomb Keepers.”
Téa smiled. “Need I remind you I have the world-famous archeologist who found Atlantis on speed dial?”
“Let’s say for the sake of argument that Professor Hawkins does find the catacomb,” Odion said, “You’re still asking us to violate the laws of our clan. How are we supposed to be absolved of that sin?”
“I could duel Ishizu for it.” Téa said, “If she wins, I’ll forget the whole thing and go home; but if I win, you have to—“
“Are you sure you want to challenge Ishizu?” Marik asked, surprised. “She’s the best duelist in our family... next to me, of course.”
“Very well, Téa.” Ishizu said, “I accept your challenge.”
They stood in the street outside the diner, with Marik, Odion, and numerous bystanders silently looking on. The two women strapped on their duel disks and shuffled their decks. Each then launched her two holographic emitters, establishing the dueling field. Drawing their first hands of cards, they did rock-paper-scissors to determine who went first.
Téa looked over her hand, maintaining a poker face that impressed even the stoic Odion. “I play Graceful Charity, drawing three cards from my deck and discarding two from my hand.”
She put two cards into her disk’s Graveyard slot and then turned her attention back to Ishizu.
“I then play Shining Friendship.”
The holographic playing field shimmered and then the tiny angelic creature appeared in midair above the concrete. Téa smiled at Ishizu.
“It’s your move.”
“Very well.” Ishizu said, examining the cards in her hand. “I draw.”
She pulled a card from the top of her deck, glanced at it, and added it to her hand. “I play Agido, and I attack Shining Friendship.”
A red orb with wings, mechanical claws and a single golden eye appeared on Ishizu’s side of the field. It discharged a beam of energy from its eye at Shining Friendship, causing it to explode. Téa flinched a little as her Life Points went down from 8000 to 7800. Ishizu then placed a card in one of her Spell/Trap zones.
“I play a card facedown and end my turn.”
Téa drew from her deck. She rubbed her chin looking at her cards and then said, “I play Monster Reborn, bringing back my Shining Friendship.”
The little spherical angel reappeared on her side of the field. Marik raised an eyebrow and then whispered to Odion. “Why is she wasting a Monster Reborn on that ball of nothing? Ishizu just blew that ridiculous little thing away like lint a moment ago.”
Odion kept his mouth shut and just shrugged. Téa continued her turn.
“I then Equip my Shining Friendship with Silver Bow and Arrow.”
A shiny, magical bow and arrow manifested in Shining Friendship’s hands. It chirped as it drew back and took aim.
Téa pointed to Ishizu’s side of the field and called out, “Go Shining Friendship, attack Agido!”
The arrow was launched and this time it was Ishizu’s monster that was obliterated. Ishizu’s Life Points dropped to 7900.
“Not bad,” Ishizu said with a feline smile. “But you’ll have to do better than that if you think you’re going to defeat me. I suggest you forfeit right now and go buy your plane ticket home.”
“Not a chance,” Téa shook her head. “I came to win. I place a card facedown and end my turn.”
A facedown card appeared on the field with a shimmer, behind and to the left of the bow wielding Shining Friendship.
"Very well then," Ishizu said, drawing from her deck. "I play Keldo in defense mode."
A metallic looking fairy with twin shields in its hands appeared on Ishizu's side of the field.
"I end my turn."
Téa draws and plays a spell card. "I play Pot of Greed, which allows me to draw two more cards."
A hologram of the infamous green pot temporarily appears in Téa's back row as she draws two cards.
"I then play Offerings to the Doomed. I can destroy one monster on your side of the field in exchange for giving up my next Draw Phase."
The spell card, featuring a picture of a church altar, appears in Téa's back row. A portal opens beneath Keldo, bandages wrap around the metal fairy, and then it's dragged down inside, disappearing from the field. Téa then plays another spell.
"I then play Elf's Light, Equipping it to my Shining Friendship."
The chubby little cherub on Téa's side of the field morphs into a lithe being with long blond hair and a white gown. its Attack Points increase to 2000. Téa points to Ishizu. "Go Shining Friendship! Attack her directly!"
The beautiful, angelic being fires another arrow. Ishizu yelps as the attack reduces her Life Points to 5900.
Ishizu regains her composure and chortles. "I must admit, I wasn't expecting that. Nevertheless, this is far from over."
It was about an hour when the duel was over. Ishizu had played Exchange of the Spirit, but Téa had prepared early in the duel by sending Soul Release and Return from the Different Dimension to the Graveyard. Ishizu was shocked as five of Téa's monsters, including Dark Magician Girl, appeared on the field and attacked her directly. With her Life Points reduced to 0, and the crowd of on-lookers cheering and then dispersing. Ishizu sighed and then looked to her opponent.
"Now that you won, I have a confession to make." Ishizu began. "The Lost Catacomb of the Concubines isn't as lost as I originally led you to believe."
Marik and Odion looked at each other, but said nothing.
They were in a Jeep, heading deep into the Egyptian desert. Marik and Odion sat in the back seat with Ishizu at the wheel and Téa in the front passenger seat.
As the desert landscape went rushing by, Ishuzi explained, "I found a map to the catacomb in my mother's old possessions a year ago. In my capacity as Secretary General of the Ministry of Antiquities, I got together a small group of people I knew I could trust and we went to the site in secret. We've since secured the catacomb just in case it might become a tempting target for tomb robbers."
Odion gasp. "Sister, why didn't you tell us?"
"I agree with Odion," Marik said. "You know full well we can be trusted to keep a secret."
"I'm sorry," Ishizu apologized. "I couldn't involve you two at the time without arousing the suspicions of some rivals of mine within the Ministry."
They came to an area of the desert closed off by tall fences topped with barbed wire. Two guards in desert camo fatigues and red berets stood on either side of the gate, with automatic rifles in their hands. Ishizu stopped the Jeep in front of the gate. As a guard approached, she showed him an identification badge.
"Yes, Secretary General." The guard said, signaling his partner to open the gate.
They drove further in and parked near a sandstone cliff face. Marik and Odion got two large duffle bags out of the rear of the Jeep. They all followed Ishizu around a corner and down a long, stone stairway.
Ishizu powered up a portable generator near the entrance and threw several switches, turning on numerous halogen lights placed around the underground chamber. Téa looked all around at the white marble walls, floor, and ceiling. There were rows of beautifully decorated sarcophagi, all of them made for women judging by their size, shape and the faces on the lids.
"Welcome to the Catacomb of the Concubines, Téa." Ishizu said, her voice echoing. "The final resting place of the many women who have been the beloved personal slaves of the Pharaohs."
Téa replied, "Great, so are we going to do the ceremony now?"
"Yes, but there are two things you must do before we can commence. First, you must solemnly vow to serve and submit to Mighty Pharaoh Atem."
Téa smiled. "Gladly, and what's the second thing I have to do?
Ishizu said, "You must remove your clothes."
"Concubines typically go to their rest wearing the dresses and jewelry their Pharaohs gave them. Since you're joining Atem's harem long after his time on Earth, you have none of those. Thus you will be naked beneath your wrappings."
"Well...Okay then." Téa bit her lip.
Ishizu turned to her brothers, who had just sat the duffle bags on the floor, "There's a store room down the corridor with some empty sarcophagi. Go pick out one that looks suitable for Ms. Gardner while I begin her preparations."
They both nodded, and left the room. Téa produced a piece of paper and a pen from her pocket, wrote a short note, and folded the paper. She handed it to Ishizu, who raised an eyebrow.
"Could you tape this to the lid of my sarcophagus?" Téa asked.
Ishizu nodded. "A message for the Pharaoh?"
Téa unbuttoned her shirt as Ishizu opened the bags. She took out several thick rolls of clean, white linen bandages. Téa stripped down completely, finally tossing her bra and panties into the pile of her clothes nearby. She blushed as Ishizu looked her over.
"I see you're still a virgin." Ishizu said. "That's good, that means the ceremony is more likely to work. Go lay on the table over there, we need to at least wrap your torso before the boys get back with your sarcophagus."
Téa nodded and laid down on a wooden table nearby. Ishizu picked up some rolls of bandages and approached her. She wove bandages through Téa's crotch in overlapping figure eights, perfectly wrapping her vagina and ass. She then worked her way up Téa's stomach and chest, then wrapped her shoulders and neck.
Ishizu went and got more bandages and started on Téa's right leg, wrapping from her toes to her already bound crotch. She did likewise with Téa's left leg.
As Ishizu was getting more bandages from the duffle bags, Marik and Odion returned, carrying a sarcophagus. They set it on the floor close to the table. Téa and Ishizu looked at the face on the lid.
Téa gasped in amazement. "It looks exactly like me...I can't believe it."
Odion smiled. "Perhaps this is an omen that this was meant to be after all?"
"Perhaps," Ishizu replied. "Now that you're here, you two can help me finish wrapping her and then it'll be time to cast the spells."
"Spells?" Téa raised an eyebrow.
"First, we will lapse you into ageless slumber," Marik said. "Then we'll cast some protective spells to ensure no evil spirits can snatch you during your journey to be with your Pharaoh."
"Shall we continue?" Ishizu asked.
Téa nodded. Ishizu wrapped her arms, and then with help from Marik and Odion, began wrapping her in a second layer from the neck down. They brought her feet together and bound her legs tightly. Téa crossed her arms over her chest, allowing them to be wrapped securely in place. Ishizu put up Téa's hair and wrapped her head. Téa closed her eyes as Ishizu bandaged over them. Marik and Odion removed the lid from the sarcophagus and then picked Téa up by the shoulders and ankles. They then laid her to rest inside. The three Ishtar siblings then stood over Téa's mummified form and chanted in Ancient Egyptian.
The chants were the last thing Téa heard before her consciousness faded to black. It was seemingly an eternity later when she saw Atem's surprised expression as he unwound the bandages from around her face.
Atem's New Concubine
"Sire, you must come quickly!" A palace guard exclaimed as he ran into the throne room. Pharaoh Atem got up from his throne and turned to look at him.
"What's wrong?" Atem asked. "Are we under attack?"
"No Sire," The guard replied. "A sarcophagus appeared outside the palace gates. It had a note attached to it that's addressed to you specifically."
"A sarcophagus?" Atem raised an eyebrow. "Very well, I'll be there shortly to have a look. Notify Seto and the rest of my staff to meet me there."
"As you command, great Pharaoh." The guard bowed.
Atem and the others were gathered around the sarcophagus sitting in the desert sand outside the palace walls. The Pharaoh looked at the note that had been Scotch taped to the lid. The note read:
Dear Pharaoh Atem,
Please open me as soon as possible.
Hugs and Kisses,
Your New Concubine.
My new concubine? Atem thought, puzzling at what he just read. He then motioned for the lid to be removed and stepped closer for a look. The mummy inside was indeed female, and was wrapped in clean, white linen bandages. He knelt down and immediately began removing the wrappings from around her head, surprised to find a familiar face underneath.
"Atem!" Téa opened her eyes and smiled. "The ceremony worked! I really am here with you!"
"Téa, what in the name of Ra is going on here?" Atem looked at her quizzically. "What did you do?"
"I had the Ishtar siblings take me to the Catacomb of the Concubines," Téa explained. "They performed a ceremony and entombed me there so I could join you in the afterlife..."
"Téa, you had your entire life ahead of you." Atem shook his head. "What about your dream? What about your career as a dancer?"
"Life just wasn't the same after you left." She said. "I tried putting on a brave face for all our friends, but it was all just a lie. Besides, it would be far more fulfilling if I can dance for you for all eternity."
"So you had the Ishtars ritualistically kill you?!" Atem looked at her, astonished.
"It wasn't really like that," She replied. "They just... wrapped me in these bandages, cast some spells on me, and then I fell into a deep sleep. It's kind of like in the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty."
"That still seems like a rather extreme solution..."
"I don't care," She said. "As far as I'm concerned, it was worth it."
"Well, what's done is done." Atem sighed. "There isn't any known way of sending you back to the world of the living. Anyway, just relax and we'll get the rest of these bandages off you..."
"Er...Pharaoh, could you hold off on that for just a bit?"
"Why? What's the problem?" Atem looked at her confused.
"Well... you see... I... I don't have anything on under all this."
"Oh," Atem blushed. He then glanced up over his shoulder. "Isis, do you have a spare gown you can lend Téa? At least until I can send the maidservants out to purchase her some clothes?"
"Yes, my Pharaoh." Isis replied bowing. "I'll go get it right away."
"Thank you, Isis." Atem nodded to her. He turned his attention back to Téa, lifted her out of the sarcophagus, and gathered her up into his arms like a new bride. "In the meantime, it would probably be best under the circumstances that I finish unwrapping you in the privacy of my chambers."
Téa rested her head on his shoulder, closed her eyes, and said, "I wouldn't have it any other way, my Pharaoh."