A comfort object is an item used by children to provide psychological comfort. Children grow accustomed to carrying teddy bears or blankets, calling the latter a blankey. There are all types of comfort objects, and Yugi has his Puzzle.
In his Soul Room Yugi sat on the ground, back against the wall, eyes casting tensely to the floor covered with toys. In his hands he held his Puzzle, an item that took him eight years to solve.
Uncomfortable, his heart wrestled inside him distressed. His mind recalled every moment, every act, every response. He grunted, engrossing possible outcomes, results that would have threatened his friends and the world.
A dark presence entered his private room. Yugi did not bother to look up; he knew who had been admitted.
Yami came in to check on his friend. He had sensed bleakness for some time, but he had granted his buddy some privacy, leaving him to his personal thoughts alone. But he figured with so much stress building up now was a time to ask questions; even their loyal monsters urged him to investigate.
He grew surprised finding his partner disconsolate. Looking around the epitomized domain, he saw even some of the emblematize toys appeared gloomy. He recognized such a dreary emotion and stance; he too had dwelled on negative events that had happened in his life, namely if he was the one who had caused it.
“Yugi?” he began steadily with his voice also demonstrating his apprehension. “Is everything all right?”
Yugi refused to give eye contact. He had his hands continuously finger his Puzzle. Despite being an open person, he didn’t want to speak nor have anyone come too close at the moment, especially his other half. Hearing footsteps heading his way, he knew he would not be granted such luxury. He amassed his energy to stand. He surmised if he was on his feet his partner wouldn’t get too close. He was right in his idea; Yami stopped walking. Standing up, he kept his hands firmly clasping his Puzzle.
Yami examined his other half, spiritually and mentally. Through Yugi’s mind he picked up tiny images and objects: A red gauntlet with ten star-shaped holes on the side; a giant, mysterious island; a fantasy-like castle that needed to be accessed; sleeping on the rocky ground; and giant dueling arenas. He became stumped.
“Is there an issue that took place at Duelist Kingdom you wish to discuss?” he asked sincerely. “Was it something that Pegasus had done? Was it what Shadi had said?”
Yugi remained mute. He didn’t know how to word what plagued his mind. He also refused to display his growing rage on someone who did not deserve it. He moved his thumbs over the center of the Item, a symbol found on many other items and Duel Monsters. As his adventures carried on, he had noted the predominate design more and more as they unearthed secrets of a certain pharaoh and his time in Egypt.
Yami studied his friend once more. He had sensed the hectic anger, but he knew the boy better: He had apprehended the grief in his heart. Rarely does Yugi display his temper. He could become annoyed at certain acts and people, but such wrath was reserved for those who had maltreated his friends. Sorrow, though, could be expressed at any time.
He saw Yugi holding the Puzzle. He knew how much Yugi valued it, making a wish from his pure heart. He held on to it despite all the evil that came after it, wanting its grand power. The two were brought together by the Puzzle. In order for them to rescue a beloved family member and facing the man possessing the Eye, they had one last unexpected trial to face.
Yami asked with hesitation, “Is this about what happened in our duel with Kaiba?”
Hearing the question, Yugi raised his eyes just to seeing his friend’s feet. He knew Yami meant well in that duel, knowing if they had failed then their mission ended there. (Unless the true factor for that juncture was based on his pride.) But Yugi couldn’t win like that. He couldn’t risk the life of someone, even for one he cared about.
“I know we have discussed this,” Yami said dispiritedly. “I know you have forgiven me, and I have accepted what I did was wrong. But I do return to that incident, thinking about it. Are you as well?”
Yugi drew his eyes back to the Puzzle. His eyes fell onto the center. He was fighting for his grandfather because a distraught and eccentric man wanted the Puzzle, to be graced with the presence of his dead wife once more. But as Yugi worked his way through the matches, he later learned he was not the only holder of an Item. His heart became distrait once more.
“I can’t blame you for what you’ve done.” he sighed wistfully. “Anything for what you’ve done.”
He thought back to a dreadful match held over at Duelist Kingdom. Although every event had its stakes, namely if he lost he would forfeit someone he cared about, some were worse than others. In his mind were not the battles with Kaiba, Pegasus, or even the emotional showdown with Joey in the finals. On his mind was a meet not held with strings, no star chips on the line.
“Are you thinking about the match with the evil spirit of the Ring?” Yami guessed.
Yugi sighed adamantly for his answer.
Yami wondered why such a battle inhabited his companion’s young mind. The engagement was frightening: If they had lost, then everyone’s soul would have been expatriated to the Shadow Realm, and the Thief would have taken the Puzzle for greater power, coinciding with an evil plot. No one was alone in that game, and even the real Ryou aided them, willing to sacrifice himself than be enslaved to a wicked spirit. In the end everyone was liberated from harm. Yami remained baffled.
“What is it about that match that is making you so anxious?” he asked puzzled.
Yugi still couldn’t make eye contact with his darker self. While his and everyone’s soul had been imprisoned into a monster, Yami fought for them. Because of all that had happened on that island, he knew Yami would try and blame himself.
“No,” Yugi solemnly assured. “It wasn’t something you did.”
He heard Yami reply, “Yugi, could please tell me? I know I can read your mind, but I believe it will benefit us both if you tell me.”
Yugi shut his eyes and sighed dismally. He knew Yami would not leave until he was satisfied.
“It wasn’t what you or the evil spirit of the Ring did.” he began grievously. “It was… It was what I did.”
“It is?” Yami questioned staggered. In his view his partner could do no wrong, unlike like himself. “Why do you say that?”
“Because… While we were trapped inside our favorite monsters, we had to work as a team.”
“I know we always do, and we get help from our friends cheering us on, but we all needed to be a team in a different way. I know how important teamwork is, especially since our souls and the Puzzle were on the line. That’s why I’ve been thinking about…”
“It was wrong of me to try and take charge.”
“What? What are you talking about, Yugi?”
Yugi kept his eyes glued to the floor distraughtly as he reviewed that threatening duel. While entombed in monster form, everyone was vulnerable to the enemy’s monsters, magic, and traps.
“We had to obey the rules for Duel Monsters.” Yugi clarified discomposed. “If a monster is affected by a magic or trap, it has to take its effect. There’s no cherry-picking allowed; otherwise, that’d be cheating. And… well…”
Hearing all these regulations finally clicked in Yami’s mind.
“Are you referring to when you attacked that Electric Lizard?” he asked mystified.
Yugi looked away ashamed with a tint of ire in his eyes.
“Yugi, I understand why you’re frustrated.” Yami began with affinity. “It was dangerous seeing you attack a monster with a foul effect—”
“No!” Yugi shouted angrily. “You don’t understand!”
Yami was thrown off by the strong comeback. He didn’t follow his response since the two had shared so many assessments together. When he had done something irrational, the act was mainly due to pride. He didn’t know if the same could apply to someone as unpretentious as Yugi.
He assured caringly, “Yugi, I do understand how you feel. We’ve all committed deeds deemed irrational. And this was only Electric Lizard—”
“No! It’s worse than that!” he heard Yugi roared.
“It was stupid!” Yugi yelled full of regret. “I could have fallen into a bigger trap!”
He slid to the ground sobbing. All thoughts that occurred earlier in his mind returned. His resentment had been released with regret taking control.
“He could have placed something else.” he elucidated in a weaker tone. “He had a Man-Eater Bug in his deck, and who knows how many he had altogether? When would he have played them? He had already played two Morphing Jars. I could have easily been destroyed, sent to Graveyard. And then what? He might have won…”
He felt like a dog: He needed to be castigated with corporate punishment to learn his place. He had been apprised by his other half, but he openly discounted it. The opinions of others and how he viewed himself mattered more than anyone’s wellbeing.
Yami remembered that instance. He feared for his partner’s life, knowing something menacing was unleashed. In retrospect they were lucky it was only Electric Lizard.
Neither blamed Joey for his comical comment, a possible culprit to the provoking result.
The shock from obliterating the creature was to last a single turn. Any non-Zombie type monster that had attacked it could not attack the following turn. But young Yugi still appeared enfeebled. Perhaps it was the result of his own soul entrapped in a monster amid a Shadow Game.
Yugi continued to glower at the ground. He was far too chagrined of his action to face someone he viewed as the definition of bravery. Here he was, someone who had solved a puzzle no one else could, a mind that was able to solve something so complex, yet he had acted foolish.
Yami stayed quiet, taking in what had been dispatched. He had been afraid, already knowing the effects of Electric Lizard. But he was petrified with the threat of Change of Heart. In his own free time he had imagined hypothetical situations. He didn’t know what to do if Yugi had converted sides even if it was against his will. He didn’t know what he could have played to counter such a powerful magic card.
But that match didn’t focus on one person, only one Item. And everyone had fought bravely, taking perils to save others: Joey had accepted the challenge to defeat Man-Eater Bug while Ryou took charge of his own role. And even though the team had a clear shot of winning the match, by sending an innocent soul to the Graveyard, they agreeably rebuffed. Yami had acted in exchanging the souls. But he couldn’t complete the match without the aid of his friends.
“Yugi, you’re acting far too harshly on yourself. I couldn’t defeat Bakura without you.” Yami enlightened sincerely. “You had the most attack points of the group. You were the one who sent him to the Graveyard. Your attack won us the game.”
Yugi sighed, feelings mixing in his heart.
He did send the malevolent soul to the Graveyard. He did feel proud he had defeated someone who had threatened his group. He did save a friend. Yet he was unsatisfied.
He shut his eyes and mumbled in repentant, “Does that even matter? … The one time that I thought I could’ve been brave, tough even, I had failed.”
He was angry. He was deemed uncool, weak, puny. He had acted irrational. Emotions don’t belong on the battlefield. A heart is what reminds the player of his established goal, but it is the mind that must remain calm and collective in order to reach it. A mind processes logic. Yet he felt he needed to prove something, something to others. And perhaps mainly himself.
Yami was about to speak when he withdrew himself. He saw the boy holding his half of the Puzzle. He knew how close Yugi kept it, always by his side, always by his heart.
He knew he needed to allow Yugi some space, time to think, reflect, and accept. He himself had made mistakes in the past as well. And he was blessed in having such a forgiving partner. But he also needed to absolve himself and move on, keeping in mind of past mistakes but never allowing them to devour his heart. He had one way to deal with conflict, and Yugi had another.
Dominating the fear of failing, admitting past errors, finding courage to overcome faults—these are all tasks humans, young and old, must bear in order to succeed.
“You are.” Yami said softly as he turned around. “You are brave because of your heart.”
Yugi heard his partner leaving.
Alone in his Soul Room he studied his Puzzle once more, the object that many desired. He remembered all the time he had spent putting it together, shard after shard, figuring out what fragment belonged where, with the Eye being the last of it all. He had risked his life shielding it against fire and thieves and for good motive too: He had unlocked an ancient pharaoh, made loyal friends, and pioneered pieces of himself, pieces he never believed existed.
“I know Yami regrets some of his actions, and I told him he needs to give himself a second chance. Maybe I should do the same.”
Holding his beloved Puzzle, he smiled blessed as his heart slowly convalesced.
Despite the hardships, he never gave up trying to solve it, his second heart.
There are all types of comfort objects, and Yugi has his Puzzle.