DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story works best if you picture it as being a show that you're watching on the TV. Apart from that, it's exactly what the title says it is ^_^
Show aired April 11, 2004
The Dark Magician sits in a comfortably squishy armchair in a library, surrounded by bookshelves filled with books and with a fireplace (complete with a standard cheerfully crackling fire in the grate and a soft furry rug in front of it) off to one side. He looks up and smiles at the audience.
"Welcome to 'Interview with an Authoress'. I am the Dark Magician and I will be your host this evening."
"What if it's morning where they are?" The voice comes from the sidelines. The Dark Magician sighs as Dark Witch pokes her head into the camera's shot.
"How did you get in here?"
"I flew. I do have wings, in case you hadn't noticed. You left your window wide open. I took it as an 'open' invitation." Dark Witch grins at her pun as the Dark Magician sighs again.
"Security!" Two burly Rock Ogre Grotto #1s come into view and 'escort' Dark Witch away. The Dark Magician turns back to his audience and smiles wryly. "My apologies for that interruption. Shall we continue? As I was saying, I shall be your host as you journey into the mind and soul of the Authoress known as Shadow's Mirror. She joins us now."
The camera pans back to reveal a second squishy chair with a young woman sitting in it. She is dressed in a black cloak that completely covers her from her neck to her feet. Her hood is up, however some strands of brown hair have worked their way to freedom from within the hood. Her serious brown eyes regard the audience steadily for a moment before she smiles and nods.
"Hey everyone. I'd just like to state here and now that this is not an author's note. It is a story. A very weird story, true, but it's still a story." She winks as the Dark Magician begins the interview.
"Shadow's Mirror, if I may start off by asking you… isn't the correct term 'Author' rather than 'Authoress'?" The Dark Magician steeples his fingers and leans back in his chair.
"I'm glad you asked me that. Technically, yes, 'Author' is now considered to be the politically correct term, however since I am female, I feel that I should be allowed to call myself 'Authoress' if I prefer to do so. Which I do. I grew up using the term and I'm more comfortable with it."
"I see. Speaking of names and terms, is there a particular reason for your name, 'Shadow's Mirror'?"
Shadow's Mirror laughs. "Yes! Actually there is! Unfortunately it's something that I can't reveal at this point. All I can say is that it will become clear by the end of my fic, 'Tournament of Shadows'."
The Dark Magician blinks and leans forward. "Your name has some connection with one of your stories? Then you must have been planning that story from the beginning."
"That's right. Tournament has been floating around in my mind for quite some time now."
"Yet, I believe I am correct in saying that it was not your first work of fanfiction, or that it is your main work at this time, yes? I am of course referring only to your work within Yu-Gi-Oh! fandom since we all know that is the only fandom with any meaning at all whatsoever."
An irritated voice comes from the sidelines. "Hey!" The next moment the security ogres 'escort' a boy with long white hair and dog ears off the set. Shadow's Mirror ignores the interruption.
"Yes, that's true. My first Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfic was actually one called 'The Caretaker' and at the moment, my main ongoing story is 'Another Source of Magic'. But the original characters in Tournament have been around since I started watching the anime, as has the story itself. It's just that I didn't feel up to tackling the writing of it until I felt comfortable with writing within this particular universe. I want to do a good job on it and I feel that you can't do a good job on something unless you actually have at least some idea of what you're doing."
"Very good point. So what are your plans regarding Tournament? Will it become your main work?"
"I doubt it. Especially not according to the reviews I've received so far. It's not catching much attention. Of everything that I'm writing at the moment, it is the one that I'm most concerned about. I really don't want to stuff it up. But Source will always hold a special place in my heart. It's the first fic I've written that has received so much attention and so many wonderful reviews. Not to mention that the storyline is my favourite of everything I've come up with… Well…"
"You seem to have second thoughts about that comment. There's another story you prefer?"
"I do have one planned that's going to be very interesting. The potential is there, but whether or not I can do a good job of it remains to be seen."
"It sounds intriguing. What's it called?"
"Its working title is 'The Egyptian Artifact'. It focuses on Bakura and I can't really say anything more without giving too much away."
"I see. If I can redirect for a moment, earlier you mentioned a story that I haven't heard of. 'The Caretaker'. Tell us a bit about it. Where can we read it?"
Shadow's Mirror laughs again. "At the moment, it's not online. It was the first Yu-Gi-Oh! fic I wrote and I'm afraid that it's terribly inaccurate according to the anime and manga. When I wrote it, I had a fairly good idea of the characters, but there were a couple of key details that I got some bad information on."
Another laugh. "Yugi's mother! I read on a website that in one episode she gets worried about Yugi because he's mumbling in his sleep about darkness and games and someone named Yami Yugi. So, I included her in the story. It wasn't until several months later that I found out that she isn't mentioned at all in the anime. At least, she hasn't been mentioned so far and I'm currently watching the Battle City episodes." Grinning, Shadow's Mirror turns to the camera.
"Here's a little tip for anyone who writes fanfiction. If you want to write an 'alternate universe' fic, then pretty much anything goes, but if you're like me and you prefer to work within what already exists, make sure you use a reputable episode guide for episodes that you haven't personally seen! Small inconsistencies you can sometimes get away with, but things like suddenly appearing mothers… Oh boy!" She laughs again as the Dark Magician chuckles.
"So we'll never get to read that story?"
"I'm considering reworking that one, and a couple of others that I have. If I do it, then you probably will get to read it at some point. Of course, whether or not it's worth reading… As always, I'll leave that up to the reviewers to decide!"
"Fair enough. That was one mistake, have you made any others in your stories?"
Shadow's Mirror laughs for quite a while before answering. "Constantly! You can't write anything without making mistakes. It's all part of the process! The most embarrassing one I've made was when I wrote 'Bast' instead of 'Bastet' for the Egyptian Cat Goddess… I had to change a rhyme in a spell and everything for that one… I'm glad it was pointed out to me though. If I'd found out about it at a later point, it would have been even more embarrassing! I love it when people point out my mistakes. It gives me a chance to fix them before too many people see it and think that I'm stupid or careless. I can be both, but not where my stories are concerned." She suddenly becomes serious.
"As far as I'm concerned, if something's worth writing, then it's worth doing a good job on it. I can't judge the degree of skill that I have in the actual writing, but I consider it a matter of honour to make sure that all of my stories are as accurate and in-character as I can make them."
The Dark Magician starts to cough and Shadow's Mirror sighs. "I really do write the characters as I see them." She shrugs. "Every writer has a certain style of writing characters, a 'signature'. Mine makes some characters seem slightly… fluffier… than others."
"Slightly!?" The voice comes from off-camera a moment before Bakura storms onto the set, very irritated. "You're writing yaoi! That's more than 'slightly fluffier'! I should know since I seem to be your main target! What is the deal with me and Ryou anyway? I'm a 5,000 year old spirit and he's my mortal light. How in the world could we ever do anything interesting?"
The Dark Magician frowns. "Well, there goes our G rating… Security!" Bakura's eyes gleam as he holds up his Ring with a smirk. Shadow's Mirror suddenly holds up her hand. Her eyes are twinkling mischievously.
"No, it's okay, I want to answer this one." The security ogres, very relieved, turn around and head off-camera again. Shadow's Mirror fixes her gaze on Bakura, who suddenly looks rather nervous.
"That's what Physical Form spells are for." Shadow's Mirror winks at Bakura, who goes red.
"Also, I do not write yaoi." As Bakura snickers and shakes his head, muttering something that sounds remarkably like 'you poor deluded fool', Shadow's Mirror sighs and elaborates.
"It depends on your definition of the term. To me, yaoi implies something more… visual than what I write. I will hint and imply, I might even go so far as a kiss or a hug, and glomping is definitely in there, but nothing I write is explicit. I focus on the emotional side of things rather than the physical. That goes for everything I write, not just the fluffy stuff. Since most of those who read these stories are fanfic writers themselves, I know that their imaginations are easily up to the task of filling in the blanks. They probably do a better job of it than I ever could, for that matter." Shadow's Mirror grins and winks at the camera.
Bakura doesn't look happy. "So Ryou and I will never…" He turns red as the Dark Magician and Shadow's Mirror both start laughing. "Oh Ra… I said that out loud…"
Shadow's Mirror manages to control her laughter. "Sorry Bakura, but no, I'm afraid you and Ryou are doomed to be nothing more than fluffy." She pauses for a moment, reconsidering. "Change that to 'highly fluffy'." Seeing Bakura's depressed look she sighs. "All right. Highly fluffy with plenty of implication and innuendo, but that's as high as I'm willing to go! Deal?"
Bakura thinks for a moment. "Does that include kisses? And the words! I want him to say the words!" He glares at Shadow's Mirror as she sighs and nods. "In that infernal series where you keep torturing me." Shadow's Mirror blinks and looks confused for a moment.
"Oh! You mean Source! Honestly Bakura, don't you think 'torture' is a bit strong?" Bakura raises an eyebrow and Shadow's Mirror looks thoughtful. "Hmm… then again… No that probably is a pretty fair assessment, come to think of it. Okay, a kiss and the words in the next chapter. Deal?"
Bakura's eyes gleam. "Deal!" He suddenly frowns. "Wait a minute… the next chapter? But… I'm still a chibi! Curse it to the Shadows, woman! That's not what I meant and you know it!"
Shadow's Mirror does a credible imitation of one of Bakura's smirks. "Yes. I do. I also know what's going to happen to you and Ryou in the rest of the story. Trust me, Bakura, if you knew what I know, you'd start doing some serious grovelling around about now instead of making demands. You really don't want me to be in a bad mood when I write the remaining chapters."
The Dark Magician sits up, his interest in the conversation renewed. "'Remaining chapters'? Does that mean you're close to finishing that series?" Bakura also looks interested in the answer.
"Darn, that was one spoiler that I didn't mean to give out…" Shadow's Mirror sighs and nods. "Yes, by my reckoning, and keep in mind that I'm not exactly known for keeping to this sort of thing, the next story arc in Source should be the last one. I think there's about six chapters left to go."
"Thank Ra!" Bakura speaks the words with great feeling.
The Dark Magician frowns at him. "So in that case, perhaps you should return to the story… Here, allow me to help you!" He mutters a spell and Bakura suddenly vanishes in a puff of smoke. The Dark Magician, Shadow's Mirror and the camera crew immediately begin coughing as the smoke fills the room.
"Dark Magician! You really need to find a better spell… or at least a way to make the smoke smell less like old socks sprinkled with mouldy cheese!" Shadow's Mirror protests.
"My apologies…" The Dark Magician pauses to cough and Dark Witch's voice suddenly speaks up.
"What would you do without me?" With a beating of wings the smoke is pushed out of the window so everyone can breathe again. Dark Witch smirks at the Dark Magician, who blinks back at her.
"I thought security…"
"Those weaklings? They each have only 700 attack points. I have 1800. No contest." Dark Witch smiles smugly as the ogres can be heard sniffling sadly off-camera. The Dark Magician sighs.
"To return to the interview…" He ignores Dark Witch who winks at the audience before perching on the arm of the Dark Magician's chair. "Shadow's Mirror, where do you get your ideas from?"
Shadow's Mirror settles herself more comfortably in her chair. "Oh that's a tough one to answer. Most of the time it's entirely subconscious. I'll get a flash, like a movie running through my mind. Sometimes it's just a single image, sometimes it's a few minutes' long. Every now and then I'll find myself with a few lines of dialogue or written text stuck in my head instead, although the first idea is usually visual for me. I've also been known to sit down and start working on one story, only to find myself writing something else completely. Sometimes it's because I've gone off in an unexpected direction, but not always. Every now and then I'll get a completely unrelated idea while I'm working on a story and I'll have to open a new file and jot it down before I lose it."
Shadow's Mirror suddenly laughs. "Then of course there's the stories that happen because of my rather rambling way of writing. I like to describe things like scenes and character movements, so my stories can often end up being longer than I start off thinking they'll be. I remember one time I sat down to write a short one-shot about socks, a Physical Form spell and Bakura being chased by fangirls. It ended up being chapter one of Source!"
The Dark Magician blinks. "That's how 'Another Source of Magic' began? As a one-shot?"
Shadow's Mirror grins. "I'm afraid so. That whole series came about because of my rambling, and it didn't just end with how it started either! Once I realised it was a series, I planned it out. It was supposed to be five chapters long, but by the time I reached chapter eight I was having so much fun that I decided to just let it go wherever it wanted to go. It's currently twenty-six chapters long."
"That brings me to my next question. Do you plan any of your stories, and if so, how much is planned and how much is spontaneous?"
"Well… it depends on the story. In most cases, I know what's going to happen in the story overall, so I just sit down and write it as it comes to me. In other cases, I need specific things to happen in a certain order, so I'll plan those stories out more carefully. If there's a duel involved, then I'll usually spend a few hours sorting out the details of that before I start writing it. The same for any chapters that I need to do research for."
"So you do research?"
"After the incident with Bast/Bastet, most definitely!" Shadow's Mirror laughs. "For example, I've recently finished researching female names used in Ancient Egypt."
The Dark Magician smiles. "Ah yes, that would be for your 'Hearts, Souls and Shadows' story."
Dark Witch grins. "Hey! I'm in that one!"
The Dark Magician frowns at her. "Not as much as I am."
"Technically, you're only in it right at the end." Dark Witch pokes her tongue out at the Dark Magician.
"Hey! Stop giving away so many spoilers! That's my job!" Shadow's Mirror laughingly protests. "Yes, the names were for Hearts. The magician's three daughters now have names, in case I ever need to use them. The sons have always had names, I just haven't mentioned them yet."
"Is there a reason for that?"
Shadow's Mirror grins. "Yes. A little thing called a plot twist." The Dark Magician smiles.
"Speaking of that fanfic… are you pleased with how it's turning out?"
"Yes and no. I'm a little disappointed that it hasn't received more reviews, because it's one of the best things I've ever written. On the other hand though, it's also one of the most boring, so I can understand why people haven't really gotten into it yet. The good news is, I've covered most of the boring bits already. The pace should pick up after the next chapter. After, not in. I still have a bit more history to cover." Shadow's Mirror pulls a face.
"So, is that why it's taking so long to write? Because you are finding it boring?"
"Oh no! Not at all! I actually only started actively writing it on April 6 and it's going very nicely."
"So you've been focusing on other stories instead?"
"Not exactly… It was really rather unfortunate, but I somehow managed to get up to 'simmering' chapters in all of my ongoing series at the same time."
"When I get an idea for a story, usually I'll get a series of ideas but the way that they connect will take a bit of time for me to sort out. When that happens, all I can do is put the ideas to the back of my mind and work on something else while they 'simmer'. When they're ready, I can usually write them in a couple of hours. Some stories I can actually start and they simmer as I go, but others take a while. Chapter 27 of Source is proving particularly stubborn at the moment. I know what happens at the start and end, but the middle is still simmering. Usually I'll have at least one story active at a time, but at the moment they're all on simmer."
"Except for 'Conversations', your newest fanfic."
Shadow's Mirror laughs. "Conversations was actually started because all of my other stories were in simmer mode. I was bored and I got the idea for a quick one-shot. I wanted to test myself with a new style. It got good reviews so I tried a second. Then I wrote a third, but changed the plot twist slightly so it wasn't as predictable. Then I planned the rest of the series and started writing them."
"So you've planned it?"
"In a way. I have a list of the chapters and who's in them, as well as a few words to say what happens. They're unusual ones. I don't normally write the way I'm writing these."
"Oh? How so?"
"I normally write the story as it comes, each word in order. But in these I'm writing the dialogue first and then fitting the rest of the story around it. I'm keeping each chapter as short and simple as I can. It's quite a challenge considering how I normally ramble."
"I see. So can you give us a sneak preview of anything from this series?"
"Hmm… well, I can say that there are going to be twenty chapters, I think. I have the first twelve written, and the nineteenth will star Yugi and Téa. The description I have for that one is 'How to say those three little words'." Shadow's Mirror's eyes gleam as she grins mischievously.
The Dark Magician's eyes widen in shock. "You're not going to…?"
Shadow's Mirror's grin widens. "You'll just have to read it to find out what happens!"
Dark Witch laughs and the Dark Magician frowns at her before returning his attention to Shadow's Mirror. "You mentioned earlier that you research and plan your duels. What kind of planning do you do for them? Are you actually a duelist yourself?"
Shadow's Mirror smiles mysteriously. "In a manner of speaking, yes and no. I have my own deck and I have far more cards than I should, but I don't actually use them except when planning out my story duels. Most of the cards I write into my stories are ones that I either have in my own deck, or that I've used at some point while playing the video games, so the duels are accurate."
"You don't write duels into your fanfics very often though. Why is that?"
"Because they take a long time to write in order to do a good job on them, and they're not the main focus of most of my stories. There are exceptions though. There will be a major duel in Hearts and 'Tournament of Shadows' is going to have a few, I think."
"Ah yes, it's a promising story, although it seems to be going very slowly. Also, five original characters…" Dark Magician raises an eyebrow.
Shadow's Mirror laughs. "I know! It's ridiculous! But I need them all in there. I only use original characters when I have a reason for doing so. As for the pace, yes, I can't write it very fast because I need to get a bit further in one of my other stories before I get too far into Tournament. Otherwise I'll give away a major plot twist. I really should have waited to start Tournament… I think I'll write one more chapter and after that I'll put it on hold for a while."
"You mentioned using original characters… You also use them extensively in 'Hearts, Souls and Shadows'. Can you tell us a little about that?"
"There's not much I can say without giving the whole plot away, but basically Hearts begins about twenty-five years before the Pharaoh seals the Shadow Realm. So obviously the main focus of the story isn't the characters, but what's happening in the story as a whole. The characters are there because they each have a part to play in the events that are happening, but only two of them are important as characters. It's a background story, but it's also setting up for things that happen in Source, Tournament, 'Library of Shadows' and another story that's currently in the planning stages."
"So it is a major story then?"
"Oh definitely! It's my most ambitious project so far. Even larger than Source."
"But no Yu-Gi-Oh! characters will appear in it?"
"I didn't say that. The Shadow Monsters exist in that time and although the story starts before the Realm is sealed, it doesn't end until much later, so Yami and Bakura will probably appear in it."
"Welcome news I'm sure for all of the Yami and Bakura fans reading your stories. Speaking of the readers, I'm sure that most of them will have noticed some fairly unusual spelling all through your stories. Words such as 'honour' instead of 'honor' and 'realise' instead of 'realize'. I believe you wanted to explain that?"
"Oh yes! For anyone who hasn't already worked it out, I'm Australian. We spell some words differently over here than in America. I spellcheck all my stories and I also proofread them, so by the time the stories get online they're usually error-free. Spelling errors anyway." She grins.
"Well that certainly explains a lot. Now then, one final question if I may… who is your favourite Shadow Monster to write about?" Dark Magician smiles calmly as Dark Witch gasps. He winces as she whacks him over the head with her spear.
"Hey! No fair! What a position to put her in! Having to say it's me right to your face…" She smirks.
"Actually… it's a tie." Shadow's Mirror grins as both Duel Monsters blink at her. "Between Fire Sorcerer, and…" both Monsters look hopeful "the Spirit of the Books."
"What!? But he hasn't even appeared in any of your stories! How can you choose him over me?" Dark Witch looks crushed. The Dark Magician isn't far behind her.
"He's going to be in one soon, so he counts. Besides, he's saved me more than once in my duels." Shadow's Mirror smiles at them both. "I don't know why you're both so upset, surely you know by now that I consider you both to be characters rather than mere Monsters…"
Dark Witch and the Dark Magician blink and then they both smile. Faint hints of colour appear on their cheeks.
"And on that note, we'll end today's episode of 'Interview with an Authoress'. We hope you have enjoyed the show! If you have the time and inclination, please leave a review to let Shadow's Mirror know what you thought about it," Dark Witch pipes up cheerfully, causing the Dark Magician to frown at her.
"I believe that was my line…" He sighs and turns to his guest. "Shadow's Mirror, thank you for your time…" The Dark Magician smiles at her. Shadow's Mirror grins back.
"My pleasure! Thank you for allowing me to write you into this situation."
"Would you care to give a closing statement to our audience?"
Shadow's Mirror nods eagerly and turns to the camera. "I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has read my stories, especially to those wonderful readers who also take the time to review them and let me know what they thought. I love getting reviews, they make my day but they also give me the inspiration and reason to keep on writing. Thank you."
As the show's closing credits roll, Dark Magician looks off to the sidelines. "Right… now that's over… would somebody please do something about this Witch? I just know that she's going to try to steal my hat or set it on fire again…"
Dark Witch grins at him. "Has anyone ever told you that you're paranoid?" she asks cheerfully. "I have no intention of doing anything to your hat," she adds, while signalling to someone just out of sight.
Fire Sorcerer peeks into view, waves his hand and sets fire to the Dark Magician's hat.
Shadow's Mirror bursts into laughter. The Dark Magician sighs. "I knew it…"